Questions that discuss about precautions need to be taken for ensuring the safety in various outdoor activities that are in scope of The Great Outdoors should be tagged with this tag.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

47
votes
9answers
7k views

What is the safest way to purify water?

There are a number of ways to purify water, off the top of my head we have filters, iodine, and boiling. Clearly each has some advantage/disadvantage (iodine tastes terrible, boiling takes time). ...
26
votes
6answers
2k views

What precautions should I take to protect myself and my camp from bears?

Most of my prior hiking experience has been in areas that are not home to bears, so what precautions should I take to protect my camp (and myself as I am hiking) from bears. I am aware of a couple of ...
44
votes
4answers
24k views

Is drinking urine safe?

We've all heard stories about how people saved their lives by drinking their urine. Is drinking urine safe when there are no other water sources available? Can I filter it with a water purifier?
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Backup prusik for Abseiling: Where does it go?

When abseiling from an anchor during rock climbing, I like to use a backup prusik as a potential lifesaver in case I screw up. However, I have heard different advice on where to put it, both for ...
41
votes
14answers
16k views

How can I tell if I am dehydrated or have low electrolytes (need salt, etc.)?

How can detect, in the outdoors with minimal equipment, if I am dehydrated or need electrolytes? Update Some background: I get overheated very easily, possibly because I don't sweat as much as most ...
48
votes
10answers
3k views

How should I remove a tick?

If I find a tick on myself or a friend, what is the best way of removing it? I've heard some people say that singeing the tick with a match makes the tick detach and fall off. However I've also ...
14
votes
3answers
532 views

What are the real dangers of climbing at high altitude?

I had a campfire discussion not long ago with a man that got pulmonary edema while attempting the summit of Aconcagua, and we got into the discussion of the effects of high elevation. I had always ...
29
votes
4answers
2k views

If I have to cross an icy, flowing river, what are some ways I can cross safely?

If I'm alone in a survival situation and I have to cross a very cold river that's still flowing, how should I accomplish this safely?
21
votes
7answers
6k views

Cheese and eggs on backpacking trips

I have taken some hard cheeses onto backpacking trips quite successfully without spoilage, but I have not dared taking more than I can eat in about 3 days. Eggs I have not dared to take. I am ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

How do I inspect a climbing rope?

It is imperative that climbing ropes are in excellent shape so they don't split while someone is climbing. How do I properly inspect the rope when I'm about to start a climb?
9
votes
2answers
1k views

What are the first aid precautions to be taken in case of a snake bite?

I'll be trekking through a dense monsoon forest which has a sizable population of king cobras and vipers. I'll be at least 5 hours away by walk to the nearest human settlement and another 1-2 hours by ...
12
votes
2answers
608 views

What should one do when get a cramp while swimming?

I'm not a really good swimmer. While swimming casually, when I get a cramp in my thighs or toes, it definitely makes me panic a bit and hampers my swimming in a bad way. What should I be doing if I ...
64
votes
9answers
12k views

Should I run if I see wild dogs?

Wild dogs appear to be dangerous. Should I be running if I come across one, or should I stand fast and defend myself? They are a social animal, so they will be in a pack almost all the times.
35
votes
8answers
7k views

How to react to cattle charging towards you?

Cattle may get aggressive when threatened, or they might just imitate to be aggressive. I have seen cattle charging towards a person when irritated. How should one react if a cow or bull comes ...
40
votes
4answers
9k views

Is it possible to rappel with only a rope? (No harness, Prusik cord, or other gear)

There may be an emergency situation where I find myself needing to lower myself but with no or damaged equipment. Assuming I only have a rope, can I lower myself to safe ground?
34
votes
5answers
9k views

Can I use a bicycle helmet as a climbing helmet?

I have a bicycle helmet that fits well. Can it be used effectively as a rock climbing helmet? Most climbing helmets have a hard shell that the bicycle helmet does not. However, one of the more ...
20
votes
1answer
3k views

How much sea water can I safely drink?

Anyone who has played in the ocean knows getting a little sea water in your mouth and swallowing it will not kill you. Seawater contains salt. When humans drink seawater, their cells are thus ...
13
votes
2answers
601 views

How to prepare for and survive wildfire?

In some areas, such as the western US, wildfires are common during the summer dry season. "Fire safety" advice usually centers on not starting a wildfire, e.g. extinguishing or avoiding campfires. ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Anchor without cordelette?

I have the John Long book on climbing anchors and also a couple of others that describe the subject more briefly (Pesterfield, Traditional Lead Climbing, and Freedom of the Hills). When it comes to ...
20
votes
2answers
1k views

Surviving a forest fire by starting another fire

Awhile back I heard on CBC radio about a man who got trapped in a forest fire (surrounded on all sides) and survived. The way he survived was so ridiculous that he was brought to court and almost ...
18
votes
4answers
968 views

How to inspect climbing bolts?

I am most interested in setting up a top rope anchor on 2 bolts side by side. I feel like in this case you almost have to be more careful using bolts for a top rope than sport climbing because in ...
18
votes
4answers
657 views

Why are people so worried about Giardia?

Everyone I have ever been camping with seems to have an unwritten rule never to drink from streams no matter how clear they might seem, for fear of Giardia. I have also heard people telling about ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

How safe is sleeping in bear country?

We have recently hiked in Slovakian mountains where bears live. I’m not too concerned about the bears during the day, as we make enough noise to avoid an encounter. But I am not sure about sleeping ...
11
votes
3answers
5k views

What to do at the top of a sport climb

I dabble a little at leading trad, but have never led a sport route. If I do a sport lead, I want to make sure I don't make some stupid mistake when I get to the top. For example, I don't want to ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there a large difference in WFA (Wilderness First Aid) programs?

