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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22 votes
2 answers
4k views

Why does suspension trauma happen?

This question once more brought up the topic of suspension trauma. I tried to read up on the topic, but found that the Wikipedia page was not as informative as I would have liked. Especially I'm ...
  • 12.3k
6 votes
2 answers
341 views

How should helmets be placed on the ground?

Imagine you are sitting around ready to begin; you have your gear spread out, and your helmets are off. How should you place your helmet so that it doesn't wander off?
29 votes
3 answers
9k views

What should one do when climbing if someone above you yells ROCK?

Hearing someone above you yell ROCK when climbing is a scary experience because that means that an object (usually a rock) is plummeting down to the route towards you. Hopefully you are wearing your ...
54 votes
10 answers
20k views

What are the dangers of walking barefoot in towns/cities?

I've walked barefoot practically all summer for every summer I can remember. However now that I'm a teenager my Mum is saying I need to wear shoes because of glass, needles, worms and diseases. I have ...
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5 votes
4 answers
758 views

Are there sound-based alternatives to whistle signals for group communication?

Whistles can be used to signal to group members, however the downside is that other people may think you are having an emergency. Are there any other devices that would allow you to signal with noise ...
8 votes
2 answers
885 views

What should go in the hiking/backpacking plan that you leave with someone else? [duplicate]

It is good practice on a hiking or backpacking trip to leave a written plan behind with someone. Then if you fail to return by your estimated date Search and Rescue will have an idea of where to look ...
11 votes
4 answers
7k views

Are there standard whistle signals for communicating with separated party members?

Similar to the previous question that turned up when I searched on this topic: Is there a standard set of light signals for mountaineers?, but for sound? Repeating sets of 3 blasts is standard for ...
  • 113
12 votes
1 answer
512 views

Sign in/Sign out sheets for dangerous passages while hiking!

Many years ago, while hiking with a friend, we came across a particular point in the trail which was rather dangerous. If one slipped, the fall would surely be fatal. What struck me most is the fact ...
  • 9,574
10 votes
3 answers
21k views

How do you get bear spray off skin and or gear?

Let's say that you are out backpacking and a bear spray canister accidentally goes off and gets on your skin or in your eyes or onto your clothing? It can't be a pleasant experience as it is meant to ...
6 votes
2 answers
7k views

How dangerous are wild horses?

In some parts of the western United States there are herds of wild horses. How dangerous could a herd be to a human on foot while hiking or backpacking? If they are dangerous how should a human ...
5 votes
2 answers
3k views

How effective or ineffective are tactical flashlights on bears? [duplicate]

I've seen ads touting tactical flashlights, and at least one such flashlight was claimed to be capable of "blind[ing] a bear". I wanted a reality check, and not specifically whether a sufficiently ...
28 votes
13 answers
7k views

Are there any tips for preventing a vehicle from being broken into while parked at a trailhead?

It is fairly common practice to drive to a trailhead, park your vehicle and then go backpacking for a while. It would be a real bummer to come back from a trip and find that your vehicle has been ...
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

Ski setup for skijoring

I was born on ski's and switched to snowboarding and now on the return to skiing. However I intend to do both downhill and skijoring in the next season (skiing with my dogs) I am having trouble ...
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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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
283 views

Is there any statistical evidence that hunting reduces the likelihood of mountain lion attacks?

There has been some discussion on this question about whether or not hunting would increase or decrease the likelihood of a mountain lion attack. I have seen some websites saying that it does not, but ...
4 votes
2 answers
675 views

Why does the intensity of sunlight at sunset/sunrise depend on your latitude?

Why is sunlight in mornings and evenings more intense in the temperate zones than in the tropics? It is more difficult to drive facing the sun at 7am for example in Auckland, NZ than at Singapore.
34 votes
9 answers
23k views

When back country camping, how do you avoid being attacked by a mountain lion in your sleep?

I'm looking to camp in SE Oregon. At minimum, my girlfriend and I will have sleeping bags. We're open to adding a tent, fire, and other stuff as recommended. Our goal is to be able to hike around ...
10 votes
2 answers
5k views

Should I use one or two trekking poles?

