192: Getting Back to Basics

Show Notes: Episode 192

Today on the First 40 Miles, sometimes life gets out of control—and when that happens, it’s time to get back to basics.  We’ll talk a little about how to simplify your trip.  Then, the Top 5 ways that backpacking can make you more effective, more productive, and less stressed.  Next, if you’ve always wondered how Native Americans hung their laundry to dry before clothespins were invented, we’ve got something you might be interested in.  Then we’ll share a simple, one ingredient backpack hack for your next trip.


  • Getting Back to Basics
  • What complicates backpacking?
  • Overambitious planning, unrealistic expectations, extra gear, redefining the necessities, looking at REI catalogs…
  • Drill down to the core of backpacking: what is it?
  • Going out and coming back—with a pack on your back
  • Water, food, shelter, 10 essentials

Top 5 Ways Backpacking Increases Your Productivity

Resets your internal clock

  • Waking up early will make you more productive, more focused, healthy/wealthy/wise, etc.
  • But the REAL secret to success isn’t the waking up at 5am, but the getting to bed at 9pm.
  • You can use your backpacking trip to reset your internal clock. Go to bed when it starts to get dark

Increases your capacity to do hard things

  • There is no rescue, or shortcut, or easy way
  • Push through
  • This backpacking skill will transfer to “real life”

Forces you to prioritize

  • Did I really need this? Did I even use it?  Should I leave it home?  What would happen if I left it home next time?
  • Forecasting: you can make a plan for the unknown
  • Trip planning

Backpacking teaches you to grow your margin

  • “Margin” is a productivity principle that means you build in extra capacity into your life, your schedule, your space so that you have the capacity to give, help another traveler, carry an extra load, respond to an emergency, or to share
  • It’s not easy to grow our margin
  • Simplify, leaves some breathing room

You come home changed

  • Sabbatical, the 50-10 rule, taking breaks
  • Taking a rest or walking away from a project may be just what you need to “reset” your brain and approach it with fresh eyes

SUMMIT Gear Review™: Survival Skill of the Month Club


  • Survival Skill of the Month Club, created by Creek Stewart, teaches bush crafting skills
  • You’ll receive a durable binder then each month you’re sent a 6-8 page skill sheet, with loads of pictures and detailed step by step instructions
  • Printed in full color, on super durable cardstock


  • Skills that cover shelter, water, fire, tools, containers, foraging, hunting, cordage, first aid, cooking, clothing
  • Creek Stewart teaches survival skills from all environments—so you’ll see things from wilderness, desert, even urban
  • You’ll also be invited to join the SSOTMC Mastermind group on Facebook to post your success, your pictures, and your questions.



  • Each month you receive a new skill sheets that cover one topic in depth


  • $6.99/month
  • Full refund if not satisfied


  • One new thing a month
  • Pretty intense, in-depth projects. These aren’t the kinds of things that you did in cub scouts.  These are legitimate, ancient ways.
  • You will learn more than just the one project. You will learn about plants, history, chemistry, new vocabulary, you’ll be inspired by the creativity of people who had the resources of the natural world around them

Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Easy Banana Chips in the Dehydrator

  • Easy trail food: Dehydrated Banana Chips
  • Slice ripe bananas into discs
  • Lay out in a single layer on a dehydrator
  • Let dehydrate until they are hard, then store in an airtight container
  • They won’t be crunchy like store bought banana chips—those are fried. These are chewy and satisfying.
  • Just one ingredient: banana

Trail Wisdom

My tent doesn’t look like much but, as an estate agent might say, “It is air-conditioned and has exceptional location.”
—Fennel Hudson