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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17
votes
7answers
2k views

Are Ice grips worth buying

The cold weather has finally hit the UK and once again I am tempted to buy something like https://www.yaktrax.co.uk/shop/yaktrax-pro. For those of you not in the UK we get some snow each year (enough ...
6
votes
3answers
172 views

What Rope to purchase?

I climb comfortably at 5.11c at my gym (Top Rope Only), but I have never climbed outdoors so a group of experienced climbers have offered to teach my friend and I how to lead sport routes. I have ...
13
votes
2answers
3k 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, ...
10
votes
4answers
224 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
393 views

How to put trekking poles in back pack?

I have trekking poles that I need to store in my back pack for air travel. However, the manual says for long term storage -- in my case, possibly days to a few weeks before I need to use them -- the ...
5
votes
3answers
439 views

Gaiters possible to use on flat/minimal shoes?

On flat shoes, like the Merrell Proterra's, is it possible to use gaiters (for snow)?
9
votes
2answers
322 views

What to do with old hydration bladders?

I have two old hydration bladders, both of which are no longer usable (in one the cap is broken, in the other the internal bag is ripped). Spare parts appear to be unavailable. Is there anything good ...
2
votes
1answer
183 views

Bootstrapping for outdoors [closed]

Greetings Outdoor experts, I recently moved to USA, and looking to bootstrap myself for hikes, camping and other outdoor activities. I have not bought a proper outdoor setup earlier, rather I ...
9
votes
1answer
414 views

Can the Swiss Alps be hiked in the winter?

I would like to hike part of the Alps that go from France to Slovenia, but I'm not sure what type of equipment I'll need. I'm wondering if I need to bring crampons; I have Icetrekkers (Diamond Grip), ...
12
votes
3answers
435 views

Features to look for when buying a stove (for car camping)

We (wife, 5 year old and me) are planning to go camping next summer (UK). It will be car camping - i.e. drive, set up tent and, knowing the UK, sit in the tent as it rains. I'm looking at equipment ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

Why don't we apply the principles of layering when it comes to pants?

Whenever I see clothing articles geared toward hiking and backpacking that discuss layering (base layer for wicking, mid layer for insulation, etc.), they always seem to discuss these things in terms ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

What is a safe type of backyard zip line for kids and adults to use?

I want to put a zip line in my backyard for my kids. I'm looking for advice on what type to use, safety tips, and installation advice.
4
votes
1answer
481 views

Improvising Heavy Rain Protection for a Backpack

Heavy rain can soak all of your gear. There are some things that you don't ever want to get wet, like your camera. I've learned to protect those things with string bags, which are light and I always ...
9
votes
2answers
533 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
319 views

What is Arc'Teryx Technical down?

Today I received an e-mail from Arc'Teryx stating that Fall 2013 ushers in the arrival of technical DOWN and NEW GORE-TEX® Pro technology. What is technical down? I assume it is some sort of ...
5
votes
2answers
536 views

How to Tell When Minimal Running Shoes Are Worn Out?

How can I tell when my minimal running shoes go bad? Let me explain. Conventional Wisdom The conventional wisdom of marathon runners is that running shoes will eventually 'go bad'. That is, at some ...
3
votes
2answers
875 views

How do I properly use the cinch-straps that came with my daypack?

I just purchased a daypack to stuff inside my larger backpack while travelling. It came with cinch-straps but I'm not sure of the proper way to use them (if there is one). The daypack is a North ...
7
votes
1answer
3k views

What does “expedition-weight” mean with regard to clothing?

I'm going on a trip to Alaska in September, including a guided camping/trekking trip in Denali. In the packing list I received from the company, they recommend having an "expedition-weight" top and ...
5
votes
1answer
151 views

What features to consider when buying a bouldering slipper?

I've been using the same Evolv shoes for bouldering that I bought for top-roping. It seems like they're worn enough to start considering a new pair of shoes. Since I'm doing bouldering almost ...
2
votes
1answer
148 views

reliability and performance of NIS mounting plates (x-country skis)

How do NNN bindings mounted on cross-country skis with NIS mounting plates compare with the screwed-in versions in terms of reliability (are they more likely to break) and performance (do I get ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

NIS mounting plate for x-country skis: why only for NNN bindings?

I see a lot of higher-end cross country skis now have an NIS mounting plate to enable the mounting of bindings without drilling any holes (and easy adjustment). But why are the only NIS compatible ...
11
votes
3answers
248 views

How to select a good GPS receiver?

What should one look for in the specifications to determine whether a handheld purpose-built GPS receiver provides good navigational consistency under reasonably normal, low-speed conditions? Highly ...
18
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
420 views

Comfy inflatable pillows for car camping

I use a combination of an 18"x18" inflatable pillow and a Thermarest compressible one, the largest size (commonly seen at REI and similar stores). However, the inflatable often slips out and I just ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Should food be in a bear bag/canister even when I'm hiking?

