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.

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33 votes
1 answer
2k 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 ...
18 votes
2 answers
7k views

How do I attach a hammock to trees?

On my next vacation, I will be camping in a tent on a designated campsite. I saw somebody use a hammock for lounging during the day last time, so quickly got a cheap hammock from eBay, with a "let's ...
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18 votes
1 answer
587 views

How are camping fuels named in different languages and geographies?

There exist a plethora of different camping fuels, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Depending on your cooking equipment (mainly the used stove/burner) and the environmental conditions ...
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14 votes
6 answers
4k views

What characteristics should I look for in a good torch/flashlight?

I'm looking to buy a flashlight/torch (or build my own even if that works out cheaper), and am looking to take the following into consideration: Good battery life (LEDs would probably suit best in ...
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24 votes
3 answers
980 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 ...
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16 votes
1 answer
2k views

Slings for anchoring and lanyard in rock climbing

Probably common question, but: What slings do you use to build anchors for belaying the 2nd in rock climbing? Dyneema or nylon? I had discussed this problem with my friend and he said that Dyneema is ...
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19 votes
1 answer
880 views

Can you use a rope that has been in storage for a few years?

A guy I'm talking to about buying some rock climbing gear is getting rid of his stuff cause he hasn't used it in five to eight years. He said it wasn't used a lot, maybe 5 to 6 times, and he said no ...
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18 votes
3 answers
26k views

Is permethrin safe for cats after it dries?

I'm concerned about ticks and want to treat some of my outdoor gear with Permethrin, a spray-on very persistent treatment against ticks and mosquitoes, to reduce the chances that I'll bring home ticks ...
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16 votes
5 answers
2k views

How can rope/cordage be packed to minimize tangles?

I generally pack my cordage in little bundles like Unfortunately for any significant length (100' for instance) it just turns into a wadded mess when I try and use it. How can I pack this stuff ...
16 votes
1 answer
601 views

How well does solar recharging work when strapped to the backpack?

This answer recommends solar cells to recharge batteries. However, this likely works best during a layover day. I usually don't have those. For a nice-to-have situation, how well does it work to ...
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16 votes
4 answers
6k views

What are the advantages of different locks for collapsible trekking poles?

I've generally seen two kinds of locks for adjustable trekking poles. Twist lock and clamp lock (Clamp lock is also called "lever lock" and "quick lock"). What are the comparative advantages and ...
13 votes
2 answers
2k views

How do I get cam slings replaced?

I bought my first set of cams and I've been curious about what happens when the slings start to wear out. Are they user-replaceable? The ones I purchased seem to be very un-user-replaceable: How do I ...
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13 votes
4 answers
2k views

Stove/fuel setup for harsh conditions

We already have topics on fuels here and here which give quite an overview. Also REI gives some info how to choose your stove and fuel properly. Still I would like to know what are the best options ...
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12 votes
2 answers
5k views

How should I choose between setting up a Cordelette or an Equalette climbing anchor?

I was going through anchoring techniques and I came across this well-received question: Anchor without cordelette? How should one decide when to go for a Cordelette or an Equalette?
11 votes
1 answer
13k views

What is the best way to re-waterproof a nylon tarp?

I have a ProForce All Weather Shelter, which is listed as being "210T rip-stop nylon". On a recent outing, we had four hours of rain overnight and it leaked on me the entire time. Upon closer ...
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10 votes
1 answer
2k views

Advantages of wool/felt jackets

I consider buying a jacket made from wool. The fabric is some kind of felt. I hade one when I was younger, but since these jackets are really expensive I would like to know how they perform compared ...
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29 votes
7 answers
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 ...
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24 votes
10 answers
6k 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. ...
24 votes
2 answers
30k 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 + ...
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23 votes
4 answers
5k 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 ...
  • 2,456
18 votes
2 answers
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 ...
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18 votes
1 answer
472 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
6 answers
12k views

What is the proper way to tarp tent to avoid condensation?

I tried pitching a tarp instead of a tent this weekend. In worked well, kept off the rain etc, except for the condensation. It was far worse than any condensation I've ever had in a tent. We had ...
16 votes
2 answers
2k views

What wetsuit thickness is recommended in which temperatures for diving?

I'm soon to embark on a chilly scuba dive around 5-7C at 18m, of which we'll be wearing 7mm semi-drys with shorties. The next thickest I think is actually a drysuit for really cold waters, but not ...
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15 votes
3 answers
438 views

How to select a good GPS receiver?

