057: How to Remain Thermally Neutral

Show Notes: Episode 057

Today on The First 40 Miles, we’ll tackle an issue that no presidential candidate has had the courage to tackle—and we have the numbers to back it up. Then on Today’s Top 5 list, a whimsical wish list of impossible gifts. On the SUMMIT Gear Review, a 100 year old piece of paper that can withstand a winter rainstorm or blizzard. Next on the Backpack Hack of the Week, a simple, kinda embarrassing way to keep your feet dry.


Importance of Thermal Neutrality

Clothing and bedding contribute to stabilizing core body temperature

Three Point Plan for Thermal Neutrality:

  1. Proper clothing that can be used for layering.
  2. A proper EN rated bag taking into consideration if you sleep cold or hot, and if you’re male or female.
  3. A pad with a corresponding R value to match the outside temperature.

To remain thermally neutral at the following temps the corresponding r values must be used with a proper EN rated bag and a light baselayer.

0 degrees=7.0r
10 degrees=6.0r
20 degrees=5.0r
30 degrees=4.0r
40 degrees=3.0r
50 degrees=2.0r

Top 5 Gifts That Don’t Exist

Step-charging batteries

  • Batteries that use the energy you expend on the trail with each step to recharge
  • Wires hooked up to your feet

Heated footbox sleeping bags

  • Closest is the Enlightened Equipment down quilt with foot box
  • Big Agnes has developed the technology to make light up tents, so can someone please start working on sleeping bags with a heated footbox?

Peanut butter bladder

  • A bladder that is filled with PB, with a tube that goes straight to your mouth.
  • Filled with a less viscous peanut butter
  • Versatile…can also be used as a maple syrup bladder

Helium Filled Pack

  • Klymit is working on air-filled frames
  • Maybe just replace the air with helium
  • Is there really a helium shortage?

Area wildlife scanner

  • Works through tent walls
  • Scans and projects onto a screen
  • Set to ounces or pounds
  • Would show every little mouse, badger, woodchuck or skunk within 100 yards

SUMMIT Gear Review™: Rite in the Rain

Many hikers like to journal or take notes. If you’ve ever had your journal soaked by a sudden down pour or have accidentally dropped your journal in water or have had a leaky bladder soak your journal, you know how frustrating that can be. Traditional paper just cant hold up to damp conditions.


  • Waterproof Paper
  • Lots of sizes, lots or layouts, small
  • Special coating with a moisture shield
  • Pads and notebooks can be looseleaf, spiral bound, stapled


  • Writing in the rain
  • Durable, tough, easy to write on
  • Works when wet
  • All Weather Pen
  • Pencil
  • Ballpoint pen will work unless you’re writing under water, then it skips


  • Smallest: 3×4.5
  • Largest: ream of copy paper , 11x 17 (or A3 and A4)


  • Can’t use gel pens
  • Archival paper used by universities. Amazing stuff!


  • A few dollars…I found some at our local Ace Hardware


Backpack Hack of the Week™: Waterproof ShoeTopper



Two thin pieces of plastic large enough to cover the top and sides of shoes

Two hair bands

Trail Wisdom

“In a world of constant change and flux where being in the moment seems increasingly harder to attain, there is also something about the notion of traveling along a pathway—under our own power—that reconnects us, and indeed binds together all humanity…”

–Robert Searns