Hike New Hampshire
Hike-NH.com Glossary

Hike-NH.com Glossary

Don't know what a term means? We'll break it down for you in plain English

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Bagging the peak Reaching the summit of a mountain.
Bathtub Floor A design style used in tents in which the waterproof floor of the tent is stitched with short "walls" to prevent water from entering in high winds or in the event that your rain fly doesn’t reach the bottom of your tent.
Bite Valve Usually used with a Hydration Bladder, the bite valve is a small valve at the end of the hose that allows water to flow when flexed in a certain direction. It is thus named because it is intended to be bitten in order to let liquid flow.
Bivy Short for bivouac. Refers to a small, one-person shelter that is lightweight, waterproof, and durable. Usually single walled and used when solo hiking/camping.
Bushwhacking Travelling through forest or woods with no established trails or markings, usually by following a compass or topographic map.
Cairn The stone piles often erected along a trail above tree line, to serve as an indicator of trail direction.
Closed Cell Usually refers to a sleeping pad that is constructed so that air cannot get into or escape the pores of the material from which the pad is manufactured.
Coated Nylon Usually means that the nylon this product is made of has been treated with a chemical that makes it waterproof, windproof, or both.
Col A pass between two mountain peaks or a gap in a ridge, usually saddle shaped.
Declination Used when following maps with a compass or GPS, declination is the difference between true North and magnetic North.
Dome Tent A tent that has been designed with some sort of geodesic design, taking advantage of the structural strength and volume. Basically this means the tent will look something like the Epcot Center.
Draft Tube An extra collar of insulation positioned at the top of a sleeping bag that prevents cold breezes from travelling down into the bag.
External Frame Pack A backpack that uses supports (usually aluminum or plastic) on the outside of the pack, that it, outside the fabric, to support it's weight. The external frame pack is believed to provide greater comfort by keeping the pack away from the body, thus allowing cooling to occur.
Eyelet Usually used when discussing boots, meaning a small hole or opening sometimes surrounded by metal. In most hiking related usage, this is the hole through which your bootlaces are threaded.
False Peak A peak that appears to be a summit, but is rather a crest on the way to a further summit.
Fiver A 5 minute break.
Flatlander A person from one of the southern states (i.e. Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, or, God forbid, New Jersey) who is unwise in the ways of the woods. Often spotted in a $40,000 SUV that they don't want to get dirty, flatlanders are normally found unprepared for their time in the woods, and can be easily distinguished by their whining and complaining about the "ungodly cold weather" anytime the temperature drops below 60oF. See also "Gaper".
Footprint Besides the obvious "mark your boot leaves", a footprint is the physical space and shape a particular item takes up.
Framesheet A sturdy piece of plastic or aluminum that adds rigidity to the back of a pack. Also known as the Internal Frame.
Freestanding Usually refers to a tent that, when set up properly, needs no tie downs or stakes to remain upright.
Fly; Rainfly A waterproof covering that fits over the roof of your tent to keep rain and wind from soaking and freezing the occupants.
Gaiters A nylon, cloth or sometimes leather covering that extends from the soles on ones' boots to anywhere from the ankle to the knee, designed to prevent debris from entering the boot.
Gaper An odd creature, not native to New Hampshire, usually considered a mammal, that lopes through the forest muttering unintelligible things like, "Jeez, I'm cold", "Where are we?", "I got my jeans dirty!", and "Man, this cooler is getting heavy". One of the lesser intelligent creatures, the Gaper typically migrates north during the warm weather months.
Gear Loft Usually a small cloth sheet that hangs from a tent ceiling that allows you to store a few items within easy reach. Handy for things like your headlamp, a book, toilet paper, snacks, etc.
Gore Tex® A product of the W. L. Gore™ company, Gore Tex® is a waterproofing material and method that is used on a variety of nylon products.
GPS Stands for Global Positioning System. A small handheld devise that uses satellites to pinpoint one's exact location on the globe. Usually provides latitude and longitude, elevation, time, elevation change, and a variety of other information.
Grommet A small hole, usually reinforced with a non-corrosive material. Can be found in tents, on backpacks, clothing, etc.
Gusset Webster's says it best; A triangular insert, as in the seam of a garment, for added strength or expansion.
Guy Lines Stabilizing cord or string used to secure a rain fly on a tent.
Hook and Loop The generic term for Velcro®
Howk Another term for a false peak or a peak on the way to a summit.
