A rope is an essential piece of equipment in the outdoors as it has multiple purposes. From attaching your tarp to the tree to rappeling. But what use is carrying a rope with you if you don´t know how to use it? Knot tying is a very important skill to master when it comes to survival techniques.
Since there are probably a thousand ways to tie a rope, we will only highlight the most important ones and what use they have.
Before we are going to show you some knots, we are going to explain the different terms used. Even though, people always use the word ´knot´ to refer to tying your rope to another rope or tree, there are different types of knots.
As you can see, every type of knot will have a different purpose.
This is a very easy knot to tie and one you can use for many purposes. However, the square knot is not the most secure knot, so shouldn´t be used for real survival situations. The reason we include this one to the list is because it is the foundation for learning other important knots.
This is one of the most used knots in the outdoors. The knot is meant for temporary uses and gets secure when there is a load hanging on both sides. The knot can easily be undone by removing the load on one end.
This type of knot is used to join two sticks or poles at a right angle. It is a very strong knot that can take huge loads.
The shear lash knot is similar to the square lash, except in this case the poles are not in 90 degrees. It is used to secure two poles that will bear loads.
The bowline knot is a very popular knot for climbers and other outdoor enthusiasts. This loop knot is easy to make and very strong under load. Once the load is removed, it is easy to untie.
When used for climbing it is best to add a safety knot or opt for the figure eight knot.
As the name suggest, this knot is often used by mountaineers when roped up. But it has many other uses as well. It is more stable than the Bowline on a Bight or the The Figure 8 Loop – both of which may roll over.
Heel even zag het er naar uit dat we dit jaar beperkt zouden blijven tot een staycation. Maar nu de Europese binnengrenzen stilaan openen, mogen we deze zomer alsnog dromen van een kanovakantie in Zweden of een bergwandeling in Noorwegen. Zoals iedere zomer mag ik me opnieuw opmaken voor een seizoen begeleiden van groepsreizen voor Mr Yeti.
Helaas geen Canada dit jaar. Daar heeft corona wel een stokje voor gestoken, maar dat betekent niet dat het alternatief slecht is. Verre van.
Dat seizoen start op 4 juli, met een staycation vakantie in de Belgische Ardennen. Dat je voor avontuur niet altijd ver hoeft te reizen bewijst deze 8-daagse groepsreis. Kajakken, wandelen, speleologie, mountainbiken en gedropt worden in het midden van de nacht met enkel een lamp en kaart. Het gebeurt allemaal tijdens deze vakantie. En tussenin genieten we nog even heerlijk van het kampeerleven met gezellige bbq´s en kampvuurverhalen.
Wil je mee naar de Ardennen? Boek dan nu de 8-daagse groepsreis vanaf 4 juli.
Ik word altijd blij als me verteld word dat ik naar Zweden mag reizen. Na vorig jaar Zweden te hebben ingeruild voor IJsland is het dit jaar opnieuw tijd om naar het land van meren, bossen en köttbullar te trekken. Een 14 daagse groepsreis brengt ons op enkele mooie plekken waar het avontuur om de hoek lonkt. Dit kan uiteraard niet zonder enkele keren wild te kamperen en te kanovaren.
Mee genieten van een Zweeds avontuur? Boek nu de 14-daagse Zweden groepsreis met vertrekdatum 1 augustus.
Na deze fantastische reis tweemaal te hebben mogen begeleiden de laatste jaren, werd ik gevraagd om het programma nog wat op punt te zetten. Enkele activiteiten die niet aan de verwachtingen voldeden werden ingeruild voor onder meer een kajaktocht in de Noorse fjorden en een tweedaagse trekking op het Hardangerviddaplateau.
Ik vond het dan ook enigszins spijtig dat er geen tijd meer overbleef voor mij om deze reis deze zomer te kunnen begeleiden. Het wegvallen van Canada bracht daar verandering in.
Altijd al de Noorse fjorden willen bewonderen? Boek dan nu de actieve 14-daagse rondreis Noorwegen van 29 augustus.
Hoewel er nog heel wat tussenzit (onder meer een winter packraftreis Noorwegen), zijn ook de verwachtingen voor de maanden nadien alvast erg hoog. Na vorige zomer IJsland te hebben verkend via de Ring Road, wacht er in februari een winterreis IJsland. En Canada? Dat wordt voor volgende zomer. Misschien is dit dan toch eindelijk eens het ideale moment om een avontuur in de Yukon en Alaska te plannen?
