23
votes
12answers
3k views

Toothpaste in the back-country and the principle of leave no trace

I am a staunch proponent of leave no trace. I don't carry dish detergent (sand and small rocks work much better on stainless steel anyways,) and I don't use soap or shampoo, not even of the ...
23
votes
6answers
2k views

Are trekking poles proven to be helpful?

I covered quite a lot of ground, but approaching 36 my knees are starting to give me troubles. Should I expect trekking poles to restore my previous stamina and walking durability? Or are they just ...
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
13k views

How dangerous is a band of coyotes to a lone, unarmed human?

There's a delightful thrill to the call of a band of coyotes when you're alone in the dark woods. Do they present a danger? That is, have healthy coyotes (that is, not rabid) been known to attack or ...
23
votes
7answers
6k 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 ...
23
votes
3answers
3k 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 moleskin?...
23
votes
3answers
5k views

Ideal and Minimal Rope Diameter for Lead Climbing

I'm thinking of a single rope that it's safe to take long lead falls, but also light to carry around. I weight 75 kg and I might climb with heavier partners (80-90 kg)
23
votes
3answers
24k 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, ...)?
23
votes
3answers
4k views

My head torch/lamp has a red mode, why?

My new head torch has a mode that produces a red light. I've seen this several times and I have no idea when our why you would use it?
23
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
23
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
23
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
23
votes
2answers
471 views

What everyday tasks can be adapted in a way that helps build muscles and technique for bouldering?

(This is related to "What hand and finger exercises help with climbing?" but asking for what can be done when not climbing/training.) Like most climbers, I don't get to do as much as I'd like, and I ...
22
votes
15answers
5k views

Hiking: How to start?

I would like to get into hiking, and would like some ideas on gear.training to start. I have always enjoyed nature walks and even did some hiking when I was a kid in boy scouts, but that was years ago ...
22
votes
8answers
943 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 ...
22
votes
8answers
18k 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?
22
votes
2answers
4k views

Leave-no-trace-exception for tissues?

I'm absolutely harsh when it comes to littering in the woods. After a break I take an extra turn to check if everything was picked up. Someone accidentally left a tissue on the last tour and I put it ...
22
votes
8answers
6k views

What are the advantages of short climbers?

My girlfriend often complains that a route or boulder was created for tall climbers. In my experience that sometimes is true: I easily get a hold, she has to jump. However, Lynn Hill proved that a ...
22
votes
3answers
2k views

How much distance is there between True North and Magnetic North Poles?

This question is not as simple as it seems, and a few minutes of googling did not drop the answer in my lap. A comment at I never adjust for true north. Is this bad practice? suggesting that: ...
22
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
22
votes
7answers
1k views

What clothing would be appropriate for hiking in -18°C with up to 30 km/hr wind?

I recently moved to Germany and am planning to do a hike in the Harz mountains. The weather is expected to be around -18°C. Most of the trail will be sheltered by forest, but the mountaintop is ...
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?
22
votes
7answers
13k views

Sleeping in twos in one hammock

My girlfriend and I both like sleeping in hammocks in the outdoors. We now sleep in two separate hammocks. However, I've seen many hammocks that are designed, or at least make it possible to sleep ...
22
votes
4answers
4k views

What are the rules for eating raw, wild meat?

Can you always eat raw meat (wild) as long as it is fresh?
22
votes
7answers
5k views

Do polarized sunglasses protect against snow blindness?

Will regular polarized sunglasses protect me against snow blindness? And if not what type of glasses/goggles will protect me?
22
votes
4answers
2k views

Wax paper as a fire starter

One thought led to another and I started wondering how effective wax paper would be to bring along as tinder to start a fire. I've seen suggestions of using paraffin in conjunction with other ...
22
votes
3answers
431 views

Do I need any technical skills to climb Kilimanjaro?

Ive heard that climbing Kilimanjaro doesn't require any mountaineering skills and is really just a (very difficult) hike? Is that true? Is there any gear I would need besides traditional hiking ...
22
votes
3answers
4k views

Does touching the tent outer wall from the inside make it leak?

This question about how not to make anything touch the outer wall of the tent implies that doing so lets the outer tent leak water through. I never head this problem with my vango mirage tent during a ...
22
votes
1answer
798 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 ...
21
votes
8answers
19k 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 ...
21
votes
5answers
6k views

Will Black Bears actually follow you up a tree

I always see it pointed out, when discussing how to handle/avoid bear encounters, that black bears can climb trees. Granted, but does that matter? Has there ever been a case of a black bear pursuing ...
21
votes
9answers
3k 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 ...
21
votes
7answers
6k views

What's the best way to dispose of a body in the backcountry? [closed]

Suppose you needed to dispose of a large carcass for one reason or another while in the backcountry... what would be the best way to dispose of it in the woods so that it wouldn't be discovered? You ...
21
votes
4answers
9k views

Are mittens warmer than gloves?

Given a mitten and a glove made of the same materials, thickness, etc, is the mitten warmer than the glove? It seems to me that having all four fingers in one area (vs separate fingers for gloves) ...
21
votes
7answers
14k views

Does packing boots with newspaper make them dry faster?

In one of the trail journals I read, the author mentions packing her boots with newspaper to dry them out. On the one hand I can see perhaps some wicking action, but this would greatly reduce airflow....
21
votes
8answers
25k views

How To Quickly Warm A Tent

Some background links to Aravona's question here. Basically I am her other half and over the course of the night the tent was opened many times. As people will know opening a tent in the wee hours of ...
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 ...
21
votes
4answers
39k 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 ...
21
votes
3answers
831 views

Are carabiners useful tools to have in the wilderness? If so, what would they be used for?

Carabiners are obviously essential in certain circumstances, such as with any type of climbing / rappelling. But are they a good tool to have generally as well, and if so what might be some example ...
21
votes
2answers
19k 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
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 ...
21
votes
2answers
264 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?
21
votes
3answers
448 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 ...
21
votes
4answers
7k views

Which knot for climbing: figure eight, yosemite bowline, bowline on a bight?

This is a topic often discussed online, but all I could find so far was people sharing their opinions (including numbers) on what tie-in knot is the best. Here's what I've found out from different ...
21
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
21
votes
2answers
557 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 ...
21
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
20
votes
9answers
60k views

How far would you need to fall for it to be fatal?

A little grim this but I was discussing free soloing with a non-climber in work and I said "Well once you get over a certain height you're not going to survive a fall anyway so anything over ...
20
votes
9answers
5k views

Am I packing too much for a 2-3 day hike in the forests?

I have decided that I would like to hike. I have read a bit on hiking, and bought some gear and a backpack to get started. I want to start with backpacking through mostly flat forests, and later ...

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