30
votes
8answers
2k views

What is the safest way to purify water?

There are a number of ways to purify water, off the top of my head we have filters, iodine, and boiling. Clearly each has some advantage/disadvantage (iodine tastes terrible, boiling takes time). ...
42
votes
5answers
977 views

What are essential items in an emergency kit?

What are must-have items in an emergency kit for a multi-day hiking trip?
20
votes
6answers
542 views

What precautions should I take to protect myself and my camp from bears?

Most of my prior hiking experience has been in areas that are not home to bears, so what precautions should I take to protect my camp (and myself as I am hiking) from bears. I am aware of a couple of ...
18
votes
3answers
1k views

How do I treat hot spots and blisters when I have no moleskin?

A few times I've been out walking or backpacking and have no moleskin with me. Sure enough, my boots start giving me blisters. How can I prevent or treat hotspots and blisters without using ...
35
votes
7answers
7k views

What are good knots to know for camping and backpacking?

I once tied a bear bag with a haphazard bundle of knots, and despite being seemingly impossible to untie, it came loose when lowering the bear bag and nearly smoked my friend standing under it. What ...
23
votes
6answers
6k views

A list of suitable foods for a long hike

In my opinion, the priorities when selecting trekking food are: many calories per kilogram not easily spoilable, especially in hot weather not very very expensive diverse. Diverse. That is why I ...
29
votes
11answers
2k views

How can you navigate without a compass or GPS

What are the ways you can navigate when you don't have a compass or a GPS? For example how can you tell which way is north.
39
votes
9answers
3k views

What is the most efficient food to take a for a 12-15 day hiking trip?

Last summer I spent 15 days hiking with my boyfriend, in Sarek National Park, where there are no places to restock with more food. The food issue was a major part of the pre-planning, as weight was ...
24
votes
2answers
11k views

How to avoid exploding rocks

It seems that every tutorial I read and show I watch shows people using rocks for everything from a cooking surface to boiling water. However, I have had rocks crack in half on me, and I've always ...
24
votes
10answers
8k views

Where in Europe is wild camping permitted?

Is there any resource (website, book, etc) that lists all European countries, and the state of free camping? Specifically, I want to see in which European countries I'm not fined when I place my tent ...
28
votes
5answers
4k views

What is the best way to store my sleeping bag for long periods of time?

I've heard that storing a sleeping bag in its stuff sack for long periods of time will cause it to lose loft, and won't provide as much comfort or warmth when used again. If so, how should I store my ...
25
votes
9answers
5k views

What hand and finger exercises help with climbing?

It's been a while since I went rock climbing but I'd like to get back into it. What are some hand exercises that will help with climbing?
14
votes
7answers
2k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Ideal and Minimal Rope Diameter for Lead Climbing

I'm thinking of a single rope that it's safe to take long lead falls, but also light to carry around. I weight 75 kgs and I might climb with heavier partners (80-90 Kgs)
22
votes
3answers
669 views

If I have to cross an icy, flowing river, what are some ways I can cross safely?

If I'm alone in a survival situation and I have to cross a very cold river that's still flowing, how should I accomplish this safely?
16
votes
2answers
5k views

Climbing rope is rated to X UIAA falls. What is a UIAA fall?

When looking at buying climbing ropes, they are rated to a number of "UIAA falls". What does that mean?
16
votes
5answers
404 views

Keeping warm in an emergency

When roaming the outdoors, it might happen that one finds oneself in a situation that is much, much colder than one planned for. What can one do in such an emergency, especially when it's so cold ...
10
votes
2answers
434 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?
8
votes
4answers
249 views

Are trekking poles proven to be helpful?

I covered quite a lot of ground, but approaching 36 my knees are starting to give me troubles. Should I expect trekking poles to restore my previous stamina and walking durability? Or are they just ...
7
votes
3answers
134 views

Navigational gear worldwide

Is there any difference in navigational equipment between the northern and southern hemisphere? We live in the northern hemisphere but will be emigrating to the southern in the next few weeks. We'll ...
12
votes
3answers
194 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.
3
votes
4answers
405 views

Hiking popularity in North America vs. Europe

From browsing this site, I have learned that US national parks and wilderness areas have restrictions and that campsites need reservations, sometimes months in advance. I've never seen anything like ...
17
votes
2answers
10k views

What are the different methods to purify water?

What methods can I use to purify water? And what's the difference between those several methods (safety, duration needed, ...)?
14
votes
8answers
5k views

How to Clean Rock-Climbing Shoes

I have never found a good answer to this one: How do you clean rock-climbing shoes, without ruining them? Let me be more specific. I have a pair of modern leather-and-fancy-rubber climbing shoes ...
7
votes
4answers
217 views

Cooking over a fire

Is there a way to make a wood fire that is good for cooking? Why is it better than others? Assume little to no wind. Would it make a difference if I cooking hot dogs on a stick or a steak?
34
votes
8answers
753 views

How should I remove a tick?

