12
votes
4answers
544 views

What to look for when purchasing a fixed blade knife

I'm planning on doing some back country canoe camping this summer. I would like to avoid bringing a hatchet if possible. I also find my folding knifes get full of gunk and I am a little bit afraid I ...
12
votes
2answers
414 views

Dealing with very cold climate (clothing)

In the near future I will have to prepare myself for a Siberia expedition. During the winter, average temperatures in Siberia range from -10°F (-23°C) to below -50°C (-45°F).1 What should I ...
12
votes
3answers
151 views

Are there any specific guidelines for edible plants in North America?

I know there are dangerous plants and fruits to eat, but are there any basic rules one can use when in an emergency situation that apply to all safe foods? The 'rules' don't necessarily have to apply ...
12
votes
1answer
285 views

How should a climbing rope be cleaned?

What products and process should be used to clean a climbing rope when it gets sufficiently dirty? How would I remove as much dirt and grime as possible without negatively affecting the strength or ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

How can I keep my backpack from resting directly against my back?

I have a backpack that I often wear on my (outdoor) walks to and from work each day. The walk is 30 minutes one-way and mostly in an open field/park area, so in the afternoon it's usually warm enough ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

How to choose a fire steel and use it most effectively?

Fire steels, ferrocerium rods -- oversized versions of the "flint" in a lighter or torch starter, are an apparently popular survival/backwoods fire starting method. Why would one want one of these ...
12
votes
3answers
170 views

Where can I find help identifying an owl by its call?

I am in a semi-rural area of Aldergrove, BC Canada--close to the US border. From our house we can hear the call of what we think is an owl, but would like to know what particular species. We were ...
12
votes
2answers
821 views

What things should I look for when buying a compass?

Compasses seem to come in all shapes, sizes and (especially) prices! What sets a good compass apart from a bad one and what are some good characteristics to look for when making a purchase?
12
votes
2answers
172 views

Climbing chalk through customs

Anyone had any experience getting climbing chalk though customs? I'm off to Guernsey and I don't think I'll be able to buy chalk there so I'm putting it in my hold luggage. Are customs likely to ...
12
votes
1answer
109 views

What qualities should I look for in a good walking pole?

I've seen walking poles range from <£10 to >£100 - and to a casual observer there doesn't often seem to be much to distinguish them, with both having good grips and shock relief / suspension. What ...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

Where can I find an iodine crystal water purification product?

For years I used a product called Polar Pure for water purification when weekend backpacking. It was an iodine based solution, so not great for a thru-hike, but fine for a week or less. Specifically, ...
12
votes
3answers
566 views

What to look for in a quality tarp?

I'd like to purchase a tarp as some point, both to put up over a small camp at some point, and to use over a hammock. When I've camped with my uncle he's used a folded over builders tarp, which has ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

How do you determine worm color for Large Mouth Bass

When I was growing up and fishing for Large Mouth Bass with my grandfather we primarily used plastic worms. Color and style matters a lot, and different worms had significantly different results. To ...
12
votes
4answers
275 views

What alternative topographic maps exist in the USA?

This answer recommends topographic maps as downloadable from the USGS. A comment holds that those are definitely the best thing for the US. An except for the San Joaquin river near Mammoth Lakes ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

How to carry dslr camera when rock-climbing

I am interested in hearing how people take their dslrs onto multi-pitch-rock-climbs. I have carried mine up in a small pack, but I end up taking hardly any pictures, since it is so cumbersome to get ...
12
votes
3answers
975 views

Bowline knot, end at the inside or outside?

Why is it advised to tie a bowline knot with it's ending on the inside and not at the outside (here at outdoors)? See pictures below. If you're unlucky the end can get stuck, and you can't untie it. ...
12
votes
1answer
439 views

Techniques for building a raft from wood

What are some good techniques to use (materials, knots, etc.) for building a raft by gathering wood in the local area? I'm talking about something to sail on still or slow moving bodies of water, not ...
12
votes
1answer
122 views

How do you best treat a turned ankle in the back country?

Possibly the most common injury I see when hiking with groups is when someone turns or rolls their ankle. Assuming that access to a vehicle is not feasible, what is the best way to deal with the ...
12
votes
1answer
182 views

What do I need to be aware of if I'm considering purchasing a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)?

Obviously, I can't just buy it, push the button and expect a helicopter to show up. Are there monthly or registration fees? Do I need to get a permit or register with someone? How does it all work? ...
12
votes
1answer
179 views

How long is too long to suffer from constipation in the back country?

Quite commonly, due to the barrage of newness the body experiences on an outdoor outing (new sensations, new exercise habits, new diet, etc) the body can stop the system up while it tries to figure ...
12
votes
1answer
219 views

How can I go camping in Nepal and Northern Pakistan?

