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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29
votes
6answers
6k 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 ...
28
votes
5answers
4k views

What is the best way to store my sleeping bag for long periods of time?

I've heard that storing a sleeping bag in its stuff sack for long periods of time will cause it to lose loft, and won't provide as much comfort or warmth when used again. If so, how should I store my ...
23
votes
5answers
4k views

How does one dry clothes in humid weather?

What are some quick ways to dry clothes in moist weather?
23
votes
1answer
458 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 ...
21
votes
1answer
256 views

Commuting by canoe

I live at a lake with my company in sight just 2km away. To get to work I have to cross the city, which is not only expensive in terms of money, it also costs alot of nerves. Thats why I think I ...
19
votes
6answers
14k views

What is the fastest method to 'break in' full leather boots?

After purchasing full leather boots (similar to these boots) I had many blisters for the first few hikes until I broke in my boots. What are the fastest ways to age the boot so that when my foot ...
19
votes
1answer
341 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 ...
18
votes
5answers
7k 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 ...
17
votes
6answers
346 views

When buying a backpack, what should I pay attention to?

I know one can compare backpacks by the following: Content (in liters) Number of external pockets (for quick accessable water bottles for example) Hip belt available are not Waterproof / Water ...
16
votes
5answers
968 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 ...
16
votes
5answers
1k views

What is the difference between external and internal-frame packs?

I am starting backpacking and there are both internal and external-frame packs. What is the difference, and is one recommended over the other?
16
votes
7answers
484 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
5k views

Climbing rope is rated to X UIAA falls. What is a UIAA fall?

When looking at buying climbing ropes, they are rated to a number of "UIAA falls". What does that mean?
15
votes
3answers
772 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
725 views

What are some ways/devices that I can use to charge my batteries in the wilderness?

When backpacking, I might carry a MagLite flashlight or something similar that requires two AA batteries. I tend to favor rechargeable batteries for a variety of reasons. How can I recharge my ...
15
votes
3answers
257 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
874 views

What equipment do I need as a beginner outdoor rock climber?

What are the bare essentials that I need in terms of equipment when it comes to rock climbing? I've done indoor rock climbing but always rented my equipment from the rock-climbing gym. (For the ...
14
votes
8answers
5k views

How to Clean Rock-Climbing Shoes

I have never found a good answer to this one: How do you clean rock-climbing shoes, without ruining them? Let me be more specific. I have a pair of modern leather-and-fancy-rubber climbing shoes ...
14
votes
3answers
739 views

Synthetic vs Down sleeping bags?

What are the best conditions to use a synthetic sleeping bag vs a down one? Can you always use a down sleeping bag as long as you keep it in a dry waterproof bag?
14
votes
5answers
818 views

What can I do with a retired rope and harness?

I've recently retired a rope (dynamic) and a harness. They're both in very good shape, but just over 8 years old. Common sense dictates I throw them away, but I wonder if there are other uses I can ...
14
votes
3answers
192 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?
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Do polarized sunglasses protect against snow blindess?

Will regular polarized sunglasses protect me against snow blindness? And if not what type of glasses/goggles will protect me?
14
votes
2answers
98 views

Apart from down, is there any outdoor material that should not be stored stuffed?

Down sleeping bags and down jackets should not be stored in the stuffbag, but as loose as possible. Tents, as far as I know, can be stored stuffed as long as they are dry. Are there any other ...
14
votes
1answer
279 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
290 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
391 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
192 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
534 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
694 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
471 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
564 views

What is a good material to patch holes in backpack?

I have a backpack with rip-stop material that is quite beaten up from scrambling over granite boulders. What are some good materials for patching the holes, what kind of thread should I use, and how ...
12
votes
6answers
12k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
1k 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, ...
12
votes
2answers
199 views

Is it practical to get a satellite phone for communication from remote areas?

When going into remote areas, it would be great to be able to communicate with the outside world, for emergency purposes or just to be able to call home on long trips. Is it practical for an average ...
12
votes
2answers
160 views

Micro-Fractures in Climbing Equipments

I have always been very careful while handling climbing gear. Last year while returning from an expedition, I met a group that was returning from a tough-looking climb. They were selling off a few of ...
12
votes
4answers
560 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

How to carry dslr camera when rock-climbing

I am interested in hearing how people take their dslrs onto multi-pitch-rock-climbs. I have carried mine up in a small pack, but I end up taking hardly any pictures, since it is so cumbersome to get ...
12
votes
1answer
259 views

Will Iodine Tablets Ruin My CamelBak?

In the past, I have gone backpacking with some fairly expensive, heavy water purification tools. But the more I read about water safety in California's Sierras (here and here), the less I think these ...
11
votes
7answers
318 views

What can I do to keep my hands warm while using touchscreens in the winter?

Now that it is starting to get cold it is more difficult to use touchscreens while outdoors. I use both an iPhone and a Garmin GPS to geocache and both have touchscreens that require me to take my ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Ideal and Minimal Rope Diameter for Lead Climbing

I'm thinking of a single rope that it's safe to take long lead falls, but also light to carry around. I weight 75 kgs and I might climb with heavier partners (80-90 Kgs)
11
votes
3answers
8k views

How do I use these “guy line runners” to adjust the tension on my tent's lines?

I was given my current tent and I have to admit to being pretty ignorant of tents, having not done much camping since I was a kid some decades ago. Now when it came time to use the guy ropes I ...
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?
11
votes
2answers
625 views

Why does my belay device have two holes?

I have a belay device that looks like: which I used when I am belaying someone who is top roping or leading. However, my rope only goes through one of those slots. What is the purpose of the other ...
11
votes
2answers
480 views

What is a buff?

What is a "buff", how is it used, and why should I have one? I've seen them advocated in numerous places, but I'm not sure why a tube of cloth is better around my neck than a scarf, etc.
11
votes
5answers
2k 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?
11
votes
3answers
445 views

What to look for in a quality tarp?

I'd like to purchase a tarp as some point, both to put up over a small camp at some point, and to use over a hammock. When I've camped with my uncle he's used a folded over builders tarp, which has ...
11
votes
2answers
749 views

What things should I look for when buying a compass?

Compasses seem to come in all shapes, sizes and (especially) prices! What sets a good compass apart from a bad one and what are some good characteristics to look for when making a purchase?
10
votes
3answers
382 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
2answers
452 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
263 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 ...