159: Should I Be Worried About Theft?

Show Notes: Episode 159

Today on the First 40 Miles, when you’re new to backpacking and hiking, you probably have good sized list of things to worry about.  We’ll help you add an item to your “do not worry” list—and give you some ways to be proactive.  Then we’ll review a simple 100% wool beanie that was so great, we bought it again.  Next, a hack that can help you add 24 hours onto your next trip—or can be a life-saving backup plan.


  • Leaving your stuff in camp to go on a day hike—is your stuff safe??
  • Theft is rare…
  • Stories of theft in towns off the large trails, but it’s less likely to happen on the trail.
  • And if you think you’ve been the victim of theft, be sure you shake out your tent before you start accusing people of taking your stuff…

Top 5 Things to Do If you’re Worried About Theft…


  • Trail theft is rare. If you want something to be worried about, then lock up your car at the trailhead, and don’t leave valuables or garage door openers in plain sight.
  • Thieves look for easy targets (like cars at trailheads, shiny out in the open valuables, quiet places where they won’t be seen)
  • Get out on the trail more and it will make you worry less

Always have 10 essentials + ID on you

  • So if any of your gear is swiped…you’re not in a truly desperate situation
  • Never leave camp (not even to find a bathroom) without your 10 essentials

Mark Your gear

  • Mark your gear with a Sharpie
  • If you’re doing a long trail, mark the direction you’re going and the year, so your gear can be returned to you if it’s recovered or discovered.

Use your gear

  • Sweat, use it.
  • After a few uses, it’ll lose some if it’s economic appeal to would-be thieves.


  • Some people camp “stealth” to avoid being seen from the trail
  • Maybe leave your neon hammock at home…
  • Camp a little further back, a little off the trail, a little less obvious.

SUMMIT Gear Review™:  Minus 33 Ridge Cuff Beanie


  • 100% Merino Wool, 230 g/m2
  • Interlock Knit, 18.5 Micron Fibers,
  • UPF Rating 50+
  • Double-layered fabric creates twice the warmth and twice the protection.


  • This is a piece of clothing that should come with you on all trips—winter, spring, summer, fall. We haven’t had a trip where we haven’t brought a beanie or a buff.
  • Has a loop for hanging dry or attaching to pack


  • Weighs 4oz (68 grams)


  • Total Easy Care (TEC) Merino fiber used in beanie
  • It’s machine-washable, can be dried in dryer, won’t shrink, lose shape, fade or color-bleed, stays soft and comfortable.


  • $20


  • Not too tight
  • Goes below ears for a nice warm fit
  • Truly a 4 season hat—not too thick or too thin

Backpack Hack of the Week™: 24 hour Food Pouch

  • 24 Hour Food Pouches: 1-2 pounds, all the food you need, easy, ready to go, everything you need, prepped, no cook
  • Keep one of these in your pack—2000+ calories
  • In order to keep your systems from going into starvation mode, you need to consume at least 500 calories a day. If you have this bag of food, and you’re careful, it can keep you going to 4-5 days.
  • Candy bars, cornnuts, pepperoni, m+ms, etc
  • Put it all into a gallon sized freezer bag.
  • We even took a Sharpie and wrote the calories on each food packet so we’d know how many calories in each item.

Trail Wisdom

“To the dull mind nature is leaden. To the illumined mind the whole world burns and sparkles with light.”

–Ralph Waldo Emerson