Sleeping under the stars, waking up in the fresh air and escaping everyday life … that is camping. But why not go a step further and camp in the wild nature? Pitching your tent wherever you like is a romantic concept. But be aware, wildcamping comes with restrictions and rules and lots of responsability.
Wildcamping is camping on places that are not designated to camp such as campsites. People often tend to see this as a way to save money, but more importantly it is a way to experience nature more intense. Imagine waking up on the shores of a lake with mountain view and no one else around. Cool right?
Apart from the wind, running water and an army of crickets, you don’t hear anything at all. Cooking in a small camping pan – and then eating from the same pan is one of the most satisfying things of your day. And we haven’t even talked about stargazing without light pollution or waking up with fresh mountain air in your face and a cup of self-made coffee. Yes people, we are talking about wild camping: the cream of the crop among outdoor activities.
Wildcamping does come with some rules however, and in this post we will share everything you need to know for wildcamping in Europe.
The real camping enthusiasts have known for a long time: nothing beats wild camping. With your tent or camper in the middle of nature, you can´t get closer to a real wilderness experience. Unfortunately in Europe it is not always allowed to wildcamp. Before you go, check the rules of your destinations.
Some great destinations in Europe that allow wildcamping include: Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Baltic States and Scotland. Bivouacing above the treeline in Switzerland is also allowed. I said great destinations because these countries are also amazing when it comes to nature. It´s not so hard to find a camping spot with mountain view in Norway, nor is it difficult to camp by a lake in Sweden or Finland.
The ultimate of wild camping in Europe is of course Scandinavia. This is because of the so-called Allemansrätten. With this law you can legally camp wild in Norway, Sweden and Finland, provided you follow the rules properly. This means that you are not allowed to stand on private property or public parking spaces. In addition, always keep at least 150 meters away from the buildings and limit your camping adventure to 2 nights per location, after which you have to move on again. But that is of course no punishment in such a beautiful region!
In Denmark it is not allowed to wildcamp, with the exception of Greenland. Also in 2017, Iceland prohibited wildcamping because of booming tourism.
In the Baltic States, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, similar rules apply for wildcamping. Both wild camping and bivouacing are allowed here outside private land and protected nature reserves and provided that you handle nature wisely. In addition to wild camping, there are also sufficient nature camping pitches in all three countries where you can camp for free and all basic facilities are available.
Another beautiful country to travel around: Scotland! Since 2003, the beautiful “Right To Roam” has been in place with which campers literally have the right to wander off nature trails and stay overnight. As a camping enthusiast, you can’t be luckier, because the Scottish Highlands in particular are a spectacular camping experience. A number of rules are there, especially aimed at leaving the area as you found it. You can read everything about this in the Scottish Outdoor Access code.
Wild camping is also well organized in Switzerland. In short, it means that camping above the treeline is legal. You can stay in the same place for a maximum of 1 night with never more than 4 people and always out of sight of other camping locations, such as mountain huts. There are more exceptions regarding wild camping in Switzerland. For example, in the canton of Obwalden, wild camping is completely prohibited and in some areas throughout the country you can come across signs prohibiting it. So pay close attention to this.
In most other countries in Europe, wildcamping is illegal. However in some, such as France, bivouacing is allowed under certain conditions. Also in countries such as Poland and Spain, wildcamping is technically illegal, but often tolerated.
In contrast to well-organized campsites, you will not always find an accessible water source in the wild nature. Are you going on a multi-day trip? Then, while planning your wild camping trip, find places to pitch your tent that are near water. Place your tent at least 150 meters away from the water, in order to prevent possible contamination of the water. Do you encounter stagnant water? Then don’t drink from this. You can drink clear water with the help of a water filter like Lifestraw.
In Sweden and Finland it is easier to find water as there are many lakes and rivers. Most of them have wildcamping spots on the shore.
For most campers, wild camping is inextricably linked to having a campfire. Making a fire is not only super cozy, it is also essential. You need fire to cook on, keep yourself warm and possibly dry your clothes. Did you know that you can easily make a fire yourself with a magnesium firestick?
There are certain risks when it comes to making fire. Always keep in mind drought and the local weather forecast. For a thumb rule, try to avoid making fire outside of designated areas. You will find them plenty in the countries mentioned above.
