31
votes
12answers
19k views

What is the point of hiking boots, versus any comfortable walking shoes?

I've always used any old shoes for hiking. Are there any real benefits to using specially made boots?
25
votes
2answers
16k 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?
18
votes
3answers
496 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
530 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
310 views

How well does solar recharging work when strapped to the backpack?

This answer recommends solar cells to recharge batteries. However, this likely works best during a layover day. I usually don't have those. For a nice-to-have situation, how well does it work to ...
11
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
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?
16
votes
8answers
2k views

How can I keep my iPhone going on a multiday hike?

Taking a five day hike, and I want to take a bazillion pictures. It would be nice to have the compass & GPS functionality too, and I want something really small. The obvious choice is my iPhone....
14
votes
3answers
1k views

How to take care of steel crampons?

What should I do to increase the lifetime of my crampons, maintain them properly, and check whether they can still be used safely?
14
votes
5answers
545 views

Are headaches a bad sign at altitude?

Last weekend, we had a nice hike up Price Peak in the Sierras. We went from sea level to 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) in about 6 hours. And I had a ROARING headache. I could hear my heart beat in my ...
10
votes
3answers
199 views

Navigational gear worldwide

Is there any difference in navigational equipment between the northern and southern hemisphere? We live in the northern hemisphere but will be emigrating to the southern in the next few weeks. We'll ...
10
votes
2answers
4k views

How do I set a top rope anchor?

When rock-climbing, I need to set up a top-rope anchor so if I fall, it will minimize chance of injury. So, how would I safely set one up?
10
votes
4answers
505 views

Stove/fuel setup for harsh conditions

We already have topics on fuels here and here which give quite an overview. Also REI gives some info how to choose your stove and fuel properly. Still I would like to know what are the best options ...
9
votes
1answer
3k views

What kind of Tyvek is suitable for footprint material

When buying Tyvek online, there appear to be a myriad of options and numbers. Which numbers are suitable for making a tent footprint? Known numbers: 1443R, 1622E, 10G, 10GX, 1460, RV, 14M... (may ...
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 ...
7
votes
2answers
334 views

How are backcountry campground reservations enforced?

It seems that in the backcountry of Canadian parks, one may only camp on campgrounds, and reservations are required. For example, in Jasper National Park, one must camp on campgrounds to be reserved ...
5
votes
1answer
520 views

How does a route setter grade a climb?

Rock climbing and bouldering tours are classified e.g. Sierra from 5.2 to 5.15c or Fontainbleau 2 to 8c+. As you advance in your climbing experience you achieve higher grades and learn new ...
24
votes
2answers
5k views

Numbers on down jackets

I'm looking for a down jacket. They all seem to come with numbers but I'm not sure what they mean. For example : 90/10 Down Fill Power 700 What do they mean?
20
votes
2answers
375 views

When do I need a permit to go into nature?

When on holiday, I want to get as far as possible from civilisation — the furthest I've come is seeing only a single cairn during a full day. In Scandinavia, hiking and camping is permitted unless ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

Please Explain Rock Climbing Grades

I have seen various grades for different climbs such as 5.14b, 8b+, 8b - 150m It seems there are different parts to the grade, e.g. the last one is it 8b for 150 metres? Do these grades only ...
15
votes
2answers
463 views

Proper technique for self-arrest with an ice axe, when wearing crampons

What is the proper technique to self-arrest and brake a fall, given steep icy (frozen snow) slope, when wearing crampons and wielding an ice axe? Should the crampons be used for stopping or held high ...
14
votes
7answers
1k views

What to look for when purchasing a fixed blade knife

I'm planning on doing some back country canoe camping this summer. I would like to avoid bringing a hatchet if possible. I also find my folding knifes get full of gunk and I am a little bit afraid I ...
14
votes
2answers
705 views

How do I attach a hammock to trees?