I am preparing for a Himalayan Expedition which requires a trekking pole at the altitude of 16000 ft and melting snow condition. I haven't used any aluminium/carbon fibre poles yet. I usually find a ...
16 votes
2 answers
509 views

What safety equipment should I carry for sea-touring by kayak?

What equipment should I carry in case of emergency on a coastal kayaking trip? I normally do short trips (1 week or less) around the islands of northwest Scotland. I tend to travel solo (sometimes no ...
  • 4,395
6 votes
3 answers
292 views

Under what circumstances would I wish to extend the handle length of a snow saw?

A snow saw is useful for building snow shelters and for avalanche danger testing. Some models are said to be easily attached to ski/trek poles in order to increase the handle length. Under what ...
  • 3,974
11 votes
3 answers
414 views

How to cross rivers or streams at night or in darkness?

I am preparing a dayhike with some buddies of mine but to get to the trailhead, we have to cross more than ten river crossings which are passable by huge vehicles. The water there is quite fast and ...
  • 1,503
14 votes
5 answers
3k views

What could possibly go wrong in Sarek?

I want to go hiking in Sweden this summer with a few friends (forming a group of about 5-7 people) for one or two weeks. The goals we targeted were mainly Kungsleden and Sarek. While a hike on ...
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55 votes
7 answers
10k views

Is it dangerous to rope together on an ascent of hard packed ice?

This image has recently come under considerable criticism on social media for dangerous mountaineering practices. The location is unknown as the qualified mountain guide observer wanted to maintain ...
  • 2,879
19 votes
4 answers
3k views

How to deal with dogs on public hiking trails?

I occasionally try hiking or cycling, and I notoriously have to deal with the silly issue of dogs roaming freely through villages, even on public trails. Until now, never have I been threatened by a ...
  • 525
9 votes
4 answers
275 views

What should I look for in a used wet suit?

I am considering getting a used wet suit for sailing and canoeing in the early spring and next fall. What should I look for? Based on the related Q&A below, it looks like I will want 6-7mm (1/4 ...
10 votes
2 answers
2k views

Can Propane lose its stink?

Propane is naturally odorless, the smell we associate with it is the result of adding ethyl mercaptan. Is it possible for the ethyl mercaptan to deteriorate, bind with something in the tank or ...
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

How to manage the risks of sleeping and cooking in a camper van?

There is a significant proportion of individuals who enjoy the Great Outdoors that also travel to the wilderness in vehicles converted for camping (RV, Vans, some boats etc). For those living an ...
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13 votes
1 answer
3k views

How do you remove leeches from your eyeball?

Leeches have been known to fall and attach on the eyeballs of hapless hikers. Where I'm from, if a leech attaches itself to you, you just spray it with alcohol and it will shrink and fall off. ...
  • 1,503
7 votes
1 answer
239 views

How to safely use reverso with ferrata harness?

Ferrata harnesses (FH) can be probably safely used also for climbing, as stated in another post. However, I am not sure how to use the reverso with FH. This is because in a usual FH, the belay ...
  • 255
5 votes
1 answer
665 views

How to improvise a rescue 'throw bag' rope?

Dealing with water rescue, it is valuable to have an easily thrown rope nearby. There are specific items made for this, such as this throw bag with 50 ft. of high visibility MFP rope by Scotty. How ...
  • 3,939
13 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why are carabiners so much weaker if the gate is open?

Carabiners like this, are marked with the force rating. The one in this picture is rated, 20kn the long way 8kn the short way 5kn with the gate open Why are carabiners so much weaker when the gate ...
8 votes
2 answers
595 views

Can I re-use a via ferrata carabiner/harness for climbing?

I just started climbing and I am wondering if it's safe to use my body harness and the 2 carabiners from via ferrata kit - they are 25|10|8KN resistant - for climbing too.
  • 255
25 votes
1 answer
2k views

Reacting to a bee attack

We were attacked by Giant Honey Bees (Apis dorsata). A friend and I were ensuring the safety of others and got away with 30 odd stings. We had proper hiking attire, and buffs to cover our faces. Few ...
6 votes
2 answers
188 views

What features should I look for in a satellite emergency device?

I am thinking of buying a satellite check in device. I often go alone, and would like to upgrade from the system of of always letting someone know where I am going and when to expect me back. The ...
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Are nuts and cams less safe if the rock is wet?

