15
votes
5answers
2k views

How can I tell a “trail shoe” from a regular sport shoe?

On a day-to-day basis, I wear regular light-weight sport shoes, such as these: The footwear I saw people using in serious terrain in the USA looked similar, but this answer to my related question ...
15
votes
3answers
806 views

What should be carried in a standard Geocaching bag?

As in the title, when going Geocaching what are some standard implements and tools I should carry with me to get started so I'm not caught out?
14
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I improve my footwork while rock-climbing?

When I'm rock climbing, I feel like I've got hand holds down as far as where to grab on and understand that the hands are mainly for balance. However, I can't seem to figure out my feet. There are ...
14
votes
4answers
7k views

How to properly lace hiking boots?

When I go on hiking trips, I wear proper boots. However, when I lace them tight, my ankles swell terribly after a few hours and start feeling funny (bending the joint feels like touching a balloon). ...
12
votes
1answer
743 views

What should you look for when buying hiking socks?

A quick search online shows there are dozens of different types of hiking socks, with different materials, thicknesses, and properties. In general, what should you look for when shopping for hiking ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

How should I patch holes in a waterproof/breathable jacket?

I have a waterproof/breathable rain jacket which has a few holes in it (caused by a minor bicycle crash, in case that information is relevant). They are not too big, about 5mm across. How can I patch ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Venomous/Semi-Venoumous Snakes at Higher Altitudes

When we camp in rainforests or even country side forest, we are supposed to be very careful about Reptiles, especially Snakes. In India out of the many venomous snakes, I have found Pit Vipers to be ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Trekking solo in Western Ghats, India

I have read a few blogs about people and their solo trekking experiences. At the first glance at it, 'whether to trek solo or not' sounds like an opinion based thing, but I wonder if there are any ...
32
votes
6answers
6k views

I never adjust for true north. Is this bad practice?

This question (Calculate true north with a compass and map) got me thinking. I rarely bother adjusting compass bearings for magnetic north. Is this bad? I understand the theory but I just rarely ...
30
votes
5answers
9k views

Why aren't there any electric stoves that can be used for cooking where you can't build a fire?

There are quite a few countries where you aren't allowed to make open fires in the great outdoors (I'm sure for at least Austria and Germany). I wondered why nobody has yet thought about electric ...
28
votes
7answers
3k views

Wood versus plastic trail signs?

My town (Groton MA, USA) has 110 miles of trails open to the public, but virtually no signs helping people navigate at intersections in the woods. I am on the Trails Committee, and I'm pushing hard ...
26
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
25
votes
5answers
3k views

Which fingers to use in a 2 finger pocket when rock climbing?

While rock climbing, when crimping a hold, I always use my index finger (and whatever other fingers fit) since I can stack my thumb on top. For two finger pockets is it better to use your index and ...
25
votes
1answer
454 views

What sort of rock climbing grade can a goat do?

It is quite well known that goats are into free solo rock climbing. Is there any evidence (even if anecdotal) of the highest grades they are able to climb?
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 ...
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
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 ...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

Synthetic vs Down sleeping bags?

What are the best conditions to use a synthetic sleeping bag vs a down one? Can you always use a down sleeping bag as long as you keep it in a dry waterproof bag?
19
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
19
votes
2answers
746 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 ...
19
votes
8answers
10k 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 ...
18
votes
1answer
1k views

Am I likely to need multiple pairs of boots on the Appalachian Trail?

Reading up on a hiking boot size question, I came across this review from Silver Spring, Maryland for a wide hiking boot. This boot has a "lifespan" of 400 miles. Is that typical of a hiking boot? ...
18
votes
5answers
927 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 ...
18
votes
3answers
3k views

Why don't we apply the principles of layering when it comes to pants?

Whenever I see clothing articles geared toward hiking and backpacking that discuss layering (base layer for wicking, mid layer for insulation, etc.), they always seem to discuss these things in terms ...
17
votes
2answers
448 views

Micro-Fractures in Climbing Equipments

I have always been very careful while handling climbing gear. Last year while returning from an expedition, I met a group that was returning from a tough-looking climb. They were selling off a few of ...
17
votes
3answers
3k views

Washing clothes on long hikes

I'm looking for a good solution for clothing (or clothes washing) on long hikes with the following considerations Southeastern United States, Appalachians We hike light 10+ day trips I don't want ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

Buying a Backpacking Knife

I am a first-time knife buyer. What should I look for in an all-purpose, lightweight backpacking knife? I aim to use it for cutting trail plants and fish. My top priority is a knife that doesn't ...
16
votes
5answers
3k views

What hazardous wildlife is there in the UK?

And what situations should I try and avoid in regards to wildlife and areas prone to hazards in the UK? Edited my question to cover the other answers more as they were very good additions to the ...
16
votes
7answers
540 views

How can I boost morale on long backpacking trips?

