December 18, 2018
Show Notes: Episode 214 Dear First 40 Milers, It has been a delight to share our wilderness backpacking journey with you!  You’ve learned and discovered right along with us.  We’re deeply touched by all the kind words and the stories that you’ve shared with us over the past four years.  We hope we get a chance to cross paths again. Love, Heather and Josh Legler   Today on the First 40 Miles, we’re wrapping up production of The First 40 Miles with today’s final episode.  We’ll share some of our ideas for podcasts we’d love to see started, talk a little about what it’s been like to share our backpacking adventures with ya’ll, then wrap up with a little trail wisdom that brings it all full circle. Opening This week marks the 4 year anniversary of The First 40 Miles, and today is also our final episode.  We have loved producing this show for you each week. Thoughts…? Top 5 new outdoor podcasts I’d like to see in the next year (that can replace The First 40 Miles) An outdoor, on site, story-telling show * Stories from people getting out there, done NPR style, but less studio, more outdoors * We love the idea of it being on site, because then you get the ambient noise * It dances on the border of technology and nature. A niche topic * Like trail food, book reviews about outdoor related books, even an outdoors + politics podcast * Gear focused podcast (because many people expressed how much they enjoyed the SUMMIT Gear Review) A revival of the S’more Outdoor Podcast * It’s great to hear people’s personal experiences in the outdoors and how it affects their indoor time, their work, their focus, their creativity A family focused outdoor podcast * All outdoor things: SUP, slackline, hikes, neighborhood walks, exercise, organized sports, gardening, farming, rc cars/planes, surfing, etc. * It would answer the question: “How does YOUR family stay active?” * Families are so important and families can help produce the next generation of healthy, robust, outdoor enthusiasts A child-produced show * Cascade Hiker, one of our podcasting friends, has a show for his daughters. I love it! * Children need to have a voice—lets encourage them to share their voices and their stories! Podcasting behind the scenes… Our gear: * Samson GoMIC  * Audacity (free) * Laptop computer * Headphones for editing audio Time required to produce one episode:  * 2–4 hours to create and research for show notes * 1 hour to record * 4 hours to edit audio Trail Wisdom “God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” —Anne Frank That’s it for today, thank you, thank you, thank you for listening.  We have loved producing this show for you.  Thank you for all your kind, encouraging words.  We feel the love!  You can access all our episodes at or on iTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher.  That’s it for today.  Signing off, —Heather and Josh Legler.
December 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 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: * * 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 * * 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
December 4, 2018
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
November 27, 2018
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 * 2.6 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
November 20, 2018
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
November 13, 2018
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 * * 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
November 6, 2018
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
October 30, 2018
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: * “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.
October 23, 2018
Show Notes: Episode 206 Today on the First 40 Miles, we’ve dumped out our box of random backpacking food, affectionately labeled, our “Bucket o’ Calories”, and will go head to head today as Josh and I battle it out, civilly, for the Backpacking Dinner Challenge.  Can we each create a unique meal with just the pile of ingredients in front of us?  We’ll find out.  Then we’ll eat dinner. * Dinner Challenge * We each get a stove, a knife, water and a sierra cup. * Select at least 3 ingredients * Meals will be rated on flavor, how easy it is to make, and the whim of the host. Smokey Cheesy Tuna Dip Spanish Rice
October 16, 2018
Show Notes: Episode 204: Steve’s Hike Today on the First 40 Miles, we’re checking in with our friend Steve, who completed a thru hike of the Oregon section of the Pacific Crest Trail this summer.  And we’ll throw in a backpack hack and some trail wisdom, just for funsies. * What inspired you to hike the Oregon section of the PCT for your 70th birthday? * Talk about your daily routine while hiking the Oregon section of the PCT, the rhythm of the trail… * Did you find that rhythm? * What does the phrase “trail angel” mean to you now? * Did you see other 70+ hikers on the trail? * Have you recovered physically? * What moments stand out to you? * Advice to others who want to do a significant hike…
October 9, 2018
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
October 2, 2018
Show Notes: Episode 203: Pardon Our Dust Today on the First 40 Miles, all of our backpacking gear is in moving boxes, sitting in the barn, waiting for us to unpack them!  We’re keeping the podcast going through our move, and we couldn’t have done it without a few of our fabulous listeners who will be contributing to the show today. Opening * Old 100-year-old home, 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, and a whole bunch of projects * Backpacking gear in boxes and bins * Pardon our dust… Three listener stories -George’s story -Chad’s story -Laura’s story Backpack Hack of the Week™: Easy Warmth with Down Booties * Keeps your feet warm * Inexpensive down booties can be found for as little as $12 Trail Wisdom Work is good, provided you do not forget to live. —Bantu Proverb If you’re looking for fun backpacking books and merch, check out
September 25, 2018
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
September 18, 2018
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 * 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
September 11, 2018
Show Notes: Episode 200 Today on the First 40 Miles, we’re live on the Pacific Crest Trail! Opening * Our trip with Steve * About 70 miles * The “E” section of the PCT in Oregon Top 5 Things We Loved About this Trip Audio from trip… The hardest things were some of the best. Backpack Hack of the Week™: Paracord Compression Straps * Stuff your gear (sleeping bag, clothing, etc.) in your stuff sack * Double up the rope/paracord by folding it in half * Then, wrap your stuff sack “gift wrap” style * Instead of tying a big bow on top, make a slip knot loop on one side and put the other end of rope through the hole. * Cinch it down and tie it off or loop the end around so it won’t unravel Trail Wisdom Joke from Steve… If you’re looking for fun backpacking books and merch, check out
September 4, 2018
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,
August 28, 2018
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? * * 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
August 21, 2018
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
August 14, 2018
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 * * 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  We’ll see you next time on The First 40 Miles.
August 7, 2018
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  We’ll see you next time on The First 40 Miles.
July 31, 2018
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 * * “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 * * 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?’ ” * 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 ...
July 24, 2018
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 * 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
July 17, 2018
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...
July 10, 2018
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: * 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
July 3, 2018
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
June 26, 2018
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,
June 19, 2018
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
June 12, 2018
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; But as we near them level grows the road,
June 5, 2018
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: 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.
May 29, 2018
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,
May 22, 2018
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 * 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,
May 15, 2018
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 ...
May 8, 2018
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 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,
May 1, 2018
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.
April 24, 2018
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 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
April 17, 2018
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
April 10, 2018
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 * 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
April 3, 2018
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 * 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
March 27, 2018
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
March 20, 2018
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
March 13, 2018
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,
March 6, 2018
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
February 27, 2018
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
February 20, 2018
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)
February 13, 2018
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
February 6, 2018
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
January 30, 2018
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 * * 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
January 23, 2018
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.
January 16, 2018
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 * * 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 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.
January 9, 2018
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: * 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? * * 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
January 2, 2018
Show Notes: Episode 164 Today on the First 40 Miles,  we’re always up for a challenge—and that challenge was to have a zero waste backpacking trip—no wrappers, no garbage, no junk.  We’ll share what we did and how it worked out.  Then we’ll review an all-natural way to package and protect your food, that uses no plastic, foil or mylar.  And you’ll learn a backpack hack that will turn your used food packaging into tinder. Opening * “Zero Waste” Backpacking Trip * How we defined Zero Waste: Nothing was going into the landfill when we returned * How we did it, what we used, what we ate, how we disposed of trash, where we go what we needed * We ate pizza rolls, grapes, jerky, cookies, cheese, trail mix, fresh bread—all wrapped in either the beeswrap or waxed paper * No fuel canisters Top 5 Zero Waste Backpacking Principles Refuse * Just say no to more junk * Learn to say no * Buy bulk food and take it with you backpacking Reduce * Simplify what you have in your backpacking stash at home and what you carry on the trail * Reduce the amount of packaging you carry * Reduce the amount of new gear you buy * Reducing is already a principle of backpacking Reuse * Think about what ends up getting used and turned into trash while you’re backpacking: fuel canister, toilet paper, container of balm or ointment, bandages, baggies, rubber bands * Any way to bring a reuseable version of that? * Milk jug wash basin… Recycle * Down jackets * * Donate used gear * Give used + buy used Rot * Catholes, toilet paper I’m going to add a 6th R to the list of Zero Waste Backpacking Principles: and that is Repair.  We have some gear that needs some repair.  Two sleeping bags, my wool buff has a tiny hole, and I think we have some Frogg Toggs that could use some spot repair with duct tape. SUMMIT Gear Review™: BeesWrap Reusable Food Wraps Structure * Bee’s Wrap is a reusable food wrap made of organic cotton, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin. Utility * The warmth from your hands molds the BeesWrap around whatever you’re wrapping Mass * Small: 7” x 8” * Medium: 10” x 11″ * Large: 13” x 14” * Bread wrap: 17” x 23” * Baguette wrap: 14” x 26” * Sandwich wrap: 13″ x 13″ Maintenance * Lasts about a year * Can be cut to fit * Wash in cold water, with a little dish soap, hang dry Investment * $6-19 depending on size Trial * They work! * The sandwich wraps are great. They have a little button sewed on them to keep your sandwich or stuff wrapped up. Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Wax Paper Wraps If you’re looking for a way to wrap your food and then dispose of the packaging at your campsite, We wrapped some of our food in wax paper, then sealed it with masking tape.  That way, we could throw the waxed paper in the fire, it burned easily, and it made for great tinder.  It worked well for storing jerky, nuts, dried fruit, cookies, pizza rolls and dense bread.  We put everything that we wrapped in waxed paper into a paper sack to protect it.  You could also use a linen sack or one of your stuff sacks. Trail Wisdom “Every woodland or forest in addition to yielding lumber, fuel, and posts, should provide those who frequent it with a liberal education about nature. This crop of wisdom never fails but unfortunately it is not always harvested.” -Aldo Leopold
December 26, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 163 Today on the First 40 Miles, incredible trail reports peppered with phrases like stunning views, photographer’s dream, and crystal lake can almost make you ignore other phrases like aggressive ascent, grueling, or sheer rock.  How can you tell if your hike is a good match for your skill level?  Then, we’ll share a fun trip report from a listener in Australia where our winter is their summer.  Next, a recipe from our new book “Trail Grazing” that will keep your fueled and happy on your next outdoor adventure. Opening From listener…“My 40th birthday trip is to New Zealand, and a friend and I are signed up for two long hikes… Here’s my question: we’re getting conflicting initial advice on how do-able these hikes are. We don’t want to sell ourselves short but we don’t want to be an emergency waiting to happen. We both have not a ton of backpacking experience and I’m worried about being someone else’s cautionary tale. How do you decide if the route is a good match for your skills and experience? How can I decode some of the buzzwords on trail reviews and get a REAL sense of whether this is worth the attempt?” Top 5 Data Points You’ll Need to Know to Tell if the Trip is a Good Match How much weight will you be carrying? * The rest of the tips here are assuming you’ll have about 30 pounds. * Adjust the other questions accordingly. What is the distance? * Figure on 5-10 miles a day unless you’re a thru-hiker (they do 20+ mile days routinely). What’s the general elevation? * You’ll have less oxygen at higher elevations (over 5,000 feet), and it will take a couple days for your blood to adjust. What’s the elevation gain/drop? * Anything under 1,000 feet per mile is pretty standard stuff. Over 1,000 feet per mile is getting strenuous. What’s the weather like? * Wet and cold weather (below about 45 degrees Fahrenheit) are harder on you * You need more clothing and calories, and everything takes longer. Clip from the Trip Story from listener in Australia Backpack Hack of the Week™: Microwave Black Bean Brownies Recipe from Trail Grazing These brownies have black beans and chocolate—an unlikely but inspired combination. Warning: feeding these brownies to people you love without disclosing the fact that there are beans in them may cause trust issues. Proceed with caution. Makes an 8″x8″ pan of bars 1,733 calories 92 calories/ounce 15-ounce can (1½ cups) black beans, drained and rinsed 1 cup dates, pitted 1/2 cup oats 1/2 cup water 1/4 cup cocoa powder 2 teaspoons vanilla 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 cup chocolate chips 1/2 cup chocolate chips 1/2 cup chocolate chips (for topping) Add all ingredients, except for chocolate chips, into a blender or food processor. Blend until all ingredients are pureed. Then spread brownie batter in a parchment-lined microwave-safe 8×8 baking dish. Microwave for 4 minutes 30 seconds. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top and wait for them to melt. Carefully spread melted chocolate on top of brownies and let brownies cool completely before cutting. Wrap individually and store in an airtight container. NOTE: Theses brownies can also be baked in the oven instead of the microwave. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Trail Wisdom I never imagined that existence could be so simple, so uncluttered, so Spartan, so free of baggage, so sublimely gratifying. I have reduced the weight of my pack to 35 pounds and yet I can’t think of a single thing I really need that...
