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?
19
votes
7answers
1k 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

What can I do with a retired rope and harness?

I've recently retired a rope (dynamic) and a harness. They're both in very good shape, but just over 8 years old. Common sense dictates I throw them away, but I wonder if there are other uses I can ...
16
votes
5answers
6k views

Why go without socks with climbing shoes?

I've been going climbing (indoor bouldering) for about six months, using shoes I rented at the gym, and wearing socks (and everything was fine). I've recently got a pair of climbing shoes, and want to ...
16
votes
2answers
9k views

What's the UPF of a T-Shirt or jeans?

Many outdoor clothing items advertise themselves with a UPF (Ultraviolet protection factor) of 30 or even 50. How does that compare with a normal cotton T-Shirt or a pair of jeans? Do I have to use ...
16
votes
7answers
627 views

Are Ice grips worth buying

The cold weather has finally hit the UK and once again I am tempted to buy something like https://www.yaktrax.co.uk/shop/yaktrax-pro. For those of you not in the UK we get some snow each year (enough ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

How to clean vomit from camping gear?

Some background. Whilst car camping down in Weymouth recently I was unfortunate enough to encounter a stomach bug (we initially thought it was food poisoning but later realised it was a bug as my ...
14
votes
3answers
783 views

Please Explain Rock Climbing Grades

I have seen various grades for different climbs such as 5.14b, 8b+, 8b - 150m It seems there are different parts to the grade, e.g. the last one is it 8b for 150 metres? Do these grades only ...
14
votes
6answers
317 views

How should I treat poison ivy?

If I'm struck by poison ivy, what should I do? Is there a way to suppress the itch?
13
votes
4answers
1k views

How to safely mark a rope

I was reading this question and the first thing that popped into my head is what do you use to mark the middle of the rope? I was taught not to use any kind of marker on the rope (because there's no ...
13
votes
8answers
1k views

How do you flavour your water on camping trips?

Always drinking pure water can be boring and tasteless, especially when you have to filtrate it or use sterilizer/purification tabs which might cause the water to taste really bad. What are easy ...
13
votes
3answers
249 views

Sailing with a child

Inspired by this question on taking an infant sailing, as it is quite different when they can move, I thought I'd ask the same question in respect of a toddler or child. What essential safety ...
13
votes
3answers
487 views

What makes a good head lamp?

I'm looking for a decent head lamp, with a bright light and good battery life. Most on the market these days seem to be LED based, but aside from those three (perhaps obvious) considerations are there ...
13
votes
3answers
7k views

How do I take care of Gore-Tex boots?

I have a pair of Gore-Tex walking boots that I have used a fair bit now and want to make sure I keep them serviceable for as long as possible. What is the best way to maintain Gore-Tex walking boots? ...
12
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
309 views

How safe is sleeping in bear country?

We have recently hiked in Slovakian mountains where bears live. I’m not too concerned about the bears during the day, as we make enough noise to avoid an encounter. But I am not sure about sleeping ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

How often should I wax skis?

I have a pair of skis, let's pretend I use them as much as I want to. How often should I wax them? Once a season? Every few ski days? Before or after every ski day? Both? Does it matter what kind of ...
11
votes
4answers
1k 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?
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Safe Way to Mark a Carabiner

At the crag this weekend I noticed that my climbing partner's carabiner had a great feature: a red line painted such that you know the carabiner isn't locked until the red is hidden. I love this ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

What are the key differences between Mountaineering and Rock Climbing?

I think the title speaks for itself. I have done a basic google search and I do not find the references to be sufficient. I'm looking for a short synopsis that would educate a layman such as myself. ...
11
votes
3answers
5k views

Can I shoot a bear in self-defense?

Can I shoot a bear in self-defense? Will I face fines and jail time if I do?
11
votes
3answers
440 views

How can I signal for help in the wilderness?

What are some different ways I can signal for help in the wilderness? I'm looking for methods that apply in all seasons, particularly in the mountains, with forests or meadows & plateaus.
11
votes
2answers
1k views

How should I treat hypothermia?

When I recognize the symptoms of hypothermia, how should I treat it? And what are the dangers if the symptoms are ignored?
11
votes
3answers
195 views

What are the critical dimensions to a safe bear-bag?

Many outdoor areas that have bears have bear bag-lines setup for hikers. In situations where the bear-bag line is not there or it is full, what dimensions should I keep in mind to protect my goodies ...
10
votes
1answer
122 views

Climbing volcanic mountains

I'm planning to climb a few volcanic mountains in Indonesia the coming year. Mostly Mt Kerinci and a few adjoining ones (I'm still making a list of those near by to Kerinci). I believe that most ...
10
votes
2answers
226 views

Sailing with an infant

My wife and I are thinking about sailing with our ~ 6 month old baby boy. We understand this is not something to take lightly, and we're planning either a canal/river sail or a sail in a very calm sea ...
10
votes
5answers
430 views

Can I replace Dish soap?

I have been trying to get my weight down on longer backpacking trips. I have already taken to buying very strong soap and using very little, but I was wondering is there something I can replace the ...
10
votes
3answers
256 views

Group protocol should the group become separated

A small group (2-10 people total) is travelling in a wilderness area. For whatever reason a person or a couple get separated. What is the best strategy for the lost ones? What is the best strategy to ...
10
votes
3answers
7k views

Prevent mosquito bites: insect repellent patch or just eat vitamin B1?

