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Submit Your Question

European vs. American Tent Floors

Q.} Why are American tent floors less waterproof than European ones (they have about 10,000mm* of PU floor coating while all the ones I've seen here have 2,000-3,000mm)? Isn’t more better? Should I buy a European tent for maximum protection?
Submitted by: Lisa - British Columbia
A.} More isn’t always better, Lisa. To get some beta on this very good question, I talked to Bill Gamber, co-founder of Big Agnes. He says: “Euro tents have always been way, way over kill in terms of their PU floor coatings,” he says. “But the American backpacking market has proven that lighter coatings (and fabrics, like sil-nylon) are very waterproof, and the conservative Euro market is slowly changing.” As an example, Big Agnes uses fabric tent floor fabric with a rating of 1,500-3,000mm (depending on the type of tent and fabric). The difference in weight between a 1,500mm coating and a 10,000mm coating can be up to 2 1/2 pounds in a two-person tent.

Bottom line: If weight is not an issue for you, but long-, long-term durability is, it certainly can’t hurt to opt for a thicker floor coating. But as long as you take good care of your tent, you can certainly get away with American-style coatings without suffering any consequences.

*This number refers not to the actual thickness of the coating, but to a standardized water column test. For example, 1,500mm means that the fabric will withstand a 1,500mm (5') column of water for more than one minute before a single drop might appear through the fabric. That's strong enough to prevent rain from leaking in a 75-mph hurricane-force storm. In the outdoor industry, they use this number as shorthand to describe the amount of coating used to make the nylon or polyester tents waterproof.
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READERS COMMENTS

Star Star Star
Dave
Sep 23, 2013

I have several American tents, mainly an old Sierra West bivy sack and a North Face mountain tent. I have camped in ALL weather conditions, including weather I expected to blow me away. None of my tents have ever leaked. Forget stats and fancy labeling. Forget European tents. You can't get any better than a quality American tent. Just buy a good brand. My tents have served me well for over 30 years.

Star Star Star Star Star
Trekking in Nepal
Mar 01, 2013

Acute Trek Pvt Ltd http://www.trekshimalaya.com an indoor outdoor trekking and tours operative takes you that further way to guarantee you has an unforgettable http://www.adventurestrekking.com adventure that you have been dream of. Whether you are looking for a quiet gateway, a memorable http://www.hikingsinnepal.blogspot.com outing with a family or an exciting nature adventure. We offer you with the best progressive information and itinerary leading focused and modified as per your requirements. Acute trek is an attempt to encourage Nepal to the exterior world while striving to defend an aged tradition as well as conserve the surroundings for generation to come.

Annapurna Trekking a moment for hiking acclimatizing in Manang A spiritual welcome gate in Chame, Manang Mount Dhaulagiri view from Muktinath. This is a "teahouse trek," meaning there are villages with lodges and restaurants to eat and stay in along the entire route. You are expected to eat breakfast and dinner in the same lodge where you are spending the night. Prices of rooms are seemingly inexpensive because of this (100-300Rs for a double) - lodge owners tend to make more money on the food and drinks they are selling you than on the room where you are sleeping. The amazing suspension bridge over Kali Gandaki River Enjoying the beautiful moments at Thorung La Pass at 5416mGhorepani Trek during winter Annapurna Trekking. Manang and Mustang are of the higher elevations and are predominantly Tibetan Buddhist. The Manang people are Gurung (not Tibetan descent) and are very proud of their unique cultural heritage and merging of lower land Gurung and Tibetan cultural influences. People of Mustang identify themselves a lot closer with Tibet and the Mustang region has actually been part of Tibet in history. The upper sub-alpine steppe environment harbors some of the rare snow leopards and blue sheep. Conservation area has 100 varieties of orchids and some of the richest temperate rhododendron forest in the world. For thousands of years people of diverse ethnic backgrounds have scratched a livelihood out of its steep hillsides. Other areas of the region protect bird species such as the multi-coloured Impeyan, kokla, blood pheasant amongst a multitude of other birds, butterflies, insects adventure trekking in Annapurna.

Everest Trekking offers you great chance to have unique experience. The Everest area is situated in eastern Nepal. It is protected by the Sagarmatha National Park, established in 1976 with an area of 1148 square kilometers. Mt Everest trekking route is justifiably the most famous of all trekking, mountain regions. We descend to the Imja Khola and continue to the villages of Pangboche, Pheriche before finally approaching the Khumbu Glacier. Located in eastern Nepal, the Everest region offers a wide range of trekking experiences. The park is largely composed of the rugged terrain, gorges of the high Himalayas. From the Everest Base Camp trek(listed as one of the ten best trips in the world) to treks in remote semi-wilderness areas, there is much to choose from. Khumbu is also the home of the legendary Sherpas. Altitude ranges from 2845 meters above sea level to the top of the world, Mt. Everest at 8848 meters. Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world, which is known in Nepal as "Sagarmatha" the goddess mother of the world, has long been the greatest attraction for nature lovers, trekkers alike. Solukhumbu, the heartland of the Everest Region, an integral part of the Himalayan mystique, thus provides a welcome destination for these adventurer trekking in Everest.

Langtang Trekking is closer to Kathmandu and a little less populated than other trekking destinations in Nepal. Tamang ethnic group is major pioneer in Short Langtang trekking valley region. The lake is also sacred to Buddhists. Langtang trek can be done round the year. This High and isolated region is inhabited by Tamangs whose religious practices, language and dress are much more similar to those of Tibet than to the traditions of their cousins in the Middle Hills. Nepal Langtang hiking area is protected as a National park of Nepal and it has high numbers of white Himalayan peaks.Which take you to the Langtang valley that lies just south of the Tibetan Border. Slender Nepal Langtang trek valley is has touched to Tibet but the trek area is still far away from Tibetan Plateau. In Nepal Langtang Trekking you will explore the wonderful attractiveness of the land with its hurrying rivers and lush jungles. Langtang Trekking starts from the village of Dunche, walking on the open and fertile valley. Nepal's national flower, the Rhododendron looks amazing with the backdrop of snow-capped mountains and photo opportunities on this trekking are endless. Nepal Langtang trekking or hike offers you the chance to discover the villages, hiking small peaks and explore glaciers at contentedy low altitudes.The pristine Gompa at Kyanjin is set in midst of the Himalayas and the views from all directions are phenomenal adventure trekking in Langtang.

