029: SHORT AND SWEET: The Children + Backpacking Episode

Today on The First 40 Miles, SHORT AND SWEET: The Children + Backpacking Episode. We have The Top 5 Outdoor Skills Every Child Should Know. Then we review a backpacking essential that will last your kids from age 10 to age 18. For the Backpack Hack of the Week, we’ll share our recipe for the #1 kid- requested trail energy bar. And we’ll leave you with some trail wisdom and some dates to put in your calendar!

SHORT AND SWEET: The Children + Backpacking Episode

Show Notes: Episode 029


What makes a great family backpacking trip?

Kids’ responses

Base Layers for Kids: Terramar Sports

Top 5 Outdoor Skills Every Child Should Know

How to Be Prepared

  • Give you children the gear they need to be a self-sustaining pod.
  •  That means they need to have some of the 10 essentials, food, protective clothing, and a pack.

How To Be Still

  • This includes being quiet, being unplugged, being ok with silence
  • This is becoming harder to do, in a world where screens and speakers are always playing something distracting.
  • Avoid the temptation to feel like you need to entertain your kids while on a backpacking trip. The phrase “I’m bored” will be rare. Not non-existent…just rare.
  • Part of learning how to be still, is learning how to occupy your mind without a screen

How to Solve Problems

  • Instead of jumping in with a solution, jump in with a question to help them start the process of learning how to solve their own problems.
  • “Mom, my sleeping pad keeps losing air every night.”
    • Why do you think that is?
    • What are your ideas?
    • What are your ideas for dealing with that?
    • What do you think would be the best way to fix that?
    • Is there anything you need from me? (A good question that shows love and concern, but leaves it open to the child still solving the problem)

How to Assess Risk

  • In general, humans do a very poor job at risk assessment.
  • No trail activities are without risk.
  • Each time we go out, they are building those skills that will help them stretch their limits.

How to Do Hard Things

  • Children today are born strong, but we live in a world now where so many things are made easy
  • When we take them outside, we give them opportunities to show that they can endure, overcome, inspire, and conquer.
  • These are skills that can’t be taught using worksheets and clever educational videos. These can ONLY be taught in the outdoor lab.

SUMMIT Gear Review™: Gregory Wander Youth Pack 50 Liters


  • Ripstop polyester
  • Aluminum perimeter hoop
  • YKK Zippers


  • Velcro adjustment system, holds at 500 lb/sq inch
  • Hip belt is fully adjustable though small/med and large, so they did something clever: instead of hip pocket, there is a side
  • LOVE: Water bottles are accessible while you’re wearing the pack!
  • Our 12 year old scout loves that he can access his gear from the top or the front. He doesn’t like bottom zippers because he wants to be able to access and see all his gear, not just the stuff on the top and bottom.
  • Pockets: 2 water bottle pockets, a small zippered snack pouch right behind the right water bottle pouch, no hip pouch since the hip belt is fully adjustable, cavernous lid zippered pocket, rather large pouch on the lid to the front entrance of the pack.
  • Comes with a built in pack cover
  • Straps everywhere so your gear stays in place
  • Front and top entrance to the pack interior


  • Only 3 lbs 6 oz (for xs/s)
  • 13-18 inches which should cover most boys age 10-18
  • They also have a slightly longer pack that covers torso sizes 15-20.
  • Internal frame
  • To me it seems more slender than most Gregory adult packs


  • Unscented mild detergent
  • Hand wash in bathtub
  • Hang to dry
  • Don’t have to wash every time it’s used
  • Mirazyme (McNett) for removing odors…a must for boy packs…


  • $179
  • Incredible value for the quality, the range of sizes this covers


  • Gregory packs are built to last
  • Although it’s a youth pack, they cut no corners—and this is a pack that an adult would not be ashamed to use.
  • Stroke of Gregory brilliance, the bottom, where kids typically drag their pack, is made of tougher material than most adult packs.
  • I can’t think of a better gift to give an 11 to 12 year old boy as they go into the scouting program or as they begin to take more family backpacking trips.

Backpack Hack of the Week™: Gnäshi Bars

4 cups oats (in blender to make oat flour)

1/2 cup fresh almond butter (which you can also make in your blender or food processor)

1/2 cup honey

After you blend the oats, mix oat flour, almond butter and honey in a kitchen-aid mixer. Put ball of dough in a gallon Ziploc bag and roll out. Cut off bag and cut into bars. Wrap with plastic wrap or parchment paper. You can also leave dough in bag and tear off pieces to eat.

You can also roll the dough into a snake, cut it and wrap it up like tootsie rolls.

Trail Wisdom

“Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.”

-Steven Wright