Hammock Camping with my Dog – Seneca Creek Hiking & Backpacking Trip

Join my dog Denali and I for some Hiking, Backpacking, and Hammock Camping in the Seneca Creek Backcountry.

For this hiking adventure, my pup and I will be visiting the Spruce Knob-Seneca Creek National Recreation area, within West Virginia’s greater Monongahela National Forest. Our route will be a “lollipop”style hike – meaning we’ll use an “out and back” section of trail from the Spruce Knob trailhead parking area to connect with a series of other trails that form a loop. After completing the loop portion of the hike, we’ll backtrack out using the same section of trail from day one.

The Spruce Knob-Seneca Creek Backcountry offers around 60 miles of trails (marked with blue blazes) with an elevation range of 3,000 to 4,800 feet above sea level. The beginning of this particular loop is actually the highest point in all of West Virginia – Spruce Knob – standing at and elevation of 4,861 feet. Below is a list of trails for each day, along with stats for elevation gain and mileage.

Trailhead Parking: Spruce Knob Parking area (right by the observation tower).

Parking Notes:  No parking fees or overnight permits are required.  There are restrooms and bear-proof trash bins available for use.

GPS Track Data for this trip can be found on my Trip Data Page.

Trails used, Day 1

  • Huckleberry Trail
  • Hornton Trail (just for a short bit)
  • Judy Springs Trail
  • Seneca Creek Trail
  • Hammock Camp along Seneca Creek.

Day 1 – Seneca Creek Loop elevation Profile – Sintax77

Day 1 Mileage: 6.5 miles
Day 1 Gross Elevation Gain:  221 feet (pretty much down hill all day)

Trails used, Day 2

  • Seneca Creek Trail
  • High Meadows Trail
  • Lumberjack Trail
  • Join back up with Huckleberry Trail
  • Arrive back at Spruce Knob Parking Lot

Day 2 – Seneca Creek Loop elevation Profile – Sintax77

Day 2 Mileage: 10 miles
Day 2 Gross Elevation Gain:  2,173 feet (pretty much up hill all day)

Notable Gear Seen in the Video

Denali’s Hammock – 2T’s Hammock Chair from Dutchware
Denali’s Dog Backpack – “One Tigris Cotton Canvas Dog Pack”
Denali’s Collapsible Dog Dish – Doggone Dish
Dutchware Chameleon Hammock
Hammock Gear Burrow 40 Top Quilt

Hammock Gear Phoenix 30 Underquilt
Hammock Gear Cuben Hex Tarp
Katadyn BeFree Water Filter
Toaks 750ml Titanium Pot
Vargo Windscreen
Esbit Solid Fuel Cubes
ULA Ohm 2.0 Backpack

Aerial Photography – DJI Mavic Pro
Primary Camera – Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

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.

Katadyn BeFree Water Filter Review

My thoughts & review of the Katadyn BeFree Collapsible Water Filter Bottle – 0.6 Liter for Backpacking & Camping

The Katadyn BeFree is a backpacking water filter with a very small footprint and low overall weight.  In this video I’ll cover all of the bases from the initial unboxing, to specific features, individual item weights, test usage out in the field, pros and cons based on individual backpacking styles, as well as some thoughts of future improvements for the system.

Specs and Features as per the Manufacturer

  • Dimensions (in) 9.05
  • Diameter (in) 2.73 ∅
  • Output (gal) 2.11 quart/min
  • Technology Hollow fiber filter 0.1 micron
  • Weight (kg) (oz) 2.05
  • 0.1 micron water filter removes harmful organisms like bacteria 99.9999% and protozoa like Giardia & Cryptosporidium 99.9%, surpassing EPA standards
  • Collapsible 0.6L hydrapak soft bottle flask packs down small to fit in tight spaces (pant or jacket pockets, purses, cycling jerseys, fly vests.
  • Ez-clean Membrane is simple and easy to clean by simply shaking or swishing the filter to clean debris, no backflushing or extra tools required
  • Filters up to 1,000 liters of contaminated water without using chemicals or other devices and • hydrate quickly and easily with the free flow channels fast flow rate
  • Stay clean drink nozzle keeps the mouthpiece clean and sanitary (replaceable with standard plastic water bottle caps)

Update: After further research, it looks like there may indeed be a third party bag that works with the wide mouth threads on the BeFree filter cartridge.  It looks promising, but I have not been able to personally test it’s compatibility.  It’s called the Hydrapak Seeker 2L Water Storage Bag

 

Backpacking Sit Pad Options & Dutchware Sit Pad Review for Hiking & Camping

A discussion on sit pad options for backpacking, hiking and camping, along with a review of the Duchware Folding Sit Pad

I this video, we’ll discuss some options for taking a seat on the trail without getting a sore rear end.  Over the years I’ve experimented with several sit pad options, but most recently, I’ve become quite attached to my Dutchware Folding Sit Pad.  Weighing in at a scant 17.15 grams, I find it to be a great balance of ultralight backpacking minimalism and function.

Check out the full specs for the Dutchware Sit Pad on Dutch’s site here.

Want more coverage?  as seen in the video, there’s always the folding full size Z-Lite Pad

Also seen: My DIY sit pad made of Reflectix.

 

Backpacking Clothes – What I Wear & Pack

A discussion on clothing choices for backpacking, hiking & camping trips.

In this video, I’ll go over each backpacking clothing item that I’ll be wearing for an upcoming backpacking trip, as well as spare and alternate clothing options that I’ll be packing for the hike.

These are pretty much the same clothes take I would take on just about any 3-season hiking trip.

Backpacking Clothes Seen in the Video (worn)

Synthetic short sleeve tee shirt
Synthetic long sleeve t-shirt
Convertible camp pants (zip-off shorts)
Baseball cap
Synthetic sport underwear
Darn Tough merino wool socks (quarter length)
Trail runners – Merell Moab Ventilator shoes
Gore-Tex trail runners – Adidas Terrex Swift-R shoes
Mid-top boots – Garmont Zenith GTX Mid
Cheap sunglasses

Backpacking Clothes Seen in the Video (packed)

Microfleece hat
Synthetic lightweight gym shorts
Long underwear (synthetic or merino wool)
Spare underwear (2 pair)
Spare Socks (1 pair)
Flip-flops
Down parka
Dri-Ducks rain suit

Flat Packable Ultralight Backpacking Bowl – Fozzils Bowlz Review

A review and my thoughts on the Fozzils flat packable bowl for ultralight backpacking & camping. 

Fozzils Bowlz are a unique and lightweight backpacking and camping bowl that packs down flat, but quickly converts into and bowl and 16 oz measuring cup using four simple plastic snaps.  The flat configuration also gives you the ability to use Fozzils Bowlz as minimalist plate or makeshift serving platter at camp.

In this video, I specifically review the bowl, but Fozzils also has a 3 piece set consisting of a bowl, cup, and plate bowl that function in similar fashion.

The ability to clean it while flat, combined with it’s non-stick silicone coating makes for easy cleanup in the field as well.  The plastic is also BPA free.

Weight for each bowl is 1.4 oz (40 grams).

Link to Official Fozzils website.
Link to where I found them on Dutchware Gear.