We are of course not the only ones who stay in nature, research well before your departure whether local wildlife such as bears, wolves or certain reptiles are a risk. You can easily avoid some dangerous situations by, for example, not leaving food lying around.
Finding a new good wildcamping spot takes a trained eye as it should meet certain standards. Access to water, flat terrain, etc..
However, in the Scandinavian countries and the Baltic States there are numerous wild camping spots spread over nature. If you go hiking or canoeing in Sweden, you are most likely going to encounter these shelters or unmanned cabins.
The same goes for the Baltic States. Here are a few websites that show these locations.
Extra tip: get the right gear. Read our blogpost about 10 Essentials for Wildcamping
Scotland and Scandinavian countries like Norway, Sweden and Finland are amongst my favorite destinations in Europe for adventuring. While the beautiful nature is one reason for it, another is the fact that here it is not illegal to go wildcamping. And in my opinion, wildcamping is one of the most fun aspects of an adventure.
When we hiked the West Highland Way in 2015 or went on a canoeing trip in Sweden or Svalbard in 2017, there were not always campsites available to spend the night on. Not that we cared that much, because we love camping in a setting we can be all alone with a impressive vista.
Wildcamping is often done on multi-day adventures in remote locations. For this reason alone it is very important to have the right, lightweight gear. Here are a few things you can not go without.
Which one to pick is often to the taste of the adventurer. They all have their merits. A tent is advised for those who love a bit more comfort. A bivy on the other hand is super lightweight and offers nothing but a roof while you sleep in nature, literally. A third option may be a hammock, but as you can guess, this only works if you are hiking or canoeing in a forested area.
How good you will sleep while wildcamping may depend on your sleeping bag. Don´t go cheap on this! Decide on the destinations you will use it and what temperatures you may encounter during the night.
The sleeping mat is what will insulate you from the cold ground. I always opted for a self-inflated Thermarest as they are superlight and not too bulky.
No adventurer should set out without bringing a first aid kit. This can literally save your life. Make sure it includes a tick remover as well.
When it comes to basic essentials, you can´t go without food. I have been using the MSR Superfly stove for years now and couldn´t be more happy with it. It is shocking how light it is (130g). For food I often go for freeze-dry foods as they take no weight or space. You just add boiling water and you´ve got yourself a meal.
Some people go for a camelback, others go for a drinking bottle. Depending on the destination you will have to purify the water you find. This can be done by boiling or adding tablets. Since tablets give a bad taste and boiling water to purify ends you up with hot water that needs to cool down, I decided to try out the LifeStraw for drinking and boiling for cooking.
When I travel in the outdoors I always bring my firesteel instead of matches or lighter. Lighters run out and matches get wet. A firesteel is the most reliable item to make a fire.
Not the most fun item to bring with you, but if you are wildcamping, you will have to do number two at some point. Respecting the outdoors means leaving no trace. Bury your waste and if possible bring or burn your toiletpaper.
To prepare your meals you will need a decent cooking set. Some sets include a pot, pan and even plates, without taking too much space. Afterwards, there won´t be a washing machine available so doing dishes is by hand. My tip: bring a sponge.
If you are spending summer in the Nordic destinations, daylight won´t be a problem. But in other cases it might be useful to bring a head torch if you go wildcamping. You never now if you need to pee during the night.
Type of adventure: Canoe or Kayak
The Great Glen Canoe trail is a 4-5 day canoe trekking that connects Fort William near the Ben Nevis with Inverness. With a total distance of 100 kilometers you paddle across several Scottish lochs in the Highlands, including Loch Ness. The lochs are connected by the Caledonian Canal, which was built for boat traffic, but is nowadays one of the best adventures to do in Scotland in our opinion.
Scottish weather can be unpredictable. Paddling the Great Glen Canoe trail is possible year-round, but we suggest embarking on this adventure during Spring or Autumn. May, June or September work best as July and August tend to have more rainy days and is the peak-season for the notorious midges.
Paddling the Great Glen Canoe trail is possible for anyone with a little paddling experience. Since 74 kilometers is on one of the four lochs you will be crossing, you will be paddling open water most of the time. Depending on the wind this can mean you will be facing waves / sea conditions. Guided canoe trips can be booked in Fort William,or you can plan this adventure yourself with our e-guide. Along the way you can enjoy wildcamping in Scottish nature.
