The First 40 Miles: Hiking and Backpacking Podcast

By Heather Legler

SHOW DESCRIPTION


4.6

953 ratings


EPISODES LIST

213: Health Benefits of Backpacking

Show Notes: Episode 213 Today on the First 40 Miles, if you haven’t figured it out by experience, then we’ll give you one more huge reason to begin backpacking…the health benefits!  The list of health benefits is huge!  Then our SUMMIT Gear Review today is a 22 pound piece of gear… but hear us out… it’s 100% backpackable and incredibly fun! Opening * Forest Bathing: http://time.com/5259602/japanese-forest-bathing/ * http://www.shinrin-yoku.org/shinrin-yoku.html * The scientifically-proven benefits of Shinrin-yoku include: * Boosted immune system functioning * Reduced blood pressure * Reduced stress * Improved mood * Increased energy level * Improved sleep * Deepening of friendships Top 5 Health Benefits of Backpacking that We’ve Experienced * Heather and Josh share health benefits they’ve personally experienced from backpacking * https://www.businessinsider.com/why-spending-more-time-outside-is-healthy-2017-7 * https://thetrek.co/scientifically-supported-reasons-get-outside/ SUMMIT Gear Review:  Jimmy Styks Puffer Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board Structure * Comes with pack, inflatable stand up paddle board, paddle, repair kit, loop for your foot, fin * Adjustable Carbon Fiber Travel Paddle * Dual Action High-Pressure Pump * 10′ Coil Leash * Click N’ Go Standard Fin * Premium iSUP Board Bag * Repair Kit Utility * To use, pack it in, puff it up * Pack doesn’t have room for other gear, so have another one of your hiking buddies pack the rest of the gear. * Attach pump and pump it up on site * Handles for easy carrying to the water * Stretch band in the front so you can stow other gear like wind breaker, lunch, etc. Mass * 22 lbs—and that includes everything except the life vest…which you don’t have to use if you use the ankle tether * Length 11’6” (350.5 cm) * Width 31” (78.7 cm) * Thickness 5.9” (15 cm) * Board Avg. Weight 20 lbs (9 kg) * Weight Limit 260 lbs. (117 kg) * Inflate to 18 PSI Maintenance * Repair kit comes with ISUP Investment * $699 Trial * The Jimmy Styks Puffer Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board is a piece of outdoor gear that comes in its own pack, can be hiked in, adds to the experience of the trip, and can be a feature activity, instead of the miles. * Worth the weight for a day trip or overnighter * Can fish from it * Fun, low impact, LNT activity, so quiet, so peaceful, so calm * We didn’t inflate ours all the way, just until it felt firm Backpack Hack of the Week™:  “The Absorber” Super Absorbent Towel * Found in automotive section * Can be cut down * Excellent for rainy hikes (December is rainy here), tent rain gear, etc. * $12 * They can be used as camp-towels, to dry off gear, clean off condensation inside your tent * Heather added a grommet to hers Trail Wisdom (VOTE on the one you like best) “The sun shines not on us but in us.” —John Muir “The wilderness holds answers to questions man has not yet learned to ask.” —Nancy Newhall “It is solved by walking.” —Latin Proverb If you’re looking for fun backpacking books and merch, check out thefirst40miles.com/shop.

12.11.2018

212: PLAY: Games on the Trail

Show Notes: Episode 212 Today on the First 40 Miles,  who says you can’t have type one fun and type two fun on a backpacking trip?  Today’s episode explores games on the trail and how to make memories without bringing Monopoly.  You’ll learn 5 super fast, super fun games that you can play on  your next wilderness backpacking adventure or use to break the ice at your next board meeting.  Then, we’ll review a love it or hate it nano game that, for mere grams, will earn its spot in your pack. Opening * Why games? * Diversion, make memories, pass the time, springboard for conversation and connection. * If you’re thinking, I’d never bring Monopoly or Risk with me on the trail, then it’s time to think outside the box. * Lots of games are UL, nano games, micro games, card games, dice games, physical games, mind games, pencil and paper games, feats of strength games, balance games, conversation games. Top 5 Super Quick Games to Play on the Trail Fortune Cookie * Two or more players * Your goal is to build a fortune that you might find in a fortune cookie, one word at a time. * Sample round * Winner/loser? You could say person who says last word loses. Spoken Song Lyrics * Hello darkness, my old friend * Like a walk in the rain * Life is but a dream Rotten Penny * Two or more players * Get a pile of pebbles (or you can even use pinecones) * Each player may take 1, 2, or 3 pebbles * The person to take the last pebble loses. Sync * Two player * Each say a word—any word! * What do those words have in common? Figure it out then you both say another word * Trying to get to the point where you say the same word at the same time Walrus * Two person game * Walrus * Walrus blight of 2004 * Scientist who worked feverishly to save the last walrus on the earth * What’s going to take out the scientist? SUMMIT Gear Review: Win Lose or Banana Structure * 3 cards: win, lose, banana * Win card must reveal her card, but the other two must try to convince the person with the win card that they are the banana. After much persuasion, the person with the win card makes the call. Utility * Win, lose, or banana cards Mass * Mere grams… Maintenance * If you want to keep the cards clean, get sleeve protectors for them Investment * $1 Trial * We played this with Steve one night on the PCT. * Quick, ridiculous game.  No brain needed.  Over before it gets obnoxious. * Similar to an out of print game by ButtonShy Games called Wildcats. (Good cat, bad cat, wild cat) * NOTE: If you like nanogames, there’s also a one card game called Ninja Backpack Hack of the Week™:  UL Card Table * Sometimes you need a surface for playing cards. Just something to keep things clean and from sliding around * The dollar store has thin plastic cutting boards * Perfect card table for backpacking * UL, multi-use, cheap Trail Wisdom “Play is the highest form of research.” —Albert Einstein If you’re looking for fun backpacking books and merch, check out thefirst40miles.com/shop.

12.04.2018

211: Gear That Lasts the Miles

Show Notes: Episode 211 Today on the First 40 Miles, we love our listeners!  And we love hearing their stories!  Then, even if you never plan to do a thru hike, you can still scam some of their best gear hacks and incorporate them into your next overnighter.  Next, a gear review that will outfit you in the toughest clothes on the planet.  And a hack that as easy as sticking a piece of tape to a tent pole. Opening Matt’s Story Top 5 Thru Hiker Staples Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter * Lightweight, cheap, easy to use, easy to maintain * Many thru hikers prefer the Sawyer Squeeze to the Sawyer Mini Smart Water Bottles * Cheap, ubiquitous, versatile * Sawyer squeeze screws on top Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol * Easy to set up, lightweight, indestructible, can be cut down, under $40 * 6 R value * Can’t be compressed Top Ramen * Fast, easy, cheap, never disappoints (because it’s such a basic food) The Uniform * Shorts + trucker hats + minimalist running shoes (Altras, Merrels, or other zero drop ultralight, minimalist shoes) * A uniform tells others that you’re on the same team. SUMMIT Gear Review:  Rail Rider Hiking Pants Structure * Nylon * Gusseted crotch * Reinforced * Some are treated with insect shield Permethrin treatment Utility * Hiking pants, easy to move in, easy to care for, tough, lightweight, * Deep pockets, reinforced everything * Zippered pockets * Doubled up in knees and crotch Mass * ~10 ounces Maintenance * Wash and dry (on or off trail) Investment * $69-110 Trial * Pants aren’t excessively baggy, but loose enough that they give you room to move/hike/climb * Super tough in all the right places * Lots of variety * Lots of color choices * Mens and Womens (no kids) * Known as the “Toughest Clothes on the Planet” Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Reflective Tape * When it gets dark, it’s easy to get disoriented and lose track of where your camp site is * Reflective tape stuck to your gear can help you find your site * Stick to tent poles or other gear, so you can find your way back to camp after it gets dark * Then, simply shine a flashlight and the things you’ve marked will light up! * Gear Aid makes super durable reflective tape Trail Wisdom “When you walk, you know the distance you’ve covered in your tired bones, and it’s impossible to go so far that you lose the thread of continuity between ‘there’ and ‘here.’” —Kelly Winters If you’re looking for fun backpacking books and merch, check out thefirst40miles.com/shop.

11.27.2018

210: Battle of the Utensil

Show Notes: Episode 210 Today on the First 40 Miles, maybe you want to eat like royalty on the trail—but you don’t need a 15 piece place setting to make that happen.  What does it take to shovel food from your cook pot to your mouth?  Then we’ll talk about our top 5 favorite post trip meals.  Then, what are our recommendations for backpacking gear that can go seamlessly from trail to off-trail lunchbox?  And we’ll wrap things up with a quote from our favorite Dutch Post-Impressionist painter. Opening * Battle of the Utensils: Pros and Cons of each type of utensil * Fork, knife, spoon * Spork * Sponifork * Long-handled spoon * Chop sticks * Plastic/titanium/bamboo * What works? Top 5 Favorite Post Trip Meals Fried rice * Gem Lake hike when we were dating * Fast easy, prep before trip * Rice, frozen mixed veg, an egg, and some ham or bacon… oil and soy sauce. Taco soup * Fast, filling, warm * Can of corn, diced tomatoes, black beans (rinse and drained), taco seasoning or chili powder, chicken bouillon * Maybe some ground beef * Tortilla chips * Shredded cheese Burger/pizza joint off trail * Many restaurants off the big trails that cater to thru hikers * Big servings…lots of calories for the calorically depleted Super Salad * Takes some energy to put together, but it’s so worth it. Especially if you’re feeling veggie deprived from spending weeks on the trail * SImple formula: a green, a cut fruit, chopped vegetables, and some nuts. Top with poppy seed dressing. * I like Romaine with an orange that’s been sliced up, walnuts, red onion, red bell pepper and top with poppy seed dressing. Frozen food like ice cream or slushies * Dairy Queen * Especially if it was a hot trip After-hike food: What’s the thing you crave most at the end of a backpacking trip? SUMMIT Gear Review:  To Go Ware Bamboo Utensils + EcoLunchboxes Adventure Kit * These two items work on and off the trail * Great for packing lunches to work and school * Durable and work well for backpacking * Great to have multi use items for the trail that can be used at home as well Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Dollar Store Food Haul If you’re looking for food to take on your next backpacking trip, a trip to the local dollar store may have just what you’re looking for.   More and more, dollar stores are stocking food.  And they’re typically in smaller, more convenient sizes that are perfect for backpacking. * coconut oil * Jif-to-go packets * nuts * seeds * chocolate/fun size bars * ramen noodles Trail Wisdom “If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.” —Vincent van Gogh If you’re looking for fun backpacking books and merch, check out thefirst40miles.com/shop.

11.20.2018

209: Hidden Messages in Your Gear

Show Notes: Episode 209 Today on the First 40 Miles, have you ever given much thought to the names that companies give gear?  The name of your pack or your tent isn’t just some random name they pulled out of a hat.   Next, today’s top 5 list is a whole pile of hacks I picked up on my recent backpacking trip.  Then, a little SteriPEN that is a backpackers dream!  And a quick hack that has been on every single one of our backpacking trips. Opening What goes into naming a piece of gear?  Let’s look at some pack names and what they mean… Osprey Kestrel * A small falcon that hovers with rapidly beating wings while searching for prey on the ground. Kelty Sanitas * Kids pack * Sanitas (latin word) means health, soundness of body Osprey Tarn * A tarn (or corrie loch) is a mountain lake or pool, formed in a cirque excavated by a glacier. A moraine may form a natural dam below a tarn. Granite Gear Lutsen * Lutsen Mountains is a ski area in the north central United States; an Alpine skiing area located on the North Shore region of Cook County in northeastern Minnesota. Gregory Baltoro * The Baltoro Glacier is one of the longest glaciers outside the polar regions. It is located in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of northern Pakistan. It runs through part of the Karakoram mountain range. Arcteryx Bora * A bora is a violent, dry, cold wind blowing from the north or northeast. The North Face Prophet * Prophets from the Old Testament frequently went to mountain tops Top 5 Hacks I Used on my Most Recent Backpacking Trip 3×5 card pee shield (for women) * Pee splatters, no matter what * A small piece of paper can stop the pee splatter Small container of Vicks Vaporub * So many great the uses for it! * Antifungal, smoothes cracked skin, masks foul odors, chapped lips, dry eyes (put under eyes) * Bug repellant? Possibly! Yoga pants instead of hiking pants * Soft, stretchy, breathable and allow movement Old Time Radio shows on your MP3 * http://otrrlibrary.org/ * Free to download, thousands of shows * Makes the time on the trail go by * My Friend Irma (comedy) * I Was Communist for the FBI (drama/crime) * Jack Benny (variety show) Removing a shoulder strap to shift load off a while * Helps reduce load for a little while SUMMIT Gear Review:  SteriPEN Ultralight Structure * UV light * Makes water safe to drink by disabling the bacteria, protazoa Utility * 1 liter at a time * Put SteriPEN in water and stir * Nodes need to be submerged Mass * ~3 ounces Maintenance * Rechargeable * 20 liters per charge * Prefilter water if you don’t want floaties Investment * $90 Trial * Love!  Easy to use, simple * Was branded as the Red Cross SteriPEN * Will be available soon! Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Perma Kleenex Tie your bandana to a strap or tuck it into the webbing strap on your shoulder strap. Great for cold weather hikes when your nose gets drippy. Trail Wisdom “Nature is just enough; but men and women must comprehend and accept her suggestions.” —Antoinette Brown Blackwell If you’re looking for fun backpacking books and merch, check out thefirst40miles.com/shop.

11.13.2018

208: HEAVY: When You Can’t Carry the Load

Show Notes: Episode 208 Today on the First 40 Miles, we’ve heard people say “I’d love to go backpacking like I did when I was younger, but I just can’t carry the load.”  Are their backpacking days truly over?  Then, what do you do when a trail mate is injured, sick or fatigued and can’t carry the load.  For the SUMMIT Gear Review, something that will change the way you think of transporting your gear.  And we’ll teach you how native peoples transported goods using a few sticks. Opening * Whenever people find out that I’m the host of a backpacking podcast, I get two general responses: * “Carrying everything on your back? I could never do that.” or “I could do that kind of thing when I was young, but not any more…” * Carrying 30 pounds of gear on your back is challenging * Are there other options? * We’ve had trips where people needed help. It’s not uncommon to lighten a load for a fellow hiking buddy Top 5 Ways to Carry Someone Else’s Pack Divide their load * Even if you just take a few things out of their pack, it can go a long way in lightening their load * I carried Josh’s extra water when he hurt his knee on day three of our PCT section hike * Josh carried my water on the lava rock section of the PCT * Has a physical effect, but also a psychological effect * Offer to carry water, tent, food. Those are the heaviest… One person front carry * Fold your arms in front and carry the pack with your arms through the straps * Careful…it blocks your vision One person duffle bag carry * Carry it like a duffle bag over one shoulder * Short distances Two person carry * One takes the closed hip belt, the other carries the strap at the other end Two-person stick carry * Cinch up the hip belt and run a stick through the belt and the top loop of the pack You may be able to figure out other ways to carry a load…and you may be surprised at your creativity and the ideas that emerge. SUMMIT Gear Review:  Pack Wheel Structure * Aluminum frame * Variety of wheel sizes * Super comfortable handlebars * Disc break * Made in the USA Utility * Hold handlebars like you’re riding a bike, and push * Can carry more than 4X more weight than a backpack, with little effort * Completely collapsible * Disc brakes work to slow Pack Wheel down on downhill portions of trail, steady it on uphill portions * Pull yoke add-on helps to get over rough backcountry areas, esp. with heavy loads and rugged terrain * Purchase panniers separately to attach your gear to the Pack Wheel Mass * We have the compact frame with 24” wheel * Weighs 12 lbs Maintenance * Pump, tube patch kit Investment * $675 * Cost of 2-3 good packs * Makes it possible for you to get out…priceless Trial * Easy to use, easy to maneuver, easy to load * Second nature * Ultralight–considering how much weight it carries, collapsible, single wheeled * Popular among hunters—but quickly gaining popularity among hikers + backpackers * Makes gear feel lighter than it really is * Fantastic option for hikers who may not be able to carry the load * Also great for families with young children, where the kids may not be able to carry the load. * Unique benefit of PackWheel– even if load isn’t balanced, it’s still easy to maneuver * Strong, carries the weight more efficiently and effectively than a pack * Made to order * Not for use in designated Wilderness Area Backpack Hack of the Week™: Travois on the Trail

