12
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I tell what time it is without a watch?

Assuming I don't have a watch or other time-telling device with me in the wilderness, is there a way to know what time it is? I don't necessarily want to know the exact minute of the day, but a ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Is bear spray effective against other animals?

Is bear spray (pepper spray specially formulated to be effective against bear attacks) effective against other animals, especially mountain lions or wolves? Or is there something in it specifically ...
12
votes
2answers
228 views

Travelling and taking 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
3answers
310 views

Features to look for when buying a stove (for car camping)

We (wife, 5 year old and me) are planning to go camping next summer (UK). It will be car camping - i.e. drive, set up tent and, knowing the UK, sit in the tent as it rains. I'm looking at equipment ...
12
votes
2answers
441 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
179 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
260 views

How do you make a snow shelter?

Sometimes when mountaineering, there may be an emergency situation which leaves you in bad weather with no or damaged shelter (such as returning from a summit attempt or after a wild and crazy storm). ...
12
votes
3answers
163 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
307 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
2k 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
2k 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
2answers
892 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
1answer
115 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
4k 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
719 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
2answers
199 views

Trekking in the himalayan region

Which are the better trekking routes in the himalayan region? Also, how safe are the routes? If any of you guys have been around in the region, I would like to know your personal experiences as ...
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
328 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
2k 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
1k 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
212 views

What would be a safe ascent rate when mountaineering?

I'm training to climb large mountains. What kind of ascent should I train for at altitude. Let's say above 12000 feet and carrying up to 60 lbs?
12
votes
1answer
468 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
131 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
207 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
194 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
244 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
4answers
1k 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
303 views

Logic behind hikers yielding to horses?

Here in California, a lot of trails have signs with a triangular diagram, showing that cyclists should yield to hikers, and both cyclists and hikers should yield to people on horses. I don't have a ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

How do you locate the “North Star”?

What if it's night and you want to find north? How do you locate the North Star in the night sky?
11
votes
6answers
224 views

Looking for a Topographical map resource?

Does anyone know of a good way to find topographical maps for either download or purchase?
11
votes
6answers
202 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
6answers
484 views

Why shouldn't I buy an ultra light tent?

I have a workhorse of a tent, an Alpine Meadows, (described in this answer) that I really like. We bought it 30 years ago, and at first we just had way more stuff than we should, and eventually we had ...
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
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
5answers
297 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
5answers
4k 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
724 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
3k 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
4answers
264 views

What do I do if I lose my belay plate?

The scenario My climbing partner and I are at the top of a pitch and we drop a belay plate to the ground. There is no safe descent, we were planning on rappelling down off safe anchors. What do we ...
11
votes
3answers
429 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
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 ...
11
votes
6answers
1k 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?) ...
11
votes
3answers
349 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
4answers
30k views

How do I tie a sleeping bag to my backpack?

I recently upgraded to a modern backpack and I'm stumped as to how to tie accessories down to it. My previous backpack had tie-down points on the bottom of the pack that I could attach long straps ...
11
votes
2answers
374 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
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
189 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
801 views

I found a Deer Tick on my friend and removed it, what should I do now?

While camping with some friends in Anywhere National Forest, I found a deer tick on a friend. After removing it with tweezers, is there anything else I should do? Should we abandon our trip ...
11
votes
5answers
213 views

Ration or consume water?

In a situation where you don't know when you will find water again, is it better to ration the water you have over time (and ever increasing dehydration) or to drink it to quench thirst as soon as ...

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