29
votes
5answers
11k views

Does hiking with a dog in bear country increase or decrease your risk of a bear encounter?

I've heard various rumors that dogs might help keep bears away, or might be a bear attractant. Is there anything more concrete than anecdotal evidence to go on? From the companionship end, they are a ...
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?
28
votes
3answers
12k views

What is this tool on a Swiss Army knife for?

I have this tool on a few Swiss Army knives (though I think I've seen it on other multi-tools as well). What is it and what is it for? On one edge, it has a sharp edge. It also only opens halfway ...
28
votes
7answers
3k views

Wood versus plastic trail signs?

My town (Groton MA, USA) has 110 miles of trails open to the public, but virtually no signs helping people navigate at intersections in the woods. I am on the Trails Committee, and I'm pushing hard ...
28
votes
1answer
811 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 ...
27
votes
9answers
6k views

Is it dangerous to sleep in a tent alone in a forest in -20?

Can I spend the night alone in a tent in a forest outside Stockholm in -20 degrees Celsius without risking my life? The backstory From the end of January, I'm starting my studies in a suburb of ...
27
votes
6answers
4k views

Is burying human waste always the lowest-impact solution?

According to leave-no-trace principles, one should bury human waste (poo). But burying damages plants and roots. Is this really always better than not burying it and pooing on the surface? (Of ...
27
votes
11answers
66k views

What is this knee pain when going downhill?

I can hike uphill practically all day. However as very soon after I start a descent, pain builds on the outside of my knee. What is causing this and can I do anything to prevent/mitigate it (other ...
27
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
27
votes
2answers
4k views

Things to keep away from climbing ropes

There are some no brainers like don't throw your climbing rope next to car batteries in the back of your car. The effect of bug sprays containing Deet seem to be controversial. I have also heard a ...
27
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 ...
27
votes
1answer
3k views

Will a compass work underground or underwater?

Because they rely on radio signals, GPS units generally do not work underground or underwater, but what about a plain ol' magnetic compass? Are the magnetic fields of earth present at all depths? ...
27
votes
3answers
2k views

Handling feminine hygiene on multiple-month treks?

How can I handle multiple months of menstrual cycles on a long trek like the Appalachian Trail? I am asking about how to handle the mess. Here are my personal considerations: Using hormonal birth ...
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 ...
26
votes
5answers
9k views

How does one dry clothes in humid weather?

What are some quick ways to dry clothes in moist weather?
26
votes
5answers
4k views

Are dark or bright clothings preferable in the desert?

Natives from regions which are really hot and have a high sun intensity are wearing sometimes white/bright and sometimes black/dark colors. I mean there has to be a better strategy in terms of ...
26
votes
8answers
62k views

What are areas of the body which lose heat more quickly, and how can I reduce that loss?

What are the higher heat loss areas of the body and how can I reduce heat loss in those areas?
26
votes
4answers
541 views

Can I sail a raft on a European river with commercial traffic?

I'm thinking about sailing a part of the Danube, alone, on a self-built raft. I have no experience sailing rivers on any serious basis. I'm considering a raft for a number of reasons: It's cheap. ...
26
votes
2answers
2k views

What makes certain mountains more dangerous than others?

Why do mountains like K2, Nanga Parbat and Annapurna (36 successful attempts, 47 failed) have higher fatality rates than, say, Everest or Cho Oyu (79 successful attempts, 28 failed)? (source) Can I ...
26
votes
2answers
3k views

How to walk silently in the woods?

Today I walked in the woods and it was quite late in the evening. While I was walking, a deer jumped and ran away. I guess I disturbed it while it was sleeping. And it came to my mind that I'm the ...
26
votes
4answers
11k views

Do iodine water treatment tablets have negative effects?

I've heard that iodine water treatment tablets can have negative side effects. Is this true? If so, what are some healthier alternatives?
25
votes
9answers
79k views

How to warm up your cold toes and fingers?

In winter your hand and feet (especially toes and fingers) may get painfully cold or you may even stop feeling them. How can you warm them up? This usually happens, when it's below 0°С or when it's ...
25
votes
8answers
17k views

How to create campfire which will burn overnight?

I watched a documentary "Man vs Wild" which showed the TV presenter Bear Grylls collecting wood and starting a fire. He somehow always manages to keep his campfire burning until dawn. How does one ...
25
votes
9answers
17k views

Dealing with rashes between thighs and around the groin

This, I believe, most of outdoor people once in a while do have to deal with: Rashes between thighs, around the groin. This may really screw the entire trip and make it annoyingly miserable to walk ...
25
votes
8answers
3k views

What should I do about large trash left by others on USFS land?

When you find large trash items left by others in less accessible places, what should be done? The exact scenario: We were hiking a ten mile trail on US Forestry Service land with river crossings and ...
25
votes
5answers
15k views

Why go without socks with climbing shoes?

