214 episodes

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.

The First 40 Miles: Hiking and Backpacking Podcast Heather Legler

    • Sports
    • 4.5 • 1.1K Ratings

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.

    214: The Final Episode

    214: The Final Episode

    Show Notes: Episode 214


    Dear First 40 Milers,

    It has been a delight to share our wilderness backpacking journey with you!  You’ve learned and discovered right along with us.  We’re deeply touched by all the kind words and the stories that you’ve shared with us over the past four years.  We hope we get a chance to cross paths again.


    Heather and Josh Legler


    Today on the First 40 Miles, we’re wrapping up production of The First 40 Miles with today’s final episode.  We’ll share some of our ideas for podcasts we’d love to see started, talk a little about what it’s been like to share our backpacking adventures with ya’ll, then wrap up with a little trail wisdom that brings it all full circle.


    This week marks the 4 year anniversary of The First 40 Miles, and today is also our final episode.  We have loved producing this show for you each week.


    Top 5 new outdoor podcasts I’d like to see in the next year (that can replace The First 40 Miles)

    An outdoor, on site, story-telling show

    * Stories from people getting out there, done NPR style, but less studio, more outdoors

    * We love the idea of it being on site, because then you get the ambient noise

    * It dances on the border of technology and nature.

    A niche topic

    * Like trail food, book reviews about outdoor related books, even an outdoors + politics podcast

    * Gear focused podcast (because many people expressed how much they enjoyed the SUMMIT Gear Review)

    A revival of the S’more Outdoor Podcast

    * It’s great to hear people’s personal experiences in the outdoors and how it affects their indoor time, their work, their focus, their creativity

    A family focused outdoor podcast

    * All outdoor things: SUP, slackline, hikes, neighborhood walks, exercise, organized sports, gardening, farming, rc cars/planes, surfing, etc.

    * It would answer the question: “How does YOUR family stay active?”

    * Families are so important and families can help produce the next generation of healthy, robust, outdoor enthusiasts

    A child-produced show

    * Cascade Hiker, one of our podcasting friends, has a show for his daughters. I love it!

    * Children need to have a voice—lets encourage them to share their voices and their stories!

    Podcasting behind the scenes…

    Our gear:

    * Samson GoMIC 

    * Audacity (free)

    * Laptop computer

    * Headphones for editing audio

    Time required to produce one episode: 

    * 2–4 hours to create and research for show notes

    * 1 hour to record

    * 4 hours to edit audio

    Trail Wisdom

    “God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”

    —Anne Frank

    That’s it for today, thank you, thank you, thank you for listening.  We have loved producing this show for you.  Thank you for all your kind, encouraging words.  We feel the love!  You can access all our episodes at TheFirst40Miles.com or on iTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher.  That’s it for today.  Signing off,

    —Heather and Josh Legler.

    • 42 min
    213: Health Benefits of Backpacking

    213: Health Benefits of Backpacking

    Show Notes: Episode 213

    Today on the First 40 Miles, if you haven’t figured it out by experience, then we’ll give you one more huge reason to begin backpacking…the health benefits!  The list of health benefits is huge!  Then our SUMMIT Gear Review today is a 22 pound piece of gear… but hear us out… it’s 100% backpackable and incredibly fun!


    * Forest Bathing: http://time.com/5259602/japanese-forest-bathing/

    * http://www.shinrin-yoku.org/shinrin-yoku.html

    * The scientifically-proven benefits of Shinrin-yoku include:

    * Boosted immune system functioning

    * Reduced blood pressure

    * Reduced stress

    * Improved mood

    * Increased energy level

    * Improved sleep

    * Deepening of friendships

    Top 5 Health Benefits of Backpacking that We’ve Experienced

    * Heather and Josh share health benefits they’ve personally experienced from backpacking

    * https://www.businessinsider.com/why-spending-more-time-outside-is-healthy-2017-7

    * https://thetrek.co/scientifically-supported-reasons-get-outside/

    SUMMIT Gear Review:  Jimmy Styks Puffer Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board


    * Comes with pack, inflatable stand up paddle board, paddle, repair kit, loop for your foot, fin

    * Adjustable Carbon Fiber Travel Paddle

    * Dual Action High-Pressure Pump

    * 10′ Coil Leash

    * Click N’ Go Standard Fin

    * Premium iSUP Board Bag

    * Repair Kit


    * To use, pack it in, puff it up

    * Pack doesn’t have room for other gear, so have another one of your hiking buddies pack the rest of the gear.

