18
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I hike across the Grand Canyon if I don't have a backcountry permit?

I am going to try to hike across the Grand Canyon in May, from the South Rim to the North Rim, and back. Unfortunately, I have discovered that I am probably too late to secure a back-country permit ...
17
votes
2answers
294 views

As an experienced backpacker in the Eastern US, what should I know before hiking in the Western US?

I have done a good deal of hiking and backpacking in the Eastern US (mostly in New England), but I recently moved to California. What are the major differences in terms of preparation or equipment ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Hiking boots vs trail shoes

I have two sets of shoes that I wear while hiking. My favorite by far are my light weight trail running shoes. I have worn them on 9 mile hikes without any break-in, and went blister free. From a ...
13
votes
4answers
4k views

Can any waterborne pathogens survive boiling?

I know that boiling does little to break down chemical contaminants or heavy metals. But I'm unsure if it kills all microbial life. Are there any waterborne illness-causing ...
12
votes
1answer
207 views

What do I need to be aware of if I'm considering purchasing a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)?

Obviously, I can't just buy it, push the button and expect a helicopter to show up. Are there monthly or registration fees? Do I need to get a permit or register with someone? How does it all work? ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

What do I do to prevent and treat frostbite?

I'm going to be winter camping, and I'm concerned about getting frostbite. What can I do to protect myself?
10
votes
4answers
1k views

What type of mosquito repellent is most effective?

There are many different kinds of insect repellents and bug sprays on the market: sprays and lotions, chemical and natural, huge percentages of DEET and lower percentages, etc. What type of bug ...
18
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
5k views

Is it possible to sunburn through clothing?

I sat for 45 minutes last summer in the hot sun (100 degrees) I was pinned in on the bleachers so I wans't able to get up and move, I could feel the sun burning through my pants, now I have everyday ...
15
votes
4answers
400 views

How can I be absolutely sure my fire is safely extinguished?

One great problem with fire in the wild is that it may not be completely out. What is the recommended procedure to prevent accidental forest fire?
12
votes
4answers
597 views

Do you need to purify all mountain water sources

I was just reading this question What is the safest way to purify water? Now I walk a lot in Snowdonia in North Wales and on occasion I drink from mountain streams. I've even camped next to mountain ...
12
votes
2answers
411 views

Long or short sleeves on a hike in the Desert?

I have heard different things from different people, but here in the South West we do a decent amount of desert hiking. Protection from bugs is usually little concern because most of the time in the ...
11
votes
1answer
318 views

Does drinking tea cause problems at altitude?

I've heard from a tour leader that you shouldn't drink tea in high altitude because it makes you thirsty and cause problem in blood circulation. Is this true? Should'nt we drink tea in high altitude?
8
votes
3answers
397 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
2k views

How do I treat a blister? How can I prevent getting them in the first place?

When hiking with a new pair of boots or if I haven't been hiking in a while, my feet might get blisters. How can I treat a blister and keep hiking? Are there things I can do to prevent getting ...
6
votes
1answer
120 views

What EXACTLY is the chemical coating on the outside of GoreTex?

I've got a pretty good understanding of how GoreTex works. I understand that the outside chemical coating effectivly holds water off the outer layer (using little chemical spikes). But I can't ...
6
votes
5answers
506 views

What is a good knife for survival in a forested environment?

What style/size of knife would be most useful in a survival scenario in the forest?
13
votes
3answers
614 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, ...
13
votes
4answers
3k views

Are there any low sodium freeze dried meals?

For health reasons, I usually try to keep my sodium intake fairly low. However, most freeze dried dinners offered in camping stores contain an more sodium than I'm looking for. I consider 800mg a ...
13
votes
3answers
256 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
222 views

Is a varied diet necessary while backpacking?

Often when planning food for a backpacking trip, I rely heavily on a very large amount of extremely varied trail-mix, and only throw in some jerky and a scant few "cookable" meals for variety. I ...
11
votes
5answers
464 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
416 views

What proven alternatives are there to DEET?

DEET is an effective mosquito deterrent, but there are many reasons it cannot be used. Per the CDC, cuts, eczema, and being a kid are all problems if you want to use DEET. What proven alternatives ...
8
votes
1answer
264 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. ...
8
votes
2answers
474 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
476 views

How do I read a topographic map?

When navigating in the backcountry, you'll usually bring a topographic map that shows the terrain so you can tell if there will be steep slopes or cliffs that might make the route difficult. A ...
8
votes
5answers
359 views

What are some effective ways of reducing itching from a mosquito bite?

There are a lot of options for trying to prevent mosquito bites (DEET on skin, permethrin on clothing, mosquito nets while sleeping, etc.), but what about after you get bitten? What is the most ...
7
votes
2answers
409 views

How to arrange 2 Prusiks when ascending a rope?

