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comment How would I find a hot spring?
Given the weather, have you checked if existing springs give themselves away with plumes?
comment What should one do when get a cramp while swimming?
Google "drown proofing"
comment How to rate a walk/hike by length, height gain, etc using analysis of GPS data?
Much depends on the smoothing algolrithms, however on canoe trips the altitude registers usually within 5-10 meters of the marked elevation of the lake. However, I tend to use just the contour lines on the map route. Count the ones crossed or touched.
comment How do I balance the muscle usage and strength of my body when long-distance hiking?
Few tasks were so exclusively walking that the rest of the body didn't get a workout, and in the time frame you are most likely concerned about (days, weeks hiking) the degradation in upper body strength is relatively minor. However backpacking rough terrain gives me far more than just a leg workout.
comment Is a tarp necessary if you have a tent with a rainfly and a footprint?
Pitching a tarp: Method 1. Expected good weather, and you want the breeze, but not the dew. One corner to a tree, 5 feet up, kitty corner to a tree or rock 2 feet up. Other corners to tree or rock 2 feet up. Method 2. Expect bad weather. Middle of short edge tied to tree at height that adjacent corners just touch the ground. Opposite edge pegged to ground. Method 3: Expected snow. Wrap the lower tier of branches of a large spruce with the tarp. Possibly because I don't for so many years, it seldom takes me more than a few minutes to set up, far less than for a tent.
comment Is a tarp necessary if you have a tent with a rainfly and a footprint?
Often on expeditions I'm cook. I'm the last one to carve a niche for myself. On Canadian sheild country finding a flat spot that is neither a sloped slab of granite, a pile of boulders, or a swamp can be tricky. With a tarp, I can make do if there is a sleeping bag sized comfortable spot.
comment How do I fold in / tidy up the straps on my rucksack?
Don't cut them too short. Cut them at an angle, and fuse the ends with a lighter.
comment How to keep water cold in hot weather?
I question that this answer will be effective. If the original poster has tried various insulations, devices, and still is not satisifed, then this is unlikely to add much time.
comment How can I prevent snow-balls building up in my dog's paws?
I think I saw this in a booklet "How to train Lead Dogs -- My Way" Only place I've seen it sold is was in the add section of a musher's magazine. I never tried it. When the dogs wanted to stop and chew out their ice balls, I'd let them. I found that in training they would chew out enough hair that it wasn't a big issue. But I wasn't racing. I was running 2 week expeditions into the shield.