I've been going climbing (indoor bouldering) for about six months, using shoes I rented at the gym, and wearing socks (and everything was fine). I've recently got a pair of climbing shoes, and want to ...
25
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?
25
votes
2answers
4k views

Is it offensive to “just hike” on a pilgrim's path?

I am considering taking a pilgrim's path - Olaf's Trail - in Norway (about 3 weeks). However, I don't want to do it for any religious reasons. I just saw this trail in pictures and thought: "What a ...
25
votes
5answers
2k views

Do bear-safe rules still apply in the winter?

I understand, and practice, bear-safe rules like hanging (or canister-ing) during summer months, but what about in the winter when bears are (theoretically) hibernating, and the shorter / colder days ...
25
votes
2answers
11k views

What does it mean to cross load a carabiner?

What does it mean to cross load a carabiner? I know it's bad, and not to do it, but I don't really know what exactly it is.
25
votes
2answers
1k views

If I cross paths with a bear, what should I do?

If I'm out hiking, and I come around a corner and stumble upon a bear, what's the best course of action to take to minimize the chance the bear will act aggressively? Do different types of bear ...
25
votes
6answers
3k views

Where in the Alps is it safe to drink the water without filtering?

In some places, the Swedish Lappland for example, it's perfectly fine and even recommended to drink water directly from streams. Is it also recommended whilst hiking in the Alps, and if so is it only ...
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?
25
votes
1answer
19k views

What are the advantages and disadvantages between gas, liquid and solid fuel?

It seems you can get fuel for stoves in either gas form (butane, propane, etc.) liquid (methylated spirit) or solid fuel tablets. What are the particular advantages and disadvantages with each ...
25
votes
1answer
446 views

What sort of rock climbing grade can a goat do?

It is quite well known that goats are into free solo rock climbing. Is there any evidence (even if anecdotal) of the highest grades they are able to climb?
24
votes
7answers
6k views

Can/Should I cook in my tent?

When camping in bad weather I'm always asking myself if it is a good idea to cook in my tent with a gas cooker. Obviously there is the danger of fire. But how dangerous is this really? Can you easily ...
24
votes
5answers
5k views

Do tent colors have functional purposes?

I'm shopping for a new tent and considering a model that comes in two different colors-- bright orange and dark green. Purely-aesthetic preferences aside (ie, like orange more than green), are there ...
24
votes
4answers
4k views

What do mountaineers eat and drink on the day of an Everest summit?

I was watching Everest (2015) on the weekend and was wondering what the mountaineers do for sustenance on the day they attempt to summit. It appeared they left around midnight, aiming for a 2pm ...
24
votes
7answers
36k 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 ...
24
votes
5answers
5k views

Any reason to carry a mug outside of the backpack?

We all know this typical Hollywood hiking backpack with an attached sleeping bag and a dangling camping mug. As I currently build a custom backpack, I wondered if there is any good reason to leave ...
24
votes
9answers
12k views

How much water should be carried while hiking in the desert?

I live in the Arizona desert, and during the summer, despite my best intentions, I always seem to end up doing some hiking in the summer heat. What is a good formula to figure out how much water I ...
24
votes
2answers
5k views

Possible diet to avoid/delay defecation

We plan to go on a three day hike (two nights). The amount of food is no problem of course, but we want to avoid defecation while on the trail. Which kind of food comes into question? Edit: It's ...
24
votes
4answers
13k views

How can I acclimatize to cold?

People used to tolerate a much wider range of temperatures. What techniques can I apply to widen my body's range of comfort? A few examples that may or may not help: Spend a lot of time slightly ...
24
votes
4answers
1k views

What to do if the second seems stuck and absolutely no communication is possible?

Backstory: A few months ago, I experienced the following situation: We (two people) were climbing the last pitch of a multi-pitch route. Near the end, there was a cave-like chimney. Basically a ...
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?
24
votes
2answers
21k views

What's the difference between a 2, 3, 4, and 5 season tent?

I'm looking to buy a new trekking tent, a good quality one, e.g. Hilleberg, Fjällräven, Vaude, etc. At Vaude they categorise tents in 2, 3, 4, or 5-season. What's the difference between a 4- and a ...
23
votes
13answers
10k views

How can I stay warm in subzero weather?

I'm going on a campout this weekend and the temperature isn't supposed to rise above 0° Fahrenheit the entire time. I've been in subzero weather before and I didn't last long, even with plenty of ...
23
votes
9answers
2k views

How can you navigate / determine your location in thick fog?

Are there any good hints, tips and ways you can use to navigate around and find your location in thick fog (apart from a GPS)?
23
votes
5answers
17k views

What do you risk when you ignore blisters and carry on walking?

The blisters can be very painful. If you walk further, you should expect it won't be easy and pleasant. And the blisters may get worse. But what do you risk, except from pain and getting more ...
23
votes
7answers
5k views

What is the best way to cross streams while backpacking?

I'm curious of a good technique to cross a stream while backpacking that's above the boot's waterproof line but no higher than the knees. I typically face upstream and use my hiking poles for ...

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