I am looking at taking a WFA (Wilderness First Aid) class and there are a couple of outfits in my area offering it. Namely, SOLO, NOLS, and The American Red Cross. I have heard nothing but great ...
9
votes
2answers
568 views

“Used” top rope when bouldering

My friend and I often boulder around my home instead of driving to the local area, and when attempting some more challenging features, such as overhangs and slightly taller cliffs, we would feel ...
20
votes
4answers
2k views

Is my tent pole a lightning rod?

I have used the Mega Mid tent almost exclusively for hundreds of nights out over the last many years. It's versatile, well ventilated, light... but has this pole sticking straight up the middle. Is ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

What do you do if the fire does get “out of control”?

Let's say you are camping with a large group, and someone starts a camp fire. You're away for a bit and come back to find everyone panicking and the fire to be much larger than actually planned (ie, ...
15
votes
4answers
3k views

How safe is the bowline knot in different situations?

The bowline knot (picture below, source) has a great reputation as a very safe knot. Is it really completely safe in all situations and loads, or are there use cases where it may fail?
12
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the correct way to attach an autoblock to your harness for rappelling?

When rappelling and using an autoblock consisting of a french prusik knot it seems there may be some options on how and where to attach the autoblock to my harness. Is there a correct placement on ...
10
votes
6answers
6k views

Should a carabiner ever be clipped to the tie-in loops and should anything other than a carabiner ever attach to the belay loop?

I'm a beginning climber and am trying to resolve conflicting instruction related to tying into my harness. During a recent outing a friend (an experienced climber, but not an instructor) was showing ...
10
votes
1answer
750 views

How do I recognise quicksand and how do I get out if stuck?

This year, a Danish citizen went missing without a trace in the mountains of northern Sweden. It is not the first time; in total, ten people are registered as missing after venturing into the ...
8
votes
1answer
195 views

How to get started with packrafts?

I love hiking and I'm starting to love longer cycling trips too. I've done combined cycling/hiking trips (cycling to the trailhead of a hike). Last summer I met someone who carried an inflatable raft ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What wild animals are there in California that can be dangerous or create hassles, and how do I avoid problems with them?

What wild animals are there in California that can be dangerous or create hassles, and how do I avoid problems with them?
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Trail gun for protection against bears

Choosing a trail gun is proving more challenging than I would like. What handgun calibres are powerful enough to provide some protection against aggressive bears? I want something manageable ...
20
votes
9answers
60k views

How far would you need to fall for it to be fatal?

A little grim this but I was discussing free soloing with a non-climber in work and I said "Well once you get over a certain height you're not going to survive a fall anyway so anything over ...
15
votes
2answers
517 views

How do you make a snow shelter?

Sometimes when mountaineering, there may be an emergency situation which leaves you in bad weather with no or damaged shelter (such as returning from a summit attempt or after a wild and crazy storm). ...
35
votes
6answers
1k views

Backpacking or hiking in areas open to hunting

A lot of areas that are good for hiking or backpacking are also popular hunting grounds. I am an avid backpacker and hiker, but I do not know much about hunting. How do I find out what is the ...
21
votes
5answers
6k views

Will Black Bears actually follow you up a tree

I always see it pointed out, when discussing how to handle/avoid bear encounters, that black bears can climb trees. Granted, but does that matter? Has there ever been a case of a black bear pursuing ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Venomous/Semi-Venoumous Snakes at Higher Altitudes

When we camp in rainforests or even country side forest, we are supposed to be very careful about Reptiles, especially Snakes. In India out of the many venomous snakes, I have found Pit Vipers to be ...
18
votes
5answers
928 views

How can you prevent kids getting lost at night while camping?

When camping in more remote areas with young kids, how can you make sure they don't take a stroll and get lost in the middle of the night? We won't be near lights, established "bathrooms", etc. The ...
17
votes
2answers
449 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

Is it safe to be in a vehicle during lightning/thunderstorms?

Recently a friend and I were offroading in the local mountains and while ascending a trail a storm blew in. We were out in the open near the top of the mountain when lightning started. We weren't sure ...
13
votes
7answers
6k views

What are the odds that I stand a chance against Wild Boars?

I have been trekking and camping since last 6 yrs. I have over 600 hikes and about 30 technical rock climbs under my belt. We often tend to camp up in forests, and at our sides, wild boars are pretty ...
13
votes
3answers
445 views

What precautions are needed for caving

I have been hiking/mountaineering for quite a few years now. But, I have never been into a deep cave as yet. We are planning to explore a natural cave that we'll have to rappel into. The cave is ...
12
votes
1answer
338 views

At what point is a rattlesnake mature enough to control its venom?

Young rattlesnakes are more deadly than large rattlesnakes, the reason being because when they are young they are more likely to strike, but more importantly because they can't yet control their venom....
12
votes
2answers
218 views

Reference request: books on self-rescue while climbing

Can people recommend books or online resources on self-rescue for roped climbing? As a beginning trad leader, I think I should have a basic understanding of topics like how to escape a belay and how ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

How safe is drinking distilled water?

Are there any adverse effects of drinking distilled water (possibly obtained melting snow or using other survival techniques like a solar still)? Maybe dehydratation, diarrhea...? Some people even ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it ever necessary to double up locking carabiners?

I see people doing this a lot: My question is: Why? When is it necessary to double up locking carabiners? Ever? Doubling up non-locking carabiners with opposite and opposing gates was, and still ...
9
votes
2answers
812 views

Walking through a Thigh-high snow

I have far less experience in trekking where there is snow. I believe walking through snow and through Ice are two different techniques. Is there some sort of safe technique to walk on such snow with ...