    * Attach pump and pump it up on site

    * Handles for easy carrying to the water

    * Stretch band in the front so you can stow other gear like wind breaker, lunch, etc.


    * 22 lbs—and that includes everything except the life vest…which you don’t have to use if you use the ankle tether

    * Length 11’6” (350.5 cm)

    * Width 31” (78.7 cm)

    * Thickness 5.9” (15 cm)

    * Board Avg. Weight 20 lbs (9 kg)

    * Weight Limit 260 lbs. (117 kg)

    * Inflate to 18 PSI


    * Repair kit comes with ISUP


    * $699


    * The Jimmy Styks Puffer Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board is a piece of outdoor gear that comes in its own pack, can be hiked in, adds to the experience of the trip, and can be a feature activity, instead of the miles.

    * Worth the weight for a day trip or overnighter

    * Can fish from it

    * Fun, low impact, LNT activity, so quiet, so peaceful, so calm

    * We didn’t inflate ours all the way, just until it felt firm

    Backpack Hack of the Week™:  “The Absorber” Super Absorbent Towel

    * Found in automotive section

    * Can be cut down

    * Excellent for rainy hikes (December is rainy here), tent rain gear, etc.

    * $12

    * They can be used as camp-towels, to dry off gear, clean off condensation inside your tent

    * Heather added a grommet to hers

    Trail Wisdom (VOTE on the one you like best)

    “The sun shines not on us but in us.”

    —John Muir

    “The wilderness holds answers to questions man has not yet learned to ask.”

    —Nancy Newhall

    “It is solved by walking.”

    —Latin Proverb

    If you’re looking for fun backpacking books and merch, check out thefirst40miles.com/shop.

    • 25 min
    212: PLAY: Games on the Trail

    212: PLAY: Games on the Trail

    Show Notes: Episode 212

    Today on the First 40 Miles,  who says you can’t have type one fun and type two fun on a backpacking trip?  Today’s episode explores games on the trail and how to make memories without bringing Monopoly.  You’ll learn 5 super fast, super fun games that you can play on  your next wilderness backpacking adventure or use to break the ice at your next board meeting.  Then, we’ll review a love it or hate it nano game that, for mere grams, will earn its spot in your pack.


    * Why games?

    * Diversion, make memories, pass the time, springboard for conversation and connection.

    * If you’re thinking, I’d never bring Monopoly or Risk with me on the trail, then it’s time to think outside the box.

    * Lots of games are UL, nano games, micro games, card games, dice games, physical games, mind games, pencil and paper games, feats of strength games, balance games, conversation games.

    Top 5 Super Quick Games to Play on the Trail

    Fortune Cookie

    * Two or more players

    * Your goal is to build a fortune that you might find in a fortune cookie, one word at a time.

    * Sample round

    * Winner/loser? You could say person who says last word loses.

    Spoken Song Lyrics

    * Hello darkness, my old friend

    * Like a walk in the rain

    * Life is but a dream

    Rotten Penny

    * Two or more players

    * Get a pile of pebbles (or you can even use pinecones)

    * Each player may take 1, 2, or 3 pebbles

    * The person to take the last pebble loses.


    * Two player

    * Each say a word—any word!

    * What do those words have in common? Figure it out then you both say another word

    * Trying to get to the point where you say the same word at the same time


    * Two person game

    * Walrus

    * Walrus blight of 2004

    * Scientist who worked feverishly to save the last walrus on the earth

    * What’s going to take out the scientist?

