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
958 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 ...
16
votes
8answers
306 views

Looking for a Topographical map resource?

Does anyone know of a good way to find topographical maps for either download or purchase?
40
votes
4answers
9k views

Is it possible to rappel with only a rope? (No harness, Prusik cord, or other gear)

There may be an emergency situation where I find myself needing to lower myself but with no or damaged equipment. Assuming I only have a rope, can I lower myself to safe ground?
36
votes
8answers
7k views

What are the downsides to sleeping in a hammock on a multi-day hike?

I've read that hammocks are a very light way to travel through the wilderness. You just need the hammock, a cover, and a light sleeping bag, but there must be disadvantages compared to taking a tent ...
34
votes
5answers
9k views

Can I use a bicycle helmet as a climbing helmet?

I have a bicycle helmet that fits well. Can it be used effectively as a rock climbing helmet? Most climbing helmets have a hard shell that the bicycle helmet does not. However, one of the more ...
27
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
25
votes
9answers
19k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
2k 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: ...
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 ...
26
votes
8answers
66k 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?
24
votes
8answers
24k views

How much should your backpack weigh?

For a multi-day backpacking trip, what is the ideal weight of a backpack? And what is that max weight that no sane human should go over?
20
votes
4answers
608 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
3answers
741 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 ...
18
votes
7answers
3k views

Permanent Camping Cooler - No Ice Needed

Situation: Forest Clay Ground covered in pine needles Pacific Northwest Climate No River No Electricity Can provide purified water, and whatever building materials needed. Goal: Construct a ...
17
votes
1answer
3k views

Which wood sources produce toxic smoke?

So the title says it all. If I am scavenging wood in the wilderness, does some of it burn toxic? If so what kinds. This question is derived from this answer.
15
votes
5answers
2k views

Learning to fall when leading: what is good fall technique?

I'm learning to lead climbs, and I'm terrified of big falls. Part of this is learning to trust my gear placements, but a large portion is because I don't know how to fall - I've only taken small falls ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Starting cross-country skiing off trails

I've done a bit of crosscountry skiing on trails at local mountains, but I'm more interested in getting off the trails and out into the woods. The terrain around here is pretty steep in general with ...
13
votes
6answers
5k views

What is the proper way to tarp tent to avoid condensation?

I tried pitching a tarp instead of a tent this weekend. In worked well, kept off the rain etc, except for the condensation. It was far worse than any condensation I've ever had in a tent. We had ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

Which mid-line knot is best suited for a trucker's hitch?

I've been using a trucker's hitch knot for a very long time (camping, strapping stuff down, line length adjustment, pulley system) I've always switched my mid-line loop when I've come to not trust ...
10
votes
6answers
890 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?
7
votes
1answer
684 views

Can a Finger Pulley injury be predicted / anticipated?

I resumed climbing a couple of months back after a gap of a couple of years. After spending a month of quality time at the wall regularly in order to get back in touch, I have started to try different ...
6
votes
1answer
634 views

Hardshell vs. Softshell jackets

Nowadays not only outdoor enthusiasts hear those terms when they are searching a jacket which fits their requirements most. Literally everywhere in cities you can find jackets (often with membranes) ...
22
votes
4answers
4k views

What are some toilet paper alternatives you could use in the woods?

When in the great outdoors, nature is bound to come calling, so what are some good natural toilet paper substitutes when the real thing isn't available?
20
votes
1answer
4k views

How much sea water can I safely drink?

Anyone who has played in the ocean knows getting a little sea water in your mouth and swallowing it will not kill you. Seawater contains salt. When humans drink seawater, their cells are thus ...
15
votes
7answers
11k views

What can I do about those obnoxious biting flies?

In addition to Mosquitos, many of us northwoods campers have been made victim to the vast swarms of biting flies. Despite slathering myself with DEET, they don't seem deterred, and they especially ...
15
votes
3answers
6k views

Methods for taping hands, wrists, and fingers for climbing?

I've been climbing off and on since I was a teenager, but one thing I've never done much of is taping my hands. As I gained more experience, it's value is now apparent. What are some good techniques ...
15
votes
5answers
3k 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?
15
votes
4answers
832 views

Falling into an ice cold body of water

I've never been hiking in such extreme situations, but if in the situation in the question, i.e. you're hiking in very cold weather and someone falls in (let's say so pretty much their whole body is ...
14
votes
4answers
714 views

Bear bags vs Bear canisters: which is better?