If I want to ascend a rope with minimal equipment, I use 2 Prusiks: one tied to my harness, and the second one for my foot. However, there are two ways to arrange the Prusiks on the rope - the foot ...
7
votes
2answers
496 views

Training to prepare for oxygen deficiency in the high mountains

I would like to prepare myself for the climb in the high mountains (for now by "high mountains" I mean elevation 4000 m and more, but eventually eight-thousanders). What can I do to improve my ...
6
votes
1answer
134 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

What is a self erecting tent and why should I want one?

What is a self erecting tent? What are the advantages of a self erecting tent as opposed to a tent that isn't, and what are the disadvantages?
3
votes
4answers
315 views

Dealing with wildlife in the desert of California/Nevada in general and in the White Mountains in particular

I'm planning a hike in the White Mountains of California; see also this related question. So far, all my hiking have either been day hikes in the densely populated hikes, or treks for up to three ...
35
votes
3answers
49k views

How long does water need to be boiled for to kill all bacteria / viruses?

This has come up a few times in a few other questions, but I've heard varying opinions from different people in a number of answers and comments on here - some saying that just boiling for a moment is ...
60
votes
10answers
17k views

Is it warmer to sleep naked in a sleeping bag?

When camping in cold weather, some people say it is actually warmer to sleep naked than to sleep with clothes on. Is that true, or is it better to leave warm clothes on while in the bag?
45
votes
12answers
12k views

Which will keep my food colder longer, draining the melted ice water, or leaving it in the cooler?

Say you have a cooler of frozen food and ice to last for several days or weeks of river-trip / car camping. To keep things as a cold as possible for as long as possible, is it better to leave the cold ...
25
votes
5answers
5k views

How does one dry clothes in humid weather?

What are some quick ways to dry clothes in moist weather?
27
votes
6answers
5k views

How can I identify edible berries/fruit from poisonous?

How can I identify edible berries/fruit in the wide and avoid the poisonous varieties? Is there a general guideline that can be followed or is each plant specific?
14
votes
2answers
4k views

Which knot for climbing: figure eight, yosemite bowline, bowline on a bight?

This is a topic often discussed online, but all I could find so far was people sharing their opinions (including numbers) on what tie-in knot is the best. Here's what I've found out from different ...
14
votes
3answers
943 views

What are some things to keep in mind when stealth camping?

Stealth Camping definition: Stealth camping is the act of quietly finding a place away from people where you can camp for the night and then quickly slip away in the morning without being ...
13
votes
3answers
8k views

How to apply duct tapes and mole skin to prevent blisters?

On a question that was asked somewhat regarding preventing/treating blisters, I got this thing being said by a reputed and a respectable climber (DavidR): "Having 'duct tape', 'mole skin', or other ...
8
votes
4answers
270 views

Tips for a novice backpacker

I would like to get into backpacking and make 2-3 day backpacking trips in moderate climatic conditions in mountainous terrains (mid-Atlantic U.S. or Central Europe, spring-fall). I am looking for ...
35
votes
3answers
18k 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?
18
votes
3answers
324 views

What equipment is recommended when camping with a baby?

I have a 3 month old daughter and am currently planning a short camping trip next month here in Australia where the weather should be warm but may also be wet. What should I take to ensure an ...
11
votes
2answers
367 views

What dried vegetarian foods have the highest ratio of calories to volume?

I mostly hike in bear country, which limits how much food I can take to the volume of my bear canister. This excellent question dealt with foods that are great on a trip where food-selection criteria ...
29
votes
6answers
2k views

If I'm caught in lightning above tree-line, what should I do?

We all know the general lightning guidelines, but what if I am above tree-line and caught in a freak lightning storm. Is it better to: Run like mad to toward the trees Lie flat, and find religion ...
18
votes
4answers
23k views

How can I start a fire by rubbing two sticks together?

When trying to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together, what does one need to consider? I am assuming I can't just grab any two sticks and start rubbing... Should they be dead or green? Hard ...
17
votes
3answers
593 views

What do I need to look for in good, quality hiking boots?

My wife and I are going to buy some hiking boots as we've been using regular tennis shoes anytime we go on a hike. What are the things I need to keep in mind when looking for a good set of quality ...
12
votes
2answers
914 views

How can I improve my footwork while rock-climbing?

When I'm rock climbing, I feel like I've got hand holds down as far as where to grab on and understand that the hands are mainly for balance. However, I can't seem to figure out my feet. There are ...
11
votes
1answer
494 views

What should you look for when buying hiking socks?

A quick search online shows there are dozens of different types of hiking socks, with different materials, thicknesses, and properties. In general, what should you look for when shopping for hiking ...
8
votes
3answers
232 views

How many calories does hiking burn?

My girlfriend and I went for a walk on Sun. We climbed 3 peaks in Snowdonia. My girlfriend had one of them Nike tracking apps running on her phone all the while. In the end it gave us these stats: ...

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