Hiking Big South Fork Pt 2 – Tennessee Hammock Camping & Backpacking Trip

Join me for 3 days of hiking & hammock camping on a backpacking trip in Tennessee’s Big South Fork Nat’l Rec Area.

For this backpacking adventure, I’ll be breaking the hiking trip into two parts. BSF Part 1 is mostly in the woods and at camp and is more of a hanging in the woods, conversational type video. Part 2 covers days 2 and 3 where I traverse into the higher regions of Big South Fork, hitting the ridges for views of the Cumberland Plateau’s sandstone bluffs and Big South Fork River.

For more details on the first day of this trip, check out my Big South Fork Pt 1 blog post and video.

GPS Data for this trip is available on the Trip Data Page, or via this link for direct download: Big South Fork Backpacking Loop 2017 GPS Data – Sintax77

Big South Fork John Muir John Litton Backpacking Loop Route Overview – Sintax77

Trailhead and Parking Location

Bandy Creek Visitor Center, 151 Stable Rd, Oneida, TN 37841
N36° 29.275′ W84° 41.837′

Topics discussed and things that happen in this episode

  • Place Holder

Trails Used Day 2

  • Break camp along the Laurel Fork Creek Trail
  • Continue north on the Laurel Creek Fork Trail
  • Make a left (east) onto the John Muir Trail (the next 2 miles will cover the bulk of the elevation gain for the day)
  • Make a right (west) onto the Fall Branch Trail
  • Setup camp along the Laurel Fork Creek Trail (less than a 100 meters after crossing the creek / bridge.  There is a campsite immediately next to the creek as well)

Day 2 Total Mileage: 15.2 miles
Day 2 Gross Elevation Gain: 1,616 feet
Day 2 Gross Elevation Loss: 1,266 feet

Big South Fork Day 2 Elevation Profile – Sintax77

Trails Used Day 3

  • Break camp along Fall Branch Trail
  • Continue south on the Fall Branch Trail
  • Make a Right (north) onto the John Litton Farm Hike Loop Trail (heading south will ultimately bring you back to the parking lot as well).
  • Continue south onto the road (gravel, then paved) until you arrive back at the Bandy Creek Visitor Center Parking Lot.

Day 3 Total Mileage: 6.1 miles
Day 3 Gross Elevation Gain: 600 feet
Day 3 Gross Elevation Loss: 313 feet

Big South Fork Day 3 Elevation Profile – Sintax77

Trip Grand Totals

Total Mileage for Trip: 28.4 miles
Total Elevation Gain for Trip: 3,076 feet

The gear list used for this trip along with discussion on each item can be found in my accompanying 2017 Ultralight Backpacking Gear List Blog Post and Video.

Hiking Big South Fork Pt 1 – Tennessee Hammock Camping & Backpacking Trip

Join me for 3 days of hiking & hammock camping on a backpacking trip in Tennessee’s Big South Fork Nat’l Rec Area.

For this backpacking adventure, I’ll be breaking the hiking trip into two parts. Part 1 is mostly in the woods and at camp and is more of a hanging in the woods, conversational type video. In BSF Part 2 we will traverse into the higher regions of Big South Fork, hitting the ridges for views of the Cumberland Plateau’s sandstone bluffs and Big South Fork River.

GPS Data for this trip is available on the Trip Data Page or by clicking this link for direct download: Big South Fork Backpacking Loop 2017 GPS Data – Sintax77

Trailhead and Parking Location

Bandy Creek Visitor Center, 151 Stable Rd, Oneida, TN 37841
N36° 29.275′ W84° 41.837′

Topics discussed and things that happen in this episode

  • Feeling like a lost idiot on the trail.
  • Camp setup priorities when arriving at camp.
  • Setup / breaking camp in the rain.
  • Continuous Ridgeline usage and setup for quick and easy tarp deployment.
  • Low carb backpacking food options for carb conscious or ketogenic diets.
  • Starting a campfire in the rain.
  • Campfire cooking some meat on a stick.

Trails Used Day 1

  • Parked at the Bandy Creek Visitor Center
  • Started on the Oscar Blevins Farm Loop Trail (located in the corner of the parking lot on the opposite side of the road from the visitor’s center)
  • At the Intersection, turn right onto the Collier Ridge Bike Loop. This is where I mistakenly continued straight, which would have taken in a circle. Luckily, I realized earlier enough to turn around and head back to the intersection.
  • Turn left (north) on the gravel road. From looking at the map, I could have avoided the short road hike by hopping on the access Jack Ridge trail, which appears to be found either right near where I popped out on the road, or a little ways down that road to the right.  Continuing on the road seems to have saved me a decent amount of hiking though, which made up for my wrong turn earlier,
  • Turn right (east) onto the next, smaller gravel road.
  • Arrived at the sign for Jack Ridge Loop Trail and headed left onto
  • Black House Branch Trail
  • Right on Laurel Fork Creek Trail
  • Setup camp by the waterfall pool along the Laurel Fork Creek Trail.

