14
votes
3answers
606 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
1k views

How to dry Gore-Tex boots in the field

I'm thinking of switching from old and heavy army boots to modern trekking ones. Trying to choose between Gore-Tex and leather with waterproof coating only, I can't get over a simple question - ...
14
votes
5answers
364 views

Are headaches a bad sign at altitude?

Last weekend, we had a nice hike up Price Peak in the Sierras. We went from sea level to 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) in about 6 hours. And I had a ROARING headache. I could hear my heart beat in my ...
14
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the difference between men's and women's hiking boots?

When I bought my current pair of hiking boots, the brand/style I tried on and liked was out of stock in the womens version, so the storeperson offered me the mens ones instead. I tried them, liked ...
14
votes
5answers
5k 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?
14
votes
3answers
4k views

Which side of an emergency blanket should I use?

an emergency blanket has two sides, one orange and one silver. Which one should I keep on the inside?
14
votes
5answers
2k views

How do I prevent rocks or sand from getting in my boots?

So when I hike, usually I get a small pebble or two, or sand in my boots. How can I prevent this? I already wear pretty tight boots, and stopping every so often to take off a boot and get a rock out ...
14
votes
7answers
859 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
314 views

How to light a fire with wet firewood?

There is a wide variety of pre-cut firewood available when camping. In my experience, even wood that's been kept covered is often very wet and can be difficult to light. What are some techniques for ...
14
votes
3answers
961 views

Is saltwater antiseptic?

On some occasions you don´t have anything to desinfect wounds, for example during a (short) walk along the beach. If you cut yourself or have a an small wound that needs cleaning, would it be wise to ...
14
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Why are indoor climbing grades easier?

This is possibly a little of a generalisation but, why are indoor grades easier than outdoor grades? Having climbed at many many indoor walls (all over the uk) and done multiple outdoor climbs ...
14
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 ...
14
votes
2answers
835 views

Why did my new sleeping bag come with 2 bags - one large and one stuff sack?

I just bought a new sleeping bag online and it came in a large draw cord bag and there was also a small stuff sack in the package. What is the point of the large draw cord bag?
14
votes
2answers
320 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
709 views

Rappelling in the Rain

Last night I had a nightmare that I was 5 pitches off the ground and it started to pour rain. When I woke up I realized I have no idea how to deal with this. Asking around, everyone says two things: ...
14
votes
5answers
1k views

How to store a backpack while sleeping?

During a recent backpacking trip, we hung the bear bag and got ready to set in for the night and I realized I wasn't sure what I should do with my backpack. Technically the backpack was carrying the ...
14
votes
3answers
561 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
5k 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). ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

Taking care of hiking backpack

I've had a 60 L backpack for almost seven years now. Nothing on it is broken and it fits my needs, so right now I don't have any thoughts about replacing it (Getting a light pack might be the only ...
14
votes
3answers
232 views

What are the key features to look for in mobile device apps for hiking/camping?

I've used EveryTrail and was satisfied but am looking for something better... What are the features I should focus on for selecting an app? What bells and whistles are really useful on the trail?
14
votes
2answers
457 views

Where are good places to look for water sources when I have run out on a multi-day hike?

Luckily this has never happened to me, but even the most prepared hiker can often get themselves into difficulties if they run out of water. My question here is in your experience in remote arid ...
14
votes
1answer
4k views

Is it safe to use denatured alcohol as an antiseptic?

A lot of hikers carry denatured alcohol for cooking. Is there any risk to using it as an antiseptic for cuts and lacerations?
14
votes
1answer
208 views

How can I make a snow shoe in the wilderness from commonly available materials and simple tools?

As in the title really. In the hypothetical situation that I'm caught in the wilderness in winter and there's a heavy snow storm resulting in an unexpected level of snow, snow shoes could well come in ...
14
votes
6answers
2k views

What shoes keep me warm in the cold?

One of the biggest problems I have keeping warm in the cold are my shoes. When I'm out cycling in temperatures below -20°C, ordinary sport-shoes or hiking boots fail to keep me warm Cycling to work ...
14
votes
4answers
11k 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
2answers
479 views

What foods should I avoid when backpacking?

Are there any foods that should be off-limits when backpacking because they have a negative impact on performance or well-being? I am thinking that candy-bars and very greasy foods might be ...
14
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
240 views

How much gear will the AT eat?