Hydration Bladder A pliable container that usually has a tube and valve attached from which one can drink. Backpackers have taken to them because they are flexible (they pack down well) and they have a tube, so you don't need to take water out of your pack to drink, you simply suck on the hose. Platypusâ and Camelbackâ are the two most popular brands.
Insole The "padding" in a boot on which your foot rests. Provides cushioning and moisture absorption.
Internal Frame Pack A backpack that uses supports (usually aluminum or plastic) on the inside of the pack, that is, within the fabric, to support its weight. The internal frame pack is believed to provide better stability in tight, mountaineering conditions where the pack must stay close to the body.
Lash Point A loop or other feature that allows the attachment of some accessory to the exterior of a product. Usually seen on packs with few pockets to make the attachment of an external pocket, knife, sunglasses holder or other accessory possible.
Masshole Term to describe those strange people who make their homes in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. For a complete definition, see this web page.
Multi-fuel Stove A stove that will burn a variety of fuels including white gas, kerosene, gasoline and even jet fuel.
Napolean Pocket A pocket placed near or just below the wearer's heart that is covered by a rain flap and is accessible without unzipping the jacket. So named because the wearer looks like Napoleon when accessing something from this pocket.
No-See-Um This is the term for a generic small insect that has the ability to permeate most mesh. No-See-Um mesh has pores small enough that these insects can’t get through. Against popular belief, this does not mean you cannot see through it.
Notch Similar to a col, a notch is a "V" shaped pass between two high points.
Open Cell Usually refers to a sleeping pad that is constructed so that air can get into the pores of the material from which the pad is manufactured to allow for cushioning.
Outsole The "tread" of your boot; the hard rubber bottom that is cemented to the rest of the boot to give you traction.
Powder Skirt Contrary to popular belief, this is not Rob whining in the snow. A powder skirt is an extension on the bottom of a shell that covers past one's buttocks to prevent power snow from getting in your pants.
Post Holing While hiking, punching through soft terrain, such as snow or very loose earth, usually with each step or with hiking poles.
Pit Zips Zippers in the armpit of a jacket used for ventilation.
Peakbagger A person who strives to continuously hike the summits of various mountains. In NH, this may be someone who endeavors to hit all 48 four thousand footers.
Pad Sleeve A piece of fabric affixed to the bottom of a sleeping bag that is designed to hold a sleeping pad, preventing it from slipping away from one's sleeping area.
Quad; Quadrangle "Quads" are slang for the Quadrangle maps that the US Geological Survey produces in topographical form. They are available in several different detail levels, including 7 1/2 and 15 minute versions.
Rainfly; Fly A waterproof covering that fits over the roof of your tent to keep rain and wind from soaking and freezing the occupants.
RUA Restricted Use Area - indicates that the Forest Service has put special regulations in place above the normal backcountry rules. Designed to give special protection to overused or particularly fragile areas, it normally means that camping and campfires are not allowed within this range.
Saddle A curved depression between two higher points in a geography, usually shaped like a horse's saddle, hence the name.
Scree An accumulation of loose stones or rocky debris lying on a slope or at the base
Sealed Seams Applying some manner or waterproofing to the holes and thread left where a piece of gear has been stitched together.
Self Inflating Pad A sleeping pad that uses open cell construction and will fill itself with air when its valve is opened.
Shell 1) In most hiking related applications, a non-insulated, waterproof or windproof jacket that allows for layering by virtue of a generous cut. 2) The outer lining of a bag, jacket or other equipment.
Spindrift Collar A flexible, soft, fabric collar at the opening of a pack that allows "overstuffing" by extending the top of the pack's main compartment. Similar to a turtleneck collar with a drawstring at the top.
Springlock A small, plastic device fitted to the end of an adjustment strap that locks into place and holds the strap by virtue of a spring. They are often found at the end of cinch straps on coats, packs, and sleeping bags.
Stuff Sack Any bag designed to hold a significant amount of pliable gear which can be filled beyond normal seam capacity and has a draw sting closure. Sometimes waterproof.
Switchback A trail that travels diagonally and turns back on itself in order to allow progression up a steep section of a mountain.
Talus A sloping mass of rock debris at the base of a cliff or precipice.
Tarn A small mountain pond or lake, often created by glacial movement.
Thinsulate® A thin, synthetic insulating material produced by 3M to provide superior warmth without added bulk to a variety of clothing including boots, jackets, hats, etc.
Topo; Topographic Topo is the abbreviated version of topographic, which means a graphic representation of something. In this case, the graphical representation of elevation within a certain area. The US Geological Survey has surveyed the lands within NH (most of the world has been done, actually) and created maps that demonstrate the contours of the land. This is helpful in planning a trip because one can identify flat spots suitable for camping, steep sections to be avoided, etc.