I've read that in the western US, backpackers need bear canisters or bear bags, for bears or for other animals. For example, a post comparing different methods is here. I must admit I'm a bit ...
10
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
238 views

Different kinds of Down: comparing insulation

There's many different kinds of "down" filling: "100% down" must legally be only down, while "down" can be any mixture containing down. Then there's "fill power" ranging from about 400 to 1200, which ...
6
votes
1answer
375 views

ski damaged from sticks, leaves, soil, etc?

Obviously cross/back-country skis can be damaged by skiing over rocks, stones, gravel and asphalt, but what about other, softer objects exposed when the snow starts to melt, like sticks, roots, ...
15
votes
2answers
284 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
736 views

Why are there ropes on fingerboards?

I picked up a couple fingerboards from the pro shop, and hung them on the rafters in our basement. However, I have no idea what the ropes are for, unless someone might tie the boards to a tree. What ...
0
votes
1answer
130 views

What kinds of stores sell multi-mode (adjustable-brightness) flashlights? [closed]

Which types of vendors sell multi-mode (adjustable-brightness) flashlights? Both online and offline vendors. Both sellers of new flashlights and used ones. I know that outdoors stores sell them, but ...
2
votes
1answer
93 views

Caveats of dual (propane, liquid) fuel stoves

My MSR Whisperlite has served me well for more than 10 years. It started leaking a few weeks ago, and I'm looking for a proper replacement. I've read some good reviews about dual fuel stoves ...
7
votes
1answer
916 views

What is a “fast pack” setup for a tent?

Reading around forums and in products, I see descriptions and weights for a "fast pack" setup for tents. What does this mean and what is it used for?
8
votes
2answers
663 views

Do bag liners add the same warmth value to all sleeping bags?

I have a bag liner that claims to add 15 degrees to the "range" of a sleeping bag. Is it reasonable to assume that it would work the same for all bags? For instance, would it extend a 40 degree bag ...
4
votes
1answer
129 views

Do cross-country skis need to be broken-in?

I recently bought a new pair of cross-country skis that matched my weight (with or without a backpack), but when I tried them out for the first time (over a two-day period), I didn't have as much grip ...
7
votes
1answer
724 views

Do folding cross country skis exist?

Do folding (or telescoping) cross-country skis exist and if so are they useable? Update: Or are there small cross-country skis that are short enough for easy transport, yet still capable of providing ...
5
votes
1answer
277 views

What to do about slippery plastic soles of cross country ski boots

I have a relatively new pair of NNN cross-country ski boots and noticed the plastic sole is much more slippery than previous boots I've owned (older SNS and SNS Profil). A quick look at the selection ...
8
votes
2answers
588 views

End-of-season maintenance / storage tips for ski boots?

After several trips with poor fitting hire ski boots, and having had no end of trouble finding suitable fitting hire boots at the current resort, I went and bought a fitting pair. The boots have been ...
8
votes
1answer
244 views

Trekking Pole Length

I was recently convinced to buy a pair of trekking poles for backpacking. But how long should they be? What is the optimal length to adjust my trekking poles, when carrying a heavy pack? I have ...
4
votes
1answer
246 views

Are folding poles suitable for cross-country skiing?

There are several manufacturers selling folding/collapsible poles, usually for hiking or splitboarding. Are they also suitable for cross-country skiing?
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Safe Way to Mark a Carabiner

At the crag this weekend I noticed that my climbing partner's carabiner had a great feature: a red line painted such that you know the carabiner isn't locked until the red is hidden. I love this ...
4
votes
1answer
84 views

SkyDive Equipment

In 2009 I successfully completed the AFF course, after a stop due to the birth of my son I'm going to resume regular activity. I currently have 31 jumps, all carried out by renting the equipment, and ...
15
votes
5answers
7k views

How do I know what size ice axe I should get?

I'm going to start mountaineering. Is there a recommended size per height/weight for ice axes for general mountaineering?
6
votes
3answers
5k views

Dome tents vs popup tents, are there any inherent pros or cons besides price and ease?

I was lucky enough to be given an almost new double skin popup tent. Where I'm camping right now it's got windy a couple of times and rainy a couple of times. A friend of mine who is camping in his ...
20
votes
3answers
535 views

How should I check climbing equipment to tell whether it is still safe to use?

I have, unfortunately, not had the opportunity to go climbing (and thus use my climbing equipment) for a couple years. I know that such equipment, especially the rope and webbing, can degrade over ...
22
votes
5answers
17k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
10
votes
6answers
272 views

How to avoid the layer of ice inside a water bottle during winter activities?

Is there a special way to avoid the layer of ice that forms inside a water bottle during winter activities?
8
votes
3answers
122 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
306 views

Difference between a Fingerboard and a Hangboard

This is just a climbing terminology question: What is the difference between a Fingerboard and a Hangboard? Maybe there is no difference at all? Maybe it's subtle? I have been Googling around and ...