All Questions

21
votes
9answers
6k 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 ...
21
votes
5answers
11k views

Tent and sleeping bag: pack inside or strap outside a backpack?

When I bought my pack, we were told to always pack the tent and sleeping bag in the pack. Since then I have seen a lot of articles and hikers doing the outside. What are the benefits on packing the ...
21
votes
10answers
8k 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 ...
21
votes
3answers
735 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 ...
21
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
21
votes
4answers
7k 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 ...
21
votes
3answers
1k views

Wild camping in subsaharan Africa - madness, blasphemy, or bearable?

What potential dangers / precautions one should take into account when sleeping outside in sub-Saharan Africa? (Let alone countries with unstable political situations.) Just with a sleeping bag, maybe ...
21
votes
1answer
774 views

Why do shin splints happen?

I've gotten shin splints on long hikes - once 2 weeks into a hike, and another time 2 months. I wasn't able to determine how I got them though, which has really annoyed me! I get that I could ...
20
votes
11answers
6k 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 ...
20
votes
7answers
2k 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 ...
20
votes
7answers
20k 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 ...
20
votes
6answers
4k views

Driving tent pegs into rocky ground

Sometimes you can't help but set up camp in an area where the soil is very rocky / stony or firm, especially when wild camping. This can make it incredibly difficult to drive the tent pegs into the ...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

How do I treat hot spots and blisters when I have no moleskin?

A few times I've been out walking or backpacking and have no moleskin with me. Sure enough, my boots start giving me blisters. How can I prevent or treat hotspots and blisters without using ...
20
votes
6answers
61k views

How do you determine how long a hike will take?

Is there a general rule of thumb for converting miles to hours when looking at a potential hike? For example, how long does it take an average person walking at an average speed to walk a mile on the ...
20
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
19
votes
10answers
4k 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?
19
votes
8answers
9k views

How to keep water cold in hot weather?

When doing outdoor sports like hiking or biking I'll always take a lot of cold water with me. I love to drink cold water and I feel more refreshed compared to drinking warm or not-so-cold water. But ...
19
votes
7answers
1k 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)?
19
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
19
votes
6answers
4k 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 ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

Climbing Kilimanjaro for a newbie

It looks like I'm going to be living in Nairobi for a few years. Along with all of the other amazing opportunities for adventure around here, there's this giant mountain just over the border. Since ...
19
votes
4answers
936 views

What are some ways/devices that I can use to charge my batteries in the wilderness?

When backpacking, I might carry a MagLite flashlight or something similar that requires two AA batteries. I tend to favor rechargeable batteries for a variety of reasons. How can I recharge my ...
19
votes
6answers
573 views

How to cheaply introduce someone to backpacking

I meet a fair number people who would like to try backpacking. Unfortunately the initial cost seems to be pretty high. Even an overnight requires a lot of big ticket gear (tent, sleeping bag, etc). ...
19
votes
3answers
362 views

What pattern for casual planes should a castaway create on a desert island?

This answer has inspired me to a question: say you are a castaway on a desert island. There might be a plane flying casualy but you can miss it. So you want to create some pattern (e.g. put some ...
19
votes
2answers
213 views

Which careers allow working in the wild on a daily basis?

If someone wants his job to take place mostly in the wild, what kind of career should he look into?
19
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 ...
19
votes
2answers
8k 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?
19
votes
5answers
1k views

How bad do circumstances need to be before activating a PLB?

Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) can be carried during outdoor activities to use in case of an emergency. But are there any guidelines on what exactly constitutes an "emergency"? For example, what ...
19
votes
4answers
780 views

How should a climbing rope be stored?

I've purchased my first climbing rope and am wondering how it should be stored when not in use. I have a rope bag which I assume is a good home for the rope; should it be kept tightly coiled inside ...
19
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
19
votes
1answer
452 views

Putting in contact lenses when outdoors

I am wearing contact lenses on a daily basis. Many times, when outdoors, I cannot put in my contact lenses (because of limited time or just no sterile conditions). Is there any cleaner I could safely ...
19
votes
2answers
2k views

Best/safest wood to carve a spoon from?

Say I want to carve a spoon from wood that I find, are there any trees I shouldn't use due to their toxicity? Are any that are particularly easy to carve or hardy?
18
votes
4answers
25k 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 ...
18
votes
6answers
3k 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 ...
18
votes
2answers
565 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
5answers
1k views

How to tell the time at night

What is the simplest way to approximate time after the sun has set? Perhaps using the moon's height and phase? This would make the most sense to me, but what could you do in the case of a new moon?
18
votes
4answers
634 views

Any tips to reduce chance that I have to get up and pee in the night (not counting dehydration, of course)

Well, here's the situation. You're on an outdoor trip in winter. It's cold outside and after a long day all you want to do is crawl into your warm sleeping bag and not get out of it until the next ...
18
votes
3answers
329 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 ...
18
votes
5answers
857 views

How to stay clean on a multi-day hike?

I love hiking but there is a serious problem - I find it disgusting to be sweaty or dirty. I am literally unable to function properly if I do not get a thorough and warm shower every morning. This ...
18
votes
2answers
511 views

What to look for in a durable, 3-season sleeping bag?

I'm looking to purchase a camping sleeping bag. I'd like one that's high-quality, durable, and suitable for weekend hiking/camping trips during spring, summer, and fall in New England. (Most of my ...
18
votes
3answers
379 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 ...
18
votes
2answers
246 views

How to clean a sleeping bag ?

A sleeping bag will eventually need a cleaning. How do you proceed, in particular according to the different materials?
18
votes
4answers
500 views

Is there a definitive list of the tallest mountains in the world that require little or no mountaineering experience?

I was wondering if there is a list of the tallest mountains in the world where you can walk or scramble up to the summit? As opposed to using even basic rope skills?
18
votes
1answer
137 views

Tree Identification

I'd like to start identifying trees in my area as a project with my kids while we are hiking. What is best for tree identification, a good color book such as the Audobon Field Guide to North ...
18
votes
2answers
368 views

Chalk: pure, plus drying agent, liquid?

Having only used pure chalk without added substances so far, I wondered how the other types perform. Most of the information I could find online is either somebody ranting against a certain type, or ...
18
votes
1answer
786 views

How to calculate backpacking food requirements for a dog

So I know how to calculate how many additional calories a day I need while backpacking. My question is how do I calculate how much food my dog will need while backpacking. I'm hoping for a general ...
18
votes
1answer
319 views

Do I need to worry about feral dogs or even wolves if I camp in random areas while hitchhiking in Georgia (the country)?

After almost half a year working in a hostel in Tbilisi, spring has come and it is far warmer than anywhere further west in Europe so I'm going to hitchhike around Georgia with my tent in warm areas. ...
17
votes
7answers
3k 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 ...
17
votes
8answers
4k views

How can I take duct tape with me backpacking?

I'm going on a backpacking trip later this summer and on the list of things to bring is 3 yards of duct tape. I don't want to bring an entire roll of duct tape because it would be heavy and ...
17
votes
8answers
2k views

What foods can you cook by directly placing them into a fire?

Sometimes I do not want to bother wish dishes. The other day, I took a yellow pepper, and placed into a wood fire I had going, and left it there for a good 5 minutes while I prepared a curry. I pulled ...

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