175: Backpacking is Better With Friends

Show Notes: Episode 175

Today on the First 40 Miles, hockey may be better with Wayne Gretsky, but who are the people you want to backpack with?  Then on today’s SUMMIT Gear Review, a gear repair that takes 15 minutes, and leaves your gear looking cooler, by far, than your friend’s gear.  And we’ll share a hack from one of our listeners, Paul.


  • Backpacking is better with friends
  • Backpacking with family is fun, but there are things you learn from friends that you may not learn from your family

Top 5 Reasons Backpacking is Better With Friends

Shared experience that strengthen or develop friendship

  • We get together with our friends after trips to watch slide shows, we ask about upcoming trips, etc.

They’re you’re “on-site search and rescue”

  • Solo is a gamble
  • You may be fine…
  • I’d rather be with a group who will have my back

Efficiency—in gear and food

  • Share a stove. share a tent, share a water filter, share extra food
  • A little risky, but there are things you can do to mitigate that risk.
  • Stick close together

Better decisions–perhaps

  • Everyone can contribute to problem solving
  • Beware of groupthink, though.
  • Not everyone in your group is a genius, and sometimes the most outspoken and persuasive one can be the biggest risk-taker.

Learn things from each other!

  • This is the biggest upside of all.
  • It means you’ll have this library of collective knowledge and experience.

SUMMIT Gear Review: Noso Puffy Patch


  • Shaped, colorful patches of nylon
  • Permanent adhesive on back that repairs your gear
  • Sleeping bags, down jackets, tents, tarps, anything made of nylon


  • Clean damaged area with isopropyl alcohol
  • Remove loose threads
  • Remove paper liner from patch
  • Center patch over damaged area
  • Apply pressure from center to outside edges
  • To make the patch stick permanently, you need to apply heat


  • Maybe a gram, if that…


  • No special treatment once the patch is applied.
  • They say it withstands repeated washings, but this isn’t something we’ve tested yet.


  • $5-15


  • They say “The patches adhere better to fabric than tape and don’t gum up on the sides. Once the adhesive has been activated, nothing will pull them off.”
  • They keep your gear going
  • I had a cut in my Enlightened Equipment backpacking quilt. It looked like a knife cut.  I patched it with a Noso Puffy Patch.

Backpack Hack of the Week™:  A Map for Everyone

Hack from our listener and friend, Paul: Always bring enough paper maps so that everyone has one.  Bringing different maps is a good idea: one will give the elevations of lakes and major junctions, one will show forest cover, another will show trails that may not be on the other maps…

Trail Wisdom

We have the peculiar privilege … the freedom to walk this earth, see its beauties, taste its sweetness, partake of its enduring strength.

–Hal Borland