    SUMMIT Gear Review: Win Lose or Banana


    * 3 cards: win, lose, banana

    * Win card must reveal her card, but the other two must try to convince the person with the win card that they are the banana. After much persuasion, the person with the win card makes the call.


    * Win, lose, or banana cards


    * Mere grams…


    * If you want to keep the cards clean, get sleeve protectors for them


    * $1


    * We played this with Steve one night on the PCT.

    * Quick, ridiculous game.  No brain needed.  Over before it gets obnoxious.

    * Similar to an out of print game by ButtonShy Games called Wildcats. (Good cat, bad cat, wild cat)

    * NOTE: If you like nanogames, there’s also a one card game called Ninja

    Backpack Hack of the Week™:  UL Card Table

    * Sometimes you need a surface for playing cards. Just something to keep things clean and from sliding around

    * The dollar store has thin plastic cutting boards

    * Perfect card table for backpacking

    * UL, multi-use, cheap

    Trail Wisdom

    “Play is the highest form of research.”

    —Albert Einstein

    If you’re looking for fun backpacking books and merch, check out thefirst40miles.com/shop.

    • 24 min
    211: Gear That Lasts the Miles

    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

    If you’re looking for fun backpacking books and merch, check out thefirst40miles.com/shop.

    • 22 min
    210: Battle of the Utensil

    210: Battle of the Utensil

    Show Notes: Episode 210

    Today on the First 40 Miles, maybe you want to eat like royalty on the trail—but you don’t need a 15 piece place setting to make that happen.  What does it take to shovel food from your cook pot to your mouth?  Then we’ll talk about our top 5 favorite post trip meals.  Then, what are our recommendations for backpacking gear that can go seamlessly from trail to off-trail lunchbox?  And we’ll wrap things up with a quote from our favorite Dutch Post-Impressionist painter.


    * Battle of the Utensils: Pros and Cons of each type of utensil

    * Fork, knife, spoon

    * Spork

    * Sponifork

    * Long-handled spoon

    * Chop sticks

    * Plastic/titanium/bamboo

    * What works?

    Top 5 Favorite Post Trip Meals

    Fried rice

    * Gem Lake hike when we were dating

    * Fast easy, prep before trip

    * Rice, frozen mixed veg, an egg, and some ham or bacon… oil and soy sauce.

    Taco soup

    * Fast, filling, warm

    * Can of corn, diced tomatoes, black beans (rinse and drained), taco seasoning or chili powder, chicken bouillon

    * Maybe some ground beef

    * Tortilla chips

    * Shredded cheese

    Burger/pizza joint off trail

    * Many restaurants off the big trails that cater to thru hikers

    * Big servings…lots of calories for the calorically depleted

    Super Salad

    * Takes some energy to put together, but it’s so worth it. Especially if you’re feeling veggie deprived from spending weeks on the trail

    * SImple formula: a green, a cut fruit, chopped vegetables, and some nuts. Top with poppy seed dressing.

    * I like Romaine with an orange that’s been sliced up, walnuts, red onion, red bell pepper and top with poppy seed dressing.

    Frozen food like ice cream or slushies

    * Dairy Queen

    * Especially if it was a hot trip

    After-hike food: What’s the thing you crave most at the end of a backpacking trip?

    SUMMIT Gear Review:  To Go Ware Bamboo Utensils + EcoLunchboxes Adventure Kit

    * These two items work on and off the trail

    * Great for packing lunches to work and school

    * Durable and work well for backpacking

    * Great to have multi use items for the trail that can be used at home as well

    Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Dollar Store Food Haul

    If you’re looking for food to take on your next backpacking trip, a trip to the local dollar store may have just what you’re looking for.   More and more, dollar stores are stocking food.  And they’re typically in smaller, more convenient sizes that are perfect for backpacking.

    * coconut oil

    * Jif-to-go packets

    * nuts

    * seeds

    * chocolate/fun size bars

    * ramen noodles

    Trail Wisdom

    “If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.”