December 19, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 162 Today on the First 40 Miles, our family did something that exercised our risk muscle and prepared us for some interesting side trails on autumn and spring backpacking trips.  We went mushroom hunting without someone holding our hand!  Then we’ll review a sturdy piece of outdoor gear that will give you a place to organize mushrooms, do a little outdoor sketching and maybe some meal prep. Opening * Our toe dip into family mushroom hunting * Went out with Joyce and Leah from the Oregon Mycological Society last week * Mushroom hunting is over when it freezes…starts up again in spring * Matsutaki mushroom hunting spot left in will * Audio from trip… Top 6 Things We’re Glad We Brought on Our Mushroom Hunt Audio from trip… SUMMIT Gear Review™:  Helinox Table One Hard Top Structure * Folding hard top camp table * Polyester top that feels like canvas—and it rolls/folds up for storage * Legs made of high quality aluminum poles Utility * Single, short-corded pole structure sets up quickly * Comes with a carrying sack * Note: Not designed for use as a seat * Includes a storage sack with zipper closure and handles Mass * Weighs 2 lbs. 1.6 oz. * Unfolded Dimensions: 24 x 16 x 15.4 inches * Folded Dimensions: 7 x 5 x 4.7 inches * Table sits at 16” height Maintenance * Can’t set hot things on top * Sturdy and stable * Set up takes a couple minutes Investment * $140 Trial * Sturdy * Borderline on backpackable weight * Novel to bring a table on a backpacking trip, so this is most often toted along by our children—and it came with us on our mushrooming * Good for journaling, sketching, food prep (you’ll need a cutting board) * Probably best for day trips and for camping, rather than backpacking Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Vollkornbrot (Whole Grain Rye Bread) 4 cups dark rye flour 2 cups warm water 1 tsp yeast 1 tsp salt 1 cup raw sunflower seeds 2 Tbs millet Mix water and yeast.  Let it sit for 3-5 minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix in a stand mixer until everything is incorporated. Place dough in a parchment-lined loaf pan or make a free form loaf on a parchment-line baking sheet.  Let it sit for 1 hour in a warm place until the loaf is slightly puffed (NOTE: it may not look “risen” like a traditional whole wheat loaf, but that’s because rye flour is different than whole wheat flour.) Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour Slice thinly when cooled. Long lasting, durable, dense, high fiber, strong flavor, add-ins, moist, forgiving. Trail Wisdom “For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.” –Doctrine and Covenants
December 12, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 161 Today on the First 40 Miles, we went on our first mushroom hunt and lived to tell the tale!  Today we’ll share the treasures we found in the forest and we’ll share what we learned.  Then, our trip guide from the Oregon Mycological Society, Leah, tells her story of how she entered the world of mushrooms.  And we have some fun audio from the mushroom identification session at the end of our hunt. Opening * Mushroom hunting has been on our bucket list since moving to Oregon… * On many bp trips, we see mushrooms, but we’ve always been just a little nervous about correctly identifying them on our own. * Went out with Joyce and Leah from the Oregon Mycological Society * Big shout out to Paul, who not only rescued us from the parking lot, but taught us on the hike in how to identify the Chanterelle * Three things: False gills, decurrent stem (the gills extends down the stem instead of tucking up under the cap), and a string cheese stem (not a hollow stem) * The best part? Our 4th grader came with us… he was sick, but not too sick to tromp through the woods gathering fungi.  That’s the best kind of sick… Top 5 Things We Learned About Mushroom Hunting Go With Someone Who Knows Mushrooms * Being able to ask a billion beginner questions was just what we needed * Joyce, from the Oregon Mycological Society, said that often new mushroom hunters will look at a mushroom and say “Oh this has 6 out of the 7 identification points of this such and such mushroom.”  And they ignore the 7th point—which in mushroom hunting can lead to a misidentification. * Go with someone that can help you decided whether you should kick it or pick it. * The group we went with were part of the intermediate mushroom identification class from the Oregon Mycological Society Don’t get lost (or shot!) * When you’re staring down at the ground looking for mushrooms, it’s easy to get disoriented. * Our group was tucked back in the woods off the trail. It would have been easy to get lost, however the trip guide was wise.  The area we were hunting was only about a 1/4 mile from the main road—which we could easily hear.  She also picked an odd but helpful central location that happened to have a bunch of abandoned tires.  Leah also said that she plans some trips next to a hillside so people can use the hill to orient themselves. * Compass, whistle, something bright to tie up to a tree (like a bright hammock) * We were hunting in a national forest during animal hunting season, so everyone in our group was wearing hunter orange There is a sliding scale from desirable to deadly * If you ask a mushroom hunter, “Is this one edible” you may not get a straight answer * “Yes it’s edible but it’s not very good” * “Yes, but many people experience stomach aches and diarrhea” * Rule #1: Only positively identified mushrooms should be eaten * We also learned that you shouldn’t eat any mushrooms raw. Some of the toxins in mushrooms are heat sensitive and can only be denatured when cooked. * On that sliding scale are mushrooms that cause gastrointestinal trouble, psychedelic effects, and coma-like states. Stay on the end where the mushrooms are edible, desirable and identifiable * Stay away from LBMs (little brown mushrooms) all over, small, hard to identify * And with the edible mushrooms, the group seemed to agree that sauteeing mushrooms in butter and salt is the way to go Mushrooms can’t be overharvested * They are the fruit of the myceum that lives underground * With foraging, we’re careful not to overharvest plants, but with mushrooms, we learned that you can’t over harvest. It’s like picking apples from a tree. * Of course, only pick what you can use—don’t be wasteful, but truly the earth is full,
December 5, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 160 Today on the First 40 Miles, how do you communicate from point A when your friends are at point B?  One of our listeners clued us in to how he stays connected with trail mates while backpacking.  Then we’ll review the communication device we’ve been using plus teach you a simple code you wished you would have known when you were passing notes in 4th grade.  And we’ll leave you with some trail wisdom that will help you fine tune your communication skills on and off the trail. Opening * What if we want to communicate with each other while we’re both on the trail? * Many communication options available * Garmin RINO, GoTennas, GoTenna Mesh, SPOT devices * One of our listeners suggested amateur radios (or HAM Radio) * Getting an amateur radio requires passing a FCC test and learning some rules * Why amateur radio is a good option for the trail * What we’ve done with our radios since passing the test * Test prep resources: * The No-Nonsense, Technician Class License Study Guide by Dan Romanchik (KB6NU) (PDF) * Practice tests by AA9PW * HAM Test Prep app for Android Top 5 Reasons HAM Radio is a Great Option for Wilderness Communication Cheap * $15 test * To pass test, free app or books from library or YouTube videos that teach to the test. * A handheld radio: around $25+ Repeaters + Linked Repeaters * Range 1-2 miles depending on topography * Maybe even more range… Multiuse * Backpacking, Emergencies * How we prepare for emergencies with our radios Battery Life * Long battery life * Drains while transmitting, but not much while listening * Longer than a cell phone Weight * Weighs around 7 ounces SUMMIT Gear Review™: BaoFeng BF-F8+ Radio Structure * It has 2 Power Levels (1 and 5 watt) * 1800mAh Battery * The BF-F8+ is legal for use on amateur frequencies (with a license) * We can also listen (but should not transmit) on FRS and GMRS frequencies Utility * You can program your BF-F8+ exactly how you want it. There are 128 programmable memory channels. * You can listen to the FM radio stations while still monitoring your other radio frequencies in the background. * The BF-F8+ has one built-in receiver but can “watch” two channels (semi duplex). * The BF-F8+ can send DTMF tones * Flashlight and siren features built in Mass * Weighs 7 ounces * Measures 2”x4”x1 1/4” * Antenna length 6 1/2” * Semi-flexible antenna Maintenance * Rechargeable, however not USB * You have to use the special charger it came with Investment * $25 (includes hands-free earpiece) * $6 for programming cable Trial * You can program your radio with free CHIRP software and a separate cord ($6) * We’ve had success using our HAM radios on the trail * We’ve been able to hit repeaters—but not on every trip Backpack Hack of the Week™:  The Phonetic Alphabet A–Alfa B–Bravo C–Charlie D–Delta E–Echo F–Foxtrot G–Golf H–Hotel I–India J–Juliett K–Kilo L–Lima M–Mike N–November O–Oscar P–Papa Q–Quebec R–Romeo
November 28, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 159 Today on the First 40 Miles, when you’re new to backpacking and hiking, you probably have good sized list of things to worry about.  We’ll help you add an item to your “do not worry” list—and give you some ways to be proactive.  Then we’ll review a simple 100% wool beanie that was so great, we bought it again.  Next, a hack that can help you add 24 hours onto your next trip—or can be a life-saving backup plan. Opening * Leaving your stuff in camp to go on a day hike—is your stuff safe?? * Theft is rare… * Stories of theft in towns off the large trails, but it’s less likely to happen on the trail. * And if you think you’ve been the victim of theft, be sure you shake out your tent before you start accusing people of taking your stuff… Top 5 Things to Do If you’re Worried About Theft… Relax * Trail theft is rare. If you want something to be worried about, then lock up your car at the trailhead, and don’t leave valuables or garage door openers in plain sight. * Thieves look for easy targets (like cars at trailheads, shiny out in the open valuables, quiet places where they won’t be seen) * Get out on the trail more and it will make you worry less Always have 10 essentials + ID on you * So if any of your gear is swiped…you’re not in a truly desperate situation * Never leave camp (not even to find a bathroom) without your 10 essentials Mark Your gear * Mark your gear with a Sharpie * If you’re doing a long trail, mark the direction you’re going and the year, so your gear can be returned to you if it’s recovered or discovered. Use your gear * Sweat, use it. * After a few uses, it’ll lose some if it’s economic appeal to would-be thieves. Stealth * Some people camp “stealth” to avoid being seen from the trail * Maybe leave your neon hammock at home… * Camp a little further back, a little off the trail, a little less obvious. SUMMIT Gear Review™:  Minus 33 Ridge Cuff Beanie Structure * 100% Merino Wool, 230 g/m2 * Interlock Knit, 18.5 Micron Fibers, * UPF Rating 50+ * Double-layered fabric creates twice the warmth and twice the protection. Utility * This is a piece of clothing that should come with you on all trips—winter, spring, summer, fall. We haven’t had a trip where we haven’t brought a beanie or a buff. * Has a loop for hanging dry or attaching to pack Mass * Weighs 4oz (68 grams) Maintenance * Total Easy Care (TEC) Merino fiber used in beanie * It’s machine-washable, can be dried in dryer, won’t shrink, lose shape, fade or color-bleed, stays soft and comfortable. Investment * $20 Trial * Not too tight * Goes below ears for a nice warm fit * Truly a 4 season hat—not too thick or too thin Backpack Hack of the Week™: 24 hour Food Pouch * 24 Hour Food Pouches: 1-2 pounds, all the food you need, easy, ready to go, everything you need, prepped, no cook * Keep one of these in your pack—2000+ calories * In order to keep your systems from going into starvation mode, you need to consume at least 500 calories a day. If you have this bag of food, and you’re careful, it can keep you going to 4-5 days. * Candy bars, cornnuts, pepperoni, m+ms, etc * Put it all into a gallon sized freezer bag. * We even took a Sharpie and wrote the calories on each food packet so we’d know how many calories in each item. Trail Wisdom “To the dull mind nature is leaden. To the illumined mind the whole world burns and sparkles with light.”
November 21, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 158 Today on the First 40 Miles, we’re at the time of year when hiking and backpacking have unique challenges—and we’re up to the challenge!  Listen in on our planning session, then find out which dayhike gets the top vote.  Next, a man, a plan, a can—a Canjo!  Believe it or not, we found another trail-worthy instrument that can help you while away the dark winter nights (and the dark winter days).  And we’ll share a backpackable recipe that will probably push you over your Pumpkin Pie Spice threshold. Opening * Josh and Heather propose a handful of solid ideas for a winter day hike with the family * Planning a trip…and enjoying the process * What do we want, who is going, how far, length, unique features, days, purpose? Top 5 Ideas for Our Family’s Winter Day Hike * Legler Kids give their input along with some interesting facts about caves… SUMMIT Gear Review™:  Canjo One-Stringed Musical Instrument Structure * Canjo necks are made from Hard Maple lumber, with real guitar frets and tuners. The finished neck is then sprayed with at least two coats of instrument grade lacquer finish. * Canjos can be ordered in aluminum can or tin can or Spam can. We chose the aluminum soda can, specifically a Sprite can, which gives the instrument a bright, effervescent timbre—as opposed to a SPAM can, which has more of a meaty, smoky sound. Utility * Anyone can play—there’s only one string, so you’re just picking out little tunes * Each kit includes the Canjo along with a song sheet (that has 9 simple songs) and a pick. * Above each fret there’s a number that has been burned into the wood—so you can play along with the song sheet. Mass * Weighs 10.1 ounces (287 grams) * About 27” tall Maintenance * Play often * Tuning doesn’t matter on this instrument unless you’re playing with another Canjo. Since there’s only one string, no matter how high or low it is, it’s always right on. Investment * $24.95 + $10 shipping * * They also sell a songbook that has more songs that what came with the Canjo Trial * Songbook can be rolled up and stored in the soda can * Super easy to play! A fun instrument! Backpack Hack of the Week™:   Pumpkin Pie Spice Fruit Leather If you love fall, then by default you love pumpkin pie, right?  This fruit leather gives you all the flavors of fall, along with a pungent kick of citrus.  The whole orange in this recipe (including the peel) adds a comfortable amount of bitter which is quickly mellowed out by the drizzle of honey and tart lime juice. 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree 3 bananas 1 whole orange 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (add more if desired) 2 Tbs honey juice of 1 lime Puree all ingredients together in a food processor or blender.  Add water if needed to aid in blending. When mixture is smooth and lump-free, spread mixture on parchment lined dehydrator tray.  Should be about 2-3mm in thickness.  Dehydrate until dried completely, but still pliable. Trail Wisdom “Hiking’s popularity has increased considerably, up 93% since 1984. Over the same periods, the number of backpackers increased by 73%— from 9 to 15 million and interest in primitive area only camping increased 58%— from 17 to 28 million.” -Emerging Markets for Outdoor Recreation, 1997
November 14, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 157 Today on the First 40 Miles, there is nothing wrong with taking the slow route.  Start now and you’ll be ready when everyone else is rushing and cramming last minute.  On today’s top 5 list, a common kitchen ingredient that will change the way you backpack.  Then, a review of a backpacking pant that stretches, breathes, and moves.  And we’ll share a hack that will keep you balanced. Opening * You want to get out backpacking and hiking, but maybe you’ve been sedentary for so long that you’re nervous—and you’re worried about know what your doctor is going to say… * Our advice? Start the adaptation process now. * It’s not about testing all the flavors of freeze dried meals or buying the gear–it’s about allowing your body to become accustomed to different loads, previously unused muscle groups, and new levels of exertion. This can’t all be done in a day… * Benefits of long slow adaptation process… * Increase confidence, decrease injury, build anticipation. * Autumn and winter is the perfect time to prepare… * How is our family going to prepare? * Ogie Shaw TEDxSpokane: Winning The Mental Battle of Physical Fitness and Obesity Top 5 Reasons to Bring Baking Soda Antacid * Heartburn can easily be remedied by mixing a pinch of baking soda in a couple spoonfuls of water. * Be prepared for the most satisfying burp of your life. * This is not medical advice… this is just Heather’s real life experience Bug bite paste * Great for mosquito bites, but we’ve also used it in our family for when the kids get bee stings. Make a small paste of baking soda and water.    Brush it off after it dries up and flakes. Anti-stink * Use it as a personal deodorant. Just wet your arm pits or your fingers, add some dry baking soda, and it will stick—killing all the bacteria that try to tag along on your wilderness adventure. * Anti-stink for laundry. Baking soda also removes odors—which means you can use it if you need to do some laundry. * Remember to dump your grey water away from a water source and not in it. Pot scrub * You can use baking soda as a mild abrasive. Helps remove stuff that may have stuck to your Sierra cup. * Dirt works too, but baking soda helps neutralize any smells that the bits of food have. Tooth Paste * Wet your brush and dip it in the baking soda * Plain baking soda can also be used with water as a mouth rinse to neutralize any acid in your mouth caused by a high sugar diet. SUMMIT Gear Review™:  Roscoe Washakie Men’s Pant Structure * 95% Nylon/5% Lycra, DWR treated, waffle-weave. * Says it’s waffle weave, but, um, no. Not like the kitchen towels… * Heavier weight, but highly breathable, 4-way stretch, Nylon/Lycra blend * Durable feel without feeling heavy Utility * Doubled knees and seat * Comes with a belt—magnetic feature * Two front pockets * One back pocket… for righties. * Side zip pockets * Reflective built in calf-cinches that you can use to keep your pant legs rolled up Mass * Weighs 14 ounces Maintenance * Wash + dry (or hang dry) Investment * $94 Trial * Three feature adaptations * Great pant for wet trips * The Washakie pant is tough, comfortable, and is made of great material that should be able to stand up to your outdoor adventures Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Balancing Hands If you’re feeling unstable on a trail, or you just want to keep your balance over an especially nerve-wrac...
November 7, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 156 Today on the First 40 Miles, follow us on a whim to the land of crispy crust and creamy mozzarella, where the sauce is rich and spicy and the toppings are bountiful and varied.  We’re going to make pizza! This episode is for everyone from the kitchen challenged to the culinary adventurers.  So set aside your freeze dried sweet and sour textured vegetable protein, and let’s make pizza! Opening * Making pizza at the park * Used the MSR WhisperLite and BEMCO Backpacker Oven Top 5 Ways to Enjoy Pizza on the Trail Pick it up on the way (hot and ready…) * Josh picks it up on the way sometimes * Great for overnight, spontaneous trips Cold pre-packed pizza * Pizza freezes well, so next time you have pizza, save a few slices in the freezer for your next overnight trip. * You can wither eat it cold or heat it over a flame or a small pan * We often make something called pizza rolls. Just take your favorite cinnamon roll recipe, and instead of putting cinn/sugar inside, put pizza sauce and cheese inside and roll up and slice—just like you would with cinnamon rolls. Pizza snacks * Crackers with pepperoni, pepper jack cheese, maybe a squeeze tube of tomato paste * Give you the flavors of pizza, but will never be as dreamy as a hot slice with cheese dripping off and burning your hand. Pre-made Pizza Components * In Trail Fuel, we have a pizza recipe… * Instead of mixing dough, letting it rise, rolling it out…just use a tortilla or a pita. From Scratch–In an oven * Takes some planning, some extra gear and some tinkering * We had a great time making pizza using the Bemco Backpacker Oven * Ultimately, the benefit that comes from baking from scratch is that you have 100% control over the ingredients. * We made our pizza with a whole wheat crust, pizza sauce (that we made without using sugar), real whole fat mozzarella, and some vegan pepperoni we made. * You can bring any toppings you want… fresh mushrooms, zucchini, red pepper, olives… SUMMIT Gear Review™:  Bemco Backpacker Oven Structure * We’re reviewing the 7″ Backpacker Oven * Made of lightweight aluminum * Door opens just like an oven door and has a little latch to keep it from falling open * Two shelves * Top can also be used to keep food warm while other food is baking * Vent hole in top Utility * Comes with a screw in thermometer—which you will need * Came with two pans * One was a 6” deep dish pan (for cakes, pizzas, etc.) * The other was a shallow round 6” pan for pizza * Also came with straps, and a user guide that had some recipes * You can order a gripper separately and a stuff sack… Mass * Weighs 24 ounces * With pans included 31.85 ounces * Measures 7.5” x 7.5” x 12″ Maintenance * Putting away… * No mess on oven, but if something dribbled over, take a minute after the oven has cooled to clean it off before it goes into your pack. * Also, the oven comes with straps to keep it together in your pack, but you will most likely want a stuff sack. Investment * $40 for the 7” oven without pans * $50 for the 7″ oven with pans Trial * Oven has two shelves, and both can be used at the same time—but you’ll probably want to switch the two pizzas so they can brown evenly. * The bottom pizza got more crispy and browned than the top one, so we switched after about 10 minutes. * Heats up in 2 minutes to temp–It heats up so fast, so you’re not wasting fuel on preheating * To save on weight,
October 31, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 155 Today on the First 40 Miles, we’ve talked about foraging for food of the leafy green variety—but what about foraging for the creepy crawly variety?  We’ll talk about edible bugs and try to make it sound delicious.  For today’s SUMMIT Gear Review, a true backpacking classic finds it’s place in our pack.  Then, instead of jumping at every twig snap you hear in the forest, we’ll teach you how to be the one doing the twig snapping. Opening * Parasites, nematodes, bacteria, bugs, crackling sounds in the woods and blood… * Thoughts about eating bugs? Why are we bug averse? * N. Food and Agriculture Organization issue a report back in 2013 that stated that there are more than 1,900 edible insect species on Earth. So why are we still packing Fritos on our backpacking trips?  We could be eating toasted termites! Top 5 Edible Bugs Earth Worms * Dig a little earth, and you’re likely to find earthworms * Downside…filled with earth, so let them crawl around in a container of grass so they can eliminate all the dirt from their digestive tract * Remember one of the tricks of the food industry “Add a little oil and salt, and people will eat cardboard.” This applies to all the bugs we’ll talk about today.  Fry them up. Ants and ant larvae * Ants are sour, but boiling them can make them more palatable * Toasted in a pan quickly so they won’t crawl away while you’re cooking… Termites * They’re like white ants * Pull back rotting bark * Termites provide about 6 calories per gram * Roast them in a dry pan; some termite species take on a shrimp flavor. Rolly Pollies * “Sow bugs, also known as pillbugs and rolly pollies, are those little grey, pill-shaped mini-shrimp” * These are easy to find…just lift up a rotten piece of wood, or anything on the forest floor that has been there a while. * These would be better than ants because they are slower than ants! Easier to catch and roast. * Be sure you either boil them or roast them all the way…they carry roundworm Grasshoppers or crickets * Becoming more common and acceptable * Some people say they taste like almonds when toasted * “To prepare crickets and grasshoppers, pull off their heads and the entrails should come with. The entrails are edible, but removing them reduces the risk of parasite transmission. For this reason, always cook them before eating them. Remove the wings and legs and then dry roast them if you have a pan, or skewer them and roast over flame if you don’t.” * Protein-rich, but really hard to catch SUMMIT Gear Review™: MSR WhisperLite Stove Structure * Includes: Fuel pump, windscreen, heat reflector, small-parts kit, instructions, and stuff sack. (Fuel bottle not included.) * Flexible fuel line folds small and fits in most MSR pots. Utility * Burns cleanly on White Gas and white gas varieties. * Boil time (white gas), 1 liter-3.9 minutes * Burn time (white gas) per 600ml / 20 oz. of fuel-136 minutes * Water boiled (white gas) per 100 ml of fuel-5.1 liters * Water boiled (white gas) per 1 oz. of fuel-1.5 liters Mass * Weight 15.2 oz Maintenance * Made to last with durable stainless steel and brass. * If fuel line gets clogged, simple shake the fuel line (while the stove is off) and it’s designed to self-clear Investment * $90 * Fuel bottle not included (there are different sizes) * Lifetime warranty Trial * Dependable + Reliable: a backpacking workhorse for 25 years. * Strengths of this stove: melting snow, baking,
October 24, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 154 Today on the First 40 Miles, if you’ve ever had a plan go awry, this episode is for you.  We’ll talk about trip planning, and why it’s such a critical part of backpacking.  For today’s SUMMIT Gear Review, we’ll share a valuable book for beginners along with a hack straight from page 104.  And we’ll wrap up today’s show with a little trail wisdom from someone who understood the power of planning. Opening * Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin all about how to set healthy habits. She shared some wisdom by Dwight D. Eisenhower who said: * “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” * “In preparing for backpacking, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” * Why are plans useless, but planning is indispensable? How are plans and planning different? * Plans change—plans usually don’t account for the unexpected—good or bad unexpected. Plans are just a skeleton. * Planning is a process that takes your mind through a mine field of scenarios Top 5 Things You Gain from Trip Planning Flexibility * The process of planning allows you to work through various scenarios—even if none of them happen. You’ve worked through enough alternative plans in your mind and on paper that you’ve exercised your flexibility muscle. * That way, even up until the moment you hit the trailhead, you could spontaneously change your mind and take off on a different trail. You have flexibility because you planned for it and did your homework. Freedom * If you forgo the trip planning process, you may end up zeroing in on one single hike. Then what happens if there’s a road closure?  A fire?  A government shutdown?  Snow?  Planning allows you to open yourself to other hikes that may not be as familiar as the one you zeroed in on, may not be as breathtaking as everyone on the backpacking forums say, but just be open to it! * A forest view instead of a tree view * Trip planning gives you the freedom to take the blinders off and be open. Strategy * Planning for rain/snow so checking the forecast and the pattern * As you begin planning, the trip becomes a mental spider web * Fleshed out trip—it becomes multi-dimensional instead of a static plan Vision * Josh’s vision for alpine wilderness Future Trips * As we were planning for a low elevation trip last year, we found a handful of fascinating hikes that are now on our list. Hikes with old mines, hikes with rustic cabins, hikes along rivers.  We had to pick one, but now that we’ve gone through the planning process, we have more places that we have to check out!! SUMMIT Gear Review™: Backpacking 101 by Heather Balogh Rochfort Structure * This book, Backpacking 101 has all the advice you’d get from a best friend who wanted to get you to come with her on her next adventure. * There are 13 chapters, with topics including mental + physical prep, to clothing, gear, navigation, food, sleeping, hygiene and emergencies. * Book ends with appendices that cover, backpacking with dogs and metric conversions Utility * Great for beginner backpackers or season backpackers who need an update on what’s changed in the past 30 years. Mass * 5 1/2 inches x 8 1/2 inches x 3/4 inches * Fits perfectly in a day pack for some good reading on your next day hike…or you can stow it in your glove compartment * Probably a little too beefy to stash in your pack on every trip…but it might not be a bad idea to bring it along on your first trip. Maintenance * Write your name in the front,
October 17, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 153 Today on the First 40 Miles, Is it OK to skip school and hit the trails?  We think so!  Josh and our two youngest will share some of the highlights of the week.  Then we’ll review a clever way to get food from the plat to your mouth.  And, a few nights on a deflated pad is the inspiration behind today’s Backpack Hack of the Week.  Then we’ll wrap up the show with a little trail wisdom from Arnold Bennet. Opening * Trip prep * Why Josh chose Trinity Alps Wilderness Top 5 Things Josh and the Boys Loved About the Trinity Alps Trip SUMMIT Gear Review™: humangear GoBites Duo Structure * Not a “spork” * This is a spoon and a fork that slide together securely, so you have the option of using one or both * the GoBites Duo is made of super durable nylon * FDA food‐safe – 100% BPA‐, PC‐, and phthalate‐free Utility * Can be used separately and a spoon and a fork, or you can attach the ends of the fork and spoon together for a longer handle. The spoon acts as the forks handle and vice verse * The spoon and fork slide together and click securely Mass * Weighs .8 ounce (24 grams) * 9 inches when fully extended * 6 inches when fork and spoon are stowed Maintenance *   Top-rack dishwasher safe Investment * $7.50 * Lifetime warranty Trial * Great mouthfeel—the bowl of the spoon is the shape of your mouth * Tines of the fork are functional, not merely decorative or suggestive of forkiness. * The Duo has won design awards… humangear calls this a “civilized travel utensil” * Come in gray, blue and red. Backpack Hack of the Week™: Testing an Inflatable Pad for Leaks * Had an issue with an inflatable pad on the trail. * Brought it home to test for leaks—although this test method will work on the trail as long as you have a water source * At home, filled the bathtub with 4 inches of water, put pad in it and pressed to watch for bubbles * Once you find the bubbles, dry and patch hole (if there is a hole) Trail Wisdom It’s easier to go down a hill than up it, but the view is much better at the top. –Arnold Bennet, English writer, 1867—1931 P.S. This guy sounds fascinating.  He also wrote a book called How to Live on 24 Hours a Day.  A great quote:  Which of us lives on twenty-four hours a day? And when I say “lives,” I do not mean exists, nor “muddles through.” Which of us is free from that uneasy feeling that the “great spending departments” of his daily life are not managed as they ought to be? […] Which of us is not saying to himself — which of us has not been saying to himself all his life: “I shall alter that when I have a little more time”? We never shall have any more time. We have, and we have always had, all the time there is.