11.06.2018

207: Scary Stuff

Show Notes: Episode 207:  Scary Stuff Today on The First 40 Miles, we’ve dredged up as many scary things as we can for this Halloween episode.  Cougar attacks, mysterious items in hiker boxes, dead cats and the scariest thing of all—hiker stink.  Then we’ll wrap up today’s episode with a quote from a zombie.  Actually it’s just a quote from someone’s posthumously published journal.  They’re dead, but they’re alive!  (But they’re dead.) Opening * How frequent are cougar attacks? How frequent are fatal cougar attacks? * Woman hiker in Oregon + cyclist in Washington * 2018 has been a rough year with cougar attacks and fatalities in North America * Biker’s death near Seattle is Washington’s first cougar fatality in 94 years. * The death in Oregon is the first ever reported cougar fatality in Oregon. * List of fatal cougar attacks in North America: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fatal_cougar_attacks_in_North_America * “At least 20 people in North America were killed by cougars between 1890 and 2011, including seven in California. More than two-thirds of the Canadian fatalities occurred on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Fatal cougar attacks are extremely rare and occur much less frequently than fatal snake bites, fatal lightning strikes, or fatal bee stings. Children are particularly vulnerable” * “As with many predators, a cougar may attack if cornered, if a fleeing human stimulates their instinct to chase, or if a person “plays dead.” Standing still however may cause the cougar to consider a person easy prey. Exaggerating the threat to the animal through intense eye contact, loud shouting, and any other action to appear larger and more menacing, may make the animal retreat. Fighting back with sticks and rocks, or even bare hands, is often effective in persuading an attacking cougar to disengage.” * What’s the risk? What to do? Top 5 Scary Things in Hiker Boxes Mysterious unlabeled bags of white powder * Could be instant mashed potatoes, powdered milk, soup mix * Label your baggies! Shoes * Worn for many miles, then donated to hiker boxes * If someone needs a pair of shoes or if their laces are busted, then an old pair of shoes is helpful Pills * Maybe ibuprofen, maybe not. * Could be Benadryl, aspirin, etc. Large containers of ______ * Could be peanut butter, fuel canister, etc. * Large canisters of anything take up space—even when 99% of the product is used up. The large container still fills up your pack—which is why hiker boxes are where large containers go to die. Hygiene overload * …bar of soap, package of baby wipes, shampoo, SUMMIT Gear Review: Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed Duo 20 Structure * Shell Fabric: 20d polyester ripstop * Liner Fabric: 20d polyester taffeta * Insulation: 700FP PFC-Free DriDown Utility * Specified for sleeping conditions down to 20 Degrees * Zipperless design allows for more comfort * Insulated hand/arm pockets help to seal out drafts * Foot vent for fast ventilation * Stretch cord keeps out drafts * Sleeping pad sleeve holds one double or two single pads Mass * Weight: 4 lbs 10 oz * Shoulder Circumference: 107″ / 272 cm * Fits Up To: 6′ 4″ / 193 cm Maintenance * Wash and dry at a laundromat Investment * $449 Trial * Josh used Klymit inflatable pad, Heather used a folding closed cell foam pad.

10.30.2018
10.23.2018
10.16.2018

204: So, How Was Your Hike?

Show Notes: Episode 204 Today on the First 40 Miles, maybe you’ve posted a few pics of your backpacking trip on social media, and now everyone is asking you “So…How was your trip?”  What’s the best way to respond?  Then we have a listener story from Mason who let his adventures lead to creating a business that helps others experience adventure.  Then we’ll share a hack that may just awaken you to a possible feature on your oven or toaster oven. Opening * I want to hear about your trip! “It was good.” * How do you respond? * What do people want to hear? * I always want to keep my responses short, which is kind of funny, because if someone is asking it means they want to know. Top 5 Responses to “So…how was your hike?”  “It was great!  Do you mind if I show you a few pics?”  * Share 2-3 pics * Quick one line description for each pic * Then get on with the non-scrolling part of your life. “What part you want to hear about…the terrain, the food, Kelly’s blister collection?” * Everyone’s interest is going to be piqued by something different. * If you give a few themes, it’ll help the conversation * They may have some great follow up questions for you “Have you been hiking there or near there before?” * Yes: find common ground, and take them there mentally… * No: Quick geography, then a quick anatomy of the trip You would have loved the (fill in the blank)! * Fill in that blank with something universally beloved, like fresh alpine streams, tall mountains, sunshine… * Relate the trip to what they want to hear about and help them feel like they were there. One solid story * Jump right in with a story Listener Story from Mason Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Convection Oven Dehydrated Food Lots of people think they need a dedicated dehydrator to make homemade beef jerky or dried apple slices, however you might have everything you need to dehydrate backpacking food right in your kitchen. Some full sized ovens and counter-top toaster ovens have a convection feature.   This means that instead of the heat radiating around the food, the process of cooking is sped up using fans and heat.  This means you can dehydrate backpacking food quickly, using the convection feature in your oven. Trail Wisdom “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.” —Nelson Mandela If you’re looking for fun backpacking books and merch, check out thefirst40miles.com/shop.

10.09.2018
10.02.2018

202: The Slow, Methodical Accumulation of Gear

Show Notes: Episode 202 Today on the First 40 Miles, so you’re convinced! Backpacking is your new thing and you’re headed out to buy the latest and best of everything from the packing list.  Wait!  We’ll share a few reasons to slow down before you buy.  Then we’ve got a 4-in-1 piece of gear that will keep you warm and protected from the elements.  For today’s hack, a simple paradigm shift that will give you the most psychological bang for your buck when it comes to using your stove. Opening * It’s tempting when you get into a sport, activity or hobby, to want to jump in to buy the latest and best of everything, all at once * How we made our purchases * How we prioritized * What do we need, instead of what do we think we want? Top 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy All Your Gear At Once Some gear isn’t as essential as it sounds * Some gear looks so cool and essential—at least the ads or the store displays make it look essential You may miss out on online only gear from small niche companies * Your local outdoor store is limited by their square footage * If you buy all your gear at once, you may miss out on lesser known brands * Dirty girl gaiters $23, super popular among thru hikers You will learn your body and your backpacking style the more time you spend in the wilderness * Are you a hot sleeper or a cold sleeper? * Are you a fan of merino, synthetic, down, polypropylene, yak wool? * Are you a heavy sweater? A hat person?  High socks, ankle socks? * Slim and trim or dangly fangly? You need a lot less than you think you do * If you buy all your gear at once, you risk overbuying * How many pairs of hiking pants do you think you need for a weeklong trip? How many pair of socks? It’s hard to tell between technology improvements vs. fads * Osprey moldable belt—it sounds like it’s a technology improvement that will make your pack more comfortable. Or is it just a fad?  Or a marketing gimmick? * The most expensive, up-to-date gear on the shelves will be replaced next season by something even better * There will always be something better, lighter, stronger, smarter, etc. SUMMIT Gear Review:  Thermarest Honcho Poncho  Structure * Technical poncho-blanket-jacket * Poncho-blanket-jacket-pillow * Waterproof Breathable 20D Polyester RipStop * DWR coating * Has a water-resistant/breathable shell Utility * Kangaroo pocket and top zip pocket * Used as a light jacket * Doubles as a light blanket * Has 37.5™ insulation * Cinchable hood * Poncho snaps together on sides, and unsnaps to create a blanket Mass * 1 pound 12 ounces * Packed dimension 16 in x 12 in Maintenance * Machine wash and dry * Packs into its own storage pocket. Investment * $130 Trial * More coverage than a jacket, longer * One size fits all * Doubles as a pillow * Colors: Lemon Curry, Poseidon, Olivine, Deep Purple Backpack Hack of the Week™: Save your fuel for Breakfast * Save your fuel for a hot breakfast. * It’s colder in the morning, so holding a warm meal will warm you inside and out. Trail Wisdom “Go as far as the eye can see, and when you get there, look farther.” —Dag Hammarskjöld If you’re looking for fun backpacking books and merch, check out thefirst40miles.com/shop.

09.25.2018

201: Cowboy Camping

Show Notes: Episode 201 Today on the First 40 Miles, we’ll talk about cowboy camping and why we tried it.  Then a story from a listener about how she transitioned from car camping to backpacking.  Today’s hack is a great way to repurpose an old towel, and we’ll wrap up with a little trail wisdom from someone who knew the answer to life’s question! Opening * What is Cowboy Camping? * Why we did it * Why we didn’t do it sooner * Who inspired us * What we’ve learned * How it’s changed the way we backpack * https://boundlessroamad.com/2018/01/17/the-art-to-cowboy-camping/ Top 5 Tips for Cowboy Camping Pick a warmish, dry night * Low 50s * Dry Pack a waterproof ground cover * We used a patio window insulation kit * $12 Pack warmer * You’ll be missing the 5-10 degrees of warmth and wind protection that a tent provides Plan for bugs * Permethrin is a great way to treat clothes/sleeping bag exterior * Ticks, mosquitoes Have an emergency shelter on hand * Something that can keep you dry in case it starts raining or snowing * We brought the Appy Trails Mark V tent with us on our PCT Section hike so we could fit us and our two boys–just in case NOTE: Be sure to open your eyes in the middle of the night—the stars are amazing! Story from Listener Michelle G. Backpack Hack of the Week™: Terrycloth Cotton Towel Squares * 3”x3” * Repurposed towel * Perfect for scrubbing feet at night * Can be reused Trail Wisdom “The only question in life is whether or not you are going to answer a hearty ‘YES!’ to your adventure.” —Joseph Campbell

09.18.2018
09.11.2018

199: REFLECTIONS: The Four Year Anniversary of Our First Backpacking Trip Together

Show Notes: Episode 199 Today on the First 40 Miles, we get a little nostalgic whenever September rolls around.  This week marks the 4 year anniversary of our first 40 miles—the trip Josh and Heather took together with friends around Mt. Hood.  And even though we’ve been backpacking for a few years, there are still things that take us by surprise.  Next, for today’s SUMMIT Gear Review, a headlamp that doubles as a flashlight and triples as a stand up torch.  Then we’ll share a hack that will make your next trip to the bathroom rock.  And we’ll leave you with a little trail wisdom that will help you understand your human connection with nature. Opening * Reflecting on first backpacking trip together that starting this podcast * Trip around Mt Hood * Risks with first trip * Josh “Is this her last trip?” * We keep taking trips, even though they are tough Top 5 Things That Continue to Surprise Us About Backpacking We learn something every single time * No matter the length, no matter the miles, being outside opens doors in your mind * Not distracted as you are at home * You may be concentrating or focused, but it’s the kind of focus that allows you to learn and create connections * Personal discovery, working out problems in your mind… We still can’t gauge a mile * Our best way to gauge a mile is with the clock * 2 MPH=30 minute mile * Thru hikers can do much more than 2 miles an hour * Hard sections of trail will take much longer than 2 miles an hour Pain and suffering is kind of fun… * I can do hard things * Maybe it’s not fun in the moment, but afterward it’s empowering to look back A 15 miles isn’t 5 mile x3 * First 5… physical * Second 5… mental * Third 5… everything else We have reserve even when we feel depleted * Even when I feel like I can’t take one more step, I can always take one more step SUMMIT Gear Review: Fenix HL10 Headlamp Structure * Stretchy headband about 3/4 inch wide * Aluminum body flashlight attached to a holder, so you can use the light independently from the headband Utility * To turn on/off hold for half a second * Low: 24 hours—Visibility 6 meters * Med: 2 hours 30 min— Visibility 19 meters * High: 1 hour— Visibility 30 meters * Stays on setting you left it at * Can be used as a headlamp, a hand held flashlight, or a stand up torch Mass * Weighs 1.2 ounces without battery * Weighs 1.6 ounces with battery Maintenance * Uses one AAA battery * IPX6 Investment * $26.95 Trial * Even at lowest setting, it’s bright * Headlamp holder curves to the shape of your head * Elastic, but also adjustable * Light weight and super bright Backpack Hack of the Week™:  No Dig Cathole * Lift up a rock that’s 6-8 inches, and it’ll leave a hole that’s the perfect size for all your bathroom needs. * The nice thing, no digging * Just don’t forget to put the “seat” down when you’re finished * And when you put the rock back exactly where you found it, it’s practically “leave no trace” because the rock fits right back in like a puzzle piece Trail Wisdom “When we understand that man is the only animal who must create meaning, who must open a wedge into neutral nature, we already understand the essence of love. Love is the problem of an animal who must find life, create a dialogue with nature in order to experience his own being.” —Ernest Becker If you’re looking for fun backpacking books and merch,

09.04.2018

198: Rewired Backpacking Brain

Show Notes: Episode 198 Today on the First 40 Miles, wilderness backpacking has the power to rewire your brain—and we’ll share the top 5 ways it’s changed us.  Then, an epic way to stay clean while backpacking.  Next a listener shares her one pound solution for oil painting on the trail.  And we’ll wrap up with a little trail wisdom from our good friend on the trail, John Muir. Opening * What Would You Pack? * TheFirst40Miles.com/pack * WWYP coming to YouTube in 2019 * Why packing for a trip is so much fun… Top 5 Ways that Backpacking Has Changed our Lives and Rewired our Brains How I confront challenges * Backpacking helped me break things up into smaller chunks—hike, day by day, one step at a time. How I leave the house * I always have water and food and insulation. It’s my three essentials gleaned from the ten essentials. How I pack for everything * Whether it’s a road trip or we’re moving—which we are… * Backpacking has changed the way we pack * Comparmentalize * Easy access * Prioritize what we bring How I create  * For Heather: This has affected how I approach recipes, and what tools I allow to take up space in my kitchen * Is it truly essential? What’s its purpose?  Do my tools have dual purpose? * How I create other art.  Artist have a way of collecting tools, media, paper * Even with watercolor, I love having a pallet with me, but then I discovered that any water soluble ink pen plus an aquabrush can be used as monochrome watercolor ink.  That’s two tools.  Simplified watercolor. How we dress * More wool, less cotton * Clothes we can move in SUMMIT Gear Review: Epic Wipes  Structure * Bamboo-based wipes * 100% biodegradable * Moistened mainly with water + eucalyptus essential oil Utility * “Shower on the go” Mass * They come in two sizes: Large + Extra Large Maintenance * Is biodegradable, but can be used over and over * Hand wash to reuse Investment * Single package with one wipe, about $2.50 (but can be reused) * Also come in packs of 10 Trial * Durable, reusable, soft, absorbent * Smell great—naturally * Convenient to use * Store in glove compartment or dry out and use like a towel Backpack Hack of the Week™:   UL Oil Painting Kit * From a listener * About one pound (which is UL for oil painting!) Trail Wisdom Wherever we go in the mountains we find more than we seek. —John Muir If you’re looking for fun backpacking books and merch, check out thefirst40miles.com/shop.  