Not just children can be whiny on long backpacking trips. I am interested in learning how to boost morale with both, adult groups, or when hiking with children.
15
votes
1answer
7k views

What's the difference between Sport Climbing and Traditional Climbing

What is the difference between Sport Climbing and Traditional (Trad) Climbing? Is it just that sport climbing uses bolts?
15
votes
5answers
8k views

How do I know what size ice axe I should get?

I'm going to start mountaineering. Is there a recommended size per height/weight for ice axes for general mountaineering?
15
votes
2answers
5k views

If you are buried in an avalanche will you survive?

Obviously, my best chance of survival is in not being buried, but if I am unfortunate enough to become buried in an avalanche what are my chances of surviving it?
15
votes
3answers
1k views

How to walk as a roped party on a glacier?

If you want to walk on a glacier you usually do this roped together as a team. How to walk as a roped party on a glacier? What I have to pay attention to when knotting the rope? Related question: ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

Is it safe to be in a vehicle during lightning/thunderstorms?

Recently a friend and I were offroading in the local mountains and while ascending a trail a storm blew in. We were out in the open near the top of the mountain when lightning started. We weren't sure ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Best type of rope for glacier travel?

What sort of rope would be ideal for glacier travel? I have a 10mm 60m rope, but this is quite heavy. Would a 9mm 50m rope be suitable for a team of three, crossing glaciers in the Swiss Alps?
14
votes
3answers
17k views

How do you remove mold from a tent?

Of course, the best way is to prevent mold on a tent from occurring by airing, cleaning and storing it appropriately. When doing this I've never had any issues. However, there may well be cases where ...
13
votes
7answers
6k views

What are the odds that I stand a chance against Wild Boars?

I have been trekking and camping since last 6 yrs. I have over 600 hikes and about 30 technical rock climbs under my belt. We often tend to camp up in forests, and at our sides, wild boars are pretty ...
13
votes
3answers
445 views

What precautions are needed for caving

I have been hiking/mountaineering for quite a few years now. But, I have never been into a deep cave as yet. We are planning to explore a natural cave that we'll have to rappel into. The cave is ...
12
votes
6answers
952 views

What are safe/effective leaves from around the world for use in tidying up your backside after answering the call of nature?

This partially answered in this question about toilet paper alternatives but it only says be careful what plants you use. I'd like to know specifically what plants are the best in your part of the ...
12
votes
1answer
338 views

At what point is a rattlesnake mature enough to control its venom?

Young rattlesnakes are more deadly than large rattlesnakes, the reason being because when they are young they are more likely to strike, but more importantly because they can't yet control their venom....
12
votes
2answers
7k views

How do you safely cut wood with a knife?

Several people have talked about having single edge knife so that you can cut down small trees. What is the proper way to cut or carve wood with a knife?
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Altitude sickness when going from sea level to 14,000 ft (4,200m) in a single day

My sister lives at sea level -- Baltimore and Chicago. She is coming to visit me in Denver (5280 ft or 1600m). She wishes to climb Mt Bierstadt (14,065 ft or 4200m) the same day she arrives. I have ...
12
votes
2answers
218 views

Reference request: books on self-rescue while climbing

Can people recommend books or online resources on self-rescue for roped climbing? As a beginning trad leader, I think I should have a basic understanding of topics like how to escape a belay and how ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

How safe is drinking distilled water?

Are there any adverse effects of drinking distilled water (possibly obtained melting snow or using other survival techniques like a solar still)? Maybe dehydratation, diarrhea...? Some people even ...
11
votes
3answers
283 views

When is it too cold for Tarping?

I'm looking to get a tarp, and considering when I want to go out with it. My three season tent with the rain fly has pretty good heat retention, and while it doesn't get toasty, it does stay warmer ...
11
votes
6answers
1k views

How do you keep the inside of your backpack organized?

Here's my current setup. First I put my earthpad in my pack, using it like a cylinder to provide cushion and make my pack stay upright. Then I place a plastic bag within the earthpad for ...
11
votes
1answer
356 views

May hiking in Eastern California

In May this year (6–8 May) I will have a workshop in Mammoth Lakes, California. I would like to do some hiking in addition to this workshop (roughly one week). I have never been to the United States, ...
10
votes
1answer
381 views

Under what circumstances would you not use a recently planted ice screw?

I've done a lot of bouldering, sport climbing and some aiding. Awhile back I went ice climbing with some guys for about a week. I didn't participate much simply because I didn't feel the confidence ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it ever necessary to double up locking carabiners?

I see people doing this a lot: My question is: Why? When is it necessary to double up locking carabiners? Ever? Doubling up non-locking carabiners with opposite and opposing gates was, and still ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Thinking about a road trip out West

My wife and I are thinking of taking a road trip from northwest Ohio to "out west" - Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, etc. I've never been farther west than Indiana, so it's a whole new ...

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