Looking Skyward: Forecasting weather using nature

Looking Skyward: Forecasting weather using nature
As the weather turns hotter, water vapor condenses from nearby water sources and around mountain tops, forming into dark clouds. These clouds have the potential to culminate into intense electrical storms. Clearly it is unwise to continue ascending a summit as the sky is pulsating with gigantic bolts of lightning, but sometimes the situation is ...

First Aid Kits for Backpacking – 10 Essentials 3

First Aid Kits for Backpacking - 10 Essentials
What items should you carry in a first aid kit, as a solo backpacker? If you hike with a dog, what extra items do you need for your furry companion? Medical survival kits are often a boring subject and many hikers don’t give it much attention. However, a survival kit is one of the most important items ...

Estimating Distance with your Thumb 4

Estimating Distance with your Thumb
Estimating distance is important in daily life, hiking, and survival situations. It helps you to maintain your sense of direction, calculate distance and height, and estimate travel time while hiking relative to your pace. Estimating distance by using only your finger is based on this known fact about human anatomy: Your arm is about ten times ...

Map Skills Primer

Map Skills Primer
Knowing how to read a topographic map is an important skill for navigating the backcountry. Make sure you understand how to follow a topographic map before your hike — especially if you plan to be in a remote area. Here we’ll cover the basics and provide some online sources for finding topographic hiking maps. We will also feature some external ...

Walking in Circles 1

Walking in Circles
“The belief that people walk in circles when lost is mainly based on anecdotal evidence and has never been studied systematically in a real desert or forest.” (Current Biology, August 20th 2009) It is a common scenario: when we get lost in the wilderness, we wind up walking in circles.  Much to our dismay, at ...

Directional Navigation Using the Moon 2

Directional Navigation Using the Moon
The moon has no light of its own. The light seen from the moon is a reflection of the sun.  The shape of the reflected light varies as the Earth orbits around the sun. This can be useful for finding direction at night once you understand how this works. When it is a crescent moon ...