If I find a tick on myself or a friend, what is the best way of removing it? I've heard some people say that singeing the tick with a match makes the tick detach and fall off. However I've also ...
19
votes
3answers
2k views

How do I wash Gore-Tex clothing?

I have a bunch of dirty hard-shell pants and jackets. Are these safe to put in the washer and dryer? If not, how should I clean them?
17
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I hike across the Grand Canyon if I don't have a backcountry permit?

I am going to try to hike across the Grand Canyon in May, from the South Rim to the North Rim, and back. Unfortunately, I have discovered that I am probably too late to secure a back-country permit ...
17
votes
5answers
3k views

What essential items should go in a small first aid kit?

Another question asked what survival equipment should be carried in an emergency kit. But very little was about medical or first aid supplies (band-aids, gauze, tylenol, moleskin, etc). What items ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Hiking boots vs trail shoes

I have two sets of shoes that I wear while hiking. My favorite by far are my light weight trail running shoes. I have worn them on 9 mile hikes without any break-in, and went blister free. From a ...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

Can any waterborne pathogens survive boiling?

I know that boiling does little to break down chemical contaminants or heavy metals. But I'm unsure if it kills all microbial life. Are there any waterborne illness-causing ...
11
votes
5answers
1k views

What do I do to prevent and treat frostbite?

I'm going to be winter camping, and I'm concerned about getting frostbite. What can I do to protect myself?
10
votes
4answers
837 views

What type of mosquito repellent is most effective?

There are many different kinds of insect repellents and bug sprays on the market: sprays and lotions, chemical and natural, huge percentages of DEET and lower percentages, etc. What type of bug ...
9
votes
1answer
120 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? ...
9
votes
5answers
168 views

Looking for a Topographical map resource?

Does anyone know of a good way to find topographical maps for either download or purchase?
20
votes
8answers
2k views

What are the downsides to sleeping in a hammock on a multi-day hike?

I've read that hammocks are a very light way to travel through the wilderness. You just need the hammock, a cover, and a light sleeping bag, but there must be disadvantages compared to taking a tent ...
17
votes
2answers
262 views

As an experienced backpacker in the Eastern US, what should I know before hiking in the Western US?

I have done a good deal of hiking and backpacking in the Eastern US (mostly in New England), but I recently moved to California. What are the major differences in terms of preparation or equipment ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

Is it possible to sunburn through clothing?

I sat for 45 minutes last summer in the hot sun (100 degrees) I was pinned in on the bleachers so I wans't able to get up and move, I could feel the sun burning through my pants, now I have everyday ...
14
votes
4answers
321 views

How can I be absolutely sure my fire is safely extinguished?

One great problem with fire in the wild is that it may not be completely out. What is the recommended procedure to prevent accidental forest fire?
12
votes
5answers
165 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
320 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

How do I treat a blister? How can I prevent getting them in the first place?

When hiking with a new pair of boots or if I haven't been hiking in a while, my feet might get blisters. How can I treat a blister and keep hiking? Are there things I can do to prevent getting ...
7
votes
3answers
314 views

Is there a large difference in WFA (Wilderness First Aid) programs?

I am looking at taking a WFA (Wilderness First Aid) class and there are a couple of outfits in my area offering it. Namely, SOLO, NOLS, and The American Red Cross. I have heard nothing but great ...
13
votes
2answers
179 views

When do I need a permit to go into nature?

When on holiday, I want to get as far as possible from civilisation — the furthest I've come is seeing only a single cairn during a full day. In Scandinavia, hiking and camping is permitted unless ...
13
votes
2answers
5k views

What does it mean to cross load a carabiner?

What does it mean to cross load a carabiner? I know it's bad, and not to do it, but I don't really know what exactly it is.
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Are there any low sodium freeze dried meals?

For health reasons, I usually try to keep my sodium intake fairly low. However, most freeze dried dinners offered in camping stores contain an more sodium than I'm looking for. I consider 800mg a ...
12
votes
3answers
454 views

What do you do if the fire does get “out of control”?

Let's say you are camping with a large group, and someone starts a camp fire. You're away for a bit and come back to find everyone panicking and the fire to be much larger than actually planned (ie, ...
12
votes
5answers
195 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
202 views

What steps should I take if someone starts sinking?

What are the steps that should be taken if someone you're hiking with starts to sink uncontrollably into say a marsh? What are some good techniques and points that should be used to get them out ...
10
votes
5answers
382 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 ...

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