I'd like to use natural malaria prevention. Insect repellent patch seems to be very promising. One patch contains 75 mg of B1 and covers 36 hours. However, it's not very cheap. Many other travellers ...
10
votes
2answers
117 views

How do I make a fin selection for various surfing conditions

There are many surfing fin designs available for modern surf boards. What are the criteria for selecting: Tri-fin Bi-fin Mono-fin No fins And why would I want to have larger or smaller surfing ...
9
votes
3answers
129 views

Kayaking in the UK

My fiancé and I are both avid walkers / hikers but for a long time have been wanting to get into kayaking. Both of us have kayaked in the past. Separately we did it on school trips - many years ago - ...
9
votes
5answers
2k views

Why do people who backpack sleep in tents instead of tarps?

I know that this has been debated for some time (whether it is better to sleep in a tent or a tarp) but recently this debate came up between my friends and me, and I am just feeling out this possible ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

What are some good gluten-free foods for backpacking?

I have quite unfortunately found out several months ago that I'm gluten sensitive. Nearly all my meals I've planned and eaten on the trail have included wheat, and thus gluten, in them in some ...
9
votes
1answer
133 views

Are PLBs banned or otherwise useless anywhere?

This comment raises the idea that PLBs may not be allowed inland in the UK. A later comment refuted this, but I never even considered they would be disallowed anywhere, but simply rented one and took ...
9
votes
2answers
639 views

What is a good tool for minor trail maintenance while hiking?

I hike a few trails in the lower Appalachians which are very infrequently traveled. Maintenance when it happens, is performed by hikers. I much prefer to just clear smaller blowdowns as I come to ...
9
votes
2answers
533 views

How can I locate the leak in a inflatable pad

I went camping last trip and my nice inflated pad... deflated. I always carry a patch kit but I discovered another issue: I couldn't find the leak. The leak was small. It took quite a while of me ...
9
votes
1answer
213 views

How do I recognize if someone is suffering from hypothermia?

How can I recognize symptoms of hypothermia on myself and other people I camp with?
8
votes
1answer
83 views

Planned winter bivi

There is emergency equipment to survive nights, like emergency blankets and bivouac packs. As opposed to this, if you plan to stay overnight on winter trips (e.g. in the Alps) you don't just want to ...
8
votes
3answers
455 views

Do I need to hang a bear cache?

I am considering to get Garcia Machine Backpacker's Cache. According to MEC user reviews, this is the only cache approved in the Adirondack Mountains. Canadian parks, and other places as well, ...
8
votes
3answers
801 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
3answers
3k views

What is a freestanding tent and why should I want one?

What is a free-standing tent? What are the advantages of a free-standing tent as opposed to a tent that isn't, and what are the disadvantages? See also: What is a self erecting tent and why should I ...
8
votes
1answer
337 views

How do I correctly clean (remove) Tri-Cams?

Tri-Cams have a reputation for fitting where other protection will not, and they are light weight and inexpensive compared to SLCDs. Unfortunately they also have a reputation for being hard to clean ...
8
votes
2answers
296 views

How do I check paracord to determine if it's genuine?

Given some paracord, is there a simple check that I can make to check that it's genuine and not the cheaper knock off stuff? Number of strands seems like the most obvious point, but is there anything ...
8
votes
2answers
114 views

What should I as a beginning surfer consider when buying my first longboard?

I'm a beginning surfer, and I want a longboard. How do I select one? How much should I pay? What is good width and length, etc.?
8
votes
6answers
6k views

How long does mayonnaise last unrefrigerated in the back-country?

Yes, mayonnaise. It is sold unrefrigerated, and is an essential component of any back-country sandwich. Has anyone reached its limit and had it spoil on them? (I haven't. Of course, I've never had an ...
8
votes
4answers
378 views

Are there any reliable and/or easy to use “rule of thumb” guides for windchill calculations?

Weather forecasters often give two tempertures, the actual air temperature and a 'feel like' temperture that takes into account wind speed. Is there a rule of thumb for calcualting the 'feels like ...
8
votes
4answers
577 views

How could I treat scrapes outdoors without a first aid kit?

Say I'm hiking outdoors and I get a scrape. I've forgotten my first aid pack, or already used up the appropriate supplies. Is there anything in the wilderness I can use to sterilize and perhaps cover ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

What should you do if you are bitten by a rattlesnake?

You should obviously avoid rattlesnakes if at all possible. But if you do get bitten by one, what should you do? What supplies can be brought ahead of time to allow for the best treatment, and what ...
8
votes
1answer
592 views

What to do if you're bitten by an adder?

I've heard that while adder bites are venomous the number of people who have died from them are extremely low. If you're on a trek and you're bitten is it safe to continue for a couple more days ...
7
votes
3answers
363 views

Are self-inflatable sleeping pads more slippery than other mats?

I was camping recently and someone was complaining that they were finding it hard to sleep, as their new self inflating mat was much more slippery than their old foam one. Is this a real effect, and ...

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