185: Weekend with Friends

Show Notes: Episode 185

Today on the First 40 Miles, within 24 hours we hiked a cumulative 25 miles, ate about 15 pounds of food, built three teepees and breathed in more campfire smoke than the Surgeon General would recommend.  Today you’ll hear a trip report from our adventure with our friends who have never been backpacking before.  And we’ll share a hack for DIY soap sheets.


  • Our weekend trip with newbie backpacking friends? Success!
  • Overview of weekend
  • Anything you wish you could do over?

Top 5 Things our Friends Learned on their First Backpacking trip

SUMMIT Gear Review™: Pairs from HipPocket Games 


  • 55 card deck
  • Pyramid deck (1×1, 2×2, 3×3, 4×4 etc.)


  • At the start of the game, shuffle the deck, then remove five cards from play. Deal one card face-up to each player.
  • In this game, points are bad and getting pairs is bad.
  • Whoever has the lowest card is the first active player.
  • On your turn, you can do one of two things: She decides whether to “hit” — that is, be dealt another card — or forfeit the round. If she hits and is dealt a card that doesn’t match a card she already has in front of her, then the next player clockwise becomes the active player; if the card does match, then the round ends, she keeps one of these matching cards as penalty points, then everyone else discards their cards and a new round begins with each player being dealt a card.
  • If the active player forfeits the round, the round ends and she takes the lowest-valued card visible on the table as penalty points, then a new round begins. Penalty cards remain set aside, even if the deck is shuffled to continue play. If a player acquires more penalty points than the predetermined threshold, then the game ends and this player loses. (Alternatively, players can use coins to track scores between games, with the loser paying everyone one coin, paying her score in coins to the player with the lowest score, etc.)
  • You can play Pairs with this deck, or, you can play 30 other games with this same deck.


  • Weighs: 3.1 ounces (88 grams)



  • $10


  • This is a press your luck game
  • Simple to learn, and quick to play. Easy to teach.  Not a lot of rules.  Perfect for a quick after dinner game.  Light and fun.
  • All ages can pick this up
  • Free printable book of other games that you can play with this deck… some are variations of Pairs
  • There are 21 different Pairs decks—they all play the same—but the art ranges from vintage fruit to fantasy art to cartoon space monsters. All Pairs decks have the same numbers, but different art.

Backpack Hack of the Week™: DIY Soap Sheets

  • cooling rack (like you put cookies on)
  • parchment paper or waxed paper (not regular paper)
  • unscented, biodegradable liquid soap (like Seventh Generation)
  • scissors or paper cutter

Take a 12 x 12 piece of wax paper or parchment paper

Pour a squiggly swirl of unscented liquid soap or unscented dish soap on the parchment paper or waxed paper

Coat both sides of the paper with liquid soap using your hands or a paint brush. Set the paper on the cooling rack and let it dry completely.

Cut your soap sheets into 2×2-inch squares and staple them together. I went a step further and cut a piece of cardstock to go over the soap sheets, like a matchbook, and stapled them at the bottom.

Now you have instant, biodegradable, single use soap sheets, can be used for washing hands, washing clothes, hair, dishes.

Total packet of soap sheets weighs about 3 grams. Lighter than liquid soap or a bar of soap.  The paper is biodegradable and can be buried or packed out.

NOTE: Be sure to wash the soap off the cooling rack…

Trail Wisdom

“The sole criteria is to walk with the senses, with hands that feel, ears that hear, and eyes that see.”
—Robert Browne