Category Archives: THRIVEtech

A New Knot and its Application (or What’s in a Name?)

Hey Tribe.  Do you think you can get through a tangle during your outdoor pursuits without knowing your way with the Working End of a rope?  I’m a frayed knot, folks…  Surely, without knots, all we have is the Bitter End!  As Grog would say, “Better to know a knot and not need it, than need a knot and not know it.”

I’ve been meaning to feature useful knots, hitches, and bends here on the Journal for a while now.  Well, our favorite Welshman’s bound up a perfect starting point with a truly classic knot (technically a “sliding or friction hitch”), and he has fastened down the loose ends of its creation.  Check out the Prusik Knot!  For you knot-nerds, it’s described by Ashley, in his Book of Knots, as #1763.  Stay Tight.  -JW  [Knot Pun count:  7-ish]

Prusik Part 5 - When loaded, the  knot bites the rope tightly and locks into placeBy Graham ‘Sven’ Hassall

There are some truly ground breaking first ascent stories: Everest ’53, Heckmair and party’s ’38 epic on the north face of the Eiger and closer to home, Johnny Dawes’ infamous Indian Face to name but a few. None however has been as impactful to the world of climbing (not to mention rope access, caving and tree surgery) as when Karl Prusik first ascended a rope with his revolutionary new knot some 85 years ago. Continue reading A New Knot and its Application (or What’s in a Name?)

Using an Altimeter in the Mountaineering Environment

Sven from Summit Mountaineering is back with some field tested advice on how to get “unlost” (or avoid getting that way in the first place!).  This piece is also featured in the UK Association of Mountaineering Instructor’s magazine.  Enjoy!


“Right grid reference, wrong map?!”

-Credit Collin Leggit
-Credit Collin Leggit

A wrist watch altimeter offers a more reliable method of sensing altitude than GPS which can be inaccurate under trees, near cliffs or building and in close proximity to some radios.  It also provides a much more useful and quicker method of [re]location when used in conjunction with a traditional map and compass. Continue reading Using an Altimeter in the Mountaineering Environment

10 Tips to Help Your Camera Kit Thrive Where You Do

Near Thorong La, Nepal | 2011

In 2011 I had the opportunity to spend a few weeks in Nepal.  I traveled with a Canon Powershot G10 which is an amazing little monster, and great for travelers.  There were times, however, when I just didn’t have the focal range that I craved.  Some shots were  burned only to my mind because of the inherent limitations of a point-and-shoot camera.  (Check out the gallery at Rogue Images.)

This year, when I learned that I would make the journey one more time, I immediately began searching for a new toy.  Mirrorless system cameras like the Sony NEX or Olympus Pen lines really caught my eye due to their large, high quality sensors and compact body size.  For my money though, the technology is not quite there.  I wanted interchangeable lenses, great video capability, and most importantly, the ability to perform anywhere I perform. Continue reading 10 Tips to Help Your Camera Kit Thrive Where You Do

Adventure Journal’s ‘The List: 7 Great Ways to Poop Outdoors’

I came across this hilarious prequel to “10 Things to Wipe Your Butt With in the Woods” on one of my favorite online mags, Adventure Journal.  This article was written by Brendan Leonard who also runs the blog, Semi-Rad.  Adventure Journal’s editor, Steve Casimiro, has allowed me to give you a taste right here on TO.  Check out the first few “techniques,” then head over to AJ for the rest!


There’s pretty much one way to poop indoors: In a toilet. No real room for creativity. Or at least functional creativity. Outdoors, though, the world is your canvas. Dig a Leave No Trace six-inch hole and make yourself comfortable. Here are seven different strategies, of which we can recommend five. Actually, just four.

Source: Flickr, EarthOwned

1. The Squat

The original outdoor stance. Just like it sounds. Dig a hole, put your butt close to the ground, and make the magic happen.

2. The Tripod

Sometimes more comfortable than the plain old Squat, this is when you dig a hole, squat over it, and place a hand behind you for stability. It’s definitely a more active position and probably safer if you have any reservations about your, um, solid waste getting on your shoes or hiking boots – the Tripod puts your bum farther south of those north-facing feet.

3. The Tree Hug

If the roots cooperate, you can dig a hole close enough to a tree, and if the tree’s not too big around you can wrap your hands or arms around the trunk for support as you squat over the hole and rock it out…

…For the rest of this list, see the full story at Adventure Journal!

(Check out the comments, too.  There are some funny stories.)

When you are “finished” be sure you know what to do next by enlightening yourself with:  “10 Things to Wipe Your Butt With in the Woods”

And…  I promise the next article I post will not be focused on “body processes.”  No guarantees after that, though.

-Thrive Outdoors

10 Things to Wipe Your Butt With in the Woods

UPDATE:  MARCH 2020…  In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve begun to see how misinformation and media hype can cause unnecessary panic…  e.g. Stores are completely sold out of toilet paper!

tp empty shelves
Photo credit: Sam Finney. From

So, to ensure we don’t take ourselves too seriously, please consider the following 10 options if you missed out on the initial “Hamsterkauf” of paper products.

And then, to ensure you are taking this pandemic seriously enough, please take a look at this well-written article on Medium that helped me understand what we were up against and why it matters- even to young, healthy people.

Stay sanitary and keep your distance, my friends


This post spawned from a lively discussion during a weekend climbing trip to the Katsu-dake crags in Okinawa, Japan.  I must say that I have had many similar conversations, but this discussion, in particular, was quite in-depth.  A special thanks to the Okinawan climbing community for the inspiration!  I’m sure you are proud.

Disclaimer:  Some of the items listed are not necessarily “Eco-friendly.”  You are not a child.  If you use an unorthodox wiping material, then pack it out in a ziplock or poop-tube in accordance with local procedures.  No one wants to come across a nasty old sock with remnants of you all over it.

Photo by Justin Watters

Toilet paper, and my personal camping favorite- the baby wipe, are like the comfort food of sanitary products.  We get so used to using them in our day-to-day life that it is nearly impossible to imagine what to do without them. Here are the facts:  1) You have to eat food to keep your energy level up.  2) Your body processes that food, and must dispose of the waste.  3) It is not healthy or comfortable to “hold it” until you find some porcelain.  4) If you hang out in nature long enough you will eventually find yourself unprepared and without the standard-issue material to clean up afterward.

So…  Just what should you do?  What can you use to wipe your butt in the woods?  The most important thing to remember is not to panic.  Take a breath, turn your “woods-eyes” on, and you will probably find something that will work just as well, if not better than the real thing.  The second most important thing is to think of this before you settle into that  perfect little tree-well, not during.  Here’s 10 solid alternatives, listed in no discernible order: Continue reading 10 Things to Wipe Your Butt With in the Woods

So, you want to be John Rambo? Part II

Welcome to our first THRIVEtech post!  I left you hangin’ with So, You Want to be John Rambo?  Part I back in May.  Sorry for the wait; The paradox of having a blog like this is that you have to be outside to create the tales, but inside to turn them into electrons for you to enjoy.  If you haven’t checked out Part I yet, now is a perfect time!  It will “set the stage.”  –Queue eery foggy fade in…

Where I left off, my crew is at the Jungle Environment Survival Training camp near Subic Bay, Philippines being shown some jungle-ninja skills by one of the best around.  That night, we eagerly make plans to meet in the foggy morning light to make the trek into camp a cool one.  We gather at the front gate of the JEST compound and begin shifting gear around, tightening boots, and making wagers on the first deadly creature encounter… Continue reading So, you want to be John Rambo? Part II