Questions tagged [safety]

Questions that discuss about precautions need to be taken for ensuring the safety in various outdoor activities that are in scope of The Great Outdoors should be tagged with this tag.

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29 votes
9 answers
12k views

What is the best way to cross streams while backpacking?

I'm curious of a good technique to cross a stream while backpacking that's above the boot's waterproof line but no higher than the knees. I typically face upstream and use my hiking poles for ...
  • 1,485
17 votes
6 answers
55k views

How long does mayonnaise last unrefrigerated in the back-country?

Yes, mayonnaise. It is sold unrefrigerated, and is an essential component of any back-country sandwich. Has anyone reached its limit and had it spoil on them? (I haven't. Of course, I've never had an ...
  • 18.9k
15 votes
1 answer
3k views

Mountaineering / glacial traverse: rope-up or go it alone?

When crossing a glacier (or other mountaineering activity for that matter) I've heard that roping everyone together without having a fixed anchor is falling out of fashion since more often than not if ...
  • 18.9k
25 votes
1 answer
2k 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 ...
  • 1,103
25 votes
5 answers
3k views

How can you prevent kids getting lost at night while camping?

When camping in more remote areas with young kids, how can you make sure they don't take a stroll and get lost in the middle of the night? We won't be near lights, established "bathrooms", etc. The ...
9 votes
2 answers
675 views

What is the best way to break up a fight among dogs on a sled line?

Fights happen. Sled dogs have personalities that aren't always compatible... Is there a technique to breaking up a fight that will minimize risk of injury to both me and my dogs?
  • 18.9k
17 votes
3 answers
19k views

How do you safely cut wood with a knife?

Several people have talked about having single edge knife so that you can cut down small trees. What is the proper way to cut or carve wood with a knife?
14 votes
5 answers
851 views

What qualities to look for in a good emergency whistle?

I've always been taught to keep a whistle on me in case of emergencies - it makes sense since it's small and lightweight but could really help in an emergency. However, something I've never really ...
  • 22.4k
13 votes
5 answers
12k views

Prevent mosquito bites: insect repellent patch or just eat vitamin B1?

I'd like to use natural malaria prevention. Insect repellent patch seems to be very promising. One patch contains 75 mg of B1 and covers 36 hours. However, it's not very cheap. Many other travellers ...
  • 1,804
14 votes
2 answers
4k views

What are the advantages / disadvantages of a rock climbing hat made from hard plastic to one made out of carbon fiber?

What are the advantages / disadvantages of a rock climbing hat made from hard plastic to one made out of carbon fibre? I have done a Google search already, but wanted some pointers with people who ...
  • 2,837
13 votes
3 answers
522 views

Should I always take a hard hat if I go scrambling?

Should I always take a hard hat if I go scrambling? Scrambling (also known as alpine scrambling) is a method of ascending rocky faces and ridges Quite often when I'm out on ridges in the UK, I ...
  • 2,837
10 votes
2 answers
497 views

Is there a functional safety difference in types of helmets

From a pure safety standpoint is there a functional difference between a climbing helmet, cycling helmet, etc? Is a cycling helmet actually the safest solution for a cyclist, or would the greater ...
20 votes
3 answers
6k views

Should a hiker be concerned about wolves in the back-country?

In this question, it was asked whether bear-spray was effective against other animals, such as wolves. I know the old adage that "there has never been record of a healthy wolf attacking an adult" is ...
  • 18.9k
7 votes
3 answers
367 views

Are Personal Flotation Devices a good idea when rafting?

Are Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs/life vests/life jackets) good for rafting? It may seem like a silly question, but I have heard several times now that they increase your danger due to the risk of ...
40 votes
6 answers
3k views

Backpacking or hiking in areas open to hunting

A lot of areas that are good for hiking or backpacking are also popular hunting grounds. I am an avid backpacker and hiker, but I do not know much about hunting. How do I find out what is the ...
  • 2,678
34 votes
6 answers
7k views

How bad do circumstances need to be before activating a PLB?

Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) can be carried during outdoor activities to use in case of an emergency. But are there any guidelines on what exactly constitutes an "emergency"? For example, what ...
  • 3,715
17 votes
3 answers
14k views

Is bear spray effective against other animals?

Is bear spray (pepper spray specially formulated to be effective against bear attacks) effective against other animals, especially mountain lions or wolves? Or is there something in it specifically ...
  • 3,715
32 votes
10 answers
144k views

What are areas of the body which lose heat more quickly, and how can I reduce that loss?

What are the higher heat loss areas of the body and how can I reduce heat loss in those areas?
  • 7,245
39 votes
4 answers
4k views

If I have to cross an icy, flowing river, what are some ways I can cross safely?

If I'm alone in a survival situation and I have to cross a very cold river that's still flowing, how should I accomplish this safely?
  • 3,021
19 votes
2 answers
1k views

How do you make a snow shelter?

Sometimes when mountaineering, there may be an emergency situation which leaves you in bad weather with no or damaged shelter (such as returning from a summit attempt or after a wild and crazy storm). ...
24 votes
3 answers
3k views

Wild camping in subsaharan Africa - madness, blasphemy, or bearable?

What potential dangers / precautions one should take into account when sleeping outside in sub-Saharan Africa? (Let alone countries with unstable political situations.) Just with a sleeping bag, maybe ...
  • 1,804
15 votes
2 answers
5k views

What precautions should I take when hiking among herds of elk?

