We often see the same question asked over and over. Often the answer can be found in our extensive archives that have saved years of posts and threads on almost every topic related to backpacking and hundreds of specific questions asking for information about a particular brand of gear.

Too often however, the OP (original poster) either didn't search first or couldn't find the right thread. If the reason is that you are too lazy to look yourself, then shame on you for not trying. If the reason is you don't know how to use "Search" effectively, then this post is for you.


First of all, find the SEARCH button at the top of the page under the Backcountry Forum banner. It is sandwiched in between Main Index and My Home.

GO to the Search page.


I usually don't limit my searches to one forum. You never know where something might show up.


Type in your search term. This is the tricky part. If you are looking for a particular brand, type in that name only, like "Marmot"). To narrow down the results for a Marmot sleeping bag, type in all those words. If nothing shows up, try variations. For example, The North Face may show up as just North Face or by its initials TNF.

Make sure you click the button for "in subject and body" otherwise, if the word isn't in the title, you won't get a hit. Often threads digress (thread drift) or the answer you want is in a reply and not in a subject header.

However, if you are too specific, you may get no results. Bad spelling will get you nothing unless someone spelled the word just like you. Unlike some search engines, this one is not very intuitive. It can't figure out what you mean when you tell it to look for Marmet or Marmat instead of Marmot. It just isn't that smart.

Read the "Advanced Search tips" linked from the Advanced search page. Use quotes for exact phrases such as "winter tent."


I only use this when I am looking for something I know a particular person posted. That will eliminate all the results I don't care about, even if the topic is the right one.


You must set this. Set "newer than" to at least a year unless you know for sure you saw something recently and just can't find it. For specific seasonal questions like winter camping, set it for 2 or 3 or even 4 years. Winter questions tend not to get asked all year round, so you need to account for that.

Unless you know for certain the post is old, don't set "older than" at all. Leave it blank.


I don't really bother with these. MIne is set for 25 per page and whether or not you want a preview is a personal choice that won't affect your results.

That's it.

Edited by TomD (01/30/11 09:44 PM)
Don't get me started, you know how I get.