15
votes
2answers
2k views

How to make a traditional torch?

How would you go about preparing an old fashioned torch for use in survival situations where an electrical torch has failed?
15
votes
5answers
949 views

What are the Pros and Cons of No-Cook Backpacking?

While perusing my gear this morning, it occurred to me that I hadn't bothered to buy or make a stove for backpacking. On the whole, I'm not a big fan of hot food, even when I'm a mite chilled. What ...
15
votes
3answers
667 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Why are backpacks mostly not made of waterproof material?

Many bicycle panniers are made of waterproof material. Backpacks are not, necessitating built-in or separate raincovers. Why don't backpacks use the material that waterproof panniers do? Unlike ...
15
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
446 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
498 views

Storing Headlamps: With or without batteries?

When we store our headlamps, currently we store them with the batteries. Should they instead be stored separate from the batteries?
15
votes
2answers
756 views

Long or short sleeves on a hike in the Desert?

I have heard different things from different people, but here in the South West we do a decent amount of desert hiking. Protection from bugs is usually little concern because most of the time in the ...
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
792 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?
15
votes
3answers
342 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.
15
votes
4answers
247 views

Stoveless/fireless hiking food suggestions

In light of the recent forest-fire qualms that have arisen all over the globe (not to imply that any of y'all are irresponsible enough to have the capacity to start any, and hopefully that same would ...
15
votes
3answers
26k views

How to apply duct tapes and mole skin to prevent blisters?

On a question that was asked somewhat regarding preventing/treating blisters, I got this thing being said by a reputed and a respectable climber (DavidR): "Having 'duct tape', 'mole skin', or other ...
15
votes
2answers
586 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

How do I rescue someone out of a crevasse?

What is the technique involved in crevasse rescues? Presuming a group are all moving together on a glacier and the leader of the party has fallen into a crevasse (collapsed snow bridge, etc.). The ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

When should I retire my rope

I know there is a degree of "gray" in this question but: I have a Beal Top gun II 10.5mm, I've had this rope for around 4 years now and I'm starting to think about retiring it. It's been used ...
15
votes
3answers
963 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: ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

What should you do if you see a rattle snake?

In the area where I live, I have periodically seen a rattle snake when hiking, occasionally at the ready to strike pose. What should I do?
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
2answers
2k views

Do kevlar sacks work against bears?

We ran into a hiker on the AT last year using a kevlar back to keep out bears and rodents. He said the product was an Ursack and seemed very happy with it. However he'd never had a bear try to get ...
15
votes
2answers
208 views

wilderness maps

The Norwegian directorate for nature management publishes a map of wilderness showing how far away a particular area is from heavy technical interventions, such as roads, electricity lines, hydro ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

Material of shirt for desert hiking

I have pretty much always worn 100% cotton shirts when hiking but I have been reading more and more about the amazing "wicking" properties of other fabrics. Is there one that will keep me cooler ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

How to minimise erosion damage to footpaths when walking?

As a fair-weather walker I frequently find myself on routes that have suffered from erosion due to the large numbers of people hiking along them. I wish to cause the least possible amount of further ...
15
votes
6answers
1k views

How bright a flashlight would I realistically need for searching through terrain?

Modern flashlights have brightness up to several thousand lumens which is great. However it's not clear how bright a flashlight I might realistically need. Suppose I want to go on a search party such ...
15
votes
3answers
6k views

Methods for taping hands, wrists, and fingers for climbing?

I've been climbing off and on since I was a teenager, but one thing I've never done much of is taping my hands. As I gained more experience, it's value is now apparent. What are some good techniques ...
15
votes
2answers
511 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). ...
15
votes
1answer
448 views

Difference when using twin or half ropes

There are three types of ropes according to the UIAA/EN norm for climbing ropes: Single, half and twin. While the distinction between single ropes and the other two is rather obvious (one strand ...
15
votes
2answers
740 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
879 views

John Muir's Gear List

What gear did John Muir actually take on long trips? I live in California these days, and around here we revere John Muir as a legend of the outdoors. But the legend seems larger than is possible. ...
15
votes
2answers
450 views

How can I tell if a natural snow-bridge is safe to cross?

In early summer in the high mountains, snowfields may lie over rivers. These rivers may be otherwise tricky to ford, and it can be very tempting to use the snowfield to cross the river. However, ...
15
votes
2answers
287 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
748 views

What kind of canteen material will have the least effect on the taste of water?

I want to buy a canteen, and I have choice between aluminum, stainless steel, enamel and various kinds of plastic. I had canteens before that made any liquid taste horrible after just few hours. I ...
15
votes
4answers
702 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
205 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?
15
votes
1answer
343 views

Is backcountry hiking in northwestern Russia safe?

Is it safe to go backcountry hiking in the Tundra's of northwestern Russia, e.g. the Kola peninsula, such as the Khibin mountains? There is some heavy industry around there; can one safely go around, ...
14
votes
7answers
2k views

How can I test out my equipment before a backpacking trip?

I'm in the slow process of acquiring all of the gear I think I will need to do a week-long backpacking trip somewhere in the Midwest. Many of the more experienced backpackers I've spoken with or read ...
14
votes
7answers
457 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 ...
14
votes
5answers
783 views

How can I keep my backpack safe?

I went on a hike with my wife the other day in Norcal. This place had a creek that led into a cave that you can swim in. We both left our backpacks at the cave entrance and then swam through it to the ...
14
votes
3answers
3k 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?
14
votes
7answers
8k views

What can I do about those obnoxious biting flies?

In addition to Mosquitos, many of us northwoods campers have been made victim to the vast swarms of biting flies. Despite slathering myself with DEET, they don't seem deterred, and they especially ...
14
votes
4answers
3k 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?
14
votes
2answers
8k views

What are some natural glues found in nature?

I'm curious how one could get/make some glue when in the wilderness. How did the Native Americans do it?
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
4answers
7k views

What's the most remote place in the contiguous US?

The United States is a very developed place. Sometimes this can prove to be challenging when trying to find a place to get away from everything, especially east of the Mississippi where I reside. I am ...
14
votes
5answers
767 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 ...
14
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
14
votes
6answers
724 views

Tips for a novice backpacker

I would like to get into backpacking and make 2-3 day backpacking trips in moderate climatic conditions in mountainous terrains (mid-Atlantic U.S. or Central Europe, spring-fall). I am looking for ...
14
votes
5answers
531 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 ...

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