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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27
votes
2answers
19k views

Can groundwater still be consumed if after boiling the water turns brown with an oily substance floating on top?

This weekend we went "pole camping". A pole camp site (dutch link only) is a camp site offered by the departments of forestry in the Netherlands and Belgium. It is very basic. What is offered is a ...
27
votes
7answers
4k views

How safe is it for women to hike alone?

Should a woman legitimately fear to be assaulted or raped on popular backpacking trails in the US when hiking by herself? How common are attacks of that nature? How does it compare to residential ...
27
votes
2answers
6k views

In a survival situation, should I drink unpurified water?

If I am in a survival situation, is there any reason I shouldn't drink the available water? I am aware of Giardia and cholera. Are these worthy concerns, or are there good enough cures available that ...
26
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8answers
9k views

Are there any natural materials found in the wild that can be used as an effective sunscreen?

There are animals such as pigs and elephants that wallow in mud which possibly serves as protection from sunburn. There are also some plants such as Aloe vera (Aloe vera) and Jewelweed (Impatiens ...
25
votes
7answers
10k 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 ...
25
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4answers
6k views

How do forest fires affect rock climbing?

The Kenow fire ripped through the Rockies near where I live. Flames were reported to be hundreds of meters high coming off the tops of some trees. Some of those flames licked the crags I most ...
25
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6answers
39k 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,...
25
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5answers
1k 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 ...
25
votes
7answers
16k views

Cheese and eggs on backpacking trips

I have taken some hard cheeses onto backpacking trips quite successfully without spoilage, but I have not dared taking more than I can eat in about 3 days. Eggs I have not dared to take. I am ...
25
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3answers
4k views

How should I vet belayers? What should I look for?

The other night I went to the climbing gym, intending to look for a climbing partner once I got there. (My usual gym climbing partner isn't available to climb as often as I want to.) The gym provides ...
25
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3answers
7k views

Can you get permanent brain damage by spending a day at 10,000ft (~3000m) altitude?

I read some articles that suggested that even moderately high altitudes can lead to some irreversible brain damage. Thus, I was wondering whether that is actually possible and what is its likelihood? ...
25
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4answers
7k views

Is my tent pole a lightning rod?

I have used the Mega Mid tent almost exclusively for hundreds of nights out over the last many years. It's versatile, well ventilated, light... but has this pole sticking straight up the middle. Is ...
25
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1answer
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 ...
24
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5answers
8k views

How safe is the bowline knot in different situations?

The bowline knot (picture below, source) has a great reputation as a very safe knot. Is it really completely safe in all situations and loads, or are there use cases where it may fail?
24
votes
5answers
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 ...
24
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5answers
5k views

Can smoldering logs be transported safely

In my younger/cheaper days, I used to scavenge firewood after the crowds would leave the camping area at the end of the weekend. Generally, this meant grabbing piles of unused firewood from near the ...
24
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4answers
3k 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 ...
24
votes
4answers
5k views

How safe is sleeping in bear country?

We have recently hiked in Slovakian mountains where bears live. I’m not too concerned about the bears during the day, as we make enough noise to avoid an encounter. But I am not sure about sleeping ...
24
votes
2answers
29k views

Is it safe to use denatured alcohol as an antiseptic?

A lot of hikers carry denatured alcohol for cooking. Is there any risk to using it as an antiseptic for cuts and lacerations?
24
votes
3answers
940 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
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4answers
10k views

Are bears attracted by Lotions and Perfumes?

Bears are mostly attracted by smell of food. That is why we are supposed to keep the food items in airtight and sealed packs or preferably finish up all the food (cooking and consuming) far away from ...
23
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6answers
8k views

Reacting to tornado warnings while camping with no buildings nearby

This afternoon there was a tornado warning - TAKE SHELTER IN A PERMANENT BUILDING IMMEDIATELY - for the west half of Algonquin Park issued through the usual channels including Twitter. I believe by "...
23
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5answers
2k views

Walking up the slopes. To walk brisk or to walk slow?

This question has been eating my head for quite some time now. I trek often and most of the treks involve climbing up to a peak or something similar. I usually carry heavy loads of around 13-15kgs on ...
23
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2answers
3k views

How to “spot” someone who is bouldering?

We have discussed a lot and at length about how to climb and other climbing techniques. I haven't come across a single post that talks about Spotting techniques. What are the duties of a Spotter? ...
23
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3answers
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 ...
23
votes
1answer
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. ...
23
votes
1answer
1k views

Do I need to worry about feral dogs or even wolves if I camp in random areas while hitchhiking in Georgia (the country)?

