095: TWO: The Couples Episode

Show Notes: Episode 095

Today on the First 40 Miles, TWO: The Couples Episode.  If you’re hiking or backpacking with your significant other, there are some great benefits—and some relationship pitfalls.  We’ll do our best to share some helpful information for how to include your spouse in your next backpacking trip.  Then, on the SUMMIT Gear Review, we’ll share a pair of shoes that will help you get through better or worse.  On the Backpack Hack of the Week, a tweak to your sleep system that maximizes your heat output.  And we’ll wrap up the show with a little trail wisdom that just may save your relationship.


  • “Trail Mode”
  • So focused on personally recharging, that we forget to connect
  • What are the challenges of backpacking together?

Top 5 Tips for Backpacking as a Couple

Divide Labor

  • Had this experience on our Salmon River overnighter

Don’t Take Things Personally

  • The person who is more adept or experienced may start to take things personally when the other person struggles or complains


  • It great to see your partner succeed!
  • Verbalize it, express it, and recognize the effort!

Recognize Each Other’s Perspective

  • You both have different skills, interests, different ways you solve problems, and overcome personal struggles
  • Communicate

Share Your Gear

  • Stove, food prep, tent, tarp—you can even share a tree if you’re hammock camping!
  • No sense in packing two, when you can share.

SUMMIT Gear Review: Xero Shoes (Z-Trail + Z-Trek)


  • Z-Trail has three layers
  • Z-Trek has one layer


  • Designed for barefoot running—and you have to change your gait
  • Do not hike with a hard heel strike
  • Hiking, backpacking


  • Z-Trail weighs 20% less than the Z-Trek


  • Hand wash


  • Z-Trail: $80
  • Z-Trek: $60
  • 5000 Mile guarantee


  • The Z-Trail has a softer material in the arch and mid toe area.
  • The Z-Trek is tough throughout
  • Xero Shoes are a new way of thinking about shoes on the trail. They are a minimalist shoe that does the bare minimum without weighing you down.

Backpack Hack of the Week™: Sleeping Bags Zipped Together

  • Warm, easy, traps double the body heat,
  • Each person carries their own sleeping bag
  • R+L bags
  • Even mummy bags can be zipped together – as long as one is a “right zip” bag and the other is a “left zip” bag. (Otherwise, one of the hoods will be facing upwards and one will be facing the ground!)
  • Same zipper size is key

Trail Wisdom

“Two great talkers will not travel far together.”

-George Borrow