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33 Top Tips From Trail Pros

Here's how Aron Ralston, Ed Viesturs, Les Stroud, and others get out and back again–and how you can, too.

"Crampons are a great tool on firm snow, but quickly become a hazard as the snow warms. Knowing when to use them and when to remove them, and then stopping at the appropriate interval to make the change–can prevent accidents. Novice climbers often mistakenly assume that they must wear crampons whenever on snow."
–Accidents in North American Mountaineering 2006

"On a cold night, turn your sleeping bag stuff sack inside out and put your boots inside. Sleep with the stuff sack in between your legs. The coated nylon of the stuff sack will keep the wet boots from soaking your sleeping bag, and your body heat will keep the boots warm and dry them out."
The Backpacker’s Field Manual, Rick Curtis

"A whistle, though limited in its scope, is probably the most reliable signaling device you can carry. …It greatly exceeds the range of your voice and can serve as a crude means of communication where shouts for help cannot be heard."
Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills

"Drop a balaclava over your pot to keep it warm [after cooking a meal], or use sand and leaves–around the pot, not in it."
The Complete Walker

"Some things you should be able to do in your camp shoes: fetch water, go on a 5-mile dayhike, climb boulders, fish, and, of course, pad around camp."
–The National Outdoor Leadership School’s Wilderness Guide, Mark Harvey

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