40 Backpacking Hacks: Tried & True Tricks of the Trail

The 40 Backpacking Hacks series is a witty collection of tips, taken from The First 40 Miles Podcast, to help beginning backpackers thrive in their new-found hobby. Each hack is adorably illustrated.

  • Food hacks include recipes that are calorie-dense and easy to prepare on the trail or in camp.
  • Gear hacks save time and money and enhance your backpacking experience.

So, whether you’re still mustering up the courage to take your new hiking shoes out of the box or you’ve been on more trails than you can shake a trekking pole at, this book will inspire you to rethink the essentials, lighten your load, and make the most of your time on the trail.

Volume 3

A few years ago, I had zero plans to write any backpacking books. And for good reason. I had never been backpacking. I had no trail experience, no gear, and no clue.

All of that changed when Josh decided to get back into backpacking. He and some friends planned to hike the Timberline Trail around Oregon’s Mount Hood. I watched as Josh researched gear, scoured trail reports, and prepped food. I must have caught the backpacking bug, because just a week before the trip, I was packing to go along, too.

And I learned something important on that trip (actually, about a billion important things, but I’ll boil it down): backpacking is better with friends.

We learn from each other. We support each other. We encourage each other. We share new ways of doing things.

Fast forward a few years from that first exciting backpacking trip. I’m now connected with thousands of trail friends through The First 40 Miles podcast.

We learn from each other. We support each other. We encourage each other. We share new ways of doing things.

So, think of these backpacking hacks as little conversations with your backpacking buddies. One friend knows know to hack your photos to look just like Ansel Adams shots (#82). Another buddy has this weird food that he brings on trips called “bulgur” (#85 and #100). Another friend wants to tell you how he got his new tent with sweet, exclusive features (#102). Backpacking is always better—way better—with friends.



Volume 2

I love a good life hack.

If there’s a clever, new way to use household items or a fun idea for how to make something easier, cheaper, or more efficient, I’m all for it.

And that goes for trail time, too! Backpacking hacks can make your trip more creative, comfortable, entertaining and fun. In fact, backpacking is the perfect opportunity to exercise that creativity muscle.

You can use the backpacking hacks in this book to get you started—but before long, I promise, you’ll be coming up with your own backpacking hacks. You’ll discover new ways to fix problems, create customized gear, and turn your one-trick ponies into multi-use items.



Volume 1

What do a blank canvas, a silent piano, and a trailhead all have in common?

They are each anxiously waiting for a curious, brave soul—regardless of talent, skill or experience—to breathe life into them.

A canvas comes to life through the wild, youthful, vibrant strokes of a paint-laden brush.

A piano comes to life through an uninhibited hand gliding smoothly over the glossy, heavy, rebounding keys.

And a trail comes to life when a naïve adventurer, burdened and blessed with the exact necessities of life—nothing more or less—has a desire to breathe more than her lungs can take in, be immersed in a culture of complete magnificence, and live for days feeling equal parts fear, love, fatigue, and vitality.



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