The Great Glen Canoe trail is a wonderful canoe trekking in the Highlands of Scotland. There is no better way to experience Loch Ness than paddling across it. Along the way, you can enjoy wild camping on the many bivouac sites on the shores.
All life on Earth requires water to survive. Without water a person could die in three days. When you are in a desert environment, finding water is number one priority for survival. But how do you find water in an environment that is known to have little to no water at all?
In many areas of a desert it is impossible to find water just because it isn’t there. However, there are parts of many deserts where hidden sources of water are at least seasonally available. In this post we will share you some tips on how to avoid dehydration in the desert.
Several factors affect a person´s water needs. Temperature, humidity, wind, sun intensity, clothing, physical condition, food intake, etc. To limit water loss it is a good idea to wear long pants, a shirt and a hat. When the skin is exposed to the air, the dry wind and heat can dehydrate the body quickly. A good way to conserve water reserves is to hike only during the night or cooler times of the day. Avoid the mid-day sun.
To limit water loss it is a good idea to wear long pants, a shirt and a hat.
Some desert landscapes contain canyons. These show evidence of water flow in times of heavy rains. If there is no water at the time, you can still use the north-face of the canyon walls to cool off your body.
The first thing to do is to look for signs of life if you can´t find a water source. Vegetation, birds and insects can all mean a source of water nearby. Follow wildlife if possible as they always have access to water.
However, it is very unlikely to find water in the sand dunes. This makes deserts like the Sahara very hostile if you don´t carry water. If there are mountains nearby, there is a much better chance of locating water there. Sometimes the higher regions of these mountains may have some small patches of snow.
Other landscape characteristics that might be interesting are canyons. As mentioned before, these contain flowing water after a heavy rain. Your best chance to find some water is by following a canyon or wash up. Algae growing on the north side of rocks and moist sand provide more evidence of the presence of water.
Besides heading up, looking for lower terrain also is a good choice to find water as water flows down.
If you find moist sand, it is a good idea to start digging as there will probably be more water in the ground. You can do this with your hands, or by using a rock. If there is no water coming up at a depth of about 24-30 centimeters, move on.
Water flows down so look for low terrain. Canyons and mountain bases could be home to a water source.
Another thing to look out for is vegetation. Where there are living trees, there is water. Look for vegetation with the greenest leaves as here it is most likely to find water just below the surface. Since these springs come from deep underground, chances are very unlikely that it is contaminated by animal waste or insects carrying diseases.
Also, roots all contain water. Cutting them open will release some liquid. Avoid drinking cactus water as it contains acids and potent alkaloids. It often appears as a cool survival tip, but if a cactus really was a big source of water in an environment where there is little to no water at all, it wouldn´t survive long with thirsty animals around. The truth is cactus water will give you diarrhea and make you vomit, which makes the dehydration worse. The exceptions to this rule are the prickly pear and one species of barrel cactus, the fishhook barrel (Ferocactus wislizeni). But this should only be last resort.
But, we know what you think. What if none of all of the above is available?
If there is no vegetation, no canyons or mountains, then you are probably in a very hostile environment where there is almost no water at all. In this case you are depending on extreme water finding techniques. One of these techniques is collecting morning dew. This can be collected with a cloth or piece of clothing. Afterwards you can wring it out into your mouth. Make sure to do this before sunrise or it will evaporate before you have the chance to do so.
If you have a plastic bag, using it to cover a plant is also a way to collect condensation. An upgrade to this technique is by making a solar still.
Water sources in the desert may be shared with wildlife. So there is a good chance, it contains bacteria. If possible, find a water source that is filtered naturally by rocks and sand. In other scenario´s it is best to make the water safe to drink by boiling it or filter it yourself. Read more about making water safe to drink here. However, if there is no way to purify it, and your choice is between drinking unfiltered water and dying of dehydration, take your chances.
When you are in the situation that you are lost in the desert with no water, there are a few things you can do to survive. If you know people are looking for you, throw away all this advice, look for a shady place and conserve your water reserves until you are resqued. Your quest for water would probably dehydrate you more than the little water you would find. If you are without help, look for shade in day-time and go look for water in the cool night. But remember, no matter how great it looks in survival shows, you are still in a desert, which means that finding water is not guaranteed.
