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Q&A

General Q&A about the great outdoors and outdoor pursuits.

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Are there any general rules of thumb for route finding up a mountain without any trails?

Sometimes mountains won't have trails or recorded routes simply because they don't get enough traffic that a trail will be created. Not every mountain has recorded routes simply because people have...

6 answers  ·  posted 5y ago by Charlie Brumbaugh‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Are longer kayaks faster than shorter ones?

I've been researching which kayak I'd like to buy, and I keep coming across the notion that longer kayaks are faster than shorter ones. I can understand that shorter kayaks have a greater tendency ...

7 answers  ·  posted 5y ago by Jonathan Landrum‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Why does a leader have to be tapered in fly fishing?

I wonder why fly fishing leaders have to be tapered? Is the most important reason to preserve flight dynamics when casting? Would a simple untapered leader not present a dry fly, for example, in th...

2 answers  ·  posted 6y ago by Matthias Wolf‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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How do fly fishing lures work?

I'm new to fishing and I don't know how these things work. Do I need to add some weight to make them sink or fishes will come at the top to bite them? I've seen some videos where they use some wei...

2 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by c0dew0rm‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Can fire starting liquid be used in a kerosene lamp?

Supermarkets often have "fire starting liquid" on sale - that's usually transparent oil-like liquid looking much like kerosene. The label typically says the product it "mix of paraffins". It behave...

2 answers  ·  posted 7y ago by sharptooth‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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How strong are the individual internal strands in 550 parachute cord?

550 Parachute cord is a very small kermantle rope (has a core and an external sheath) as you can see in this image. The minimum breaking strength of the cord is 550 pounds, hence the name. It i...

1 answer  ·  posted 5y ago by Charlie Brumbaugh‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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What should go in an inflatable sleeping pad repair kit?

While backpacking with an inflatable or self-inflating sleeping pad one runs the risk of getting holes in it. This does happen fairly frequently, and while they do make kits, I would like to know ...

1 answer  ·  posted 6y ago by Charlie Brumbaugh‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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What are good locations to find wild strawberries?

Wild strawberries are very tasty, but I have only ever found them by accident. What locations would be good starting points to look for them?

5 answers  ·  posted 6y ago by Charlie Brumbaugh‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Leaving a fire unattended for a few hours, then returning

What is the best way to leave a fire unattended for a short time and then to return to use it again? Here is my imagined scenario: arrive at a camp site and start a fire in a pre-made iron fire p...

1 answer  ·  posted 7y ago by gannawag‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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How can I reduce the pressure of backpack straps on my collarbone, perhaps by fixing padding to the strap?

As some of you who are also active on bicycles.se may know, I broke my collarbone in a bike crash last year, and it's now got a titanium plate in there. I'm not sure whether it's the plate or not,...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Chris H‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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How do I remove 22lr bullet that's stuck to the bolt from the rifle?

I have recently loaded a bullet --which didn't fire twice when I pulled the trigger of a bolt action western field m820a 22lr rifle. I have pulled the bolt all the way back but the bullet is stuc...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by Michael Crivello‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Would it be warmer to sleep at the bottom or on the side of a valley?

Given that temperature decreases with altitude, and yet inversions happen where cold air is below warmer air, as a general rule of thumb, where would the warmest place to sleep be? Here is one pl...

3 answers  ·  posted 6y ago by Charlie Brumbaugh‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Carrying hardboiled eggs when hiking

I am planning to hardboil some eggs and immediately, while hot, wrap them in cling-film before stowing in my pack. How long will they last before going off? (I am in NZ so eggs are not washed like ...

4 answers  ·  posted 7y ago by quetzalito‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Alternative to midshipman's / taut-line hitch for modern ropes

A taut-line hitch is used to tying tent ropes to a stake. It can be manually slid up/down the standing part of the rope, so as to adjust the tightness in the line, but it holds well under tension. ...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Yogesch‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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How to explain unexpected success following a bearing taken from an iPad

I live in northern British Columbia where the relevant declination values are currently Magnetic declination: 17° 45.30' East Grid declination (for Natural Resource Canada's NTS maps): 16° 17.04'...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by tomfumb‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Historical data about rock climbing / bouldering ascents

I am always interested in the history of rock climbing. Lately, I tried to collect data about male and female first ascents to visualize progression in rock climbing over time (I have a small blog ...

0 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Arne‭

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Are kernmantle ropes more susceptible to damage than 3 ply twist or solid braid?

