131: Our Secret Backpacking Spot

Show Notes: Episode 131

Today on the First 40 Miles, everyone needs a favorite backpacking spot—and you know what makes it even better?  If it’s a top secret backpacking spot.  On today’s top 5 list, we’ll break down our plans to make our off-grid backpacking Shangri-La even better.  Then, a collapsible cookware set  that takes up about a tenth of the space that a traditional set would.  And we’ll answer every backpacker’s burning question about whether or not to bring your Snuggie on your next outdoor adventure.  The answer is no.  But we’ll give you an equally good option on today’s Backpack Hack of the Week.


  • We had a goal when we first moved to Oregon to do monthly hikes. The next year we decided to do quarterly backpacking trips.  But we wanted something different this year.
  • Find a top secret backpacking spot
  • Close to home, easy to access, short trail
  • Why do we want a secret spot? Go-to place for last minute trips, familiar, opportunities for foraging perhaps

Top 5 Things We’re Going to Do With Our Secret Backpacking Spot

Navigate Our Way to a Suitable Camp Site

  • That doesn’t mean we’re going to physically bushwhack it
  • We just need to become familiar enough with the area to be able to navigate back to our same secret spot each time.
  • Source our water
  • Scout for tent sites and hammock hangs

Clean up Other People’s Fun

  • Entire dead dear carcass, a dear head, shotgun shells, beer bottles, broken glass, junk food wrappers.  The trash of a rough life.  And the longer the mess stays there, the more the area will be abused.  The broken window theory:
  • James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling first introduced the broken windows theory in an article titled Broken Windows, in the March 1982 The Atlantic Monthly.
  • “Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it’s unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside. Or consider a pavement. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of refuse from take-out restaurants there or even break into cars.”

Explore for More

  • After we’ve hit our secret spot a few times, it’ll be time to find a new secret spot maybe in the same area

Get Data on It

  • Maps, miles, GPS coordinates, history, etc.
  • Identify plants and animals

Not Keep it Stealth

  • Maybe invite some friends to come with us
  • It’s no fun to have a secret camp spot unless you can share the secret with someone!

SUMMIT Gear Review™: Sea to Summit X-Set 32


  • Sea to Summit X-Set 32 is a set of cookware: a collapsible 1 liter teapot, a collapsible 2 liter pot, and an 8 inch skillet or frying pan.
  • This is just one of the X sets that Sea to Summit has in the X line. The entire line is collapsible silicone dinnerwear and cookware.


  • Both the teapot and the 2 liter pot collapse down and nest inside the frying pan (which is not collapsible). That makes this set very compact.
  • Any one of the pieces of this set can be used on their own
  • Built in strainer on the 2 liter X-pot
  • Instead of the cookware having long handles that get in the way, the frying pad has short silicone handles on both sides that fold down when not in use, the X-pot has soft flexible silicone handles and the teapot has two handles that fold up for when you want to pour water out.


  • All three together weigh 29 ounces
  • This set of cookware all nest snuggly together and end up being not much bigger than the frying pan
  • About 8 inches across and 2 inches tall.


  • This cookware is meant to be used with a camp stove like a Pocket Rocket—not a homemade alcohol stove or a portable wood burning stove. The important thing is that the flames not travel up the side of the cookware—because the sides are made of heat resistant silicone, not flame proof silicone.  The bottom is designed to heat up.
  • Do not use on a campfire
  • To secure, put teapot inside of X-pot, and put X-pot inside of frying pan. The handles of the X-pot attach to itself, and you can secure everything together with a band, but it fits so snuggly, that you probably don’t need a band or stuff sack.


  • $140


  • Great for our family…on our last backpacking trip, we each packed our own food. So some kids were boiling water for mashed potatoes, some were making noodles and sauce, then Josh made some curry and rice.  It was a great fit for multiple meals, multiple people.
  • Cutest teapot ever
  • At the end of dinner, we had a few leftovers, and since the teapot and the big pot are collapsible (and since it was refrigerator temps overnight) we collapsed the pots and put the lids on with the leftovers inside.
  • It’s all about design, and functionality, and space saving.

Backpack Hack of the Week™:  DIY Snuggie Fleece

  • If your back is hot and sweaty from your pack but your front is cold from the wind, consider putting on your fleece or jacket backwards, leaving it open for your back to breathe, while still keeping your front nice and toasty.

Trail Wisdom

“Time and space— time to be alone, space to move about— these may well become the greatest scarcities of tomorrow.”

–Edwin Way Teale