001: Are You Really Bringing That Screwdriver?

If you’re new to hiking and 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.  This episode features the top 5 things you can leave home on your next backpacking trip, we’ll review a piece of survival gear that should go with you on every outdoor adventure, and you’ll learn how to make a trail essential out of something from your recycle bin.  Welcome to The First 40 Miles!

SHOW NOTES: Episode 001


  • Opening monologue
  • Heather’s first 40 mile vs. Josh’s first 40 miles
  • Not experts… but we have a simple love for backpacking

The Top 5 Things You Can Live Without While Backpacking


  • Often no service where backpacking
  • No place to recharge
  • Solar and battery recharging units are heavy and take a long time to charge

Extra Toiletries

  • Shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste
  • Take up space and weight, often highly scented
  • Hygiene still important
  • Multi-use alternatives: soap, baking soda, isopropyl alcohol


  • Go on the trail in good shape
  • Won’t get a vitamin deficiency on the trail
  • Best way to get vitamins is to eat healthy before/after a hike


  • They look cool—but heavy
  • Often has extra useless functions (screwdriver, nail file, etc)
  • Bring a single blade knife or razor blade instead


  • Luxury
  • Additional weight to prepare the coffee (grinder, press, filters, etc)
  • Addiction

SUMMIT Gear Review™: Survive Outdoors Longer® Emergency Bivvy


  • Heat-reflective polyethylene
  • Seams are sealed
  • Difference between polyethylene and the mylar is that the polyethylene is a much more durable material (good for multiple uses) and when rips do occur, they will not run like a rip in a traditional mylar blanket


  • Reflects 90% of your body heat
  • Protects against water, wind, snow
  • Polyethylene is also recyclable.


  • 8 oz/108 grams
  • 84”x36”


  • Wipe dry before folding
  • If the bivvy gets dirty, clean with diluted soap and water and a soft sponge
  • To put in stuff sack: fold lengthwise in half, half again, half again, then roll tightly from the bottom to push all the air out


  • Under $20


  • Held up well
  • This is not a one-time use bivvy.
  • It’s extremely durable and unlike most Mylar bivvies, can be used over and over again. Rips can easily be repaired with duct tape.

Backpack Hack of the Week™: DIY Collapsible Kitchen Sink

  • Sink for laundry, dishes, collecting water, fire water, hard-sided container, protect electronics
  • Quick, free project
  • Weighs 1 ounce/28 grams
  • Save you $25
  • Tools needed: scissors or x-acto knife
  • Cut off the bottom half of the gallon milk jug
  • Fold in the sides
  • If it cracks, can be repaired with duct tape
  • Unlike the expensive version, doesn’t need liquid to stand up

 Trail Wisdom

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God.”

-Anne Frank