Type of adventure: Trekking
The Walkers Haute Route is a 14-day trekking in the French and Swiss Alps. The trail starts in Chamonix, France at the base of the Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps. Along the way you will pass green valleys, cross mountain passes and sleep in mountain huts. You will be amazed by the splendid views on some of the highest mountains in the Swiss Alps, before arriving in Zermatt where you hope to get a glimpse of the most notorious of all: the Matterhorn.
While the Haute Route started as a tourski route that is often done in Spring, the trekking is more popular during summer season (July-September) as this is the time where all the trails are snowfree.
This 14-day trekking is doable for every hiker with a good stamina. The elevation gain can be brutal (up to 12000 meters combined) and you must cross a mountain pass almost every day. This makes it a strenuous trekking. However, the mountain huts along the way allow you to hike with a day pack, making the effort easier.
The route is well marked, though never as the Haute Route. The easiest way to plan your hike is by purchasing the Cicerone guide Chamonix to Zermatt, or our Dutch e-guide.
The Walkers Haute Route is listed as one of the best trekkings in the world. This time, we will let the pictures speak for themselves.
Want to read our experiences?
Door de coronacrisis zijn we deze zomer wellicht gebonden aan een vakantie dichtbij huis, ofwel een staycation. Maar voor avontuur hoef je niet noodzakelijk naar verre oorden reizen. Hier zijn vijf leuke microavonturen die je kan beleven in België.
Zoals ik in een eerdere post al heb verklapt, heb ik me een packraft aangeschaft. Een van de eerste tochten die hierdoor op mijn planning staan is een tweedaagse tocht op de Dijle. Maar je kan ook met een kano de meanderende rivier van Leuven/Heverlee naar Florival peddelen. Onderweg kun je kamperen in de bivakzone Steenberg in het Meerdalwoud.
Duur: 2 dagen
Overnachten: Bivakzone Steenberg, Meerdalwoud
Andere informatie: Kano´s kunnen worden gehuurd bij The Shelter
Het Sentier d´Art is een prachtige wandellus in de Naamse Condroz. De 7-daagse tocht begin je het best in Ciney en heeft een afstand van 144 kilometer. De reden waarom het het Kunstpad heet, is door de vele kunstwerken onderweg en de plaats waarin je telkens overnacht. Onderweg vind je immers unieke en kunstige bivakplaatsen waar je gratis kan overnachten.
Duur: 7 dagen
Overnachten: Kunstige bivakplaatsen
Niets lekkerder dan een portie verse garnalen. Deze smaken zelfs nog beter wanneer je zelf uit het water hebt gevist. In Koksijde kan je bij De Gernoarskruwers als een echte garnaalkruier met een sleepnet door het water waden. Alles gebeurt onder begeleiding van een ervaren rot. Het leuke is dat de vangst ter plaatse wordt gepeld en gekookt en je er nadien ook van kan genieten. Soms krijg je zelfs een leuke portie mee!
Duur: enkele uren
Extra informatie: Een sessie garnalen kruien kost 15 euro, een deel van de vangst inbegrepen. Voor slechts vijf euro meer heb je een jaar lidmaatschap en kan je zo vaak je wil mee op tocht.
Overnachten in een unieke accommodatie is altijd een leuk avontuur. Heb je altijd al eens onder de sterrenhemel willen slapen in het midden van de natuur, maar gaat wildkamperen je iets te ver? Wel, dan biedt de Aquascope nabij Chimay je het perfecte alternatief. Deze doorzichtige bubbel ligt op de rand van het meer en is omringd door een indrukwekkend stukje natuur.
Duur: 1 nacht
Overnachting: Aquascope, Virelles (kostprijs 220 euro)
De Ardennen staan synoniem voor leuke wandelingen. En de allerleukste is wellicht de Ninglinspo. De kans bestaat dat je hier nog nooit van hebt gehoord, maar deze zijrivier van de Amblève is het enige bergriviertje dat ons land rijk is. De wandelroute is slechts zes kilometer lang, maar behoort ongetwijfeld tot een van de pareltjes van de Ardennen. Het hoogtepunt is letterlijk en figuurlijk het uitkijkpunt Drouet dat je een panoramisch zicht op de vallei biedt.
Duur: 3 uur
Extra informatie: Het beginpunt van de wandeling vind je op een parkeerplaats in het dorpje Sedoz.