The First 40 Miles: Hiking and Backpacking Podcast show

The First 40 Miles: Hiking and Backpacking Podcast

Summary: If you're new to backpacking, or if you’re hopelessly in love with someone who wants you to love backpacking, then this podcast is for you. We’ll talk about the essentials, how to lighten your load, and how to make the most of your time on the trail. New episodes every Tuesday.

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 199: REFLECTIONS: The Four Year Anniversary of Our First Backpacking Trip Together | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 31:57

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,

 198: Rewired Backpacking Brain | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 27:28

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  

 197: Anxiety on the Trail | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 25:12

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

 196: Lightning Safety | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 28:41

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.

 195: A LONG HIKE: Prepping for a Weeklong Trip | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 31:25

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.

 194: The Womens’ Advantage | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 29:43

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 ...

 193: The First Step | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 27:15

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

 192: Getting Back to Basics | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 29:00

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...

 191: Micro Improvements | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 26:33

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

 190: COLD + HUNGRY: The Stoveless Cooking Episode | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 20:18

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

 189: What is Real? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 28:19

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,

 188: Wise Words from a Old Mountain Goat | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 31:19

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

 187: How Would You Describe Your First Backpacking Trip? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 28:57

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;

 186: TRAILS: A Little Light Trail Maintenance | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 30:39

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.

 185: Weekend with Friends | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 30:54

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,


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