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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 175: Backpacking is Better With Friends | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 28:52

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

 174: Scared or Prepared? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 34:41

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,

 173: Backpacking Conversations | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 29:31

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

 172: The Next Level of Essentials | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 33:58

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

 171: Survival Essentials | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 26:03

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)

 170: A Winter Overnighter | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 35:13

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  

 169: FEATHERS: The Down Episode | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 31:04

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

 168: Weight vs. Volume | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 28:08

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

 167: Prepping for a Winter Backpacking Trip | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 35:04

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

 166: Armchair Backpacker | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 28:01

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

 165: Reading Between the Lines | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 29:44

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

 164: Zero Waste Backpacking | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 22:19

Show Notes: Episode 164 Today on the First 40 Miles,  we’re always up for a challenge—and that challenge was to have a zero waste backpacking trip—no wrappers, no garbage, no junk.  We’ll share what we did and how it worked out.  Then we’ll review an all-natural way to package and protect your food, that uses no plastic, foil or mylar.  And you’ll learn a backpack hack that will turn your used food packaging into tinder. Opening * “Zero Waste” Backpacking Trip * How we defined Zero Waste: Nothing was going into the landfill when we returned * How we did it, what we used, what we ate, how we disposed of trash, where we go what we needed * We ate pizza rolls, grapes, jerky, cookies, cheese, trail mix, fresh bread—all wrapped in either the beeswrap or waxed paper * No fuel canisters Top 5 Zero Waste Backpacking Principles Refuse * Just say no to more junk * Learn to say no * Buy bulk food and take it with you backpacking Reduce * Simplify what you have in your backpacking stash at home and what you carry on the trail * Reduce the amount of packaging you carry * Reduce the amount of new gear you buy * Reducing is already a principle of backpacking Reuse * Think about what ends up getting used and turned into trash while you’re backpacking: fuel canister, toilet paper, container of balm or ointment, bandages, baggies, rubber bands * Any way to bring a reuseable version of that? * Milk jug wash basin… Recycle * Down jackets * * Donate used gear * Give used + buy used Rot * Catholes, toilet paper I’m going to add a 6th R to the list of Zero Waste Backpacking Principles: and that is Repair.  We have some gear that needs some repair.  Two sleeping bags, my wool buff has a tiny hole, and I think we have some Frogg Toggs that could use some spot repair with duct tape. SUMMIT Gear Review™: BeesWrap Reusable Food Wraps Structure * Bee’s Wrap is a reusable food wrap made of organic cotton, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin. Utility * The warmth from your hands molds the BeesWrap around whatever you’re wrapping Mass * Small: 7” x 8” * Medium: 10” x 11″ * Large: 13” x 14” * Bread wrap: 17” x 23” * Baguette wrap: 14” x 26” * Sandwich wrap: 13″ x 13″ Maintenance * Lasts about a year * Can be cut to fit * Wash in cold water, with a little dish soap, hang dry Investment * $6-19 depending on size Trial * They work! * The sandwich wraps are great. They have a little button sewed on them to keep your sandwich or stuff wrapped up. Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Wax Paper Wraps If you’re looking for a way to wrap your food and then dispose of the packaging at your campsite, We wrapped some of our food in wax paper, then sealed it with masking tape.  That way, we could throw the waxed paper in the fire, it burned easily, and it made for great tinder.  It worked well for storing jerky, nuts, dried fruit, cookies, pizza rolls and dense bread.  We put everything that we wrapped in waxed paper into a paper sack to protect it.  You could also use a linen sack or one of your stuff sacks. Trail Wisdom “Every woodland or forest in addition to yielding lumber, fuel, and posts, should provide those who frequent it with a liberal education about nature. This crop of wisdom never fails but unfortunately it is not always harvested.” -Aldo Leopold

 163: Is it a Good Match? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 26:31

