201: Cowboy Camping

Show Notes: Episode 201

Today on the First 40 Miles, we’ll talk about cowboy camping and why we tried it.  Then a story from a listener about how she transitioned from car camping to backpacking.  Today’s hack is a great way to repurpose an old towel, and we’ll wrap up with a little trail wisdom from someone who knew the answer to life’s question!


Top 5 Tips for Cowboy Camping

Pick a warmish, dry night

  • Low 50s
  • Dry

Pack a waterproof ground cover

  • We used a patio window insulation kit
  • $12

Pack warmer

  • You’ll be missing the 5-10 degrees of warmth and wind protection that a tent provides

Plan for bugs

  • Permethrin is a great way to treat clothes/sleeping bag exterior
  • Ticks, mosquitoes

Have an emergency shelter on hand

  • Something that can keep you dry in case it starts raining or snowing
  • We brought the Appy Trails Mark V tent with us on our PCT Section hike so we could fit us and our two boys–just in case


Be sure to open your eyes in the middle of the night—the stars are amazing!

Story from Listener Michelle G.

Backpack Hack of the Week™: Terrycloth Cotton Towel Squares

  • 3”x3”
  • Repurposed towel
  • Perfect for scrubbing feet at night
  • Can be reused

Trail Wisdom

“The only question in life is whether or not you are going to answer a hearty ‘YES!’ to your adventure.”
—Joseph Campbell