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Questions tagged [gear]

Whenever applicable use a more specific tag like backpack, shoes, stoves, tents, ... Only questions that do not fit into such a tag and are related to any physical equipment for engaging in those activities discussed in The Great Outdoors should use the gear tag.

56
votes
15answers
13k views

What are some common mistakes to avoid when trying winter camping for the first time?

I would like to try winter camping. What are some common mistakes first-timers make when trying to camp in the cold? I would be camping in temperatures between 0 - 32 Fahrenheit (-17 - 0 degrees ...
45
votes
18answers
15k views

Why do I always wake up freezing?

I like to go camping in the forest, mostly in summer, sometimes also when temperatures drop to about 0°C/32°F during the night. I have a three-season sleeping bag (T-comf: -2°C, T-lim: -8°C, ...
44
votes
8answers
12k views

As a tall female should I be looking at male or female backpacks?

When buying stuff I have never cared whether a specific thing is a female or a male model. All I care about is the fit. Since I am tall, a lot of female oriented equipment, e.g. skis, wouldn't even ...
30
votes
1answer
1k views

How are sleeping bag temperature ratings determined?

One things that has always troubled me when buying a sleeping bag is the temperature rating. When looking at a bag that claims to be a +15°F bag (for example) how do I know that it is really good ...
29
votes
14answers
8k views

Are there any situations while backpacking that would require a watch?

One of my favorite things about backpacking is the absence of time constraints, you eat when hungry, sleep when tired and sort of track how much time is left until dark. Would there be any situations ...
28
votes
15answers
6k views

Hiking: How to start?

I would like to get into hiking, and would like some ideas on gear.training to start. I have always enjoyed nature walks and even did some hiking when I was a kid in boy scouts, but that was years ago ...
28
votes
2answers
4k views

At what angle should an ice screw be screwed into the ice?

Recently we were climbing up a glacier with the ice at an angle of around 80°. We were placing the ice screws angling slightly upwards with respect to the slope of the ice wall. However, one from ...
26
votes
2answers
2k views

Do electronics interfere with avalanche beacons?

I have been told that electronics can possibly interfere with avalanche beacons (cell phones, radios, etc., but even flashlights). Is there any truth to this? A source would be helpful, ideally from a ...
25
votes
7answers
3k views

What equipment do I need as a beginner outdoor rock climber?

What are the bare essentials that I need in terms of equipment when it comes to rock climbing? I've done indoor rock climbing but always rented my equipment from the rock-climbing gym. (For the ...
25
votes
4answers
7k views

What is the point of belay glasses?

I was going through the REI website for some of the products and I stumbled upon this one here. It's called Y & Y VERTICAL Classic Belay Glasses The product punchline says: Stop wrenching ...
25
votes
6answers
9k views

What's the best way to carry a dslr camera when rock-climbing?

I am interested in hearing how people take their dslrs (digital single lens reflex camera) onto multi-pitch-rock-climbs. I have carried mine up in a small pack, but I end up taking hardly any pictures,...
25
votes
1answer
1k views

Putting in contact lenses when outdoors

I am wearing contact lenses on a daily basis. Many times, when outdoors, I cannot put in my contact lenses (because of limited time or just no sterile conditions). Is there any cleaner I could safely ...
24
votes
3answers
797 views

How should I check climbing equipment to tell whether it is still safe to use?

I have, unfortunately, not had the opportunity to go climbing (and thus use my climbing equipment) for a couple years. I know that such equipment, especially the rope and webbing, can degrade over ...
23
votes
14answers
8k views

Am I packing too much for a 2-3 day hike in the forests?

I have decided that I would like to hike. I have read a bit on hiking, and bought some gear and a backpack to get started. I want to start with backpacking through mostly flat forests, and later ...
23
votes
9answers
5k views

What are creative uses for retired carabiners?

I seem to have accumulated a good number of carabiners that, while probably still safe, I won't climb on anymore. They might be worn, of questionable origin, or just plain made obsolete by an upgrade. ...
23
votes
4answers
2k views

How to inspect climbing bolts?

