093: What’s Up With Queen Moonracer?

Show Notes: Episode 093

Today on the First 40 Miles, if you’ve ever met someone on the trail who sounds like they were named by cartoon characters, you have discovered trail names! And today we’ll share everything you need to know about this fun trail tradition.  Then on the SUMMIT Gear Review, a piece of gear that will make you 10% more attractive, 30% smarter, and 98% protected from harmful UVA/UVB rays.  On today’s Backpack Hack of the Week, a simple mnemonic for what to do during a bear attack.  And we’ll wrap up the show with a little trail wisdom from our good friend on the trail, Henry David Thoreau.


  • What’s up with Queen Moonracer? Trail Names?
  • Fun tradition from thru hikers that can be applied to any trail experience
  • Part of the “leaving it all behind” feel you have on the trail.
  • Part anonymity, part equality, part camaraderie

Top 5  Things You Need to Know About Trail Names

Trail names are part of the thru hiking culture

  • Thru hikes start at point A and end at point B (some of the most famous thru hikes being the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail –which make up the “Triple Crown”)
  • But even section hikers or the weekend backpacker can participate in this tradition.
  • Thru hikers use their trail names to sign in at the shelters
  • Fun tradition, sense of belonging, leaving it all behind, new identity

A great trail name has a backstory

  • A trail name is the ultimate ice breaker—because usually there’s a story to go with it
  • Many times that story reveals a blunder or mistake or something that we can all laugh about now, but maybe when it happened it wasn’t so funny
  • SkeeterFeeder…the hiker who camped near a lake without mosquito repellent or netting and woke up with 273 mosquito bites.
  • John Manure…the guy who kept stepping in every form of squishy stuff out there
  • You might have it bestowed on you
  • Heather also earned the name “Tyvek” when she forgot to bring rain gear, but a trail mate had a big sheet of Tyvek that Heather wrapped around her waist to keep dry during a sideways rainstorm
  • Pocahontas
  • Mary Poppins
  • Blind hiker known as Zero-Zero to indicate his eyesight
  • There is a twist of creativity, self-deprecation and humor in many trail names

You can pick it yourself

  • Many hikers agree that trail names come organically on the trail from the people we hike with, but there’s no rule that says you can’t pick it yourself.
  • Find inspiration from your heritage, your hometown, your interests or your skills

It’s fine to go without a trail name

  • Either you can use your own name that your parents gave you, or you can go out without a trail name
  • If you’re going without a trail name because you can’t think of one, then that’s fine too
  • You can go out and let something emerge from the experience

If you get one you don’t like, don’t answer to it…

  • The whole purpose of trail names is to have fun
  • If someone tries to pin a name on you that is just embarrassing or not appealing, shake it off and move on. Either the name will fade, or it’ll actually grow on you and you’ll come to enjoy it.
  • Short, unique, and ideally representative

Sounds of the Trail podcast episode 4: What’s in a Name

SUMMIT Gear Review: LTM 6 Tilley Airflo Hat (a.k.a The Classic Hiker Hat)


  • Hat made from 100% supplex nylon
  • Mesh from 100% polyester
  • Made in Canada


  • Excellent sun protection, rated UPF 50+, the maximum rating given
  • Fabrics of all Tilley Hats are certified to block 98% of harmful UVA/UVB rays (although some rays could enter through the 3/4″ mesh.)
  • Good ventilation and air flow
  • Repels rain, floats and ties on in the wind
  • Pocket that velcros shut (large enough to hold cash, drivers license)
  • Has a tag where you can put your name and phone # (with a ball point pen, not a sharpie!!)
  • Comes in 5 different colors
  • Unisex (Nothing gender specific about this hat.”



  • Machine wash delicate or hand wash. Re-shape by hand. Air dry. Do not bleach. Wash it frequently or non-removable sweat stains will mar it and possibly rot it.
  • If it’s lost its shape after washing, the instructions inside the hat say to restretch over knee.


  • $84
  • Guaranteed for life not to wear out – a true lifetime warranty (replaced for free if it ever wears out)
  • Insured against loss for 2 years – all perils; 50% deductible


  • “As a bonus, it also makes a great gift for anyone with a head.”
  • We’ve heard that it can be used to drain pasta…
  • We used it as a screen so our kids wouldn’t be grossed out when we kissed. It worked.

Backpack Hack of the Week™: Mnemonic for Bear Attacks

  • nps.gov states “Each bear and each experience is unique; there is no single strategy that will work in all situations and that guarantees safety. Most bear encounters end without injury. Following some basic guidelines may help to lessen the threat of danger. Your safety can depend on your ability to calm the bear. When you arrive in a park, always remember to check with the nearest visitor center or backcountry office for the latest bear safety information.”
  • Black: “Yak and attack” (be loud, aggressive, large, throw things, fight) DO ­NOT PLAY DEAD
  • Grizzlies: “Get your zzz’s” (Face down, hands behind your neck, legs spread so it’s harder for the grizzly to flip you over. PLAY DEAD and STAY DEAD until the bear has left the area) Do not fight back or the intensity will increase.

Trail Wisdom

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”

-Henry David Thoreau