October 10, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 152 Today on the First 40 Miles, last week we turned the mic over to the kids.  And today, we’re taking it back—and sharing a little bit of insight to parenting on the trail.  On Today’s Top 5 list, are there principles that are easier to teach outside than inside?  Then, we’ll review a versatile, functional, rechargeable light.  For today’s Backpack hack, a crowd-pleasing three ingredient granola recipe that’s just begging for space in your pack. Opening * Is parenting on the trail different vs. off the trail? * What are the challenges? * What are the opportunities? * What struggles do you have at home that simply don’t exist on the trail? * Campfire moments * Listeners ask “I love hiking and being outdoors, but my kids don’t. What can I do?” * We try not to let these things overshadow the good times: whining, negativity, blaming, discomfort * Food and rest solve a lot of problems on the trail, so before you start to worry that this is the worst trip ever and the whining will never stop; make sure they’re well-rested and well-fed. Top 5 Life Skills That Are Easier to Teach Outside Than Inside How to do hard things * Delayed gratification How to be self sufficient * Having everything you need Resilience * Being prepared * Resilience is the ability to cope with the things that you’re not prepared for. * Frame of mind, a mental attitude * Can’t just tweak the thermostat How to find your way * Decisions * Using past trip as allegory/pattern for your life Risk-taking * Boundaries * When you remove geographical/physical boundaries * Define your own boundaries * Protected at home, ability to calculate risk SUMMIT Gear Review™:  Gear Aid Spark Light Structure * The Spark is the smallest, most lightweight light in a line of lights by Gear Aid * The Spark is a rectangular bright white light with 15 LEDs * Includes: light, diffuser bag, USB charging cable, and rubber hook * 3,000 mAh Li-ion battery Utility * Three brightness settings; runs 25 to 160 lumens for 5 to 25 hours of operation * Has an adjustable metal kickstand; * One emergency setting which blinks SOS in Morse code—to access that setting, just press and hold the on button * This is rechargeable! * This light comes with a diffuser bag and hook so that it can be used lantern-style * The Spark has rugged feel to it Mass * The light alone weighs just 4 ounces * And when you add in the diffuser bag, rubber hook and USB charger, it just bumps it up an ounce—and you can totally leave those extras at home if you’re counting ounces * About the size of a Kit Kat Bar Maintenance * USB Rechargeable * IPX4-rated casing (some light rain resistance) * Drop tested to 2 meters Investment * $50 Trial * For those of you photographers who never leave home without your tripod, this light can attach onto your tripod on the trail—which makes it great for late nights at a campsite when you’re looking at the map of your next day’s journey… * The kickstand makes it so the light can be directed—which gives it a feature that most flashlights don’t have * The kickstand is wide enough to fit fingers through, so it can be carried it in your hand conveniently * The on button is somewhat recessed and almost protected by the kickstand to prevent it from accidentally turning on while in your pack. * Nice that it comes with a diffuser bag…similar to the Luminoodle which also comes with a diffuser ...
October 3, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 151 Today on the First 40 Miles, the Legler kids are on the mic to provide the kids perspective on backpacking.  They’ll share some fun memories from past trips.  For today’s gear review, our youngest child reviews his kid-sized pack.  Then some friends join us and share their experience backpacking.  And we’ll wrap up the show with a little trail wisdom from the Far East. Opening * How long have you been backpacking? * Was it always fun? * What surprised you when you first started? * What’s the best age to start backpacking? * Hardest part? Funnest part? * Is it hard to carry a pack? * Why do you think your parents take you backpacking? Top 5 Family Backpacking Memories SUMMIT Gear Review™: Deuter Fox 40 Liter Pack Structure * The Deuter Fox 40 is an internal frame pack for kids * It will probably fit ages 6-12 (unless you’re a really small 6 year old or really tall 12 year old) * It’s made of ripstop and ballistic nylon * It has all the features of an adult pack, like compression straps, lid pockets, gear attachment loops, and a hip belt– but it’s sized for kids Utility * The area where your pack is on your back has air mesh so your back won’t get sweaty and hot. * The Deuter Fox 40 has a sleeping bag compartment just for your sleeping bag… * This pack has an adjustable torso, so I can still use it if I get taller * It has 2 side mesh pockets for water bottles * Other pockets? Mass * Weighs 2 lbs 14 oz * The pack I have is a 40 liter, but the Deuter Fox also comes in a 30 liter Maintenance * What do you do to keep it clean? Investment * $109 Trial * Great pack for kids beginning to backpack * Fully featured * Rugged * Not a “dumbed-down” version of an adult pack * This pack is also a great option for petite adults Listener Story: The Giecek Sisters * Reggie and Raichel Giecik share some backpacking memories * Daughters of the Cascade Hiker Podcast Host, Rudy Giecek Trail Wisdom “When you drink the water, remember the spring.” –Chinese Proverb
September 26, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 150 Today on the First 40 Miles, there’s something about being outside that lights a spark inside.  It makes us more in tune with ourselves, it shuts out the noise of civilization and it slows us down—in a good way.  Today we’re going to share some of our upcoming creative projects and hopefully inspire you to get started on your own!  Then we’ll review a sub two pound tent that can fit you plus four really good friends.  For today’s Backpack Hack of the Week, you’ll learn how to “steal like an artist”. Opening * Past books! * Upcoming books! * “The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.” –Dieter F. Uchtdorf * We have two books scheduled to come out this year…a children’s book and another cookbook Top 5 Backpacking Gear Ideas to Tinker With… Gear wipes * …the market is saturated with ways to clean your body, but what if I want to wipe down my gear when I get home * enzymatic cleaner to take away smell, some built in waterproofing, biodegradable All in one balm * We bring sunscreen, lip balm, first aid ointment, toothpaste, maybe deodorant too! * Is there any way to create an all-in-one balm? Something you can use to brush your teeth, stop BO, and treat a bee sting? * Can you also make it all natural, with no nano particles, deodorizing but unscented, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-hemorrhoidal, anti-inflammatory, in a reuseable tin with screw top lid? Compostable gear * Most gear is made from petroleum-based made-made materials…how about using something that isn’t petroleum-based? * Let’s talk compostable gear * Made of 100% biodegradable or natural fibers, can be composted at home, can also be repaired on trail * Pack, tent, sleeping bag. * Maybe a 6-18 month lifespan. * Bamboo fibers, wood pulp, byproducts of food industry * Plant wax-based waterproofing Flat flashlight * Is there a reason that headlamps and flashlights are still as bulky as they are? * Can we slim things down? Maybe make the light as thin as a piece of paper? Zipperless tent * Zippers are the weak point of tents…is there a better way? * Self sealing entrance…maybe magnets? Maybe a multi panel elasticized opening that you push through, and as you enter it closes automatically? SUMMIT Gear Review™: Appy Trails Mark V (Mark 5) 5 person tent Structure * This type of shelter is a hybrid between a tarp and a tent * It has the lightweight benefits of a tarp, with the structure of a tent * The Mark V is a single wall tent * Polyester, PolyUrethane 1000 coated—which means it’s water proof, not just water repellant or resistant * Single center pole, stakes, roomy bag for storing everything * Stable structure * Aluminum poles, one very long, the other very short—you can’t mix them up * Seams are factory sealed Utility * Vent so you have air circulation * Bring your own tent floor or not * Muted forest green, so it blends in well to the forest * Height, 6 feet tall Mass * Weighs as little as 1 pound 11.6 ounces—and that’s for a tent that fits up to 5 people!! (2 pounds 9 ounces with the poles and stakes) * To achieve this weight, you can suspend the top of the tent from a line, or you can use and extender with your tent poles. Either way will enable you to leave the large pole at home. * You can also use wooden stakes from the forest floor instead of bringing the stakes that were i...
