13
votes
4answers
10k views

How can I keep my backpack from resting directly against my back?

I have a backpack that I often wear on my (outdoor) walks to and from work each day. The walk is 30 minutes one-way and mostly in an open field/park area, so in the afternoon it's usually warm enough ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

What is a good tool for minor trail maintenance while hiking?

I hike a few trails in the lower Appalachians which are very infrequently traveled. Maintenance when it happens, is performed by hikers. I much prefer to just clear smaller blowdowns as I come to ...
13
votes
2answers
3k views

Why does sunscreen not work all day?

All over the internet it says that sunscreen does not work all day, but does not say anything about why. Why does sunscreen not work all day? Does the matrials get destroyed by the UV rays? Or is it ...
13
votes
8answers
2k views

How do you flavour your water on camping trips?

Always drinking pure water can be boring and tasteless, especially when you have to filtrate it or use sterilizer/purification tabs which might cause the water to taste really bad. What are easy (...
13
votes
3answers
449 views

What steps should I take if someone starts sinking?

What are the steps that should be taken if someone you're hiking with starts to sink uncontrollably into say a marsh? What are some good techniques and points that should be used to get them out ...
13
votes
2answers
8k views

Are Rhododendron and Mountain Laurel truly toxic to burn in a campfire?

For a very long time now, I've believed and taught that burning Rhododendron or Mountain Laurel in a campfire will make you sick because of the toxins in these plants becoming airborne then inhaled ...
13
votes
1answer
644 views

How to tandem rappel/abseil with a child?

So my toddler just barely fits the smallest child's harness on the market, which of course means she's big enough to go climbing and rappelling with daddy ;) I've been playing around with different ...
12
votes
4answers
217 views

Kayaking in the UK

My fiancé and I are both avid walkers / hikers but for a long time have been wanting to get into kayaking. Both of us have kayaked in the past. Separately we did it on school trips - many years ago - ...
12
votes
4answers
570 views

Is cold shock response a real danger, if someone is used to cold water?

Various sources (mostly TV stations, at least in my region) are constantly warning about the danger of cold shock response, if someone goes to water too quickly. But on the other hand, Bear Grylls ...
12
votes
3answers
708 views

How can I safely practice trad climbing?

I have climbed indoors and outdoors for several years, both top rope and sport, and I somewhat recently took an outdoor trad climbing class. In the class, we placed protection while on top rope and ...
12
votes
2answers
218 views

I put a big gouge in the bow of my canoe going across rocks. How can I fix it?

While going through some rapids, we slid across a jagged rock and it put a huge gouge in the bow of my fiberglass canoe. What method and process is best for repairing it, so that next time I hit some ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Is it ok to use rolled aluminum descending rings in permanent anchors?

Rolled aluminum descending rings like the SMC Descending ring are light (11g) and cheap ($3) which makes them great for carrying and leaving behind on long descents, but in my mind they are disposable ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

How should I treat hypothermia?

When I recognize the symptoms of hypothermia, how should I treat it? And what are the dangers if the symptoms are ignored?
12
votes
2answers
6k views

How do I desalinate seawater?

I know I shouldn't drink seawater (because of the salt it contains), but how can I desalinate it?
11
votes
5answers
969 views

How do you avoid Norovirus on the AT?

Every year on the AT (Appalachian trail) Norovirus sweeps through like wildfire and the problem only increases as trail density increases. What are the best methods for minimizing risk of contracting ...
11
votes
1answer
151 views

Climbing volcanic mountains

I'm planning to climb a few volcanic mountains in Indonesia the coming year. Mostly Mt Kerinci and a few adjoining ones (I'm still making a list of those near by to Kerinci). I believe that most ...
11
votes
1answer
405 views

What are the main differences between dehydrated foods and freeze-dried foods?

What's the big difference between Dehydrated and Freeze-dried foods? What are the pros and cons to choosing one over the other for backpacking?
11
votes
2answers
117 views

What is a “sling belay?”

Rock climbing topos have various standardized symbols, such as xx for a bolt anchor, or a dashed line for face climbing. In keys of symbols, I've sometimes seen SB defined as a "sling belay." What ...
11
votes
1answer
116 views

How can I rescue someone lost in an avalanche?

If someone from our group is caught in an avalanche, what can I do to rescue them?
11
votes
1answer
119 views

How to determine the thickness of ice?

Thinking about going ice fishing this winter but I am worried about falling through thin ice. I know that ice should be at least 4 inches (10 cm) if clear and 8 inches (20 cm) if cloudy, but how can ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it safe to wear a down jacket while building a fire

The outside of a down jacket is usually made of nylon or polyester, which is inflammable. While trying to build a fire, is it safe to wear this jacket? Or will the flying embers be enough to set the ...
11
votes
4answers
11k views

Is the “Rule of 3” proven for food?

The proverbial "Rule of 3" says you can live three weeks without food. Are there any documented cases of people actually living three weeks with no food in the wilderness and surviving? For those ...
11
votes
1answer
6k views

What should I do when caught in lightning while in my tent?

Suppose I'm caught in a heavy thunderstorm while lying in my tent, on my foam sleeping bad, in my nice waterproof tent. Suppose I have a good campsite so I don't need to worry about flash floods. ...
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 ...
10
votes
3answers
395 views

Group protocol should the group become separated

A small group (2-10 people total) is travelling in a wilderness area. For whatever reason a person or a couple get separated. What is the best strategy for the lost ones? What is the best strategy to ...
10
votes
5answers
582 views

Can I replace Dish soap?

