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The First 40 Miles: Hiking and Backpacking Podcast

If you're new to backpacking, or if you’re hopelessly in love with someone who wants you to love backpacking, then this podcast is for you. We’ll talk about the essentials, how to lighten your load, and how to make the most of your time on the trail.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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The best episodes ranked using user listens.

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019: This Land Was Made for You and Me

This land was made for you and me and 132,000 acres of Redwood trees in the Redwood National and State Park. Next, we share our top 5 tips for planning backpacking trips in the National Forests. The SUMMIT Gear Review will show you a first aid essential that is lighter than a band-aid. For the Backpack Hack of the Week, you’ll learn a simple trick to reduce pack bulk. And we’ll wrap up the show with a little trail wisdom from our good friend on the trail, writer and anthropologist, Richard Nelson.

22mins

24 Mar 2015

Rank #1

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018: Don’t Blow the Budget!

Today on The First 40 Miles we’ll talk about combining backpacking with trail service. Next, the Top 5 ways to blow your backpacking budget. The SUMMIT Gear Review™ we’ll show you how to protect dry stuff from wet stuff. Then for the Backpack Hack of the Week™ will show you an easy way to keep grit on the trail and out of your shoes. And we’ll wrap up the show with a little Trail Wisdom from our good friend on the trail, Ralph.

25mins

17 Mar 2015

Rank #2

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124: Anatomy of an Overnight Backpacking Trip

Today on the First 40 Miles, If you’re planning your first overnight backpacking trip, we’ll talk about a few things that might surprise you.  Next on our SUMMIT Gear Review an all-American pair of socks from a company who set out to create the best sock ever.  Then, this week’s hack will get you outside, then inside, then back outside again!  And we’ll wrap up with a little trail wisdom from Mr. Frost.

34mins

28 Mar 2017

Rank #3

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069: The Ten Essentials

Today on the First 40 Miles, we get to dump out our ten essentials and spill what’s really inside. Then on today’s Top 5 list, we’ll take our First 40 Milers with us to the Salmon River.  On the SUMMIT Gear Review, see what Lifestraw did to keep your knees clean. Next, we’ll show you how to make a primitive chair out of stuff from the hardware store. And we’ll wrap up the show with a little trail wisdom from our good friend on the trail, Charles de Lint.

30mins

8 Mar 2016

Rank #4

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047: WILD: The Bear Episode

Today on The First 40 Miles, what do a diminutive military leader and a thousand pound grizzly bear have in common? Today’s Top 5 List may have the answer. Then in today’s SUMMIT Gear Review, a simple knot along with bullet proof fabric that can protect your food. Then on today’s Backpack Hack of the Week, if you’ve seen bear scat with bells in it, then we have the zero gram solution for you. And we’ll wrap up the show with a little trail wisdom from our good friend on the trail, Craig Childs.

28mins

6 Oct 2015

Rank #5

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058: A Glorious Night Hike

Today on The First 40 Miles, if you’ve ever listened to the Christmas story from the Bible and felt some connection, we’ll share some good reasons why you may feel that way. On the SUMMIT Gear Review, we’ll show you a simple way to deal with the moody weather of December. For the Backpack Hack of the Week, find out where we dig up all our best backpacking stories. And we’ll wrap up the show with a little Christmas yuletide.

28mins

22 Dec 2015

Rank #6

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051: HEEL TO TOE: The Sock Episode

Today on The First 40 Miles, HEEL TO TOE: The Sock Episode! On the Top 5 List, we’ll share the top 5 non-traditional hiking socks. Then on the SUMMIT Gear Review, the socks have invited a special guest to join them on the show. Next, on the Backpack Hack of the Week, what to do if a forest creature takes off with your socks. We have a Backpacker Q+A about compression socks. And we’ll wrap up the show with a little trail wisdom from a Russian who probably knew a thing or two about Portyankis.

27mins

3 Nov 2015

Rank #7

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113: How to Pack for a Trip

Today on the First 40 Miles, packing for a backpacking trip can sometimes look like the aftermath of an REI rummage sale.  Gear everywhere.  We can’t help you with that, but we’ll share some tips for packing that will make your trip go a little smoother.  For today’s Summit Gear Review, a load of insulation for your next winter adventure.  Next, the Backpack Hack of the Week will show you a sleeping bag hack for all you claustrophobes out there.

32mins

10 Jan 2017

Rank #8

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043: Trends in Backpacking

Today on The First 40 Miles, learn about the upcoming trends in backpacking gear. Then, on The SUMMIT Gear Review, the headlamp that illuminates without a lot of complicated button pushing. Next, the Backpack Hack of the week will show you how to sleep like a baby. Then, we’ll wrap up the show with very little humor and a bit of trail wisdom.

28mins

8 Sep 2015

Rank #9

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062: Is the Pack Half Full or Half Empty?

Today on The First 40 Miles, is the pack half full or half empty? How you answer that question may determine your experience on the trail. We’ll share five tips for new backpackers that will help ensure that your next trip will be even better than your last! Then, on the SUMMIT Gear Review, a solution for hikers who don’t want to waste a minute fumbling with shoelaces. On the Backpack Hack of the Week, an “Oh Duh!” solution to keep your homemade meals from tipping over. And we’ll leave you today with a little trail wisdom from our good friend Henry.

