026: Backpacking Gifts for Grads and Newlyweds

Today on The First 40 Miles, we discover how a simple glitch submarined a recent Kickstarter campaign we shared with you. Then, school graduation is coming up and we have the perfect gear guide for your backpacking grad! On the SUMMIT Gear Review, we offer a simple solution to warmth, comfort and light on the trail. The Backpack Hack of the Week may save you some extra cash to put toward a new gear purchase. And the Backpackers Q + A will make sense of the piles of gear, stuff sacks and mayo packets. All this, and that’s about it…today on The First 40 Miles.

Show Notes: Episode 026



FOGO All-in One Adventure Gadget (a.k.a. Digital Swiss Army Knife)

They’re relaunching their campaign on Kickstarter

Top 5 Graduation Gifts for Grads and Newlyweds!

Backpacker Magazine

Talk about how my dad gave us a subscription, a few years ago, we loved it so we renewed it!

Book of Local Trails (Plus a map!)

Find local trail books through a local bookstore

Manasha Ridge Press

If you want to spend more, you can purchase a Kindle

The low-cost Kindles have batteries that last for weeks and are a lightweight piece of gear

Annual Pass

State Parks or National Forest Areas

Bucket of Freeze Dried Meals

These come in a bucket with a handle, so easy to transport in a move

Lots of different flavors, brands, price points

Last 30 years, light weight, can be used in emergencies

Cash or Gift Card (+ Lifetime REI Membership)

Cash is always nice, especially if you do a little bit of homework and make a gear recommendation

REI lifetime membership

SUMMIT Gear Review™: UCO Micro Candle Lantern


  • Aluminum and glass
  • Comes with two tealight candles
  • Red, blue, green, purple, orange, yellow


  • Collapsible, which PROTECTS the glass
  • One candle can burn while the other is smartly stowed underneath
  • Tealights burn 4-6 hours, and as much as 8 hours depending on the brand of candle
  • Windproof, but remember that it’s filled with melted wax, so be careful
  • Has a chain with a hook


  • 4.2 oz
  • 2.5 x 2.5 in. collapsed size


  • Wee little accident with ours. After burning for about 20 minutes, lantern was bumped and wax spilled
  • To remove spilled wax from UCO Micro Lantern, just boil it in water
  • Replace candles with any brand of tealights


  • Around $13


  • Loved it
  • Clever design
  • Loved the Micro over the other sizes. Get the Micro, not the mini. The mini doesn’t have a way to collapse down to protect the glass.
  • Glass is protected in transport
  • Fills that need for fire on the trail without the campfire smell or having to gather twigs.
  • Warms the tent, comfort, lightweight, durable, simple to use, enough light to feel like you can still see. Easy to use.

Backpack Hack of the Week™: Discounted Outdoor Magazines

MagazinePriceSearch.com (searches discount magazine sites, then shows lowest price on magazines)

Backpacker Magazine     $3.16/yr

Outdoor Photographer     $3.16/yr

Outside     $16/yr

Field + Stream     $5/yr

Boys Life     $7.16/ 2-yr

Discover Magazine     $13.89/yr

NOTE: If you’re signed up to be a volunteer for BSA, Scouting Magazine is free, and always has great info for teaching leaderships skills to youth while on the trail. FREE.

Backpackers Q + A: You mentioned working on organizing your gear in a closet. Do you keep everything in your pack or do you take everything out after a trip? What tips can you offer for organizing the stuff I’m starting to accumulate?


After a trip we take everything out of our packs. This gives us a chance to wash clothing, inspect gear, sort and clean the stuff in our pack. We can also then take inventory of items that need to be replaced like matches or water purification drops.

On the shelf that’s above the clothes bar, we have 5 boxes:






UCO Lantern


Water bottles


Chemical Purification Drops

Gear Maintenance

Duct Tape

Special detergent for cleaning gear

Essential oils to remove sap from gear

Solarproofing spray

Stuff Sacks

Lots of things need a stuff sack, and it helps keep your gear organized on the trail

10 Essentials




Mosquito Repellant



On the Floor we have two big Rubbermaid bins

  • Sleeping bags (not in stuff sacks)
  • Backpacking Clothing


On the right hand side of the closet floor are our tents, hammocks, Crazy Creek Camp Chairs, tarps


Hanging from carabiners on the clothing rack, are the six packs our family uses. Empty…mostly. I typically keep my tp and trowel, plus 10 Essentials in there because that’s the one category of gear that doesn’t change from trip to trip.


We also have a big box called the Bucket o’ Calories:

This is where we store mayo and mustard packets, foil packets of tuna, NIDO, M&Ms, coconut

This is food that we don’t want in our kitchen, because it’s not everyday food. It’s also shelf stable food, so there’s no reason to keep in in the kitchen.

Trail Wisdom

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”

-Frank Lloyd Wright