September 19, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 149 Today on the First 40 Miles, if you want to be a friend of the forest, get to know the flora.  We’ll share some ways to make your next trip more rich as you get to know the plants that surround you.  Then we’ll review a new ultra-durable, refillable lighter.  For today’s Backpack Hack of the Week, you’ll learn a plant-geek approved way to bring forest samples home for further study. Opening * Plant identification * Why would you want to identify plants? * Does it ruin the experience or enrich the experience? * Our family goal…to get better at plant identification Top 5 Ways to Become Familiar with Plant Life Look at the Big Picture * Find out what’s in your area—search your state * * * Even just a brief search will open your eyes and help you to see if there are plants you already are familiar with. Stop, Sit and Study * On the Trail: One of the great ways to really get to know a plant is to sketch it.  When you sketch a plant, you take nothing for granted.  You look at every edge, every node, every bump.  And if the entire plant it too much to sketch, focus on one leaf. * What are the edges of the leaf like, how is it attached to the branch, can you see the veins, are there injuries or evidence of animal, fungal or bacterial damage to the leaf? Even if you don’t know the name of the plant, it is one you’ll be able to identify if you see it again. * Also, when you study, don’t be afraid to touch, smell the plant, look under the leaves, see what else is growing around it… * Off the Trail: Check for a formal course of study through your state’s Cooperative Extension office * Here in Oregon we have the Oregon Master Naturalist Program Rehike the same area * A hike you’re familiar with * This gives you a chance to tune in and notice things Photograph what you see * Macro setting on camera, get up close with all parts of plant * You can study the photos, familiarize yourself with them, even share them with the local extension office to see if they know what it is. * Apps for plant ID: PlantNet and iNaturalist app Take a Sample * Josh’s brother, Ben, works in the University of Washington Herbarium where they collect plant samples * Sample collection protocol SUMMIT Gear Review™: Exotac titanLIGHT Structure * The EXOTAC titanLIGHT is a refillable, waterproof lighter and with a replaceable flint and wick. Made from aircraft grade aluminum, it has O-ring seals for longer intervals between lighter fluid refills. * CNC router (Or Computer Numerical Control router) is a computer-controlled cutting machine used for cutting various hard materials, such as wood, composites, aluminum, steel, plastics, and foams. Utility * Waterproof lighter with a replaceable wick, replaceable flint * Has a lanyard loop at top * Wind guard * One nice feature is that it comes off with a 3/4 turn, so it’s secure enough to keep the fuel from evaporating, but not so secure that it takes a long time to get the top off. Mass * Weighs 1.6 oz. (46 grams) * When filled weighs 1.9 ounces Maintenance * Fill with lighter fluid specifically for lighters (Ronsonol or Zippo brand) * Waterproof to 1 meter Investment * $49.95
September 12, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 148 Today on the First 40 Miles, is it OK to skip a planned backpacking trip, without also taking yourself on a scenic guilt trip?  Yep.  And we’ll share some reasons why skipping a trip is OK.  Then we’ll share a new twist on the classic carabiner.  And, if you had a chance to experience the total solar eclipse in August, we’ll hook you up with even more heavenly wonders. Opening * Update on the September trip to Wallowa Mountains * No September trip for Heather… hard decision Top 5 Reasons It’s OK to Skip the Trip You need recovery time * Heather will be getting some dental work done this month that’s going to require some healing time… * Recovery time is smart… There’s a bigger “Yes” * Many people have a hard time saying “no”, but a good rule of thumb is that you can say “no” when there is a deeper “yes” burning inside * Or maybe you have another trip you’re saving up for. * If it’s a first trip, then it’s not only a significant financial investment, but you may also using your precious vacation days You need to recharge in small and simple ways * And that’s ok! That’s one of the reasons this is a hiking AND backpacking podcast.  We don’t all have time all the time to live a John Muir mirror life. * Sometimes, life is so full that we can’t take advantage of all the opportunities presented to us. And that’s a good problem!  Slow down, plan a walk or a hike… recharge in simple ways. Intuition * I know how much I can handle in one summer * I know a backpacking trip would be lovely, but my gut says this trip is a no go for Heather. Trail Reports with Warnings * Wild fires in the area * Sometime when you skip the trip, it just means you change your plans. Skipping the trip doesn’t always mean not going.  Sometimes you just skip the trip that you have planned and try a different spot. SUMMIT Gear Review™: HEROCLIP  Structure * Solid aluminum carabiner that has a swivel-out hook so you can attach and hang your gear. * The HEROCLIP was invented by a woman in the PNW who is an avid hiker, who wanted a way to keep her gear off the muddy, wet forest floor. Utility * Can hold 50 lbs of static weight * Hook can swivel 360 degrees * Rubber tip on the end of the hook Mass * Weighs 2 ounces * 1/2 thick by about 3 1/2 inches tall x 3 inches wide * Fully extends to about 7 1/2 inches tall Maintenance * No dynamic loads—only static loads * 50 lb. limit, which means it can easily hold your pack * If you are going to hang it from a tree, I suggest grabbing a bandana or some forest floor stuff to put between the HEROCLIP and the branch so it doesn’t dig into the tree and cause marks. Investment * $20 Trial * We like that the hook swivels 360 degrees on the horizontal plane, it’s not just a static hook at the end of a carabiner and it also swivels up and down 180 degrees on the vertical plane * You can hook the HEROCLIP to your pack and hang the hook on a tree branch * You can also hook the HEROCLIP to your hammock and hang your pack * Of course if you’re just using it to hang your pack off of your hammock carabiner attachment points, that’s a great use that won’t leave any trace. * This is one of those great pieces of backpacking gear that you’ll most likely find a bunch of other uses for around the home, school, or while travelling. Backpack Hack of the Week™: Astronomy Calendar of Celestial Events
September 5, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 147 Today on the First 40 Miles, the surest way to lighten your food load is to extract the water from it.  We’ll share our dehydrating successes, some graceful fails and some tips to help you dehydrate your own food.  Then, for the SUMMIT Gear Review, we’ll show you a fun tool to make jerky—and we’ll give you a recipe that will help you pack your favorite Chinese takeout flavor on the trail. Opening * Dehydrating is a method of food preservation that is about impossible to mess up—which makes it a great DIY adventure for backpackers. * Why dehydrating works * Fruits, veggies, grains, meats (low fat) and full meals * Dehydrating successes + fails * Difference between freeze dried, dehydrated * How is dehydrating different than freeze dried food? * Remember to drink more water when eating dehydrated foods Top 5 Dehydrating Wins Raw Eggs * Worked surprisingly well on the Taiwanese Crepes and Cornmeal Pancakes recipes in Trail Fuel Bananas * Tough, leathery, sweet and good * Cheap, satisfying, chewy, fast, easy, great snack, healthy Tomatoes (sun-dried tomatoes) * Make great mix-ins, so easy, so good Seasoned Ground Beef * Pre-cook meat (rinse with warm water to remove excess fat) * Season with seasoning like salt, pepper, garlic, onion, parsley, taco seasoning Lentils * Oven dehydrated lentils, easy to eat, easy to digest, easy to use in any meals, easy to snack on, so good, so fast * Trailside Kitchen snack mix with dehydrated lentils * Lots of different varieties of lentils SUMMIT Gear Review™:  LEM Jerky Gun Structure * Like a caulk gun * Plastic tube with hand trigger, steel piston rod, and nozzle attachments * Holds meat * Has two attachment nozzles: flat jerky nozzle 1-3/16×3/16 + round snack stick nozzle 1/2” diameter Utility * Holds 3/4 pound of meat * Comes with a couple seasoning packets Mass * Irrelevant… Maintenance * Dishwasher…because it’s used with meat…or lots of hot soapy water Investment * $30 * 1 year warranty Trial * This was so much fun. If you have any shred of OCD in you, or if you just like it when things line up perfectly and you can make little rows of things, this is a really fun food toy. * Our chicken jerky * Next will be banana jerky * Piston rod with trigger screws onto one end and nozzle screws on to the other end. If the piston doesn’t fit, switch ends. Backpack Hack of the Week™: Teriyaki Chicken Jerky Strips 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast 2 Tbs brown sugar 2 Tbs soy sauce 1 Tbs liquid smoke 4 cloves garlic 1/2 tsp salt Add all ingredients to a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Add mixture to a jerky gun (any attachment).  Dehydrate at 165 degrees in a dehydrator.  Check after 3 hours.  The longer you leave it in, the tougher it will get.  If left in too long, it will become brittle. Trail Wisdom “There is not a fragment in all nature, for every relative fragment of one thing is a full harmonious unit in itself.” -John Muir
August 29, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 146 Today on the First 40 Miles, what’s new in the world of backpacking gear?  We’re back from the Outdoor Retailer Show to share gear that’s relevant to backpackers.  Then, we’ll share a listener story that may inspire you to rethink your freeze dried chicken a la “whatever”.  And we’ll share a backpack hack that will turn your hand held flashlight into a hands-free flashlight. Opening Heather and Josh share what they saw at the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City * Alpaca- more options for backpackers, but not a lot * Infuze: Flavored Hydration System * European Companies : Jack Wolfskin + Lorpen + Fjallraven * Osana mosquito repellent soap * Bambo trend: eating utensils, fabrics…but it’s just a matter of time before we start seeing it in packs and tents * Less chemicals more natural foods—Natti Bars (so good!) * All Good body care products * Yukon Outfitters will soon be doing technical hammocks * Fjallraven trekking tights are going to be available Fall 2017 * Hilleberg Mesh Tent 1 * Pull Start Fire: Pull cord, pop, burns long time 30 minutes * Leatherman watch * WISE Company (food, organic line, gf line, shakes, simple kitchen, fast, easy to find * Renogy—mystery solved! * More minimalist shoes: Xero with a hugely expanded lne, Merrell, Topo, Skinners, Vivo Barefoot * Yumbutter: Nute butters in relealable pouches * BlueFreedom: Backpackable hydroelectric power generator * Osprey:  New UL pack Levity and Lumina $275, * Ice Age Trail in WI and Oregon Desert Trail * Dig Dig tool by Vargo * Primaloft’s new Gold Insulation Crosscore (14% warmer for weight) uses aerogel. * Rom Outdoors: blanket, pack, poncho, * Pro Shot: Case for phone that turns it into a goPro-type camera Listener story: Kevin at Primus Kevin at Primus: Story of backpacking with kids…and having a truly memorable backcountry feast Backpack Hack of the Week™: Flashlight Task Lighting in Your Tent Use a dollar store flashlight with a little string loop attached to the end.  Slip the loop into the zipper pull of the inside front door of your tent, and pull the flashlight through that loop so it hangs from the zipper pull.  Then zip the tent door closed so the zipper and flashlight are at the top. Trail Wisdom What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing. –Aristotle
August 22, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 145 Today on the First 40 Miles, Are you a fair weather backpacker?  This was a question Heather asked herself on our last trip.   Then, we’ll share the Top 5 features we wish our gear had…nothing too crazy this time.  Then you’ll learn the simple steps to make your own whole grain flatbread for your next backpacking trip. Opening * Are you a fair weather backpacker? Do you get frustrated when things don’t go perfectly? * Story of one trip this summer * The good, the bad and the ugly * “If I hadn’t gone, none of this would have happened.” Top 5 Features We Wish ALL Our Gear Had Tabs * How can you not love tabs! * Great for hanging gear, connecting gear to other things, using your gear in new and innovative ways. * Everything from hammocks to jackets to packs to water storage should have tabs Reflective accents * Some gear like guy lines, hiking shoes, or jackets are embedded with reflective material * Makes it easy to find things in the dark * Why can’t it be a part of all gear? * Packs, clothing, water bottles, hammocks, shelters, stoves Windows or translucence * If you’ve ever brought an opaque water bottle on a backpacking trip, you know that it’s hard to gauge your water consumption when you can’t see your water. * Well, it can be just as tricky with your other gear, too. * Pack is opaque, stuff sacks are opaque—and wouldn’t it be great if you could see through them a little * Great stuff sacks from Hyperlite Mountain Gear that are translucent * I can see thru them enough to tell, “Oh, this is my toiletries” “This one is my stove and fuel.” * It would help you find things faster Reinforcement accents * The whole pack doesn’t need to be made of bulletproof fabric—but how about just the bottom? * Dyneema Composite Fabric Pockets * Specifically in clothing, but it’s handy to have pockets in tent, sleeping bag, and hammocks * Pockets add weight, so it’s another tradeoff between functionality and weight. * Stuff sack with pockets/dividers like the one we talked about in an episode. Story from Listener * 30 seconds to explain why he loves backpacking Backpack Hack of the Week™: Homemade Whole Wheat Tortillas 2 cups whole wheat flour 1 1/2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt 2 tsp oil 3/4 cup water Mix all ingredients.   Let dough rest for 10 minutes.  Divide into 16 pieces.  Roll each piece out to 6-8 inches in diameter.  Cook on medium heat, both sides until speckled and cooked.  Cover cooked tortillas with a kitchen towel to keep them warm and pliable (so they won’t dry out). Trail Wisdom On an unknown path every foot is slow. –Old Proverb
August 15, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 144 Backpacking Barefoot Today on the First 40 Miles, one of the best feelings after a long day of hiking is that moment when you unlace your boots and toss them next to your pack.  But have you ever thought about ditching your boots altogether?  We’ll share some benefits of lightening up and going more minimalist with your footwear—maybe even barefoot.  Then we’ll review a pair of shoes from Vibram that will practically gift wrap your feet in Japanese wrapping cloth.  Next, we’ll help you crack the code on how to find long, winding trails. Opening * What is barefoot hiking? What’s the appeal?? Why even? Who does this??  How does one prepare for hiking without shoes–or with minimal shoes? * Barefoot can mean no shoes or minimal shoes * Concerned about injury, disease, modern uncalloused feet, cold * LNT benefits—from “Hiking barefoot causes virtually no trail erosion as a bare foot makes much less of an imprint than a booted foot–offering an environmentally sound choice for hiking.” from * Wholebody Barefoot by Katy Bowman * Shoes for barefoot hiking or running: Merrell Vapor 2, Xero Shoes, Vibram Five Fingers or the Furoshikis, Vivobarefoot, Aquasox * * “Feet were made for walking…That’s what they do. If they’re not used to walking on certain surfaces, they will soon adapt with practice.” * Tips for those interested in doing some barefoot hiking: Top 5 Benefits of Going Barefoot or Wearing Barefoot Shoes It’s a full earth experience * If dirty doesn’t matter, then it’s fun to feel earth beneath your feet, even if just for part of the trail… * How many textures are on the trail?? Moss, dirt, mud, grass, sand, streams, even gravel or snow patches * It’s a luxury we rarely afford ourselves—however it’s a luxury that we have to earn. * Some prep is required if you want to walk barefoot: spend time outside of shoes, spend time on rough, uneven surfaces, toughen up your feet a little each day or even for short stretches on the trail. Barefoot hiking is a full-body experience * From the top of your head to the tips of your toes–every muscle and joint in between will be responding to information received from the feet. * Your eyes will be watching to good places to step, your brain will be processing information from the feet, and the rest of your body will be rolling, pitching and yawing to ensure that you stay upright and balanced. * Because you’re getting more information from the ground, your balance, stability and posture should improve Less weight * Every pound on your feet is like five pound on your back—that’s science! * Going barefoot or wearing barefoot shoes have features that allow your feet to move * When your feet move, you get loads of information from them * Shoes should be flexible, thin, and fully attached to your foot * A hard stand on flip flops Rejuvinating * There’s something magical that happens when we connect more directly with nature—and it’s rejuvenating and exhilarating * There are even studies that claim that walking directly on the earth’s surface does something electrical to us…They call it “earthing” or “grounding” * * Doesn’t really matter what it’s called—there are some sensations that are just made for the feet to experience. Warm sand, squishy mud, the feel of moss under your feet,
August 8, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 143 Today on the First 40 Miles, we’ve been planning this summer for the past year…and it did not disappoint—and it’s not even over yet.  We’ll give you a mid-summer update on what we’ve been up to and the trails we’ve hiked.  Then, we’ll share a hack from a real live Philmont Scout Ranger!  And we’ll wrap up with a little trail wisdom that will leave you feeling refreshed. Opening * Our summer update! * Press Camp: Heather * Philmont Scout Ranch: Family * Mountain Trek: Hannah and Isaac * Scout Camp/Girls Camp * Upcoming Family Trip (to Three Mile Lake) * Outdoor Retailer update soon! Top 5 Philmont  Mountain Trek Highlights As shared by two of our children, Hannah and Isaac, who spent the week as Philmont Mountain Trekkers. SUMMIT Gear Shakedown Hannah and Isaac share what gear worked for them on the Philmont backpacking trek and what didn’t work. Backpack Hack of the Week: Sun Tea (as shared by listener) Add any kind of tea bag to a clear Nalgene water bottle and hang from outside of pack.  Let steep all day.  Add honey or sugar while warm.  Let Nalgene cool down in a stream. Shared by our listener and Philmont Ranger, Collin. Trail Wisdom “Without the intense touch of nature, you can never fully freshen yourself! Go for a camping and there both your weary mind and your exhausted body will rise like a morning sun!” -Mehmet Murat Ildan  
August 1, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 142 Today on the First 40 Miles, TICKS: The Parasitic Arachnid Episode.  If you gross out easily when people are talking about blood sucking parasites, we give you full permission to skip this episode.  However, if you’re kinda curious about ticks, how to keep them away and what to do if you end up being a host, then listen on.  Then, on the SUMMIT Gear Review we’ll share an innovative way to remove ticks.  For today’s Backpack Hack of the Week, an item you may already have in your first aid kit that will ensure a quick and easy way to say goodbye to any hitchhikers–plus we’ll dispel some dangerous myths that are still circulating about how to remove a tick. Opening * Ticks can transmit disease: Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Colorado tick fever, Tularemia. and more! * Powassan virus, tick-borne disease, far rarer and more deadly than lyme transmitted by deer tick, causes inflammation of the brain. Can be transmitted from tick in as little as 15 minutes—compared to LYME which needs 24 hours… so far the states where it’s been discovered and reported: Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin, and it’s been around since 1950 * They can transmit bacteria, virus or protozoa * They’re the source of over a dozen diseases that affect humans… * Here’s the good news, not all ticks want to infect you with a pathogen. Some just want you to be their host! * Ticks, active mid august to November and March to mid May * * Top 5 Ways To Protect Yourself From Ticks Always walk in the center of trails * The trail is dry, and ticks need moisture to survive. So, stay in the center of the trail, in order to avoid contact with ticks * Ticks can be found in grass, trees, shrubs, underbrush Permethrin repels ticks (.5 %) * It is a stable, synthetic form of an insecticidal compound produced by the chrysanthemum flower * Permethrin isn’t something you spray on your skin. It’s a clothing and gear spray * Permethrin isn’t just a repellant, it’s an insecticide. It kills ticks after only five to 30 seconds of exposure * Odorless, and won’t stain clothing * A 140-pound person would have no adverse health effects if exposed to 32 grams of permethrin/day. There is less than 1 gram of permethrin in an entire bottle of clothing treatment. * NOTE: Permethrin is toxic to bees, fish, and aquatic insects – do not spray clothing near flowers or water sources. Do not allow cats near permethrin-treated clothing until it has fully dried. * For more info on Permethrin, go to: DEET on skin repels ticks (20%) * Deet is a tick repellant * Is DEET dangerous? Long socks and long pants * Clothing is a protective barrier against ticks (too bad it doesn’t work for mosquitoes!) * Light colored clothing can also help you see ticks better * Socks pulled up over your pants is what the man recommends Check yourself for ticks each night * Bring a signaling mirror or small compact makeup mirror * They love moist warm areas, so…armpits, between your legs, behind ears, behind knees or in your hair, inside belly button, around the waist * Good idea to undress and redress each night * Check again when you get home (and take a shower!) NOTE: A person who gets bitten by a tick usually won’t feel anything at all.