Peak Climbing in Nepal a total of 33 peaks of up to 6600 meters elevation, have been designated as Nepal Peak Climbing. Known as the Himalayan Kingdom, Nepal has 1310 mountains which are over 5648 meters to 8848m above sea level. This makes our country very popular for mountaineers. Title may propose that these peaks are easier to attempt than expedition peaks but this is not unavoidably true. Some, in fact, are technically very challenging and have foiled the efforts of some highly knowledgeable mountaineers. We shall willingly send you the rules and system of the Nepal Mountaineering association upon appeal. If you are interested venture into the snow and ice regions of the high Himalayas, please contact us for detailed information. Since 1978, the Nepal Mountaineering Association has had the authority to issue climbing permits for peaks. Climbing in Nepal is a charming dream for many mountain climbers, as peak climbing, first, became well-liked in Nepal when Mt. Everest was scale by Late Tenzing Norgey and Sir Edmond Hillary in 1953. These peaks has been entrust to the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) who issue permits and over see the rule of peak climb as a adventure trekking in Nepal.

Everest Base Camp Trek is a classic Himalayan trek with unbelievable views and rewards. The treks to Everest base camp pass through a set of small villages, allow you to get a feel for the area and its peoples. The picturesque opportunity is limitless thus enable you to incarcerate, relive your knowledge upon your revisit home. This also includes unbelievable views of south west face of the colossal Mt. Everest. Khumbu area is the home of Mt Everest 8848m the world highest mountain, as well as several other giant. The Everest Base Camp trek is a tough defy, not to be taken lightly with commonly well grade paths but some tougher sections along the Khumbu glacier. We also have the chance to ascend Kala Pattar (5648m) from where we can get some overwhelming views of the Himalayan giants which factually numb your senses with panting respect that beholds the eye, makes up for the lung-bursting climb that took you up there. Everest Base Camp Trek, Kalapattar. Inspiring views comprise Khumbu Glacier, Everest, Nuptse, alpine scrub, junipers of the Sherpa region, the pine forests, rhododendron flowers of the valleys. We always plan our Everest Base Camp Trek to allow sufficient time to ascend Kalapattar, the main screening point for Everest. Everest is one of the world most overwhelming sights, an Everest base camp wonderful escapade. The trek also includes the wonderful hike to Khumbu Glacier, home of Everest Base Camp, the ice fall. Most of our clients would agree that this is the highlight of their knowledge, a necessary ingredient to the adventure trekking.

Annapurna Base Camp Trek is the major peaks of the western portion of the great Annapurna Himalaya, Annapurna South, Annapurna Fang, Annapurna, Ganagapurna, Annapurna 3 and Machhapuchhare and including Annapurna first 8091 meters are arranged almost exactly in a circle about 10 miles in diameter with a deep glacier enclosed field at the center. Annapurna Base Camp is a high glacial basin lying north of Pokhara. This magnificent amphitheatre is called a "sanctuary" because of its natural serenity, beauty and the divine presence of the Hindu goddesses Annapurna and Gangapurna. From this glacier basin, known as the Annapurna base camp trek (Annapurna Sanctuary Trek), the Modi Khola way south in a narrow ravine fully 12 thousand ft. deep. This isolated cirque of peaks can only be approached by one route, a deep gorge that carves into the fortress of mountains between Machhapuchhre and Hiunchuli. Many of the peaks are over 7000m, including the famous twin-peaked Machapuchare, as well as Annapurna I and lll, Annapurna South, Gangapurna and Glacier Dome. Further south, the ravine opens up into a wide and fruitful valley, the domain of the Gurungs. The center and upper portions of Modi Khola offer some of the best short routes for trekking in Nepal and the valley is situated so that these treks can be easily joint with treks into the Kali Gandaki region to the west. The majestic scenery makes the trek to Annapurna Base Camp (4130m), commonly known as Annapurna Sanctuary, one of the most popular treks in Nepal. The middle and upper portions of Modi Khola offer some of the best short trekking routes in Nepal, and the valley is located so that these treks can be easily combined with treks into the Kali Gandaki region to the west. Mt. Annapurna, one of the most magnificent peaks in the world for the adventure trekking in the beginning.

Upper Mustang Trekking conjure up images of barren ochre scenery, remote other-worldliness, trekking begins from Jomsom to Kagbeni, the entry point of upper Mustang area. Mustang region was remote, forbidden to travellers until 1991. Trek to the kingdom of Mustang, lying behind the main mountain range is in the rain shadow area, out into the plateau, north of Jomsom, Pokhara. Follow the banks of Kaligandaki upstream to get to Lo-Mangthang, the capital of the Mustang. Mustang area is also known as the Last Forbidden Kingdom, since the region was restricted for outsiders until Nepal Government announce the opening of the restricted areas in October 1991. Its a objective appreciated in the imaginations of expert travelers, who prefer to accept a trip with a difference into the kind of lands which cannot be encountered anywhere else in the world. There is also strict control in obtaining a special permit from the department of colonization to protect their tradition from external authority as well as to protect their environment. In the capital of Lo-Manthang an old walled town, the local life goes on undisturbed and untouched as it has for centuries. The numerous gompas, prayers flags perform their eternal ritual. Trip into Mustang is bound to be one of self-realization inspired by the all-encompassing teaching of Tibetan Buddhism. Mustang is or the people of Mustang call themselves Lobas, they have their own King or Tribe leader, Jigme Palbar Bista. After Nepal was declared a republic in 2007, the Nepal Government took back the official identification of the Bista as the Mustangi King. Strong cold winds sweep through its narrow canyons, over its plains, attrition has left its mark in strange, magnificent rock formations. However, the people there still respect him as their King or tribe leader. Bista also grant spectators the trekkers upon request for the adventure trekking.

