084: Nature is the Birthplace of Creativity

Show Notes: Episode 084

Today on the First 40 Miles, if necessity is the mother of invention, then nature is the maternity ward. Then on today’s top 5 list, we’ll share the 5 types of YouTubers that you should check out before your next trip. On the SUMMIT Gear Review, one of the ten essentials just became a little more compact. Next on the Backpack Hack of the Week, a zero gram trail game that will keep everyone entertained around the campfire. And we’ll wrap up the show with a little trail wisdom from a guy who looks and talks exactly like Henry David Thoreau. No wait, no, that is Henry David Thoreau.


  • Nature is the birthplace of creativity
  • Stanford study about walking and creativity
  • Getting outside boosts your creativity
  • Being outside demands creativity (which is why we have the Backpack Hack of the Week)
  • Ideas, problem-solving, creative connections, cobweb sweeping, seeing clearly, complexities become simplified

Top 5 Types of YouTubers that Backpackers Can Learn From


  • These are hard core guys and gals who can go out into the forest with a camo tarp, a knife, flint and steel, and a canteen and have a great time.
  • They are a wealth of info
  • It’s not about weight or packability of gear, it’s about what you can do with what you have.
  • Survivalist mentality, pioneering, etc.
  • Recommendations on firestarting, knives, water collection
  • Paul Kirtley

Ultralight Backpackers

  • They may look like backpackers, but they have a specific goal—and that is to go as light as possible, either by reducing the weight of individual pieces of gear or by eliminating unnecessary items.
  • It’s an extreme but exciting thought for beginners
  • The right way to do ultralight—the safe way


  • They put together a “bug-out-bag”
  • Three day supply of food and water and a plan
  • “Plan for the worst, hope for the best”
  • Focus on food, water, fuel (same as backpackers)
  • Difference: they tend to also focus on ammunition and firearms

Historical Buffs

  • These are the folks who do historical war reenactments
  • They’re under similar constraints that backpackers are under as far as food preservation and food preparation goes.
  • 1805 Primitive American Cooking Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/jastownsendandson

Glamping Campers

  • If you already are into backpacking, then you have the outdoor basics. And that allows you to bulk up and do a little car camping, or if you want to go even further, glamorous camping, AKA glamping
  • That means that more is provided: a tent or yurt, or cabin, running water,
  • It may be a great option for a family reunion, newlyweds,
  • Before you scoff at the idea of “glamorous camping”, it really does fill a need. It makes it possible for folks who love the outdoors, but who may be struggling with health issues or other things, to at least get out, and enjoy being outside.

SUMMIT Gear Review: Popticals


  • Popticals are high-performance sports sunglasses that collapse down to fit in your pocket.
  • The frames have a track with stainless steel pins that make it so the lenses slide together–parallel to each other–for compact storage.
  • When you’re ready to use the glasses, you slide the lenses apart from each other, then a magnet attaches the connecting pieces in the bridge of the frames.
  • Frames are made of Grilamid TR-90, which is a homopolyamide nylon with an extremely high alternative bending strength, low density and a high resistance to chemical and UV damage.
  • Zeiss Lenses (polarized)


  • Popticals filter out 100% of the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays.
  • Because they’re wrap-around glasses, it also blocks light from entering through the sides,
  • The frames are amazingly flexible—which means resilience and comfortable fit—even if you have an awkwardly shaped head.


  • The Popticals themselves weigh 1 ounce (27 grams)
  • The sunglasses plus the carrying case weigh 2.1 ounces (62 grams)
  • The sunglasses also come with a soft fabric pouch—so you can ditch the hard case altogether (but the manufacturer does not recommend that)


  • Popticals use Ri-Pel® technology, making them repellent to dirt, oil, dust and water.
  • Scratch resistant
  • The frames and lenses are extremely impact and fracture resistant-which is great for rough trail conditions
  • They can absorb impact of a steel ball traveling at a speed of 100mph) (don’t try this at home)
  • Soft fabric bag doubles as a cleaning cloth for lenses


  • $199


  • These sunglasses fold up, and have a carrying case that not only fits in your pocket, but it floats.
  • These were easy to use, easy to stow, lightweight, and totally protected in their compact hard-sided case

Backpack Hack of the Week™: Trail Game: Contact

  • This is a guessing game
  • First person has a secret word that everyone else is trying to guess (My secret word is “zipper”)
  • First person gives the first letter of the word (My words starts with a Z)
  • To guess, everyone asked questions like “Is it an animal that looks like a horse?” and I answer, “No, it is not a zebra
  • Or “Is it the sound cars make when they drive by?”
  • If they ask a question that I can’t answer or if I answer incorrectly, then I owe them the next letter in my word
  • The word they were thinking of (“zoom”) and the person has to reveal the next letter
  • The next letter in my word is “I”
  • The more clever your questions are worded, the better. Remember, you’re trying to outwit the first person and force them to reveal the next letter of their secret word!
  • There is no order to who can ask questions in this game, just shout out a question when you think of it.

Trail Wisdom

“It is the marriage of the soul with Nature that makes the intellect fruitful, and gives birth to imagination.”

-Henry David Thoreau