July 25, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 141 Today on the First 40 Miles, if you’re too darned hot, today’s episode will give you some ideas for cooling down.  And we’ll keep the heat coming with a review on a fire starter that’s non-toxic, long burning and waterproof.  Then, on the Backpack Hack of the Week you’ll learn how create your own ultralight human powered AC unit (is that overselling it a bit?) Opening * Staying cool in hot weather * Where is it hot? Where to go when you want hot weather * How to avoid the heat: summertime at high elevations. near water * Heat exhaustion: * Red face, nausea,vomiting, headache, dizziness or vertigo, fatigue * Rapid heart rate, decreased sweating * Shortness of breath, decreased urination, blood in urine or stool * Heat stroke: * Confusion, anxiety, or loss of consciousness * Very rapid or dramatically slowed heartbeat * Rapid rise in body temperature that reaches 104 degrees to 106 degrees F * Any other heat-related symptom that is not alleviated by moving to a shady or air-conditioned area and administering fluids and salts *  Disclaimer: This is not meant to be medical advice…everything we know about medicine we learned from Google.  Consult your physician. Top 5 Ways to Stay Cool When it’s Hot Cotton bandana * But what about “Cotton kills” and “cotton is rotten”—it’s still true for cotton clothing. * Your bandana is about the only item of clothing you should have that’s cotton. The great things about a cotton bandana is that cotton is extremely absorbent. It can hold 27 times its weight in water.  You can use it to cool your skin and it feels great! * If you wear cotton clothing while hiking and backpacking, the cotton will absorb sweat, but because the sweat is trapped in the article of clothing, it’s not going to be drawn away to create that cooling effect like it would be in synthetic or wool clothing. * Bring some cotton along—on your hot trips—in the form of a cotton bandana Water * Humans are not camels. Our bodies don’t really have the built-in hardware to store extra fluid. If you drink more than your body needs, it’s going straight to a little dump tank called the bladder—where it isn’t going to be used for rehydration. * Plus if you try to overload your body with water, you’ll experience a little ocean in your stomach which may lead to cramping and discomfort. * Urine doesn’t have to be completely clear * TRUTH: “Obey Your Thirst” * Probably a good idea to monitor your water intake…be aware. * You can also cool down with water by getting into some water. Feels great to just take off your shoes and dip your toes into some glacial runoff… Ventilation * Back panel of your backpack should provide * Zip off or convertable pants * Minimalist shoes/sandals like Xero Shoes Layers * Layers are always a good idea—whether the temps are hot or cold. * Always bring layers, no matter what the temps are. Shade * Parasol/umbrella * Bandana on back of neck * Stand of trees that provide a cool patch of shade * Breathable hat (Protects your face from burns and lets the heat out of your head and covers you from the direct, beating rays of the sun) BONUS: Menthol * WIKI “Menthol triggers the cold-sensitive TRPM8 receptors in the skin is responsible for the well-known cooling sensation it provokes when inhaled, eaten, or applied to the skin. The TRPM8 channel is the primary molecular transducer of cold somatosensation in humans.” * Menthol can be found it a lot of common items * Mint chewing gum * Methol-lyptus cough drops * Burts Bees lip balm or a little screw top container of Mentholatum or Vicks Vaporub
July 18, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 140 Today on the First 40 Miles, for everyone else it’s summer vacation, but not for you.  We’ve enrolled you in summer school.  Welcome to the College of Blister Knowledge.  We’re glad you popped in!  We’re going to do all we can today to prevent this universal trail trial.  Then, on the SUMMIT Gear Review, a water filter that performs equally well in nearly dry creek beds  or rushing glacial run-off.  And one of our first 40 milers will share a wild trip he took with some friends. Opening * College of Blister Knowledge * Ask any hiker or backpacker what causes blisters, and you’ll hear these three words: Heat, Friction and Moisture. * But is that true? * How do blisters form? Summed up in one word * Shear * “Shearing forces are unaligned forces pushing one part of a body in one direction, and another part of the body in the opposite direction. When the forces are aligned into each other, they are called compression forces. An example is a deck of cards being pushed one way on the top, and the other at the bottom, causing the cards to slide. Another example is when wind blows at the side of a peaked roof of a home – the side walls experience a force at their top pushing in the direction of the wind, and their bottom in the opposite direction, from the ground or foundation.” (Wikipedia) * What works, what doesn’t work? Silver bullet?? * Everyone will have their own causes and cures for blisters * Fixing Your Feet by Jon Vonhof * Other Jon Vonhof resources Top 5 Ways to Reduce Shear Reduce pressure * Pressure is the vertical force exerted against an object or surface, or as we backpackers call it, walking. * Padding or inserts can reduce pressure * You can also reduce weight–either pack weight or personal weight Reduce moisture * Lots of way to do this : thin socks, reduced activity level, foot powders that absorb moisture * Moisture causes blisters is because it increases friction * Heat produces moisture, which is why we always say that heat causes blisters Reduce friction * When things are stuck together (moist skin is stickier and will cause more friction) * Friction is related to shear Increase skin resilience * Increase distance over time so your skin gets used to being loaded * Keep your foot skin soft and supple (that also means hydrate yourself!) Allow for bone movement * As we walk, our foot bones move. * Shoe fit is very important—if your shoes are too tight or too loose, you’ll have problems. One last idea… * If you’ve tried all these things and you’re still prone to blister, we have one, last fix:  reach for some tape * Kinesiology tape or paper tape.  These are easy to find, and relatively inexpensive.  They are also BREATHABLE, smooth and soft.  It’s worth having some of this tape rolled up in your first aid kit. Try to stay away from duct tape, which is not breathable, plus it leaves a sticky residue. SUMMIT Gear Review™: MSR Trailshot Water Filter Structure * Squeeze filter that is made of silicone, a hollow fiber filter and a tube * BPA Free Utility * Output is about1 liter per minute * Tested to remove 99.9999% of bacteria, 99.9% of protozoa and particulates Mass * Weighs 5.2 ounces * 6 x 2.4 inches * Tube is 15 inches Maintenance * Can be cleaned in the field * No tools required
July 11, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 139 Today on the First 40 Miles, we’re on site at Heather Lake in Washington State with Rudy from the Cascade Hiker podcast.  We’ll talk about trail service and pulaskis.  Then, we’ll review a lightweight container than can hold your precious habanero flakes or a week’s worth of ibuprofen.  For the Backpack Hack of the Week, a quick flick of your foot may prevent a trail full of mug bogs.  And we’ll wrap up the show with a little trail wisdom, from a nature writer of the 20th century. Opening * Interview with Rudy Giecek from the Cascade Hiker Podcast * Rudy’s interview of us on his podcast Top 5 Benefits of Doing Trail Service with an Organized Trail Crew You’ll find instant friends * People who share same values * Working together for the trails you love You’re maintaining and improving the trails you love * No more hiking thru muddy pits or scrambling over downed trees * Trail crews can clear mud bogs on trail You prevent long term damage caused by trail erosion * Erosion is caused by…water * Trails don’t have vegetation, so they’re susceptible to erosion if not graded and drained correctly * Interesting article about what the impact of different types of trail users. You probably won’t take trails for granted anymore * Once you’ve worked on a trail, you know how much work has gone into creating and maintain that trail! * Steps, downed trees, muddy spots, drainage, protected switchbacks, etc. * Hard work, respect for Mother Nature * We worked on a trail clean up where we were assigned to clear brush on the side of the trail…about 30 people working for 4 hours. Clearing a fairly small area with just protective gloves and our own muscles.  Humbling experience to see how tenacious and powerful nature is, and how weak and feeble we are. * Can you pull a 1 inch root from the ground without tools?? Underfunded trails –or heavily trafficked trails get the love they need * WTA * PNWT * Trail organizations SUMMIT Gear Review™: HumanGear GoTubb Structure * Small lidded plastic containers * Food-safe (FDA) and 100% BPA-free, PC-free, and phthalate-free. Utility * The lids for the GoTubbs are transparent, and each tub has a textured place where you can write the contents of the tub—so you can see through the lid * Open with one hand—which is great on the trail. Usually we’re understaffed…one hand is trying to light the stove, another hand is trying to balance a package of food, and we’re doing all of this while squatting and trying not to breath in the mostquito that’s been circling around our heads. Mass * Small GoTubb is .2 ounces or 5 grams (1.25 inches wide x 1 inch tall) 14 ccs * Medium GoTubb is .7 ounces or 20 grams (3 inches wide x 1.25 inches tall) 86 ccs Maintenance * To clean GoTubbs, hand wash in warm, soapy water. Investment * $6.99 for 3 pack of small * $8.99 for 3 pack of medium Trial * Not for storing liquids. Great for storing other stuff, like spices, ear plugs, pills or foot powder or soap or baking soda (which has a ton of great uses on and off the trail). * Can be opened with one hand, which is super handy Backpack Hack of the Week™: Draining Standing Water on Trails * A 5 second quick fix…either with your shoe or with a stick or trekking pole. * Dig a little trough on the side of the trail for the w...
July 4, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 138 Today on the First 40 Miles, The Geocaching Episode.  We’ll show you how to turn a simple hike into a bushwhacking treasure hunt and we’ll walk you through the steps to incorporate this fun activity into your next outdoor adventure.  Then, a feature-rich solar charger that can power your next backpacking trip.  On today’s Backpack Hack of the Week, a free app that will get you started Geocaching in minutes. Opening * Define Geocaching * What’s inside a typical normal-sized cache? * Logbook, pencil, in a plastic bag, trinkets of little value (plastic toys, marbles, foreign coins, old keys, bracelet…) * Typically in watertight containers, ammo boxes from army surplus stores * Appeals to kids and adults, can be done on any trip * Not in national parks * No trinkets needed (but if you take one you need to leave one) * Benefits: gets you outside, can be a zero day activity while backpacking—or you can do it along the way… * You can also start your own! Top 5 Steps to Get Started Geocaching Create an Account * Download a Geocaching App on your phone * We use c:geo Download the caches for where you’ll be hiking * There are over 2 million geocaches throughout the world * Josh does geocaching on business trips, too Pick your cache * Caches rated by type, difficulty and size * Start simple…there are over a dozen different cache types * Go for traditional cache that is large sized * Find the Cache! * You’ll have a rough idea of where it is based on GPS coordinates, what your phone is telling you, and maybe some clues that the person who placed the cache gave in the cache description * Once you find the cache, open it, sign the log book with your geocaching handle and the date, make the trade (take something and leave something) and don’t forget to log your cache find on * On rare occasion, you might not find the cache. People who hide them may have outsmarted you, or the cache may have been discovered and removed. SUMMIT Gear Review™: BioLite SolarPanel 5+ Structure * Hard plastic (not flexible) * High-efficiency monocrystalline panel * 360 degree kickstand to help position solar panel Utility * Has a great feature I haven’t seen on other solar chargers—a dot on clear plastic that makes a shadow right above some hatch marks. This helps you to determine if you’re getting direct sun. * Attach to a pack for external storage or to capture some watts on a hike * 5+ Model features a built-in 2200mAh battery so you can generate and charge on your own time. Pre-charge at home for a head start on your power supply. * Battery Status Button shows how much juice you have stored in your 2200mAh battery—this is what the “plus” in the 5+ is. The ability to store some power. * Also has an indicator light to tell you how charged the battery is * Comes with fiber wrapped micro USB cord Mass * Measures 8”x10” Maintenance * Pre-charge at home Investment * $79.95 USD Trial * Pre-charges and we love that–since sun can sometimes be unpredicatable * Love the sun dial so you know when it’s getting the most efficient charge * Kickstand is a great feature * Whether you use the kickstand or hang it from ...
June 27, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 137 Today on the First 40 Miles, how do you find people to hike with?  We’ll play a fun game today to see if we can answer that question.  Then we’ll review a 3 liter water storage reservoir that has a unique blasting feature.  On today’s Backpack Hack of the Week, have you ever made up constellation names just to impress your hiking mates?  Not only is that hilarious, but it’s also avoidable—and we’ll show you how.  Then a little trail wisdom from a man who wished to live deliberately. Opening * Letter from listener via Facebook about wanting a hiking group! * We have a built in social structure with our family—and that really satisfies my need for social interaction. * But what if you’re looking for ways to connect more? * More people! More group events! Service opportunities! * You can always invite! That’s a great way to introduce folks to hiking and backpacking Top 5 Opportunities to Build Your Hiking and Backpacking Community We’re going to try a little experiment today.  We have in one stuff sack, we have a selection of groups that hike socially.  In the other stuff sack, we have a US Map that has been cut into squares Hike it Baby BSA/Girl Scouts Hiking Club of (Location)  or Trail association of (Location) Hiking Clubs for Seniors Group hang on the Hammock Forum American Hiking Society SUMMIT Gear Review™: Hydrapak Trek Kit 3 Liter Structure * TPU, abrasion resistant, super tough * Screw on lid that can take tubing or close to be water-tight Utility * Holds 3 liters * Can take boiling water or freeze * Handle/loops on the side and on the top. * Slim and low profile * The entire water bottle/reservoir can be stashed in a pocket Mass * Weighs 7.2 ounces Maintenance * Flush * Clean with Bottle Bright tablet Investment * $40 Trial * We used this on our Ecola State Park trip * Great for when we needed a big sack of water to refill our bottles * Lightweight, durable, has fun feature that can be used to drive your hiking friends crazy or can be a fun way to deliver water to your parched mouth. * Not a filter but can work with with Katadyn BeFree water filter * Don’t lose the cap…if you do, you’ll have to buy a whole new trek kit or get another lid that doesn’t use features of the water blaster. Water blaster works without lid, but you have to hold the water bag up * Squirt feature—great for sharing water, cooling down, washing off gear. Backpack Hack of the Week™: Constellation Identification App: Sky Map * Sky Map (a Google app for Android devices) * Used to be called Google Sky * App that you can download for free * Hold it up to the sky and it will identify what you are looking at, constellations) Trail Wisdom I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartanlike as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness out of it and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience…. –Henry David Thoreau
June 20, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 136 Today on the First 40 Miles, a hiker, a backpacker and a biomechanist all walk up to a bar.  What they do next might just surprise you.  On today’s Top 5 List, we’ll talk about how another podcaster we listen to has changed—nay—revolutionized the way we move.  Then we’ll review some stretchy pants that allow freedom of movement along with the power of wool.  For today’s Backpack Hack of the Week, a movement hack provided by Katy herself. Opening * Katy Bowman is a biomechanist—and her gift to the world is that she makes the complex movements of the body easier to understand and she advocates for less sitting, more living * Nutritious Movement or Natural Movement * Exercise vs. natural movement * Natural movement is life—and our life has had the movement sucked out of it by the way of modern conveniences such as chairs, tv, cars, easy access to food, lack of community, etc. * Outsourced movement * Podcast/books/blog * Every Woman’s Guide to Foot Pain Relief * “A hiker, a backpacker and a biomechanist all walk up to a bar. What they do next might just surprise you.”  They hang from the bar.  Hanging and swinging help with upper body strength. Top 5 Ways Katy Bowman Has Changed the Way We Move How is daily movement at home, at the office, at school relevant to backpackers?  Because the way we move at home is the way we’ll be conditioned to move on the trail. We incorporate more movement into our day * The first huge idea that Katy helped us understand is that our culture is sedentary—and people who think they are active are actually just as sedentary as everyone else. That didn’t make sense to me until she did the math:  1 hour of exercise + 23 hours of sitting= 4% of your day moving.  What are you doing the other 96% of your day?  You are 96% sedentary. * Incorporate more natural movement into our day. * Natural movement is any movement that you do that helps you accomplish something else. Exercise is any movement you do to extract the health benefits of that movement. * Walking is the best bp prep, not treadmill –great podcast episode on treadmills * Sit less, move more * Break up the sitting chunks (20 min sit, 3 min walk) * One salad a day can’t compensate for an otherwise nutrient-poor diet We now see the benefits of crunchy, wobbly, rough, steep trails! * No more complaining about roots, downed trees on the trail or steep calf-burning inclines * And here’s why: We need texture in our terrain to strengthen and use all our foot muscles and joints! All of our walking surfaces at home/work/school are flat, level, smooth—which presents very little challenge—therefore, we reap very little benefit from it, beside the benefit of working against the pull of gravity which helps maintain our bone density. * The modern surfaces we walk on is the dietary equivalent of drinking Ensure for three meals a day * Where’s the texture? Where’s the variety? Where’s that delicious movement? * Katy is pretty clear that we need texture to move around all the joints in our foot, we need walking that is in big chunks as well as broken up into little frequent chunks, we need to feel the ground, we need to strengthen our feet and bodies by giving them challenges We are trying floor sleeping * We thought since we sleep on the ground (with padding) while camping, is this something we should try at home to prep us for a future trip (get us “in shape’) * Adapt * Adds movement into our day. * Up and down, letting gravity work Changed the way we think about cold temps
June 13, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 135 Today on the First 40 Miles, if you’re planning your first backpacking trip, you may have some visions in your head about what it will be like.  We’ll help you prep for your dream trip.   On Today’s Top 5 List, you’ll learn the 5 things to keep in your car that will help you upon your return.  Then, on the Summit Gear Review, a battery that can charge your cell phone and your car!  Next, a listener shares a story of an unexpected incredible experience. Opening * You’ve Got to Have a Dream… If you Don’t Have a Dream, How You Gonna Have a Dream Come True? * Maybe your dream is just to take that first step on the trail and let the wilderness be your guide…or maybe you have been out backpacking, and you want to experience specific things or reach certain goals. * How do you dream? * Figure it out, by getting out there and tweaking each trip as you go. * This applies to people who have never been out as well as people who have gone on lots of backpacking trips! * What do you want? * What do you want to see? Who do you want to be with? What activities would you like to include? What would you love to have happen?  What do you want to learn? * Are miles and accomplishment important, or is the aura of the forest more important to you? * Where do you imagine setting up your dream campsite? Near water?  Near a ridge? * Once you have a dream you can start working toward it * Not every trip will be a dream trip…and even dream trips have parts that weren’t part of your dream * If you don’t have a dream, how are you going to experience the things that you truly want to experience on your backpacking trip? Top 5 Post-trip Things to Keep in Your Car Extra water * This is something that you should always have in your car, whether you’re a backpacker or not. Water is essential. * Great for drinking or doing a quick rinse of your face and hands, shoes if they’re muddy Instant food * Ready to eat food—no cooking required * Omeals: non-dehydrated food that comes with a heating pouch. * Monk Pack or other tubes of food (They don’t need heat, they’re healthy, and they don’t sit in your gut like a Taco Bell burrito) Clean up towels * Something as simple as a pack of baby wipes to just get your hands and face clean * Or something like a compressed towel: Lightload Towels (5 oz fullsize) size of a donut, opens to a full sized towel Large garbage bags * Garbage bags for muddy or dusty gear or wet gear of for spreading on your seat. * We also discovered a cool piece of multi-use gear from Crazy Creek called the Drop Sac. It is a huge waterproof circle, that has a cord laced around the outside,  So you can dump all you gear in the middle, grab the cord and it makes a big cinch sack that contains your pile of gear.  Can be used at home for gardening , picnics, toys, just anything where you have a big pile of stuff and you want to be able to gather it quickly.  Popular among rockclimbers, too. Power Bank * If your car is dead or phone is dead, here’s an option that wasn’t really an option before. However we found a portable charger that can stay in your car if you need to jumpstart a dead battery, or you can take it with you to power your groups devices. SUMMIT Gear Review: Weego Battery Charger 44 Structure * The Weego 44 Charger comes packaged in a lunchpail, and the contents inside also have a soft durable zippered pouch that is great for when you want to take the Weego on the trail. * IP65 certified for water, dust and dirt resistance * It includes a super-bright, tactical 500-lumen flashlight that lasts up to 14 hours in standard flashlight mode and up to 28 hours in SOS and str...