Helicopter Tour in Nepal provides you a chance to relax around the magnificence of scenery and Now in Nepal offers helicopter tour service in different beautiful spots which are ever best renowned in the world and knowledge exciting flying investigations of Nepal sprinkled goals from comfort of a helicopter around Mount Everest, Annapurna and Langtang Himalayan range. Nepal Helicopter Tour is getting day by day most popular alternative means of adventure journey in mountains and other remote destinations. Helicopter Service in Nepal have excellent reputations, customers satisfaction and proven records for dependable emergency and rescue flight operations, many types, categories of helicopters. The pilots are very skill professionals with thousands of flying hours skill in Nepal. The Himalayan range in the north has more than 100 peaks that are over 6000 meters, of which 8 summits are among the world's tallest, of course, the one and only Mt. Everest is not to be missed. Helicopter Tour in Nepal is admired selection for the mountain lovers who has undersized time period but wants to observe such massive Himalaya range with Helicopter Sightseeing tour in Nepal. To add more to your itinerary, you have the Kathmandu Valley with its ancient cities, temples and monasteries, and the Pokhara valley with its beautiful lake side town nestled in the lap of the Himalayas. The Nepal Helicopter tour is single option to observe the numerous dramatic mountain including mt. Everest (8848m.) within few hours and minutes. The Everest Helicopter Sightseeing Tour in Nepal is most liked flight tour. Visit to all these areas can be managed within a couple of days with out any obstacles like adventure trekking.

Adventure Trekking in the southern part of the Asia continent there lays a tiny rectangular kingdom squeezed between two hugely populated countries, China to the north and India to the south, this country is Nepal a world of its own. Adventure Trekking is a type of tourism, involving exploration or travel to remote, exotic and possibly hostile areas. Adventure Trekking in Nepal is rapidly growing in popularity, as tourists seek different kinds of vacations. The land of contrast is presumably the exact way to define the scenery of Nepal for you will find maximum world highest peaks high high up above the clouds determined for the gods above. Straight, active, attractive learning experience adventure Trekking in Nepal that engross the whole person, have real adventure. Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Daulagiri, Annapurna and many more are there for the offering for mountain-lovers, adventurers and travelers. According to the Nepal based trekking trade Association, adventure trekking may be any tourist movement, including two of the following three gears a physical activity, a cultural share or interaction and engagement with scenery. The interest in official adventure trek has also increased as more expert trekking websites emerge offering formerly niche locations, sports. Adventure trek activities, skill, usually involving close communication, within a group of expert adventure trekking organizer setting your marvelous plan in Nepal.

Kathmandu Pokhra Tour is an exclusive tour package specially designed for all level travelers. Kathmandu Pokhara Tour package is effortless tour alternative for Nepal visitors. This tour package vacation the historically significant and ethnically rich capital (Kathmandu) of Nepal and the most stunning city of world by the nature, Pokhara. Mountain museum and world peace stupa are another charming of Pokhara tour. Package tour to Kathmandu Pokhara is design to discover highlighted areas of Kathmandu and Pokhara valley. Nepal is the country which is socially and geographically different that’s why we powerfully recommend you discover Nepal once in life time. It is hard to explore all Nepal in one Nepal tours trip in this way we design this trip to show you the highlights of Nepal especially in Kathmandu, Pokhara. Trekking to Annapurna base camp, Ghorepani, Jomsom, Mustang, Annapurna panorama, is area of starts from this city and escapade outdoor sports like paragliding, ultralight flights, boating, mountain biking, rafting begin from here. Kathmandu is city of temples, monasteries. After arrival in Nepal, Kathmandu Pokhara tour begin with sightseeing around Kathmandu valley with Kathmandu Dharbar Squire, Patan Dharbar Squire, Pashupatinath Temple, Money Temple, Boudhanath Stupa then we fly or drive to Pokhara. During this tour you will visit historical places, temples and deferential area of Kathmandu and fly or drive to Pokhara. Pokhara is believe as the paradise on earth. Attractive mountains from Pokhara city in the north side, clean, wide lakes close to hotel, green forest, welcoming, warm locals make your vacation more significant, some foreigner are adventure trekking in Annapurna.

Ireadgood
Nov 07, 2012

All you have to do is actually read the words that are written, and all will be explained. Jeez.

Josh
Oct 20, 2012

I assume most of the folks on these forums are familiar with stores like REI (and their fantastic return policies).

- Buy what you like and what you think will fit your needs.
- Take it home, set it up in the yard and let the sprinklers rip.
- Soak it good and get the ground soggy.

If you don't like the results take it back and return it or exchange it for something else and repeat the test.

For a tent you just bought most of the good outdoor retailers will take it back within a certain timeframe. And like I said the #1 reason to shop at REI is their top notch customer service and return policy.

ThreeFeet
Oct 07, 2012

Footprints don't weigh that much, and are easier to replace than tent floors when tree sap or other hard-to-remove gunk gets on the bottom. As for using a tarp rather than a tent - no, thanks! I do all I can to leave scented items outside to discourage disease-bearing rodents; having fabric between them and me is a small but real deterrent or delimiter.

Jerky ears
Oct 06, 2012

Get a hammock and tarp...problem solved.

Ralph Dieter
Oct 04, 2012

After reading the comments regarding coating, I now see the comments are referring to a "rating" and not to a thickness. The original question "(they have about 10,000mm of PU floor coating", and the answer clearly refer to a thickness. In all my years of camping I have never encountered this rating. OK we have a rating for waterproofing, please use it as a rating and not a thickness. "They have floor coating with a rating of 10,000mm ..."
Ralph

Anonymous
Oct 04, 2012


Water Resistance (i.e., Waterproofness)

Water-pressure measurements are shown in millimeters (mm) or pounds per square inch (psi); 704mm = 1 psi.
Technicians determine water resistance in fabric by employing a water column or hydrostatic pressure test (JIS 1092 method A; AATCC test method 127). Fabric samples have been laundered 10 times to simulate field use.
What level of water resistance qualifies as waterproof? No widely accepted waterproof industry standard for fabric exists. Based on its own tests, the REI Quality Assurance Lab considers rainwear fabric to achieve a minimum standard of "rainproof" performance if it permits no leakage at 3 psi (2,112mm).
3 psi far exceeds the force of typical rain. Some comparative figures:
Wind-driven rain: approximately 2 psi (1,408mm).
Hurricane-force rain: 10 psi.
Fire hose: 100-300 psi.
Pressure washer: 1,000-10,000 psi.
Note: No fabric is truly "waterproof." Even sheet metal is routinely cut with high-pressure water jets.
How much water pressure is exerted by 3 psi (2,112mm)?
Imagine a square column with 1-inch sides placed atop a piece of fabric.
Fill the column with water.
To reach 3psi, the column would be nearly 7 feet tall (the equivalent of 2,112mm).