08.28.2018

197: Anxiety on the Trail

Show Notes: Episode 197 Today on the First 40 Miles, when hiking or backpacking, our whole goal is to move forward, otherwise we’d just set up our tent in the parking lot.  But what do you do when anxiety stops your progress?  We have some tools that will help.  Then we’ll share a hack that will cut your tent weight almost in half.  Then we’ll wrap up the show with a quote that revives fire from the ashes. Opening * Anxiety * We’re all affected in some way by some sort of anxiety. It’s part of the human condition.  We’re all on a spectrum, and we’re all triggered by different things at different times in our lives. * No matter what type of anxiety you experience, all anxiety has one thing in common: it keeps us from moving forward—it halts our progress. Top 5 Healthy Ways to Deal with Anxiety on the Trail Breathing * It can be done anytime, anywhere, requires no special equipment * Take a slow breath in through the nose, breathing into your lower belly (for about 4 seconds) * Hold your breath for 1 or 2 seconds * Exhale slowly through the mouth (for about 4 seconds) * Wait a few seconds before taking another breath * Breathing is a tool that can help you relax anywhere Practice Mindfulness * Anxiety is a feeling that the world is caving in and taking you with it. Mindfulness reverses that feeling of impending doom by opening up the world and you taking it all in. * Your goal with mindfulness is to mentally document every single element of the present moment. * Heightened awareness and being present in the moment(not in the future-which is anxiety and not in the past which is depression). * Smells around you, the texture of your clothing, the level of humidity between your toes, the feel of your tongue against the roof of your mouth, the sounds, the taste of the food, the sound of your jacket crinkling with each breath you take, the universe of living organisms around, above and below you. * That moment of intentional mindfulness should be so rich and filled with gratitude that you literally have no room in your brain to entertain any anxiety. * Journaling is a great way to practice mindfulness, recording your thoughts and feelings, the experience of the present moment—and who says the journal has to be all words? Some of the things you record may be little sketches. * “There are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen to write.” – William Makepeace Thackeray * It slows down time, reveals things about yourself you may not have known before the pen started moving, and makes you present. Connect with Someone * You are never alone * Anyone can connect with God through prayer * Connect with other hikers * Write letters Imagination * Imagine you’re on a set for a movie and everything disappears and you’re on a completely blank white set. * Your imagination can transport you out of your current state. * Human mind is creative and powerful Music * Music has power * … like that scene from The King and I where they are getting off the boat and whistling a happy tune. * Hymn, ballad, first song that pops into your head, playlist * Music releases dopamine Don’t compound the issue with drugs or alcohol. * Alcohol changes levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, which can worsen anxiety…. Lots of people turn to the numbing and loosening effects alcohol when confronted with uncomfortable feelings * Doing this can lead to a dependence on alcohol, which can make anxiety symptoms worse. * Backpacking is hard, but when alcohol or drugs are used for getting through difficult moments, it creates a self-destructive cycle

08.21.2018

196: Lightning Safety

Show Notes: Episode 196  8/14/2018 Today on the First 40 Miles, I was wondering what today’s episode should be about… and then it struck me.   Today we’ll chat about lightning safety.  Nothing shocking.  We promise to conduct ourselves appropriately.  Then ya’ll get to hear a little story from Steve about his friend’s top secret backpacking spot.  Next, we’ll test some backpacking energy bars and wrap it up with a great resource from National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) on everything you ever wanted to know about backcountry lightning safety. Opening * Suggestion from listeners: lightning safety * Lightning is common in summertime * A little data about backcountry lightning * Amazing lightning facts Top 5 Ways to Avoid Being Hit by Lightning Watch the Weather * Lightning storms are not surprises * You can usually see/hear them coming Take Lightning Seriously * Lightning data…it’s power * Thunder warning * Not a time to be a storm chaser or nature photographer If you have time, find a safer place * Avoid exposed terrain * Avoid single trees * Avoid conductors * Bridges, metal poles, train tracks, standing water (but not damp ground) * Focus on what’s going to make the biggest impact if there is a strike near you * 1 second = 1/5 mile away Get down! * Lightning position * Both shod feet on ground, close together * Everything tucked in * You’re trying to be as short and compact as possible, with your rubber soled feet together on the ground Stay at least 50 feet away from your friends (during a storm) * You can probably figure out why…it reduces multiple injuries Challenge:  Take time today to get into the Lightning Position.  It’s similar to the Asian Squat we talked about on a past episode.  Doing a flat footed squat is pretty hard.  It requires some practice and balance.  It’s a position you should revisit regularly! Interesting Facts About the Natural Squatting Position Listener Story Steve’s story… Secret camping spot SUMMIT Gear Review™: Skout Backcountry Bars Structure * Bars, plant-based protein bars, pumpkin seeds * Whole, natural, organic ingredients Utility * High energy, organic bars Mass * Varies Maintenance * — Investment * $2-3 bar Trial * Not overly sweet * All bars and pepitas have a natural, subtle flavor, which is great for avoiding flavor fatigue * All organic + whole food ingredients * Great selection of unique flavors * Nutritionally dense + calorically dense!   Backpack Hack of the Week™:  NOLS Lightning Safety PDF * https://www.cmc.org/Portals/0/GoverningDocs/NOLS%20Lightning%20Safety%20Guidelines.pdf * Read this before your next backpacking adventure Trail Wisdom “The mountain doesn’t care…” * S+R * Climbing saying, objective dangers If you’re looking for fun backpacking books and merch, check out TheFirst40Miles.com/shop.  We’ll see you next time on The First 40 Miles.

08.14.2018

195: A LONG HIKE: Prepping for a Weeklong Trip

Show Notes: Episode 195 Today on the First 40 Miles, this week we’ll talk about an upcoming weeklong trip and what we’re doing to prepare.  Then, if you’ve got an itch to hit the trail, but you have no gear, we’ll hook you up with a company who can supply the gear for your first trip.  For today’s Backpack Hack for the Week, Josh picked the perfect app for our upcoming backpacking adventure.  And we’ll share a little trail wisdom from someone who didn’t do anything halfway. Opening * 93 miles * Invited kids—who said yes? * Met with Steve * What else are we doing to prepare? Top 5 Things We’re Doing to Prepare for a Weeklong Trip Take Care of Basic Logistics of a Weeklong Hike * Meeting with Steve to get details of trip * Water, stopping points, daily miles * First day of hike, meeting with his wife who will transport us to the trail head * Logistics of leaving home: home prep (secure house, mail, garden), church responsibilities, the podcast, etc. Load Bearing Hikes + Miles * 8-10 mile hikes * Shakedown Gauging our youngest child’s endurance * We wants to go, but 10-15 miles a day is more than he’s done with a pack on his back * Either I can help him drop his pack weight even more, or I can carry some of his gear Route is planned, but the hike is going to be what we make it * What will you make the hike? * Look for ways to make it better for others * Unplug * Creative expression Mentally Prepare for the Unexpected * Contingency plan * What if? * Night hiking? * Weather… * Think through different possible scenarios SUMMIT Gear Review™: CampRents Structure * Schedule your trip at least a week out Utility * They send the basics * Comes with a bear bin with food in it Mass * Part of that depends on what else you pack Maintenance * Mail back the day after you come home * Send it back dry and stinky, not wet and muddy. Investment * $220 for two nights (two night minimum) * Daily Late Fee $50/day Trial * Good food * Solid gear * Creative idea * Perfect for city dwellers with limited space, rare backpacker, * Ideas: wish it came with deals off gear purchases or codes * Not limited budget Backpack Hack of the Week™: Halfmile’s PCT App * An app that helps you along the PCT Trail Wisdom “I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart.” —Vincent van Gogh If you’re looking for fun backpacking books and merch, check out thefirst40miles.com/shop.  We’ll see you next time on The First 40 Miles.

08.07.2018

194: The Womens’ Advantage

Show Notes: Episode 194 Today on the First 40 Miles, if you think that men have the natural advantage on the trail, think again.  Then for the Summit Gear Review, an STP device that levels the playing field when it comes to using the bathroom.  Next, our kids’ favorite go-to site for looking up hiking and backpacking trails.  And we’ll wrap up the show with a little trail wisdom from the American Government. Opening * Men vs. Women on the trail * Gear geared toward men (packs, shoe stays, sleeping bags, even logos and color choices, etc.) Top 5 Advantages Women have Over Men on the Trail Women are better at navigation via landmarks * http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2138383/He-better-navigating-remembers-keys-Conference-highlights-cognitive-differences-men-women.html * “However women are ‘better at remembering where things are’ and are more likely to navigate via landmarks rather than the generally male trait of navigating by sense of direction.” Women have stronger immune systems * “A study done by McGill University indicated that estrogen gives women an edge when it comes to fighting off infections. That’s because estrogen confronts a certain enzyme that often hinders the body’s first line of defense against bacteria and viruses.” Women have a higher pain tolerance * MythBusters did a test with ice water to see which gender had the greatest pain tolerance * https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4kvpjQe8nw * Members of both sexes submerge their hands in icy water. Women were able to endure the pain for a longer amount of time. Women are better learners * A study done at the University of Georgia and Columbia University found that women are better learners. According to these researchers, women tend to be more attentive, flexible, and organized. Women are better endurance athletes * Women will take longer to fatigue, but they’re faster to recover from physical exertion than men, regardless of the intensity of the effort. * “All these guys will go out hot, and hours later I catch them,” says endurance cyclist Rebecca Rusch “They always ask, ‘Why do you start so slowly?’ And I answer, ‘Why do you finish so slowly?’ ” * https://www.outsideonline.com/2169856/longer-race-stronger-we-get SUMMIT Gear Review™:   Tinkle Belle STP Device Structure * Stand to Pee device for women * Plastic and silicone funnel to direct the flow * Foldable (fits in a dry bag) Utility * Use while fully clothed, allowing for minimal exposure * Antimicrobial * Because it’s hydrophobic, you can use it to squeegee any drips then shake off the Tinkle Belle * No need for toilet paper Mass * Measures 9.25 inches (23.5 cm) long when it is fully extended. * Folded in half, the Tinkle Belle is 5.5 inches (14 cm) * Weighs 1.8 oz (50 g) * The Tinkle Belle with the case weighs 2.6 oz. (75 g) Maintenance * Shake it off * Store in the bag * To store, fold back the soft spout under the hard shell and keep it in the supplied carry case. The spout can also be stored by folding it to the side, but it may maintain “fold memory.” You can fix this by pinching it to the opposite side a few times to straighten the spout. Investment * $28 Trial * All ages can use the Tinkle Belle—which is great if you’re out with wee ones who may not have mastered the squat ...

07.31.2018

193: The First Step

Show Notes: Episode 193 Today on the First 40 Miles, we love getting audio recordings from our listeners—and today we have one from a new backpacker who figured out his own way of doing things.  Then, on the SUMMIT Gear Review, a titanium tool inspired by a Japanese gardening knife.  Next, a hammock hack that will turn any blanket or sleeping bag into an underquilt.  And we’ll wrap it up with a little trail wisdom from the third best-selling poet of all time—right behind Shakespeare and Laozi. Opening * We love getting audio from our First 40 Milers! * Inspiring, unique, relevant, beautiful and authentic. * If you want to share your story, go to TheFirst40Miles.com/story * I want to share Libi’s story because I believe there are some interesting takeaways from it. Top 5 Takeaways From Our Libi’s Story Start with what you have The first step… Learn from mistakes Don’t give up Share your story with others SUMMIT Gear Review™: Vargo Dig Dig Tool Structure * Serrated edges cut through ground and roots * Made from strong, lightweight titanium Utility * Dual use trowel and tent stake * Ergonomic design for digging ease and efficiency * Comfortable rolled handle Mass * Weight: 1.25 ounces (36 g) * Length: 8.1 inches (20.5 cm) * Width: 1.7 inches (4.4 cm) Maintenance * Has a hole at the top end so you can attach some cordage or a small carabiner Investment * $25 Trial * Love the rolled-edge handles, nice feel, doesn’t dig into your hand when you use it * The serrated edges—inspired by the hori hori Japanese gardening knife. Gets the roots. Backpack Hack of the Week™:  DIY Hammock Underquilt Hack * If you want to sleep comfortable and warm in a hammock, you need either a nice big sleeping pad like the Klymit hammock pad, or you need an underquilt that goes on the outside of the hammock that keeps you insulated. * We’ve always just brought regular sleeping pads because we don’t have an underquilt—but one of our boys decided to try something different * He used a Rumpl Down Comforter and some twisty tie things from NiteIze to attach the quilt onto the underside of his hammock * You can get the same results with a sleeping bag or other quilt. Just find a way to attach the quilt or bag under you.  Hair ties, rope, small bungee cords—whatever.  Just make sure it’s secure under your hammock. Trail Wisdom “Solitude is a silent storm that breaks down all our dead branches. Yet it sends out living roots deeper into the living heart of the living earth. Man struggles to find life outside himself, unaware that the life he is seeking is within him. Nature reaches out to us with welcome arms, and bids us enjoy her beauty; but we dread her silence, and rush into the crowded cities, there to huddle like sheep fleeing from a ferocious wolf.” —Kahlil Gibran If you’re looking for fun backpacking books and merch, check out TheFirst40Miles.com/shop.

07.24.2018

192: Getting Back to Basics

Show Notes: Episode 192 Today on the First 40 Miles, sometimes life gets out of control—and when that happens, it’s time to get back to basics.  We’ll talk a little about how to simplify your trip.  Then, the Top 5 ways that backpacking can make you more effective, more productive, and less stressed.  Next, if you’ve always wondered how Native Americans hung their laundry to dry before clothespins were invented, we’ve got something you might be interested in.  Then we’ll share a simple, one ingredient backpack hack for your next trip. Opening * Getting Back to Basics * What complicates backpacking? * Overambitious planning, unrealistic expectations, extra gear, redefining the necessities, looking at REI catalogs… * Drill down to the core of backpacking: what is it? * Going out and coming back—with a pack on your back * Water, food, shelter, 10 essentials Top 5 Ways Backpacking Increases Your Productivity Resets your internal clock * Waking up early will make you more productive, more focused, healthy/wealthy/wise, etc. * But the REAL secret to success isn’t the waking up at 5am, but the getting to bed at 9pm. * You can use your backpacking trip to reset your internal clock. Go to bed when it starts to get dark Increases your capacity to do hard things * There is no rescue, or shortcut, or easy way * Push through * This backpacking skill will transfer to “real life” Forces you to prioritize * Did I really need this? Did I even use it?  Should I leave it home?  What would happen if I left it home next time? * Forecasting: you can make a plan for the unknown * Trip planning Backpacking teaches you to grow your margin * “Margin” is a productivity principle that means you build in extra capacity into your life, your schedule, your space so that you have the capacity to give, help another traveler, carry an extra load, respond to an emergency, or to share * It’s not easy to grow our margin * Simplify, leaves some breathing room You come home changed * Sabbatical, the 50-10 rule, taking breaks * Taking a rest or walking away from a project may be just what you need to “reset” your brain and approach it with fresh eyes SUMMIT Gear Review™: Survival Skill of the Month Club Structure * Survival Skill of the Month Club, created by Creek Stewart, teaches bush crafting skills * You’ll receive a durable binder then each month you’re sent a 6-8 page skill sheet, with loads of pictures and detailed step by step instructions * Printed in full color, on super durable cardstock Utility * Skills that cover shelter, water, fire, tools, containers, foraging, hunting, cordage, first aid, cooking, clothing * Creek Stewart teaches survival skills from all environments—so you’ll see things from wilderness, desert, even urban * You’ll also be invited to join the SSOTMC Mastermind group on Facebook to post your success, your pictures, and your questions. Mass * — Maintenance * Each month you receive a new skill sheets that cover one topic in depth Investment * $6.99/month * Full refund if not satisfied Trial * One new thing a month * Pretty intense, in-depth projects. These aren’t the kinds of things that you did in cub scouts.  These are legitimate, ancient ways. * You will learn more than just the one project. You will learn about plants, history, chemistry, new vocabulary, you’ll be inspired by the creativity of people who had the resources of the natural world around them Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Easy Banana Chips in the Dehydrato...