June 6, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 134 Today on the First 40 Miles, music on or off the trail is one of the great pleasures in life.  Today we’ll talk about how to incorporate music on your backpacking trip:  what to bring and what not to bring.  Then, a top 5 list that will help you plan your personal playlist.  Next on the SUMMIT Gear Review, a three stringed instrument, that’s trail worthy and is impossible to play wrong.  And our Backpack Hack has morphed today into Backpack Homework. To join us for the SOLVE Clean Up, register here: Opening * Music on scout campouts * Incorporating music * Letting natures sounds prevail… * Want to start incorporating music on the trail, the simplest way to do it is to use your own voice, whistle, or use your body as a rhythm instrument. * Don’t have to gather everyone for a group sing along (that wouldn’t work in our family…) * Harmonica * Ukulele * Strumstick * Canjo * Mouth Harp * No external speakers Top 5 Elements That Make a Great Campfire Song Easy to Remember * This usually means it a folk song or song from your childhood * “Day-o (The Banana Boat Song)” * “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” * “If I Had a Hammer” * “The Ants Go Marching”—for this one, if you can’t remember the words, it lends itself to making up new words Gives you that nostalgic feeling * “Home on the Range” * Country Roads “take me home to that place I belong” * “Don’t Fence Me In” * Have that “home” feeling Story in the song * “Waltzing Matilda” * “American Pie” * “Cockles and Mussels” * Takes some effort to memorize Strong chorus * Everyone can join in on even if they don’t know the verse * “This Land is Your Land” * “Threw it Out the Window” (The Nursery Rhyme Song) Shared culture * Religion: hymns like “Amazing Grace” or “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” * Patriotic songs or songs based on a shared location, “Deep in the Heart of Texas” * Songs of a movement or era: “We Shall Overcome” or “Blowin in the Wind” * Shared culture can even mean shared decades—feel free to pull from popular songs. “Riptide” was popular at Girls Camp last year, simple chords, simple tune, repetitive   If you’re looking for more folk-type songs: Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan, Peter Paul + Mary, Kingston Trio, Joni Mitchell, SUMMIT Gear Review: Strumstick D Structure * Spruce top * Three stringed instrument * Bright sound, steel strings Utility * No wrong notes * Simple to just play around on * Simple to tune (Superman tuning) Mass * 4 ounces * D Strumstick has a longer and wider body than that G Strumstick, so if ounces and grams matter, the G is lighter. Maintenance * Tuning, very simple * Keep protected from rain * Purchase carrying case separately Investment * $200 Trial * So fun * Lightweight * Easy to play, sounds great, little skill needed to get started Backpack Homework of the Week™:  Find a Few Songs * Bring a few songs in your brain worth singing on your next trip * Zero grams * These songs you select might take you back to your childhood or to a time that makes you happy, or they might take on new meaning as you hike and ponder the lyrics * No instrument needed * Save them for the campfire or bring them out on a lonely quiet stretch of trail
May 30, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 133 Today on the First 40 Miles, if a news story didn’t involve the latest political scandal or secret missile launch, it probably didn’t even make it above the fold.  Fortunately, we’ve found a handful of stories  that we think you’ll find twice as interesting as what’s on the front page.   Then, the Summit Gear Review will feature a handy waterproof stuff sack that can hold anything from muddy hiking shoes to all the fixin’s for a campfire dinner.  Just not at the same time.  Next, a simple way to give peanut butter a flavor makeover. To join us for the SOLVE Clean Up, register here: Opening Today we share news that didn’t make the front page Top 5 Backpacking in the News Stories  Uptick in Ticks  Man who blew his left hand off accidentally Some listeners pointed us to some further reports on this story. Hmm, we wonder what he was up to:,amp.html Cats for Search and Rescue Bikepacking: Rainier’s Wonderland Trail SUMMIT Gear Review™: Matador Droplet Wet Bag Structure * Silicone case shaped like a drop of water, with a slit in it, into which a small portable 3 liter waterproof drawstring sack can be stuffed * The silicone case also has a place where you can attach a carabiner so you can attach this bag onto the outside of your pack. Utility * Keeps the wet in or out. It’s not technically a “dry bag” because it doesn’t have a rolltop closure, but if you have wet gear that you want to keep separate, or something like a sketchbook that you want to keep protected from the rain…this will do the job—and your gear will still be accessible. * Not submersible * Droplet is reusable (and can take the place of gallon ziptop bags in a lot of cases) and can keep the wet in, or keep the wet out depending on your needs. Mass * Weighs 0.5 ounces ( 15 grams) * When the stuff sack is removed from the silicone case, it measures about 8 1/2 x 11 inches—the size of a piece of paper * When it’s stuffed in its case, 2×1 1/2 inches Maintenance * Hand wash, hang dry * Keep out of reach of children—it’s a waterproof bag, and that’s a risk with children Investment * $15 Trial
May 23, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 132 Today on the First 40 Miles, remember that BLM land we talked about in episode 131—we have some exciting news to share!  A clean up group in Oregon has scheduled a clean up there—and you’re all invited!  Then, we’ll teach you how to get street cred on the trail without having to roll up your pant leg and show any raccoon bite marks. Next on the SUMMIT Gear Review, will the inflatable insanity ever end?  And a Backpack Hack that will keep you clean. To join us for the SOLVE Clean Up, register here: Opening Our secret spot is the target of a clean up! Bald Peak Clean Up—Perfect timing Inviting all our FFM to come out! Click “Register Now” and join the group “The First 40 Miles” Top 5 Ways to Get Street Cred on the Trail Do your homework * This one caught Heather on our last trip…She didn’t read anything about the hike we were going on and was surprised at some of the challenges * Have recent data and 2nd hand info about the trail (have the map or photo of trail) Don’t complain * Complaining is the #1 thing that kills trail cred * This is the time for proactive problem solving Be open to suggestions * Before or on the trail * If you’re trying to build some street cred, asking for someone’s opinion or asking for their advice goes a long way toward building that mutual respect that is such a foundation of our trail experience Help your camp mates/other hikers * Whether it’s gathering wood for a fire, offering to pump water or just offering information to other hikers about trail conditions ahead… * We had quite a few people pass us as we were hiking in to the hiker camp at Ecola State Park, and each one gave us the mud update * “Hey, these are cool people…” Be observant * You can learn a lot in a little amount of time by quietly observing * What have you observed by watching other hikers/backpackers? * What have you learned by observing your surroundings? SUMMIT Gear Review™: Dumbo AirChair Structure * The AirChair is made out of a specially formulated nano-nylon that doesn’t require a liner on the inside – this means it’s lighter and easier to inflate than the original Dumbo. * TPU lined * Two parts, the main seat, and a detachable pillow * Comes with a carrying string bag Utility * There is one air chamber—as opposed to other inflatable hammocks we’ve seen that have two * The buckle that secures the AirChair and keeps the air from seeping out is a locking buckle * The maximum recommended weight limit is 500lbs Mass * Weighs 21 ounces * Pillow weighs 4 ounces (and is detachable—or you can just leave it at home!) * About 2/3 the size of the inflatable hammock we reviewed in episode 116 (WindPouch) Maintenance * Fill with air by running a little then closing and rolling the stiff closure down 3 or 4 times. * Not for jumping on… Investment * $70 Trial * The new AirChair is super light weight, and is super easy to use * Lighter than the other inflatables we’ve tried * Light enough to be considered a backpacking luxury item * Because of its construction it’s less likely to lose air, it’s smaller than the popular inflatable hammocks, and lighter. * Perfect for a weekend trip
May 16, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 131 Today on the First 40 Miles, everyone needs a favorite backpacking spot—and you know what makes it even better?  If it’s a top secret backpacking spot.  On today’s top 5 list, we’ll break down our plans to make our off-grid backpacking Shangri-La even better.  Then, a collapsible cookware set  that takes up about a tenth of the space that a traditional set would.  And we’ll answer every backpacker’s burning question about whether or not to bring your Snuggie on your next outdoor adventure.  The answer is no.  But we’ll give you an equally good option on today’s Backpack Hack of the Week. Opening * We had a goal when we first moved to Oregon to do monthly hikes. The next year we decided to do quarterly backpacking trips.  But we wanted something different this year. * Find a top secret backpacking spot * Close to home, easy to access, short trail * Why do we want a secret spot? Go-to place for last minute trips, familiar, opportunities for foraging perhaps Top 5 Things We’re Going to Do With Our Secret Backpacking Spot Navigate Our Way to a Suitable Camp Site * That doesn’t mean we’re going to physically bushwhack it * We just need to become familiar enough with the area to be able to navigate back to our same secret spot each time. * Source our water * Scout for tent sites and hammock hangs Clean up Other People’s Fun * Entire dead dear carcass, a dear head, shotgun shells, beer bottles, broken glass, junk food wrappers.  The trash of a rough life.  And the longer the mess stays there, the more the area will be abused.  The broken window theory: * James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling first introduced the broken windows theory in an article titled Broken Windows, in the March 1982 The Atlantic Monthly. * “Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it’s unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside. Or consider a pavement. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of refuse from take-out restaurants there or even break into cars.” Explore for More * After we’ve hit our secret spot a few times, it’ll be time to find a new secret spot maybe in the same area Get Data on It * Maps, miles, GPS coordinates, history, etc. * Identify plants and animals Not Keep it Stealth * Maybe invite some friends to come with us * It’s no fun to have a secret camp spot unless you can share the secret with someone! SUMMIT Gear Review™: Sea to Summit X-Set 32 Structure * Sea to Summit X-Set 32 is a set of cookware: a collapsible 1 liter teapot, a collapsible 2 liter pot, and an 8 inch skillet or frying pan. * This is just one of the X sets that Sea to Summit has in the X line. The entire line is collapsible silicone dinnerwear and cookware. Utility * Both the teapot and the 2 liter pot collapse down and nest inside the frying pan (which is not collapsible). That makes this set very compact. * Any one of the pieces of this set can be used on their own * Built in strainer on the 2 liter X-pot * Instead of the cookware having long handles that get in the way, the frying pad has short silicone handles on both sides that fold down when not in use, the X-pot has soft flexible silicone handles and the teapot has two handles that fold up for when you want to pour water out. Mass * All three together weigh 29 ounces * This set of cookware all nest snuggly together and end up being no...
May 9, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 130 Today on the First 40 Miles, we lost both our camera and one of our kids on a recent hike—and we’ll share how we got one of them back.  On today’s top 5 list, how to incorporate bread into your backpacking meals, without ending up with a bag of crumbs.  Then we’ll review a tent that uses trendy buzzwords like hybrid and compact.  Next we’ll share a hack that will help others identify your lost camera and get it safely back to you.  And we’ll wrap up the show with a poem of mysterious origin. Opening * Lost and Found * God’s Thumb hike * Son and camera…lost * “Did you lose something?” * Son found! Camera gone. * Repurchased camera. Sony RX-100  Top 5 Breads to Take Backpacking Pita Bread * The brand of pita bread we buy doesn’t have a pocket. This pita is more like a fluffy, flatbread.  Fatter than a tortilla.  Different than pita bread from the 80s.  We’re talking about soft pita bread of the 21st * Lasts for days in your pack. * Can be eaten plain, dipped in soup, smeared with pb, or can be used as a makeshift utensil * We like Papa Pita Whole Wheat Pita Bread * 78 calories/ounce Flour Tortillas * These are the go-to bread choice of backpackers. * Bombproof bread, dense, fits perfectly in the bottom of a bear canister. Can last for days and days without refrigeration. * Find it in many sizes and varieties: whole wheat, white, gluten-free, ancient grains, * Sizes: burrito, fajita, taco cart sizes. * 88 calories/ounce Bagels * These are great because they come in a variety of flavors and sizes. * Perfect for breakfast paired with a 1 ounce packet of cream cheese and a foil pouch of salmon or a squeeze of jam. * 73 calories/ounce Wheat Thins or Triscuits * Good for snacking – when you want something to eat, but you don’t want to commit to an entire tortilla. * No flavors added (however we LOVE the Cracked Black Pepper Triscuits) * Sharable * Fairly sturdy * 133 calories/ounce Pretzels * Lots of shapes and flavor varieties * Snyders makes a flavored pretzel that’s honey and mustard that weighs in at 140 calories an ounce. * Plain pretzels are more versatile, can be dipped in peanut butter, Nutella or eaten with cheese. SUMMIT Gear Review: Kelty Horizon 2 Tent Structure * One piece construction, permanently attached to tent body * This tent has one entrance—and the entrance has an awning/vestibule—which we thought was clever. It can either be staked down as used as a vestibule—so it’s a great place to store gear that you want to be protected, but you don’t want to sacrifice precious square footage in your tent. * The vestibule can also unzip on the sides and convert into an awning as long as you have something to prop it up with like two trekking poles or two nice looking sticks. * All-in-one hubbed pole design. It means that the poles are all connected to make one big x-shaped pole structure.  You put each end in a corner and pop the tent up. * Kelty Hug Clip—this was something that I haven’t seen in any other tent we’ve looked at. Instead of the tent clips just clipping onto the tent poles, they are s-shaped so that you twist and it clicks on.  Much more secure, won’t come off in a wind storm. Utility * No-see-um mesh ceiling, door and vent * Did you know that no-see-ums are an actual pest? It’s not just a term for bug that lands on you that you can’t see but they bite you anyway.  No, no-see-ums are biting midges.  They are a family of small flies (1–4 mm long). They are also known as midgies, sand flies, and punkies. *
May 2, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 129 FORTIFY: The Pre-Trail Nutrition Episode Today on the First 40 Miles, the time to build a solid nutritional foundation is now.  We’ll share how we got back on track and improved our off-trail nutrition.  Then we’re mashing up the top 5 list and the SUMMIT Gear Review to share 5 ways to get food into your mouth without spilling too much on your hiking pants.  And we’ll share a free resource that will inspire you to take the next step in your nutritional health. Opening * Pre-trail nutrition. * Trailside Kitchen 4 week group class * What helped us change * We also took a couple nutrition classes as a family * Is there a way to healthify your trip? Take shorter trips and include more fresh foods.  I’m working on a cookbook that will help answer this question.  What if I want my outside (backpacking) diet to be congruent with my inside (at home) diet? TOP 5 LIST + SUMMIT Gear Smackdown Top 5 Ways to Eat Your Food Plastic ware * The Ubiquitous Light My Fire Spork (plastic and titanium) * HumanGear Uno/Duo * HumanGear Uno looks similar to the LMF spork, but with a little more structure * HumanGear Duo is a separate spoon and fork that hook together * Very sturdy compared with something like a disposable plastic spoon CRKT Eatn Tool + CRKT IOTA * These both win the award for being the smallest functioning eating utensil on the planet * They can attach to the outside of your pack or onto a belt loop * Ultralightweight * The Eat’n tool has tools on it: Bottle opener, carabiner, spork, emergency screwdriver blade, 3 hex wrenches, cost $5 * the CRKT Iota: Spork, bottle opener, 1/4″ wrench, package and whatever-opener, stainless steel * If you want a handle: Columbia River Knife and Tool 9110C X-Large Eat N’ Tool Chopsticks * Titanium or bamboo or plastic or silicone or ebony and stainless steel * Some even come with a sweet little carrying pouch. * GSI Outdoors Titanium Kung Foon—a spoon that’s handle is a set of chopsticks * SnowPeak Chopsticks, Grand Trunk, GSI * Great think about chopsticks is that the bamboo ones are 100% reuseable and compostable Long Titanium spoon * This is my favorite option * It’s slightly flat at the bottom so you can stir your meal or scrape the burned bits off the bottom of your pot. * $10 * Won’t melt, super lightweight, strong * There’s also a long handled titanium spork Eating Food With Food * Frito Scoops make a great spoon * Also, sturdy crackers like Triscuits or Wheat Thins, bagel chips * BTW…did you know you can make your own bagel chips? Get a non pre-sliced bagel, slice it into thin strips with a serrated knife and put it in the oven at a low temp until it dries out. * Eat food with food? Tortillas, drink from bowl, pita, bagel chips, etc, crackers) but you’re going to need something to stir your food…even if you don’t use it to eat your food. Backpack Hack of the Week™: Pre-Trip Nutrition Recipes at Trailside Kitchen * Free recipes specifically designed to support the active people * Trailside Kitchen’s website * Trailside Kitchen also offers group classes and one-on-one support * “Is your performance inconsistent? One day you are killing it and the next…not so much. Are you constantly hungry every hour or two?
April 25, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 128 Today on the First 40 Miles, we’re on the trail in a hiker camp at Ecola State Park.  We’ll get input from the kids on our Spring Break adventure.  Then we’ll head back home and review a piece of gear we brought with us on the trail.  And we’ll share a backpack hack that will turn leftover dinner into dessert. Opening Recorded on site Ecola State Park, overnight family backpacking trip 4 miles, very muddy Top 5 Things the Kids Liked About This Trip Recorded on site at the Hiker Camp at Ecola State Park by our four children plus a friend that we brought with us SUMMIT Gear Review: NiteIze Radiant 250 Rechargeable Headlamp Structure * Light is attached to a fully adjustable elastic band (even down to a child’s size—16″ circumference is the smallest size, 24″ for the largest size). Fully expanded and stretched out it can expand to 44″—which means this can be worn around your waist as well. * The light can be fully removed from the headband—which is great if you ever wanted to clean the dirt and sweat from the band. * At its brightest, the flood on high glows 250 lumens * Rechargeable: lithium polymer battery Utility * Dual switch for five modes: * – White LED switch: high/low spot, and high/low flood * – Red LED switch: flood mode * Hold the non-textured side for three seconds and it turns on the red lights * 90 degree tilt angle, tilts down * Will not turn on while charging * Run time up to 43 hours in low mode Mass * Weighs 3.2 ounces (91 grams) * Light measures: 2.68″ x 1.57″ x 1.57″ Maintenance * Recharges with micro USB * Small red light indicates that it’s charging * Takes two hours to charge fully * Battery indicator light turns red when battery life has 10 minutes remaining on high * Weather resistant * Impact resistant (drop proof to 2 meters) Investment * $50 Trial * Red Light for Preserving Night Vision: * Son used it on backpacking trip * We love that it’s rechargeable Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Instant Chocolate Rice Pudding 1/2 cup cooked instant brown rice (leftover from dinner) 1 package hot chocolate mix (with or without marshmallows) Pour powdered hot chocolate mix over cooked rice.  If a creamier texture is desired, a little water can be added. Trail Wisdom Man and other civilized animals are the only creatures that ever become dirty. –John Muir
April 18, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 127 Today on the First 40 Miles, leaving a trail of bread crumbs didn’t work out so well for Hansel and Gretel, so is there a better way to mark the trail that won’t conflict with Leave No Trace principles?  Then Josh will share the top 5 things he does on every backpacking trip.  Next, we’ll share a way to text, even when you’re days from a cell tower.  For today’s Backpack Hack of the Week, a ridiculous zero-gram trail game that will keep you entertained for hours. Opening * Hansel and Gretel * How to communicate on the trail * Sometimes it’s tricky to find the trail…it can peter out or divide, leaving you wondering where to go * …and it can be even trickier if you’re lagging behind. Where did your group go? * Most common way of trail marking is cairns or mound of stones, although they can be controversial * Do not remove cairns or destroy them * Other methods * Don’t forget to undo what you do Top 5 Top 5 Things I Do On Every Single Trip (JOSH) * Spot clearing dance * Side trips * Photography * Help kids learn * Last and final sweep of camp SUMMIT Gear Review: GoTenna Structure * Pretty rugged * State-of-the-art cognitive digital radio creates 100% off-grid signal and coordinates with other units within range so you can text privately — 1-to-1 or with a group — or broadcast openly to any nearby goTenna * Flash memory good for 100’s of messages * Rechargeable Lithium-polymer battery * Bluetooth-LE data interface * Status indicator lights Utility * How to use: charge your goTenna, then you download the goTenna app onto your phone, then hang the goTenna off the back of your backpack, turn it on, and have your friend do the same. * 2W VHF which means it will propagate rather well even without line of sight (LOS) though LOS will enable even better range * Claim about a 4 mile range…which is backpacking terms is about 8 hours away from the other person. * Private messages 1-to-1, or you can broadcast a message to everyone in the whole area who has a goTenna * Apps include detailed offline maps — free to download for any region in the world — so you can locate yourself and others while enjoying the outdoors, travel, and crowded events or even during emergencies. * goTenna’s LED light indicates multiple functions. It will flash a long, slow blink when the device is activated. It will blink repeatedly at one-second intervals while waiting to pair over Bluetooth (and will stop blinking once paired, this is important to note, a working and paired goTenna will NOT have any lights on, this is normal and it’s done to save battery). goTenna will also blink the instant a message is sent or received. * Nylon attachment strap * Only works with: iOS (8.4+) or Android (4.3+) devices Mass * Weighs about 1.8 oz or 52 g * About the size of a candybar Maintenance * Charges with micro USB * Not waterproof, but they claim it’s weatherproof and water-resistant. Ok to get wet, but not submerged. It’s dust proof. Investment * Sold in pairs * Pair costs $150, so $75 each * 15% military discount on their website Trial * Our set up experience * “Free trial!” * In city, in forest Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Game: Are You a Tree or a Pinecone? Fun trail game.  Simple.  Has kind of a Rorschach undertone to it.  It’s also one of those no winner no loser games.  What makes this game great is that you can keep it going on the trail. So you ask your hiking friend: Are you a tree or a pinecone?  And they answer with the one that best matches who they are.