Again, as with breathability testing, no waterproof standard for fabric exists, not even in the military. "The army seems to have several definitions of 'waterproof,' depending on whether it is clothing, tents, bags or packs," says Gibson, "Even for clothing, there are several definitions and numbers used by different military groups, and they don't all agree—though I do see the 25 psi [16,700mm] often used as a specification."

What about kneeling in a marsh, sitting on a wet rock or carrying a backpack's shoulder straps atop a rain jacket during a downpour? Must a fabric carry an exceptionally high waterproof rating in order to keep a wearer dry in such circumstances? Opinions vary on this topic.

One rainwear manufacturer calculates that a 180-pound person exerts about 16 psi when kneeling and 8 psi sitting. Accordingly, it uses fabrics that offer a minimum rating of 20 psi.

REI's Nagode contends (and Gibson concurs) that such claims have never been supported by hydrostatic resistance testing. In the marsh/wet-rock/backpack scenarios mentioned above, the pressure created by the actions described simply displace water away from the fabric. "The water would need containment to generate pressure," says Nagode. Everyone agrees, meanwhile, that 3 psi is more than adequate resistance to repel rain.

Summarizing water resistance:

REI considers any rainwear fabric with a rating of 3 psi (2,112mm) or higher to be rainproof, even if exposed to wind-driven rain.
Many rainwear fabrics are marketed with manufacturer waterproof ratings of 5,000mm, 10,000mm, 20,000mm and higher, though REI recognizes no significant benefit to higher ratings.

Anonymous
Oct 04, 2012

The mm spec is NOT a coating thickness measurement it is a pressure measurement for water penetration.

Anonymous
Oct 03, 2012

I have had my sierra tent for 10 years.I have always put a plastic barrier under it when camping, and cleaned/ dried it well after each trip. If something is well built and well taken care of, it can last a long time.

Anonymous
Oct 03, 2012

I have had my sierra tent for 10 years.I have always put a plastic barrier under it when camping, and cleaned/ dried it well after each trip. If something is well built and well taken care of, it can last a long time.

MAPNotLost
Oct 03, 2012

I use my Kelty Gunnison 2 at least once a month for camping with scouts. My dog joins me in the tent when backpacking. I place a 3 mil sheet of plastic under it. Tent hasn't leaked yet. If you take care of your equipment, you can get a lot more than 5 years use out of it.

Steve C
Oct 03, 2012

Well said Brendan.

Steve C
Oct 03, 2012

Adam's point is well made. There are tents, plenty of them, that are significantly more durable. Just check out some of the canvas wall tents made with sunforger coatings. These tents are made for Montana-style winters and some even have a built-in stove pipe hole - yes, a hole for a wood stove chimney pipe. Awesome tents and I really want one, but I don't own the pack horse needed to haul it. So the discussion is not some conspiracy about selling ads, it is about trade offs. I would love to own an 18 foot diameter teepee (uber-cool), but when I'm going to carry my shelter on my back, my debate is 'do I carry my 4 season 6 pound tent, a lighter minimalist tent with less room & features, or a tarp/rainfly?' The answer usually lies in what I am doing, what are the weather conditions, who is going with me and how adventurous they are.

Brendan Davis, Ireland
Oct 03, 2012

I have changed my mind. Now that I understand what the specs mean (I found a good explanation here at http://backcountrybeacon.com/2010/04/waterproof-ratings-demystified/ ) I now think that the US ratings of 1,500mm to 3,000mm may be inadequate.
The rating is the height of a column of water above the fabric when leakage begins to occur. a 10,000mm column of water in a tube with a one square cm bore would weigh one kilogram so the weight of water is 1kg per square cm. A 1,500mm column would be only 0.15kg per square cm.
Although I "live in the metrics" I will now use meaningful American measurements.
The column of water rating is inappropriate for tent floor material for two reasons. Firstly we are not going to pitch a tent at the bottom of a 33ft deep lake. In the real world the pressure is applied from within the tent to a wet area beneath it.
1kg/sq cm is equivalent to around 14 pounds per square inch. A 180 pound person on his knees in a tent will exert a pressure of between 15 and 18 pounds per square inch depending on the size of his kneeprints. A lighter person with smaller kneeprints will exert a similar pressure. This would imply that the European ratings are much closer to what is needed and that the US ratings are way off.
The second reason the water column approach is not appropriate is that this applies mainly to breathable fabrics that will at some pressure point leak. There is no need for the tent floor to be breathable but it would eventually rupture at some pressure level. So a more meaningful test needs to be devised. In the meantime move around the tent on your bottom rather than your knees to spread to load. Some hikers will be able to spread the load more than others - but that's life.

Matt
Oct 02, 2012

How do we ge the same tent model with the thicker coating in the U.S.?

Matt
Oct 02, 2012

As the Europeans trend toward the lighter US coatings, will their prices drop accordingly? Not.

Phoenix
Oct 02, 2012

Less is more for most backpackers. The newer fabrics give us basically a highly water resistant, breathable and lighter material. It simply takes regular cleaning and re-waterproofing (DWR) to maximize the benefits and minimize the weaker features (durability and true waterproofing).

I would even argue that the breathability keeps condensation down therefore keeping you drier. Keep your tent clean and water repellant just like your rain coat. The rain will never test the waterproof layer if it doesn't soak into the fabric.

Adam
Oct 02, 2012

Actually the plastic sheet goes under the tent not inside the tent. And yeah, using a polycro or some kind of plastic sheet will really help the extend the life of your tent. I tend to find that after 3-5 years tents start to go with regular use, but having a more waterproof floor doesn't help that. The seam taping or sealing goes, the fabric gets worn down and loses its waterproofing, and the chemicals in the waterproofing layers start to wear off and break in pieces. Often the tie downs start to lose threading, it all happens after 3-5 years. So basically either you make ALL THOSE PARTS more durable, adding what would be significant weight, or you accept that you like lightweight gear and that it is less durable, and that you'd rather budget some extra cash for a new tent every 3-5 years. If you use your tent often its worth it. If you don't use your tent often, buy a durable heavy one, they exist in this market, you just have to search for them. Try Cabella's.

Jeff
Oct 02, 2012

What a bunch of nerds.

