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21

In the corridor zone (where you are planning) you are only allowed to camp at designated campgrounds, which are secured on a reservation basis. If they are full, of the options you list, 2. Pray hard a permit is available when I show up is your best bet. The park leaves a percentage of permits unreserved for the main corridor (which includes the Bright ...


19

The short answer is "bear spray"; a firearm is really not the most effective option. That said... I will assume you are looking for grizzly protection, since you didn't specify the bear and black bears are relatively shy. Again, using spray is a far more effective way of improving your odds; a review of its use in Alaska found a 98% success rate, with no ...


13

Try a menstrual cup. The advantage being that you only need one (maybe having two is a good idea) and that it can be washed.


11

Depending on your activity level, access to water, etc, the types of food you carry should change accordingly. Some points to consider: Dehydrated foods are great in that they are light-weight since they have no water in them. But they might not be a wise choice if you are dry camping with no water available (e.g. in the desert) since you would just have ...


10

First - Assess the situation and determine if an active rescue is possible and safe. Many would be rescuers are caught or killed in follow up avalanches because they acted without assessing the surrounding conditions. Assuming you have equipment to assist in the rescue follow the guidelines below. Yell to alert your partners and other people that may be ...


10

If you think about it, lighting a kerosene lamp with a flint and steel is essentially the same as lighting a Zippo Lighter. The classic of classic lighters has a flammable-fluid soaked wick that is ignited by a small flint and steel. The only significant difference is that Kerosene has a slightly higher flashpoint than Lighter Fluid (Naphtha). Lighter ...


9

If you choose to go backpacking in the Sierra Nevada in April, prepare yourself as if you were going in winter, because there will still be significant snow, and you could be hit by a blizzard at any time. To quote the National Park Service: Hiking and backpacking options are still limited in April. Expect snow above 6,000 feet (this varies from year to ...


9

Cooking as a large group is bad for a variety of reasons: More work to coordinate roles, responsibilities. Limited cooking resources (stoves, pots, etc.) means waiting, frustration, idleness, or carrying more than one of everything. More likely to waste fuel. Waste of energy/misuse of downtime e.g. Instead of cooking every 3rd day/meal you're cooking every ...


8

I hike in generally the same area of the country, mostly on the AT around NC and VA. Snakes in this area will be most active during spring and fall months. Generally they will be more active in moderate temperatures. In extreme cold and extreme heat you'll see less snakes. In the summer they will be more active in the early mornings and evenings. During ...


8

The army solution is to have two pairs of boots so that one pair dries while the other is worn (yes, even in the field). Another solution is to use goretex socks so that it doesn't matter what state you boots are in. I find wool socks keep warmth even when wet, and don't chafe or cause blisters the way cotton socks can when wet. You can air dry goretex ...


8

A magnifying glass will not light it, and I don't think a flint and steel will directly - you need a flame rather than a spark - but that is easily solved through using a piece of newspaper with kindling, or taper. Just use your magnifying glass or flint to light the paper, then use that to light the lamp. Slightly messy, and you need to be careful where ...


7

By engaging in winter sports (where there is significant snow on the ground) you are already greatly reducing your impact. The biggest impacts to back-country areas from non-motorized recreation come from vegetation disturbance: boots grinding up plants and breaking topsoil, tents compressing vegetation, camp activity destroying vegetation, fire scars, etc. ...


7

I too recommend newspaper however you can also give the following a try: Buy a pack of disposable diapers and empty the sodium polyacrylate into a sock or any fine mesh cloth/bag. Carry it in your pack for any absorption emergency. You should make sure to pack it in a sealed waterproof bag until you need it. Otherwise it will suck the humidity from its ...


6

This question really made me curious as my wife has asked me the same thing. If you end up finding a better solution than anyone on this site can provide, I ask that you would please share it. I searched the web for a bit and found this website. Allow me to quote the part I found most important. Sponges Isabelle Gauthier of Blood Sisters, an ...


6

As an update, I arrived at the canyon on May 13th. They had precisely one open slot and thus I was able to hike down to Bright Angel one day, and back up the next. A rim-to-river in a day is doable, but hard. For a first timer, it is definitely worth overnighting and going back up. Especially during May, hiking between about 11 - 3 is really uncomfortable. ...