We're planning on hiking the AT, and this question prompted me to ask: What gear should we expect to replace, and how often, on the Appalachian Trail? Assume that we know basic gear maintenance and ...
14
votes
2answers
3k views

How harmful is the rising/setting sun?

Often, while hiking, my companions and I treat the very early/late sun as being less harmful (as far as skin cancer and UV radiation are concerned). For example, we might not apply sunscreen ...
14
votes
2answers
13k views

How should you wash clothes after exposure to poison oak/ivy/sumac?

I have heard that the oils from poison oak, poison ivy, or poison sumac can remain on clothes even through a wash cycle. After hiking through an area with poison ivy (or poison oak/poison sumac), how ...
14
votes
2answers
3k views

Plastic or fiberglass for a kayak?

I'm an intermediate level kayaker but have only paddled plastic boats. I'm looking for a kayak to do multi-day trips in on the ocean. What are the differences between plastic and fiberglass?
14
votes
1answer
523 views

Will Iodine Tablets Ruin My CamelBak?

In the past, I have gone backpacking with some fairly expensive, heavy water purification tools. But the more I read about water safety in California's Sierras (here and here), the less I think these ...
14
votes
2answers
160 views

Am I allowed to swim in the Austrian Alps lakes?

The title really says it all, is it legal to swim in the lakes in the Austrian Alps?
14
votes
1answer
5k views

Do CO2-based mosquito traps work?

My parents get a lot of mosquitoes in their garden during the summer. We've tried torches with citronella additives in the oil, but this has not been effective. I don't want to install a UV-based ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Making a Make-Shift harness from Tape-Slings

I have some common knowledge about knots used for Climbing and Rope-care. There was an incident last week, where I needed a Seat-Harness which I didn't have with me. I needed one for tying up a ...
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
7answers
542 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?
13
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 ...
13
votes
3answers
273 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 ...
13
votes
6answers
358 views

Light-weight emergency overnight-gear

What is a good emergency-overnight-sleeping-setup when every ounce counts, like on long technical routes (grade V or VI) where the goal is to do it in one day (without hauling), but one wants to ...
13
votes
3answers
322 views

Black bears and torch lights

I am hiking in black bear country (no other kinds of bears there). It's dark, I have a whistle hanging around my neck to scare away such a potential bear and I'm using my torch light to be able to see ...
13
votes
4answers
843 views

Measuring a dangerous snow slope

I'm reading up on winter technique. The book im reading states: Most (slab) avalanches happen on slopes between 30 and 45 degrees I think I've seen this before but ; how do I recognise (easily) ...
13
votes
5answers
391 views

What practical issues do I need to be aware of when hiking or camping on my own?

Related to this question, if I'm camping and hiking on my own, I'm obviously at more of a risk than if I were with someone, and some key tasks will definitely be harder with no-one to assist (such as ...
13
votes
7answers
2k views

What are good items to leave in a geocache?

I started geocaching roughly a month ago and it's really fun activity to get into. I had a few questions (though one was answered already here > What should be carried in a standard Geocaching bag?) ...
13
votes
6answers
2k views

Best way to illuminate a tent?

Usually when I require light inside the tent I just prop a torch (flashlight) up somewhere, if it's bright enough then up at the roof of the tent the reflected light gives a nice ambient glow. Has ...
13
votes
5answers
614 views

How can I vet a hiking partner without potential hard feelings?

I'm planning a backpacking trip with a well-established partner. I would like to invite a third person along, but he has not met the second, and I do not want to extend an invitation to the third ...
13
votes
5answers
557 views

What format should I use to report my location to emergency responders?

Suppose I am out in the wilderness and an emergency arises. I have an accurate fix on my location (from GPS, map and compass, astronomical observation, etc...). I manage to get in touch with ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Is it realistic to teach yourself rock climbing?

I've been wanting to get into rock climbing for a while but I live in a very flat area with no climbing gyms around. I'm planning on moving to the Pacific Northwest soon and I wanted to know what the ...
13
votes
6answers
6k views

Is it safe to drink out of a rusty thermos?

I've got a thermos for coffee and/or water storage that I use on hikes and for bike touring since it keeps things hot for hours. However, it seems like the inside is rusting a bit. Is this safe to ...

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