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I recently purchased a new pair of hiking boots (Salewa Alp Trainer Mid), I am noticing a hotspot forming on my heels, particularly when traveling uphill. Is there anything in particular I can do to ease the pain?
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I need to fit a week’s amount of equipment for a scouting trip not including cooking stuffs, food and a tent in my 35 litre bag. Can you help?
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Is there any special way I should wash my boots or can I just treat them like any other shoe?
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What is the best way to find a slow leak in a self-inflating sleeping pad?
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I tied my tent and mattress perpendicular at the bottom of my pack to save space. On my practice hike, it seemed like I was bouncing. If I keep these items on the outside of my pack, where and how is the best place to attach them? OR, should I go with a larger pack?
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Can bears and other critters be a problem at night even if all our group has for food are, say Clif Bars - or any other similar kind of energy/protein bars?
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Can sleeping bag liners be used as ultralight sleeping bags, or do they require the insulation of a bag in order to be effective?
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I’m new to backpacking, should I buy all my gear then buy my pack? Or, should I buy my pack first? I will be doing some long distant hikes and some weekend hikes too.
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Are there any "tricks" to keeping water liquid on an extended winter outing? I've had issues with both bladders and Nalgenes. A friend had to slice open his hydration bladder to avoid carrying 2 lbs. of ice!
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Is my sleeping bag's performance affected by what I wear when I sleep?
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After testing out backpacks I found the Osprey Ariel to fit really well, but am concerned about the thin hipbelt padding. My ultimate question: If a bag fits you really well, does thin padding make a big difference? If so, is there a way to improve it?
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I occasionally go backpacking alone, but have trouble bear bagging. The issue is not knowledge of how to bearbag - it's the throwing! I have no arm and no aim. Tricks? Suggestions? Thanks!
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I have a narrow foot and a size 13 1/2. No one makes a 13 1/2 in a narrow. In a 14 the lacing pulls together and in a 13 my toes hit the end and turn black. Any suggestions? I've tried several brands, hoping to find a longer boot, but so for no luck.
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I've been told that O rings on the WhisperLite International Stove may crack when the temp reaches -10. Do you have any suggestions for operating the stove at temps below -10, or a way to keep the O rings from cracking?
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I want to take my 10-year-old (80 lbs.) boy backpacking. How much weight should he carry? I want him to enjoy it!
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I hear a lot about storing sleeping bags in cotton sacks for breathability purposes. I store all my gear in large plastic containers. My containers are large enough so there is no compression, but now I'm worried about breathability?
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How do I bend the stays in my backpack?
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What's the difference between titanium and aluminum cookware? Can you explain the pros/cons of each?
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Hi, can you suggest any ways for me to keep pebbles from getting in my running shoes while I run? Thanks!
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Next summer I will be transporting 4 people (2 adults, 1 toddler, and 1 infant) and 2 dogs (50 pounds each) into the great outdoors. What carries more gear? A roof basket like the Thule MOAB, or a roof box?
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I am going to start backpacking again after many years and wanted to know about internal frame packs. How do you determine the correct size of the pack (I am 5' 10" in height)?
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I am comparing the Kelty Gunnison 2.1, sold everywhere ($189.99) with the Kelty Zenith, sold at Target ($59.99). The basic dimensions are the same and there are a few obvious differences, but how can the price be so different?
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Can a woman comfortably use a man's backpack? How much of a difference does it make?
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My boyfriend always gets annoyed that I load our heavier items into his pack. I think that since he weighs 30% more than me, his pack can be about 40% heavier, adding 10% for M/F differences in hematocrit, VO2 max, etc. Do you think this is reasonable?
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When camping in the alpine environment, above tree line, what is the best way to store food to keep it way from critters (ie. pikas and marmots)?
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I have a Snowpeak stove that uses those small pressurized fuel canisters. Is there a good way to estimate the burn time left in a partially used canister?
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I've heard that DEET is bad for sleeping bag fabrics and can even melt some materials. Since I use DEET on my body on most camping trips, should I always wash my sleeping bag after every trip? And if not, how often should I wash it to protect it from DEET?
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What are the best quick-dry pants to use in cooler temperatures? I will be in Alaska in late August and will be out in the backcountry for 11 days. I wanted to find a good multi-purpose pant that will keep heat in and is also quick to dry.
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Is Gore-Tex still the #1 all-time best waterproof material you can buy? Or are other brands' waterproofing just the same with a different name? Just wondering if it's worth paying the extra money for the Gore-Tex brand? Thanks!
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I am new to backpacking and have only made a few serious trips. Everyone I hike with always carries a gun. Do you carry a firearm when in the United States? Or am I just paranoid?
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My friend and I have a debate going about how to pack a tent: He says stuffing it is better, but I say folding and rolling is better. His thought is that folding and rolling creates seams that will eventually let in water. Who's right?
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How can I be sure my water treatment equipment is doing it job. Is there a way to test this?
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Tents have warnings to "maintain adequate ventilation. Death by suffocation is possible!" My tent has lots of mesh. What's the story here?
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I am planning a thru-hike on the AT. Can you give me insight into the pros & cons of ultralight poles vs the old standbys? How necessary are shock absorbing poles for the AT?
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If a rain fly has a few areas of mildew will it still work to repel rain, or do I need to get a new fly? Is there anywhere to purchase just the rain fly, or do I have to go all in and get a new tent?
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For a summer trek at Philmont, which is better, a wool sweater or a fleece garment?
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Dear Kristen, I have a down sleeping bag that I forgot to place in my "storage" bag. I left it in my "stuff sack" for about 2 years. How will this affect its performance, and how do I remedy this situation? Do I just "air it out" for a few days?
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I have been away from backpacking for a while, why the shift away from external frame backpacks?
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What's the best way to patch a tear in a siliconized Cordura pack cover?
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I need prescription sunglasses, but can't afford them. I've had to cut snowshoeing trips short before because I couldn't cross any open meadow due to the sun. Do you have any cheap sunglass solutions that won't make me look like a geriatric?
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Is there a rectangular sleeping bag that can compress as small as a mummy bag?
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What is the best way to clean your hydration pack and tube? I sometimes get a moldy smell in my hydration bladder if I don't air it out thoroughly.
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The instructions on my gravity filter say you should "backwash"–reverse the flow–whenever the filtration rate slows. My question: What do you do with the water that is "backwashed" into the "dirty" bag? Discard the water or re-filter?
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I've noticed that the label on all of my baselayers say to not use fabric softeners. Do you know if this is just referring to liquid softeners or does this also mean dryer sheets? No dryer sheet = major static.
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Can rechargeable batteries be used in LED and non-LED headlamps and flashlights?
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I am wondering how the GPS apps for smartphones compare to a regular GPS? They seem to be the latest thing but are they as reliable?
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Dear Kristin, I'm in the military; for deployments and long field ops, I am unable to wash my sleeping bag. I have adopted the practice of spraying the inside of my bag with Lysol and drying it in the sun. Do you see this ruining the bag in any way?
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The rubber from the sole of my boots is starting to separate from the leather. Is there something I can do to mend this or are my boots toast? (I LOVE these boots...)
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My GPS works great in the Walmart parking lot, but in a steep valley, next to a mountain, or in the woods it can't get an adequate signal. How can I solve this problem?
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Does campfire smoke degrade the properties of DWR or breathable laminates?
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With chemical water purification tablets, almost all of them give instructions for a full quart or liter. If I want to clean just 8 ounces, could I divide the dose by breaking tablets into quarters (or cut the number of drops by 1/4), and would the treatments still be effective?
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Any suggestions for small, leakproof containers for carrying cooking supplies such as oil, syrup, sauces etc.?