07.17.2018

191: Micro Improvements

Show Notes: Episode 191 Today on the First 40 Miles, how would you do things differently next time?  Today we’re talking micro improvements.  Then on our Top 5 List, we’ll share why we prioritize backpacking.  If you’re looking for a way to bring a game and lighten your load, we have a fun option for you.  And, a hack that will make you rethink toilet paper. Opening * Micro Improvements * Every trip… “How can I improve?” * Benefits of frequent, shorter trips * Pencil and paper on trips * What would you do differently next time? Why? Top 5 Reasons Why We Prioritize Backpacking It’s not a “once in a lifetime” vacation * It’s affordable fun * Budget friendly * Have you ever come home from an expensive vacation feeling fleeced? It connects us by disconnecting us * It’s a way to disconnect from screens * Backpacking is both quality time and quantity time * Quality Time vs. Quantity Time: https://www.focusonthefamily.com/family-q-and-a/parenting/quality-time-vs-quantity-time-in-parenting * We spend time together, work together, discover together Simple fun * Simple fun, with trees, sticks, rocks * It’s hard to explain how things that are so simple can be so fun! Once you have the basic gear, the trails are waiting for you! * It’s like discovering a new band and binging on one album, then finding out they have, like 30 other albums that you’ve never heard before. * You can start with one trail, then branch out to discover all the trails All ages * No matter your age, experience level, your physical condition, the trail can teach. * We’ve seen what it’s done for our family * All ages are welcome on the trail SUMMIT Gear Review™:   Pack O Games by Perplext Structure * Microgames, the size of a pack of gum—literally * Each game has only 30 cards * 2+ players Utility * Pure fun Mass * Weighs .9 ounces (25 grams) Maintenance * Keep in a zip top plastic bag Investment * $7-9 per game Trial * Heather loved LIE (probably because she won it the first time she played it with Josh…) * If you learn games by watching instead of reading rules, go to their website and watch how to play. They have a video for each game that teaches you to play in 3 minutes or less * SHH (2-4 players) * SPY (2-4 players) * RUM (2-4 players) * LIE (2-6 players) * Lightweight, small, easy to learn, fun to play, perfectly backpackable, 25 grams of legal, family friendly entertainment, worth the weight. Backpack Hack of the Week™: Counterintuitive Toilet Paper * Common sense says soft toilet paper. * But use a smooth rock instead for the first couple of wipes, then go in for the clean with TP. Got this idea from Andrew Skurka.  Love the smooth rock idea.  Pinecones and leaves always leave a trace behind if you know what I mean… Trail Wisdom “Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.” ―Vincent van Gogh

07.10.2018

190: COLD + HUNGRY: The Stoveless Cooking Episode

Show Notes: Episode 190 Today on the First 40 Miles, what you may have thought of as an essential piece of backpacking gear isn’t as indispensable as you think.  Today, we’re going stoveless, and we’ll share some delicious ways to ditch the stove for your next trip.  Then we’ll taste test a whole food, energy bar that has some sneaky vegetables added.  And we’ll share a thru hiker’s go to container for soaking their meals. Opening * As we prepare for summer trips, I keep looking for ways to lighten my pack. * And besides doing an complete gear overhaul and purchasing all new, ultralight equipment, there are other clever ways to cut pounds—while actually saving money. * Top 5 Benefits of Stoveless Cooking (episode 44) * Healthier options, faster, cheaper, simple Top 5 Easy Go-To Stoveless Meals Muesli * Muesli is a DIY breakfast cereal, also known as Overnight Oats * Made a batch of this for our last backpacking trip, and just put it in a zip top sandwich bag, poured in some water, waited a few minutes, then ate it. * Rolled oats (instant or old-fashioned—it doesn’t matter), chia, coconut milk or cow milk powder like NIDO, chopped dried fruits, nuts, seeds * Filling, full of fiber, tastes great cold Tortilla Wraps * Peanut butter * Salami, cheese, and mustard * Tuna packet with or without mayo * Powdered bean dips like hummus or refried beans are full of fiber * We even have those foil tuna packets that come with mayo and flavoring added. * You can also substitute the tortillas for crackers for some crunch and variety Soaked Grain * Not all grains work—they have to be pre-cooked grains, like bulgar, or instant rice. * Can be made in a plastic, screw top lidded jar * 60-90 minutes to rehydrate grains, which can be done while you hike or in camp * Instant Brown Rice * Rice Pilaf (with nuts, seeds, etc.) * Couscous mixes (not technically a soaked grain…more like a mini pasta made with refined flour) * You can add flavoring packets * Add in dried mushrooms, dried onions * Seaweed, tuna, chicken, dried fruit/veg, nutritional yeast, nuts, seeds, nut butter, nido, powdered stuff, dehydrated refried beans, hot sauce, Pre-made Bars * Make your own with recipes from our book, Trail Grazing * GreenBelly * Powerbar etc. * Lara Bars * Whatever you pick, give yourself a good selection Ramen Noodles * Ramen noodles can be soaked in water and eaten. * Mix with peanut butter + soy sauce * Rehydrate some freeze dried peas * Add garlic powder and shaved hard cheese like Asiago or Romano SUMMIT Gear Review™:  LÄRABAR Fruits + Greens™ Structure * Short, easy ingredient list * No surprises Utility * A great “no cook” option for breakfast or lunch Mass * Weighs 35 grams Maintenance * Stash the trash Investment * $1-1.50 a bar * Frequently our grocery store has a 10 for $10 sale Trial * Good texture, good flavor * Can’t really taste the “greens” Backpack Hack of the Week™:   Talenti Gelato (Ice Cream) Jar for Soaking Meals * Classy looking, good size, squatty jar, tight lid * Easy to find Trail Wisdom “Great things are done when men and mountains meet; This is not done by jostling in the street.” —William Blake

07.03.2018

189: What is Real?

Show Notes: Episode 189 Today on the First 40 Miles, what is real?  Social media does a pretty bang-up job of convincing us that everything that’s posted is real, but we’re smart enough to know better.  Today, we’ll call their bluff and prove that being outdoors is about as real as it gets.  Then we’ll review a headlamp that uses a unique swipe gesture to boldly illuminate your path.   Today’s hack is a cheap, easy way to store and access your ten essentials. Opening * What is real? * Social media vs. reality * We try to be authentic—but no matter how hard we try, you just can see the full picture over social media or any media—and that’s the nature of media. It’s never going to give you a 360 degree, 100 percent accurate view. * Consuming social media tends to be very passive, whereas anytime spent outside is active, fulfilling. Top 5 Reasons Social Media Buzzwords that Belong Outside Smart Content * Define: Content that is intelligently personalized to your needs * Content that’s relevant to your life. * Social media outlets may claim that they are trending toward content that’s intelligent, personalized, and targeted…but nothing can replace those micro lessons you learn when you’re outside—lessons that seems to be custom-tailored to you. * Have you ever wondered why it is that you can learn something new about yourself on every backpacking trip? Or how a group of you can go out backpacking, and even though you’re all in the same forest you each get something completely and uniquely satisfying?  Or how you can go out to the same place year after year and be amazed every time. * The backcountry is loaded with smart content that is divinely and intelligently personalized to your needs. Ephemeral * Ephemeral content is short-lived, disappearing content, usually active only for 24 hours before it’s deleted. Someone may post pictures of an event and if you miss that disappearing content, you’ve lost your chance …Creates a sense of urgency, flightly, FOMO. * If you’re the type of person who craves ephemeral content, social media is the wrong place to get your fill. * You’ll find heeps of soul satisfying ephemeral content in the wilderness. A fuschia and orange sunset, summer’s last hidden patch of snow melting before your eyes, the flicker of a fire, a darting fawn, the list goes on.  The forest is filled with non-stop ephemera—to the extreme.  Don’t settle for Instagram stories of your brother-in-law setting off a firework inside his barbecue. Trending * Can you imagine if we used this term every time the seasons changed? Oh look robin eggs are trending.  Glacial runoff is trending.  And yet, nature has her cycles and you can watch for those “trends” as you immerse yourself in the rhythm of nature. Live * Live is a funny social media trend…because even though the content may be streaming to your device in real time, it’s never truly * Live definition: of or involving a presentation in which both the performers and an audience are physically present * If it were live, you would be experiencing all the smells, sounds, temperature changes, the ground rumbling, and off screen side shows. * Social Media can never replace an actual experience. Live isn’t live unless you’re there. Authentic/Vulnerable * Social Media may claim to be sharing things that are honest, behind-the-scenes, and raw—but I think we all know the truth. To put it bluntly, there is very little about your social media experience that isn’t curated, targeted, or even a little staged. * You know, the photos that we share, you’ know you’re not getting the full picture—what’s beyond the edges of the photo. * If you want to live life beyond the edges of a photo, get outside, and YOU be the one who is authentic,

06.26.2018

188: Wise Words from a Old Mountain Goat

Show Notes: Episode 188 Today on the First 40 Miles, are you over 50, 60, 70 and wondering if it’s too late to begin backpacking?  It’s never too late.  We’ll share some wise words from an old mountain goat.  Then, on the SUMMIT Gear Review, an unassuming flashlight that packs a ton of power, versatility and technology into 23 little grams.   And we’ll share an easy way to cut your trash in half—mathematically. Opening * It’s never too early and it’s never too late… * Wise words from a mountain goat * How do we stay active so we can keep hiking? * What’s the secret to getting active or preparing for a trip when you’re over 70? Listener words: Jim Klopovic Top 5 Takeaways from The Honest Backpacker Book Older People Can Backpack! * Honest Backpacker…book about hiking when older * Theme of book…get out, have fun, be safe, make memories. * Gateway to health, well-being, happiness. Preparing to hike is preparing for life * Being prepared for a trip doesn’t just benefit you on that trip * You increase your capacity * You develop friendships * You create memories Body is a temple * If you want to be active, do the things that healthy active people do * Health: diet, exercise, no refined sugar, no refined oil, no refined flour * Exercise is important Vigorous, vital and vertical * Three things you want to be as you age Three keys for backpacking as you get older * Walk slower, longer and lighter SUMMIT Gear Review™:  Fenix EO5 Flashlight Structure * Broad-beam lens: soft, even beam for close-up illumination * Hard-anodized, anti-abrasive finish * Made of aircraft-grade aluminum * Twist switch Utility * High: 85 Lumens (Ni-MH: 1 hour; Alkaline: 45 min.) * Mid: 25 Lumens (Ni-MH: 4 hours 15 min.; Alkaline: 4 hours 15 min.) * Low: 8 Lumens (Ni-MH: 14 hours 30 min.; Alkaline: 15 hours) * Waterproof to IPX-8 standard. 30 minutes under water to 6.5 feet/2 meters * Capable of standing up securely on a flat surface to serve as a candle Mass * Weighs: 23 grams (or just under an ounce) * Measures: .63in/66.5mm (Length) x .6in/15mm (Diameter) * compact Maintenance * Uses one 1.5V AAA Alkaline battery, inexpensive and widely available * Manufacturer suggests using a Ni-MH battery—which has high current discharge capabilities * Avoid cheap batteries…which may corrode, rust or have electrolyte leakage. Investment * $20 Trial * I love flashlights that preserve battery life and don’t blind you. This has three brightness settings—it defaults to the lowest setting. * The other brightness settings are easily accessible. All you have to do is twist the flashlight off and on quickly and it will cycle through the three brightness levels. * The highest brightness level is 85 lumens…after 3 minutes it will digitally and automatically dim to the 25 lumen setting. * Comes in blue, black or purple. * Can easily be attached to your pack with a carabiner Backpack Hack of the Week™:  One Piece Trash * Our kids learned this from leaders at the Philmont Scout Ranch * Whenever you’re opening something, don’t tear off the corner or rip off the top. This creates two pieces of trash.  Instead, open the package in such a way that there are no small corners or tiny pieces of micro trash. * This mathematically cuts the pieces of trash you produce in half. * Consider it a challenge or a game. Trail Wisdom

06.19.2018

187: How Would You Describe Your First Backpacking Trip?

Show Notes: Episode 187 Today on the First 40 Miles, still wondering what your first backpacking trip will be like?  We think we can boil it down to five words.  Then, we’ve found a solar charger that will not only power your electronics, but also rolls up to the size of a Payday candy bar.  And a hack for all you hammock hangers out there—sorry ground dwellers. Opening * Dad requests book on Trail Wisdom * The power of collecting quotes, poems and other trail wisdom Listener Audio: Alex and backpacking with his Father Top 5 Words That Might Describe Your First Backpacking Trip Surprising * What did you expect? * You might be surprised at the things that happen/don’t happen * Surprised that it was easier than you expected, surprised by what the real challenges actually were… Empowering * It takes a lot to actually get out on your first trip backpacking, especially if you’re taking other people along, too. * But when you finally make it to the trail head, then to your campsite or to a view or a lake, or you overcome a frustrating challenge like accidentally leaving a piece of gear at home—you should be proud of yourself. * You did it! You can do hard things!! Overwhelming * There’s so much you don’t know yet… * You may have thoughts like “There’s no way I’d ever sleep in a hammock, or bring my kids, or try going stoveless or learn any knots.” * Some things seem hard to a beginner, but after you have small successes you’ll be ready for learning new things…line upon line. Exhausting * “I thought I’d sleep better” or “I didn’t think it would take this long to put up a tent or figure out how to make dinner” * You may be exhausted, frustrated, and sore, but I promise it gets better. Liberating * No matter where you go, there are no walls * Very freeing feeling * It’s a feeling you’ll want to experience again and again. SUMMIT Gear Review™:  LightSaver USB Roll-up Solar Charger – Battery Bank    Structure * Flexible solar panel (not rigid) * Has a power bank * USB Utility * Charges itself while it charges your device Mass * Weighs 5 ounces * Lightest weight solar charger on the market Maintenance * Manufacturer recommends full sun charge * You can also charge at home with USB Investment * $100 Trial * Love how it’s a battery bank, too—you can pre charge it before your trip * We took the LightSaver out on our backpacking trip to the Metolius River * Often when we’re hiking, we don’t have full sun—we’re under a canopy of trees or a covering of clouds, which means it’s harder to get 6 hours of full sun–the manufacturer says that partial sun can still charge the battery pack–just not as fast as full sun. * The battery pack means that you can “top off” your electronics, then charge the battery pack when you have access to full sun * Best for cell phones, headlamps, mp3 players, and other light-drain electronics. * Compact, flexible, lightweight, easy to attach to a pack Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Hammock Tree Straps as Gear Storage Hammock hack: tie your boot laces together loosely and hang them over the hammock’s tree straps.  That will keep them off the ground and reduce the chance that they’ll be carried off or filled up.  You can also take a carabiner and hang your pack or other gear off the tree straps. Trail Wisdom The hills ahead look steep and high, And often we behold them with a sigh;

06.12.2018

186: TRAILS: A Little Light Trail Maintenance

Show Notes: Episode 186 Today on the First 40 Miles,  I used to believe that trails just existed and that they were just the well-worn footpaths created by thousands of people walking those same miles over and over.  Nope.  Trails are made and maintained.  Today we’ll talk about some things you can do to help.  Then, if you’ve always wanted to pack a chainsaw for clearing fallen trees on the trail, but just didn’t have enough room in your pack…we have a solution.  And we’ll share a hack that will upcycle your favorite old cotton t-shirt and give it some trail time. Opening * Trails don’t just exist. They are created, cared for, maintained, and. * We typically think of trail maintenance as something that a crew comes in to do. They have two-man cross cut saws, wheelbarrows, and maybe a Pulaski or two. * But what if you have a little bit of that good Samaritan in you. Is it possible to do some vigilante trail maintenance while backpacking? Top 5 Small and Simple Things You Can Do to Maintain the Trail Stash the Trash * Including in fire pits… Flick the Stick * Flick the stick off the trail * Doesn’t take any time and it makes the trail a better place Knock the Rock * Just the “trippable” rocks * Some rocks are placed along the side of the trail to divert water or to hold a section of trail in place Drain the Rain * Cut a little spot in the trail (with your trekking pole or shoe) where water has pooled up. * Let it drain… Trim the Limb * You may want to bring clippers or use your pocket knife for this * You can also trim those high overhanging branches also known as “pack grabbers” * Cut branches off of a fallen tree that’s obscuring the trail #6 Report problems… * Contact trail person at ranger office report or local ranger district office…report to one agency…any problems * Rangers have stewardship over 100 miles of trail.  They rely on the help and knowledge of others to help them maintain that trail. * Don’t rebuild the trail—just maintain it * FYI: You can sign a volunteer agreement through your ranger district office  CAUTION: do not rebuild trail…they have strict parameters and specifications for trail. Do not make structural, architectural or permanent trail changes or redirections.  Just make the existing trail a smoother path for those who follow.  Glossary of Trail Work Terms: https://www.wta.org/get-involved/volunteer/about-trail-work-1/trail-work-guide/trail-work-glossary Video about trail Crew Maintenance SUMMIT Gear Review:  Sportsman Industries Pocket Chainsaw Structure * Made of chainsaw blade with a handle attached at each end Utility * Use it by wrapping it around a limb or fallen tree that you want to saw and pull your hands back and forth Mass * Weighs: 5.8 ounces (166 grams) * Compare this to 8-15 pound traditional chainsaw Maintenance * Oil in for long term storage * We had it dangling from our refrigerator for storage… Investment * $20 * 100% lifetime guarantee Trial * Using a pocket chainsaw is pure fun and can be a little competitive if you use it with a trail mate * We went out to our BLM spot and wanted to clear some fallen trees off the trail. We brought: hatchet, two wire saws, bow saws, a folding Sierra saw and the Sportsman Industries pocket chain saw.

