20
votes
6answers
3k 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
6answers
46k 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
4k 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 ...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

How do I wash Gore-Tex clothing?

I have a bunch of dirty hard-shell pants and jackets. Are these safe to put in the washer and dryer? If not, how should I clean them?
19
votes
6answers
17k 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 ...
19
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
19
votes
4answers
3k 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
3answers
331 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
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
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 ...
19
votes
1answer
394 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 ...
18
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?
18
votes
7answers
7k 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 ...
18
votes
7answers
952 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)?
18
votes
5answers
9k 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 ...
18
votes
3answers
347 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 ...
18
votes
2answers
496 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
6answers
503 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). ...
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 ...
18
votes
2answers
198 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?
18
votes
4answers
837 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 ...
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 ...
18
votes
2answers
457 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
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 ...
18
votes
4answers
657 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
1answer
132 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
334 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
693 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
2answers
1k 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
1answer
282 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
6answers
369 views

When buying a backpack, what should I pay attention to?

I know one can compare backpacks by the following: Content (in liters) Number of external pockets (for quick accessable water bottles for example) Hip belt available are not Waterproof / Water ...
17
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
17
votes
5answers
1k views

Selecting backpacking cooking pot – teflon, aluminum, steel, titanium, or cast iron?

What are the relative advantages / dangers of different cooking wear? I'm a one-pot gourmet that has been using the same stainless steel pot for 15 years, but am considering an upgrade. Some things I ...
17
votes
5answers
448 views

Keeping warm in an emergency

When roaming the outdoors, it might happen that one finds oneself in a situation that is much, much colder than one planned for. What can one do in such an emergency, especially when it's so cold ...
17
votes
4answers
397 views

How can you prevent kids getting lost at night while camping?

When camping in more remote areas with young kids, how can you make sure they don't take a stroll and get lost in the middle of the night? We won't be near lights, established "bathrooms", etc. The ...
17
votes
7answers
24k 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?
17
votes
3answers
621 views

What do you do if you see a cougar?

Hiking on the west coast of British Columbia, there are likely to be cougars around the trails. What do you do if you see one?
17
votes
5answers
2k views

How to deal with wet feet?

Say for instance I'm walking on boggy ground, I find a small muddy hole or some other minor tragedy that leaves one or both of my feet soaking wet and caked in mud. What is the best way to deal with ...
17
votes
2answers
12k views

What are the different methods to purify water?

What methods can I use to purify water? And what's the difference between those several methods (safety, duration needed, ...)?
17
votes
5answers
457 views

Barefoot Backpacking: Liquid Boots?

Yes, you read it right: Is there something that works like epoxy or natural tar that I can apply to the most delicate impact points of my feet (balls and heel) that will form a very durable bond, and ...
17
votes
2answers
7k 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?
17
votes
4answers
1k views

What are the dangers of swimming in natural waters?

What are the dangers of swimming in natural bodies of water? In essence I would like to know about all types of waters, but I am mostly interested in sea because it is most relevant to me. Like many ...
17
votes
3answers
283 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
567 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
278 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
227 views

What can I do to prevent altitude sickness?

I will be going above 15000 feet (4500 meters) on a trip next month, and I've heard people will often get altitude sickness. Is there anything I can do beforehand to prevent sickness or take while I'm ...
17
votes
1answer
332 views

Why tunnel tents for the poles, Geodesic for the mountains?

I've noticed that polar expeditions seem to favour tunnel tents, and mountaineering expeditions prefer geodesic designs. Is there a reason why one design fares better than the other in its preferred ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

Raw meat on hikes

When backpacking we often carry raw beef which we have salted and frozen, usually cut into strips that can be easily cooked through. I'm confident that this is good for 24 hours, and I know that meat ...
16
votes
7answers
2k 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 ...
16
votes
6answers
2k 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 any ...

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