Most people I know and myself store food in bear bags. However, I have heard that some parks have banned bear bags and require canisters. I've also heard there is a bear in New York that has figured ...
14
votes
1answer
279 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? ...
13
votes
2answers
650 views

How to prepare for and survive wildfire?

In some areas, such as the western US, wildfires are common during the summer dry season. "Fire safety" advice usually centers on not starting a wildfire, e.g. extinguishing or avoiding campfires. ...
13
votes
5answers
5k views

At what point do I need snow goggles or glacier glasses when hiking?

I'll be backpacking Europe in the winter (snow and rain) and parts of my trip will be outdoors, such as hiking in Dolomites, Italy. For purposes of packing light and risk of losing expensive gear, I ...
12
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
691 views

What are the benefits of Vibram FiveFingers?

Looking at the Vibram FiveFingers shoes, I find myself wondering why? What possible benefits do they bring as opposed to a traditional sole? Their web site seems to suggest that they are a more ...
11
votes
5answers
1k views

How do I achieve/maintain optimal hydration?

I am curious about some techniques/guidelines for achieving and maintaining optimal hydration while performing moderate to high strain outdoor activities, such as long hikes etc. IOW, how do you ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Anchor without cordelette?

I have the John Long book on climbing anchors and also a couple of others that describe the subject more briefly (Pesterfield, Traditional Lead Climbing, and Freedom of the Hills). When it comes to ...
10
votes
4answers
6k views

Knee pain when descending a mountain

It's been said by a specialist doctor that any form of mountain descent would affect your knee caps. Do old mountaineers have knee problems? Is it related to the way you descend?
10
votes
1answer
4k views

Bouldering vs aid climbing vs free climbing vs free solo climbing

What re the differences between these 4 styles of rock climbing? Bouldering Aid Climbing Free Climbing Free solo climbing
8
votes
4answers
297 views

What is the safest and most effective additive to keep drinking water from freezing?

I know that the antifreeze used in fresh water RV tanks is non-toxic and can protect to -50F. Thinking Sugar might be a good choice I posted the question How to calculate how much sugar to use as ...
5
votes
4answers
930 views

Rifugio (Mountain Hut) trek in Austria

I'm interested in combining a three to five day "rifugio" based trek in southern Austria with a visit to Vienna. In other words, I'd like to be able to fly in to somewhere nearby - Vienna, Salzburg, ...
21
votes
2answers
21k views

Is it possible to sunburn through clothing?

I sat for 45 minutes last summer in the hot sun (100°F/38°C). I was pinned in on the bleachers so I wasn't able to get up and move. I could feel the sun burning through my pants. Now I have everyday ...
21
votes
7answers
2k views

What equipment do I need as a beginner outdoor rock climber?

What are the bare essentials that I need in terms of equipment when it comes to rock climbing? I've done indoor rock climbing but always rented my equipment from the rock-climbing gym. (For the ...
20
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
20
votes
5answers
3k views

Camping with a dog for the first time

In a few months my fiance and I will be joining two friends camping. My friends chocolate labrador will be joining us for the weekend. My fiance and I, whilst both dog lovers, have no experience ...
19
votes
9answers
6k views

When should you carry a firearm when hiking/trekking?

When my friend planned to hike the Appalachian trail, his mother insisted he take her small handgun. I didn't think it would be a great idea in that case, but I'm sure there must be times when such ...
19
votes
7answers
20k views

How do I avoid leeches?

The last time I was attacked by leeches I thought I'd taken enough precautions such as pulling my socks over my trousers and avoiding walking through particularly wet areas or long grass but I still ...
18
votes
4answers
679 views

Why are people so worried about Giardia?

Everyone I have ever been camping with seems to have an unwritten rule never to drink from streams no matter how clear they might seem, for fear of Giardia. I have also heard people telling about ...
18
votes
4answers
1k views

How to inspect climbing bolts?

I am most interested in setting up a top rope anchor on 2 bolts side by side. I feel like in this case you almost have to be more careful using bolts for a top rope than sport climbing because in ...

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