April 11, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 126 Today on the First 40 Miles, a little small talk about small backpacking gear companies.  Then we’ll share some benefits of buying from cottage gear manufacturers.  Next on the SUMMIT Gear Review, we’ll review a piece of gear we found by accident then we’ll share a hack that will reduce your productivity at the office today by 20 percent. Opening * Cottage gear refers to micro to small companies who make backpacking gear that is not typically sold in big box stores or chain outdoor stores. Finding these cottage gear companies can be like finding a hidden treasure. * Not all cottage gear companies are the same: * Sometimes these cottage gear makers have a full time job (or they’re retired), and they just want to make one product just for fun. * Sometimes they make specialty gear that may not appeal to the general population—like maybe a company who makes backpacking gear for animals * Cottage gear may mean experimental gear…like a hiker who has found a way to repurpose worn out wool socks into a pot cozy…and now he’s marketing them * Cottage gear could be gear that would be cost prohibitive if sold in a retail store with retail markups… An example of this is the QiWiz Titanium Big Dig Trowel. * Cottage Gear often means made in America, and to be more specific, made in America in someone’s garage on a table that’s set up right next to boxes of Christmas decorations, their kids bikes, and a non-working 92 Ford Tempo.  Garage grown gear is real. * How do you find cottage gear? * Forums * There’s a newish company who is trying to help small gear businesses. It’s called Garage Grown Gear * Kickstarter * * Top 5 Benefits of Buying from Cottage Gear Manufacturers You’re supporting the American dream * These cottage gear manufacturers keep it small—not because they can’t grow bigger, but because they often are family owned, sometimes operating out of their home or a small shop in town. * They came up with some idea for clothing, packs or a tent that the big guys weren’t doing and decided to throw their hat over the wall and put their time, creativity and resources into what they’re doing…often inviting friends and family into the happy mess. Your purchase allows them to continue innovating * Pushing their creative resources toward things that larger companies may not have an interest in You typically have more connection with the company * That means that if you email the company, you might just get a response from the owner…not a customer service agent thousands of miles away. * It also means that your suggestions go straight to the top. You may be able to order customized gear * Not all cottage gear manufacturers can customize their gear, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. You’re going to get something that can’t be found in a large outdoor store * High quality—because their name is attached to product—with a touch of handmade charm. * Unique  Downsides… * These are small operations and they’re often swamped with orders—so if you order it may take a while * Sometimes you bump into these companies COMPLETELY BY ACCIDENT. They don’t have a competitive advertising budget…so they advertise by word of mouth * And, sometimes cottage gear companies disappear… SUMMIT Gear Review:
April 4, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 125 Today on the First 40 Miles, DRIP: The Rain Episode.  Don’t let the rain keep you from getting outside!  We’ll have some great gear recommendations for your next drippy trip.  Then, a 3 layer rain jacket designed to sock it to Mother Nature.  For the Backpack Hack of the Week, a way to keep your maps from disintegrating in a downpour.  And we’ll leave you with a little trail wisdom from a man who is known for his humor…or wisdom… we can’t tell the difference. Opening * Whether you live in a drier climate or a soggy climate, rain can affect your hiking and backpacking experience. * Risks of rain—it’s not just an inconvenience! (flash floods, lightning, hypothermia) * Rain can vary by region * Hiking in Utah in the rain: flash floods * Hiking in New Mexico in the rain: often bursts, warm, accompanied by thunder and lightning * Hiking in New York in the rain: rainstorms w/ lightning * Hiking in Oregon in the rain: drizzly, tiny/misting rain that soaks quickly, can rain for hours * Challenges and blessings of rain * Staying dry vs. staying wet (Redwoods trip and Josh’s feet…) Top 5 Things You’ll Need for Rainy—nay, Soggy—Trips Rain gear * Rain gear has improved over the past 30 years! Of course you can still find the yellow Polyvinyl Chloride rain slickers, but they’re heavy and will make you sweaty. * There are some great lightweight options: * One we’ve talked about before: FroggToggs. We’ve tried their cheapest and their mid-range rain gear. * Rain kilt ( a long apron type of clothing that covers your pants area, great for hiking in warm rain, UL * How about rain gloves? Maybe we don’t really think about our hands when we’re considering rain gear, but hands that are soaked with rain, can get cold really quickly, and that can make it hard to do simple tasks like pump water or set up a tent.  If you value your finger dexterity, then Hanz makes waterproof gloves (and waterproof socks for that matter) and recently Hanz has come out with their next gen of their waterproof knit gloves: Hanz Waterproof Tap-Knit Touchscreen Gloves.  The Hanz waterproof gloves (both the touchscreen version and the original version) are stretchy, slim fitting (like skinny jeans for your hands), comfortable, {waterproof , wicking and breathable}.  Really, for what they do, they are thinner than you’d expect and allow you to have full dexterity. * Your clothing doesn’t have to be waterproof, but make sure that you’re wearing either synthetic clothing that will dry out quickly or clothing that retains its insulation power even when wet (alpaca or wool). * “Wool is warm when wet” It’s true…as long as the water doesn’t go above 35 percent of the weight of the wool clothing.  So if your shirt is 200 grams, you can have about 70 grams of water soaked into the shirt and still be warm.  So about 1/4 cup of water.  So about 1,334 raindrops. * If you’re insulating layer of clothing is filled with down—be careful! Waterproof Map (and paper!) * Many maps are waterproofed now—yay science! They’re made of a super thin, paperish material.  Lighter than paper, tear-proof, and very durable. * Green Trails Maps * National Geographic Maps * Pocket Profile maps sold by AntiGravity Gear (JMT, Sections of AT—or the whole AT which is 22 small maps)
March 28, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 124 Today on the First 40 Miles, If you’re planning your first overnight backpacking trip, we’ll talk about a few things that might surprise you.  Next on our SUMMIT Gear Review an all-American pair of socks from a company who set out to create the best sock ever.  Then, this week’s hack will get you outside, then inside, then back outside again!  And we’ll wrap up with a little trail wisdom from Mr. Frost. Opening * What happens on an overnighter: * Pick a backpacking trail close by…about 90 minutes or less from home * Choose a short trip: 2-3 miles * Fresh food (not as much emphasis on food weight) * Don’t’ get sloppy with your 10 essentials—always bring what you will need if things go south * Note: Things will take longer, things will go awry, be prepared to be flexible Top 5 Things That Might Surprise You About Your First Overnight Backpacking Trip Nature’s noises * Nocturnal Animals * Dropping leaves * Wind * You’ll notice these all a lot more at night The amount of trash you produce * Because you’re holding on to every piece of trash, it starts to accumulate faster than you imagined How long a mile is * And you may wonder why you carried something all the way into the woods that you never used How rejuvitating/thrilling/peaceful/cleansing/it all is * It’s like hitting the reset button on life. And it’s so different from car camping… How long it takes to recover afterward * And by recover, I mean unpack, clean up, put away, sleep… * Also the physical…you might be a little bit sore. * Backpacking is interesting because you drain and recharge at the same time SUMMIT Gear Review: Fits Socks Light Hiker (Crew) Structure * 65% Merino Wool * 27% Nylon * 6% Polyester * 2% Lycra * The blend helps preserve the shape and durability of the sock * Cushioned footbed * Extra cushioning in the heel, toe and the arch. * Reinforced in the heel and toe Utility * The patented Full Contact Fit perfectly molds to the shape of your foot * The Fits Light Hiker Crew socks have flat seams, no itch wool, they’re flame resistant, breathable, moisture wicking and quick drying, * They’re also odor resistant + antimicrobial * Unisex socks (they do have some women’s patterns, but the sizing in unisex) Small to XXL Mass * Weighs: 10.1 ounces * Crew height rises just below the calf * Sizing: unisex Maintenance * Washable wool Investment * $21 * Because it’s wool, think of it as three socks in one. Three days of wear before washing–really Trial * This sock is their most popular hiking sock style * The Light Hiker, is cushioned under foot to take the pounding of an all day hike while managing all the moisture you can throw at it. * Reinforced, so more durable in the places you need it to be durable * Stays snug even when it has been worn for several days, maintains it’s shape * Stink-free merino wool * Fits around your foot: This is probably the closest thing you can get to a custom sock. Backpack Hack of the Week: Backpacker Magazine Get out More Tour * * 75-minute seminar full of trail tested tips, regional trip advice and outdoor gear. * Randy Propster travels across the country, presents at 45 outdoor retailers,
March 21, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 123 Today on the First 40 Miles,  each of us are in a constant state of learning, and we’re all on different paths.  Today we’ll share a few things that we have learned recently.  Then, a spikey way to stay on the icy, snowy trails.  For our Backpack Hack of the Week, a listener shares a tip he learned from another hiker. Opening * One of the great things about life…we learn as we go * This is such a fun journey…learning and experimenting * We learn as we go, and that’s been one of the great things about hearing our listeners backpacking stories! You’re learning as you go! * Happy Spring! Spring is Here! Shoulder season! * May have snow, may be limited to lower elevation hikes, but everything is waking up, and it’s a great time to be outside! When the world wakes up from winter, it kind of feels like outdoor school is in session.  Time to start learning again! Top 5 Things I’ve Learned Recently Store your gear in bins * Mice: they don’t just live in the fields and forests—they love suburban garages, too. Backpacking has its seasons… * This was a cold, wet, icy, unusual winter for us here in the northwest. * We had about a 4 month stretch where we didn’t get out on a backpacking trip. * It’s nothing to feel guilty about—it just makes us realize how much we enjoy being outside, with our family If you don’t schedule a trip, it won’t happen * Block out time on the calendar * We had to look for gaps in the calendar…and hope that they matched up with decent weather BLM is where it’s at ( * We love the Bureau of Land Management. We have BLM land all over the western United States. * BLM is great. The land is backpackable, accessible, rustic, and there are very few rules. * In an upcoming episode we’ll be talking about our family’s top secret BLM spot that is our go-to, drop-everything-and-go-backpacking spot! Everyone has a valuable lesson to share * Stories we’ve collected, our own stories, we learn from every person we meet! SUMMIT Gear Review: Kahtoola Microspikes Structure * Kahtoola Microspikes are a traction device that you slide over the bottom of your shoes. * The MICROspikes® feature 12 spikes per foot, with 8 spikes at the forefoot and 4 spikes at the heel. * Each spike is 3/8″ long, and the spikes are made from heat-treated stainless steel for excellent durability and corrosion resistance. * Chains and links are also made from stainless steel, and the chains are welded, even further increasing durability. These hold our crampons and ice spikes in place firmly. Utility * The stretchy part of Microspikes that go over your shoe, is comprised of Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) which means they fit perfectly without any tightening or fidgeting with clasps. * They have a tab on the back that makes putting on the Microspikes really easy * Easy to put on, stretchy elastomer that stays pliable to -30 degrees F * Packable—they even come with a tote sack * These can be used on ice, rock, snow and a mix of all three. Mass * MICROspikes® pack down to roughly 5″ x 3″ x 2″ in their tote sack, and weigh between 11 and 14 ounces per pair. They easily fit into a pocket or pack, making them convenient to take on any winter adventure. Maintenance * No maintenance that we’re aware of–but just be aware that the Kahtoola Microspikes can’t prevent all slips and falls, so maintain an awareness of the trail… don’t be dumb. Investment * $70 Trial * Helped Heather get to car in a completely iced-over PD...
March 14, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 122 Today on the First 40 Miles, is it possible to go out into the wilderness with a crusty loaf and a canteen of water—and then derive everything else you need from the land?  We’ll share our experiences with foraging.  Then on today’s Top 5 List, we’ll share the top 5 things that Heather does on every single trip.  Next, we’re skipping the SUMMIT Gear Review and having a little story time instead.  Today’s Backpack Hack of the Week is a little creepy, but super useful. Opening * “I feel so independent now. I can get anywhere I want to. I have the few essentials I need, and the few other things I need or want I can derive from the land.” –David Cooper * Calorie needs * Correct plant identification * Success we’ve had with some foraging: * Chives… * Berries… * Some greens… * Fish…kind of…but not really * Mushrooms…no. Top 5 Things I Do On Every Single Trip I take notes * I like to improve… * Rite in the Rain paper or notebook * Food for next time (what worked and what didn’t) * Personal thoughts * TFFM hacks, ideas, some related to BP some not * Lists * Lyrics and creative projects I get “alone time” * Trail is a great place to get alone time * Hiking between the pack—like they taught you in drivers ed * Tent I get over it * Because there’s always something unexpected and at times unpleasant, so I just have to get over it * Typing phrase that I learned from my daughter: “Gary got mad and had to go home and get over it” * Be super flexible I consistently underestimate how long a mile is * Why is it so hard to estimate distances * Maybe the more you hike, the better you get at it * Does it really matter? * Maybe better to gauge distance by time I say “wow” * …express immense gratitude to my family and to God…it’s just so incredible that we get to go outside and that it’s different, rich fulfilling, challenging, enriching from being inside. * Today’s trail wisdom is a great reminder of what being outside does for us as individuals and communities. Stories (In place of SUMMIT Gear Review) * Tom Hennessy in New Zealand * Tom Hennesy and the Hamnado (Tornado + Hammock) Backpack Hack of the Week™:  SnakeBite 911 App (for iOS and Android) * Emergency Support for snakebites * Quick Dial 911 * Checklist of Actions to Avoid * Time-stamped Venom Tracker tool * Hospital Locator * North American Pit Viper Species Information * How to Stay Snake Safe * Snake Sightings Map to show and add snake sightings in your area Trail Wisdom “Trails not only connect us with each other, they connect us with ourselves.  Communities with no place to daydream are communities without imagination.” -David Burwell, President, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, 2001
March 7, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 121 Today on the First 40 Miles, ROPE: The Knot Episode. We’ll be extremely judicious with the knot puns and deliver some solid info on how to start incorporating these mathematical beauties into your outdoor adventures.  For today’s SUMMIT Gear Review, a cheap way to get a whole lot of line that’ll keep your tarp from flying away.  Next, on the Backpack Hack of the week, a quick way to mark your rope.  And we’ll wrap up with a quote from some folks who wanted to tie our country together! Opening * Josh loves knots! * Is it possible to go backpacking without knowing a single knot? Yep * But as you progress, you might find it useful, even fun to learn a few knots. Knots seem useless and intimidating at first… * The more you use it, the greater chance of remembering it. * What are the qualities of a good knot? easily untied, does its job, doesn’t put stress on rope * Every knot has its strengths and weaknesses—and some of that depends on what rope or cordage you’re using for your knot (string, cord, monofilament line, kernmantle rope, or nylon webbing) * For example: The bowline is easy to tie and untie, however it can’t be untied with a load on it, and it doesn’t do well with slippery rope. And if you’re using the bowline to rescue an injured person, you have to use a stopper knot. * Another popular knot that we probably all learned as “the friendship knot” is the square knot, it’s easy to learn however it’s prone to jamming, slipping under a heavy load… * The sheepshank is a knot for shortening a long length of cord, but it really only works when there is constant tension on the two ends…otherwise it gets loose. * For Beginners: * If you’re REALLY interests in knots: Check out The Ashley Book of Knots (the bible of knots) from your local library * Weird knots…like the #1237 Girl Scout Hitch which involves rolling your stocking down, putting your finger under the roll, twisting several times and tucking the loop into the stocking. * Another great knot book: Knots, Splices and Ropework by A Hyatt Verrill (who was the editor of Popular Science Department of American Boy Magazine), is free on, * Which is awesome if you really can’t figure out knots by looking at a book…this provides step by step animation * Knot tools or knot avoiders made by companies: Dutch Ware, LoopAlien, NiteIze Top 5 Reasons You Should Learn a Few Knots Knots are great for securing your gear * Securing a tarp to some trees is probably the most common use of knots for backpackers. Sometimes we use the slip knot on one end and the tautline hitch on the other end, other times we use the truckers hitch to stake the ends down to the ground. * Knots can secure your food when you hang it from a tree to protect it from animals * One of the hammocks from Hennessy Hammocks that we borrowed from Jonathan at the Hang Your Own Hang Podcast relied on the double figure 8 knot to secure the hammock to the tree! We also used the Prusik hitch to attach out tarp to the ridge line over our hammock, so that the line or rope wouldn’t dig into the tarp and saw it in half * Fishermen know the importance of a good knot. Without knots, fishermen wouldn’t catch anything… Knots are great for repairing gear or fixing a problem * With some rope and a secure knot, you can improvise a strap for a pack… * It can even secure your pants and keep them from falling do...
