Hot answers tagged

61

Comparing hydrocarbons with batteries As Olin Lathrop wrote, the big problem is energy density: hydrocarbon fuels simply offer a huge amount of energy per unit mass, compared to any current battery technology. To put some numbers on this, we can look at Wikipedia's page on energy density. Let's compare ethanol (probably the least energy-dense of the ...


36

The tent just makes your intent obvious: You planned to sleep there from the beginning. And this is what the authorities want to prevent: Camping in the wild. On the other hand many legislations allow for emergency and high altitude bivouacs, which are inevitable. So the gray area developed where people sleep without a tent in order to escape punishment, as ...


23

There are no electric backcountry stoves because there aren't long enough extension cords. Seriously, where do you propose to get the energy from? Batteries of current technology don't have the same energy density by weight or volume as chemical fuel does. Battery technology is advancing rapidly, so some day this may no longer be the case, but today it ...


20

It's not really about the tent, it is about planned "bivouacs" (that means you plan to sleep outdoors) and emergency bivouacs where the latter of course aren't forbidden. That means if you carry a tent and sleep in it, it was obviously planned to sleep outdoors where people possibly do harm to the nature because they generally don't follow the Leave No ...


16

If the wind is blowing from all directions, then you need to get as low as possible to the ground. Do your best to find a spot that is somewhat sheltered from the wind. The lee of a crest usually works, but if you have wind blowing from all directions then try to find a recess in the ground - a low spot where the ground that slopes up in all directions away ...


16

The question doesn't state what geographical area it's about, and it really isn't possible to give an answer that covers everything. In this answer, I'm only going to deal with pristine backcountry areas in North America, such as the Sierra. In order to interpret the scientific evidence properly, it's necessary to understand some scientific background about ...


14

In Central Europe there is a much higher population density as e.g. in many parts of the USA, Canada or Scandinavia. There is almost no valley without a village. So private property is rather rare and the land owner want to protect it. In Austria there had even been a law from 1852 (Reichsforstgesetz), which prohibited entering the forest completely. Not ...


13

According to Backpacker, and the National Park Service, peeing attracts some large predators because animals like the salty taste: ...urinate well away from camp on rock, sandy areas, or duff. Animals are attracted to salts in urine... I would argue, therefore, that urinating around your campsite is not a good idea when near large predatory animals. ...


12

There are differing schools of thought on this: Rolling/folding is a lot easier to manage in my opinion, easier to keep track of all the pieces, and when camping in dirty/snowy/wet environments makes it easier to keep the ground side of the tent together and the clean(ish) parts away from it. Stuffing results in fewer creases in the fabric over extended ...


12

Types of satellite-based emergency beacons Personal Locator Beacons Personal Locator Beacons (or PLBs) have one and only one purpose: to send your location to emergency responders, indicating that you need some kind of urgent help. They use a satellite network operated by government agencies worldwide, and send your distress call directly to a ...


12

Different land managers have different takes on this so I don't think you're going to get a solid answer that applies across all areas. I generally use the term "trail camp" to describe what you're talking about. An area with up turned rocks for sitting and doing stuff on, a fire ring, some flat spots for sleeping, etc. I've never dismantled a single one, ...


11

I would say any time you're in an undeveloped area, it is OK and perhaps the most ethical thing to do, to dismantle fire rings. They encourage over-use of a particular spot, collect trash, etc. When you're in a developed camping area, you should not dismantle them. Having the fire ring there ensures that the damage from fires is kept to one area, thus ...


11

Yes, there are special places where you are allowed to sleep outside if you are climbing there. And by "outside" I mean without a tent, because these locations are (more or less) weatherproof by having roofs of rock. They usually have a a lot of sand on the ground which makes them quite comfortable. The local term of such a place is "boofe". They are a bit ...


10

A multi-tool or a knife? A multi-tool can be a very appropriate tool for backpacking. It combines the function of many of the tools you mentioned. You may carry the tools you mention above, though. (Note: I've NEVER needed a bottle opener...) If you mean a knife, read on... I do a lot of backpacking in the Eastern US, so I am going to assume that this ...


9

A rolled up sleeping pad is generally pretty lightweight, meaning the "you could misbalance your pack and strain your back" concern is probably one you can ignore. People try not put them inside because they may not fit, or they may get squashed. If the pads are waterproof, which is common, you really don't need to worry about the pad getting wet from ...