A comment on recent answer suggests that kernmantle ropes are more easily damaged than a conventional twisted rope. This is contrary to what I learned very long ago. So far I've been unable to f...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Sherwood Botsford‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Are square or rectangular tarp shapes more versatile?

I'd like to try tarp camping. 3m x 3m (9ft x 9ft) and 3m x 4m (9ft x 12ft) tarps of differing material are plentiful and many are even affordable. Which tarp shape is more versatile in the number...

5 answers  ·  posted 5y ago by B540Glenn‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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How does Frogg Toggs Polypropylene measure up?

I saw a new product for rain protection the other day. Frogg Toggs makes a line of rain gear out of a polypropylene material that I have not previously seen used for rain gear. Does anyone know h...

1 answer  ·  posted 9y ago by Russell Steen‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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How to make it easier to untie a figure-8 knot after finishing a climb?

If you tie a figure-8 knot while rock climbing and fall a few times (especially if they're dynamic lead falls), the knots will become so difficult to untie that you sometimes have to use a carabine...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by JonathanReez‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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How do I make people not be afraid of me and my dogs?

I like to hike, and I have two large dogs (German Shepherd, Presa Canario). After a long hike I look reasonably homeless (long hair, unshaven, muddy). Combined with two large, potentially dangero...

12 answers  ·  posted 5y ago by Censored to protect the guilty‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Wild animal in Virginia that sounds like monkey cackling/laughing?

I'm here hunting turkey in Virginia and I keep hearing unidentifiable sounds that I'm pretty sure are not turkey. One of the most common one is something like a monkey (chimp) cackling/laughing. I...

2 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by amphibient‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Cotton climbing pants with a zipper pocket (outdoor rock climbing use for small female climbers)

the "politicised" debate of female clothing not having pockets (it is especially about skirts and dresses) left aside, I wonder if there are any cotton climbing pants left on the market that have a...

0 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by canIchangethis‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Are water purification tablets safe?

There are a few questions regarding safety of water purification, one regarding expiration date, another regarding iodine, but I know that there are more than one types of water purficiation tablet...

5 answers  ·  posted 9y ago by MarkE‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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How to repair a surfboard leash?

My surfboard leash broke at one end and I'd rather repair it than buy a new one. How can I repair it?

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by miguelmorin‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Camping in Yosemite in March

I'm planning a camping trip in Yosemite with a group of friends for some time around mid-March. I know it can get cold at that time of year, but that's the only time we could all arrange the time o...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by System‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Why is doubling up with plugs and muffs when shooting not more effective?

I keep looking for better ways of protecting my hearing when shooting, and it looks like wearing both plugs and muffs is recommended for indoor shooting (centerfire gunshots range from 160-170 deci...

1 answer  ·  posted 4y ago by Charlie Brumbaugh‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Is there any reason that a wild boars would charge the tent?

So I have camped in France, in the Vosges region, in the locality called "Le bonhomme". Where there are many wild boars. It was in a dense forest, with a freezy weather. (-5°C) My camp was just a...

4 answers  ·  posted 6y ago by Gille Q.‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Tenting, and want to hookup my laptop to RV power hookup

The campground I'm thinking of staying at has tenting spots, but they don't have power. I need to be able to charge my laptop, phone, and possibly a portable electric heater. They also offer RV spo...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Anonymous‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Is Paradoxical Undressing a stage beyond Hypothermia?

We all have discussed and read Hypothermia quite a lot of times and are aware of general concepts about it. What made me wonder the most was an incident about a mountaineer on Mt. Everest. With the...

3 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by WedaPashi‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Keeping a backpack from being stolen whilst sleeping in a tent

In the past, I have always slept with my backpack wedged uncomfortably beside me due to limited room in a fully manned tent, since I'm concerned about bag theft when miles away from civilization. ...

10 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by James Paul Turner‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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In case of a tsunami, would swimming out to sea be an escape strategy?

Several times I have been in locations where tsunami risks are either actively signaled or self-evident. Lima where I am right now has long beaches dominated by cliffs with exit routes about every...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Italian Philosophers 4 Monica‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Why are full body harnesses uncommon in mountaineering?

