xpda
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What are the downsides to sleeping in a hammock on a multi-day hike?
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27 votes

Hammocks are cold. The weight of your body compresses the clothes or sleeping bag, and air circulates underneath you, as opposed to a tent where you usually have a pad and the ground for insulation. ...

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Which knot for climbing: figure eight, yosemite bowline, bowline on a bight?
25 votes

Most climbers use a re-threaded figure 8. The knot is not that important, though. In reading many accident reports, I have never seen one where the knot came untied or where there was a rope failure ...

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When stranded at sea, should I not ask for a tow?
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23 votes

If you run out of fuel, have engine trouble, run aground soft, when there is no immediate danger to the marine environment, the boat, or the persons on board, then towing is just towing. If a vessel ...

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If I cross paths with a bear, what should I do?
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22 votes

Back away calmly. Be SURE not to separate a mother from her cubs. Other than that, the bear probably won't be too interested in you. (Except a polar bear, which may consider you food.) If you see ...

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Why do shin splints happen?
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22 votes

Shin splints (tibial stress syndrome) can be cause by tendons, muscles, or stress fractures. It's an "overuse" injury, with multiple causes, so there's not a single treatment. Some things that might ...

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When sailing, how do I rescue a man overboard?
21 votes

If there is another person person onboard, have them do nothing but watch the person in the water. They should point a finger at person in the water and never take their eyes off. Toss out life buoys, ...

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What do I do to prevent and treat frostbite?
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20 votes

It is much better to avoid frostbite than to treat it. You can easily lose fingers and toes to frostbite. When you are camping in the winter, you cannot go into the lodge and warm up like you do snow ...

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How to keep water cold in hot weather?
18 votes

Freeze the bottles, then keep them together if possible. Any insulation around them will help.

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How should I check that the anchor is secure when I anchor a small yacht off unfamiliar land?
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15 votes

Set the anchor by reversing the engine until the anchor chain is tight, and then run the engine at medium speed to make sure the anchor has dug in. You can watch a GPS to make sure the speed is around ...

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How to carry water in freezing temperatures?
13 votes

500 ml and 20 oz water bottles from a convenience store will freeze without breaking. You can carry them inside your clothes, in your pack next to your body, and keep them inside your sleeping bag to ...

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What are some proven methods of training for week long backpacking trips at high altitude?
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13 votes

Aerobic conditioning will help a little with the altitude. You can practice walking / running on a treadmill at 15% incline. You can practice walking with a loaded backpack. Bonus points for doing it ...

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Can any waterborne pathogens survive boiling?
12 votes

Boiling kills everything -- giardia, cryptosporidium, other bacteria, and viruses. 185°F (85°C) for a few minutes will do it, and boiling for one minute will do it. (Boiling is lots of big bubbles, ...

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Tent and sleeping bag: pack inside or strap outside a backpack?
12 votes

If it fits, it's better to put it inside. That way it stays dry and is protected. If you put down your pack on rocks or small limbs, it can poke holes in the tent cover or sleeping bag cover if they ...

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What clothing would be appropriate for hiking in -18°C with up to 30 km/hr wind?
11 votes

You need to have clothes for the coldest part of the trip, at the mountaintop. For that temperature and wind, I would recommend more layers. I would carry or wear at least one more fleece top and one ...

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Is a varied diet necessary while backpacking?
11 votes

It takes more than 4-5 days to have problems from a limited diet, as long as you get enough of short-term things like salt (which is not normally a problem). Even so, I usually take some Flintstone ...

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Keeping warm in an emergency
11 votes

Prevention. It's a good idea to carry extra clothing. Fleece is light and compressible, and it doesn't soak up water. An extra fleece top and bottom can be a life saver. And, there are lot of times ...

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Time of high / low tide
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10 votes

In general, the time from high to low tide or vice versa is a little over 6 hours. This varies by location, of course, but it will get you in the ballpark. 12 hours and 15 minutes from high tide to ...

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How to deal with wet feet?
10 votes

Carry extra socks and a couple of kitchen-sized trash bags. When you soak a shoe or boot, squeeze out the wet sock and let it start drying on the back of the pack. Put on a dry sock. Then put the ...

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How can I stay warm in subzero (0°F, -18°C ) weather?
10 votes

More insulation. Stay dry inside. Make sure you wear something that lets sweat escape. Keep your head covered with a hat and, if possible, a mask or balaclava. Eat plenty of food. When you stop, you ...

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Does eating snow help dehydration?
9 votes

Yes, but it will really make you cold. It takes about 30 times more heat to heat water (melt ice) from 31 to 33 degrees (F) than it does to heat it from 33 to 35 degrees. That heat comes from your ...

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

Some people prefer to have one long enough to use as a short walking stick. Others prefer to save weight and go as short as possible. In any case, it should be long enough so that you can use it ...

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How to set up a tent in deep snow
8 votes

I usually stomp the area with snowshoes until it's reasonably packed, and that's good enough. If it's windy and very cold I may dig down 3-4 feet for protection from the wind. (If you're in the ...

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Will glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate prevent or repair damage to climbers’ fingers?
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8 votes

Glucosamine is for cartilage, and finger pain from climbing is probably tendon problems.

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

It depends on the area. Some places (Yosemite, Glacier Bay) there are pretty much no safe bear bags and you need a bear-proof container. The bear bag should be high enough that a bear can't reach it ...

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What should you be aware of when planning late-season or summer skiing?
7 votes

The snow melts some days (or most days) in the late season. If it refreezes at night, it will be icy in the morning, making icy or rough skiing. When the snow gets slushy in the afternoon, you will ...

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What to do when a black bear got a hold of an open bear can?
7 votes

If the bear is eating, let it eat. If you try to scare it off it may defend its food. If it just wanders up to your campsite, then you can make some noise to try to scare it away. But don't get too ...

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What would be the coolest summertime baselayer?
7 votes

A light, white running shirt made of synthetic fabric is the coolest I've found -- something similar to Nike dri-fit. A white or very light color is important if you're in the sun.

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How should I treat poison ivy?
7 votes

Benadryl cream works about as good as anything for me.

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Gas or liquid fuel lighter?
7 votes

I prefer multiple gas lighters. They're light, they don't leak (and even if they do they don't make a mess), and they're cheap. If you buy one for a safety back up and leave it in the cellophane, you'...

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How can one find the difficult to find geocaches?
7 votes

First, pick the location you think it closest to the mark, based on the GPS. Then, walk in an outward spiral, looking at any place that someone would be likely to hide a geocache. Think like a person ...

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