What should one look for in the specifications to determine whether a handheld purpose-built GPS receiver provides good navigational consistency under reasonably normal, low-speed conditions? Highly ...
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15 votes
7 answers
7k views

Is a type of walking trailer a good alternative to a heavy backpack in off-road conditions?

Heavy backpacks can spoil the pleasures of being in the outdoors. There are two ways to resolve this: Carry less Find an alternative to the backpack While the first option is usually the best one, ...
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14 votes
4 answers
4k views

Why might one need a 2000 lumen headlamp?

I was just looking at a product my friend was bragging about, a headlamp with 2000 lumen intensity. When and why would I be needing such a powerful headlamp? I usually trek in jungles and forests and ...
14 votes
5 answers
5k views

Do emergency space blankets actually work?

Inspired by a space blanket being included in emergency winter kits, I wonder if there's any rigorous study about whether these things actually work and in what ways to best use them. In my own ...
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13 votes
1 answer
1k views

Do folding cross country skis exist?

Do folding (or telescoping) cross-country skis exist and if so are they useable? Update: Or are there small cross-country skis that are short enough for easy transport, yet still capable of providing ...
13 votes
4 answers
1k views

How should I pack for a week of backpacking in the rain?

So, next week I will be leaving on a hiking trip, which was supposed to be in the middle of summer whilst it's at its hottest, but instead it will be raining all week. Luckily there are public use '...
11 votes
2 answers
4k views

Do "R" values add proportionally?

For winter camping it is recommended to use a sleeping pad with an R value greater than 5. Can you alternatively use two closed cell 2.5R pads one on top of each other? If using an inflatable pad ...
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11 votes
3 answers
853 views

How do hikers cross fast-flowing rivers without wading staffs?

Outdoor instructions in Lapland often recommend to always use a wading staff for river crossings, and not a trekking pole. Ever since I purchased my Folding Wading Staff in a Swedish outdoor store, I ...
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10 votes
1 answer
410 views

How to get started with packrafts?

I love hiking and I'm starting to love longer cycling trips too. I've done combined cycling/hiking trips (cycling to the trailhead of a hike). Last summer I met someone who carried an inflatable raft ...
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8 votes
1 answer
466 views

Understanding the transition in USCG Personal Flotation Device (PFD) Labeling

In this question a couple years ago: What do life jacket ratings mean (Type I, Type II, etc)?, we see the traditional types many of us learned about in Boating Safety courses, or in Scout/ Youth camp, ...
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8 votes
1 answer
200 views

Differences for bivi packs

I would like to do a winter bivouac but have no gear for it yet. Especially the choice of a bivi pack is really tough for me because I'd prefer to be able to use it also in summer as a rescue item and ...
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8 votes
1 answer
1k views

I have a compass but no watch, how can I tell when it will get dark?

I was reading all of the answers to Are there any situations while backpacking that would require a watch? and surprised at the number of answers that said you need a watch so you would know how long ...
7 votes
1 answer
531 views

How can I improve on the straps on my travel pack?

I'm not back packing in the wilderness. I hope that doesn't disqualify me from asking a question that I think is still relevant for back-packers in general. I have an MEI Travel Pack that I'm pretty ...
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4 votes
0 answers
427 views

How to abseil without a descender device? [duplicate]

Lets assume I am abseiling multiple pitches with some tuber device and at some point at a belay I dropped the device. How do I improvise something that does the braking while descending? I still have ...
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4 votes
2 answers
251 views

How and when to sharpen ice screws?

Ice screws need to be sharp to be placed into the ice, and just like anything with an edge they will get dull over time. How would one know when to sharpen an ice screw, and once they do need to be ...
4 votes
1 answer
160 views

What features should I look for in a packraft?

Reading through are other packrafting questions it looks like it would be a neat activity, especially since there are quite a few beautiful alpine lakes that would be neat to float across and they ...
46 votes
18 answers
17k 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, ...
34 votes
5 answers
14k views

Is sleeping on the ground in cold weather better than on an air mattress?

My friend and I had an argument about this topic. He says that the cold air in the mattress will stay at the ambient temperature, so if it's -20 outside the air in the mattress will stay at -20 so I'...
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29 votes
15 answers
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 ...
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27 votes
14 answers
9k 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 ...
25 votes
14 answers
13k 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 ...
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23 votes
7 answers
42k 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
3 answers
1k 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 ...
20 votes
2 answers
784 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 (...
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19 votes
4 answers
1k 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 ...
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19 votes
3 answers
2k 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 ...
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