017: How to Find Awesome Trails

Today we celebrate International Day of Awesomeness!  We talk about finding awesome “backpackable” trails.  Next, Heather shares her current bucket list of hikes.  Then, learn about an ultralight food prep bag, and get a recipe to go with it.  Fictitious listener, Dale in Oklahoma sends in a question about water filtering.

Show Notes: Episode 017


  • International Day of Awesomeness
  • Chuck Norris’s 75th Birthday
  • Chuck Norris was born March 10, 1940 in Ryan Oklahoma
  • He is the only person on record to have started a fire by rubbing two ice-cubes together.
  • Was bitten by a rattle snake, and after three days of pain and agony, the rattle snake died.
  • When ghosts go camping, they sit around the fire and tell Chuck Norris stories.
  • Chuck Norris doesn’t get struck by lightning. Lightning gets struck by Chuck Norris
  • What better way to celebrate International Day of Awesomeness and Chuck Norris’s 75th birthday, than to do something AWESOME!
  • A simple internet search can get you one step closer to your next day hike or backpacking trip.
  • The easiest way to start is by typing “Trail Reports Backpacking (Your State)”
  • For example: I searched for “Trail reports backpacking Oklahoma”
  •  Started my search on bestoklahomatrails.com and got a good idea of regions in the state
  • YouTube is also a wonderful resource for seeing what an area looks like in a particular season
  • Hiking and backpacking Books are also a fabulous resource to get an idea of quintessential BP trips in your area.
  • Make sure to get several resources (including a current map) before you go out on the trail.

Top 5 Bucket List Trails

Wonderland Trail, Washington State

  • Love the name…love the mountain.
  • Mt Rainier
  • Trail is 80 Miles, so I’d probably do a section of it.

Swiss Alps: Haute Route (with Alpenwild Self Guided Tours)

  • 10 days hiking from Mt Blanc to the Matterhorn. Strenuous but amazing!
  • Pound out the miles through wildflowers, see massive glaciers and pristine lakes.
  • Self guided tour
  • Transportation from the airport, accommodations, and most meals are pre-arranged and prepaid.
  • Detailed route directions  and local phone contact with an Alpenwild guide in case of emergency.

Any Section of the Appalachian Trail

  • Just to have the AT experience
  • It’s an iconic, historic trail

Mount Hood to Mt Jefferson, Oregon

  • Close to home, nice area, thick forest

Any part of the newly finished Arizona Trail in the Spring, Arizona

  • We talked about the a part of the Arizona Trail in episode 16

SUMMIT Gear Review™: Booginhead Pack’Ems Food Pouches


  • Sturdy plastic
  • Velcro Press-lok
  • It’s a mix between a Ziploc bag and a hard sided plastic container.


  • Meant to hold food, but it’s not watertight.
  • Gussted bottom makes it perfect for preparing instant meals, or for having a snakc bag that stands up like a bowl


  • Large: Holds 3 cups, measures 6 x 6.5 inches and weighs .4 ounces
  • Small: holds 1.5 cups, 4×6.5 .2 ounces


  • Top rack dishwasher safe
  • Washed out on the trail with soap and warm water, be sure not to do it in a stream or near your campsite.


  • $9.99 for two pouches (one large, one small)


  • Basically a ultralightweight food prep bowl
  • Great for rehydrating homemade meals.
  • These bags are great because they are sturdy and gusseted (so they stand up while rehydrating food)
  • I wouldn’t recommend storing your food in these bags, because the seal isn’t airtight, and powdery ingredients could poof out as you hike.
  • But, because the seal isn’t air tight, you could possibly use this package to cook angelhair pasta or instant brown rice, then strain off the excess water through the Velcro Press-Lok seal
  • Also, because the seal isn’t airtight, you can close the bag while the food is rehydrating and the steam will be able to escape without the bag expanding.
  • Better for rehydrating food than a quart Ziploc bag–it stands up to boiling water, and keeps the heat from escaping.
  • Weigh less than a bowl
  • Nice orange and lime green chevron design
  • These are definitely marketed to the eco mom, but I love finding things that work on BP trips and solve a problem on the trail.

Backpack Hack of the Week™: Loaded Baked Potato Soup

1/4 cup potato shreds (in the bulk section or by the mashed potato flakes)

1/4 cup mashed potato flakes

2 Tbs NIDO whole milk powder (in the Hispanic food section)

2 Tbs real bacon bits (in the salad dressing aisle)

1 tsp. dehydrated chives (in the spice aisle)

add salt and pepper on the trail

Store ingredients in a small zip top sandwich baggie. Rehydrate with one cup boiling water in a large Booginhead Pack’em Food Pouch.

Backpackers Q +A: Idiot-proof Water

“I know it shouldn’t be that hard, but the thought of pumping water or adding tablets or drops to purify my water kind of stresses me out. Is there an idiot-proof way to get fresh drinking water one the trail? P.S. I’m not an idiot.” -Dale in Oklahoma

There are some lovely, idiot-proof, no stress options out there:

And just as a side note, we don’t endorse products or get sponsored, so any products or brands that we share on the show is just to let you know what’s out there. No pressure to buy, or feel like you’ll have any less of an experience if you don’t buy the things we talk about. It’s really just informational and fun to learn about stuff for backpackers.

Trail Wisdom

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

-Henry David Thoreau