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34

Hiking blisters are from friction. When things shift, your sock is more likely to stay with your boot than your foot as the two fabrics (or leather and fabric) will catch each other. This leaves the sock moving against your foot, which causes friction. When you wear two socks, specifically a smooth liner and a wool hiking sock, the outer sock moves ...


29

Humidity Keeping clothing dry in normal weather can be challenging, but high humidity or precipitation regions can make this even more difficult. That's because humidity is really a "relative" measure and means the amount of water vapor that the air can hold at a given temperature before condensation. The condensation can occur in the sky as rain, near ...


25

To answer my own question. I checked it with different dealers and experts, and all of them told that if I want to use it on regular basis, I should consider inflatables as toys. Also here in Switzerland it counts as flotation device and is not allowed more than 150 meters offshore. I bought myself a hardshell kayak for about 300$ more and next Monday I ...


24

Outside more room left inside for other stuff. More likely to rip a hole in your gear when you toss your pack down. More options for weight placement (which can lead to off-blanced pack.) More likely to fall off. Inside Better protection from the elements, rocks, branches. Weight is closer to your center of gravity (and usually better balanced). ...


24

Your legs aren't as sensitive to temperture extremes. Right now it's winter here and I'm walking around outside with a regular shirt, a wool sweater, and a wind breaker on my torso. Inside I take off the windbreaker an sweater. However, inside or outside, I'm wearing the same single-layer pants and it's not a problem. My legs don't feel hot inside or ...


22

I'm going to say that fit is one of the most important elements. I highly suggest you find yourself a store and try on a lot of backpacks. Make sure you properly adjust them. Usually, someone in a store will be able to help you out. Additionally, the various features you listed are useful for different activities. When buying a pack, consider what you'll be ...


20

The absolute best is going to be titanium, but it also happens to be the most expensive. I'm not sure where you heard that it shatters in the cold, but being a space age metal I would think it can handle cold earth temperatures just fine. If you can't shell out the cash for titanium it's more or less a toss up between aluminum and stainless steel. ...


20

Sadly, in North America, there is no rating beyond what each manufacturer decides for itself. I suspect that in the US especially, some thought goes into liability (i.e. if someone freezes to death in a bag that's rated to 0F and it's 20F out, they could be in trouble). Certain manufacturers gain a reputation for conservative ratings, others for optimistic ...


19

Some sleeping bags come with a larger sack which does not unnecessarily compress the sleeping bag. So you might get a linen bag of around 50l volume (depends on the size and type of the sleeping bag). Furthermore, it is best to store it in a dry place, especially if it's a sleeping bag with down stuffing.


18

Failure by cutting is a primary concern. In terms of safety (rather than e.g. rope life) laboratory (UIAA) fall testing may not be the most important concern. Even a new, thick rope can be cut in a single fall across a sharp edge. This also applies to so-called "edge resistant" (defunct UIAA 108 standard) ropes. See this Yellow Spur fatality report. ...


17

When I bought my sleeping back from the scouts I was told not to store it in its stuff sack for long periods, and instead to hang it on a coat hanger so that it doesn't get compressed. I was also told to stuff it into the bag rather than roll it as that way the bits that get squashed when compressed are different each time.


17

In Canada, at least, we do distinguish between kayaks and canoes, and those are the words I'll use for the contrast here. To first make sure there's no confusion, have a look at the articles in wikipedia: "A kayak is a small, relatively narrow, human-powered boat primarily designed to be manually propelled by means of a double bladed paddle. The ...


16

Blisters usually form when your socks get sweaty and things start to rub around. When I first bought my pair of boots, the man in the store told me to wear them around the house for an hour every night for a week or two before my trip. This gives you a chance to break in the leather slowly over time, while keeping your feet blister-free. Obviously, this ...


16

The difference between a single wall tent and a double wall tent is the rain fly (or lack thereof). A single wall tent has only one layer of fabric, this layer provides protection from the elements, and is the only walls of the tent. A double wall tent usually has a mesh inner tent with a fly that sits on top to protect you from the elements. The benefits ...


16

Perhaps the most obvious and commercially available is solar, which has options ranging from small pocket-sized chargers to roll-out military grade flexible panels. I believe Brunton makes a consumer grade version of the latter (not as bullet-proof), and iGo has some nice versions of the former. I have used both with some success, the panel is probably ...