In principle, it is known that full body harnesses are useful for situations where the center of gravity is higher - e.g. for children, or for Alpine situations involving carrying heavy loads. A fu...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by Yogesch‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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SOTO Triple Mix Expiration

I have a SOTO Triple Mix canister (Power Gas 250, SOD-725T) which is a mixture of Butane, Isobutane and Propane gas. I use it with my SOTO WindMaster but I have not used it in over 10 months. It ha...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by Luna‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Why isn't carrying a satellite phone considered best practice for hiking/mountaineering in remote regions?

Every year we read stories about people getting lost in a forest or in the mountains, with no way of calling for help. Sometimes this is due to a lack of experience, sometimes due to accidents, som...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by JonathanReez‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Looking for information about the large circles free of snow that form in the spring around the trunks of large trees?

We have often used the large snow free circles that form in the spring around the trunks of large trees as camping spots. Even in an area blanketed with deep snow, there will be such bare, dry gro...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by ab2 MonicaNotForgotten‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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What is the use of this cord on my backpack?

I have a feeling this can come in handy but I don't know why exactly has this been provided.

4 answers  ·  posted 5y ago by Arsalan Ahmed‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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What counts as on- or off-route while outdoor climbing?

I did a few sport climbs this week, and on two, it seemed that the area between bolts was just blank, and if I went to the side it was easier. I could still reach the bolts, but I was afraid I was ...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by endolith‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Should I run if I see wild dogs?

Wild dogs appear to be dangerous. Should I be running if I come across one, or should I stand fast and defend myself? They are a social animal, so they will be in a pack almost all the times.

10 answers  ·  posted 7y ago by Josh‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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How to tell the difference between bobcats and house cats?

Recently there was a story about some people in Texas who brought three bobcat kittens home and then called animal control after the bobcats bit them. It's also happened once in California where a...

2 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by Charlie Brumbaugh‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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What is this knot?

My 6 year old daughter was playing with ropes today and tied a knot of her own creation. I tried to demonstrate to her the importance of learning to tie good knots that don't slip, but when I went ...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by ShemSeger‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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What's this backpack part called and how can I get a replacement?

This is part of the chest strap of an Altura Morph backpack/pannier that I use for commuting. I've lost half the strap and one of my bikes can't take a pannier rack so I use backpack mode on that ...

2 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by Chris H‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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How should one properly dispose of a rabid animal carcass?

If while hunting I come across a rabid animal and I kill it, both to end its suffering and to prevent it from spreading rabies, what should I do with the body? I wouldn't want another animal to ea...

3 answers  ·  posted 6y ago by Charlie Brumbaugh‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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What are the pro and cons of vacuum sealed vs mylar bags for DIY dehydrated foods?

For packaging dehydrated foods for backpacking, the two options that I can think of are mylar bags and vacuum-sealed bags. What are the pros and cons of each method?

1 answer  ·  posted 6y ago by Charlie Brumbaugh‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Would it hurt anything to leave a canister stove attached overnight?

If I cook a hot dinner on a canister stove and plan on cooking a hot breakfast in the morning, can I leave the stove on the canister overnight or would it be better to take it off and reattach in t...

2 answers  ·  posted 6y ago by Charlie Brumbaugh‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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What are good ways of predicting incoming weather from the downwind side of a mountain?

There are a lot of mountaineering routes that go up the downwind side of a mountain. Like the CMC route on Mt. Moran in the Tetons or the Gooseneck Glacier route on Gannet Peak. The added danger o...

2 answers  ·  posted 6y ago by Charlie Brumbaugh‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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How would a dragonfly get to above 13,400 ft (4000m)?

I found this dragonfly, here, at around 13,400 ft. The coordinates are 43°10'52.96"N, 109°39'17.74"W if anyone would like to check the location themselves. It didn't look like it was moving...

1 answer  ·  posted 6y ago by Charlie Brumbaugh‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Can an energy absorber or elastic lanyard be used in glacier travel to give greater time to react in case of a fall?

In the case of a roped up team marching along a glacier with some hidden crevasses, the greatest risk is of a team member falling in and then dragging everyone else along before they can self-arres...

0 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Yogesch‭

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What is the fastest method to 'break in' full leather boots?

After purchasing full leather boots (similar to these boots) I had many blisters for the first few hikes until I broke in my boots. What are the fastest ways to age the boot so that when my foot w...

7 answers  ·  posted 11y ago by Patrick‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Who to contact for a bird with broken wing in Portugal, Algarve?

I saw a bird with an injured wing among the rocks on a beach in Portugal (Algarve). The bird has been on the beach since Friday evening, and her wing feathers have completely dropped off by now. I...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by ozmichka‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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