088: Setting Reasonable Expectations

Show Notes: Episode 088

Today on the First 40 Miles, we’ll talk about setting reasonable expectations—and why it will make your trip even better!  Then, our Top 5 List will give you some great ideas for how to say happy birthday on the trail—without the mess of confetti or balloons.  Next on the SUMMIT Gear Review, an upgrade for your Nalgene water bottle that will save you the embarrassment of spilled water in your lap.  For today’s Backpack Hack of the Week, learn the trick for getting closer to one more birthday.


  • Setting Reasonable Expectations
  • 1-2 miles an hour
  • The more people, the lower your expectations should be
  • More stopping, more issues, more photos, more everything…
  • Expectations not met = disappointment

Top 5 Ways to Celebrate Birthdays on the Trail

A Birthday Cake

  • On our second Redwoods Trip, Steve gave me a large Costco double chocolate muffin with a lit match stuck on top
  • A Twinkie with a candle or match
  • Steam bake a birthday cake (with rocks in base of stove)

Gift of Gear or a hack

  • Something small and simple, even a gear hack
  • It doesn’t have to be big—because everything that happens on the trail is so much more meaningful than if it were to happen at home.

A Special Birthday Wake Up Song

  • “Birthday” from the Beatles White Album
  • “Happy Birthday” from your hiking buddies
  • If you’ve got neighbors, be sure to “let nature’s sounds prevail”

A Technicolor Campfire

  • $1-3 per packet…one packet per fire (burns about 30-60 minutes)
  • Wildly colorful flames
  • Can’t cook on these flames, but they are environmentally friendly
  • Colorful Fire
  • Mystical Fire

Stories about the Birthday Boy or Girl

  • Tell stories around the campfire about the person
  • This is great if you have a group…you can all go around and share something about the birthday person
  • Depending on the person you could roast marshmallows, then roast your friend.
  • Stories…

How not to celebrate birthdays: fireworks

Keep the fireworks at home…trees and fireworks don’t play nice together…

SUMMIT Gear Review™: Humangear capCAP


  • A lid with a lid. Or a cap with a cap.  So, it’s a wide mouth cap that you screw on to your Nalgene, but then that lid has another smaller lid on top that you can use for drinking like it’s a narrow mouth bottle.
  • The smaller opening has a rubberized easy to grip cap—which is nice if you have gloves on
  • BPA-free, polycarbonate-free, and phthalate-free. Both caps are made with FDA-approved, food-safe polypropylene (#5) plastic.


  • Splash-free drinking
  • The part that you drink out of is curved to match your lips
  • Ergonomically designed for your lips—which is so cool–for comfortable drinking
  • Works with most popular BPA-free 63mm wide-mouth bottles
  • They have a compatibility list on their site
  • Rounded strap, which means even with the kilo of water, the strap isn’t going to dig into your fingers like a Nalgene does.


  • Weighs 1.3 ounces (37 grams)
  • Compared to a Nalgene lid which weighs .7 ounces (18 grams)


  • Hand wash or wash top rack in your dishwasher


  • 2 pack on the amazing Amazon for $16.50
  • Humangear sells them on their site for $6 each with $5 shipping
  • You can probably find them in the travel section of a large store
  • Lifetime warranty—for the lifetime of the product


  • Humangear is an innovative company that has some things you might have seen like the GoToob, GoTubb
  • Because of the narrow diameter of the top opening and the rubberized cap, it can be opened with one hand
  • Cleans up easily, and gives you full access to your bottle for easy cleaning
  • You can also attach the capCAP to your Nalgene permanently, by removing the old Nalgene lid. Then take the capCAP and remove the loop from the wide mouth cap and slide it over the top of the Nalgene until it stretches over the threads and that ridge right under the threads.  If you do this, then when you unscrew the capCAP to treat water, it will stay attached to the water bottle.
  • Great accessory, easy to use and it makes drinking from a wide mouth bottle tons easier
  • Another option for gush-free drinking is the Hydrapack Watergate

Backpack Hack of the Week™: Avoiding Widowmakers

  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration describes widowmakers as, “Broken off limbs that are hanging freely in the tree to be felled or in the trees close by.”
  • Dead trees or large dead limbs that are positioned perfectly over your tent
  • One windy night these large dead limbs can become dislodged. If they become dislodged and fall on your tent, you’ve got a problem.
  • Don’t underestimate the weight of a dead branch
  • Gravity, weight and momentum…
  • Something as small as 4” in diameter can weigh several hundred pounds

Trail Wisdom

“The hiker can go without combing his hair or shaving and will be accepted as perfectly normal. He can get dirty and his friends will still speak to him jovially. His clothes may be in tatters, and people will think nothing of it. If there happens to be a little rock dust on his shirt or trousers, or if his clothes are a trifle torn, so much the better. Of such stuff are hiking heroes made.”

-Ann and Myron Sutton

Check out TheFirst40Miles.com/shop to see some cool new stuff!