A group of friends would like to go camping in Northern Pakistan on their own. The only problem is to know some locals who can help us with food and a place to find where we can put up our camps. How ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Does whiskey help keep you warm in winter?

It is a rare day that I head out into the winter wilds without a flask of sumpt'n-sumpt'n in my pocket. A nip helps one to relax, can mildly embolden timid skiers in my group, and gives one that fiery ...
11
votes
7answers
331 views

What can I do to keep my hands warm while using touchscreens in the winter?

Now that it is starting to get cold it is more difficult to use touchscreens while outdoors. I use both an iPhone and a Garmin GPS to geocache and both have touchscreens that require me to take my ...
11
votes
6answers
190 views

Splitting up weight hiking as a couple/mixed gender group

Assuming equivalent fitness, what is a fair way to split up weight when hiking as a couple/in mixed gender groups? Should the weight be proportional to the individuals weight? Are there other ...
11
votes
4answers
956 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
4answers
8k views

What can I do to help relieve joint pain in fingers after climbing?

After I've been climbing for a while, my finger joints are very sore. Is there anything I can do to relieve that pain?
11
votes
3answers
4k 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
5answers
280 views

How to get started skiing?

I've never skied before, but I'd like to try it out. What sort of gear should I buy (as opposed to renting) before hand? What would be a good strategy to learn to ski?
11
votes
4answers
912 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
605 views

What are the most effective ways to start a fire in the cold?

I frequently hike and camp in the forests of the Midwest (Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, etc). Considering this climate can get quite cold in the Fall & Winter, what are the best strategies to starting ...
11
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

What is the proper way to tarp tent to avoid condensation?

I tried pitching a tarp instead of a tent this weekend. In worked well, kept off the rain etc, except for the condensation. It was far worse than any condensation I've ever had in a tent. We had ...
11
votes
3answers
406 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
726 views

What is the difference between single and double wall tents?

Tents are described being either single or double wall. What is the difference and when is one preferred over the other?
11
votes
2answers
342 views

What dried vegetarian foods have the highest ratio of calories to volume?

I mostly hike in bear country, which limits how much food I can take to the volume of my bear canister. This excellent question dealt with foods that are great on a trip where food-selection criteria ...
11
votes
3answers
322 views

Energy bars for outdoors activities: what are the important criteria?

What are the criteria that I should worry about when buying energy bars ? What are the ingredients to avoid and those to look for ?
11
votes
5answers
2k views

What exercises are recommended to build strength for hiking?

I've not had much opportunity to go hiking for any decent distance recently and I feel the next time I do my body will probably complain a lot. However, I've access to a gym with a lot of equipment so ...
11
votes
3answers
173 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
359 views

Walking up the slopes. To walk brisk or to walk slow?

This question has been eating my head for quite some time now. I trek often and most of the treks involve climbing up to a peak or something similar. I usually carry heavy loads of around 13-15kgs on ...
11
votes
2answers
207 views

Should one run (or walk) back to civilization if bitten by a rattlesnake?

From what I understand the most important thing to do when bitten by a rattlesnake is to get to a hospital. I often go on hikes where I am a few hours walk from civilization at the midpoint of my ...
11
votes
4answers
309 views

Camping in (US) national forests

Is it legal to camp in unmarked areas in United States national forests? I'm specifically thinking of Utah/Idaho if state makes any difference.
11
votes
2answers
275 views

Jerky or Freeze-dried food : Is the salt they contain a concern?

Almost all outdoors activities require having a certain quantity of water to prevent dehydration. Many types of jerky or Freeze-dried foods contain high amounts of salt. Should that be considered? If ...
11
votes
2answers
237 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
417 views

How effective are portable electric fences?

I am worried about bears and wolves when camping so I'm looking at portable electric fences. Are they effective and more importantly just how dangerous are they?
11
votes
3answers
203 views

What are some proven methods of training for week long backpacking trips in high altitude?

I'm going to Colorado to visit a friend and we will be going on a week long trek across a couple of 14'ners. I'm looking for some ways to help prepare my body for trip.
11
votes
3answers
128 views

How to take care of steel crampons?

What should I do to increase the lifetime of my crampons, maintain them properly, and check whether they can still be used safely?
11
votes
4answers
227 views

How to minimize sea sickness?

I love sailing, and my wife loves the ocean, but she gets sea-sick often. Any advice on how to avoid sea-sickness in people prone to it? I'm looking for advice in terms of foods that are less of an ...
11
votes
4answers
780 views

Are Trangia and MSR fuel bottles inter changeable?

In other words, could I purchase a 1 litre Trangia fuel bottle and the MSR Dragonfly liquid-fuel camp stove and use them together? Or would the smaller, slightly more expensive MSR fuel bottle be the ...
11
votes
2answers
2k 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?

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