6

I like the other answers (+1). Here is a method based on that described in How To Stay Alive in the Woods by Bradford Angier. You need a stick, another rigid object or string, and a sunny day. In the morning, put the stick in the ground and put a string from the top of the stick down to the tip of the stick's shadow. Mark that location, and then trace a ...


6

You can get a lot of the way towards understanding which ground has a good likelihood of being marshy from full use of Ordnance Survey (or equivalent) maps, and looking at the type of rock in the area you will be hiking. Good quality maps give a lot of detail around topography, so you can look at slopes and heights near watercourses etc. If you are on a ...


6

Most of the food I take on trips is low in sodium content by design, so I usually specifically plan on taking some overly salty foods. Like Jerky, although I have done Pringles on some shorter trips. I used to also take several small disposable salt packets and put one or two in my water bottle when filling up. That much wasn't taste-able, but I was always ...


6

Yes you can. And more to the point, you should (save weight, and leave no trace). I have not found a backpacking cooking mess that could not be cleaned with a combination of (in this order): Tongue Finger Water + Finger (drink it -- truly "Leave No Trace" (its not as bad as you think)) Snow (when available) Pine Needles / plant leaves / grass stalks / ...


6

To get the hygiene part out of the way, everybody needs to bring or have access to good (alcohol based) hand sanitizer at all times. For deciding on the size of cooking groups: how large is your cooking pot? At scouting we either set up a base camp where we'll cook for the entire group (25 persons) or when hiking we use smaller gear and would split up in ...


6

You could use a towel or (if you can spare the weight) some old news papers. Me and my friends dry everything except for the tents by fire. Just set a line about 3-4 meters away from the fire so it will only catch some of the heat (30-50 degrees Celsius is fine for anything). I know this really doesn't give you an alternative and I'm interested to see what ...


5

You touched on one thing: fires are often seasonal. Want to avoid fires in the Canadian Rockies? Come in the winter time. Want to risk smoke inhilation in the BC interior, come visit in August. Find out what the situation is in the area you are visiting, for the extent of your visit. Most parks have fire safety levels that clearly indicate weather the fire ...


5

What I do is carry a small microfiber cloth. First I rinse my dishes, then I swish with a small amount of boiling water (usually left from our post dinner coffee), and wipe with the cloth. Voila, clean dishes. Sorry I missed the part about "found in the wilderness". Given that just skip the cloth and use the water ;) Another note. If the above method ...


5

A nice rule of thumb that I've used is to hold you hand out at arms length, with the first four fingers of your hand parallel to the ground. Your finger's width represents about 15 minutes of sunlight. So, for example, if I held up my hand and measured about 10 finger widths from the horizon to the current location of the sun, there would be somewhere around ...


5

Yes, and yes. According to people I've talked to who work at the Grand Canyon, visitors from the western United States (especially the rural parts of the Mountain West) find the canyon more impressive than those from the east (especially the urban east). The prevailing theory is that they've learned to see long distances.


5

A quick search yielded this video, which seems straightforward enough. I have never seen anyone use charcloth like in the video, but it seems to work nicely. To summarize the video: Place the charcloth on top of the flintstone with your fingers. Strike the flint until the charcloth is lit. Put the glowing charcloth into a tinder bundle (old rope that has ...


4

One important part of planning back country trips in the West revolves around bears. I'm basing what I write on my trips to Sequoia and Yosemite (which only have black bears), but it should be relevant since Yellowstone has both black bears and grizzlies (which are more aggressive). You'll need to prepare for them, and one thing that people do (and rangers ...


4

This isn't a direct answer to the question, but I want to point out that most ordinary forest fires pose little danger to humans. It is the relatively unusual crown fires which can be very dangerous. In generally dry pine forests, like many parts of the western US, forest fire is a natural and relatively frequent (from the point of view of long-lived ...


4

The difference between someone who knows the elevation of a peak and someone who doesn't is a map. Always bring a map with you, learn to read it well, and keep it dry. You'll live longer.


4

I wasn't able to light an Aladdin kerosene lamp with the sparks of a zippo. (Kerosene needs much more energy to ignite than lighter fluid) As an ironic side question - do you really need a lamp when there is enough sunlight to ignite it with a magnifying glass? ;-)



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