006: Pipe Organs vs Harmonicas

Are you planning on bringing a musical instrument on your next backpacking trip?  This episode may have you rethinking that “unitasker” harmonica.  Next, backpackers grab an unusual piece of wood to burn to stay warm while they wait to be rescued.  We’ll review a women’s pack, then end with the perfect calorie-dense trail dessert: chocolate!

Show Notes: Episode 006


  • If you could have any instrument with you on a backpacking trip, what would it be?
  • Harmonica, kazoo, pan flute, etc.
  • Twist: What musical instrument has the most use in the wild?
  • Instruments ability to provide raw materials
  • Pipe organ, Drum kit, Bag pipes, Grand Piano

The Top 5 “Backpacking in the News” Stories from This Month

Lost Hikers Burned Trailhead Sign to Stay Warm

  • Two men get lost and burn a trailhead sign.
  • Rescuers traveled 13 miles round trip
  • Always be prepared for an extra day, even when doing a day hike

Vermont Group Creates Continuous 18 mile Trail

  • Windmill Hill Pinnacle Association
  • Bought land, obtained trail licenses, got permits
  • Created a continuous trail
  • whpa@sover.net

Protecting and Using the Pacific Crest Trail

  • Many people use the Pacific Crest Trail
  • Confusion regarding documents
  • Land use around trail for: hikers, equestrian, motorized, and bicycles

Outdoor Retailer REI Hires Branding Expert

  • Branding expert Ben Steele to become chief creative officer for REI
  • He has previously worked on brand design for companies such as Starbucks, Pepsi and Lexus

Seattle Runner Beats Speed Record For Full Length Of Pacific Crest Trail

  • Joe McConaughy of Seattle
  • Beats a 2013 record by six days
  • Supported run from Mexico to Canada

SUMMIT Gear Review™: Osprey Aura 65 Women’s Pack


  • Internal frame backpack
  • High-tenacity nylon/mini-ripstop nylon
  • Frame: metal alloy
  • Material is not water proof, somewhat water resistant,
  • Dries quickly


  • 8 pockets
  • Comes in two colors
  • Top is removable
  • Two large front zippered pockets help organize gear
  • Large main compartment with hydration sleeve and reservoir clip
  • Removable sleeping pad straps
  • Trekking pole attachment system
  • Dual ice axe loops with bungee tie-offs


  • Sm – 3 lbs. 6 oz., M 3 lb 9oz, L. 3lb 12 oz
  • Small 62 L, M 65, L 68


  • Keeping it dry on the trail (liner or cover)
  • Repairs
  • Cleaning, mild soap and warm water in bathtub.
  • Wiped dry and set up with pack open


  • $250
  • Many women don’t bat an eye at a $250 designer purse
  • Per use: 5 day trip=$50/day


  • Side water bottle pockets are not for holding small things—the pocket is not completely enclosed.
  • Top “removable” pouch, protected: put personal items, phone, id, cash
  • Didn’t use bladder system
  • Dual ice axe loops with bungee tie-offs: I used to hold my camp shoes
  • Pack has storage in all the right places

Backpack Hack of the Week™: Double Chocolate Pudding

1 small box of instant chocolate pudding mix (3.9 ounces)

1/2 cup NIDO whole milk powder (in Mexican food section of Grocery)

6 Oreos that have been crushed

Mix all ingredients together. Divide in half (each Ziploc gets 4 oz.). When ready to eat, add 1/2 cup cold water to zip top bag, close and mix. When ready to eat, bite off the corner of bag and squeeze it out into your mouth.

  • Makes 8 ounces/220 grams
  • 1040 calories total (520 calories per 4 ounce bag)
  • 130 calories/oz.

 Trail Wisdom

“When you have worn out your shoes, the strength of the shoe leather has passed into the fiber of your body.  I measure your health by the number of shoes and hats and clothes you have worn out.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson