008: Lewis and Clark Have Met Their Map

Learn how to outwit pesky, hungry trail rodents without dangling your food from a tree. Then, we’ll expose five ridiculous ultralight fails (HINT: Bubble wrap is for heirloom vases and vintage china). Next we review a lightweight, super durable map that would leave Lewis and Clark and Sacagawea a little jealous. And you’ll learn the trick to making unscented hand sanitizer that costs less than the gel hand sanitizer you keep in your glove box.

Show Notes: Episode 008


  • A bear’s sense of smell is 2,100 times better than a human.
  • Mice, rats, chipmunks, raccoons and other animals on the trail also have an extremely keen sense of smell.
  • They’ll gnaw through your pack to eat toiletries
  • Don’t keep food in your pack!
  • Protect your food from birds and rodents by keeping it in a steel mesh bag
  • RatSack, OutSak, GrubPack, or FoodSack
  • If you’re going to be in bear country, that’s more regulated, so find out exactly which containers are approved for the area you’ll be hiking in

The Top 5 Ultralight Backpacking Fails

Ultralight Bubble Wrap Sleeping Pad

  • Easily punctured
  • Cannot be repaired once deflated
  • Not sturdy

Dollar Store Poncho

  • Snags on everything
  • Can’t be reused
  • Not heavy enough to cover you if the wind picks up
  • Weighs only 1.5 oz, but…not worth the weight

Eating Uncooked Ramen Noodles

  • Food fatigue
  • Unimaginative, disappointing
  • Food acts as morale booster, but not uncooked ramen
  • Comfort and safety when you bring a stove

No Toilet Paper

  • Not only is it a comfort item, but its lightweight
  • No guarantee that you’ll find soft leaves on trail
  • I’m terrible at identifying poison oak, ivy and sumac
  • Toilet paper biodegrades within days
  • Is a multi-use item: fire starting, first aid, ear plugs, cleaning up odd messes where you may not want to use your camp towel or bandana.

Rationed Water

  • Don’t limit your water or go from waterhole to waterhole
  • Carry the weight and have the assurance of water

SUMMIT Gear Review™: Green Trails Maps S Series


  • Plastic
  • Lightweight, Waterproof, Tear Resistant Maps


  • 462S Mt Hood/Timberline Trail
  • Scale:1:25000
  • Current map: Original Issue:2006, Current Issue:2013
  • Updated frequently


  • 5 oz
  • 40% lighter than paper maps
  • 18×24 inches
  • 6×9 folded up


  • Wipe with damp rag
  • Do not use solvents to clean!!


  • $14
  • Typical paper Green Trails Map $8


  • Came with two stickers declaring Waterproof! Tear Resistant! And now ultralight too!
  • Tried peeling of those labels, left sticky residue
  • Ultralight, loved map, durable, washable
  • Found spelling error Ramona Falls (spelled “Romona”)
  • Took a beating on our trip, didn’t tear or get wear marks on creases
  • Didn’t get dog-eared
  • Nice coloring details
  • Used washi tape from craft store with arrows on it to mark spots on map
  • May add DIY eyelet or grommet to secure map in heavy wind

Backpack Hack of the Week™: DIY Hand Sanitizer

  • In episode 7 we talked about the benefits of bringing a bottle on Isopropyl Alcohol (Related: 007: When It Rains, You’re Covered)
  • This DIY Hand Sanitizer is a cheaper, and equally effective way to kill germs
  • Need: 1 oz flip top bottle or 1 oz. spray bottle and 70% Isopropyl Alcohol
  • This is NOT scented…Most hand sanitizers are scented.
  • 70% (not 91%) Isopropyl Alcohol is best for germicidal effect

Trail Wisdom

“Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed … We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in.”

-Wallace Stegner