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What is the best way to repair a tear in my fleece?

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What is the best way to add down to areas of a sleeping bag?
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Does a down sleeping bag go bad? I have an old The North Face expedition down bag. It has been in storage for 35 years. It looks good still, but will it fall apart?
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I am looking for a hydration pack for day ski trips this winter–need to attach skis, shovel, probe, food, and a few pieces of clothes. What are your favorites?
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I am considering retrofitting my old Kelty external frame backpack with new shoulder straps. Should I also replace the hipbelt?
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Is it best to put gaiters on over or under rainpants?
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If I spray a DWR finish on clothing, will that also increase its wind resistance? Specifically I'm thinking of a pair of light gloves and a headband that I use to meet an early morning chill, but are not much help in a cold wind. I find most windproof items too bulky.
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What are the pros & cons of a single-wall tent to a double-wall?
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Are there standards tents must meet to be designated "3 season"/"4 season?" A pole on my new Big Agnes Copper Spur 3 snapped after a full night of strong winds below Longs Peak, plus there was a punctured rain fly and snapped shock cords. A defect or design limits exceeded?
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Do you know of a good pair of beginner crampons for use in the Rockies? What's the price range?
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What's the low-down on rain gear? I'm a novice who's weary of spending his cash in the wrong places. Should I go with a softshell jacket or something with a sturdier outer shell?
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Hi Kristin, I was wondering if wearing two pairs of socks really helps prevent blisters/toe damage? If so, what do you recommend for the second sock? I usually use a merino wool blend, heavy cushion sock with my boots, and occasionally will get some blisters.
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I've been doing more hiking in sandals vs. my hiking boots. I have found hiking in the sandals good because I can also use them as camp shoes, they dry fast, and they're so much lighter than my boots. Do you see any safety issues with do this?
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Kristin, do you ever bring "backups" of your important items? On one hand it seems logical to bring an extra compass, flashlight, knife etc., but on the other it usually just turns out to be dead weight. What's your take on it?
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What is the earliest age at which we can start tent camping with a child? We were hoping to start thru-hiking the AT when our child reaches age two and half, but is that too young?
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Which should be applied to clothing and gear first? Waterproofing or Permethrin bug spray?
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How can I stop the elastic on my underwear from chafing me under my hipbelt?
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How can I recycle old polyester fiberfill sleeping bags to keep them out of the landfill?
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I have high arches so bad that the top of my right foot hurts. Is there any one brand of hiking boots that you recommend that has excellent arch support? Currently I use an insole in my hiking boot which helps but I still have issues.
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How can you tell if your water filter is still working properly?
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Can you wash a tent?
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When water comes over the top of Gore-Tex boots it can't seep out again like in regular boots, right?
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While rummaging around my basement I found a can of stove fuel. Does this stuff go bad like regular gasoline?
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We are taking our loaded backpacks on an airplane and are looking for protective sacks that we can put the backpacks in so they don't get destroyed during baggage handling. Where do I find this type of protection?
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I’m getting ready for summer and have been really interested in the soda can stoves. The only concern I have is whether the alcohol fuel can stand up to the South Carolina heat. Any thoughts?
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Stupid question time, what is the best way to wash camp dishes without hauling extra gear and wasting water? Do you have to boil/filter the water used for cleaning? Are dishes detergents bad for the environment? How do you dispose of dirty dish water?
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My wife and I are going to take our baby (born in December last year) hiking and camping with us and our dog this summer. Do you have gear recommendations for the main gear: baby carrier, baby sleeping gear, dirty diaper containment, etc?
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I am having a very hard time finding the right pair of trail pants. I've searched online and found what seems to be a thousand pairs and none are the right pair. Do you have a favorite?
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I love my sleeping bag/pad combo, except for one thing. I can't stop sliding off the pad! Is there anything that I can do to my pad to cut down on the sliding
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I am confused about the capacity figures that backpack manufacturers claim. With particular regards to daypacks it seems that the figures advertised are always about 20% higher than what the pack actually holds. What gives? And how many cubic inches do I need for a daypack or a week-long pack?
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My friends are getting married in a month and I want to give them a piece of gear specifically for couples. I looked into couples sleeping bags, my first choice, but I can't spend more than $200. Can you suggest something thoughtful and high quality?
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I need a new winter sleeping bag. Should I choose a sleeping bag with or without a waterproof laminate? Can you explain the difference?
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Dear Kristin, What is the ideal way to rig your 4-season tent for cold weather? My tent has zip in/out panels and I'm not sure what the right balance is between keeping the heat in and getting the condensation out.
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Kristin, do you have any tips for winter cooking? How should I set my backcountry kitchen up differently? Can I cook in my tent?
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When walking around the neighborhood or out walking the dogs usually duringwinter the streets are most times icy. Are there any shoes or hiking boots that are studded or ones that would be best for ice?
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Dear Kristin,
I love being outside when it's cold, especially hiking, and I wear glasses.
I have a hard time wearing face masks or balaclavas because my warm breath fogs up my glasses as I breathe out into whatever is covering my face. Any suggestions on being fog free?

