078: The First 40 Kilometers

Show Notes: Episode 078

Today on The First 40 Kilometers, we discuss the metric lifestyle and how it applies to backpackers and bushwhackers. Then, as promised in episode 68, you’ll learn the top 5 reasons to carry a hydration bladder.   Next, on the SUMMIT Gear Review, a pair of shoes that provide the perfect climate for your feet.

Opening

  • Metric Lifestyle or Metric Movement
  • “Gram weenies”
  • Packs used to be measured in cubic inches, and now they’re measured in liters.
  • Are we destined to live the metric lifestyle? Is it easier, better, more convenient? Are backpackers on the forefront of helping America switch from Imperial to Metric?

Top 5 Reasons to Carry a Hydration Bladder

High capacity

  • Great for desert trips or trips where water is uncertain

Easy and frequent hydration

  • The tube is conveniently placed
  • Most packs now not only have an isolated interior pouch for your hydration pack, but they also have an opening somewhere in the pack for your hose to route through. And on top of that many packs even have some kind of system to secure your hose in place so it won’t just dangle behind you.

Works with a gravity filter

  • Gravity filters are great because they can filter water for large groups
  • Require no pumping—just gravity and a place to hang the bag of water

It’s balanced water

  • Water is probably the heaviest thing you carry
  • One liter of water weighs one kilogram, or 2.2 pounds
  • If you have a full bottle on one side and an empty on the other, you have 4 pounds tipping you sideways

While not puncture proof, the repair is simple

  • You can improvise with duct tape, tenacious tape, or Seam Seal, or you can just buy a patch kit for your specific hydration bladder.

Infuze Hydration inline flavoring system

SUMMIT Gear Review: LOWA Renegade II GTX® Lo Ws

Structure

  • GTX stands for Gore-Tex, Lo means Lowcut, and WS means Women’s
  • UPPER: Nubuck Leather (long lasting durability)
  • Nubuck is top-grain cattle leather that has been sanded or buffed on the grain side, or outside, to give a slight nap of short protein fibers, producing a velvet-like surface. It is resistant to wear.
  • LINING: Waterproof GORE-TEX®
  • FOOTBED: Climate Control, so your feet can breath and won’t overheat
  • OUTSOLE: VIBRAM® Renovo (absorbs shock and provides grip)
  • The womens’ shoes are made on women’s-specific last—not the old shrink it and pink it

Utility

  • These shoes are “trail-ready” right out of the box
  • These boots don’t roll forward and back
  • They’re stiff, but in a comfortable way—in a way that makes you feel more sure-footed
  • Waterproof/breathable
  • If you happen to live in a dry climate, the Gore-Tex is going to be overkill—check out the LOWA Renegade II Renegade II LL Lo—LL stands for leather lined

Mass

  • The shoes weigh 2 pounds, 1 pound per shoe.
  • Some people claim that they’re too narrow, or that they run a 1/2 size too small—and there are some tips for getting just the right fit.
  • Try on shoes at the end of the day when your feet have swollen, wear them with the socks that you’ll be hiking in, lace your boots loosely, and try them on in the store (don’t order online)

Maintenance

  • On the trail: each night when you’re done hiking—especially on wet days—remove the insole, open the boot, and let it dry—especially on multi-day trips
  • Back home: Use leather waxes or creams to restore the leather’s softness without compromising it’s breathability—never use oil or fat because this will cause the boot to lose it’s waterproof breathability (they call it the “gumboot effect”)

Investment

  • $210

Trial

  • Barefoot shoes vs LOWA boots
  • These shoes took a couple miles to get used to—and it was all without blisters—probably because of the Climate Control Footbed
  • LOWA Renegade II GTX Lo strengths: incredible marriage of waterproof and breathability, temperature regulation inside the shoe, and fit right out of the box with very little time required for feet to feel at home

Backpack Hack of the Week™: Sap Removal with Backpacking Items

  • It’s actually fairly easy to remove with some things you probably have in your pack
  • Rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizers, essential oil, hand sanitizer, mayonnaise
  • Peanut butter, baking soda, bacon grease
  • Also, it’s important to let anything that is applied to the hair “sit”  to dissolve sap. The longer that a product is applied to the sap, the better the chances will be of removing it.

Trail Wisdom

“Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself.”

-Henry David Thoreau