061: The Perfect Gateway Activity

Show Notes: Episode 061

Today on The First 40 Miles, are you looking to persuade a friend or family member to come backpacking with you? We’ve got the perfect gateway activity to start them off with. Then, if you haven’t found the perfect knife from the wagon of the village peddler, we’ll give you an even better place to start. On the SUMMIT Gear Review, a multiuse piece of gear that can go from pack to trail and right back to pack. Then on the Backpack Hack of the Week, 420 calories and no mess. And we’ll wrap up the show with a little trail wisdom from our good friend on the trail, William O Douglas


  • The many pleasures of dayhiking
  • Dayhiking: The Gateway Activity to Backpacking
  • Local trails, access roads, logging roads (wide enough for groups and families, more open)

The Top 5 Case Knives That Backpackers Might be Interested in Checking Out

Caliber® Lockback

  • $18.99
  • Our small lockbacks provide extra portability without sacrificing knife durability or function. Each is amply equipped to serve as an everyday carrier or part of a collection.
  • Stainless Steel
  • Texturized handle
  • Really easy to open because 2/3 of the blade is showing. It’s not hidden. Don’t have to use the thumb grip to open , can easily be just pinched and flipped open.
  • Only downside to this knife it there’s no hole for attaching a carabiner or rope. It’s a pocket carry
  • Lockback
  • Clip Blade
  • 3 3/4 in
  • 2 oz.

Sod Buster Jr.

  • $33.99
  • Love that the thumb grip on the sod buster jr is higher up toward the tip of the knife.
  • Makes it easy to open.
  • If you’re looking for a knife that’s easy to find when you dig through your 10 essentials or if you drop it on the on the ground, this is a good one. Comes in demure yellow and hunter orange—the orange is great.
  • Strong spring…does that vary from knife to knife? Some seem easy to open, some are tough
  • Not a lockback. Closes when you put pressure on the blade from the other side
  • Very smooth synthetic handle.
  • Stainless Steel
  • Skinner Blade
  • 3 5/8 in
  • 1 oz.

Jr. Scout

  • $106.99
  • A classic
  • Amber Bone color and Peach Seed Jig are signatures of the Case brand
  • Stainless Steel
  • Spear Blade, Can Opener, Screwdriver and Leather Punch with Bail
  • 3 3/8 in
  • 2 oz.
  • Crossover knife, if you’re wanting something that you can use in other outdoor rec settings—not just on bp trips, this is it.
  • Light weight with a classic feel.

Camo Caliber XX-Changer®

  • Has Clip, Fillet, Saw and Drop Point Blades
  • Lightweight Zytel® Handle
  • Genuine Leather Sheath
  • 5 in closed
  • 12 oz. (with sheath plus other blades)
  • However only 3.8 oz. if you bring just the knife with the drop point blade.
  • Has a hole on the end of the knife you you can attach it to a rope or paracord
  • $81.99
  • Stainless Steel
  • “Worth the Weight” Knife for some, or not for others
  • Gets the job done, tough, strong, and great grip

Carbon FiberLockback (also known as the “Executive”)

  • As Ground Drop Point Blade
  • Smooth Black Carbon Fiber Handle
  • 3 1/8 in / 7.94cm closed; 0.6 oz.
  • Straight thumb grip, not curved like thumbnail
  • The thumb grip is a little further toward the pivot point, which makes it a little less convenient to open.

Some Case knives are not available for sale on their website.  See this link to find a local Case retailer.

SUMMIT Gear Review™: Peregrine Ultralight Dry Summit Pack


  • 30D CORDURA® Ultralite fabric delivers a desirable combination of qualities: durable, compact, lightweight, and weatherproof
  • Cylinder shaped dry-sack with lightweight shoulder straps for keeping the load on the back
  • Hypalon® roll-top closure secures the bag shut and keeps the contents protected and dry
  • Double waterproof treatment with a siliconized outside and a polyurethane coated inside. Taped and double stitched seams keep the bag watertight
  • No sternum straps or hip belt
  • Best for loads around 6-10 pounds


  • Drawstring exterior net compresses the bag
  • Very simple bag
  • No water bottle pockets or interior pockets
  • It’s simple “no-pocket” design means that you’ll want to have your gear divided into smaller stuff sacks—not a problem if you’re on a backpacking trip
  • For day hiking, you’d have food, water, ten essentials, clothing, camera and maybe a hammock.
  • Also, no padding on back, so you’ll want to fill the bag strategically so you don’t have something lumpy against your back.
  • Multi use: Could use this as a day pack, a clothing stuff sack, and a summit pack.


  • Weighs only 3.6 ounces
  • 25 Liters
  • Top opening is about the diameter of a dinner plate
  • 22 inches long


  • Hand wash lukewarm water and mild soap


  • $30


  • Would be more useful/convenient with one interior pocket (or waterbottle pocket) that could also be used to stuff this bag into itself for storage.
  • Didn’t end up using the net on the outside of bag
  • Liked the slender cinch straps that are at the base of the shoulder straps. That was a nice way to cut weight and make this pack even lighter!

Backpack Hack of the Week™: No-Mess Tuna Sandwich Kit

This is our most popular meal on our family day hikes. We usually buy the larger package of tuna, and spend a good 5 minutes opening up all the tiny mayo packets and squeezing in enough mayo to make tuna sandwiches for six people. At some point, it may just make sense to bring a little jar.

We bring the ingredients to make this on lots of our family day hikes. This recipe feeds one.

2.1 oz foil packet tuna (we used Bumblebee Premium Light Tuna in Water)

2 mayonnaise packets (we used Heinz Real Mayonnaise .42 oz)

2 fajita tortillas (they fit in a sandwich zip top bag! Smaller than traditional tortillas)

one ziptop sandwich bag

When you’re ready to eat, add mayo packets to bag with tuna. Stir with a spoon and put half on one tortilla, half on the other. Even better with some pepper and mustard, too! When finished, put all trash back in plastic sandwich bag.

420 calories: 78 cal/oz

580 calories with double the mayo: 107 cal/oz

Trail Wisdom

“I learned early that the richness of life is found in adventure. Adventure calls on all the faculties of mind and spirit. It develops self-reliance and independence. Life then teems with excitement. But man is not ready for adventure unless he is rid of fear.”

–William O. Douglas