In (probably) most of northern Europe, it is somewhat cold and wet outside. Despite this fact, I'm trying to get as much outdoor climbing done as I can. A backup plan for somewhat cold weather (i.e. ...
  • 4,427
25 votes
7 answers
12k views

Is it unsafe to ride the chair lift with a backpack?

I like the convenience of having a backpack when I ski. Last winter one of the lifties at the local ski hill gave me guff about my backpack, claiming that it was unsafe. I wore the same backpack ...
16 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the best breathing holes strategy for a quinzee?

Since it's the season coming up for many (and snow seems to be in the game this year in eastern NA at least). What would be the best/optimal strategy with regards to breathing holes for a quinzee (...
  • 510
10 votes
1 answer
614 views

What do the UIAA markings on rock climbing gear mean?

I buy my rock climbing hardware in America and it all comes labeled with UIAA ratings. These ratings make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. My gear has met mythological engineering standards. They ...
  • 5,726
12 votes
3 answers
8k views

How to keep contact lenses from freezing during backpacking in cold temps?

My fiance and I are planning our first backpacking trip together. I am an experienced backpacker, so I can handle most questions he has and I already have most of the gear that we'll need. However, he ...
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34 votes
6 answers
104k views

How dangerous are kangaroos?

After watching this video of a man punching a kangaroo to rescue his dog, I am wondering how dangerous a kangaroo is to a human on foot? I am sure that there are a lot of other things in Australia ...
6 votes
1 answer
2k views

When rappelling, should a screwgate locking carabiner be orientated up or down?

For the locking caribiner that connects the person's harness to their rappel device/ropes, should the locking caribiner's gate be toward the top or bottom of the setup when using a screwgate type ...
12 votes
2 answers
4k views

Lead climb weight ratios [duplicate]

I'm about 150ish lbs and my partner is 100ish lbs. I've read somewhere that a 2/3 weight ratio between belayer and climber is ok for lead climb, but I don't remember exactly where. Can someone ...
  • 223
12 votes
3 answers
5k views

Correct and incorrect slip-slap-slide belay technique

This blog has a discussion of the slip-slap-slide and PBUS techniques for taking in rope when belaying. Here is a video demonstrating PBUS. Slip-slap-slide is illustrated on p. 161 of Freedom of the ...
user avatar
13 votes
5 answers
2k views

Dangers of solo hiking (in Ontario)

I have the next week off and I was thinking about exploring some parks in Ontario (e.g: Algonquin). I am prepared for the colder weather and am thinking of doing some trails. Some people I've talked ...
9 votes
1 answer
503 views

How do you predict weather with an altimeter while mountaineering and or backpacking?

I do know that if your elevation rises while staying in the same position, the pressure is decreasing and that it is a sign of bad weather incoming and a decrease in elevation means that the pressure ...
8 votes
2 answers
620 views

How do you calculate the turnaround and start times when summitting mountains?

In mountaineering, the turnaround time is the point in time at which the party will turn around and head down the mountain regardless of how close to the summit. This is typically done to make certain ...
9 votes
4 answers
322 views

Sleeping outdoors without a tent in a high altitude Mt. Tapulao?

We're planning to do a dayhike on a mountain almost two thousand meters above sea level (Mt. Tapulao). The trail is almost 20 kilometers to the summit, and me and my fellow hikers are pretty slow, ...
  • 1,503
7 votes
2 answers
486 views

How do you safely ascend and descend the Half Dome cable route?

The easiest way up Half Dome is the cable route (rated Class 3), which looks like this. As six people have died on this route since it was put in place, and it looks really steep and scary, how can I ...
10 votes
3 answers
2k views

What precautions should we take in situations when hiking or walking through tall grass?

In Western Ghats, India where I hike, the grass grows tall in the monsoon season. It very well exceeds human height (taller than 7 feet). Last month on a hike the trail suddenly went into such grass. ...
  • 1,059
18 votes
5 answers
3k views

How to take care of an acrophobic person while hiking?

There is some trouble. One of my close friends has acrophobia (fear of heights). But he wants to go for a trek for what it offers than just the mesmerizing view from the top. How can I take care of ...

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