After almost half a year working in a hostel in Tbilisi, spring has come and it is far warmer than anywhere further west in Europe so I'm going to hitchhike around Georgia with my tent in warm areas. ...
22
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9answers
7k views

Under what conditions does heating a tent artificially make objective sense?

My question is motivated by the earlier question How To Quickly Warm A Tent, which generated a lot of interest, and one of the best comments ever on TGO: All I could think about after reading your ...
22
votes
7answers
13k views

What are the odds that I stand a chance against Wild Boars?

I have been trekking and camping since last 6 yrs. I have over 600 hikes and about 30 technical rock climbs under my belt. We often tend to camp up in forests, and at our sides, wild boars are pretty ...
22
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2answers
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 ...
21
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8answers
8k views

What are the dangers of swimming in natural waters?

What are the dangers of swimming in natural bodies of water? In essence I would like to know about all types of waters, but I am mostly interested in sea because it is most relevant to me. Like many ...
21
votes
3answers
930 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 ...
21
votes
3answers
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 ...
21
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4answers
2k 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?
21
votes
2answers
987 views

Descending a dry grass slope with serious inclination and exposure

This post here mainly talks about Ice slopes I reckon. The region where I live, we don't have Ice slopes, but we have lots of grass slopes. Usual threat is a slope, probably a good 100 m, no bolt to ...
21
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3answers
11k views

Eating ash in Soviet Union

My Polish grandfather in early 1950's was sent by communist regime to a gulag. People were starving there and malnourishment was common, so they came up with idea of burning some kind of trees and ...
20
votes
3answers
47k views

When/Where do foxes attack humans?

There is an area that I would like to explore at daytime and at night time. I have seen only two foxes in that area during the day time. One of the locals told me not to go out at night because foxes ...
20
votes
4answers
10k views

Can I use one helmet for both kayaking and skiing?

I am doing little kayaking and just a bit more skiing (the seasons for both are very short where I live). Both of these need helmets, but I feel reluctant to buy 2 items, each of which will see little ...
20
votes
4answers
7k views

Is it safe to cut a climbing rope in half?

I recently bought a 70 meter climbing rope from REI because it was a great price on the outlet. Last weekend I used it for the first time in the Texas hill country, where 99% of routes need a rope ...
20
votes
4answers
4k views

What do you do if the fire does get “out of control”?

Let's say you are camping with a large group, and someone starts a camp fire. You're away for a bit and come back to find everyone panicking and the fire to be much larger than actually planned (ie, ...
20
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5answers
6k views

How can I tell which way is “down wind”

I'll be backpacking in areas where a bear canister is required by regulation. All of the tip's I've read say to store it XYZ number of feet "downwind from your camp", presumably so the scent of the ...
20
votes
4answers
5k views

How dangerous is it to climb a via ferrata alone?

What are the risks of climbing a via ferrata alone? Would going through very easy via ferratas still pose high risks? Are well visited and easy climbing via ferratas necessarily a great danger? I ...
20
votes
3answers
16k views

Climbing with a much lighter partner?

Both my fiancee and myself bought some climbing gear recently and we're planning our first trip to an indoor rock gym this weekend. We decided to practice our knots and belay technique before we went ...
20
votes
6answers
12k 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

What is the risk of starting a forest or wildland fire with a flare gun?

When firing a flare gun in the air, what is the risk of accidentally starting a forest or wildland fire? Does the flare go out completely before it touches the ground?
20
votes
3answers
1k views

What are the real dangers of climbing at high altitude?

I had a campfire discussion not long ago with a man that got pulmonary edema while attempting the summit of Aconcagua, and we got into the discussion of the effects of high elevation. I had always ...
20
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I tell if a natural snow-bridge is safe to cross?

In early summer in the high mountains, snowfields may lie over rivers. These rivers may be otherwise tricky to ford, and it can be very tempting to use the snowfield to cross the river. However, ...
19
votes
7answers
11k views

How can I protect myself in case of a human attack like the murders of the hikers Jespersen and Ueland in Morocco?

I read about the murders of Louisa Vesterager Jespersen and Maren Ueland. What safety mistakes these girls did during their camping trip? What could have been done to avoid this situation? How can I ...
19
votes
3answers
6k views

Where can I test an emergency whistle?

I've just 3d-printed what's supposed to be an ear-shatteringly loud emergency whistle (120 dB at one meter). However, it's apparently somewhat sensitive to printing conditions, because some people ...
19
votes
2answers
5k views

Life Jacket for a person without arms?

Inspired by the question Where should a person who can't hold a paddle sit in a tandem kayak? "One friend was born without arms" Many life jackets are vests that are in part, kept on the person ...

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