Show Notes: Episode 163 Today on the First 40 Miles, incredible trail reports peppered with phrases like stunning views, photographer’s dream, and crystal lake can almost make you ignore other phrases like aggressive ascent, grueling, or sheer rock.  How can you tell if your hike is a good match for your skill level?  Then, we’ll share a fun trip report from a listener in Australia where our winter is their summer.  Next, a recipe from our new book “Trail Grazing” that will keep your fueled and happy on your next outdoor adventure. Opening From listener…“My 40th birthday trip is to New Zealand, and a friend and I are signed up for two long hikes… Here’s my question: we’re getting conflicting initial advice on how do-able these hikes are. We don’t want to sell ourselves short but we don’t want to be an emergency waiting to happen. We both have not a ton of backpacking experience and I’m worried about being someone else’s cautionary tale. How do you decide if the route is a good match for your skills and experience? How can I decode some of the buzzwords on trail reviews and get a REAL sense of whether this is worth the attempt?” Top 5 Data Points You’ll Need to Know to Tell if the Trip is a Good Match How much weight will you be carrying? * The rest of the tips here are assuming you’ll have about 30 pounds. * Adjust the other questions accordingly. What is the distance? * Figure on 5-10 miles a day unless you’re a thru-hiker (they do 20+ mile days routinely). What’s the general elevation? * You’ll have less oxygen at higher elevations (over 5,000 feet), and it will take a couple days for your blood to adjust. What’s the elevation gain/drop? * Anything under 1,000 feet per mile is pretty standard stuff. Over 1,000 feet per mile is getting strenuous. What’s the weather like? * Wet and cold weather (below about 45 degrees Fahrenheit) are harder on you * You need more clothing and calories, and everything takes longer. Clip from the Trip Story from listener in Australia Backpack Hack of the Week™: Microwave Black Bean Brownies Recipe from Trail Grazing These brownies have black beans and chocolate—an unlikely but inspired combination. Warning: feeding these brownies to people you love without disclosing the fact that there are beans in them may cause trust issues. Proceed with caution. Makes an 8″x8″ pan of bars 1,733 calories 92 calories/ounce 15-ounce can (1½ cups) black beans, drained and rinsed 1 cup dates, pitted 1/2 cup oats 1/2 cup water 1/4 cup cocoa powder 2 teaspoons vanilla 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 cup chocolate chips 1/2 cup chocolate chips 1/2 cup chocolate chips (for topping) Add all ingredients, except for chocolate chips, into a blender or food processor. Blend until all ingredients are pureed. Then spread brownie batter in a parchment-lined microwave-safe 8×8 baking dish. Microwave for 4 minutes 30 seconds. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top and wait for them to melt. Carefully spread melted chocolate on top of brownies and let brownies cool completely before cutting. Wrap individually and store in an airtight container. NOTE: Theses brownies can also be baked in the oven instead of the microwave. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Trail Wisdom I never imagined that existence could be so simple, so uncluttered, so Spartan, so free of baggage, so sublimely gratifying.

 162: Hunting the Cantharellus Formosus | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 28:52

Show Notes: Episode 162 Today on the First 40 Miles, our family did something that exercised our risk muscle and prepared us for some interesting side trails on autumn and spring backpacking trips.  We went mushroom hunting without someone holding our hand!  Then we’ll review a sturdy piece of outdoor gear that will give you a place to organize mushrooms, do a little outdoor sketching and maybe some meal prep. Opening * Our toe dip into family mushroom hunting * Went out with Joyce and Leah from the Oregon Mycological Society last week * Mushroom hunting is over when it freezes…starts up again in spring * Matsutaki mushroom hunting spot left in will * Audio from trip… Top 6 Things We’re Glad We Brought on Our Mushroom Hunt Audio from trip… SUMMIT Gear Review™:  Helinox Table One Hard Top Structure * Folding hard top camp table * Polyester top that feels like canvas—and it rolls/folds up for storage * Legs made of high quality aluminum poles Utility * Single, short-corded pole structure sets up quickly * Comes with a carrying sack * Note: Not designed for use as a seat * Includes a storage sack with zipper closure and handles Mass * Weighs 2 lbs. 1.6 oz. * Unfolded Dimensions: 24 x 16 x 15.4 inches * Folded Dimensions: 7 x 5 x 4.7 inches * Table sits at 16” height Maintenance * Can’t set hot things on top * Sturdy and stable * Set up takes a couple minutes Investment * $140 Trial * Sturdy * Borderline on backpackable weight * Novel to bring a table on a backpacking trip, so this is most often toted along by our children—and it came with us on our mushrooming * Good for journaling, sketching, food prep (you’ll need a cutting board) * Probably best for day trips and for camping, rather than backpacking Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Vollkornbrot (Whole Grain Rye Bread) 4 cups dark rye flour 2 cups warm water 1 tsp yeast 1 tsp salt 1 cup raw sunflower seeds 2 Tbs millet Mix water and yeast.  Let it sit for 3-5 minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix in a stand mixer until everything is incorporated. Place dough in a parchment-lined loaf pan or make a free form loaf on a parchment-line baking sheet.  Let it sit for 1 hour in a warm place until the loaf is slightly puffed (NOTE: it may not look “risen” like a traditional whole wheat loaf, but that’s because rye flour is different than whole wheat flour.) Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour Slice thinly when cooled. Long lasting, durable, dense, high fiber, strong flavor, add-ins, moist, forgiving. Trail Wisdom “For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.” –Doctrine and Covenants

