152: Trail Parenting

Show Notes: Episode 152

Today on the First 40 Miles, last week we turned the mic over to the kids.  And today, we’re taking it back—and sharing a little bit of insight to parenting on the trail.  On Today’s Top 5 list, are there principles that are easier to teach outside than inside?  Then, we’ll review a versatile, functional, rechargeable light.  For today’s Backpack hack, a crowd-pleasing three ingredient granola recipe that’s just begging for space in your pack.


  • Is parenting on the trail different vs. off the trail?
  • What are the challenges?
  • What are the opportunities?
  • What struggles do you have at home that simply don’t exist on the trail?
  • Campfire moments
  • Listeners ask “I love hiking and being outdoors, but my kids don’t. What can I do?”
  • We try not to let these things overshadow the good times: whining, negativity, blaming, discomfort
  • Food and rest solve a lot of problems on the trail, so before you start to worry that this is the worst trip ever and the whining will never stop; make sure they’re well-rested and well-fed.

Top 5 Life Skills That Are Easier to Teach Outside Than Inside

How to do hard things

  • Delayed gratification

How to be self sufficient

  • Having everything you need


  • Being prepared
  • Resilience is the ability to cope with the things that you’re not prepared for.
  • Frame of mind, a mental attitude
  • Can’t just tweak the thermostat

How to find your way

  • Decisions
  • Using past trip as allegory/pattern for your life


  • Boundaries
  • When you remove geographical/physical boundaries
  • Define your own boundaries
  • Protected at home, ability to calculate risk

SUMMIT Gear Review™:  Gear Aid Spark Light


  • The Spark is the smallest, most lightweight light in a line of lights by Gear Aid
  • The Spark is a rectangular bright white light with 15 LEDs
  • Includes: light, diffuser bag, USB charging cable, and rubber hook
  • 3,000 mAh Li-ion battery


  • Three brightness settings; runs 25 to 160 lumens for 5 to 25 hours of operation
  • Has an adjustable metal kickstand;
  • One emergency setting which blinks SOS in Morse code—to access that setting, just press and hold the on button
  • This is rechargeable!
  • This light comes with a diffuser bag and hook so that it can be used lantern-style
  • The Spark has rugged feel to it


  • The light alone weighs just 4 ounces
  • And when you add in the diffuser bag, rubber hook and USB charger, it just bumps it up an ounce—and you can totally leave those extras at home if you’re counting ounces
  • About the size of a Kit Kat Bar


  • USB Rechargeable
  • IPX4-rated casing (some light rain resistance)
  • Drop tested to 2 meters


  • $50


  • For those of you photographers who never leave home without your tripod, this light can attach onto your tripod on the trail—which makes it great for late nights at a campsite when you’re looking at the map of your next day’s journey…
  • The kickstand makes it so the light can be directed—which gives it a feature that most flashlights don’t have
  • The kickstand is wide enough to fit fingers through, so it can be carried it in your hand conveniently
  • The on button is somewhat recessed and almost protected by the kickstand to prevent it from accidentally turning on while in your pack.
  • Nice that it comes with a diffuser bag…similar to the Luminoodle which also comes with a diffuser bag. Gives the area a soft glow instead of a directed beam of light.
  • Another clever feature is that charge indicator lights don’t stay on while the flashlight is in use. When you turn the flashlight light on, you’ll see the charger indicator lights light up. Then, they turn off.

Backpack Hack of the Week™: Three Ingredient All-Natural Granola

3 cups oats (any kind)
1/2 cup peanut butter (natural)
1/4-1/2 cup honey

Cook at 350 for 15-18 minutes on a parchment-line baking sheet.  Let cool.  Store in an air-tight container.

Trail Wisdom

“It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.”

–Saint Francis of Assisi