During certain times of the year, some of the hiking trails near where I live wind through herds of elk standing on or near the trails. What precautions should you take when hiking among elk?
  • 3,715
19 votes
3 answers
4k views

Backup prusik for Abseiling: Where does it go?

When abseiling from an anchor during rock climbing, I like to use a backup prusik as a potential lifesaver in case I screw up. However, I have heard different advice on where to put it, both for ...
  • 2,470
28 votes
1 answer
5k views

Why do shin splints happen?

I've gotten shin splints on long hikes - once 2 weeks into a hike, and another time 2 months. I wasn't able to determine how I got them though, which has really annoyed me! I get that I could ...
  • 6,214
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 ...
  • 5,308
3 votes
0 answers
93 views

What essentials should you bring with you on a day hike? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What are essential items in an emergency kit? Another question asked about emergency supplies you'd bring on a multi-day hiking trip. But many people prefer going on shorter ...
  • 3,715
10 votes
2 answers
877 views

What are the most important indicators of an high-risk avalanche zone?

If I'm heading out ski touring into an area I haven't been, what are the most important things to look for and think about to avoid high-risk areas for avalanches?
  • 1,817
25 votes
5 answers
2k views

When sailing, how do I rescue a man overboard?

If someone falls overboard from a sailboat, it is firstly imperative not to lose sight of the person since finding a man in water, especially when there's waves, can be very difficult. What ...
49 votes
3 answers
23k views

Is it possible to rappel with only a rope? (No harness, Prusik cord, or other gear)

There may be an emergency situation where I find myself needing to lower myself but with no or damaged equipment. Assuming I only have a rope, can I lower myself to safe ground?
11 votes
3 answers
723 views

How do I Eskimo roll a kayak?

If I am whitewater or sea kayaking, it is possible that my kayak will get overturned leading to a live or death situation. I've heard that it is possible to roll the kayak so it is right side up ...
25 votes
6 answers
41k views

Will a tent provide some protection from bears?

When camping in a bear country, will a tent provide an additional protection from bears, as opposed to just sleeping outside or in a hammock? Provided I take the usual precautions of keeping any food,...
  • 2,678
7 votes
1 answer
272 views

How can I minimize the risk of tree wells when backcountry skiing?

When skiing in the backcountry (or even in the trees at resorts), what can be done to minimize the risk of getting trapped in a tree well?
  • 3,715
11 votes
1 answer
2k views

What causes an avalanche and can I predict one?

Avalanches are extremely dangerous when mountaineering, winter backpacking/camping, or backcountry skiing/snowboarding. What causes them and is there any way I can predict when an avalanche is about ...
21 votes
4 answers
3k views

How do I inspect a climbing rope?

It is imperative that climbing ropes are in excellent shape so they don't split while someone is climbing. How do I properly inspect the rope when I'm about to start a climb?
18 votes
2 answers
3k views

What should you do if you see a rattle snake?

In the area where I live, I have periodically seen a rattle snake when hiking, occasionally at the ready to strike pose. What should I do?
54 votes
4 answers
34k views

Is drinking urine safe?

We've all heard stories about how people saved their lives by drinking their urine. Is drinking urine safe when there are no other water sources available? Can I filter it with a water purifier?
  • 7,245
32 votes
6 answers
5k views

What precautions should I take to protect myself and my camp from bears?

Most of my prior hiking experience has been in areas that are not home to bears, so what precautions should I take to protect my camp (and myself as I am hiking) from bears. I am aware of a couple of ...
  • 858
19 votes
3 answers
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 ...
57 votes
11 answers
7k views

How should I remove a tick?

If I find a tick on myself or a friend, what is the best way of removing it? I've heard some people say that singeing the tick with a match makes the tick detach and fall off. However I've also ...
  • 10.7k
17 votes
4 answers
3k views

I found a Deer Tick on my friend and removed it, what should I do now?

While camping with some friends in Anywhere National Forest, I found a deer tick on a friend. After removing it with tweezers, is there anything else I should do? Should we abandon our trip ...
  • 10.7k
21 votes
3 answers
1k views

What steps should I take if someone starts sinking?

What are the steps that should be taken if someone you're hiking with starts to sink uncontrollably into say a marsh? What are some good techniques and points that should be used to get them out ...
  • 22.4k
60 votes
10 answers
14k views

What is the safest way to purify water?

There are a number of ways to purify water, off the top of my head we have filters, iodine, and boiling. Clearly each has some advantage/disadvantage (iodine tastes terrible, boiling takes time). ...
  • 5,308
35 votes
4 answers
1k views

Can I sail a raft on a European river with commercial traffic?

I'm thinking about sailing a part of the Danube, alone, on a self-built raft. I have no experience sailing rivers on any serious basis. I'm considering a raft for a number of reasons: It's cheap. ...
  • 1,421
17 votes
3 answers
709 views

What are the critical dimensions to a safe bear-bag?

Many outdoor areas that have bears have bear bag-lines setup for hikers. In situations where the bear-bag line is not there or it is full, what dimensions should I keep in mind to protect my goodies ...
  • 712
32 votes
7 answers
14k views

Where in the Alps is it safe to drink the water without filtering?

In some places, the Swedish Lappland for example, it's perfectly fine and even recommended to drink water directly from streams. Is it also recommended whilst hiking in the Alps, and if so is it only ...
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