067: What in the Heck is VBL?

Show Notes: Episode 067

Today on The First 40 Miles, a three letter abbreviation that may make all the difference on your next adventure. Then, get your feet ready with five simple steps. On the SUMMIT Gear Review, we’ll share a luxury that will keep you toasty warm for hours and hours. And we’ll come full circle with a hack that includes today’s mysterious three letter abbreviation.


  • What in the heck is VBL?
  • Vapor barrier liner
  • Best used in specific situations
  • When the temperature is at freezing or below
  • Skurka resource

Top 5 Ways to Prep Your Feet for a Backpacking Trip

Introduce your feet to your shoes

  • Modern hiking shoes don’t need to be “broken in”
  • Your feet do need to get used to them

Strengthen your feet with varied terrain

  • Josh’s experience with Xero Shoes
  • Importance of varied terrain in strengthening feet and ankles

Trim nails

  • Straight across
  • Gnarly nails will wear a hole in your nice wool socks
  • Bruised toes from when toenails bumped up against shoes
  • Especially if you’ve got a lot of downhill

Take care of any foot health issues

  • Plantar warts
  • Ingrown toenails

Baby Your Tough Feet

  • This means if you have dry, cracked heels, it’s time to soften them up
  • Pumice stone for exfoliating thick or cracked skin
  • Soak your feet, exfoliate with the pumice stone, then use a foot balm.
  • Badger Foot Balm is a natural, effective foot balm

SUMMIT Gear Review™: Zippo 12 Hour Hand Warmer


  • Catalytic Hand Warmer
  • Sleek, shiny, chrome, curved edges
  • Fits perfectly in a little black velvet drawstring pouch
  • Chrome version is engraveable


  • Low and slow heat that grows the longer it burns
  • Long burn 6-12 hours
  • Faint lighter fluid smell
  • Can be used in a sleeping bag, pants pocket, jacket pocket
  • Keep the chrome handwarmer in the velvet bag during use to prevent injury


  • 2.7 ounces
  • Bring 5 fluid ounce bottle of lighter fluid


  • Fill with lighter fluid
  • Comes with a little teeny pitcher to refill the handwarmer
  • To ignite, gently move a flame around the cap—don’t hold it in place
  • You’re trying to coax the fumes to burn
  • Takes a little practice


  • Under $20 at local hardware store
  • Don’t forget to buy Ronsonol or Zippo Lighter Fluid


  • Carbon Monoxide concern
  • Fuel didn’t spill
  • Burned long and warm

Backpack Hack of the Week™: VBL Gloves

  • If you’d like to test out the VBL principle for your winter outdoor recreation activities, simply grab a pair of latex or nitrile gloves to wear under your wool gloves.
  • Remember that you’ll sweat and need to ventilate.
  • If it works for you and keeps your hands warm, then you can begin experimenting with other VBLs and see if you want to incorporate the principle into other pieces of gear, like headwear, clothing, socks and sleep system.

Trail Wisdom

“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.”

-Gary Snyder