06.05.2018

185: Weekend with Friends

Show Notes: Episode 185 Today on the First 40 Miles, within 24 hours we hiked a cumulative 25 miles, ate about 15 pounds of food, built three teepees and breathed in more campfire smoke than the Surgeon General would recommend.  Today you’ll hear a trip report from our adventure with our friends who have never been backpacking before.  And we’ll share a hack for DIY soap sheets. Opening * Our weekend trip with newbie backpacking friends? Success! * Overview of weekend * Anything you wish you could do over? Top 5 Things our Friends Learned on their First Backpacking trip SUMMIT Gear Review™: Pairs from HipPocket Games  Structure * 55 card deck * Pyramid deck (1×1, 2×2, 3×3, 4×4 etc.) Utility * At the start of the game, shuffle the deck, then remove five cards from play. Deal one card face-up to each player. * In this game, points are bad and getting pairs is bad. * Whoever has the lowest card is the first active player. * On your turn, you can do one of two things: She decides whether to “hit” — that is, be dealt another card — or forfeit the round. If she hits and is dealt a card that doesn’t match a card she already has in front of her, then the next player clockwise becomes the active player; if the card does match, then the round ends, she keeps one of these matching cards as penalty points, then everyone else discards their cards and a new round begins with each player being dealt a card. * If the active player forfeits the round, the round ends and she takes the lowest-valued card visible on the table as penalty points, then a new round begins. Penalty cards remain set aside, even if the deck is shuffled to continue play. If a player acquires more penalty points than the predetermined threshold, then the game ends and this player loses. (Alternatively, players can use coins to track scores between games, with the loser paying everyone one coin, paying her score in coins to the player with the lowest score, etc.) * You can play Pairs with this deck, or, you can play 30 other games with this same deck. Mass * Weighs: 3.1 ounces (88 grams) Maintenance * FREE Booklet of 30 more games to play with this deck Investment * $10 Trial * This is a press your luck game * Simple to learn, and quick to play. Easy to teach.  Not a lot of rules.  Perfect for a quick after dinner game.  Light and fun. * All ages can pick this up * Free printable book of other games that you can play with this deck… some are variations of Pairs * There are 21 different Pairs decks—they all play the same—but the art ranges from vintage fruit to fantasy art to cartoon space monsters. All Pairs decks have the same numbers, but different art. Backpack Hack of the Week™: DIY Soap Sheets * cooling rack (like you put cookies on) * parchment paper or waxed paper (not regular paper) * unscented, biodegradable liquid soap (like Seventh Generation) * scissors or paper cutter Take a 12 x 12 piece of wax paper or parchment paper Pour a squiggly swirl of unscented liquid soap or unscented dish soap on the parchment paper or waxed paper Coat both sides of the paper with liquid soap using your hands or a paint brush. Set the paper on the cooling rack and let it dry completely. Cut your soap sheets into 2×2-inch squares and staple them together. I went a step further and cut a piece of cardstock to go over the soap sheets, like a matchbook, and stapled them at the bottom. Now you have instant, biodegradable, single use soap sheets,

05.29.2018

185: Weekend with Friends

Show Notes: Episode 185 Today on the First 40 Miles, within 24 hours we hiked a cumulative 25 miles, ate about 15 pounds of food, built three teepees and breathed in more campfire smoke than the Surgeon General would recommend.  Today you’ll hear a trip report from our adventure with our friends who have never been backpacking before.  And we’ll share a hack for DIY soap sheets. Opening * Our weekend trip with newbie backpacking friends? Success! * Overview of weekend * Anything you wish you could do over? Top 5 Things our Friends Learned on their First Backpacking trip SUMMIT Gear Review™: Pairs from HipPocket Games  Structure * 55 card deck * Pyramid deck (1×1, 2×2, 3×3, 4×4 etc.) Utility * At the start of the game, shuffle the deck, then remove five cards from play. Deal one card face-up to each player. * In this game, points are bad and getting pairs is bad. * Whoever has the lowest card is the first active player. * On your turn, you can do one of two things: She decides whether to “hit” — that is, be dealt another card — or forfeit the round. If she hits and is dealt a card that doesn’t match a card she already has in front of her, then the next player clockwise becomes the active player; if the card does match, then the round ends, she keeps one of these matching cards as penalty points, then everyone else discards their cards and a new round begins with each player being dealt a card. * If the active player forfeits the round, the round ends and she takes the lowest-valued card visible on the table as penalty points, then a new round begins. Penalty cards remain set aside, even if the deck is shuffled to continue play. If a player acquires more penalty points than the predetermined threshold, then the game ends and this player loses. (Alternatively, players can use coins to track scores between games, with the loser paying everyone one coin, paying her score in coins to the player with the lowest score, etc.) * You can play Pairs with this deck, or, you can play 30 other games with this same deck. Mass * Weighs: 3.1 ounces (88 grams) Maintenance * FREE Booklet of 30 more games to play with this deck Investment * $10 Trial * This is a press your luck game * Simple to learn, and quick to play. Easy to teach.  Not a lot of rules.  Perfect for a quick after dinner game.  Light and fun. * All ages can pick this up * Free printable book of other games that you can play with this deck… some are variations of Pairs * There are 21 different Pairs decks—they all play the same—but the art ranges from vintage fruit to fantasy art to cartoon space monsters. All Pairs decks have the same numbers, but different art. Backpack Hack of the Week™: DIY Soap Sheets * cooling rack (like you put cookies on) * parchment paper or waxed paper (not regular paper) * unscented, biodegradable liquid soap (like Seventh Generation) * scissors or paper cutter Take a 12 x 12 piece of wax paper or parchment paper Pour a squiggly swirl of unscented liquid soap or unscented dish soap on the parchment paper or waxed paper Coat both sides of the paper with liquid soap using your hands or a paint brush. Set the paper on the cooling rack and let it dry completely. Cut your soap sheets into 2×2-inch squares and staple them together. I went a step further and cut a piece of cardstock to go over the soap sheets, like a matchbook, and stapled them at the bottom. Now you have instant, biodegradable, single use soap sheets,

05.29.2018

184: Camp Chores

Show Notes: Episode 184 Today on the First 40 Miles, after a long, glorious day of hiking, you arrive into camp and you can relax.  Almost.  We’ll share a few things you’ll need to do first that will make it so you can truly kick back.  Then, we discovered a tool that not only helps with minor trail clearing. but also earns it’s weight when it comes time to build a long-burning campfire.   For today’s hack, not all putts drop—and when they don’t, you need to make sure you clean them up.  We’ll show you how. Opening * Hike to Camp or Camp to Hike? * Do you look forward to getting into camp? * What do you look forward to? * Camp chores Top 5 Things You Need to Do When You Get Into Camp Drop your pack * Take off your pack—this is important * Take a deep breath, roll your shoulders, stretch, and think back on the day * Take off hiking shoes and change into some camp shoes * If you didn’t bring camp shoes, untie your hiking shoes and loosen the ties, tuck the shoe laces into your shoes. This will increase ventilation and help your feet breath Bathroom * Find one. They’re usually about 200 feet out and look like a tree. * Since it’s the end of your day, be sure to wash your hands with soap and water–this is important since you’ll be making and eating dinner soon. Get water * Usually established camp sites—even in remote wilderness areas, are strategically placed near water. (Not always) * In camp you’ll need water for lots of things, so now is the time to go harvest some water * Replenish your drinking water, water for meal preparation (usually 2 cups per meal), may need water for personal hygiene and laundry, and maybe a little extra for rinsing out your pot or cup after dinner. Get your shelter set up * Your shelter will be much easier to set up when it’s still light outside, hours from bedtime. * Bedtime will be that much better if your tent is up, your pad is rolled out or inflated, and your sleeping bag has been removed from its stuff sack and fluffed up. Meal prep * Get your mini kitchen set up, your stove, your pot, your food, your water * Make sure it’s away from your tent * Now is also a great time to look for a tree that has a branch where you can hang your food * You can also use a rodent-proof stainless steel mesh bag if you don’t want to hang your food in a tree. #6 Build a fire * Many established campsites have an established fire ring. * Hunting for wood—we only use wood that we find on the ground. SUMMIT Gear Review™:  Sven Saw 15″ and 21″ Structure * Anodized high strength aluminum alloy frame * Made with Swedish Steel * Made in Minnesota * “Make quick work of fallen branches, firewood or yard work with Sven’s Folding Saw. Razor-sharp Swedish steel blade rips through a 6” log in about a minute. Lightweight triangular design is easy to handle and provides a solid hold. Blade folds into handle for safe storage.” * Has a leather strap so you can hang it from your pack Utility * How to Use: Wing nut keeps blade locked inside, and also secures the blade to the handle when it’s in use. * Blade is folded away in the frame * http://www.svensaw.com/instructions.html Mass * Weigh 11 ounces for 15” Sven Saw * 15” – Folds to 17”L x 1.75”W x 0.63”H. * 21” – Folds to 24”L x 1.75”W x 0.63”H. Maintenance * Blade, when kept clean and dry, should last for years Investment * $40 range…depending on retailer * Cannot buy from Sven Saw’s website Trial * Every winter, trees fall…storms,

05.22.2018

183: Taking Some Friends Along

Show Notes: Episode 183 Today on the First 40 Miles, we’re planning a family backpacking trip with another family who hasn’t been backpacking before.  What can we do to give them a great introduction to the wilderness?  Then we’ll share a listener story about his introduction to the wild woods.  For Today’s Backpack Hack of the Week, a ten-card, 17-gram microgame that will provide minutes of fun on your next backpacking trip. Opening * Planning to take a family out with us…four adults, six kids, what’s our plan? * We’ve wanted to do this! * Help others get out on their first backpacking trip Top 5 Things We’ll Do To Ensure a Successful Trip With Our Friends Gear loans * We’re planning a low elevation trip, close to the trailhead trip, which means, we don’t need to plan for snow or really difficult conditions * We’ll make sure everyone has what they need and loan whatever they don’t have Fire * All they wanted was a fire… * We went up to the BLM spot that we’re going to and stashed some wood under a cedar tree. Hopefully it’ll stay dry until the trip out there * Most likely, we’ll use the fire to cook food. Memorable food * Checked on allergies and food preferences * Mom is GF, but no other allergies * Last time we went up to our family backpacking spot , we roasted dough on a stick, which was ridiculous amounts of fun. * We also roasted old fashioned doughnut holes, which was a regrettable mistake… they’re not any better roasted. Underwhelm them * The hike we picked isn’t breathtaking, but I think there’s some wisdom in this. * It proves that amazing memories can still be created be just being outside * Short, close, re-creatable Something for everyone * On this trip we’ll have four adults and six kids ranging from 7 years old to 15 years old. Is it possible to ensure that everyone is having a good time?  And what does it mean to have a “good time” when you’re in the wilderness? * Something for the 7-year-old, the two 10-year-olds, the two 13-year-olds, and the 15-year-old kids. This might mean bringing a few zero day activities like a deck of cards, or an extra hammock… Trail Talk from Jim Ball He was inspired to get out because of someone he met in Houston, TX.  Love this! Backpack Hack of the Week™: Divide and Conquer (A Micro Game) This quick and easy game is played with ten cards pulled from a standard 52 card deck. You’ll need numbers two through ten, plus the queen (which acts as a 12).   Divide the ten cards evenly, giving each player five cards.   Players hold cards in their hand.  They each decide which card they will play against the other player, and simultaneously play the card they have chosen. The player with the high card wins, unless that card can be divided evenly by the opponent’s card.  In that case, the player with the low card wins! For example, player one plays a ten, and player two plays a five.  Even though ten is higher than five, five gets a point because ten can be divided evenly by five. You can keep track of points by turning the winner card face up and the losing card face down.  This is important because after the first round, you switch hands with your opponent, so they get a chance to play the marvelous hand you were dealt—or have to struggle with the horrible hand you were allotted. I love the hand-switching element of Divide and Conquer, because it gives a little more fairness to the game.  It also gives you a chance to prove that it’s skill and strategy that win, not the luck of the draw.   I also love the subtlety of this game.  You are trying to out-guess what your opponent will play, since they know that you know what they have. Trail Wisdom “We need the tonic of wildness–to wade sometimes ...

05.15.2018

182: Tinkering with Tarps

Show Notes: Episode 182 Today on the First 40 Miles, what do you get when you mix the ancient Japanese art of paper folding with a huge sheet of silnylon?  Tarpigami.  We’ll talk tarps today and learn about some of the risks and rewards of changing up your shelter.  Then, an ultralight shoe that fits in on the trail, in the creek or just bumming around camp.  For Today’s Hack, an idiot-proof tarp shelter that you, yes you, can put up in seconds, plus a lovely little poem to go with it. Opening * Tinkering with tarps lately… * Watched tarp pitching videos to learn different pitches * Planning on trying out a tarp instead of a tent on upcoming trip Top 5 Reasons Why I Want to Try Using a Tarp as a Shelter They are versatile * A rectangular or square tarp can be pitched in almost limitless ways. * Some are designed to withstand wind, some are better for heavy rain, some are dead simple to pitch, some require no trees—just a trekking pole or two, some can be pitched close to a small fire (survival style) * Tarp Info Page: David B. Macpherson http://www.equipped.org/tarp-shelters.htm Lighter than tents * For the most part… They are open * …for good or bad (mosquitoes and other visitors) * Superior ventilation Cheaper than tents * Paria makes good backpacking tarps Requires learning new skills * Knot tying * Tarp designs, of which there are many… * Weather SUMMIT Gear Review:  FitKicks Shoes Structure * Top is a stretchy spandex material, it covers the entire top of your foot * Faux suede toe guard at the tip of the shoe and an elastic strap that goes diagonally across the shoe (NOTE: the shape of the toeguard on mens and women’s styles are different.) * About an eighth inch of padding inside the shoe, which molds to your foot as you use it-and will eventually compress over time. * Flexible sole * No laces. Utility * Can be worn with or without socks * If you’re used to minimalist shoes (thin sole, very flexible, no arch support) then you can try hiking in these shoes. * Most people are going to love these as camp shoes. Get out of your hiking shoes, slip these on and let your feet relax.  Super comfortable. * You can use these as river crossing shoes, camp shoes or minimalist hiking shoes. If they get wet, they can easily be hung to dry by attaching the shoe’s elastic strap to the outside of your pack Mass * Weighs 7.2 ounces total! * NOTE: Crocs weigh between 11 and 16 ounces Maintenance * Rinse off any chunky stuff like mud, grass, or sand. Then put Fitkicks in the washing machine with like colors, using mild detergent and cool temperatures. * Fitkicks can be washed just as well by hand—which is how I cleaned mine * Air dry. Fitkicks dry quickly. Fitkicks shoes may be worn while still damp if needed, but they should NEVER be placed in the dryer. Investment * $20-25 depending on size and style * Can be purchased online or found at Walmart, Kohls, and Bed Bath & Beyond. Trial * Wore these on a 2 mile hike * No snagging, even though I tromped through some pretty rugged brush and muddy spots. * Super comfortable * I wore mine without socks, but you can wear them with socks, too * Soles are not grippy—which is important to know if you plan on doing actual hiking in these. But, soles are very flexible, * Pretty fun selection of prints for shoes * Also they have kids’ sizes * Lightweight, inexpensive, versatile, comfortable, low-maintenance,

