150: Clever and Creative

Show Notes: Episode 150

Today on the First 40 Miles, there’s something about being outside that lights a spark inside.  It makes us more in tune with ourselves, it shuts out the noise of civilization and it slows us down—in a good way.  Today we’re going to share some of our upcoming creative projects and hopefully inspire you to get started on your own!  Then we’ll review a sub two pound tent that can fit you plus four really good friends.  For today’s Backpack Hack of the Week, you’ll learn how to “steal like an artist”.


  • Past books!
  • Upcoming books!
  • “The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.” –Dieter F. Uchtdorf
  • We have two books scheduled to come out this year…a children’s book and another cookbook

Top 5 Backpacking Gear Ideas to Tinker With…

Gear wipes

  • …the market is saturated with ways to clean your body, but what if I want to wipe down my gear when I get home
  • enzymatic cleaner to take away smell, some built in waterproofing, biodegradable

All in one balm

  • We bring sunscreen, lip balm, first aid ointment, toothpaste, maybe deodorant too!
  • Is there any way to create an all-in-one balm? Something you can use to brush your teeth, stop BO, and treat a bee sting?
  • Can you also make it all natural, with no nano particles, deodorizing but unscented, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-hemorrhoidal, anti-inflammatory, in a reuseable tin with screw top lid?

Compostable gear

  • Most gear is made from petroleum-based made-made materials…how about using something that isn’t petroleum-based?
  • Let’s talk compostable gear
  • Made of 100% biodegradable or natural fibers, can be composted at home, can also be repaired on trail
  • Pack, tent, sleeping bag.
  • Maybe a 6-18 month lifespan.
  • Bamboo fibers, wood pulp, byproducts of food industry
  • Plant wax-based waterproofing

Flat flashlight

  • Is there a reason that headlamps and flashlights are still as bulky as they are?
  • Can we slim things down? Maybe make the light as thin as a piece of paper?

Zipperless tent

  • Zippers are the weak point of tents…is there a better way?
  • Self sealing entrance…maybe magnets? Maybe a multi panel elasticized opening that you push through, and as you enter it closes automatically?


SUMMIT Gear Review™: Appy Trails Mark V (Mark 5) 5 person tent


  • This type of shelter is a hybrid between a tarp and a tent
  • It has the lightweight benefits of a tarp, with the structure of a tent
  • The Mark V is a single wall tent
  • Polyester, PolyUrethane 1000 coated—which means it’s water proof, not just water repellant or resistant
  • Single center pole, stakes, roomy bag for storing everything
  • Stable structure
  • Aluminum poles, one very long, the other very short—you can’t mix them up
  • Seams are factory sealed


  • Vent so you have air circulation
  • Bring your own tent floor or not
  • Muted forest green, so it blends in well to the forest
  • Height, 6 feet tall


  • Weighs as little as 1 pound 11.6 ounces—and that’s for a tent that fits up to 5 people!! (2 pounds 9 ounces with the poles and stakes)
  • To achieve this weight, you can suspend the top of the tent from a line, or you can use and extender with your tent poles. Either way will enable you to leave the large pole at home.
  • You can also use wooden stakes from the forest floor instead of bringing the stakes that were included with this tent.


  • Dry out completely when you get home


  • Super affordable tent for its size
  • $130


  • We took this out on a trip to our BLM land backpacking spot. It rained that night and the tent was 100% waterproof.
  • Set up requires a little bit of tinkering…but once you figure it out, you’ll never forget how to do it.
  • Is it really for 5 people?? Maybe 4 with no gear or 2-3 with minimal gear
  • The bottom of the Mark V can be pitched very taut and tight to the ground.
  • “Modern tents have become monuments to manufacturing.  Bathtub floors and bug netting and stakeless setup and zippered windows and multiple pole sets are all standard.  Whether you need them or not.”

Backpack Hack of the Week™: Dehydrated Meal Inspiration

  • You’ll find meals that can serve as creative inspiration to your DIY Dehydrated meals
  • Good to Go: Smoked Three Bean Chili, Herbed Mushroom Risotto, Mexican Quinoa Bowl
  • You can buy a few of the Good To Go meals, test them out on the trail, then take your own culinary adventure spinoffs of what they’ve created. Maybe dice up some mango and add it to your next batch of their chili or try your hand at your own chili.
  • Heather’s Choice: really exciting and unique flavor combinations.
  • Check out Heather’s Choice Packaroons…find a flavor you like and then find the creative curiosity to ask, what other flavors would be fun?  Maybe try dipping your Packaroons in chocolate and hazelnuts…
  • There’s nothing wrong with seeing what these companies are creating, and finding the inspiration to create your own—or to add to and build on what they have created!
  • If you’re inspired by a flavor creation that propels you to create your own spin, feel free to reach out to the company that inspired it and thank them for their original creative efforts or continue to purchase from them to help support them in their continued creative efforts.

Trail Wisdom

“Mother of Marvels, mysterious and tender. Nature, why do we not live more in thee.

–Henri Frédéric Amiel