15

Although I am not a lab technician it is important to understand the dynamics at play in these tests. Below is the best example I have read on the subject. For the full article please read below. Alpine Exposures - Climbing ropes explained UIAA Wikipedia NOTE: Also included is the section on "impact force", which is a factor of the fall height, weight ...


14

There are a lot of unspecified variables involved here... type of socks, fit of the shoe/boot, type of shoe, conditions you are hiking in, etc. But in general, double-socking may offer the following which may help prevent blisters: reduced friction - assuming one sock is a thin slick liner sock which tends to stick to your foot while the outer sock ...


14

Here is what I look for in a good headlamp: LED is best for most uses, but you need to decide if you want a "spot focused" LED (usually one high powered LED in the center) or "diffuse light" LEDs (usually an array of many small LEDs). I like headlamps that have both, but sometimes you want one over the other (do you want maximum distance vision on a dark ...


14

I think capacitive gloves are your best bet. Basically, they are gloves with something that allows the screen to close a circuit with your body (your hands) and that makes the screen work. I've provided some links to reviews, but the bottom line is this: at the temperature you're describing (around 0 degrees Celsius) they will probably do the job reasonably ...


13

I've used both kinds of packs. External frame packs are generally cheaper, can carry more gear, and allow much better ventilation to your back. In addition to the main compartment and side pockets, most external frame packs also have an area above and below the main compartment where gear can be lashed. Internal frame packs tend to have larger interior ...


13

ALWAYS bring a patch kit for an air mattress. If your airpad is going flat something is wrong (though perhaps the wrong part is just getting a cheap mattress). Get a pump that you can plug into your car (you're car camping after all). Buy memory foam to lay out on top of your pad. Do not inflate your mattress to be completely taut. You want some give ...


13

I'm not sure why pants don't receive the same attention but the layers are available. You can easily find base, insulating, and shell layers. Olin's answer gives some good reasons layering pants may not seem as common. In reply: (2) There are full-side-zip pants for mountaineers (crampons) and wide-opening pants for skiers/boarders and regular boots. ...


12

One of the things I've heard that wildland firefighters like to do (they often wear large, all leather boots, like these: Danner Flashpoint II) is put on the boots, stand in the bathtub with water and let the water soak through the boots with your feet on, and then wear them around the house for a few hours. It seems to work - as it softens the boots and ...


12

To me it's one of those sounds that can be soothing initially, but start to grate on you after hearing it for hours. You could try ear plugs. I don't wear them because I like being able to hear my surroundings, but I often see people camping with mp3 players, so not everyone appears to feel the need to be aware of their surroundings!


12

If you have a synthetic sleeping bag, you can put your hiking clothes down the bag, near your feet, when you go to sleep. Your body warmth will help them get drier. Note, however, that they will not be completely dry by morning, but will still remain somewhat damp. Still, better than completely wet. And do not use this method with a down bag.


12

I would say you need things in this order. Only #1 is required: A harness. You can't climb with a rope unless you have one. Shoes. You can get by with runners, but climbing shoes make a world of difference. Chalk/chalk bag. If you don't sweat much, this is not crucial, but a little chalk is very nice for keeping your fingers from being slippery. If you ...


12

Your equipment list will depend on whether you are: Free soloing (climbing without protective equipment; not good for a beginner!) Top roping Lead climbing Assuming that you aren't Free soling, because there you don't need anything, you'll need at least the following in order: A friend that can belay you You're definitely not going to go solo when ...


12

Don't use cotton socks for hiking. When your feet sweat, the socks become wet, and take forever to dry out. Good socks remove the bacteria and moisture that thrive in the environment created by sweating feet and help to prevent blisters. Cotton retains moisture, thus cotton socks will not do the job properly. Rather, buy non-itching ("merino") wool, ...


12

You really want a saw or camp axe for this purpose, but if using a knife you want one without serrations. Serrations are not a replacement for a saw. A saw cuts a kerf wider than the blade itself so it (with skill) doesn't jam. Serrations are usually placed near the handle which is exactly where you don't want them because this is where you have the most ...


12

One advantage teflon brings to the wilderness is how easy it is to clean. The heat on backpacker stoves can be hard to regulate, it's not uncommon for hot spots that get food stuck to the bottom of the pot or worse, burnt to the bottom (I'm looking at you pasta + sauce packets!). Teflon makes it less likely to get stuck, often needing only to be wiped off ...



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