010: The Shake Down

The Shake Down: a trendy new dance move or a backpacking pre-trip? Next, learn a few tricks from the Boy Scouts from their iconic Merit Badge Pamphlets. Then, the Leglers revisit some rain gear that went through some blackberry vines and lived to tell the story. Lastly, Heather has invented a perfect solution to the messy bar of soap—and we promise it doesn’t use nylon stockings! You’ll love it!

Show Notes: Episode 010


  • Shake Down: A trial run before your backpacking trip
  • Purpose: to test gear, get ready, work out problems
  • Have you ever learned anything on a shake down that saved you a big hassle on a backpacking trip?
  • Heather and Josh share shake down lessons
  • Don’t just assume gear will work on the trail until you’ve tested it

The Top 5 Boy Scout Merit Badge Books for Backpackers

Hiking Merit Badge Pamphlet

  • This is the best one to start with
  • Basic information for city folk and newbies

Backpacking Merit Badge Pamphlet

  • Planning
  • Minimizing risk
  • Clothing and Gear
  • Leave No Trace (LNT)
  • Food
  • Some first aid

Wilderness Survival Merit Badge Pamphlet

  • Goes a little deeper than backpacking in terms of skills presented but much of the basic information is the same.
  • Snow shelter
  • Friction Fires
  • Signaling for help using the Ground to Air Visual Signal Code
  • Surviving in the water

First Aid Merit Badge Pamphlet

  • Excellent manual for most of the basic first aid situations you’ll encounter on the trail

Orienteering Merit Badge Pamphlet

  • The “Christopher Columbus” Merit Badge
  • This will take your next backpacking adventure to the next level.
  • How to use a compass, how to use a topo/topographic map
  • Using a map and a compass together
  • Competitive orienteering

If you’re interested in making these reference books a part of your library, you have three options:

  • Purchase at a local BSA Scout Shop for $5 each (or online at scoutstuff.org—beware $7 shipping!)
  • Check them out at your local library
  • Search for the pdf online

SUMMIT Gear Review™: Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite2 Rain Gear (Revisited)

Today on the SUMMIT Gear Review, we are revisiting the Frogg Toggs UltraLite2 Rain Gear. (Related: 004: How to Close the Backpack Gap.) We’ve had additional experiences on the trail that could be helpful to people who are looking to buy rain gear.

  • Ultra-light, nonwoven polypropylene material
  • Repair procedure: duct tape on inside, clear packing tape on outside, otherwise you’ll have duct tape patches on outside and it will look odd
  • Under $20 for youth and adult sizes
  • Truly waterproof and 100% breathable
  • Cleaning: Washing machine + low heat dryer
  • Kids who are hard on things will need an extra roll of duct tape
  • What it lacks in DURABILITY it more makes up for in REPAIRABILITY
  • Very comfortable rain gear

Backpack Hack of the Week™: Soap Tube

  • Importance of soap on the trail
  • Kills germs, washes your cup and spoon, cleans out wounds, feels great
  • Trouble with soap: Always a mess…gets everything else wet and messy, plastic bag gets roughed up and gross. Here’s a simple solution to bringing soap on the trail
  • Need: Unscented glycerin soap bar + empty lip balm tube
  • Lip balm tube: Easier to use a full one and remove the whole stick of cheap lip balm from the base
  • Soap: Clearly Natural Glycerin Soap Bar Unscented – 4 oz. for $4 (on Amazon)
  • Not liquid glycerin soap
  • Melt a little bit of the soap in a glass Pyrex in the microwave
  • Pour into tube
  • Let cool and harden
  • Unscented Glycerin Soap is 100% biodegradable

Trail Wisdom

“I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it.”

-William Shakespeare.