    —Vincent van Gogh

    If you’re looking for fun backpacking books and merch, check out thefirst40miles.com/shop.

    • 21 min
    209: Hidden Messages in Your Gear

    209: Hidden Messages in Your Gear

    Show Notes: Episode 209

    Today on the First 40 Miles, have you ever given much thought to the names that companies give gear?  The name of your pack or your tent isn’t just some random name they pulled out of a hat.   Next, today’s top 5 list is a whole pile of hacks I picked up on my recent backpacking trip.  Then, a little SteriPEN that is a backpackers dream!  And a quick hack that has been on every single one of our backpacking trips.


    What goes into naming a piece of gear?  Let’s look at some pack names and what they mean…

    Osprey Kestrel

    * A small falcon that hovers with rapidly beating wings while searching for prey on the ground.

    Kelty Sanitas

    * Kids pack

    * Sanitas (latin word) means health, soundness of body

    Osprey Tarn

    * A tarn (or corrie loch) is a mountain lake or pool, formed in a cirque excavated by a glacier. A moraine may form a natural dam below a tarn.

    Granite Gear Lutsen

    * Lutsen Mountains is a ski area in the north central United States; an Alpine skiing area located on the North Shore region of Cook County in northeastern Minnesota.

    Gregory Baltoro

    * The Baltoro Glacier is one of the longest glaciers outside the polar regions. It is located in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of northern Pakistan. It runs through part of the Karakoram mountain range.

    Arcteryx Bora

    * A bora is a violent, dry, cold wind blowing from the north or northeast.

    The North Face Prophet

    * Prophets from the Old Testament frequently went to mountain tops

    Top 5 Hacks I Used on my Most Recent Backpacking Trip

    3×5 card pee shield (for women)

    * Pee splatters, no matter what

    * A small piece of paper can stop the pee splatter

    Small container of Vicks Vaporub

    * So many great the uses for it!

    * Antifungal, smoothes cracked skin, masks foul odors, chapped lips, dry eyes (put under eyes)

    * Bug repellant? Possibly!

    Yoga pants instead of hiking pants

    * Soft, stretchy, breathable and allow movement

    Old Time Radio shows on your MP3

    * http://otrrlibrary.org/

    * Free to download, thousands of shows

    * Makes the time on the trail go by

    * My Friend Irma (comedy)

    * I Was Communist for the FBI (drama/crime)

    * Jack Benny (variety show)

    Removing a shoulder strap to shift load off a while

    * Helps reduce load for a little while

    SUMMIT Gear Review:  SteriPEN Ultralight


    * UV light

    * Makes water safe to drink by disabling the bacteria, protazoa


    * 1 liter at a time

    * Put SteriPEN in water and stir

    * Nodes need to be submerged


    * ~3 ounces


    * Rechargeable

    * 20 liters per charge

    * Prefilter water if you don’t want floaties


    * $90


    * Love!  Easy to use, simple

    * Was branded as the Red Cross SteriPEN

    * Will be available soon!

    Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Perma Kleenex

    Tie your bandana to a strap or tuck it into the webbing strap on your shoulder strap.

    Great for cold weather hikes when your nose gets drippy.

    Trail Wisdom

    “Nature is just enough; but men and women must comprehend and accept her suggestions.”

    —Antoinette Brown Blackwell

    If you’re looking for fun backpacking books and merch, check out thefirst40miles.com/shop.

    • 27 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
1.1K Ratings

1.1K Ratings

tuchatail ,

Great tips and so fun to listen to!

This is a great podcast for anyone who backpacks, from beginners to experts. There are so many tips and I love hearing the Leglers personal experiences as well!! This is definitely a positive way to spend 30 minutes. Highly recommend!!

JUtah31 ,

Pleasant, informative podcast

Very nice podcast.

iCranky ,

Great information 👍🏻

Found this podcast 2019 still listening episodes. Thank you for keeping them available.

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