211: Gear That Lasts the Miles

Show Notes: Episode 211

Today on the First 40 Miles, we love our listeners!  And we love hearing their stories!  Then, even if you never plan to do a thru hike, you can still scam some of their best gear hacks and incorporate them into your next overnighter.  Next, a gear review that will outfit you in the toughest clothes on the planet.  And a hack that as easy as sticking a piece of tape to a tent pole.


Matt’s Story

Top 5 Thru Hiker Staples

Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter

  • Lightweight, cheap, easy to use, easy to maintain
  • Many thru hikers prefer the Sawyer Squeeze to the Sawyer Mini

Smart Water Bottles

  • Cheap, ubiquitous, versatile
  • Sawyer squeeze screws on top

Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol

  • Easy to set up, lightweight, indestructible, can be cut down, under $40
  • 2.6 R value
  • Can’t be compressed

Top Ramen

  • Fast, easy, cheap, never disappoints (because it’s such a basic food)

The Uniform

  • Shorts + trucker hats + minimalist running shoes (Altras, Merrels, or other zero drop ultralight, minimalist shoes)
  • A uniform tells others that you’re on the same team.

SUMMIT Gear Review:  Rail Rider Hiking Pants


  • Nylon
  • Gusseted crotch
  • Reinforced
  • Some are treated with insect shield Permethrin treatment


  • Hiking pants, easy to move in, easy to care for, tough, lightweight,
  • Deep pockets, reinforced everything
  • Zippered pockets
  • Doubled up in knees and crotch


  • ~10 ounces


  • Wash and dry (on or off trail)


  • $69-110


  • Pants aren’t excessively baggy, but loose enough that they give you room to move/hike/climb
  • Super tough in all the right places
  • Lots of variety
  • Lots of color choices
  • Mens and Womens (no kids)
  • Known as the “Toughest Clothes on the Planet”

Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Reflective Tape

  • When it gets dark, it’s easy to get disoriented and lose track of where your camp site is
  • Reflective tape stuck to your gear can help you find your site
  • Stick to tent poles or other gear, so you can find your way back to camp after it gets dark
  • Then, simply shine a flashlight and the things you’ve marked will light up!
  • Gear Aid makes super durable reflective tape

Trail Wisdom

“When you walk, you know the distance you’ve covered in your tired bones, and it’s impossible to go so far that you lose the thread of continuity between ‘there’ and ‘here.’”
—Kelly Winters

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