Questions relating to any physical gear for engaging in those activities discussed in The Great Outdoors. Examples include packs, knives, bikes, kayaks, and climbing harnesses.

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12
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4answers
4k views

Where can I find an iodine crystal water purification product?

For years I used a product called Polar Pure for water purification when weekend backpacking. It was an iodine based solution, so not great for a thru-hike, but fine for a week or less. Specifically, ...
10
votes
2answers
779 views

Using a Girth Hitch in Alpine Draws

I've recently started making my alpine (or "trad") draws by girth hitching one end of a sling to the gear side carabiner and then clipping and passing the rope side through as usual. The girth hitch ...
7
votes
2answers
320 views

Does a red headscarf or hat provide better protection from the sun?

I read in an old tourist guide (from the beginning of the 20th century) that during mountain walks on sunny days one should wear a red headscarf or a hat with red lining to avoid heat stroke, because ...
15
votes
3answers
819 views

The best solution for carrying a D-SLR when hiking

I am planning a multi-day hike in the Drakensberg area of South Africa. This is a beautiful landscape with interesting flora and fauna. Consequently I want to have my Digital SLR close to hand. I ...
11
votes
5answers
456 views

How can rope/cordage be packed to minimize tangles?

I generally pack my cordage in little bundles like Unfortunately for any significant length (100' for instance) it just turns into a wadded mess when I try and use it. How can I pack this stuff ...
8
votes
3answers
106 views

Packing delicate equipment for a hike

I always try to avoid taking much delicate on a hike, but sometimes it either can't be helped or I decide I want to take it anyway (camera would be the prime example!) How can I best pack such ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Pros and Cons of paracord

From a comment on the How to select paracord question I was curious, what is the benefit of paracord over hardware store yellow twisted poly stuff? The yellow stuff is cheap, readily available, ...
8
votes
2answers
256 views

Does a groover have to stink?

I have used several different products and none of them work that well. Bottom line, is there a product that will subdue the offending groover? So a groover is a river toilet. On multiple day river ...
14
votes
6answers
16k views

What is the ultimate car camping bed solution — for two people?

I've been camping since I was a teenager in the scouts, and I've never really had a very comfortable night out. As an adult with a girlfriend, 20 years later, I'd like to just throw some money at the ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

How to select paracord

What important features should I pay attention to when buying paracord for hiking (such as different types, load limit, etc)? I just use it for bear bags, tarp lines, etc.
5
votes
3answers
732 views

What gear for sleeping in wild camping in western Scotland in May?

I intend to go camping in Scotland (mainly the Isle of Mull, that is Western, central Scotland) next week, i.e. last week of May. I have read quite a lot about the weather and know I should prepare ...
8
votes
2answers
278 views

How do I check paracord to determine if it's genuine?

Given some paracord, is there a simple check that I can make to check that it's genuine and not the cheaper knock off stuff? Number of strands seems like the most obvious point, but is there anything ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

What is the proper way to tarp tent to avoid condensation?

I tried pitching a tarp instead of a tent this weekend. In worked well, kept off the rain etc, except for the condensation. It was far worse than any condensation I've ever had in a tent. We had ...
6
votes
0answers
36 views

How do I store my sleeping bag for long periods? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the best way to store my sleeping bag for long periods of time? We're at the point where we have more than one set of gear. We use different gear for different ...
6
votes
2answers
96 views

Recommended windproof matches?

I was looking for some good windproof matches - not for any specific use, but just because I considered they may come in useful in some environments. Has anyone any experience with any particular ...
5
votes
1answer
101 views

How can I improve on the straps on my travel pack?

I'm not back packing in the wilderness. I hope that doesn't disqualify me from asking a question that I think is still relevant for back-packers in general. I have an MEI Travel Pack that I'm pretty ...
9
votes
4answers
8k views

How do I remove mildew from a tent?

Similar to this question, but mildew tends to be very resistant to removal. I sadly failed to keep my tent dry enough, and now it has a couple of mildew spots. They're not bad, but I would rather ...
8
votes
2answers
110 views

What should I as a beginning surfer consider when buying my first longboard?

