13
votes
4answers
684 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
4k 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
5answers
906 views

How can rope/cordage be packed to minimize tangles?

I generally pack my cordage in little bundles like Unfortunately for any significant length (100' for instance) it just turns into a wadded mess when I try and use it. How can I pack this stuff ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Do polarized sunglasses protect against UV?

My eyes are sensitive and tending towards cataracts. I'm told to avoid the Sun's UV, but many polarized sunspecs don't mention UV. I'd appreciate it if someone knows the answer.
11
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 ...
10
votes
1answer
730 views

Using a rope “Alpine Style”/Moving together

I've seen people using a ropes "alpine style" in the past but I'm not sure on the specifics. By alpine style I mean where the rope is coiled around the body and attached to a second of third person. ...
9
votes
3answers
754 views

How should I pack for a week of backpacking in the rain?

So, next week I will be leaving on a hiking trip, which was supposed to be in the middle of summer whilst it's at its hottest, but instead it will be raining all week. Luckily there are public use '...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there a large difference in WFA (Wilderness First Aid) programs?

I am looking at taking a WFA (Wilderness First Aid) class and there are a couple of outfits in my area offering it. Namely, SOLO, NOLS, and The American Red Cross. I have heard nothing but great ...
9
votes
3answers
142 views

What to look for in a winter skills course?

I'm researching winter skills courses for the new year. Most cover all the basics: Self arrest Using crampons and ice axes Avalanche awareness Route planning Is there anything else I should be ...
9
votes
2answers
567 views

“Used” top rope when bouldering

My friend and I often boulder around my home instead of driving to the local area, and when attempting some more challenging features, such as overhangs and slightly taller cliffs, we would feel ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

How to arrange 2 Prusiks when ascending a rope?

If I want to ascend a rope with minimal equipment, I use 2 Prusiks: one tied to my harness, and the second one for my foot. However, there are two ways to arrange the Prusiks on the rope - the foot ...
9
votes
3answers
802 views

Why might one need a 2000 lumen headlamp?

I was just looking at a product my friend was bragging about, a headlamp with 2000 lumen intensity. When and why would I be needing such a powerful headlamp? I usually trek in jungles and forests and ...
8
votes
5answers
3k views

How do I treat a blister? How can I prevent getting them in the first place?

When hiking with a new pair of boots or if I haven't been hiking in a while, my feet might get blisters. How can I treat a blister and keep hiking? Are there things I can do to prevent getting ...
6
votes
1answer
206 views

What EXACTLY is the chemical coating on the outside of GoreTex?

I've got a pretty good understanding of how GoreTex works. I understand that the outside chemical coating effectivly holds water off the outer layer (using little chemical spikes). But I can't ...
6
votes
1answer
454 views

Advantages of wool/felt jackets

I consider buying a jacket made from wool. The fabric is some kind of felt. I hade one when I was younger, but since these jackets are really expensive I would like to know how they perform compared ...
5
votes
1answer
664 views

How to calculate how much sugar to use as antifreeze in drinking water?

Sea water does not freeze until about −2 °C (28 °F) if you add more salt you can lower the freeze point to -21°C. We know from How much sea water can I safely drink? that drinking salt water is not ...
20
votes
2answers
2k views

When is it not OK to leave feces behind?

I saw this article recently. I also know that human solid (not sure about liquid) waste is collected in buckets on river trips down the Grand Canyon. What are some basic guidelines for determining ...
20
votes
4answers
2k views

Is my tent pole a lightning rod?

I have used the Mega Mid tent almost exclusively for hundreds of nights out over the last many years. It's versatile, well ventilated, light... but has this pole sticking straight up the middle. Is ...
19
votes
5answers
10k views

Will a tent provide some protection from bears?

When camping in a bear country, will a tent provide an additional protection from bears, as opposed to just sleeping outside or in a hammock? Provided I take the usual precautions of keeping any food,...
16
votes
5answers
316 views

Is a varied diet necessary while backpacking?

Often when planning food for a backpacking trip, I rely heavily on a very large amount of extremely varied trail-mix, and only throw in some jerky and a scant few "cookable" meals for variety. I haven'...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

What do you do if the fire does get “out of control”?

Let's say you are camping with a large group, and someone starts a camp fire. You're away for a bit and come back to find everyone panicking and the fire to be much larger than actually planned (ie, ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

How to prevent fingers from freezing?

I am a traffic officer and in winter I always have issues with fingers freezing. Are there any hints besides hand warmers to keep my fingertips from getting so cold they hurt? I direct traffic so ...
15
votes
4answers
3k views

How safe is the bowline knot in different situations?

The bowline knot (picture below, source) has a great reputation as a very safe knot. Is it really completely safe in all situations and loads, or are there use cases where it may fail?
14
votes
1answer
1k views

How do I self arrest without an ice axe?

Self-arresting is used to stop a mountaineer who has fallen and is sliding down a slope. Ice axes are generally used for self-arrest, but what should a climber do to self arrest if he has lost his ...
13
votes
2answers
3k views

How much does a full/empty jetboil canister weigh?

I have a bunch of partially-full Jetboil canisters from various trips, and I'm trying to figure out approximately how much fuel is left in each of them. How much does a full canister weigh (fuel + ...
13
votes
4answers
7k views

Are there any low sodium freeze dried meals?

For health reasons, I usually try to keep my sodium intake fairly low. However, most freeze dried dinners offered in camping stores contain an more sodium than I'm looking for. I consider 800mg a ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

What is a good tarp setup for very high winds above the tree line?