I am most interested in setting up a top rope anchor on 2 bolts side by side. I feel like in this case you almost have to be more careful using bolts for a top rope than sport climbing because in ...
23
votes
4answers
4k views

What can I do with a retired rope and harness?

I've recently retired a rope (dynamic) and a harness. They're both in very good shape, but just over 8 years old. Common sense dictates I throw them away, but I wonder if there are other uses I can ...
21
votes
6answers
21k views

How do I know what size ice axe I should get?

I'm going to start mountaineering. Is there a recommended size per height/weight for ice axes for general mountaineering?
21
votes
2answers
14k views

How much does a full/empty jetboil canister weigh?

I have a bunch of partially-full Jetboil canisters from various trips, and I'm trying to figure out approximately how much fuel is left in each of them. How much does a full canister weigh (fuel + ...
21
votes
5answers
1k views

How can I prevent my sun glasses from fogging up when skiing?

When I'm cross-country skiing, I usually wear glacier glasses to protect from the intense glare off the snow. When I'm moving, they usually stay clear . Whenever I stop though, my glasses seem to fog ...
21
votes
3answers
2k views

The best solution for carrying a D-SLR when hiking

I am planning a multi-day hike in the Drakensberg area of South Africa. This is a beautiful landscape with interesting flora and fauna. Consequently I want to have my Digital SLR close to hand. I don'...
21
votes
1answer
9k views

Plastic or fiberglass for a kayak?

I'm an intermediate level kayaker but have only paddled plastic boats. I'm looking for a kayak to do multi-day trips in on the ocean. What are the differences between plastic and fiberglass?
21
votes
2answers
830 views

Chalk: pure, plus drying agent, liquid?

Having only used pure chalk without added substances so far, I wondered how the other types perform. Most of the information I could find online is either somebody ranting against a certain type, or ...
20
votes
6answers
4k views

How to choose a fire steel and use it most effectively?

Fire steels, ferrocerium rods -- oversized versions of the "flint" in a lighter or torch starter, are an apparently popular survival/backwoods fire starting method. Why would one want one of these ...
20
votes
4answers
2k views

Using a Girth Hitch in Alpine Draws

I've recently started making my alpine (or "trad") draws by girth hitching one end of a sling to the gear side carabiner and then clipping and passing the rope side through as usual. The girth hitch ...
20
votes
6answers
10k views

Why do many climbers appear to not trust their belay loops?

The belay loop is the strongest part of the climbing harness, so why do so many climbers not trust it? It’s very common to see climbers backing up their belay loop with a separate piece of webbing or ...
20
votes
2answers
5k views

Why does my belay device have two holes?

I have a belay device that looks like: which I used when I am belaying someone who is top roping or leading. However, my rope only goes through one of those slots. What is the purpose of the other ...
20
votes
2answers
751 views

Things to consider when buying sunglasses

I am going to buy sunglasses. Here is how and where I am going to use them: mountain trekking - with altitude mostly below 2000, however I will use them in the following months on higher mountains (...
19
votes
7answers
15k views

Is there any practical use for a grappling hook?

A friend was asking about grappling hooks the other day, apparently they'd seen a mountaineering program where the guy carried a grappling hook. We couldn't quite figure out why, I've never seen ...
19
votes
8answers
962 views

What can I do to keep my hands warm while using touchscreens in the winter?

Now that it is starting to get cold it is more difficult to use touchscreens while outdoors. I use both an iPhone and a Garmin GPS to geocache and both have touchscreens that require me to take my ...
19
votes
5answers
3k views

Selecting backpacking cooking pot – teflon, aluminum, steel, titanium, or cast iron?

What are the relative advantages / dangers of different cooking wear? I'm a one-pot gourmet that has been using the same stainless steel pot for 15 years, but am considering an upgrade. Some things I ...
19
votes
6answers
3k views

How to make DIY ice axe protectors?

How to make ice axe protectors yourself? I have few ideas from using duck tape to 3D printing, but it would be nice to hear about methods proven to work. The reason I want to add protectors is a lot ...
19
votes
4answers
420 views

How do you know if smaller brands of climbing equipment are safe?