On my next vacation, I will be camping in a tent on a designated campsite. I saw somebody use a hammock for lounging during the day last time, so quickly got a cheap hammock from eBay, with a "let's ...
14
votes
2answers
13k views

How do climbers retrieve anchored rope?

The following is a scene I have always been perplexed about. I’ve seen it many times. A mountain climber has no one above him as he descends and is trailing rope behind him that he is using to ...
12
votes
2answers
607 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
4k views

How to make a fire without burning the ground

I was wondering if there was a way to make a fire pit and start a fire in it, and have a way to protect the ground beneith it as much as possible. I don't really know how I could manage to do that, ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

What characteristics should I look for in a good torch/flashlight?

I'm looking to buy a flashlight/torch (or build my own even if that works out cheaper), and am looking to take the following into consideration: Good battery life (LEDs would probably suit best in ...
10
votes
3answers
965 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
338 views

What are the navigation considerations on the Monongahela and Youghiogheny Rivers between Ohiopyle State Park (PA) and Pittsburgh PA?

I want to travel by canoe from Ohiopyle State Park to Pittsburgh Pa on the Monongahela and Youghiogheny Rivers What are the navigation considerations? Also I will have a bike and trailer for the ...
9
votes
1answer
116 views

Should I use a double or triple broadhead for boars?

A triple broadhead has three edges equally attached around the shaft while a double broadhead has only two blades. Triple broadhead: So, which one should one use to hunt boars? A double- or triple-...
6
votes
1answer
526 views

Can I camp in the backcountry outside backcountry campsites in Jasper National Park?

In Jasper National Park, when I am hiking on trails, must I camp on designated backcountry campsites, or can I camp anywhere I want? According to this forum post on tripadvisor: Yes, random ...
6
votes
2answers
686 views

What are the navigation considerations on the Ohio River between Pittsburgh PA.& Wheeling WV?

I want to travel by canoe from Pittsburgh Pa to Wheeling, West Virginia on the Ohio river. What are the navigation considerations? Also I will have a bike and trailer for the canoe, will be ...
4
votes
4answers
735 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 ...
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.
66
votes
17answers
28k 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 ...
30
votes
10answers
22k 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 ...
28
votes
6answers
8k views

What essential items should go in a small first aid kit?

Another question asked what survival equipment should be carried in an emergency kit. But very little was about medical or first aid supplies (band-aids, gauze, tylenol, moleskin, etc). What items ...
32
votes
9answers
2k views

The outdoors, solitude and dealing with loneliness

I have been out camping a few times, once with a group, the other times with my girlfriend. Although I enjoyed those times very much, I often wondered what would it feel like to enjoy the complete ...
31
votes
6answers
9k 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?
29
votes
8answers
9k views

Pitching a tent in the rain?

So I've had the complete and utter luck of never having had to pitch my tent in the rain. However, with needing to pitch it this weekend and the high probability of rain and potential thunderstorms (...
26
votes
5answers
10k views

How does one dry clothes in humid weather?

What are some quick ways to dry clothes in moist weather?
15
votes
3answers
27k 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 ...
15
votes
6answers
432 views

Light-weight emergency overnight-gear

What is a good emergency-overnight-sleeping-setup when every ounce counts, like on long technical routes (grade V or VI) where the goal is to do it in one day (without hauling), but one wants to ...
41
votes
7answers
20k views

Should you pop a blister?

When I'm home running or on a day hike, I prefer to pierce the skin as soon as a blister forms and drain all fluid from a blister to reduce the pain and further irritation/inflammation. In this case, ...
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 ...
32
votes
4answers
2k views

Practicality of Beards

I have several friends with full beards. After talking at length with one, he started to convince me the protection it offers might be worth it. So, I thought I would come and ask. What are the Pros ...
30
votes
4answers
1k 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?
22
votes
8answers
944 views

Activities at the campsite

Inspired by a comment by Kate Gregory I just have to ask this question: What to do on your spare time while being at the campsite? Being outdoors several days while having good friends around and ...

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