Upper The real "meat" of your boot. This is the piece or pieces that surround your foot and hold the laces.
Vestibule Webster's defines a vestibule as; A small entrance hall or passage between the outer door and the interior of a house or building (or in this case, a tent). The vestibule allows space that is outside the tent proper, but still sheltered by the rain fly, to store your dirty or wet gear.
Water Bar A technique by which one diverts water from a trail by digging a trench and placing some fortification on the downhill edge, typically a tree or line of rocks.
Webbing Flat, nylon straps that are used in nearly every piece of backpacking gear. Also used for rock-climbing and a thousand other applications.
Windstopper® A product of the W. L Gore™ company, Windstopper® is a brand name for a membrane that, not surprisingly, stops wind.
Crest A high point along a trail
FPA Forest Protection Area. Formerly called RUAs. An area where camping, camp fires, and travel are restricted to allow the area to recover from overuse.
Knob Much like it sounds, a knob is a rounded crest, usually with some sort of views.
Kiester Your rear end. Your butt. Your tush. If you haven't got it by now, never mind.
Height-of-land The elevation from which a trail begins.
Kancamagus Very often misspelled, this is the name of NH 112, often called New England's most scenic highway. The Kancamagus extends from Conway to Lincoln and is about 35 miles long.
Cascade Fast moving water that descends rapidly, but does not leave the ground. If it did, it would be called a waterfall.
Fill-power The thickness, and therefore thermal capability of a particular insulation. Usually used to rate sleeping bags and parkas.
Extension Collar A piece of fabric (usually nylon) that allows a person to over-stuff their pack beyond the top of the primary fabric.
Lumbar Padding With regard to packs, a piece of padding that fits into the small of the back for better fit against the body.
Taped Seams When a manufacturer applies a waterproof tape to the stitched seams in a tent, to keep water from permeating the holes created during stitching.
Ascent To climb upward, usually toward a peak or summit.
Loft The "fluffiness" of a sleeping bag. Essentially, the amount of air space within the insulating material within a bag, which give that material its ability to hold heat.
Stays Rigid pieces (usually long and thin) inserted vertically into the body of a pack, designed to provide support to the pack. Usually made of a lightweight material like aluminum.
Moraine An accumulation of boulders, stones, or other debris carried and deposited by a glacier.
Flume A narrow gorge, usually with a stream flowing through it. Acts as a chute to carry water quickly down-slope.
Blaze A mark, usually on a tree, designed to indicate the direction of a trail. Most often the blaze is painted using a bright color.
Scramble Typically refers to the act of climbing over rock fields or rough terrain.
Broken Out A trail in winter snow that has been well packed due to the snowshoe use.
"Bare Boot It" When a trail in the winter that has been "broken out." No crampons or snowshoes needed.
Bare Boot It When a trail in the winter that has been "broken out." No crampons or snowshoes needed.
Paraffin Cooker / Stove A camp stove that uses paraffin as its fuel.
Giardia Any of various flagellated, usually nonpathogenic protozoa of the genus Giardia that may be parasitic in the intestines of vertebrates including humans and most domestic animals. In other words, a bug that lives in the water of streams and rivers that infests your intestines making your life REALLY uncomfortable. Not usually fatal, but sometime you might wish it were.
Cryptosporidium A protozoan of the genus Cryptosporidium that is an intestinal parasite in humans and other vertebrates and sometimes causes diarrhea that is especially severe in immunocompromised individuals. Much like Giardia, causes serious intestinal issues and is caused by neglecting to treat drinking water.
Aiguille A sharp, pointed mountain peak.
Alpine Of or relating to high mountains.
Alpine Zone The area above treeline on a mountain.
Drumlin An elongated hill or ridge of glacial drift.
Bearing A specific direction, typically with an assigned degree, usually used when navigating with a compass.
Krumholz trees growing in dense, twisted, spreading masses near the tree line.
Orienteering A trek using a map and compass to find one's way through unfamiliar territory.
Runoff When rain falls upon either saturated or extremely dense earth and cannot be absorbed, and hence flows off the area in which it fell.
Thru Hiker On the east coast, this typically means someone who is hiking the whole Appalachian Trail.
WMNF White Mountain National Forest
Bivouac To encamp for the night, usually under little or no shelter.
Traverse to pass along or go across something, in hiking usually a mountain or hillside sloped on one side, or a river

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