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I am going on a week-long trip at around 10,500 feet elevation and we'll be using mules to carry our gear. Any suggestions on how to keep our food cold so we can carry perishables such as steak/chicken etc?
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How do I get rid of cold feet while in my sleeping bag in the middle of the night? The rest of my body is fine but my feet are freezing.
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Hats: Is there a secret to finding/wearing a great one as it gets colder out there? Synthetic? Wool? Is there one that's better than the other?
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I'm a sweaty sleeper. Any tips?
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I'm a cold sleeper. How do I sleep warmer?
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What's your method for storing and hauling your trash on a multi-day trip? I usually just use plastic bags but there's got to be a more packable way.
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Kristin, can you recommend a good glove system for colder hikes? Should I bring one pair or two? What should they be made of? Oh, and with longer gloves that bungee up my wrist, should that portion go over or under my jacket sleeve?
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What's the proper teeth brushing procedure in the woods? Is there one?


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It's getting cold out there--when do I need a hardshell and when do I need a softshell? I've never really understood the difference and when to use which jacket. Help!
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What's a good set of on trail eating utensils--fork, spoon, etc?
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Hey Kristin, this doesn’t seem to come up very often but should I be wearing a different kind of underwear in the backcountry than I do every day? Any recommendations?
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I'm having trouble deciding upon an insulating layer. I can't decide to go with fleece or PrimaLoft. What are the downs and ups of the two?


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How should my daypack fit? Should it fit differently from my weekend or week-long pack?
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Hey Kristin, I've got a great sleeping bag but I can't sleep without a pillow. Do you have a recommendation for a lightweight pillow or so kind of trick for making one with my gear?
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I've read many outdoor books to get up to speed on camping, cooking, hiking, etc. I would like to hear what your choices of books might be in the outdoor education area. One of my complaints is that they all start to sound the same.
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Going to the bathroom in the wild. What do I need? Do I need to pack out my waste? How? I'm going on a multi-day trip and am not sure what I need.

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How do I remove pine sap from my down sleeping bag (and other gear for that matter)?
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I love hiking and camping, but not alone. I'm one of those people who think about running away when I hear one stick break in the woods. Is there any way I could mentally prepare myself for sleeping alone in the wilderness?
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Hey Kristin, I'm a navigation newbie. Basically, I just head to the trailhead, look at the map there, and go. Is there essential, basic navigation equipment that I should have at all times, even on a dayhike?
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Dear Kristin,
Time and miles have taken their toll on the knees with one total knee replacement recently. I am getting back to limited hiking and some of the folks I pass on the trail are very high on the use of trekking poles. I would value your advice as to tips on how to adjust them to the proper length and techniques for most advantageous use of the poles to both reduce stress on the knees and ensure stability (twisting artificial knees is very painful!). I sure hope these poles are a benefit and not just an equipment fad?
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Kristin,
My wife and I are becoming more serious backpackers and l am shopping around to replace the tent that I've been using since childhood.  Could you explain what “minimum weight,” “packaged weight,” and similar terms mean? Thanks, Rick

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I know I'm supposed to use a bear canister all the time in bear country but they can be bulky. If I'm going on an overnight trip, do I really need one? And if I do, is there a sealable bag option that might work?
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What's the best way to keep pack contents dry. Pack covers and pack liners have failed repeatedly. Should I just rely on zip lock bags?
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Baselayers. I need a good one. I know wool is great but frankly, I itch and get pretty hot when I'm mid hike. Any suggestions?
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How do I get the campfire stench out of my gear? I tried washing it but no-go.
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What can I feed my dog throughout the day while we are hiking to keep his energy up?

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Can a water purifier purify pee?
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Alas, pain in my shoulders and hips is destroying my ability to camp. I can no longer sleep on the ground, even with a thin mattress underneath. What is the best, most cushioned, and lightweight pad that might help solve this problem?
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I commute by bicycle to work 15 miles one way. Where can I find a backpack for clothing and hydration that is visible to vehicles?
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Is it really necessary to have big hiking boots with really sturdy ankle support? I've always used trail runners on multi-day trips without a problem.
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Times are rough, and I don't have the spare cash to blow on top-dollar gear for every essential. If I have to skimp on one, which one should I cut corners: tent, sleeping bag, pack, or boots?
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What would you suggest for a windproof lighter that is simple and dependable?
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I am going to summit Kilimanjaro, but I only have summer weight sleeping bags good to 40 degrees. Given the high cost of lightweight, warm bags and that I don't winter camp, would it be effective to double bag a couple of my summer bags?
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How should a shell fit? I can't decide between a large or an extra large. Is it best to have ample layering room or should it be tight and form fitting? I can't decide whether to go up or down.
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Does Talc powder block the GoreTex Membrane of my boots? And what is the best odor killers for GoreTex Boots?

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Do campfires deter bears?

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I have been backpacking for 15 years and I have not been able to find a way to stop black toenails. I have changed my lacing especially going downhill, always trim toenails and had several different types of boots. Help!
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On a recent backpacking trip, the sole of one of my hiking boots came loose. I was able to use a tent cord to tie it on and hike back to the trailhead. How do you repair loose soles on hiking boots?
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I'm an extremely heavy sweater no matter what the weather. Should I really trust my hi-tech clothing to be absolutely dried by my body heat? Or is it better to carry extra clothing to change? I can't imagine risking the chance of sleeping damp.
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What is the best way to clean my down bag? Should it be dry-cleaned or can I just throw it in the wash?
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I have been backpacking for a little over a year and would like to try some cold weather backpacking. I am wondering how to keep warm in the tent at night. Is there a such thing as a backpacker tent heater? Any suggestions are appreciated.
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How do you remove poison oak or ivy sap from boots?

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I am tired of iodine for water purification and I am considering a filter (like the Hyperflow), but I see that it doesn't filter viruses. If I only backpack in America, do I have to get a filter with a purifier, or will a filter for bacteria only suffice? Going to Big Bend in 3 weeks and I'm clueless...
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Kristin, I was wondering about your thoughts on waterproofing your own
clothes, particularly pants. I have never used any sprayon or wash in
waterproofing product. Would something like that work to waterproof your
pants or would that be a waste of time?


