110: The Shortest, Darkest Day of the Year

Show Notes: Episode 110

Today on the First 40 Miles, on the shortest, darkest day of the year can we still find a glimmer of light?  Yes!  We’ll talk about lumens, lightbulbs, and LEDs and what they can do for you in the dark.  On the SUMMIT Gear Review, a flexible light that transitions seamlessly from from lantern to landing strip.  Next on the Backpack Hack of the Week, if your closet is crammed with coats, we’ll help you find the perfect home for them.


  • Trend: People taking off on an adventure…getting away from it all
  • What are people looking for, what are they leaving behind, what are they hoping to find?
  • Do you have to leave it all??
  • These December days are dark days… literally
  • Light can really have an impact of how we feel—on our mood, our outlook on life, and our ability to function.
  • Power of light

Top 5 Types of Lights for Your Backpacking Trip


  • Torch-style that you brought to summer camp
  • Traditional
  • Handheld
  • If you have an old torch-style flashlight with d batteries and a lightbulb, this might be the next piece of gear you’ll want to replace.
  • The old style torch flashlight is the main reason that batteries are still on the list of 10 essentials.
  • If you like this style, buy one with LED lights
  • The LED torch flashlights are no more expensive than traditional old bulb flashlights, and they will save you money.


  • Wearable light great for hand-free task lighting
  • Tend to be slightly annoying because when you look at someone while you’re wearing your headlamp, you’re also blinding them
  • Great for midnight bathroom runs, when you have the midnight runs
  • UCO A120 which has a dimmer—and I love this
  • Petzl is another great brand—and they have a slim, ultralight model

Button light

  • Hook to zipper pull or inside a tab in your pack
  • These are great because they are ultralight weight
  • Cheap
  • Last forever since you only use them for short peaks into your pack

Lantern light

  • Soft, ambient glow for camp
  • Something that gives a tent full of light instead of a single strong beam
  • We reviewed the Luminaid lanterns

String Lighting

  • Luminoodle
  • White or multi-colored lights
  • Trend that has hit the campers and hammockers
  • Luminoodle just came out with a multicolored strand of lights

#6 Firelight

  • Not portable for the most part
  • Provides warmth and light
  • Candle light
  • UCO Micro Candle Lantern

SUMMIT Gear Review™: Luminoodle by Power Practical


  • Luminoodle is a 5 ft. (1.5 m) LED flexible light strip encased in silicone


  • It can be used multiple different ways
  • Luminoodle comes with silicone ties—which you can use to attach it to the ceiling of your tent, embedded magnets within the strand of lights, utility loop at the end of the lights so you could hang it from a tree branch,
  • The Luminoodle also comes with a white nylon drawstring bag, which—if you put the lights inside—turns the lights into a lantern! And it puts our 180 lumens of light
  • Really can hang these anywhere…
  • In order to use the Luminoodle you have to have a USB power source—this will not take batteries, it only works with USB, which is great if you’re bringing a powerbank to recharge your phone or camera
  • IP-67 rated
  • IP stands for International Protection (or Ingress Protection)
  • The first number is the protection the object has against solid objects, Luminoodle has the hightest rating of 6, which means it’s protected against dust.
  • The second number is the protection rating that the object has against liquids. The Luminoodle’s rating of 7 means it can be immersed in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes and still remain water tight. The highest IP rating is 9K which means that an object is protected against close-range high pressure, high temperature spray downs.
  • IP is also called Ingress Protection. Ingress: (n)  a place or means of access; an entrance.


  • Luminoodle weighs 3.4 ounces (96 grams)
  • Luminoodle Plus (which is the Luminoodle plus the Lithium 4400 powerbank) weighs 7.4 ounces (211 grams)
  • The powerbank can be used to charge other devices


  • Needs a powerbank or USB charger for lighting


  • $20 for the Luminoodle, which comes with silicone ties, and a nylon “lantern” bag
  • $40 for the Luminoodle Plus, which comes with their Lithium 4400 USB charger


  • We took the Luminoodle on our hammock camping trip at the end of the summer…
  • Stringing lights around hammocks is a great way to light the area
  • These aren’t long enough to string from one end of your hammock to the other, but they’ll hang well on your tarp line and give you plenty of light
  • We also just threw them up in the gear loft of our tent. You don’t have to string them from one corner of your tent to the other…
  • Durable, bright, functional, versatile

Backpack Hack of the Week™:  One Warm Coat


Coats should be clean and gently used

Look up places to donate on their map

Trail Wisdom

“Love is eternal — the aspect may change, but not the essence. There is the same difference in a person before and after he is in love as there is in an unlighted lamp and one that is burning. The lamp was there and was a good lamp, but now it is shedding light too, and that is its real function. And love makes one calmer about many things, and that way, one is more fit for one’s work.”

– Vincent van Gogh