I'm a beginning surfer, and I want a longboard. How do I select one? How much should I pay? What is good width and length, etc.?
7
votes
2answers
678 views

Can oiling keep tools from rusting?

Even stainless-steel can rust, and I've seen axes and saws that were visibly rusted. I've been told that wrapping the metal parts of the tools in oiled paper will prevent this. Can oil really be used ...
8
votes
2answers
286 views

Does wash in waterproofing work on a non-waterproof shell?

I'm considering an ultralight (non-waterproof) shell and Nikwax wash-in waterproofing as a rain layer. I'd like it to be waterproof through several wearings (a week or more). Does this result in ...
7
votes
2answers
101 views

Will gelled fuel work in a cat can stove?

Recently a friend suggested using gelled fuel in a cat can stove instead of liquid alcohol. Since a cat can stove works by using pressurization to create the "jets" it seems flawed, but has anyone ...
14
votes
4answers
791 views

Taking care of hiking backpack

I've had a 60 L backpack for almost seven years now. Nothing on it is broken and it fits my needs, so right now I don't have any thoughts about replacing it (Getting a light pack might be the only ...
10
votes
1answer
648 views

Minimum equipment recommendations for hammock camping

I'm looking to try out some hammock camping on our next trip to the wilderness, but I don't have any of the gear yet. I could buy it all, but as it's a trial run it might not make sense to pour a ton ...
16
votes
2answers
487 views

How can I prevent my sun glasses from fogging up when skiing?

When I'm cross-country skiing, I usually wear glacier glasses to protect from the intense glare off the snow. When I'm moving, they usually stay clear . Whenever I stop though, my glasses seem to fog ...
8
votes
1answer
103 views

What is the minimum gap needed for a windscreen on a cat can stove?

I've constructed a cat can jet stove as described here. He has a windscreen design, but it seems to be overkill (and doesn't work for my pot). I've tried a couple of my own now, but they are all ...
11
votes
3answers
440 views

How effective are portable electric fences?

I am worried about bears and wolves when camping so I'm looking at portable electric fences. Are they effective and more importantly just how dangerous are they?
10
votes
1answer
250 views

How does the Esbit stove perform in cold & wind?

I was on a group trip this weekend where a fellow hiker brought an Esbit stove which uses hexamine fuel tabs. The temperature was not what I would consider extreme. Temperatures in the high 30s to ...
9
votes
4answers
172 views

Will any filter/pump purifier last through longer hikes?

I've been reading a lot of product reviews, and filter/pump solutions seem to be very high maintenance, very heavy, or both. Are there any lightweight filters which can be relied on for many liters ...
24
votes
1answer
537 views

How are sleeping bag temperature ratings determined?

One things that has always troubled me when buying a sleeping bag is the temperature rating. When looking at a bag that claims to be a +15°F bag (for example) how do I know that it is really good ...
19
votes
5answers
10k views

Tent and sleeping bag: pack inside or strap outside a backpack?

When I bought my pack, we were told to always pack the tent and sleeping bag in the pack. Since then I have seen a lot of articles and hikers doing the outside. What are the benefits on packing the ...
14
votes
2answers
207 views

How much gear will the AT eat?

We're planning on hiking the AT, and this question prompted me to ask: What gear should we expect to replace, and how often, on the Appalachian Trail? Assume that we know basic gear maintenance and ...
19
votes
1answer
412 views

Putting in contact lenses when outdoors

I am wearing contact lenses on a daily basis. Many times, when outdoors, I cannot put in my contact lenses (because of limited time or just no sterile conditions). Is there any cleaner I could safely ...
15
votes
1answer
340 views

Things to consider when buying sunglasses

I am going to buy sunglasses. Here is how and where I am going to use them: mountain trekking - with altitude mostly below 2000, however I will use them in the following months on higher mountains ...
8
votes
1answer
3k views

What sleeping bags are needed for a northbound thru-hike of the AT

If you were attempting a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, starting roughly now (being mid to late March) and going northbound, how many sleeping bags and of what types would you need, assuming cost ...
13
votes
1answer
572 views

Kilimanjaro expedition - trousers - softshell vs. gore-tex

I am going on an expedition to Kilimanjaro and I'm going to buy new trousers specifically for this purpose. Some agencies recommend to take soft shell trousers and I'm not sure if it would be the best ...
14
votes
3answers
205 views

What are the key features to look for in mobile device apps for hiking/camping?