05.08.2018

181: Raising the Next Generation of Hikers and Backpackers

Show Notes: Episode 181 Today on the First 40 Miles, it’s too hard.  I’m too tired.  I just can’t.  Is resilience a lost skill?  And how can we pass it on to the next generation?  On today’s Top 5 List we’ll talk about how to raise the next generation of strong hikers and backpackers.  Then, if you’re looking for a way to introduce backpacking to new readers, we have the perfect book for you.  For today’s Backpack Hack of the Week, an instant food option that can fill a tortilla and feed a crowd. Opening * Resilient children * “Resilience is that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever. Rather than letting failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes. Psychologists have identified some of the factors that make someone resilient, among them a positive attitude, optimism, the ability to regulate emotions, and the ability to see failure as a form of helpful feedback. Even after misfortune, resilient people are blessed with such an outlook that they are able to change course and soldier on.” —Psychology Today Top 5 Ways to Teach Resilience While Backpacking With Children Develop a strong relationship with your child * Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child says this is the number one determining factor in building resilience in children. * “The single most common factor for children who develop resilience is at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive parent, caregiver, or other adult. These relationships provide the personalized responsiveness, scaffolding, and protection that buffer children from developmental disruption.” Encourage proactive behaviors * “I’m hungry” “I’m tired” “I’m bored” * “What can you do to fix that?” * Or even “That’s ok.” Because it’s ok to be hungry, tired or bored. Let out the leash * How can you expect a child to solve their own problems if they never have problems? * Letting the leash out and giving your children a larger, more potentially dangerous playground * Opportunities to get hurt and recover, to take a risk, fail and try again, * Tricky balance for parents… * Children must be allowed to take risks if they are going to develop resilience Develop your own cultural traditions * Harvard Center on the Developing Child also said that another key to resilience is cultural traditions * Giving children sources of faith, hope, and cultural traditions. * What traditions are a part of backpacking? * Rhythm of the trail * Even just creating an outdoor culture in your family Take time for recovery * Article from Harvard: The key to resilience is trying really hard, then stopping, recovering, and then trying again. This conclusion is based on biology. Homeostasis is a fundamental biological concept describing the ability of the brain to continuously restore and sustain well-being. Positive neuroscientist Brent Furl from Texas A&M; University coined the term “homeostatic value” to describe the value that certain actions have for creating equilibrium, and thus wellbeing, in the body. When the body is out of alignment from overworking, we waste a vast amount of mental and physical resources trying to return to balance before we can move forward. SUMMIT Gear Review: Backpacker ABCs by Heather Legler Structure * Short ABC book to help children get into backpacking Utility * Meant to help children get to know the trail * Coloring book, website with resources Mass * Paperback: 3.3 oz; eBook: 0 oz. Maintenance * Share with your friends Investment * $10.

05.01.2018

180: Do You Know What You Signed Up For?

Show Notes: Episode 180 Today on the First 40 Miles, are you sure you want to go backpacking?  Do you know what you’re signing up for?  We’ll wisen you up a little.  On today’s Top 5 List, learn what not to do on your first backpacking trip.  And if you’re looking for a way to compress your gear, here’s a stashable water bottle option.  For the Backpack Hack of the Week, learn where to borrow backpacking gear before you buy. Opening “Do you know what you signed up for?” Why does backpacking float your boat? Lots of reasons to love backpacking…what’s your reason? Share at TheFirst40Miles.com/story Top 5 Ways to Look Like an Noob on the Trail Feed the animals… * Causes more problems * Make animals dependent on humans Make destructive changes to the environment * Carving trees, snapping live branches, causing damage Irresponsible with Fire * Keeping fires safe * No fireworks Disruptive to other hikers * Music playing from speaker Leaving your mess from someone else to clean up. * Trash, like bullet casings, trash, glass beer bottles, bottle tops, half burnt aluminum cans SUMMIT Gear Review: HydraPak Stash 750 ML Water Bottle Structure * Collapsible water bottle * TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane); HDPE * 100% BPA & PVC free * 42mm mouth screw cap * 750 ML Utility * Collapses down to 1/4 of its filled size when empty * External capacity gauge * 25 fluid ounces * Carrying handle Mass * 50% lighter than most hard bottles * 5 x 3.5 x 7.2 inches * Weighs: 2.9 oz. * Open – 195 mm / 7.6 in x 92 mm / 3.6 in * Closed – 66 mm / 2.6 in x 92 mm / 3.6 in Maintenance * Not dishwasher safe, must be hand washed * Bottle Bright tablets for cleaning Investment * $20 * No leak lifetime warranty Trial * Is it easy to drink from? * Does it collapse\ easily? * Smell? * Can be used with Katadyn Be Free Filter Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Alite Ranger Station Camp Kits Backpacking kit rentals for $25 in San Francisco Starts May 1st, requires a deposit, as available. CAMP 3: Backpacker Kit “We’re really excited to include Boreas Gear into the Ranger Station Program again this year. This kit is designed with the intermediate backpacker in mind. The Lost Coast 60 backpack has the right amount of room for a hike expedition of 3-5 days and includes the Boreas Trava lightweight tent, a sleeping pad, a smaller daypack, and a lightweight Alite camp chair. Test out the Boreas products to find out what you like and what you need to add to your existing backpacking set-up.” The Backpacker Ranger Station Kit includes the following: * Boreas Trava Tent * Lost Coast 60 Pack * Reyes Day Pack * Alite Monarch Chair * TYNY Tool Bungees * LuminAID Solar Lantern * Thermarest Z-Lite Sleeping Pad Trail Wisdom “When man ventures into the wilderness, climbs the ridges, and sleeps in the forest, he comes in close communion with his Creator. When man pits himself against the mountain, he taps inner springs of his strength. He comes to know himself.” —William O. Douglas

04.24.2018

179: Spring Break at the Metolius River

Show Notes: Episode 179  4/17/2018 Today on the First 40 Miles, we report on our spring break adventure to the Metolius River.  Then, we’ll review an ultralight headlamp from UCO.  Today’s Backpack Hack of the Week will give you a good reason to knock marshmallows off your packing list.  And we’ll wrap up the show with some wisdom from a man who was no dummy. Opening Our Spring Break trip to the Metolius River Top 5 Things We Loved About This Trip SUMMIT Gear Review: UCO Air Lithium Ion Rechargeable Headlamp Structure * Rechargeable headlamp: 170 mAh Li-Ion Battery * Standard Micro-USB (not included) * Soft, adjustable strap with hook & loop adjustment Utility * Beam Projection: 154′ on High * LUMENS: Up to 150, plus it has a red night vision mode if you turn the dial backward Mass * Weighs: 1.6 oz. (45 g) Maintenance * 48 mins on High/1.5 hours on Medium/5 hours on Low * Rechargeable! 170 mAh Li-Ion Battery * IP Rating: IPX4 Investment * $35 Trial * Plenty of power * Liked that it has a dial that starts on lowest setting, adjustable light. * Using dimmest setting first has two benefits—it preserves your battery and it preserves your night vision. * Breathable mesh over the neoprene, so you don’t get sweaty under your headlamp. * The headlamp strap is not elastic-no give at all—which means it has to be adjusted every time your head size changes—when you put on a hat, a hood, or put your hair in a pony tail, you’ll need to readjust the fit. * One of the benefits of the Uco Air having a neoprene strap is that it doesn’t tighten around your head like elastic does and it won’t stretch out or become tired like elastic does. * Light tilts down so you can direct it toward a map and adjust it so it won’t blind others. * The headlanp strap is looped through a plastic buckle pretty tightly—but there’s an easy hack for that–if you want an easier time adjusting the size of the strap, remove it from the buckle and just loop it once through the buckle instead of twice. * Lightweight, rechargeable, bright and comfortable. Backpack Hack of the Week™: Roasted Starbursts Unwrap Starburst candy, place on end of a stick.  Rotate over coals or fire until it begins to bubble.  Remove from fire and let cool slightly.  A perfectly roasted Starburst will have a thin crunchy candy shell and a gooey, warm inside. Trail Wisdom “Nature is pleased with simplicity. And nature is no dummy.” – Isaac Newton

04.17.2018

178: Test of Time

Show Notes: Episode 178 Today on the First 40 Miles, some gear is fun for just a few trips, but other gear stands the test of time.  We’re going back into The First 40 Miles Archives, to find out which gear made the final cut.  Then, we’ll dive into the five different types of trails and how to navigate them.  The rest of the show is just fun and games, and we’ll wrap it all up with a quote from James Fenimore Cooper. Opening * Test of time * What did we review in the first 40 Episodes that we’re still using today Top 5 Types of Hiking Trails In and Out (or Out and Back) * These are the most common * Mileage either round trip or one direction—find out Loop Hike or Lollipop Loop * Loop hike is a big circle where you begin and end at the same point * Lollipop loop means you hike out, do a loop, and then backtrack the last leg of the hike. Spur Trail * These are trails that are offshoots from main trails. You can only get to them from the main trail.  These are great zero day hikes, or you can to add them onto your backpacking trip for more miles * Some are on the map, some aren’t. Traverse Hike or Shuttle Hike * Start at one end and picked up at other. * Requires a paid shuttle service, or a creative hiking arrangement * Two hikers starting on polar ends? * The Presidential Traverse in New Hampshire * “This route follows a series of trails, summiting every peak named after a US president in the White Mountains. Although it can be backpacked and is even undertaken in winter, hiking the entire trail in a day is very popular. There are two popular routes, the “minimal” traverse of 19 miles exiting after Mt Eisenhower and the “full” traverse of 23 miles exiting after Mt Jackson. Most of the trail (Mt Madison through after Mt Eisenhower/Mt Jackson) is above treeline, providing exceptional views of the White Mountains. Be warned that it’s often foggy or cloudy, though, especially up on Mt Washington.” Section hikes * Snippets from a long trail like the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail or the Continental Divide Trail * https://wilderness.org/no-time-hike-appalachian-trail-try-these-12-easy-section-hikes MuirLibs Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Trail Game: Fortunately/Unfortunately * First person starts with a simple statement. * The second person wrecks it by saying “Unfortunately…” * The first person rescues it by saying “Fortunately…” * Back and forth * Great trail game for kids or a fun game to play around the campfire * May become a running gag on the trip… Trail Wisdom And how should a man who has lived in towns and schools know anything about the wonders of the woods? –James Fenimore Cooper

04.10.2018

177: BEGINNERS: One Step at a Time

Show Notes: Episode 177 Today on the First 40 Miles, if you’re a beginner backpacker, you are on the threshold of one of the most thrilling adventures of your life.   We’ll help you navigate this new adventure with confidence.  For today’s SUMMIT Gear Review, a monthly subscription service that will keep you excited about backpacking all year long.  Today’s hack will help you repurpose a Pringles can.  And we’ll leave you with some Trail Wisdom from our favorite mountain goat. Opening * Our beginners conversation… * Where to start? * What our listeners want * https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/backpacking-beginners.html Top 5 Things Beginner Backpackers Worry About Choosing the “Right” Gear * Easy to get hung up on researching the perfect pack, the perfect sleeping bag and the perfect tent * We are tricked into believing that the better the gear, the better the hike. * The truth is that perfect gear doesn’t equal the perfect backpacking experience. * If choosing the perfect gear is your number one priority, then stop. * Make “getting out on first trip” your number one priority. Cost * Wait, isn’t nature supposed to be free? * Cost of gear, cost of travel, cost of food… Making Mistakes * Why is so important to with a friend Getting Lost * That freedom makes you feel incredible * Start small, build navigation skills “What if…?” * Which is why beginners tend to over pack * Bear spray, guide books, solar shower, extra clothes beyond what you need SUMMIT Gear Review:  Cairn Subscription Service Structure * Cairn is a subscription gift box service * Each box comes with a newspaper called Cairn Scout, that gives you information about the things in the box and how to use the discount codes. Utility * Items in a Cairn Subscription Box…in this specific box we received gear from Uco, Hydrapak, and Skout. * Mass * “Up to 6 amazing outdoor products”, but realistically, around 3 to 4 things will be in the box. * Depending on your interest, they try to suit the box to your type of outdoor activity. Maintenance * Your card will be automatically billed unless you cancel * Earn points for reviewing your new gear. * Redeem your points in the Cairn Shop for apparel, free boxes, and gifts for friends * Sometimes, Cairn will throw in a surprise gift to your box that no one else gets Investment * $30/month for the monthly service (free shipping only applies if you have a subscription) * $250/quarter for the premium “Obsidian” quarterly service (5–10 premium products—up to $350 value—quarterly) Trial * We’ll be reviewing the items in the Cairn Box over the next few weeks Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Muffins in a Pringles Can Have you ever tried to bring homemade muffins on a backpacking trip, only to have them end up in a smashed crumbly mess at the bottom of your stuff sack? Did you know that homemade muffins fit perfectly into an empty Pringles can? You can fit 5–6 homemade muffins in the can. Muffins are great because you can make them savory or sweet. * Bran * Cornbread * Cheddar Bacon * Carrot * Zucchini Chocolate * Apple Oat * Blueberry * Coconut * Pumpkin Pie * Cinnamon Streusel Muffins * Double Chocolate Muffin * Maple French Toast Muffin * Molasses Bran Walnut Raisin * Cranberry Apple Walnut * Coffee Cake * Lemon Cream Cheese Poppy Seed

04.03.2018

176: The Importance of Redundancy

Show Notes: Episode 176 Today on the First 40 Miles, if you’re bringing something on a backpacking trip “just in case”, there’s a good chance you’ll probably never use that item. How do you know which “just in case” items are actually important? Then, a classic backpacking gear standard that’s lightweight, cheap and easy to use. And we’ll share a hack that will help slim down your trekking poles. Opening * Definition of Redundancy: The inclusion of extra components that are not strictly necessary to functioning, in case of failure in other components. * Redundancy is risk mitigation. Redundancy means you’re covering your bases * Redundancy means that you have a backup in case your primary piece of equipment fails. The redundancy is the backup item that may be cheaper, more compact, not as durable. But if you were to not have the original or the backup, it could mean trouble. * When we talk about redundancy we don’t mean two of everything. * Is it possible to be redundant without adding weight? * Backpack with friends. It requires some forethought and planning, but it sharing gear among friends can reduce everyone’s load, add redundancy and reduce risk. * Adding skills Top 5 Backpacking Redundancies Water Purification or Filtration * Backup option: Share filter with friend, Aquamira tablets or drops, iodine Shelter/Tent/Tarp * Backup option: Contractor trash bags, clear plastic painters tarp * Bivvy that we reviewed in The First 40 Miles, Episode 001 * You want a way to stay dry and protected Food * Backup option: Quart Ziploc bag with Power bars, peanut butter packets, drink mix. Fire/Lighter * Backup option: stormproof matches, paper book of matches, small box of wooden matches, strike anywhere, flint/magnesium * Extra fire also means that you have another way to purify water…although it is a very messy and laborious way to treat water. Clothing * System instead of backup set of clothes. Clothing is heavy, so it makes sense to bring clothes that can serve in different roles. * Clothing system includes base layers usually made of polyester or wool, a long or short sleeve top, hiking pants (maybe convertible), a fleece, a down or synthetic puffy, 2-3 pair of socks and a beanie or buff. SUMMIT Gear Review: Sawyer Mini Water Filter Structure * Hollow fiber filter (other kinds of filter are ceramic, fiberglass and silica depth) * “The Sawyer water filtration systems use technology adapted from kidney dialysis filters” Utility * Twist it-Sawyer Mini has the same threading as many water bottles, which means you can refill a disposable water bottle and twist the Sawyer Mini on top to drink directly out of it. * Drink it– The Sawyer Mini comes with a straw that you can attach to the bottom of the Mini. Use it just like a straw to drink directly from a water source * Squeeze it– The Sawyer Mini comes with a pouch that you can fill with wilderness water. Then attach the filter and squeeze fresh water out. * Integrate it– The Sayer mini can be intergrated into your hydration pack. Just fill up your reservoir with glacial run off and drink away. * 100,000 gallons of water from freshwater lake, river or stream * Provides 0.1 micron absolute filtration — removing 99.99999% of all bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera and E.coli, and removing 99.9999% of all protozoa (such as giardia and cryptosporidium) Mass * Weighs 2 ounces Maintenance * Can be back flushed and reused * Do not freeze Investment * $20-25 Trial