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Is steel better than aluminum when choosing crampons?
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When camping in subzero temperatures whats the best way to keep my food warm long enough to eat it and whats a good way to clean the pot once the food has frozen itself to the sides?
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My favorite trail is snowed over now but I still want to get out there. Should I use snowshoes or crampons? Or is there something in between?


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I'm an amateur hiker/backpacker and I'm wondering how much gear I should pack. I don't want to bring too little, and I don't want to be overexerting myself with too much. What's in the ideal pack?
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What are the best products for re-waterproofing Gore-Tex rain jackets?
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Is it safe or advisable to use Febreeze or other "fabric refreshers" on my down sleeping bag?
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Dear Kristin, I just started hiking through mountain trails in the last year or so. I'm ready to take on full weekend backpacking trips. My main concern is food. What are some important tools to take along for good food prep?
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Dear Kristin,
How do I prevent chafing? I have been on many long distance hikes in the last year and seem plagued by raw spots. I have tried talc, shaving and even gone commando to the summit of the South Sister. What's the deal and what really works?
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Should I be worried about hiking in bear country when menstruating?
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Dear Kristin
I've never really understood the principles of layering. For cold weather treks, should my baselayer be cotton or wool? What about my midlayer? Wool? Fleece? What are the basics of layering for any occasion?
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Dear Kristin, How can you carry on trekking poles when flying a commercial airline?
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I take long dayhikes (20-30 miles) and am looking for an emergency shelter to use in case I don't make it out before nightfall. I don't want to carry a tent. I have been considering a bivy sack - something just to keep me warm and dry. Will a waterproof bivy sack on its own be sufficient in case of rain?
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Is it okay to keep your backpack in your tent at night? There seems to be two opposing camps (no pun intended, or maybe it was)on this issue.
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I wear size 11 EE boots. I have tried to get hiking boots via mail order without success because they are always far narrower than marked. Do you know of a boot maker who makes really wide boots that are true to size? Thanks.
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Canister backpacking stoves are becoming so popular, but I have a concern about them that I can't find much info about. Are the canisters refillable or recyclable? Or are we just creating more waste when we purchase these stoves in the quest of lightness?
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Is there a multipurpose helmet out there I can use for skiing, climbing etc. or should I just plan on getting one for each season/sport?
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I'm confused about the capacity figures that backpack manufacturers claim. With daypacks it seems that the figures advertised are always about 20 percent higher than what the pack actually holds. What gives?
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Is it true that mummy bags should not be stored in a stuff sack, but rather hung in closet between trips? Seems like a waste of space.
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When camping in frigid temperatures, what's the best way to keep my food warm long enough to eat it? And how can I clean my pot once the food has frozen itself to the sides?
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Dear Kristin,
I plan on backpacking Europe for about a month. What is the most suitable backpack for me to use?
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I do a bit of camping on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I am looking for a 3-person tent that can withstand the howls and gusts of the winds without collapsing or flapping so loud it keeps me awake. No $3,000 tents please.
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What is the best way to wash my fleece so that I get longer use out of it?
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I just returned from a trip to the High Sierra and found a 1/2 inch tear in the bottom of my Big Agnes tent. The fabric is silicone treated nylon. How do I fix it?
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My wife and I have decided we want to hit the trail and take some overnight and weekend trips.

The trouble is, I'm a big guy: 6 feet tall and 325 lbs. Big. Since no amount of vertical stripes and black cloth can conceal that fact, I'm not going to wait for the flab to fall off so I can enjoy nature, so I've already begun to accumulate equipment. Unfortunately, I've come to an impasse; that being the distance between the clips on the hipbelt of every pack I've tried. My question is, are there any companies that make packs for bigger guys, and a 54" waist? I'll avoid going for a Krispy Kreme while I await your suggestions.


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In your video on Camp Stoves, why do you keep one of the gas canisters in a pan of water?
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I bought a pair of Swiss Gear poles from Wal-Mart for $17.00 just to see if I liked using them and have been very satisfied. I learned I do like using the poles and I've seen much more expensive ones in my local outdoor shop. What's the difference? Should I step up and buy the pricier ones? Thanks
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The plastic buckle on my pack's hip-belt slips. Is there a way to make it stay in place, or a better buckle? I have to cinch the belt really tight to keep it on my hips, but in 20 minutes or less, I'm adjusting it again.
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Dear Kristin,
I've been told that when using a down sleeping bag, sleeping in the buff will keep you warmer than sleeping in clothing. Is this true? (I've yet to do my own experimenting, as I like to wear long underwear to bed in order to keep my bag cleaner.)
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We're an experienced group of backpackers/fly fishermen here in Colorado. We will be camping in tundra this summer and we were wondering about our food bags. Since there are no trees to hang the food, what are our options? Thank you.
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Some friends and I are planning to backpack the southern portion of the Appalachian Trail over spring break. We are all Eagle Scouts, but we have concerns about travel speed. We have 106 miles planned and are trying to figure out a good distance to travel each day. We are novice backpackers and one member of the party is rather out of shape. What is your mileage recommendation?
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Dear Kristin, I want to start going ultralight. I've looked at tarps and bivy sacks but what do you think about hammocks? They look nice, but do they really work?
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What is the best way to get rid of leftover white gas, before I get on the plane to fly home?
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Do you have any suggestions on camp shoes? After backpacking all day in my hiking boots I don't really feel like wearing them around anymore.
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What causes–and how do you prevent–air bubbles from showing up in liquid filled compasses? Just about every liquid filled compass I have used usually gets a small air bubble in it.
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Over the years I've hoarded a lot of dehydrated food. Does this stuff ever go bad?
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I'm looking at down jackets. Some labels say 650-fill, some say 700-fill–what does it mean? Is it a unit of density of the down material or is it the quality of the down material or is it something else? How does it relate to the degree of insulation of a jacket or a sleeping bag, for that matter?
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Dear Kristin, I am getting ready to buy a new tent and I've heard that bears are attracted to brightly colored tents, but that they ignore dull colors. Does it really matter whether the tent is bright or subdued?
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Dear Kristin,
After reading many of your ultralight articles, I am seriously going to give it a try, starting with my kitchen gear. How good are the alcohol stoves at high elevations and/or any elevation?
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What's the best way to re-attach seam seal tape that is pulling away from waterproof fabric items such as a waterproof stuff sack or tent fly?
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Down versus synthetic sleeping bags: What's the deal?
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