050: Secrets, Vampires, and Fake Spiders

Show Notes: Episode 050

Today on The First 40 Miles, how to hoard massive amounts of simple carbs for your next backpacking trip. On the Top 5 List, we’ll share the top five secrets you should never keep from your trail mates. Then on the SUMMIT Gear Review, an ultralight backpacking staple that will cut both your pack weight and your pack volume. Next, on the Backpack Hack of the Week, you’ll learn how to dry your fly. And we’ll wrap up the show with a little trail wisdom from a man who loves adventure. Or maybe he doesn’t.


  • In the ideal diet, we focus on lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, lean meat in small quantities, and small amounts of fats and sugars.
  • But, backpackers need calorie dense food that can be accessed quickly and that provides energy.
  • Halloween= Simple carbs + Fat
  • Great time to get some prime backpacking trail snacks
  • Snickers
  • Payday bars
  • Hard Candy or Chewy Candy (esp. if sealed completely, not just with the ends twisted)
  • Mounds or Almond Joy
  • Raisins in boxes
  • Be sure to grab any spider rings. They make for great pranks in about 6 months…

Top 5 Secrets You Should Never Keep From Your Trail Mates

Bad Trail News

  • Washed out bridge that changes the route
  • Avalanche warning
  • Thunderstorms, snow storms
  • Predatory Bear
  • Wildfire
  • Especially if you’re the one planning the trip
  • You need to communicate to your group
  • Everyone needs to do their homework before a trip

If You Have an Intuitive Gut Feeling

  • If you have the uncanny ability to sense when things aren’t right, you need to share that—even if it’s wrong!
  • When the hair on your arm stand s up, or you get that nagging pit, say something
  • Share your thoughts then let the group talk it out

If You’re Recovering From an Injury

  • Most of us don’t want to be the one that’s holding the group back
  • But going full speed ahead as if nothing happened, may make things worse
  • Take it slow
  • For a heart attack, there are early warning signs (although these may differ depending on the person)
  • Chest pain, shortness of breath, light-headedness


  • Chew up and swallow an aspirin. It could help keep the clot in your artery from getting worse. Heart meds, too.
  • Lie down and try your best to relax. Reduce the amount of physical and mental stress on your heart. Increase oxygen if you can. This may mean going down in elevation.
  • Try to stay warm. The body doesn’t function as well and uses more energy if you’re cold.
  • Send for help, but don’t leave anyone alone (in camp or on the trail)

If you have Broken /Lost/Forgotten gear

  • Don’t suffer needlessly
  • Even if it’s a major piece of gear and you know you’ll never live it down
  • Backpackers are ingenious creatures, and something can be rigged up using combined resources, skills and ideas.
  • Backpackers are famous for helping out friends and strangers equally
  • Not letting your buddies know is just irresponsible…

BONUS! If you are a vampire or werewolf

  • One full moon, or one first aid incident can really wreak havoc on your campsite and lead to trust issues on future trips.

SUMMIT Gear Review™: Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Dry Sack


  • Unique compression idea – allows air to be pushed out to compress, but water can’t get in because of the waterproof, air permeable eVent® fabric base
  • Made with Ultra-Sil 30 Denier high tenacity Cordura (nylon fabric)
  • Waterproof seams – double stitched and tape sealed
  • Roll-top Hypalon watertight closure, which you roll 3 times then click the buckle closed
  • Reinforced stitching on all stress points
  • Three straps


  • Not meant for protecting gear that will be submerged (double bag your electronics)
  • Sometimes the straps on any compression bag will get all tangled and confused, but there’s a simple way to fix that. Just take one strap, and get that one strap untwisted. Once you get that one strap untwisted and the lid on the right way, the rest will work out.


  • Super compact and very light
  • XS: 2.3 oz and 6 liters ( 2 liters)
  • S: 2.6 oz and 10 liters (3.3 liters)
  • M: 3.2 oz and 14 liters (4.5 liters)
  • L: 3.4 oz and 20 liters (6.7 liters)
  • All the sizes will compress the gear to one third the original volume


  • Avoid contact with sharp objects or subjecting the sack to high abrasion, as this could compromise the waterproof fabric.


  • Depending on the size, these bags run between $33-48 range
  • What you’re paying for is a ultralight compression sack that will keep your gear dry and compact.
  • This is a performance stuff sack. It’s job is to keep your gear in a compressed tight little dry ball. Go budget on your other stuff sacks. This one is worth it for keeping things dry and compressed. Clothing and sleeping bag or quilt.


  • Used the Small Sea to Summit 10 liter Ultra-Sil Compression Dry Sack for Enlightened Equipment Enigma Quilt.
  • Also used the XS Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Sack it for holding the body of the tent (Josh had the fly). Tents get wet, and I didn’t want my other gear to get wet. One of the great things about this Sea to Summit bag is that it keeps wet things wet and dry things dry. It works in reverse!
  • Don’t get this confused with the Sea to Summit eVent Compression Dry Sack—these are almost twice as heavy as the Ultra-Sil Compression Dry Sacks

Backpack Hack of the Week™: How to Dry Your Fly

  • In morning take the rain fly off and shake it out. This works best with two people. Keep shaking until the water is mostly off.
  • Next, set the rain fly upside down on your tent while you make breakfast. If it’s windy, be sure to attach it to the tent, so your buddies won’t have to drain their camera batteries taking pictures of you chasing a fly.

Trail Wisdom

“There are two kinds of adventurers: those who go truly hoping to find adventure and those who go secretly hoping they won’t.”

–William Least Heat-Moon