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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 213: Health Benefits of Backpacking | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 25:26

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

 212: PLAY: Games on the Trail | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 24:35

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

 211: Gear That Lasts the Miles | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 22:26

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

 210: Battle of the Utensil | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 21:57

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

 209: Hidden Messages in Your Gear | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 27:59

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

 208: HEAVY: When You Can’t Carry the Load | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 32:58

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

 207: Scary Stuff | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 29:28

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

 206: Backpacking Dinner Challenge | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 15:46

Show Notes: Episode 206 Today on the First 40 Miles, we’ve dumped out our box of random backpacking food, affectionately labeled, our “Bucket o’ Calories”, and will go head to head today as Josh and I battle it out, civilly, for the Backpacking Dinner Challenge.  Can we each create a unique meal with just the pile of ingredients in front of us?  We’ll find out.  Then we’ll eat dinner. * Dinner Challenge * We each get a stove, a knife, water and a sierra cup. * Select at least 3 ingredients * Meals will be rated on flavor, how easy it is to make, and the whim of the host. Smokey Cheesy Tuna Dip Spanish Rice

 205: Steve’s Trip Report | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 21:43

Show Notes: Episode 204: Steve’s Hike Today on the First 40 Miles, we’re checking in with our friend Steve, who completed a thru hike of the Oregon section of the Pacific Crest Trail this summer.  And we’ll throw in a backpack hack and some trail wisdom, just for funsies. * What inspired you to hike the Oregon section of the PCT for your 70th birthday? * Talk about your daily routine while hiking the Oregon section of the PCT, the rhythm of the trail… * Did you find that rhythm? * What does the phrase “trail angel” mean to you now? * Did you see other 70+ hikers on the trail? * Have you recovered physically? * What moments stand out to you? * Advice to others who want to do a significant hike…

 204: So, How Was Your Hike? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 22:38

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

 203: Pardon Our Dust | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 16:16

Show Notes: Episode 203: Pardon Our Dust Today on the First 40 Miles, all of our backpacking gear is in moving boxes, sitting in the barn, waiting for us to unpack them!  We’re keeping the podcast going through our move, and we couldn’t have done it without a few of our fabulous listeners who will be contributing to the show today. Opening * Old 100-year-old home, 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, and a whole bunch of projects * Backpacking gear in boxes and bins * Pardon our dust… Three listener stories -George’s story -Chad’s story -Laura’s story Backpack Hack of the Week™: Easy Warmth with Down Booties * Keeps your feet warm * Inexpensive down booties can be found for as little as $12 Trail Wisdom Work is good, provided you do not forget to live. —Bantu Proverb If you’re looking for fun backpacking books and merch, check out

 202: The Slow, Methodical Accumulation of Gear | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 24:16

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

 201: Cowboy Camping | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 27:56

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

 200: A Week on the Pacific Crest Trail | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 15:55

Show Notes: Episode 200 Today on the First 40 Miles, we’re live on the Pacific Crest Trail! Opening * Our trip with Steve * About 70 miles * The “E” section of the PCT in Oregon Top 5 Things We Loved About this Trip Audio from trip… The hardest things were some of the best. Backpack Hack of the Week™: Paracord Compression Straps * Stuff your gear (sleeping bag, clothing, etc.) in your stuff sack * Double up the rope/paracord by folding it in half * Then, wrap your stuff sack “gift wrap” style * Instead of tying a big bow on top, make a slip knot loop on one side and put the other end of rope through the hole. * Cinch it down and tie it off or loop the end around so it won’t unravel Trail Wisdom Joke from Steve… If you’re looking for fun backpacking books and merch, check out

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

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


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