9

I think having it vertically using side compression straps or bungees on the rear of the bag effects movement the least (ie not getting caught on stuff). As Kate Gregory mentions the pads are really light and don't affect the balance of the bag too much so I wouldn't worry about that. foam pads like the one you have are also really tough! Unlike an ...


9

wild camping in the UK is a gray area. Technically it is illegal to wild camp anywhere (Scotland and Dartmoor are the exceptions it is actually legal to wild camp in any unenclosed area there). Practically though, wild camping is tolerated in most wild areas (unenclosed remote areas like the breacon's). You need to be careful though and obey some simple ...


9

I've been out in the woods with companions who have suffered severe burns. You first priority is to relieve the pain, you accomplish this by removing the heat from the burn. Cool clean water is your best friend for the first few hours at least, have the victim stick his hand in a cool clean lake or stream. I say cool water, not cold water. If the water is ...


9

Population density Germany: 228 pop/km2; US: 33. Much of the land is simply privately owned. Most surface area (public or private) is used one way or another (residential, forestry, agriculture): There is no "wild" or "great outdoors" in Germany with the exception of a few National Parks (Alps, Oder, Bavarian Forest, among others) which are regulated just ...


9

There are a large range nice routes you could do. Generally, I would say the further North you go the wilder/more remote it will be. Although if you go really far North, the options for Munros does decrease somewhat. For specific routes, the "official" Scottish coast to coast goes from Oban to St. Andrews, and has some options for remote bits and Munros ...


8

There is the same discussion with paragliders getting porose due to packing methods. And there has been a lot of literature to that topic (a paraglider costs 3.000 USD after all), with a simple conclusion: As nhinkle mentioned, the different methods result in different stress to the fabric. Usually your tent will get damaged due to constant stress on the ...


8

Two parts to this answer: First, I am playing around with some statistics on assaults and murders in the US National Parks, and I am coming to the conclusion that the most dangerous animal in the outdoors is homo sapiens, who will be attracted by your fire. Second, maybe 20 years ago I read a speculation by a respected anthropologist, the gist of which was ...


8

A cast is meant to promote long-term healing of a broken bone, and getting a cast typically requires a doctor in a definitive care environment. A splint is the preferred treatment for fractures and sprains in the field. The purpose of a splint is to immobilize the limb around the injury. A good splint should be well padded, comfortable for the patient, and ...


8

According to German law, bivouacking (defined as sleeping outside for one night without a tent) is generally allowed in Germany, but only outside from nature protection areas. Camping is generally forbidden outside of designated campsites. As you mention, large parts of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains are under statutory protection within Saxon Switzerland ...


8

Battery powered stoves and ovens are available, but they don't get as hot as a regular oven. They are designed to plug into a car's 12V outlet, so they need a car battery, which is impractical for someone on foot. As a result, they are not designed to be light weight. They work for car camping, though. In the US, they are often used by truckers living out of ...


8

I'm going to chime in on a more practical answer. The question is not "What is the scientific case for Giardia". The question is "Why are people so scared of it?" "Or why is everyone so scared of it now, when no one seemed to care before?" Or in other words, we're not talking about how dangerous Giardia is, but rather why people are worried; specifically ...


7

At least 60m away, and 5m high. I doubt that there is such a thing a bag that bears absolutely can't smell through. Bears and other animals with rhinariums (wet nose) not only smell better than humans, they smell in a different way, they can literally taste odours. A bears sense of smell is roughly 2100 times more sensitive than a humans. Even if you got a ...


7

I bring a very small pocket knife with me when I'm backpacking (or whatever they call the activity in Europe...?) As you say, it's convenient because it combines several tools in one. You don't really need three big, heavy pieces of silverware. What works for me is a spoon as my main thing to cook and eat with, plus the pocket knife for tasks like cutting ...


7

I switched to using a self inflating mattress years ago, mostly because of the problem of the bulk of foam mats, and having them outside the pack while working though dense bush. Inside as shown is really not useful. The mat does not conform to the contours of the pack pack, leaving very little space for your gear. If you have space inside your pack, role ...


7

Hyenas aren't closely related to wild dogs (1), but a predator is a predator is a predator, and running from a predator says "I am prey." How worried should you be if you come upon hyenas? The first thing to note is: are they striped or spotted? If they are striped, they may be more interested in your oranges (2) than you. If they are spotted, be ...



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