Assuming it's very impractical to get down to reach the tree line; and that the wind is changing direction very often - so a setup with several sides closed would be preferred - what would be a good ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the correct way to attach an autoblock to your harness for rappelling?

When rappelling and using an autoblock consisting of a french prusik knot it seems there may be some options on how and where to attach the autoblock to my harness. Is there a correct placement on ...
12
votes
4answers
10k views

How can I prevent batteries from losing charge in cold weather?

Since batteries (for cameras, cell phones, etc) will lose charge in cold weather, what can I do to prevent loss of charge, or at least extend the battery life as long as possible?
12
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the purpose of the shoulder strap upper adjustment?

On both of my backpacks (40L and 100L) the construction is as in the picture. The shoulder straps are connected to the backpack body at some point A on the back of the backpack. Separately, there are ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

How do I read a topographic map?

When navigating in the backcountry, you'll usually bring a topographic map that shows the terrain so you can tell if there will be steep slopes or cliffs that might make the route difficult. A ...
11
votes
2answers
197 views

How do I get cam slings replaced?

I bought my first set of cams and I've been curious about what happens when the slings start to wear out. Are they user-replaceable? The ones I purchased seem to be very un-user-replaceable: How do ...
11
votes
2answers
850 views

Preferred way to wrap someone with Hypothermia?

So I know How to treat hypothermia. That question and answer, however, do not address the old recommendation I have heard a 100 times of strip them down and get in a sleeping bag with them. Is that ...
11
votes
4answers
546 views

What proven alternatives are there to DEET?

DEET is an effective mosquito deterrent, but there are many reasons it cannot be used. Per the CDC, cuts, eczema, and being a kid are all problems if you want to use DEET. What proven alternatives ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Sleeping in an inflatable boat

I am going to make a trip on a river in an inflatable rowing boat. The trip is going to be two days long: one day down the river and the next day - back. The question is how I should spend night. I ...
11
votes
8answers
733 views

What are some effective ways of reducing itching from a mosquito bite?

There are a lot of options for trying to prevent mosquito bites (DEET on skin, permethrin on clothing, mosquito nets while sleeping, etc.), but what about after you get bitten? What is the most ...
10
votes
6answers
6k views

Should a carabiner ever be clipped to the tie-in loops and should anything other than a carabiner ever attach to the belay loop?

I'm a beginning climber and am trying to resolve conflicting instruction related to tying into my harness. During a recent outing a friend (an experienced climber, but not an instructor) was showing ...
10
votes
3answers
15k views

How far is a reasonable distance for someone to hike on their first trip?

How far is a reasonable distance for someone to hike on their first trip? I understand this depends on a lot of variables, such as the person's fitness, the route they are planning to do, etc, but ...
10
votes
1answer
748 views

How do I recognise quicksand and how do I get out if stuck?

This year, a Danish citizen went missing without a trace in the mountains of northern Sweden. It is not the first time; in total, ten people are registered as missing after venturing into the ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

How do you repair a plastic kayak?

So roughly a month ago my other half and I brought ourselves each a SOT plastic kayak, we've been out on the water for maybe 2 hours total paddling time, but mine filled up with water. We found a ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Will a down sleeping bag recover 100% after being squeezed if it's not for a long time?

It is well known that a down sleeping bag should be stored as open as possible when not in use, but that can be squeezed and compressed to a very small fraction of its size when necessary (that ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

When to set up a Cordelette and an Equalette?

I was going through anchoring techniques and I came across this well-received question: Anchor without cordelette? How should one decide when to go for a Cordelette or an Equalette?
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Will the benefit of an axe outweigh the drawbacks and win over a large knife?

I've hiked some in my life, and gotten used to carrying a small axe for chopping wood for the fire. But after I bought my self a large fixed-blade bowie knife, I find myself relying less and less on ...
8
votes
2answers
376 views

How can I 'inflate' or plump up my my sleeping bag?

I have a very nice sleeping bag which has been kept stuffed as compressed as possible in a backpack for a couple of months. After reading about the negative effects of such actions, I was wondering if ...
8
votes
8answers
8k views

How do I fold in / tidy up the straps on my rucksack?

I bought a new rucksack. However, how can I tidy up and hide away the myriad straps so they don't flap about and get caught in things?
8
votes
2answers
74 views

How do you diagnose severe altitude illness?

If someone is feeling bad at high altitude, how do you tell if their condition is so severe that it threatens their life unless they descend immediately?
8
votes
1answer
195 views

How to get started with packrafts?

I love hiking and I'm starting to love longer cycling trips too. I've done combined cycling/hiking trips (cycling to the trailhead of a hike). Last summer I met someone who carried an inflatable raft ...
8
votes
1answer
98 views

How can I get a coconut from a tree?

Inspired from this question In Survival situation what all I can use from a green coconut?, I wonder how can one possibly pluck a coconut from a coconut tree in safest possible ways. We can also ...
8
votes
3answers
991 views

De-stinking my water shoes

I have a pair of water shoes with a thick rubber sole and a neoprene upper. They provide good protection from coral cuts, stonefish etc. In the past I've used these in the Ontario wilderness (...
8
votes
1answer
567 views

Down feather species, which is best?

I've seen several down jackets stating what species of down the jacket is filled with, i.e. Duck, Goose, etc. What are the differences between the various species' down and which is best?

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