16
votes
5answers
8k 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
12k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
849 views

Can groundwater still be consumed if after boiling the water turns brown with an oily substance floating on top?

This weekend we went "pole camping". A pole camp site (dutch link only) is a camp site offered by the departments of forestry in the Netherlands and Belgium. It is very basic. What is offered is a ...
15
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
1k 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
2answers
313 views

Proper technique for self-arrest with an ice axe, when wearing crampons

What is the proper technique to self-arrest and brake a fall, given steep icy(frozen snow) slope, when wearing crampons and wielding an ice axe? Should the crampons be used for stopping or held high ...
14
votes
3answers
577 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
10k 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? ...
14
votes
6answers
329 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
2k 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
2k 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
357 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
843 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
227 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Are Rhododendron and Mountain Laurel truly toxic to burn in a campfire?

For a very long time now, I've believed and taught that burning Rhododendron or Mountain Laurel in a campfire will make you sick because of the toxins in these plants becoming airborne then inhaled ...
12
votes
3answers
211 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.
12
votes
5answers
4k 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. ...
12
votes
3answers
3k 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
1answer
158 views

Carrying hardboiled eggs when hiking

I am planning to hardboil some eggs and immediately, while hot, wrap them in cling-film before stowing in my pack. How long will they last before going off? (I am in NZ so eggs are not washed like in ...
11
votes
2answers
572 views

Why does sunscreen not work all day?

All over the internet it says that sunscreen does not work all day, but does not say anything about why. Why does sunscreen not work all day? Does the matrials get destroyed by the UV rays? Or is it ...
11
votes
5answers
4k 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

How to find new poles for old tent?

I have a nice and small tent I really like that is around 30 years old. It is from Sierra West, but I don't remember the model name. Here is a picture so that you can see the size and general ...
11
votes
4answers
2k 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
3answers
7k 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
507 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?
10
votes
2answers
229 views

Is it ok to use rolled aluminum descending rings in permanent anchors?

Rolled aluminum descending rings like the SMC Descending ring are light (11g) and cheap ($3) which makes them great for carrying and leaving behind on long descents, but in my mind they are disposable ...
10
votes
4answers
158 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 - ...
10
votes
1answer
130 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
277 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
495 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
282 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
8k 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
125 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
2answers
103 views

Why all the different accessory cord diameters?

It's easy to get overwhelmed with all the different types and diameters of accessory cords. I usually always get 7mm for making my prusiks and cordalettes, but I've often wondered who uses the smaller ...
9
votes
3answers
310 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
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
143 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
848 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
4answers
496 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
237 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
90 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
558 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
382 views

Are bears attracted by Lotions and Perfumes?

Bears are mostly attracted by smell of food. That is why we are supposed to keep the food items in airtight and sealed packs or preferably finish up all the food (cooking and consuming) far away from ...
8
votes
3answers
1k 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
6k views

How much heat can a candle lantern provide while winter camping?

In answering this question I tossed out that a candle lantern can add as much as 10 degrees (F) of heat while winter camping. I've heard this tossed about before, but is it true? I assume there are ...
8
votes
3answers
4k 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
3answers
200 views

Best approach to camping in snow?

What is the best way for a trekking group of two to sleep in deep snow (meter or more). What equipment is to be brought? Preferably, the technique should work on shallow snow and plain frozen ground ...
8
votes
1answer
411 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 ...

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