155: Happy Hike-O-Ween!

Show Notes: Episode 155

Today on the First 40 Miles, we’ve talked about foraging for food of the leafy green variety—but what about foraging for the creepy crawly variety?  We’ll talk about edible bugs and try to make it sound delicious.  For today’s SUMMIT Gear Review, a true backpacking classic finds it’s place in our pack.  Then, instead of jumping at every twig snap you hear in the forest, we’ll teach you how to be the one doing the twig snapping.


  • Parasites, nematodes, bacteria, bugs, crackling sounds in the woods and blood…
  • Thoughts about eating bugs? Why are we bug averse?
  • N. Food and Agriculture Organization issue a report back in 2013 that stated that there are more than 1,900 edible insect species on Earth. So why are we still packing Fritos on our backpacking trips?  We could be eating toasted termites!

Top 5 Edible Bugs

Earth Worms

  • Dig a little earth, and you’re likely to find earthworms
  • Downside…filled with earth, so let them crawl around in a container of grass so they can eliminate all the dirt from their digestive tract
  • Remember one of the tricks of the food industry “Add a little oil and salt, and people will eat cardboard.” This applies to all the bugs we’ll talk about today.  Fry them up.

Ants and ant larvae

  • Ants are sour, but boiling them can make them more palatable
  • Toasted in a pan quickly so they won’t crawl away while you’re cooking…


  • They’re like white ants
  • Pull back rotting bark
  • Termites provide about 6 calories per gram
  • Roast them in a dry pan; some termite species take on a shrimp flavor.

Rolly Pollies

  • “Sow bugs, also known as pillbugs and rolly pollies, are those little grey, pill-shaped mini-shrimp”
  • These are easy to find…just lift up a rotten piece of wood, or anything on the forest floor that has been there a while.
  • These would be better than ants because they are slower than ants! Easier to catch and roast.
  • Be sure you either boil them or roast them all the way…they carry roundworm

Grasshoppers or crickets

  • Becoming more common and acceptable
  • Some people say they taste like almonds when toasted
  • “To prepare crickets and grasshoppers, pull off their heads and the entrails should come with. The entrails are edible, but removing them reduces the risk of parasite transmission. For this reason, always cook them before eating them. Remove the wings and legs and then dry roast them if you have a pan, or skewer them and roast over flame if you don’t.”
  • Protein-rich, but really hard to catch

SUMMIT Gear Review™: MSR WhisperLite Stove


  • Includes: Fuel pump, windscreen, heat reflector, small-parts kit, instructions, and stuff sack. (Fuel bottle not included.)
  • Flexible fuel line folds small and fits in most MSR pots.


  • Burns cleanly on White Gas and white gas varieties.
  • Boil time (white gas), 1 liter-3.9 minutes
  • Burn time (white gas) per 600ml / 20 oz. of fuel-136 minutes
  • Water boiled (white gas) per 100 ml of fuel-5.1 liters
  • Water boiled (white gas) per 1 oz. of fuel-1.5 liters


  • Weight 15.2 oz


  • Made to last with durable stainless steel and brass.
  • If fuel line gets clogged, simple shake the fuel line (while the stove is off) and it’s designed to self-clear


  • $90
  • Fuel bottle not included (there are different sizes)
  • Lifetime warranty


  • Dependable + Reliable: a backpacking workhorse for 25 years.
  • Strengths of this stove: melting snow, baking, more eco-friendly (no canister), fuel is cheaper than isobutene, works at all temperatures (esp. below freezing)
  • Bring the fuel you’ll need—not a whole canister.

Backpack Hack of the Week™:  How to Break a Fallen Limb

Why would you need to snap a fallen limb?  Fire wood, shelter, pioneering activities, trail clearing, impress your friends

Three ways to snap a fallen limb:

  • Knee method
  • Two tree method
  • Stump and jump method

Trail Wisdom

“Walk till the blood appears on the cheek, but not the sweat on the brow.”

–Spanish Proverb