12
votes
1answer
1k views

Mountaineering / glacial traverse: rope-up or go it alone?

When crossing a glacier (or other mountaineering activity for that matter) I've heard that roping everyone together without having a fixed anchor is falling out of fashion since more often than not if ...
12
votes
2answers
816 views

What is a buff?

What is a "buff", how is it used, and why should I have one? I've seen them advocated in numerous places, but I'm not sure why a tube of cloth is better around my neck than a scarf, etc.
12
votes
5answers
231 views

Is a varied diet necessary while backpacking?

Often when planning food for a backpacking trip, I rely heavily on a very large amount of extremely varied trail-mix, and only throw in some jerky and a scant few "cookable" meals for variety. I ...
12
votes
3answers
435 views

Bear bags vs Bear canisters: which is better?

Most people I know and myself store food in bear bags. However, I have heard that some parks have banned bear bags and require canisters. I've also heard there is a bear in New York that has figured ...
12
votes
3answers
302 views

Tree bark as food

I saw a youtube video where this guy skinned a spruce tree stick and ate the bark while claiming it is nutritious. That got me curious since trees are everywhere and this could be a great tip so I ...
12
votes
1answer
729 views

Minimum equipment recommendations for hammock camping

I'm looking to try out some hammock camping on our next trip to the wilderness, but I don't have any of the gear yet. I could buy it all, but as it's a trial run it might not make sense to pour a ton ...
12
votes
1answer
452 views

Does drinking tea cause problems at altitude?

I've heard from a tour leader that you shouldn't drink tea in high altitude because it makes you thirsty and cause problem in blood circulation. Is this true? Should'nt we drink tea in high altitude?
12
votes
2answers
468 views

Toproping with two ropes joined by a double fisherman's

The other day we were waiting in line for a popular 200 foot single pitch climb in the valley and the party in front of us was using two 70 meter ropes they had joined together with a double ...
12
votes
2answers
989 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

What type of knife should I carry while rock climbing?

I carry a cheap folding knife with me while climbing, particularly if I know there is a chance of stuck ropes, grubby anchors, or we are in the backcountry. The knife is held shut with a loop of cord, ...
12
votes
2answers
733 views

How do I inspect a climbing rope?

It is imperative that climbing ropes are in excellent shape so they don't split while someone is climbing. How do I properly inspect the rope when I'm about to start a climb?
12
votes
2answers
1k 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
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
308 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
2answers
321 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
342 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
629 views

Legality of “semi-permanent” wooden structures in state and national forests in the US

Imagine the following situation: A group of friends found a remote spot in a state or national forest that they really like. They keep returning to the place quite often, lately there are at least ...
12
votes
3answers
169 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
3answers
3k 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
1k 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
268 views

What should I look for if I want to buy a winter-proofed tent?

I really like to go snowshoeing during the winter. I'm going up to 3500 meters and when I'm doing long tours I would really enjoy to try out winter camping in very remote areas. Is it a good idea to ...
12
votes
1answer
122 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
5answers
545 views

How can rope/cordage be packed to minimize tangles?

I generally pack my cordage in little bundles like Unfortunately for any significant length (100' for instance) it just turns into a wadded mess when I try and use it. How can I pack this stuff ...
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
2answers
210 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
422 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
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
239 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
1k views

How do I extend the life of waterproof leather boots?

I've got some leather boots that are showing some wear and tear. More importantly, the seam between the sole and boot is starting to crack and allow some water in. Do products like ShoeGoo or FreeSole ...
12
votes
1answer
497 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
126 views

V-threads (Abalakov): How many holes are too many?

V-threads, or Abalakov threads (after the inventor Vitaly Abalakov), can be tricky to make (especially left handed in the dark...), but when you miss the mark on your first attempt, or second attempt, ...
12
votes
1answer
139 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
289 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
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
5answers
781 views

How can one find the difficult to find geocaches?

I've recently been getting into the hobby of Geocaching. However, I'm finding there are many, particularly in cities, that I just cannot find no matter how hard I look for them. They tend to be very ...
11
votes
6answers
225 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
7answers
1k views

Can I light a kerosene lamp with flint & steel or a magnifying glass?

I am planning a canoe trip, and will be bringing a kerosene lamp for light. As a backup fire lighting option I am planning on bringing flint & steel and possible a magnifying glass. Can either ...
11
votes
6answers
612 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
3answers
6k 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
6answers
3k views

How can you make a MSR WhisperLite stove simmer?

MSR WhisperLite backpacking stoves are ubiquitous, but they lack a key function: the ability to simmer easily. How can you set a WhisperLite to simmer without having to constantly watch the stove and ...
11
votes
5answers
362 views

What are some alternative ways of fishing - i.e. catching fish?

If I'm out in the wilderness and want to catch fish to survive, what are some ways I can do this without a conventional fishing pole/line?
11
votes
4answers
353 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
2k views

Why don't people in the UK use snowshoes?

I was recently in the mountains of snowdownia in thick snow. It was about 2 foot (about 0.6m) in places. It was a lovely day just after Christmas so it was quite busy too (even a few snow boarders on ...
11
votes
3answers
491 views

How to walk as a roped party on a glacier?

If you want to walk on a glacier you usually do this roped together as a team. How to walk as a roped party on a glacier? What I have to pay attention to when knotting the rope? Related ...
11
votes
3answers
486 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
6answers
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?) ...
11
votes
3answers
387 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 ?

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