 161: The Great Mushroom Hunt | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 32:50

Show Notes: Episode 161 Today on the First 40 Miles, we went on our first mushroom hunt and lived to tell the tale!  Today we’ll share the treasures we found in the forest and we’ll share what we learned.  Then, our trip guide from the Oregon Mycological Society, Leah, tells her story of how she entered the world of mushrooms.  And we have some fun audio from the mushroom identification session at the end of our hunt. Opening * Mushroom hunting has been on our bucket list since moving to Oregon… * On many bp trips, we see mushrooms, but we’ve always been just a little nervous about correctly identifying them on our own. * Went out with Joyce and Leah from the Oregon Mycological Society * Big shout out to Paul, who not only rescued us from the parking lot, but taught us on the hike in how to identify the Chanterelle * Three things: False gills, decurrent stem (the gills extends down the stem instead of tucking up under the cap), and a string cheese stem (not a hollow stem) * The best part? Our 4th grader came with us… he was sick, but not too sick to tromp through the woods gathering fungi.  That’s the best kind of sick… Top 5 Things We Learned About Mushroom Hunting Go With Someone Who Knows Mushrooms * Being able to ask a billion beginner questions was just what we needed * Joyce, from the Oregon Mycological Society, said that often new mushroom hunters will look at a mushroom and say “Oh this has 6 out of the 7 identification points of this such and such mushroom.”  And they ignore the 7th point—which in mushroom hunting can lead to a misidentification. * Go with someone that can help you decided whether you should kick it or pick it. * The group we went with were part of the intermediate mushroom identification class from the Oregon Mycological Society Don’t get lost (or shot!) * When you’re staring down at the ground looking for mushrooms, it’s easy to get disoriented. * Our group was tucked back in the woods off the trail. It would have been easy to get lost, however the trip guide was wise.  The area we were hunting was only about a 1/4 mile from the main road—which we could easily hear.  She also picked an odd but helpful central location that happened to have a bunch of abandoned tires.  Leah also said that she plans some trips next to a hillside so people can use the hill to orient themselves. * Compass, whistle, something bright to tie up to a tree (like a bright hammock) * We were hunting in a national forest during animal hunting season, so everyone in our group was wearing hunter orange There is a sliding scale from desirable to deadly * If you ask a mushroom hunter, “Is this one edible” you may not get a straight answer * “Yes it’s edible but it’s not very good” * “Yes, but many people experience stomach aches and diarrhea” * Rule #1: Only positively identified mushrooms should be eaten * We also learned that you shouldn’t eat any mushrooms raw. Some of the toxins in mushrooms are heat sensitive and can only be denatured when cooked. * On that sliding scale are mushrooms that cause gastrointestinal trouble, psychedelic effects, and coma-like states. Stay on the end where the mushrooms are edible, desirable and identifiable * Stay away from LBMs (little brown mushrooms) all over, small, hard to identify * And with the edible mushrooms, the group seemed to agree that sauteeing mushrooms in butter and salt is the way to go Mushrooms can’t be overharvested * They are the fruit of the myceum that lives underground * With foraging, we’re careful not to overharvest plants, but with mushrooms, we learned that you can’t over harvest. It’s like picking apples from a tree. * Of course, only pick what you can use—don’t be wasteful, but truly the earth is full,


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