There is a local shop that sells small brand name gear for pretty good prices. I am looking at their harnesses and quickdraws and would like to know: 1) Whether the equipment is safe - say compared ...
19
votes
7answers
38k views

Best rope for a rope swing

A few years ago I, er… a friend of mine, put up a rope swing in a nearby park. It's in a large eucalyptus, about 25 metres high, and is much loved by many local kids – and parents. Originaly I just ...
19
votes
4answers
5k views

How to keep small rocks and stones out of hiking boots?

I keep encountering this issue during summer, when wearing short trousers or a skirt while hiking: my boots get filled up with small rocks and stones, and I must stop from time to time to empty them. ...
19
votes
2answers
730 views

Micro-Fractures in Climbing Equipments

I have always been very careful while handling climbing gear. Last year while returning from an expedition, I met a group that was returning from a tough-looking climb. They were selling off a few of ...
19
votes
3answers
1k views

Dropping gear: Where did the hairline/micro fracture urban legend come from?

In an answer given to this question: Micro-Fractures in Climbing Equipments, it's stated that dropping gear causing micro fractures is a persistent myth, quoting Black Diamond's statement: Q. Is it ...
19
votes
3answers
2k views

What style crampon should I use for my hiking boots and how do I adjust them?

I've been using microspikes on my hiking boots and find that they aren't up to the challenge of hiking up snowy peaks. I use snowshoes but find some mountains would be better served by crampons and ...
18
votes
3answers
853 views

What makes a good head lamp?

I'm looking for a decent head lamp, with a bright light and good battery life. Most on the market these days seem to be LED based, but aside from those three (perhaps obvious) considerations are there ...
18
votes
4answers
369 views

What are the key features to look for in mobile device apps for hiking/camping?

I've used one of the trail apps and was satisfied, but am looking for something better. What are the features I should focus on for selecting an app? What bells and whistles are really useful on the ...
18
votes
6answers
607 views

Is there a type of binoculars to view both nature reserves (birds, etc.) at a distance, and airplanes?

I'm after a pair of binoculars for visiting Nature Reserves to get a better view of colonies of birds on the water (at some distance) etc. Separately I'm interested in aviation and being able to ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

What should a rescue team be equipped with?

The last weekend when I was coming back home from a trek on Sunday noon, I got a news about this accident that took place. The place was on the way, so instead of choosing to rest at home, I chose to ...
18
votes
1answer
8k views

What is the loop on the finger of my winter gloves for?

I have a pair of winter /climbing gloves. Each glove has a small loop on the ring finger, top of the glove. Why? What's it for?
18
votes
2answers
2k views

Starting cross-country skiing off trails

I've done a bit of cross-country skiing on trails at local mountains, but I'm more interested in getting off the trails and out into the woods. The terrain around here is pretty steep in general with ...
18
votes
4answers
5k views

What to look for in a quality tarp?

I'd like to purchase a tarp as some point, both to put up over a small camp at some point, and to use over a hammock. When I've camped with my uncle he's used a folded over builders tarp, which has ...
18
votes
2answers
225 views

Apart from down, is there any outdoor material that should not be stored stuffed?

Down sleeping bags and down jackets should not be stored in the stuffbag, but as loose as possible. Tents, as far as I know, can be stored stuffed as long as they are dry. Are there any other ...
18
votes
2answers
968 views

How to sail a packraft

I would like to use the wind to propel my packraft on passages over lakes. Are there any lightweight and/or improvised sail systems? Especially: how do I erect a mast on the packraft without it ...
18
votes
1answer
398 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? ...
17
votes
5answers
4k views

How to instruct someone how to take off a climbing harness?

After rappelling near waterfalls, or during the rain, the harness often becomes wet and hard to remove -- particularly for inexperienced people. How can I instruct someone in how to remove the ...
17
votes
5answers
2k views

Diving mask colouring

I'm learning to dive and the first purchase is a mask and snorkel. The issue I have is discerning what mask to get colour-wise. There seem to be two main types for the silicon, clear and black. The ...