28mins

19 Jan 2016

Rank #10

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007: When It Rains, You’re Covered

Recent research by a Kansas State physicist proves that petite folks have the advantage on the trail.  Next, be sure to pack an umbrella (is this a joke?) on your next backpacking trip.  On the SUMMIT™ Gear Review, we review a basic hat that left Heather’s ears out cold.  And you’ll learn how to make a simple breakfast that will take you back to your idyllic childhood in the Swiss Alps.

20mins

30 Dec 2014

Rank #11

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052: Cutting the Switchbacks

Today on The First 40 Miles, there are times when shortcuts are a bad idea, and times when they’re a great idea! We’ll help you figure it all out in today’s Top 5 List. Then, on the SUMMIT Gear Review, a light, lightweight way to deal with microorganisms in your drinking water. Next, on the Backpack Hack of the Week, we’ll show you a great resource you can take advantage of that will improve your outdoor skills and knowledge. And we’ll wrap up the show with a little trail wisdom from a guy named Woody who wrote the handbook on Trail Construction and Management.

33mins

10 Nov 2015

Rank #12

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136: Move to Backpack, Backpack to Move

Today on the First 40 Miles, a hiker, a backpacker and a biomechanist all walk up to a bar.  What they do next might just surprise you.  On today’s Top 5 List, we’ll talk about how another podcaster we listen to has changed---nay---revolutionized the way we move.  Then we’ll review some stretchy pants that allow freedom of movement along with the power of wool.  For today’s Backpack Hack of the Week, a movement hack provided by Katy herself.

36mins

20 Jun 2017

Rank #13

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064: CHILL: The Winter Backpacking Episode

Today on The First 40 Miles, is backpacking just a summer fling? We’ll talk about the challenges of winter backpacking, and how to remain thermally neutral. Then, if you’ve ever dreamed of wrapping your legs in merino and baby alpaca fiber, then your dreams are about to come true on today’s SUMMIT Gear Review. Next, on the Backpack Hack of the Week, the forest has no lost and found, but it does have some handy free stuff laying around that you can use if you lose some gear. And we’ll wrap up the show with a little trail wisdom from our good friend on the hills and fells, Chris Townsend.

27mins

2 Feb 2016

Rank #14

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147: DRIED: The Dehydrated Food Episode

Today on the First 40 Miles, the surest way to lighten your food load is to extract the water from it.  We’ll share our dehydrating successes, some graceful fails and some tips to help you dehydrate your own food.  Then, for the SUMMIT Gear Review, we’ll show you a fun tool to make jerky—and we’ll give you a recipe that will help you pack your favorite Chinese takeout flavor on the trail.

34mins

5 Sep 2017

Rank #15

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053: Pilgrims and Strangers

Today on The First 40 Miles, is it possible to pack an entire Thanksgiving Dinner in your pack? Nope. But there are a few things you can pack that’ll get you pretty close to it. Then on the SUMMIT Gear Review, you’ll learn about a unique way to light your camp space. On the Backpack Hack of the Week, we’ll share a secret ingredient that will make all of your backpacking dinners palatable. And we’ll wrap up the show with a little trail wisdom from Roethke.

27mins

17 Nov 2015

Rank #16

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177: BEGINNERS: One Step at a Time

Today on the First 40 Miles, if you’re a beginner backpacker, you are on the threshold of one of the most thrilling adventures of your life.   We’ll help you navigate this new adventure with confidence.  For today’s SUMMIT Gear Review, a monthly subscription service that will keep you excited about backpacking all year long.  Today’s hack will help you repurpose a Pringles can.  And we’ll leave you with some Trail Wisdom from our favorite mountain goat.

37mins

3 Apr 2018

Rank #17

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037: Questions for Newbies

Today on The First 40 Miles, the Top 5 Questions Every New Backpacker Should Ask. On the SUMMIT Gear Review, you’ll find a nice budget option for keeping your ten essentials in perfect order. Then, on the Backpack Hack of the Week, tenemos un pastel que es muy delicioso y es perfecto para mochileros! And we’ll wrap up the show with a little trail wisdom from the most quoted man in the woods.

29mins

28 Jul 2015

Rank #18

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006: Pipe Organs vs Harmonicas

Are you planning on bringing a musical instrument on your next backpacking trip?  This episode may have you rethinking that “unitasker” harmonica.  Next, backpackers grab an unusual piece of wood to burn to stay warm while they wait to be rescued.  We'll review a women's pack, then end with the perfect calorie-dense trail dessert: chocolate!

27mins

23 Dec 2014

Rank #19

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038: GRUB: The Food Episode

Today on The First 40 Miles, GRUB: The Food Episode! We’ll give you 5 great ways to protect yourself and future hikers in your outdoor kitchen. Then on the SUMMIT Gear Review, a squirrel would have to be nuts to try to chew through this amazing food sack. On the Backpack Hack of the Week, we’ll teach you how to stockpile your arsenal of high calorie grab-and-go foods for your next trip. We’ll share some info on the good kind of dehydration in our backpackers Q+A, and we’ll wrap up the show with a little trail wisdom from a man who probably never missed a meal in his life.

34mins

4 Aug 2015

Rank #20