February 28, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 120 Today on the First 40 Miles, your car has a mechanic, but when it comes to good body mechanics, it’s all up to you.  Find out how to prevent injury in today’s top 5 list.  Then on the SUMMIT Gear Review, a piece of backpacking clothing that goes before the base layer.  Next, a zero gram solution that will support your lower back while you’re taking a quick break.  And we’ll wrap up the show with a little trail wisdom from the Bible. Opening * The twinge in lower back that led to a lesson in good body mechanics * Preventing injury through good body mechanics Top 5 Body Mechanics Rules for Backpackers Keep your pack weight close to your back * Heavy stuff against your back Lift with your legs * Lift with your knees, not with your back * Your feet should be apart, with one foot slightly in front of the other. * Hold your pack close to your body before you hoist it on Engage core * That means drawing your navel into your spine—or tightening those abdominal muscles (the same ones you tighten when you give a foreceful breath of air out) * This instantly provides stability and support to your back muscles and helps prevent back injury Keep things loose—not locked up * If you feel your shoulders tighten, bring them down * If you feel your calves tightening, take a few minutes to stretch them when your body is warmed up * Bend, don’t lock knees—that’s part of keeping it loose * That weight can cause you to tighten up your shoulders and arms * If you feel your shoulders tightening up, take your pack off for a few minutes, roll your shoulders, and then tuck them back Don’t hunch over * Hunching is a natural tendency when you have a load strapped to your back. * When sitting, resist the urge to sit in a hunched position * If you can, give yourself some extra support behind your lower back—either with a backpacking chair or today’s backpack hack of the week * When you slouch, it puts an unhealthy strain on your ligaments, spinal joints, which enhances your risk injuries * The more you slouch, the more the spine loses its ability to distribute shock evenly, causing stress on your vertebrae SUMMIT Gear Review: Exofficio Give-N-Go Underwear Structure * 94% Nylon / 6% Lycra Spandex * Diamond-weave mesh fabric * Flatlock seams Utility * Quick-drying * Treated with Aegis® Microbe Shield™ which makes them odor resistant Mass * The weight will vary based on cut and style, but the material is very stretchy, very lightweight Maintenance * Machine wash cold, Wash with like colors, No bleach, Tumble Dry Low or Line dry in shade * Or handwash in camp (not directly in a stream) Investment * $18-30 * Depends on what cut and style of underwear it is Trial * The Exofficio Give-N-Go underwear is the #1 most popular line among backpackers—travel and wilderness. * Top of the box says “17 countries, 6 weeks, 1 pair of active underwear. (Ok, maybe two.)” * This underwear has some really great features that make it popular with the thru-hiking crowd, and those features definitely transfer to regular ol’ backpackers–folks who want something lightweight, comfortable, quick-drying, odor resistant, and breathable. * The folks at Appalachian Trials did a great review of ExOfficio Give-N-Go… Backpack Hack of the Week™: Zero Gram Backpacking Chair
February 21, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 119 Today on the First 40 Miles, we’re not made of titanium (well some people are) but most of us experience injury that can sideline us from even getting out on the trail.  We’ll share some ideas that will turn that recovery time into valuable trail prep.  Then, on the SUMMIT Gear Review, Katadyn rocks the water filtration scene with a collapsible, ultralight, dead-simple filter.  For today’s Backpack Hack of the Week, you’ll learn how to get your knife sharp enough to split a hair or a log… Opening * Heather’s recent experience with lower back pain… * Limited mobility * Rest vs. movement * Pain is our body’s way of trying to tell us something important Top 5 Things to Learn and Do While You’re Sidelined Focus on powerful nutrition! * Regardless of your injury or health issue, it’s always good to come back to nutrition basics. * Real foods, whole foods, foods that were grown in the dirt. * Focus on greens, beans, grains, legumes—the common sense foods that are the pillars of nutritional health…don’t quibble over calories, health food fads, just resolve today to take your nutrition to the next level. * Food has the power to heal * While going through my back pain, I found out some foods that help reduce inflammation: Blueberries, ginger, pomegranates. * Recovery may take a long time, but nutrition can aid in recovery—so you’re not just waiting out your recovery—you’re being proactive about what you eat Ask “What can I learn from this?” * This is an incredibly empowering question. * When we’re not able to do what we want to do, and just take off on the trail, it can be super frustrating. But if you look at it from the angle of what can I learn from this, and just be open to whatever that is, you will be amazed. * Maybe it’s an opportunity to learn about your body: If you have a recurring injury, see what muscles you can develop that will support your body so it will be less likely to happen again. * Maybe it’s an opportunity to slow down and learn mindfulness * Maybe it’s an opportunity to get to the root of the problem once and for all * Maybe this means going to a physical therapist and learning how to ask for help Gratitude * After experiencing lower back pain that affected Heather’s ability to sit, stand, walk and sleep—she was so grateful for each day that brought greater mobility and comfort. * Gratitude is an antidote to whining Support your recovery through movement * “Rest, but not too much rest” * You don’t want your muscles to atrophy * If things are really bad, you may want to start small and practice breathing and a having a more open posture (instead of our traditional American hunched-over-a-keyboard posture. * Yoga and slow movements where you get to know your body * Yoga With Adriene 30 Day Challenge Practice good body mechanics * Good body mechanics can help you avoid future injury and muscle fatigue. * All of these things can help you on your path to recovery…but sometimes a speedy recovery  isn’t in the plan.  Sometimes a long slow learn is what we’re supposed to experience.  And the great news is that you can take all that knowledge and strength with you next time you’re able to hit the trail. SUMMIT Gear Review: Katadyn BeFree Water Bottle and Filter Structure * The Katadyn BeFree is a water filter that has a soft-sided water flask attached to it (made by Hydrapak) so you can store your water—and i...
February 14, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 118 Today on the First 40 Miles, we’ll talk about a rare but real plague of the trail—the baditude.  And we’ll offer some easy solutions for how to combat it.  Then on the SUMMIT Gear Review, a piece of gear to go with your down jacket, down sleeping bag or down booties.  Next, on the Backpack Hack of the Week we’ll show you how turn your plastic spoon into a weapon—no, just kidding.  We’ll just show you how to extend the handle so you can eat your freeze dried food without getting your hands dirty. Opening * How to change a bad attitude…or “baditude” * What do you do when you have a baditude? * What typically causes it? * Can anything turn it around? * Is there purpose? * Just let someone feel their baditude…give them space Top 5 Trail Mood Elevators Setting and meeting a goal * Distance goal * Time goal * Some people hike to camp, others camp to hike. Knowing which one you are can help with your goal setting.  Arriving in camp might be a huge mood booster—or packing up at 6am to hike thru the sunrise might be a huge mood booster for you. * Crawling into your sleeping bag after a day of strong hiking is meeting your goal—and can be a huge mood booster, so much that the endorphins might make it hard to sleep! Small victories * This is that same feeling that you get when you successfully parallel park * Those little things can really be big things…so be sure to watch for them and celebrate your small victories! Getting into a rhythm * Sometimes false starts and frequent stops can start to add to your baditude * But once you get into a rhythm and go for long periods without stopping, it can get the endorphins going! * Endorphins * From Wikipedia “Endorphins (contracted from “endogenous morphine”) are endogenous opioidneuropeptides in humans and other animals. They are produced by the central nervous system and the pituitary gland. The term implies a pharmacological activity (analogous to the activity of the corticosteroid category of biochemicals) as opposed to a specific chemical formulation. It consists of two parts: endo- and -orphin; these are short forms of the words endogenous and morphine, intended to mean “a morphine-like substance originating from within the body.” The principal function of endorphins is to inhibit the transmission of pain signals; they may also produce a feeling of euphoria very similar to that produced by other opioids.” Music * On our Mt. Jefferson backpacking trip we ended up carrying our 8 year old’s pack…trading off every mile or so. * Music helped make that challenging time easier * Music doesn’t have to just come in the form of mp3 files. It can be your own voice, singing. Food * All food is good, but chocolate and citrus are especially mood boosting! * Tang is something we love when we’re backpacking…but not so much when we’re at home * Another great way to get citrus: True Lemon or True Lime powder…They also have True Orange and True Grapefruit! * Tajin Seasoning (chili, salt and lime) SUMMIT Gear Review: Skhoop Mina Mid Down Skirt Structure * 2-way YKK side zipper on the right side * 1-way YKK zipper on the lower left side * Shell: 100% polyester, lining 100% polyester * 80/20 down/feather, 500 fill power * A little longer in the back by about 3-4 inches—which provides a little more warmth and wind protection. Utility * Wind and water repellent * Two good sized pockets that can easily hold your cell or hand warmers or snacks * Waistline belt loops, which, since this is a fitted skirt,
February 7, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 117 Today on the First 40 Miles, RUBBISH: The Backpacking Trash Episode.  We’ll answer some questions about trash on the trail, then share our top 5 favorite pieces of trash that we’ve found over this past year while hiking and backpacking.  Then on the SUMMIT Gear Review, we’ll let you in on a fisherman’s secret for containing little bits of refuse.  For today’s Backpack Hack of the Week, a quick hack that will keep your pots, pans and mugs clean.  And we’ll wrap up the show with a little trail wisdom from someone who considers all trail experiences to be gifts. Opening What do I do with extra food that I didn’t eat?   Can’t I just fling it out into the woods and let it decompose or get eaten by some microbears (chipmunks)? * Three options: share it, save it for later if you can, or pack it out * Why you can’t leave your food behind… What do I do with used toilet paper? * Three options: Bury it in your cathole 6-8” deep, pack it out in a baggie * You can also reduce your need for toilet paper if you use a “Pee rag” * A pee rag is a bandanna that is hung on the outside of a pack where it can be sanitized by the sun’s UV rays. Where should I store my garbage?  * Double bagged, and hang it with your food at night so curious animals won’t chew through it. Is it possible to have a waste-free backpacking experience?  * With some creativity and commitment, yes! There are some options!  You can reuse plastic bags, use waxed muslin cloths for cheese, paper sacks for meal mixes, pee rag instead of toilet paper–or bidet or rock, compostable or reusable feminine hygiene.  If you’re committed to practicing a waste-free life, there are options. I don’t mind picking up someone’s granola bar wrapper and packing it out—but do I have to pick up someone else’s shredded toilet paper? * You shouldn’t feel compelled to pick up tp.  It will degrade over time—a lot more quickly than a granola bar wrapper.  However, if you feel super guilty just leaving it there, kick some dirt over it and cover it up, so that it’s not so stark bleached white against the beautiful colors of nature. What if I just leave my trash really deep in the woods and bury it?  Does that work? * It’s tempting to think that your garbage won’t matter. That you’re the only one who is going to be affected by dumping your pot of burned food in the forest—but think again.  Where humans are concentrated, we have a huge impact.  Trails are places of human concentration—and everything you do makes a difference. * Hard Plastic Container – 3 decades * Rubber Boot Sole – 7 decades * Aluminum Can – 3 centuries * Paper- 1 month * Apple core – 8 weeks * Orange peel and banana skins – 2 years Top 5 Pieces of Cool Trail Trash We Found this Year We’re not advocates of trashing the trail, but trash isn’t all bad…sometimes it makes for interesting trail talk, and awesome resources for hacks to your existing gear.  Still…it’s better off the trail than on. Mylar balloon at Mirror Lake * Found and used to do helium voices Tent pole * Found at Rogue River * Our 8 year old figured out that he could blow into it and the campfire would go crazy. He spend quite a bit of time blowing the coals or blowing the fire with this tent pole bellows * I’m sure we had the hottest, cleanest burning fire on the whole Rogue River. Sunglasses frame and police officer glasses * One had lenses, the other didn’t * Hours of entertainment… Logging skid * Part of a bulldozer * Like a modern fossil Cracked open bowling ball * We’ve seen the inside… * How many people can say that?
January 31, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 116 Today on the First 40 Miles,  we have three stories we want to share with you today—of women on the trail—plus our takeaways from their experiences.  Then on the SUMMIT Gear Review, an inflatable hammock that may not make it on your 40 miler, but might find a way onto your weekend two mile out and back packing list.  Next, we’ll share the real recipe for a healthy, simple trail snack that almost everyone makes incorrectly.  And we’ll leave you with a little trail wisdom from a guy who has strong opinions about one piece of backpacking gear. Opening * Over the past few months we’ve been collecting stories * Where to record your story: * Every story is different, every story is valuable * Every story has takeaways that will make your next outdoor adventure even more powerful 3 Stories and 3 Takeaways Annette * 100 mile section of Oregon Pacific Crest Trail, 60th birthday, wanted to do something epic * Challenging, fun, inspiring, beautiful, getting to know people * Kept a small journal, people, miles, mood, * Hot lava flows, discouraged, hot, parched * Instinct… * Stronger than we give ourselves credit for * Age-owning Yvonne * Tuckerman’s Ravine in New Hampshire * Felt like it was too hard when she was a teenager * Now she’s 51 and wanted to do something difficult * Beautiful detour * Stepped on rock and fell to her face… * “Leave me alone, I just want to cry” * Got to where she wasn’t afraid, then something stopped her * “Dirtbags” People who choose freedom over showers * “I can fall again, and I’ll still be accomplishing what I set out to do” * Age-owning Elizabeth * From Georgia * Emery Creek Trails * 3 miles to waterfalls * Great time—but learned a ton! * Nuts and bolts of a trip—gives new backpackers a taste of what kinds of road blocks you may run into * Water levels change your experience…crossing a creek ten times SUMMIT Gear Review: Wind Pouch GO Inflatable Hammock Structure * The WindPouch Go is an inflatable, ground dwelling hammock * Looks kind of like a puffy canoe * Parachute material (hexagonal nylon ripstop shell) with an inner plastic bag—which you inflate. * You then roll the top like a roll-top dry bag and close it with a locking buckle. * The Wind Pouch Go has a DWR (durable water repellent) coating. * Has a leak resistant seal * Integrated hanging mesh pocket for water bottles, books, phones and tablets. * Reinforced seams and triple stitching, supports up to 550 lbs. * Wedge pillow headrest design * Included accessories: Anodized aluminum stake kit and carabiner and a carrying case. Utility * How do you inflate this inflatable hammock? * Inflate by dragging Wind Pouch through the air and running with it Mass * 3 lbs 1 oz Maintenance * Because of the inner plastic bag in the Wind Pouch GO, it makes sense to buy the Repair Kit * Comes with inner plastic liner, liner adhesive, pouch patches. $13 Investment * $ 80 with a limited lifetime warranty Trial * You’re probably wondering, can I use the Wind Pouch in place of a traditional hammock? * WindLock™ Technology creates a leak resistant seal to retain air for up to 6 – 8 hours of relaxation time. * Heavy * Comfy * Easy and fun to use * Has that “wow” factor * If you don’t take it on a backpacking trip (because of the weight) it will certainly be a fun piece of gear this summer when you’re going to the lake or if ...
January 24, 2017
Show Notes: Episode 115 Today on the First 40 Miles, Heather is back from the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City with tales of what she saw!  Next,  today’s SUMMIT Gear Review features a buttery soft, ultrastrong + ultralight hammock.  For today’s Backpack Hack of the Week, you knew that a hammock had to do more than just rock you to sleep—and we’ll confirm your suspicion with today’s hack.  And we’ll wrap up the show with a little trail wisdom from a guy who has some wise insight about backpacking. Opening Highlights, weirdlights and cool stuff Heather saw at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2017. Top 5 Things I Saw at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2017 The Insulation Revolution * Primaloft Thermoplume (blown insulation, similar to down) * Mixes of wool, down, synthetic insulation Boy Scouts of America * Stronger than ever * Had a visible presence at the show Market Crossing * Brands that were in one market segment (like construction, logging, fracking) are coming over to the outdoors! * Fortress Clothing The Anti-Stink Revolution * Polygiene Treatment on Clothing * Wool has anti-stink properties The Outdoors will be America’s Healing Salve * It just may be the one thing we can all agree on: being outside is good for us and makes us feel happier, calmer, more centered and balanced. SUMMIT Gear Review: Kammok Wallaby Hammock (with Python Straps) Structure * Kammok really tries to focus on biomimicry as an inspiration for their gear * An ultra-portable and ultralight hammock * 40D diamond ripstop fabric is strong, packable and silky soft (Gravitas™ Fabric) Utility * Strong * 400lbs / 181kg * 13 kN Carabiners Included 13 kN Mini Kanga Claws and Racer Slings provide superior suspension * KiloNewton: 13 kN =2923 pounds-force * All the stress points are reinforced * 6 Points of gear loops Mass * Weighs 10 oz * Packed size: 3.5” x 4.5” * Kammok Wallaby is 4’ 2” x 8’ 4” / 127cm x 254cm * To have a reference, ENO Single Nest is 9 ‘ 4” long x 4 ‘ 7” wide and weighs 16 ounces Maintenance * Hand wash * If it’s not entirely dirty, just use a damp cloth to wipe off some dirt spots. * However if you need to wash the entire hammock, remove the carabiners and slings * Soak the Wallaby in soapy water, ring out, and then rinse in cold clean water * Do not use fabric softener, bleach, or stain removal products * Hang to dry – the Wallaby will dry quickly in warm/dry environment * Hand washing your Wallaby hammock is best, but it can also be cleaned in a washing machine (front-load machines are best because they don’t have an agitator and conserve water) Investment * $65 for the Wallaby Hammock * $30 for the Python Straps Trial * Feels like Play-Doh…the best thing is how this hammock feels… * Shorter than most hammocks, which cuts the weight, but it might cut comfort for taller folks * Python Straps by Kammok ($30) and have 18 connection points and come two to a package (one for each tree!) , they weigh 12 ounces, hold 500 pounds total. * Python straps have reflective material –which we love! * Gear loops are great Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Improvised Hammock Shelter If you brought a hammock on a backpacking trip, and you’re wondering if your hammock can do double duty, then this is the perfect hack for you! On many hammocks,
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