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.
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 ...
Show Notes: Episode 182 Today on the First 40 Miles, what do you get when you mix the ancient Japanese art of paper folding with a huge sheet of silnylon? Tarpigami. We’ll talk tarps today and learn about some of the risks and rewards of changing up your shelter. Then, an ultralight shoe that fits in on the trail, in the creek or just bumming around camp. For Today’s Hack, an idiot-proof tarp shelter that you, yes you, can put up in seconds, plus a lovely little poem to go with it. Opening * Tinkering with tarps lately… * Watched tarp pitching videos to learn different pitches * Planning on trying out a tarp instead of a tent on upcoming trip Top 5 Reasons Why I Want to Try Using a Tarp as a Shelter They are versatile * A rectangular or square tarp can be pitched in almost limitless ways. * Some are designed to withstand wind, some are better for heavy rain, some are dead simple to pitch, some require no trees—just a trekking pole or two, some can be pitched close to a small fire (survival style) * Tarp Info Page: David B. Macpherson http://www.equipped.org/tarp-shelters.htm Lighter than tents * For the most part… They are open * …for good or bad (mosquitoes and other visitors) * Superior ventilation Cheaper than tents * Paria makes good backpacking tarps Requires learning new skills * Knot tying * Tarp designs, of which there are many… * Weather SUMMIT Gear Review: FitKicks Shoes Structure * Top is a stretchy spandex material, it covers the entire top of your foot * Faux suede toe guard at the tip of the shoe and an elastic strap that goes diagonally across the shoe (NOTE: the shape of the toeguard on mens and women’s styles are different.) * About an eighth inch of padding inside the shoe, which molds to your foot as you use it-and will eventually compress over time. * Flexible sole * No laces. Utility * Can be worn with or without socks * If you’re used to minimalist shoes (thin sole, very flexible, no arch support) then you can try hiking in these shoes. * Most people are going to love these as camp shoes. Get out of your hiking shoes, slip these on and let your feet relax. Super comfortable. * You can use these as river crossing shoes, camp shoes or minimalist hiking shoes. If they get wet, they can easily be hung to dry by attaching the shoe’s elastic strap to the outside of your pack Mass * Weighs 7.2 ounces total! * NOTE: Crocs weigh between 11 and 16 ounces Maintenance * Rinse off any chunky stuff like mud, grass, or sand. Then put Fitkicks in the washing machine with like colors, using mild detergent and cool temperatures. * Fitkicks can be washed just as well by hand—which is how I cleaned mine * Air dry. Fitkicks dry quickly. Fitkicks shoes may be worn while still damp if needed, but they should NEVER be placed in the dryer. Investment * $20-25 depending on size and style * Can be purchased online or found at Walmart, Kohls, and Bed Bath & Beyond. Trial * Wore these on a 2 mile hike * No snagging, even though I tromped through some pretty rugged brush and muddy spots. * Super comfortable * I wore mine without socks, but you can wear them with socks, too * Soles are not grippy—which is important to know if you plan on doing actual hiking in these. But, soles are very flexible, * Pretty fun selection of prints for shoes * Also they have kids’ sizes * Lightweight, inexpensive, versatile, comfortable, low-maintenance,
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.
Show Notes: Episode 180 Today on the First 40 Miles, are you sure you want to go backpacking? Do you know what you’re signing up for? We’ll wisen you up a little. On today’s Top 5 List, learn what not to do on your first backpacking trip. And if you’re looking for a way to compress your gear, here’s a stashable water bottle option. For the Backpack Hack of the Week, learn where to borrow backpacking gear before you buy. Opening “Do you know what you signed up for?” Why does backpacking float your boat? Lots of reasons to love backpacking…what’s your reason? Share at TheFirst40Miles.com/story Top 5 Ways to Look Like an Noob on the Trail Feed the animals… * Causes more problems * Make animals dependent on humans Make destructive changes to the environment * Carving trees, snapping live branches, causing damage Irresponsible with Fire * Keeping fires safe * No fireworks Disruptive to other hikers * Music playing from speaker Leaving your mess from someone else to clean up. * Trash, like bullet casings, trash, glass beer bottles, bottle tops, half burnt aluminum cans SUMMIT Gear Review: HydraPak Stash 750 ML Water Bottle Structure * Collapsible water bottle * TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane); HDPE * 100% BPA & PVC free * 42mm mouth screw cap * 750 ML Utility * Collapses down to 1/4 of its filled size when empty * External capacity gauge * 25 fluid ounces * Carrying handle Mass * 50% lighter than most hard bottles * 5 x 3.5 x 7.2 inches * Weighs: 2.9 oz. * Open – 195 mm / 7.6 in x 92 mm / 3.6 in * Closed – 66 mm / 2.6 in x 92 mm / 3.6 in Maintenance * Not dishwasher safe, must be hand washed * Bottle Bright tablets for cleaning Investment * $20 * No leak lifetime warranty Trial * Is it easy to drink from? * Does it collapse\ easily? * Smell? * Can be used with Katadyn Be Free Filter Backpack Hack of the Week™: Alite Ranger Station Camp Kits Backpacking kit rentals for $25 in San Francisco Starts May 1st, requires a deposit, as available. CAMP 3: Backpacker Kit “We’re really excited to include Boreas Gear into the Ranger Station Program again this year. This kit is designed with the intermediate backpacker in mind. The Lost Coast 60 backpack has the right amount of room for a hike expedition of 3-5 days and includes the Boreas Trava lightweight tent, a sleeping pad, a smaller daypack, and a lightweight Alite camp chair. Test out the Boreas products to find out what you like and what you need to add to your existing backpacking set-up.” The Backpacker Ranger Station Kit includes the following: * Boreas Trava Tent * Lost Coast 60 Pack * Reyes Day Pack * Alite Monarch Chair * TYNY Tool Bungees * LuminAID Solar Lantern * Thermarest Z-Lite Sleeping Pad Trail Wisdom “When man ventures into the wilderness, climbs the ridges, and sleeps in the forest, he comes in close communion with his Creator. When man pits himself against the mountain, he taps inner springs of his strength. He comes to know himself.” —William O. Douglas
