018: Don’t Blow the Budget!

Today on The First 40 Miles we’ll talk about combining backpacking with trail service. Next, the Top 5 ways to blow your backpacking budget. The SUMMIT Gear Review™ we’ll show you how to protect dry stuff from wet stuff. Then for the Backpack Hack of the Week™ will show you an easy way to keep grit on the trail and out of your shoes. And we’ll wrap up the show with a little Trail Wisdom from our good friend on the trail, Ralph.

Show Notes: Episode 018


Quiz: How Many States have a section on the Appalachian Trail? Answer (and NEW Appalachian Trail Song!) at the end of our show.

Top 5 Ways to Blow Your Backpacking Budget

  1. Replace all your old gear with all new equipment
    1. No need to white wash your entire collection and replace everything
    2. There’s a good chance that much of your gear will still be usable and good.
    3. It’s time to start researching what improvements have been made, and which improvements matter most to you.
  2. Buying new gear at the very beginning of backpacking season
    1. Less likely to find those magical deals
    2. There will also be limited reviews.
  3. Believing that all new technology is better than current technology (or even thousand year old technology like down and wool)
    1. Some new technology is fascinating, and it may be better than what’s out there.
    2. But, buying cutting edge technology will cost you
    3. It may be better to try the “wait and see” approach to see if the gear eventually comes down in price.
  4. Buying beyond your skill level or activity type
    1. Technical gear for climbing or ultralight backpacking will cost more, so know the purpose of the gear you’re buying
  5. Buying beyond your typical outdoor needs
    1. 20 degree down bag when you won’t be doing backpacking in 20 degree weather

SUMMIT Gear Review™: Coghlan’s Lightweight Dry Bag – 25L


  • Rip stop nylon, waterproof taped seams, roll top closure
  • Fully taped sealed seams


  • Will keep your clothing dry and protected
  • However, not intended for submersion or for protecting electronics
  • This size will most likely hold all your clothes or your lightweight sleeping bag


  • 10”x20”
  • Weight: 1.9 ounces or 55 grams


  • Spot clean with plain water
  • Do not launder or machine dry


  • Right around $10, so it’s great for the budget minded backpacker


  • Stuff gear, purge air, press top edges together, roll three times, fasten buckle
  • Thin, lightweight, easy to use, good bargain

Backpack Hack of the Week™: Duct Tape Ankle Gaiters

Ankle Gaiters: protection around your ankles that keeps sand, scree and gravel from getting into your shoes

  • Take a 1 foot piece of duct tape and wrap it around your shoe, where your shoe meets your sock. You can also add a piece of plastic to prevent the duct tape from leaving a residue.
  • It’s a temporary fix. Not meant to be kept on very long.

Trail Wisdom

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson