023: Spring Break 2015

Today on The First 40 Miles, we’ll take you on our Spring Break backpacking trip through the amazing Redwood Forest. Then we’ll talk a little trash and answer the question “What do I do with my garbage on the trail?” On the SUMMIT Gear Review™, we’ll review the #1 most popular backpacking item on our family’s Spring Break trip. Then on the Backpack Hack of the Week™ we’ll teach you a $2 trick that will get your fire started in seconds. We’ll wrap up the show with a little trail wisdom from a US President who maybe should have been in our Backpacking Pranks episode.

Show Notes: Episode 023


Spring Break Overview

  •  Biggest surprise of the trip
  • What we’d do better next time
  • Funny moments

Top 5 Rules for Trash on the Trail

Don’t bring it in the first place

  • Remove excess packaging at home where you can recycle it or dispose of it

Pack it out or burn it

  • If you’re going to pack it out, then use the tough plastic bag from cereal boxes. They’re hard to poke through. Made of translucent plastic that is hard to rip. Also, you can use a Pringles can.
  • If you’re going to burn then, know your plastics. Polyethelene can be burned, and may even be better when burned so it won’t end up degrading over a long period of time. Polythene only consists of carbon and hydrogen, so when burnt the products will be CO2 and H20 (and possibly CO if there is insufficient oxygen available). Examples of polyethelyne: Ziploc bags.
  • http://www.inspirationgreen.com/plastic-waste-as-fuel.html

Store it like you’d store food

  • Wrappers still smell like food. So food wrappers need to go with your food
  • Even though its not food, it still could attract curious camp visitors.
  • Bear container like the Lighter1 or Ursack, or in a rodent-proof Outsak.

All trash is your trash

  • Be a trail angel and pick up after others

Deal with human generated waste appropriately

  • Bathroom: Unless you’re on a delicate trail where you have to pack everything (including human waste) out, use a quickly decomposing tp like Scotts One-Ply and bury it 6-8 inches under the ground. Scott decomposes very quickly.
  • Helps to have a trowel. Lightweight trowel options:
  • Deuce of Spades (.6 oz) Colorful, great design, easy to use
  • QiWiz Titanium Trowel (.4 oz) Lightweight, strong and small
  • Feminine hygiene: Pack it out using MaskIt. MaskIts are bags that are a mess free way to package used feminine hygiene products.  Do ­NOT bury feminine hygiene products.

SUMMIT Gear Review™: ENO Double Nest Hammock with Atlas Straps


  • Breathable, Quick Drying Nylon
  • Aluminum Wiregate Carabiners
  • Heavy Duty Triple Stitched Seams
  • Bright, fun, energetic colors available


  • 400 lb Capacity—which we tested
  • Attached Compression Stuff Sack, nice for holding gear while you’re hanging out


  • 2 pounds for double with Atlas Straps (buy separately)
  • ENO DoubleNest plus Atlas Straps packs down to the size of a six pack of bagels


  • Remove carabiners and hand wash in sink or washing machine with mild detergent like Sports Suds
  • Of course, hang to dry.


  • Atlas Straps $29.95
  • Eno DoubleNest Hammock $69.95
  • The one-day child pass to enter Disneyland now costs $94.79 after tax—and that’s just the entrance fee!!
  • Disneyland has nothing on ENO, which for $100, entertained 4 kids for days, and the fun is just beginning…


  • Trial is a bit of an understatement for what we put this ENO hammock through.
  • Swinging and doing 360s
  • At one time, all 4 kids were in the hammock, and the caribiner became deformed…however the nylon did not rip (which I thought would be the first thing to go!)
  • Atlas Strap was crazy strong.
  • Two older boys slept in this hammock with just pads and 20 degree sleeping bags
  • Even if you don’t sleep in this hammock, it’s an instant crowd pleaser

Backpack Hack of the Week™: Classic Cotton Ball Firestarter

  • Great project for kids
  • Reason firestarters are so important
  • They give you fire that extra minute or two burn time so your tinder and kindling can dry out a little more
  • Helps in windy and rainy conditions
  • NEED: Bag of Cotton Balls and a tub of petroleum jelly
  • Costs $2
  • Unwind the cotton ball and squish the petroleum jelly into the fibers of the cotton ball
  • Store in a small container or small plastic bag
  • When you’re ready to use, pull the cotton ball apart so oxygen can get to the fibers
  • Should instantly flare up with the strike of a ferro rod or the touch of a match

Trail Wisdom

“Only if you have been in the deepest valley, can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.”

-Richard M. Nixon