Hiking the Dix Range Pt 1 – Adirondacks 3 Day Backpacking Trip | Hammock Camping

Join Sara and I for 3 days of Hiking & Hammock Camping on a Backpacking Trip in the Adirondack’s Dix Mountain Wilderness.

For this backpacking adventure, I’ll be breaking the hiking trip into two parts. Part 1 covers our hike in to camp, setting up our base camp with our two person hammock camping system, and some campfire chat while we make a campfire, do camp chores, and cook some backpacking food.

Hiking the Dix Range Part 2 will be comprised of mostly hiking and summits, as we ascend from camp up onto the Dix Range to hit the Beckhorn (a subsidiary peak of Dix Mountain) and the summit of Dix Mountain itself.

GPS Data for this trip will be released with part 2.

Trailhead and Parking Location

Elk Lake Trailhead Parking Lot, 675 Elk Lake Rd, North Hudson, NY 12855
44°01’15.0″N 73°49’40.9″W

Topics discussed and things that happen in this episode

  • Base camping with a ton of camping gear vs ultralight backpacking.
  • Finding & legal camping spots in the Adirondacks.
  • Pros and cons of using a bear canister. These are not legally required in the Dix Mountain Wilderness, but we had one anyway, for reasons discussed in the video.
  • Hammock camping with our dog, Denali.
  • Outfitting our Dutchware Chameleon Hammocks with the Double Dutch Bugnet system.
  • Hammock under quilt attachment using of Chameleon hammock’s underquilt hooks.
  • A look at the MalloMe Camping Cookware Set for backpacking food preparation.
  • Building a campfire and cooking some of of favorite backpacking appetizers and dinners.
  • Sara reviews a flashlight…

Trails Used Day 1

  • Parked at Elk Lake Trailhead Parking Lot.  This is a decent sized lot along a gravel road on the way to the Elk Lake Lodge.  If the lot is full, you may park for free at the Elk Lake Lodge, a bit further up the road.
  • Elk Lake to Dix Mountain Trail
  • Pass the Slide Brook Lean-to . The Slide Brook LT and camping area makes for a popular base camp for hikers hitting the Dix Range. We chose to push on a bit (under 2 miles) to the lesser used Lillian Brook lean-to area, which as some nice, legal campsites that are a bit more secluded.
  • Pass the sign for Lillian Brook LT and continue a bit further.
  • Setup camp along the Elk Lake Trail, after the Lillian Brook LT and just before the large bridge crossing Lillian Brook.  As of 9/14/17, this site had a yellow “Camp Here” disc, designating it a fully legal spot, despite it’s proximity to a small stream nearby. The stream is probably a convenient water source when flowing good, but we opted to get our water a 100 meters or so down the trail by the Lilian Brook bridge.

Dix Range Adirondacks Day 1 Elevation Profile – Sintax77

Day 1 Total Mileage:  4 miles
Day 1 Gross Elevation Gain: 633 feet
Day 1 Gross Elevation Loss:  339 feet

Notable Camping / Backpacking Gear Seen on this Video

Our Dog’s Backpacking Gear

Backpacking Food

Stay tuned for Hiking the Dix Range Part Two where we depart camp and head for ridge.

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.

Olight HS2 Headlamp for Running & Hiking – Review

A Review of the Olight HS2 Headlamp for Running & Hiking.

In this gear video I go over my personal experiences with using the Olight HS2 rechargeable headlamp system, specs, features, and operational procedures to access the Olight H2R Nova’s light modes and charging functions. As a backpacker more so than a runner, I also go over my thoughts and experiences with using this as a running headlamp vs a hiking and camping headlamp.

HS2 Specs, as per the Manufacturer

  • Beam Distance Max: 279 feet / 85 meters
  • Max Performance (lumens): 400
  • Charge type: Micro-USB
  • Compatible Batteries: Customized LiPo Battery
  • Light Intensity (candela): 1,800
  • Light Form: Wide/broad hotspot. Perfect for up close illumination.
  • Lens / Reflector Type: TIR bead lens (wide/broad beam)
  • Mode Operation: Side Switch
  • Size Factor: Small size (Car key / Zippo Lighter)
  • Series: Series H (Headlamps, Multitasking)

Unique Characteristics

  • Can be powered directly from any USB power source – never run out of battery.
  • Dual LED system for long range and up-close wide illumination.
  • Audible beep at 10% battery capacity to alert the user to charge.
  • Compact and lightweight at only 4 ounces.

Lighting Levels

  • Dual Beam High: 400 lumens , 2 hours 12 minutes
  • Dual Beam Low: 100 lumens , 9 hours
  • Single Beam High (wide or spot): 200 lumens , 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Single Beam Low (wide or spot): 50 lumens , 18 hours
  • Moon 1 lumens Cool White / 1 lumens – Neutral White – 45 days
  • Strobe: No
  • SOS / BEACON: Yes

Technical Characteristics

  • Waterproof: IPX4
  • Weight: 4.06 oz , 115 grams
  • Length: 24mm / 0.94 in
  • Head Diameter:  23mm / 0.91 in
  • Body Diameter: 45mm / 1.77 in
  • LED: Cree XH-G2
  • Use: EDC, car, camping, fishing, household, general use, fishing, climbing, cave exploration, outdoor activities, house activitie

Package Contents

  • Flashlight Olight HS2 x 1
  • Rechargeable  2000mAh 3.7V Lipo x 1
  • head strap x 1
  • Pouch x 1
  • Replacement Cable Clip x 2
  • 1.5-meter Micro-USB Cable
  • instruction manual x 1

Other items Seen / Discussed in the Video

Backpacking Gear for Hammock Camping – Which Items to Buy First?

A discussion on deciding which backpacking gear items to buy / upgrade first when first getting started with hammock camping.

A viewer, Chuck C., recently sent me the following question:

“I have been buying my gear spread out so the wife won’t kill me. Rank these in the order you would buy:

  • Cuben Fiber Tarp
  • Down Under Quilt
  • Down Top Quilt
  • Hammock
  • Backpack

In the video I try to answer this question as well as get some discussion going on the topic of hammock camping gear in general.  Which items would you upgrade or buy first?

Day Hiking w/ the Amok Segl Hammock & General Discussion on Hammock Camping, Set-up, Tips, etc

Day Hiking and trying out the Amok Segl hammock, as well as some general talk about Hammock Setup and Camping vs Lounging on the trail.

Topics Discussed on this Episode

  • A detailed look at the features and setup of my new Amok Segl Hammock.
  • Proper hang angle for hanging a hammock (ideally, 30°) and why you should avoid hanging your hammock suspension too tight / flat.
  • Proper strap position when using carabiners or Dutch Clips.
  • Nylon vs Polyester tree straps
  • Hammock length and how it relates to diagonal lay.
  • What I look for in a camping hammock compared to an on-the-go lounging / sitting hammock.
  • Hammock strap length and why you may or may not pack longer or shorter straps.
  • Fabric differences for hammocks (stretch, texture, water resistance)

Specs and Features of the Amok Segl Hammock, as per the Manufacturer

  • Plug and play suspension system included.
  • Ultralight weight: 15 oz (total)
  • Weight Breakdown – Hammock (7 oz), Suspension straps (5 oz), Carabiners and buckles (3 oz)
  • 20D Robic Nylon (30% stronger than regular nylon)
  • Capacity: 330 lbs

Other gear seen in the video: ULA Ohm 2.0 Pack, Dutchware Half-Wit Hammock, Amok Draumr 3.0 Hammock.

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.