074: Right of Way

Show Notes: Episode 074

Today on The First 40 Miles, a hiker, a horse and a cyclist walk into a bar…is there a punchline or is there trail protocol? On the Top 5 List you’ll learn why Titanium isn’t just for aircraft. On the SUMMIT Gear Review, we’ll review a water bottle that has all the right features. For today’s Backpack Hack of the Week, a simple compostable cutting board and food prep area. And we’ll wrap up the show with a guy who cannot stop talking about how beautiful the wilderness is.


  • Right of way story about horses
  • Who gets the right of way on the trail?
  • Yield to uphill hikers or those passing you from behind
  • We typically yield to groups…it’s a lot easier to step to the side than to expect each person to move out of the way.
  • When you encounter Cyclists or Mountain Bikers: Hikers technically have the right of way, but imagine if you were a cyclist and you had to slow down or dismount each time you passed a hiker. If I can, I like to let the cyclist go by.
  • When you encounter Horses: Everyone yields to horses.
  • If you see a horse and rider approaching, ask “Where would you like me to stand?”
  • treadlightly.org says “Often, a hiker’s instinct is to step to the high side of the trail to let horses pass but a horse is less likely to spook at hikers who are not looming above him. In any event, if you encounter multiple hikers encourage them to stay on the same side of the trail.”
  • Now, just because there are rules of etiquette set up, doesn’t mean that all people will follow. And it also doesn’t give anyone the right to enforce these rules. The rules are meant to promote peace, safety and order on the trail.

Top 5 Benefits of Titanium

Won’t leach like stainless steel

  • Sometimes stainless steel can flavor water because of other metals that are in it.

Excellent corrosion resistance

  • Titanium is more resistant than any other metal to salt water and acid rain environments.


  • Inert in the human body
  • Titanium is used: surgical implants and dental plates attesting to the
  • Non-toxic to humans and animals.


  • Titanium is 45% lighter than steel and stronger than aluminum.
  • And for backpacking purposes, it’s typically even thinner than what you may use in a similar application for home use.

Great for Boiling Water

  • Titanium pots are ideal for boiling water because they can be made with very thin walls, and transfer heat efficiently.
  • Not great for dry baking—the pan may warp.

It’s Easy to Find

  • It’s the seventh most common element on earth
  • You can find chopsticks, potty trowels, pots, knives, caribiners, pot grabbers–
  • Evernew America: Titanium Cookwear
  • Vargo: innovative Titanium backpacking gear

SUMMIT Gear Review: AVEX Freeflow Autoseal Water Bottle


  • Plastic water bottle that is 100% BPA-free
  • Impact-resistant and meant to last
  • Lifetime warranty
  • It has some great features that make it a go to water bottle


  • AUTOSEAL® button operated lid automatically seals between sips to eliminate spills and leaks, so to drink just hold the button, and when you release it seals automatically
  • Cross-bolt lock prevents the AUTOSEAL® button from accidentally being pushed for safe transport
  • High flow rate spout
  • Spout cover
  • Also has a handle for easy transport or securing to pack
  • Easy to maneuver when drinking (button is in right spot, hand grip is in right spot with a rubberized lid that prevents slipping while drinking)
  • The AVEX FreeFlow has the same mouth size and threading as the Nalgene wide mouth bottle, making it as equally functional as the Nalgene.


  • Weighs 8.7 ounces (Only 2.3 ounces heavier than the 1 Liter wide mouth Nalgene which weighs in at 6.4 ounce)
  • 11.2 inches tall and 3.5 inches wide
  • More slender than a Nalgene, which makes it much easier to fit in your pack


  • Doesn’t have mold issues like Heather’s old Camelback Eddy water bottle
  • If you unscrew the AVEX lid there is a “Drop Down” feature which means the autoseal mechanism can actually be popped out of place and cleaned thoroughly
  • The AutoSeal mechanism won’t work if frozen, however the water bottle can still open by unscrewing the lid


  • $17
  • Lifetime Warranty


  • No graduated marks on this model
  • Water bottle as a comfort item

Backpack Hack of the Week™: Cutting Board and Food Prep

Food prep in the wilderness is tricky. If you do bring along food that needs to be sliced, diced or grated, it helps to have a food prep area—and it’s even better if that food prep area is compostable.

A few cheap, uncoated paper plates stashed in your food bin is the perfect solution. You can cut up your green pepper and slice a few hunks of asiago cheese without getting them covered in Mother Nature’s Seasoning. Paper plates are cheap, durable when they need to be, and compostable or burnable when you’re finished.

A bonus hack, if you’re going to be doing some sandwich prep, it might also help to bring some waxed paper so you can have a large surface to prepare the food. Wax paper doubles as a trendy faux frosted glass serving platter. Everyone will say “wow”.

And don’t forget the ever-popular doily.

Trail Wisdom

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”

-John Muir