Big South Fork Day 1 Elevation Profile – Sintax77

Day 1 Total Mileage: 7.25 miles
Day 1 Gross Elevation Gain: 860 feet
Day 1 Gross Elevation Loss: 1,256 feet

The gear list used for this trip along with discussion on each item can be found in my accompanying 2017 Ultralight Backpacking Gear List Blog Post and Video.

Ultralight Backpacking Gear List 2017

A detailed look at my 2017 Ultralight Backpacking Gear List (warm weather & 3-season)

For a detailed list of my backpacking gear, with itemized weights and descriptions, you can download PDF and CSV format copies of this list as well as lists for previous trips / videos my Gear Lists page.

List in PDF Format for viewing and printing.

List in CSV Spreadsheet Format for use in your favorite spreadsheet or backpacking software.

Below is a simplified list of the backpacking items shown in the video (without weights or descriptions) along with links for details and current pricing.

Backpack
Backpack – ULA Ohm 2.0
Pack Cover – Dutchware Argon

Shelter
Hammock Body – Dutchware Half-Wit
Hammock Suspension – Dutchware Dyneema Beetle Buckle
Tarp – Hammock Gear Cuben Hex Tarp
Tent spike – Titanium
Ground Cloth – Tyvek, long 3′ 6′ – I forgot to show this in the video. I like to place this under my hammock for organizing gear, keeping my feet dry when changing / getting out of the hammock and for wrapping around my pack to keep it dry during windy rain storms. 4 oz.  A 3’x3′ square can get the job done as well for half the weight.

Sleep System
Under Quilt – Hammock Gear Phoenix 30
Top Quilt – Hammock Gear Burrow 40

Storage
Bear Bag Line – Zing-it rope and Carabiner
Zip-lock Bag – Gallon
Zip-lock Bag – Sandwich

Cooking & Eating Utensils
Cook Pot – Toaks 750ml Titanium
Stove – Esbit DIY (made out of pellet tin)
Cookset Stuff sack (came with Toaks pot)
Matches – Waterproof
Fire Steel – Light My Fire, Mini
Pot Cozy , DIY Reflectix
Spoon – backup, disposable
Spork – Sea to Summit Alloy
Windscreen – Vargo Folding Aluminum
Paper towels squares and Sea to Summit Pocket Soap slivers

Water Treatment & Storage
Water Filter – Katadyn BeFree
Water Bottle – 1.5 Ltr, Disposable (2)
Spare water bottle caps

Tools

Compass – Brunton Classic
Lighter – Eddie Bauer
Multi Tool – Tool Logic Card

First Aid
First Aid Kit
Bug Spray – 100% Deet in a 3ml bottle
Sunscreen – 30 SPF in a 10ml bottle

Clothing (not worn)
Dri Ducks Rain Jacket
Underwear – Synthetic (1 Pair)
Shorts, Synthetic workout style
Shirt, Long Sleeve – light weight synthetic
Shirt, short sleeve synthetic Champion
Hat, Beanie – Lt Wgt Fleece
Socks, Wool – light weight 1/4 Darn Tough

Lighting
Headlamp – Fenix HL21 w/ battery

Toiletries
Toilet Paper
Toiletry Kit
Wet Wipes
Hand Sanitizer

Clothing Worn
Pants, Hiking – Lt Wgt
Shirt, short sleeve synthetic Champion
Underwear – Synthetic
Socks, Wool – light weight 1/4 Darn Tough 
Shoes, Trail Runners – Merrell Moab Ventilator

Optional Items Seen at End of Video
My every day carry flashlight – Preon 2
Long Underwear, Synthetic
Down Jacket – Montbell UL Down Parka
Dri Ducks Rain Pants
Dri Ducks Poncho
Spot Messenger Gen3 GPS Locator

World’s Lightest Camping Lantern (and cheapest)

Discussing my Favorite (and cheapest) Ultralight Camping Lantern Option.

Just a quick backpacking tips video to highlight a technique that I actually showed briefly in a video years back. I recently read a list of “camping hacks” that mentioned a DIY way to turn your camping headlamp into a lantern. They used a 1 gallon water jug to diffuse the light. Clever, and it probably works well, but it reminded me of my preferred method – simply using a headlamp and a balloon to create a lantern effect.

Surprisingly, I haven’t really seen or heard of hikers doing this very often. Perhaps it’s because it’s just too obvious, but I figured it was worth sharing.

SinChats – What’s Your Backpacking Style? Mileage Killer or Camp Chiller?

What’s your Backpacking & Hiking Style?  Do you like to hike hard & pump out the miles, or do you prefer to spend spend more time at camp, or taking breaks at vistas?  Join in the discussion on this edition of SinChats.

 

Backpacking Tips – Easy Route Planning – The String Method

In this video, we’ll take a look at how to find custom Backpacking loop hikes… fast.

There are plenty of high tech route planning methods out there for hiking and backpacking, and trust me, I love them. But sometimes it’s nice to just keep things simple.

In preparation for an upcoming overnight trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, I began tinkering with various methods to find an ideal 3 day, 2 night loop. Several futile afternoons later, I was less than successful in my pursuit of Tennessee adventure. But then I broke out the method seen in the video. Within a short amount of time I suddenly had a loop hike that I was excited about. Score 1 for low tech.