I've used EveryTrail and was satisfied but am looking for something better... What are the features I should focus on for selecting an app? What bells and whistles are really useful on the trail?
9
votes
2answers
991 views

Thinking about a road trip out West

My wife and I are thinking of taking a road trip from northwest Ohio to "out west" - Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, etc. I've never been farther west than Indiana, so it's a whole new ...
10
votes
2answers
472 views

Starting cross-country skiing off trails

I've done a bit of crosscountry skiing on trails at local mountains, but I'm more interested in getting off the trails and out into the woods. The terrain around here is pretty steep in general with ...
17
votes
5answers
1k views

Selecting backpacking cooking pot – teflon, aluminum, steel, titanium, or cast iron?

What are the relative advantages / dangers of different cooking wear? I'm a one-pot gourmet that has been using the same stainless steel pot for 15 years, but am considering an upgrade. Some things I ...
10
votes
1answer
299 views

What are the tradeoffs for a Tomahawk over an Axe

I've watched a few videos on cutting tools and the use of axes. However I'm not clear on what the advantage (or disadvantage) is of a tomahawk style axe over a typical belt or hand axe, such as this ...
7
votes
2answers
695 views

What is a good starter kit for beginning indoor climbing?

If I want to get started on indoor climbing, what is the bare minimum I need to have, assuming I don't want to rent equipment?
9
votes
1answer
147 views

How do you sharpen a hand chain saw?

For group hikes where we plan on having a fire, I carry a hand chain saw for dead wood. We've used ours for a while now and it is definitely getting dull. How do you sharpen this?
11
votes
2answers
2k views

How do you safely cut wood with a knife?

Several people have talked about having single edge knife so that you can cut down small trees. What is the proper way to cut or carve wood with a knife?
8
votes
2answers
121 views

Is it necessary to carry a knife sharpener?

Under the assumption that an emergency kit like the ones listed here are for the emergency of getting lost and being stranded for days, how necessary is a knife sharpener?
18
votes
2answers
343 views

Chalk: pure, plus drying agent, liquid?

Having only used pure chalk without added substances so far, I wondered how the other types perform. Most of the information I could find online is either somebody ranting against a certain type, or ...
8
votes
1answer
617 views

What can be safely trimmed on a backpack

When trimming weight there are a lot of options. Lighter gear, less gear, etc. One of those options is to take an existing pack and trim off "unnecessary" extras. For instance, I have (no kidding) ...
13
votes
3answers
447 views

What makes a good head lamp?

I'm looking for a decent head lamp, with a bright light and good battery life. Most on the market these days seem to be LED based, but aside from those three (perhaps obvious) considerations are there ...
32
votes
6answers
8k views

Is it better to wear one pair or two pairs of socks while hiking?

From personal experience I tend to wear two pairs of socks, normally some running socks and then my hiking socks on top of that. It helps me avoid blisters. Quite a few of my friends thinks this is ...
9
votes
3answers
141 views

How to find objective reviews of outdoors gear? [closed]

It is often difficult to know what to look for when shopping for outdoors gear. Is there some magazine, website, or other resource that does Consumer Reports style objective evaluation of outdoors ...
6
votes
1answer
99 views

What levels of 'waterproofness' and 'breathability' should I be looking for in a ski jacket?

When looking at items like jackets and ski trousers and other clothing, I see stats on the garments similar to the following: Waterproofness - 10000mm Breathability - 15000g/m Lining - 100% Polyester ...