007: When It Rains, You’re Covered

Recent research by a Kansas State physicist proves that petite folks have the advantage on the trail.  Next, be sure to pack an umbrella (is this a joke?) on your next backpacking trip.  On the SUMMIT™ Gear Review, we review a basic hat that left Heather’s ears out cold.  And you’ll learn how to make a simple breakfast that will take you back to your idyllic childhood in the Swiss Alps.

Show Notes: Episode 007


  • When backpacking, it pays to be small
  • Research from Michael O’Shea, a physicist at Kansas State University
  • Smaller animals and people can carry a greater percentage of their body weight
  • Heather has a hard time figuring out the metric system…
  • We don’t recommend packing more just because you can, but it’s nice to know that petite folks may have an advantage on the trail

The Top 5 Ways to Use an Umbrella While Backpacking

Rain Protection

  • Benefits: instant rain protection for all-of-a sudden downpours
  • Don’t take it as your only rain protection.
  • Intermittent rain vs. sideways rain


  • The weight of the umbrella is less than the extra weight of the water you’d have to carry


  • Starting fire/cooking
  • Preparing meals

Temporary Micro Shelter

  • Rain gear covers your body, but an umbrella can cover a map, a match, injury

Privacy Screen

  • Perfect for potty breaks
  • Just remember to take your umbrella with you when you’re done

SUMMIT Gear Review™: SmartWool “The Lid” Hat


  • Classic winter hat
  • 50% Merino Wool, 50% Acrylic
  • Hat is sewn together at the top to form a six pointed star (makes for nice rounded top)
  • Has very little stretch, so don’t expect to be able to pull this one down around your ears


  • It’s a hat
  • Has a built in 2 1/2” headband liner that doubles the warmth around the ears and head
  • Didn’t quite cover ears…


  • 2 ounces
  • Fits head size 21.6 – 23.6 inches


  • Machine wash cold
  • Tumble cool
  • “Cool iron when needed”
  • Hand wash/flat or line dry


  • $30
  • I thought I was paying for a 100% Merino wool hat (actually 50% acrylic)
  • Read tags before you buy—regardless of the brand’s reputation
  • Part of investment is value
  • $30 is too much cost, not enough value…


  • If it were 100% merino wool it may have repelled water better and would have been even warmer when wet than a 50/50 blend
  • Pleased with other Smart Wool products
  • Excellent customer service from SmartWool

 Backpack Hack of the Week™: Swiss Muesli

1/2 cup regular oats

2 Tbs NIDO

2 Tbs chia seeds

1 Tbs. brown sugar

1/4 cup chopped cashews

Mix and store in plastic bag. When ready to make, add water. Eat your Swiss Muesli from plastic bag or empty peanut butter jar.

  • 642 calories, 5.6 ounces = 115 calories/oz
  • Full of fiber, long lasting carbs, protein
  • This breakfast requires no cooking

Trail Wisdom

“There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”

-Ranulph Fiennes