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
Show Notes: Episode 178 Today on the First 40 Miles, some gear is fun for just a few trips, but other gear stands the test of time. We’re going back into The First 40 Miles Archives, to find out which gear made the final cut. Then, we’ll dive into the five different types of trails and how to navigate them. The rest of the show is just fun and games, and we’ll wrap it all up with a quote from James Fenimore Cooper. Opening * Test of time * What did we review in the first 40 Episodes that we’re still using today Top 5 Types of Hiking Trails In and Out (or Out and Back) * These are the most common * Mileage either round trip or one direction—find out Loop Hike or Lollipop Loop * Loop hike is a big circle where you begin and end at the same point * Lollipop loop means you hike out, do a loop, and then backtrack the last leg of the hike. Spur Trail * These are trails that are offshoots from main trails. You can only get to them from the main trail. These are great zero day hikes, or you can to add them onto your backpacking trip for more miles * Some are on the map, some aren’t. Traverse Hike or Shuttle Hike * Start at one end and picked up at other. * Requires a paid shuttle service, or a creative hiking arrangement * Two hikers starting on polar ends? * The Presidential Traverse in New Hampshire * “This route follows a series of trails, summiting every peak named after a US president in the White Mountains. Although it can be backpacked and is even undertaken in winter, hiking the entire trail in a day is very popular. There are two popular routes, the “minimal” traverse of 19 miles exiting after Mt Eisenhower and the “full” traverse of 23 miles exiting after Mt Jackson. Most of the trail (Mt Madison through after Mt Eisenhower/Mt Jackson) is above treeline, providing exceptional views of the White Mountains. Be warned that it’s often foggy or cloudy, though, especially up on Mt Washington.” Section hikes * Snippets from a long trail like the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail or the Continental Divide Trail * https://wilderness.org/no-time-hike-appalachian-trail-try-these-12-easy-section-hikes MuirLibs Backpack Hack of the Week™: Trail Game: Fortunately/Unfortunately * First person starts with a simple statement. * The second person wrecks it by saying “Unfortunately…” * The first person rescues it by saying “Fortunately…” * Back and forth * Great trail game for kids or a fun game to play around the campfire * May become a running gag on the trip… Trail Wisdom And how should a man who has lived in towns and schools know anything about the wonders of the woods? –James Fenimore Cooper
Show Notes: Episode 177 Today on the First 40 Miles, if you’re a beginner backpacker, you are on the threshold of one of the most thrilling adventures of your life. We’ll help you navigate this new adventure with confidence. For today’s SUMMIT Gear Review, a monthly subscription service that will keep you excited about backpacking all year long. Today’s hack will help you repurpose a Pringles can. And we’ll leave you with some Trail Wisdom from our favorite mountain goat. Opening * Our beginners conversation… * Where to start? * What our listeners want * https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/backpacking-beginners.html Top 5 Things Beginner Backpackers Worry About Choosing the “Right” Gear * Easy to get hung up on researching the perfect pack, the perfect sleeping bag and the perfect tent * We are tricked into believing that the better the gear, the better the hike. * The truth is that perfect gear doesn’t equal the perfect backpacking experience. * If choosing the perfect gear is your number one priority, then stop. * Make “getting out on first trip” your number one priority. Cost * Wait, isn’t nature supposed to be free? * Cost of gear, cost of travel, cost of food… Making Mistakes * Why is so important to with a friend Getting Lost * That freedom makes you feel incredible * Start small, build navigation skills “What if…?” * Which is why beginners tend to over pack * Bear spray, guide books, solar shower, extra clothes beyond what you need SUMMIT Gear Review: Cairn Subscription Service Structure * Cairn is a subscription gift box service * Each box comes with a newspaper called Cairn Scout, that gives you information about the things in the box and how to use the discount codes. Utility * Items in a Cairn Subscription Box…in this specific box we received gear from Uco, Hydrapak, and Skout. * Mass * “Up to 6 amazing outdoor products”, but realistically, around 3 to 4 things will be in the box. * Depending on your interest, they try to suit the box to your type of outdoor activity. Maintenance * Your card will be automatically billed unless you cancel * Earn points for reviewing your new gear. * Redeem your points in the Cairn Shop for apparel, free boxes, and gifts for friends * Sometimes, Cairn will throw in a surprise gift to your box that no one else gets Investment * $30/month for the monthly service (free shipping only applies if you have a subscription) * $250/quarter for the premium “Obsidian” quarterly service (5–10 premium products—up to $350 value—quarterly) Trial * We’ll be reviewing the items in the Cairn Box over the next few weeks Backpack Hack of the Week™: Muffins in a Pringles Can Have you ever tried to bring homemade muffins on a backpacking trip, only to have them end up in a smashed crumbly mess at the bottom of your stuff sack? Did you know that homemade muffins fit perfectly into an empty Pringles can? You can fit 5–6 homemade muffins in the can. Muffins are great because you can make them savory or sweet. * Bran * Cornbread * Cheddar Bacon * Carrot * Zucchini Chocolate * Apple Oat * Blueberry * Coconut * Pumpkin Pie * Cinnamon Streusel Muffins * Double Chocolate Muffin * Maple French Toast Muffin * Molasses Bran Walnut Raisin * Cranberry Apple Walnut * Coffee Cake * Lemon Cream Cheese Poppy Seed
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
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
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,
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
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
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)
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
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