03.27.2018

175: Backpacking is Better With Friends

Show Notes: Episode 175 Today on the First 40 Miles, hockey may be better with Wayne Gretsky, but who are the people you want to backpack with?  Then on today’s SUMMIT Gear Review, a gear repair that takes 15 minutes, and leaves your gear looking cooler, by far, than your friend’s gear.  And we’ll share a hack from one of our listeners, Paul. Opening * Backpacking is better with friends * Backpacking with family is fun, but there are things you learn from friends that you may not learn from your family Top 5 Reasons Backpacking is Better With Friends Shared experience that strengthen or develop friendship * We get together with our friends after trips to watch slide shows, we ask about upcoming trips, etc. They’re you’re “on-site search and rescue” * Solo is a gamble * You may be fine… * I’d rather be with a group who will have my back Efficiency—in gear and food * Share a stove. share a tent, share a water filter, share extra food * A little risky, but there are things you can do to mitigate that risk. * Stick close together Better decisions–perhaps * Everyone can contribute to problem solving * Beware of groupthink, though. * Not everyone in your group is a genius, and sometimes the most outspoken and persuasive one can be the biggest risk-taker. Learn things from each other! * This is the biggest upside of all. * It means you’ll have this library of collective knowledge and experience. SUMMIT Gear Review: Noso Puffy Patch Structure * Shaped, colorful patches of nylon * Permanent adhesive on back that repairs your gear * Sleeping bags, down jackets, tents, tarps, anything made of nylon Utility * Clean damaged area with isopropyl alcohol * Remove loose threads * Remove paper liner from patch * Center patch over damaged area * Apply pressure from center to outside edges * To make the patch stick permanently, you need to apply heat Mass * Maybe a gram, if that… Maintenance * No special treatment once the patch is applied. * They say it withstands repeated washings, but this isn’t something we’ve tested yet. Investment * $5-15 Trial * They say “The patches adhere better to fabric than tape and don’t gum up on the sides. Once the adhesive has been activated, nothing will pull them off.” * They keep your gear going * I had a cut in my Enlightened Equipment backpacking quilt. It looked like a knife cut.  I patched it with a Noso Puffy Patch. Backpack Hack of the Week™:  A Map for Everyone Hack from our listener and friend, Paul: Always bring enough paper maps so that everyone has one.  Bringing different maps is a good idea: one will give the elevations of lakes and major junctions, one will show forest cover, another will show trails that may not be on the other maps… Trail Wisdom We have the peculiar privilege … the freedom to walk this earth, see its beauties, taste its sweetness, partake of its enduring strength. –Hal Borland

03.20.2018

174: Scared or Prepared?

Show Notes: Episode 174 Today on the First 40 Miles, have you ever thought about how your skills as a backpacker can be a huge benefit to yourself and others during a natural disaster?  Today we’ll share a story from a listener who experienced the devastation in Puerto Rico.  Then, we’ll share a survival hack that will turn your empty pack into something that everyone should have—just in case. Opening * Disasters coming our way * Community Preparedness Fairs * Are backpacking and emergency preparedness related? * What are you doing to be prepared? What can you do?  What’s the first step if you have nothing? * You may be more prepared than you think… Top 5 Ways That Being a Backpacker Can Help You During a Natural Disaster You have developed skills to be independent, self-sufficient, forward thinking, problem solving * It’s a backpacker’s mindset to be self-reliant. * It’s that idea that “I’m in charge of my response, and I’m going to figure this problem out.” * Plus, as a backpacker, not only are you going to be a problem solver—you’re going to be a pre-problem-solver and ask those “What if?” questions, and find answers. * Because of who you are as a backpacker, you’ll be better prepared for disasters. You are “at home” anywhere * American Red Cross shelters can be a huge blessing during a natural disaster, but at some point during the disaster, you may want to weigh the cost and venture beyond the shelter once it’s safe. * During disasters, the shelters may fill beyond capacity, there is little privacy, resources drain quickly * It’s also empowering to know that you have the physical ability to evacuate the area by foot, if need be. This is an extreme case, but it’s still an empowering thought. * A person who can take what they need and travel 10-20 miles * You’re “at home” indoors or outdoors Less dependent on public services and utilities * Utilities go out * No water, no electricity, no natural gas, no Wifi, no cellular network, no garbage pick up * How is that any different than backpacking? * You’ll be used to some of the inconveniences, discomforts that come with disasters You can help neighbors * “I can’t do everything, but I can do something” * When you are self-sufficient, it puts you in an incredibly humbling position where you can help those who cannot help themselves. * Widows, families with young children, those who have lost hope, those who can’t figure out what to do next. Because you’re prepared, you can help * EMS during a crisis or natural disaster Backpackers have the basic three:  resources, skills, experience * We talked about the 5 basic tools of outdoor survival a few weeks ago, cut, cup, cordage, cover and combustion. * But if you want to boil it down further. You need three basic things to survive. * Resources, Skills, and Experience * Which one could you improve on? Where are you lacking? FEMA’s mission is “to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a Nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.”  (We have a huge role in disaster response, relief, and recovery) Listener Audio: Emanuel Bravo Ramos A backpacker’s perspective on disaster relief in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Using Your Backpack as a 72 Hour Kit * “Contains water, food, clothing, shelter, supplies for sanitation, medical supplies, contact information, identification and other vital documents, aids to mobility & navigation, and comfort items. It is packaged in a backpack or other carry-able container. * “It is assembled in advance,

03.13.2018

173: Backpacking Conversations

Show Notes: Episode 173 Today on the First 40 Miles, we talk about our latest project, a children’s book designed to help get kids outside.  An on-the-fly top 5 list emerges as Josh and Heather plan ahead for future episodes.  Then we each share one of our favorite “must-have” backpacking items.  Next, a super-healthy, super-crunchy trail snack that can be ready in minutes.  And we’ll wrap up the show with a little trail wisdom from a couple of nutty backpacking podcasters.  Opening * Backpacking ABCs children’s book * Future children’s chapter book series about backpacking * Kids have the power to inspire adults Top 5 Things We Want to Include in Future Episodes Wilderness First Aid Episode * It’s important to know first aid * It’s also good to have a first aid refresher if it’s been a while since your last class Outdoor Retailer Summer Market Report * Hope to find great backpacking gear to share on the show Foraging while Backpacking * Almost gave up on foraging… * We’re recommitted to finding interesting “trail food” on the trail while backpacking this summer Steve’s Oregon Section of the PCT (and our section of that hike with him) * Our friend is taking a long walk on the Oregon section of the PCT * We’ll join him for part of it Beginner Questions * Is there something we need to revisit? Something we haven’t fully explained? * What’s it like for beginner backpackers? What are things you would like to know? * Weather issues, things to expect on your first trip… SUMMIT Gear Review: Justin’s Nut Butters and Ozark Trail 9-led Mini Flashlights * For today’s SUMMIT Gear Review, Heather issued a challenge to share something (anything) that comes on every backpacking trip. * JOSH: Justin’s Nut Butter packets. They’re convenient.  Calorie dense.  Easy to pack.  No mess.  Lots of different flavors. * HEATHER: The cheap $1 flashlights from Walmart. She gives them to her kids.  They come with batteries, they have 9 super-bright LEDs, they’re easy to use, grippy material on outside. Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Veggie Crackers Recipe from Trail Grazing * 2 Tablespoons chia seeds * 2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed * 2 Tablespoons water * 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast * 1/2 teaspoon salt-free seasoning blend (like Mrs. Dash) * less than 1/4 teaspoon salt Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and wait 5 minutes until water is fully absorbed.  Take dough ball and roll between two sheets of 8×8-inch parchment paper until dough is a 7-inch circle.  Remove top piece of parchment paper.  Score dough using a knife or pizza cutter. Place parchment with the uncooked dough on a microwave-safe plate.  Microwave for 2 minutes.  Remove plate from microwave and break crackers along score lines. Return to microwave for another 30 seconds. Crackers will crisp as they cool.  If they are not crisp, return to microwave and cook for an additional 15 seconds until crisp.  Be careful not to burn. This recipe is from our book, Trail Grazing: 40 High Energy Snacks to Fuel Your Adventures. Trail Wisdom Josh:  Keep hiking while you’re getting older and you’ll be able to hike when you’re older Heather: Life is better outside than inside

03.06.2018

172: The Next Level of Essentials

Show Notes: Episode 172 Today on the First 40 Miles, Once you’ve got survival in the woods figured out, maybe you’re ready to take it to the next level.  We’ve got the top 5 secondary survival essentials to round out your outdoor experience.  Then, we’ll review a stove and pot combo that will help you cook up your latest trail cuisine experiment.  And if you’re not feeling like any culinary experimentation, we’ll share a food hack that’s under a buck and requires no dishwashing. Opening * Beyond survival * Survival as a goal is pretty bleak… * “I want to live, not merely survive” Top 5 C’s of Secondary Survival Essentials Communication/Connection * Staying connected is one of the big challenges on the trail—especially if you’re hiking as a group. * Radios and other communication technology helps * Pre-communication goes a long way to prevent awkward guessing about where everyone is on the trail—especially if you end up spreading out. Convenience * We include so many conveniences in our outside time that maybe we don’t even realize it. * Fire at the flick of a Bic? * Boiling water in 90 seconds without building a fire? * Popping up a tent without using a single knot? * Knives that lock open and lock closed for safety? * We have so many conveniences, that maybe we don’t even remember that these really aren’t necessities— * 200 years ago, many of our modern conveniences didn’t exist—which means, no, convenience is not a necessity, it’s a luxury. Cleanliness * Cleanliness has a different definition from everyone on the trail. * It’s a challenge to keep “clean enough” but it’s also fun to be all Grizzly Adams and not care. * Being clean (especially when preparing food) helps prevent disease, bacterial overgrowth, etc. * But for a short backpacking trip, cleanliness in general drops to the second tier. Comfort * There’s a good reason why comfort is second tier… * Comfort is not a necessity. Anyone who has hiked with a headache, a crick in their neck, a stomachache, or has just been on the edge of too cold… Cuisine * Food is a survival essential. Cuisine is a luxury. * Top Ramen is food, Coconut Curry Cashews sprinkled on top of rehydrated Pad Thai is Cuisine. SUMMIT Gear Review™: Olicamp Kinetic Ultra Titanium Stove (and XTS Pot) Structure * Titanium for the main body of the stove * Aluminum base * Brass inside fuel combustion area Utility * Fuel: Isobutane canister * Isobutane: a gaseous hydrocarbon isomeric with butane. * Boil Time: 3 min 30 seconds * Output: 9,620 BTU * Manual ignition (different from piezo ignition…) Mass * Weight: 1.7 oz. (48g) * Size: 2.5″ x 2.6″ Maintenance * Isobutane burns clean, so you shouldn’t have trouble with clogged stove * Comes with a Lexan case, which you can leave home * Bring matches or a lighter to light stove Investment * Stove: $50 * Pot: $30 * Combo: $70 Trial * Fold out pot stand for larger pots * Compare to other stoves we’ve used * Very little heat loss when used with the Olicamp XTS Pot—has the coil on bottom, but doesn’t “lock on” to stove * Love the wide base to put your pot or mug on * Responsive stove with good simmer control * Incredibly lightweight and collapsible—you can unscrew the base of the stove—this gives you even more storage options Backpack Hack of the Week™: Mashed Potatoes in a Bag

02.27.2018

171: Survival Essentials

Show Notes: Episode 171 Today on the First 40 Miles, we’re most of the way through winter—and we’ve survived!  And for today’s top 5 list, we’ll share some survival essentials—known to the bushcrafters as “the five Cs”.  Then we’ll share one of the best subscription boxes we’ve found, that will help you hone your survival skills into a craft.  Next, a backpack hack that’ll prepare you for surviving laundry. Opening * Our winter so far… * Ape Caves Adventure * Overnight backpacking trip * Christmas tree from our 4th grader’s Every Kid in a Park pass Top 5  Survival Essentials (a.k.a The 5 C’s) Cover * Cover is important because it protects you from nature and the elements * More than just a tent or tarp—this survival essential is also about having the proper clothing and first aid essentials Cut * Knife * One of the 10 Essentials * Knife is a first aid tool, a meal prep tool, a problem solving tool, a fix it tool, and a self-defense tool. * Is your knife adequate? Cup * Cup can mean more than just a water bottle… * Sierra cup for boiling water, means a secondary form of water purification * Dry bag in your pack can serve double duty as a way to haul water. * What else can a cup be used for? Cordage * Rope, string, paracord, guylines, etc. * What do you use cordage for? * leverage/tools/projects * Clothing can be cordage Combustion * Combustion is just another word for power * What if I don’t want to have a fire? Do I still need a method of combustion?  Yes!  You still need a way to start a fire and you still need light, even if you think you won’t actually use them. * Consider bringing a charger if you plan on using electronics. SUMMIT Gear Review™:  Apocabox Subscription Service Structure * Bi monthly subscription survival box * Things come in reuseable drawstring bags * Meant for wilderness survival—and focuses on teaching skills and outfitting you for outdoor survival * It’s not a box filled with samples of the latest granola bar, a bottle opener and an acrylic beanie. * For each box, Creek Stewart makes a video that helps you through the skills challenge * Exposed to new ideas, types of carving methods, ancient ways * Education centered, project centric. * Meant to inspire you to get out, do something, be in nature, and challenge yourself. Utility * Incredibly useful items that beef up your outdoor skills * Items offered in the past: books, mini manuals, kits to make an outdoor survival item, resin for repairing things, handcrafted items, multi-use items, “ancient ways” stuff, * To get an idea of past boxes, we went to YouTube and watched some videos Mass * Box has a variety of items, no box is ever a “repeat” Maintenance * The Apocabox is a subscription service created by someone who doesn’t want you to feel trapped by a subscription service. You can order just one box as a gift to yourself or to someone else.  No problem.  There are other options as well.  You can start a subscription and keep it going.  Cancel any time.  No tricky weird stuff. * You may receive a box with a trap in it, but this subscription isn’t a trap. * FEBRUARY: Billing Date: 2/1, Shipment Date: 2/15 * APRIL: Billing Date: 4/1, Shipment Date: 4/15 * JUNE: Billing Date: 6/1, Shipment Date: 6/15 * AUGUST: Billing Date: 8/1, Shipment Date: 8/15 * OCTOBER: Billing Date: 10/1, Shipment Date: 10/15 * DECEMBER: Billing Date: 12/1, Shipment Date: 12/15 Investment * $50 a box $12 shipping (in the US)

02.20.2018

170: A Winter Overnighter

Show Notes: Episode 170 Today on the First 40 Miles, we took off for 24  hours to enjoy a little Northwest winter backpacking trip.  We’ll share our top 5 experiments plus our brush with death!  And if you’ve ever wondered how to start a fire after a soil-drenching rainstorm, we’ll show you what worked for us.  Then we’ll give you a hack that will make your winter fires burn cleaner, hotter and more efficiently. All this, and that’s about it.  Today on The First 40 Miles. Opening * Dumping the Bucket o’ Calories Audio… Top 5 Experiments of Our Winter Backpacking Trip… * Audio from trip… * The gunshots SUMMIT Gear Review™:   Coghlan’s Fire Disc Structure * Sawdust and wax Utility * This disc can be broken up into smaller pieces and used a little bit at a time as needed * The Fire Disc can also be used to cook—although on the package it says that it will produce soot, which is difficult to get off of pans, packs, clothes and your hands. Mass * Weighs 3.5 ounces (99.2 g) * 1”x4” Maintenance * Unwrap the disc, light it (do not burn the plastic…) * Do not disturb it while it burns * Build your fire around it (including wet wood) Investment * About $2-3 Trial * It helped us get a “wet wood” fire started!  This the first time we’ve ever had success starting a fire with wet wood. * The Fire Disc burns long enough to get the fire going and for the tinder to dry out the kindling and the kindling to dry out the fuel… Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Drying out Wet Wood * After you’ve collected your water-logged wood. Use the Coghlan’s Fire Disc and some of that wet wood to start your fire. * Then, contrary to what you’d do on a summer night, circle your fire pit with the wet wood, so the radiant heat of the fire will start to dry it out. * You can do this with the tinder, kindling and fuel. * Keep an eye on it, to make sure it doesn’t ignite. * This isn’t a practice you’ll want to continue on dry trips. Normally you keep your fire wood stacked far enough away that stray sparks won’t ingite your pile of wood. * But, on wet trips, keeping your fire wood closer to the fire, lets the warmth of the fire dry out the wood, so it will burn cleaner, dryer, and more efficiently. Trail Wisdom Where you find a people who believe that man and nature are indivisible, and that survival and health are contingent upon an understanding of nature and her processes, these societies will be very different from ours, as will be their towns, cities and landscapes. –Ian McHarg  

