097: Google Trails

Show Notes: Episode 097

Today on the First 40 Miles, Google Maps is awesome, but what if you could brainstorm a new Google initiative called Google Trails—what would you include?  Then on Today’s Top 5 List, a few simple suggestions to help diffuse conflict on the trail.  For the SUMMIT Gear Review, a neck gaiter that does double duty with a secret storage compartment.  Then for the Backpack Hack of the Week, a trashy way to keep your pack contents dry.


  • Google is always doing fun innovative stuff
  • We use their maps, email, search, etc.
  • They recently started doing podcasts (including The First 40 Miles) on Google Play!
  • But what if we could grab their ear for a second…what would you want?
  • Google Trails
  • Like Google Maps, but with trails, reviews, weather, updates, topo maps, trail reports like yelp, reroute for out bridges or mudslides, checkboxes for your desired outdoor experience, route history
  • Our dream: to have every single trail in the US mapped and cataloged

Top 5  Tips for Dealing With Disruptive Site Mates

Whisper to Yourself, “This Too Shall Pass”

  • For the most part the disruption is going to last for a few hours…
  • Eventually they’ll quiet down
  • The morning will come, and you will hike on


  • As the internet has proven over and over, anonymity does not bring out the best in us. Tear down the walls of anonymity and make a connection
  • Once you meet someone and have a positive interaction with them, you’re much more likely to be aware of how your actions impact them.
  • Connecting goes a long way toward smoothing out conflict

Don’t escalate the situation

  • Great advice for those prone to passive aggressive behavior…
  • If the other campers do something to disrupt your happy life, like leave wrappers in your site or take the last of the toilet paper from the pit toilet, just take care of it and move on.
  • I love this quote “It takes two people to have an argument, and I will not be one of them.” It applies to hiking, it applies to marriage, where doesn’t it apply?
  • Let it go…

Remember, you can always relocate

  • Maybe it isn’t a realistic option in every situation
  • Also, many of the heavily trafficked trails in the summertime may be nice and empty in the shoulder season
  • Even if you can’t physically relocate that very night, you can relocate your outdoor time on the calendar to spring and fall when there are just less people using mother nature’s resources

Report to the ranger office

  • That way, if there is any permanent damage, then the rangers will be aware, and be able to fine the hikers, fix the problem or prevent a future problem.
  • Gross negligence or vandalism
  • If it’s a really rough group that has left a trace behind, the permit will have their information
  • Probably won’t get to this level—especially the further back into the woods you go

SUMMIT Gear Review: Sholdit Neck Gaiter


  • Neck gaiter
  • 100% polyester (brushed fleece )


  • The one thing that makes this neck gaiter different from other neck gaiters is that it has a zippered pocket
  • Pocket is the perfect size for little things: mp3 player, cell phone, hand warmer, gum, hard candy, granola bar, hearing aid,
  • Can be used five ways: as a neck gaiter, a head band, an ear warmer, an open ended hat and a hand muff.


  • Measures 11.5″W x 10.5″H
  • Pocket measures 5″W x 6″H
  • Weighs 2.9 ounces (81 grams)


  • Machine or hand wash
  • Lay flat to dry


  • $30


  • I used this to hold my mp3 player wile hiking
  • Doesn’t have a two way zipper, so even though you can stuff it into itself, the zipper pull doesn’t flip the other way, so there’s no way to close it or open it.
  • Soft, warm, zippered pocket is convenient storage for small items

Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Waterproof Backpack Liner

  • Line your pack with a trash compactor bag, which are made of thick plastic,
  • Trash compactor bags are extra durable
  • Many of trash compactors bags are scented. Let it air out for a while…
  • Heather has been using hers for over a year
  • Fits perfectly in a 65 liter pack
  • Keeps your gear completely dry
  • Easily repairable

Trail Wisdom

“Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.”

—Henry David Thoreau