189: What is Real?

Show Notes: Episode 189

Today on the First 40 Miles, what is real?  Social media does a pretty bang-up job of convincing us that everything that’s posted is real, but we’re smart enough to know better.  Today, we’ll call their bluff and prove that being outdoors is about as real as it gets.  Then we’ll review a headlamp that uses a unique swipe gesture to boldly illuminate your path.   Today’s hack is a cheap, easy way to store and access your ten essentials.


  • What is real?
  • Social media vs. reality
  • We try to be authentic—but no matter how hard we try, you just can see the full picture over social media or any media—and that’s the nature of media. It’s never going to give you a 360 degree, 100 percent accurate view.
  • Consuming social media tends to be very passive, whereas anytime spent outside is active, fulfilling.

Top 5 Reasons Social Media Buzzwords that Belong Outside

Smart Content

  • Define: Content that is intelligently personalized to your needs
  • Content that’s relevant to your life.
  • Social media outlets may claim that they are trending toward content that’s intelligent, personalized, and targeted…but nothing can replace those micro lessons you learn when you’re outside—lessons that seems to be custom-tailored to you.
  • Have you ever wondered why it is that you can learn something new about yourself on every backpacking trip? Or how a group of you can go out backpacking, and even though you’re all in the same forest you each get something completely and uniquely satisfying?  Or how you can go out to the same place year after year and be amazed every time.
  • The backcountry is loaded with smart content that is divinely and intelligently personalized to your needs.


  • Ephemeral content is short-lived, disappearing content, usually active only for 24 hours before it’s deleted. Someone may post pictures of an event and if you miss that disappearing content, you’ve lost your chance …Creates a sense of urgency, flightly, FOMO.
  • If you’re the type of person who craves ephemeral content, social media is the wrong place to get your fill.
  • You’ll find heeps of soul satisfying ephemeral content in the wilderness. A fuschia and orange sunset, summer’s last hidden patch of snow melting before your eyes, the flicker of a fire, a darting fawn, the list goes on.  The forest is filled with non-stop ephemera—to the extreme.  Don’t settle for Instagram stories of your brother-in-law setting off a firework inside his barbecue.


  • Can you imagine if we used this term every time the seasons changed? Oh look robin eggs are trending.  Glacial runoff is trending.  And yet, nature has her cycles and you can watch for those “trends” as you immerse yourself in the rhythm of nature.


  • Live is a funny social media trend…because even though the content may be streaming to your device in real time, it’s never truly
  • Live definition: of or involving a presentation in which both the performers and an audience are physically present
  • If it were live, you would be experiencing all the smells, sounds, temperature changes, the ground rumbling, and off screen side shows.
  • Social Media can never replace an actual experience. Live isn’t live unless you’re there.


  • Social Media may claim to be sharing things that are honest, behind-the-scenes, and raw—but I think we all know the truth. To put it bluntly, there is very little about your social media experience that isn’t curated, targeted, or even a little staged.
  • You know, the photos that we share, you’ know you’re not getting the full picture—what’s beyond the edges of the photo.
  • If you want to live life beyond the edges of a photo, get outside, and YOU be the one who is authentic, having authentic experiences, and living a life that is honest—not photoshopped.



  • Waterproof (IPX7)
  • Durable polycarbonate body
  • Comfortable, high quality strap
  • Dual power source: runs on included rechargeable 3.7V Lithium Ion battery pack (1100mAh) or three AAA batteries (not included)–that means no delays in waiting to use your light while it recharges.
  • Includes: rechargeable Lithium Ion battery pack and micro USB cable


  • Change between the white or red light, or change between the four modes: high, variable dim, strobe, or lock-out
  • High: 280 Lumens >> Low: 9 Lumens
  • 2 1/2 hours >> 80 hours (more hours for AAA vs. Li Ion)
  • Dual LED colors: white and red
  • Four modes: high, variable dim, strobe, and lock-out
  • Impact resistant (drop proof to 2 meters)


  • Weighs 2.3oz (66g)
  • Dimensions: 2.5″ x 1.9″ x 1.8″ (63mm x 48mm x 45mm)


  • Recharges in approximately 2 hours


  • $45


  • Lock out mode — don’t have to worry that your light will turn on in your pack
  • Red LEDs will blink three times when battery life has 5 minutes remaining in high mode
  • Learning the different swipe cycles
  • It starts on the highest capacity (however the smallest beam is typically enough)
  • “This product is part of a multi mount system. The light body can fit interchangeably into our Bike Mount, Helmet Mount, or Headlamp Strap Brackets. Please select any of these add-on items from the drop down menu.”

Backpack Hack of the Week™:   Zip Top Storage Bag for 10 Essentials

  • Ziptop bag to hold 10 essentials
  • Heather used to have her 10 essentials in a zippered mesh and nylon bag. It was durable, slim, nice, but it was hard to find things.   Then she switched to ziptop quart freezer bag
  • Lightweight, clear, easy to find things, waterproof, cheap, replaceable, multiuse.

Trail Wisdom

“If you have not touched the rocky wall of a canyon. If you have not heard a rushing river pound over cobblestones. If you have not seen a native trout rise in a crystalline pool beneath a shattering riffle, or a golden eagle spread its wings and cover you in shadow. If you have not seen the tree line recede to the top of a bare crested mountain. If you have not looked into a pair of wild eyes and seen your own reflection. Please, for the good of your soul, travel west.”

-Daniel J. Rice