02.13.2018

169: FEATHERS: The Down Episode

Show Notes: Episode 169 Today on the First 40 Miles, Ounce for ounce, down is the warmest insulating material available—but where does it come from, how do synthetics match up, and did Neil Sedaka really write a song about his down puffy?  Then we’ll review a sleeping bag that not only harnesses the power of down, but also uses a unique closure system.  And if you’ve avoided down because of allergies, we have a simple trick that just may save you a box of Kleenex. Opening * Down is incredibly insulating and has a great warmth to weight ratio * Ounce for ounce, down is the warmest insulating material available * In the United States, Federal Trade Commission regulations require that any product labeled “100% Down” must contain only down feathers, while products labeled simply “Down” can contain a mixture of fiber and feathers. * Down insulation is rated by fill power, which is the number of cubic inches displaced by a given ounce of down (in3/oz). To measure fill power, an ounce of down is placed into a graduated cylinder, and a small weight is dropped in on top of it; the volume below the weight indicates the fill power. * Eider down has the highest fill power, at 1200. However, even down with a fill power as low as 550 still provides reasonably good insulation. Higher fill-power downs will insulate better than lower fill-power downs of the same weight. Insulation in most outdoor equipment ranges from about 400 to 900 in3/oz (230–520 cm3/g). Down rated 500–650 in3/oz (290–375 cm3/g) is warm enough and light enough for most conditions, and 800–900 in3/oz (460–520 cm3/g) fill is used for very lightweight and/or very cold-weather gear. * A fill rating is from the number of cubic inches that one ounce of down will fill. * Down is warm, lightweight and packable. If well cared for, it retains its loft up to three times longer than do most synthetics. * When it is wet, the thermal properties of down are virtually eliminated. Down forms clumps if exposed to dampness or moisture, and will mildew if left damp. In addition, it will absorb and retain odors. * Water repellent down Top 5 Things You Always Wanted to Know About Down Insulation But Were Afraid to Ask Where does down come from? * Primarily ducks and geese for outdoor insulation (coats, vests and sleeping bags) * When baby ducks and geese are born they are covered only in down–but the down in your jacket did not come from plucking all the feathers off of a baby duck. * Duck and geese have down throughout their life—in fact when they go through the molting process, they cyclically lose their down and it gets replaced. However, this shed down is probably not what’s in your jacket either, although, that would be convenient to just harvest the down that’s shed naturally. * The down that’s in our insulating gear like jackets and sleeping bags is the down from underneath the outer feathers, primarily in the chest. * What makes these angel soft pieces of insulation for valuable than the outer feathers? They do not have quills. If you’ve ever owned an inexpensive comforter or jacket that has feathers, you’ve probably noticed that every once in a while something will be poking you.  You pull it out, and it’s a feather with a hard, sharp quill. * No mystical down making machine…however companies like Primaloft and 3M are working hard to come up with an insulating puff that has the power of down, the compressibility of down, the lifespan of down. They’re getting closer with every winter. How is down harvested? * The duck’s life or the geese’s life ends—and probably for the food industry. While we don’t eat much duck or goose in North America, it’s very popular in China. * The feathers and down are then hand-plucked or machine-plucked from the dead bird

02.06.2018

168: Weight vs. Volume

Show Notes: Episode 168 Today on the First 40 Miles, if you’re trying to get your pack weight down, but the numbers just don’t want to budge, we have a new challenge for you.  Reduce. Your. Volume.  We’ll share 5 ways to take up less space.  For today’s SUMMIT Gear Review, would you trust a stuff sack made of tissue paper?  For the same weight, we’ll give you a much better option.  Then, a quick hack that will help you streamline your bathroom time. Opening * Pack weight…it can become something that people obsess over. * We talk about the weight of our packs so much that I think we might be forgetting another important element of packing a pack: Volume * Weight vs. volume of down sleeping bag compared to weight vs. volume of a synthetic bag * Does volume matter? Why does volume matter? Top 5  Ways to Reduce the Bulk or Volume of Your Pack Compression Sacks * Compression sacks are different from stuff sacks * They can take a sleeping bag that fills up your entire pack, and compress it down to the size of a loaf of bread. Up your calories per ounce * 200 calories of broccoli vs 200 calories of oil Backpack in the summer * Insulating winter gear is just bulky * Insulated mug, insulated sleeping bag, insulated clothing * Without bulky insulation, your pack will shrink significantly Take out the air out of packaged goods * Transfer your toiletries or smaller containers…do you need a hard sided container to hold your sliver of soap, or can you store it in a freezer zip top bag. It reduces weight and volume * Poke holes in the top of your food bags, let the air out and reseal with tape, so your food won’t take up as much volume. Air weighs nothing, but if you want to reduce your volume, get rid of the trapped air Pack smart * Smart nesting–“like with like” * Can you fill the inside of your toilet paper roll with a small bottle of hand sanitizer or a small bar of soap? * Fill your empty spaces * Stove filled with fuel canister, matches in a plastic bag. Stacking and nesting your stuff compresses how much space it takes up. * Packing smart also means leaving things at home that don’t make sense to bring. Rethink the full package of biodegradable baby wipes and maybe just pack a handful.  The battery-powered cassette player?  Maybe on this trip, leave your cassette tapes at home and let nature’s sounds prevail. SUMMIT Gear Review™:  Hyperlite Mountain Gear Dyneema Stuff Sacks Structure * Made with 100% waterproof DCF8 Dyneema® Composite Fabrics Utility * Drawstring bag with a mini cord lock * The 1.4 mm cord on the drawstring has a UHMWPE core * UHMWPE features: has the highest impact strength of any thermoplastic presently made, used in many applications * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra-high-molecular-weight_polyethylene * Small one used in this week’s Backpack Hack of the Week Mass * Weighs 0.02 lbs | 0.28 oz | 8g * Volume: 1700mL / 1.7L / 103.7in3 * 8”x10” Maintenance * Not submersible, but it is waterproof * Hyperlight Mountain Gear has bags that are submersible, but this is not one of them Investment * $20 Trial * It feels like it’s made of tissue paper—but it’s so durable * Translucent—which means the contents of the bag aren’t a mystery to you. Easier to find things. * Incredibly tough bags…in fact, the whole line of HMG gear is tough, abrasion resistant, waterproof, well designed

01.30.2018

167: Prepping for a Winter Backpacking Trip

Show Notes: Episode 167 Today on the First 40 Miles, Friday night is always date night, and for this week’s date night, we’re packing and prepping for a quick winter backpacking trip—and we’ll tell you why.  Then, we’ll review a sleeping pad with a 4.4 R-value that is a win for budget minded backpackers.  And we’ve got the perfect hack that will make your sleeping pad stay in place. Opening * Audio of packing for winter trip * May be some rain–prepare for that * Things we’re going to bring Top 5 Reasons We Decided to Prepare for a Short Winter Backpacking Trip Tension Headaches * A few weeks ago Josh said his tension headaches were increasing…so  we looked for ways to reduce tension.  Getting out in nature is a great place to start. Heather wanted to share the load of trip planning * Usually I leave the trip planning to Josh…in fact this is sometimes to my detriment because I’m not as prepared as I could have been. For this trip that we took, it didn’t  require much planning… To kick Date Night up a notch * Friday…and the question is “What should we do for date night?” * Movies, eating out, entertainment, shopping—so many date night options are expensive and leave you feeling heavy, slow, fat, poor and tired. * Getting outside leaves you feeling, refreshed, “good” tired, relaxed, connected and happy. To prove to myself that winter is rich and wonderful * …I just need to learn to appreciate it The calendar says we’re too busy * And if we were to look at the calendar for a convenient time to get out on a trip, it would never happen * Sticking it to the calendar… SUMMIT Gear Review™:  Klymit Insulated V Ultralite SL Sleeping Pad Structure * Fabric 20D Durable Polyester * Chambers filled with lofted synthetic insulation * Nozzle that locks in place (pull to open, push to close, twist to lock) Utility * Inflation: 10-15 Breaths * R-Value: 4.4 * Rolls up easily Mass * Weights 15.9oz / 450g * 72″ x 20″ x 2.5″ * Packed size 4.5″ x 7″ * Pad tapers at end, not only to match your body shape, but to save weight Maintenance * Comes with a patch kit * Can be repaired in the field Investment * $119.95 * Klymit Lifetime Warranty Trial * Great value for high R-value pad * Easy to inflate * Great customer service when we had to send a pad back * V-chamber design traps heat without adding weight or insulation Backpack Hack of the Week™:   How to Stay on Your Sleeping Pad * Do you spend a lot of the night trying to keep your sleeping bag on your sleeping pad? Is it a constant struggle to keep from sliding off? * Solution: Slide your sleeping pad inside your sleeping bag. * This works with any pad in any sleeping bag. And the bonus benefit is that you get to use the insulative properties of your pad as it curves up around you in your sleeping bag.   When you use the sleeping pad underneath your sleeping bag, that insulative square footage goes to waste–but when it’s in your bag, it adds to the insulation around your shoulders and legs. * Only use this hack if you know it will be a dry night—because your pad is not only air tight, but water tight as well and protects you from moisture. Trail Wisdom “I believe the best lessons can be learned by failing and flailing, and I believe those are the lessons that settle in deepest, right in the spot where it matters.

01.23.2018

166: Armchair Backpacker

Show Notes: Episode 166 Today on the First 40 Miles, for whatever reason, maybe you’re not going to be able to get out hiking or backpacking for a while.  That’s ok!  We’ll help you immerse yourself in the experience without leaving home.  Then we’ll review a huge tarp that will give you all the coverage you need.  Then we’ll show you ”the place to go when you can’t go backpacking”.  And we’ll wrap up the show with some strong words from someone who always seemed to have time to get outdoors. Opening * Armchair Backpacker: It’s a person who may not be able to get out backpacking, but they still want to experience the scenery, the comradery, the gear talk, the excitement of hearing about trips. * Maybe you’ve hit a rough patch in your health OR maybe it’s been so long since you’re last trip because of scheduling or you’re so new to hiking and backpacking that you’re still just trying to get comfortable with what it’s all about—you might be an armchair backpacker. * You’re not going to get out backpacking for a while…and that can be hard. You know something is missing and you’re getting that antsy last day of school feeling. * (On the positive side, being an armchair backpacker is the ultimate in leave no trace.) * What outdoor adventures do you dream about when you’re at your desk? What are the elements of your dream trail time?  What does trail time do for you?  Why do you plan for and create meaningful trail experiences? Top 5 Ways to Go Armchair Backpacking Dig Deeper * If you’re not out experiencing an area thru time on the trail, then get to know it through reading guidebooks and learning the history * Guide books should tell enough of the story of the trail to paint a picture without revealing too much. * Learn history of the area (Mountain Loop song) Films or Documentaries * High Sierra : A Journey on the John Muir Trail * https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJsZ08582To * Find quite a few on YouTube of Appalachian trail or PCT documentaries of varying quality levels—but they all have something that might just scratch an itch if you’re unable to get out. * Adventure Archives (YouTube channel) * Film Festival Flix: Mountain and Adventure Film Festival, subscription to watch adventure films (Actual film festival is in Feb/Mar–$30 for pass all access filmfestivalflix.com) Lurk the backpacking boards and forums! * This is especially fun if you’re an old seasoned backpacker and you just want to still be a part of the conversation. * It’s also fun if you have no experience hiking or backpacking and you just want to learn lingo, get some opinions, and listen in on the chatter. You can learn a lot Listen to podcasts Ones we like and listen to: * Cascade Hiker * S’more Outdoor * She Explores * HYOH * Trust the Trail * Weekly Hiking Tip * The Field Guides * Hike Like a Woman * G.O. Get Outside * n2Backpacking Window Shop * YouTube: gear lists, people prepping for trips * Turn your outdoor adventure into prep (heavier load, mindset) * Also… Oregon Trail Game, AT Game, Backpacker feed on Google news, and feel free to eat a few freeze dried meals, make up a batch of beef jerky and throw a few logs on the backyard fire pit. * And I’m working on a game right now…it’s in the initial testing phase… SUMMIT Gear Review™: Paria Sanctuary SilTarp 10×12 Structure * “Plug and play” tarp—comes with everything you need for a versatile outdoor setup * With each tarp comes 60 feet of 1.

01.16.2018

165: Reading Between the Lines

Show Notes: Episode 165 Today on the First 40 Miles, while looking for your next hike or backpacking trip, it’s easy to lose track of time reading colorful, inspiring trip reports.   We’ll help you decipher some uncommon words and phrases you may run across in your reading.  Then we’ll review some dreamy socks that are getting a cult following among thru hikers.  And we’ll give you access to the secret government code book to decipher trip reports. Opening * Creative Trip Report Writing… * How can I decode some of the buzzwords on trail reviews and get a REAL sense of whether this is worth the attempt? * Great lines from trip reports: * http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/enchantment-lakes Top 5 Types of Words I Ran into While Reading Trip Reports Worlds that describe the ecosystem * Give you the big picture of what to expect in terms of plant life, animals, temperature ranges, exposure, and features * An ecosystem describes the connection of all the elements * Sub-alpine, wetlands, rainforest, desert, grasslands, temperate forests Words that describe the geology or earth shape * Earth is shaped by erosion, glaciers, volcanoes, wind, water, wind, earthquakes, plate tectonics…and much of the evidence of these forces can be seen on the trail * Avalanche chute, basin walled by rugged peaks, rock formation, summit, dome, ridge, pass, shoreline, alluvial, pluvial lake * These words pain the picture of what you’ll see as you hike * These features could be a hundred miles away, or right in front of you. Words that describe other living matter * Dense growth of sedges, wildflowers, Indian paintbrush, western anemone, lupine * Mountain goats, elk * Even insects are frequently mentioned in trail reports, as well as fungi Words that describe manmade structures * Boardwalk, rustic log bridge, bear pole, camp sites * Understanding these features will help you to appreciate man’s desire to return to the wild and find solitude, beauty and peace. * Many of these features have minimum impact, use local resources, and are created to be long lasting. Words that describe trail features * Switchbacks, elevation gain, left branch/right branch, T-junction, forks * Understanding these words can help you to navigate successfully SUMMIT Gear Review™:  CloudLine Socks Structure * 63% Ultra Soft Merino Wool, 33% Nylon, 4% Spandex * Reinforced cushion zones for durability and comfort * Anti-microbial * Long lasting softness Utility * Merino wool wicks moisture, regulates temperature, and resists odor making this the perfect sock Mass * Weight varies by size and sock Maintenance * Machine washable Investment * $15-24 depending on size and weight * Hiking sock with medium cushion is $22 * “THE CLOUDLINE LIFETIME GUARANTEE: You can be confident that you are going to love these hiking socks as much as we do. Or your money back. That’s our guarantee. If they don’t live up to the abuse of the wild, your money back. If there are any defects, your money back. If a bear eats them whole, well, consider yourself lucky. But we think you get the picture.” Trial * What do you love about Cloudline socks? * https://www.cloudlineapparel.com/ * They will win awards for comfort…super soft * Kept calling them Cloud 9 socks…but they’re Cloudline socks Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Outdoor Glossary Glossary from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service

01.09.2018
The First 40 Miles: Hiking and Backpacking Podcast Podcast

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213: Health Benefits of Bac...

12.11.2018

Show Notes: Episode 213 Today on the First 40 Miles, if you haven’t figured it out by experience, then we’ll give you one more huge reason to begin backpacking…the health benefits! The list of health benefits is huge! Then our ...