Backpacking Skills

What is a Rutschblock Test?

Snow Column Testing

A Rutschblock test (pronounced ROOTCH BLOCK) is a snowpack compression test used by winter adventurers, backcountry guides, and avalanche forecasters to test for avalanche danger. It is designed to simulate the shock that a skier, snowboader, or snowshoer/climber, exerts on the snowpack …

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How to Build Snow Shelters

Quinzee Snow Shelter

Building snow shelters is an important winter skill which can be used in emergency situations in the backcountry. Snow is a great insulator and works by preventing warm trapped in its crystalline structure from escaping. But more importantly perhaps, is that snow …

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Neoprene Winter Glove Idea

Neoprene Hiking Gloves

Lightweight Winter Glove Woes I’ve been having a real problem this winter dialing in my lightweight winter gloves. I sweat a lot when climbing up peaks or breaking trail and I have a tendency to soak out lightweight polypro or gore windstopper …

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Is Solo Winter Hiking Safe?

Ambition Can Blur Decision-Making in Winter

I was reminded of the dangers of solo winter hiking while climbing Mt Avalon (3, 442 ft) in Crawford Notch. There’s a balance between ambition and self-preservation that one needs to be cognizant of if you hike in the mountains or any …

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MYOG: Caldera Cone Cozies

These instructions were contributed by regular reader Ken “Drip Dry” Holder. The cozies, shown above, were co-developed by Ken and Lee “Revlee” Fields. A Cozy System for Freezer Bag Cooking My hiking buddy (Revlee) and I went through about 5 renditions …

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Why are Stuff Sacks Round?

I am completely serious about this. Why are stuff sacks round instead of block shaped? For example, most of the backpacks I own have one large compartment that is rectangular in shape. Given this, wouldn’t it be more efficient to pack them …

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