I have been trying to get my weight down on longer backpacking trips. I have already taken to buying very strong soap and using very little, but I was wondering is there something I can replace the ...
10
votes
2answers
789 views

What are some techniques to avoid touching a wet tent wall?

If it rains when sleeping in a tent, and you touch the material, the water can leak through. This means that if your equipment touches the tent wall, it can be soaked when you wake up. What methods ...
10
votes
3answers
244 views

Will aid climbing make you a better trad climber?

I was reflecting on how different disciplines of climbing help you become a stronger climber in other disciplines. Like how bouldering makes you a better sport climber, because it teaches you beta and ...
10
votes
3answers
4k views

Is it safe to drink snow?

If it snows, is it safe to drink the water when it melts? What sickness can I get from snow? I am in Europe and would like to know for here, but other places would be interesting too.
10
votes
2answers
506 views

Why all the different accessory cord diameters?

It's easy to get overwhelmed with all the different types and diameters of accessory cords. I usually always get 7mm for making my prusiks and cordalettes, but I've often wondered who uses the smaller ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

What causes an avalanche and can I predict one?

Avalanches are extremely dangerous when mountaineering, winter backpacking/camping, or backcountry skiing/snowboarding. What causes them and is there any way I can predict when an avalanche is about ...
10
votes
3answers
9k views

How much heat can a candle lantern provide while winter camping?

In answering this question I tossed out that a candle lantern can add as much as 10 degrees (F) of heat while winter camping. I've heard this tossed about before, but is it true? I assume there are ...
10
votes
4answers
6k views

What are some good gluten-free foods for backpacking?

I have quite unfortunately found out several months ago that I'm gluten sensitive. Nearly all my meals I've planned and eaten on the trail have included wheat, and thus gluten, in them in some fashion....
10
votes
1answer
273 views

Good ways to avoid snakes when hiking?

I'v been told that walking with a heavy foot-fall will deter snakes. Is this really true?
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Walking through an active railway tunnel during a long distance walk

There is a long trail in the mountains near where I live. It requires one to walk through a Railway tunnel which is roughly 1.2 miles long and is not straight. Usually, there is a margin between the ...
10
votes
3answers
8k views

Technique for lead solo climbing with rope

In the past I saw climbers climb alone on multi-pitch routes only by themselves (but not free solo). What's a correct technique to do this? I know how to do it with two ropes, rope ascenders and on ...
10
votes
1answer
173 views

Hiking and wild sleeping in California wilderness

I want to spend a few days in California, near Nicasio, hiking and sleeping under the sky (no tent, just a tarp in case it rains). I have a lot of experiences in Europe, but I have never been in US. ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I locate the leak in a inflatable pad

I went camping last trip and my nice inflated pad... deflated. I always carry a patch kit but I discovered another issue: I couldn't find the leak. The leak was small. It took quite a while of me ...
9
votes
2answers
472 views

What are these bulges? Are they harming the tree?

My husband's brother came upon this tree while hiking up Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire, USA. This was his first time seeing bulges, for lack of a better word, like these. Knowing that I'm intrigued ...
9
votes
3answers
247 views

Best approach to camping in snow?

What is the best way for a trekking group of two to sleep in deep snow (meter or more). What equipment is to be brought? Preferably, the technique should work on shallow snow and plain frozen ground ...
9
votes
2answers
582 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
196 views

Case example on Altitude Mountain Sickness: How to detect and react properly?

I know the theory behind effects of high altitudes on the human body is not entirely understood and because of cross-influence it is a difficult topic. It's not an exact science. Having said that I ...
9
votes
3answers
907 views

Do I need to hang a bear cache?

I am considering to get Garcia Machine Backpacker's Cache. According to MEC user reviews, this is the only cache approved in the Adirondack Mountains. Canadian parks, and other places as well, ...
9
votes
3answers
367 views

Snake dangers while hunting in the desert?

I plan to start doing some hunting in the greater southern Nevada Mojave desert (say within a 2 hour drive of Las Vegas). I know that while hiking, there is some "safety" from snakes because you are ...
9
votes
3answers
6k views

What is a freestanding tent and why should I want one?

What is a free-standing tent? What are the advantages of a free-standing tent as opposed to a tent that isn't, and what are the disadvantages? See also: What is a self erecting tent and why should I ...
9
votes
1answer
121 views

What should I do if I disturb a bird of prey with a kill?

A friend of mine disturbed a bird of prey (I think it was a kestrel or sparrow hawk) that had just killed a pigeon in her back garden. The pigeon was still alive when she found it but died soon after. ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the most effective means of melting snow with body heat for drinking?

The related question Is it safe to drink snow? tells us that in addtion to then normal considerations for any wild water source, you also need to consider how the snow may tip your metabolism into ...
9
votes
1answer
167 views

Are PLBs banned or otherwise useless anywhere?

This comment raises the idea that PLBs may not be allowed inland in the UK. A later comment refuted this, but I never even considered they would be disallowed anywhere, but simply rented one and took ...
9
votes
1answer
174 views

What accreditations should a professional rock climbing cams reslinger have?

Rock climbing cams often have integrated slings. Like all webbing, these slings can be degraded by UV and wear out much sooner than the cam themselves. There are numerous companies that will "...
9
votes
1answer
85 views

How to dry paddling gloves

I currently use MEC Humboldt paddling gloves for cycling in warm/cool - windy/wet weather as they offer better protection than my thin runnning gloves and are not as hot as my winter gloves. My issue ...

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