Ultralight Backpacking in the Cranberry Wilderness

Come along for 3 days of ultralight backpacking and fall camping in West Virginia’s Cranberry Wilderness.

For this adventure, I’ll be taking my newly refined ultralight backpacking loadout for a three day overnight hiking and camping trip in West Virginia’s Cranberry Wilderness.  After my last couple of vista-packed trips, I’ve had some requests for more footage & discussion once we get to camp – site selection, shelter setup, fire making, cooking, etc.  Well, this video has plenty of all that, and then some.  In fact, this ended up being my longest feature length video so far.

For those of you looking for something a little lighter, there’s a full back catalog of shorter videos that might hit the spot, but if you’re ready to get into the finer details of ultralight backpacking gear and spending time outdoors (from my own warped perspective of course), then this is the video for you.  A little gift for the hardcore fans 😉

Overview of the route I took. Recorded with my Garmin Oregon 650 GPS.

Overview of the route I took. Recorded with my Garmin Oregon 650 GPS.

Parking: North South Trailhead on State Route 150
38.276530, -80.237829


Trails Used Day 1
Start at North South Trail Head on West Virginia SR 150
TR 688 North South Trail
TR 267 Laurelly Branch Trail
TR 271 Middle Fork Trail
Setup Camp on Hell for Certain Branch
This is a large campsite across from trail on opposite side of the Middle Fork River with plenty of fresh water available from the nearby river.

Cranberry Wilderness Day 1 Elevation Profile
Day 1 Total Mileage: 13.2 miles
Day 1 Gross Ascent: 1,102′

Trails Used Day 2
Backtrack on TR 271 Middle Fork Trail towards junction from previous day
Continue on TR 271 Middle Fork Trail
TR 207 Big Beechy Trail
Setup Camp just after summit of Sugar Creek Mountain.
This is a medium-small Campsite, in a beautiful mossy area.  Make sure to pack in enough water, as there are no nearby sources.  The elevation was around 4,400 feet and the landscape was somewhat conducive to wind, so be prepared for temps that are possibly quite a bit lower than locally forecasted.

Cranberry Wilderness Day 2 Elevation Profile 
Day 2 Total Mileage: 9.06 miles
Day 2 Gross Ascent: 2,405′

Trails Used Day 3
Continue on TR 207 Big Beechy Trail
TR 272 North Fork Trail
TR 688 North South Trail towards SR 150
Return to North South Trailhead Parking Lot

Cranberry Wilderness Day 3 Elevation Profile
ay 3 Total Mileage: 3.17 miles
Day 3 Gross Ascent: 367′

Total Mileage for Trip: 25.39 miles
Total Gross Ascent for Trip: 3,974′

Click Here to Download a PDF Copy of the Gear List used for this Trip
or visit the Gear Lists Page for detailed notes and weights for each item.

Notable Pieces of Gear seen in this Video:
Dream Hammock Darien Hammock
with cinch buck suspension and Dutch Clips
Hammock Gear Cuben Hex Tarp 12’x8.5′
Zing-It Guy lines with Dutch Wasps for tensioning
Osprey Hornet 46 Backpack
Hammock Gear Burrow 40 Top Quilt
Hammock Gear Incubator 40 Underquilt
Frogg Toggs Rain Jacket
Esbit Solid Fuel Cubes
Toaks 750ml Titanium Pot with lid
Vargo Windscreen / Pot stand
Sawyer Mini Water Filter
Montbell UL Parka – 850 fp down
Adidas Terrex Swift-R trail runners

17 thoughts on “Ultralight Backpacking in the Cranberry Wilderness

  1. Hey man, appreciate all of the info here and on your youtube channel. Me and a couple friends are planning a trip to the Cranberry for early September 2016 so I was glad to see you had been there and had given some great info. I made some useful notes from your video, especially about the cell service so my wife doesn’t freak out 🙂
    If you’re ever back in the area and don’t mind heights, check out the “Via Ferrata” at Nelson Rocks -www.nrocks.com-. Last year myself and a couple friends took a 3 day trip to the area. Climbed the Via Ferrata day 1 and camped on the property night 1. Woke up early day 2 and made the hour long drive over to Dolly Sods and did a 12ish mile loop over 2 days which included the Lions Head overlook (which when we got there had about 30ft of visibility thanks to fog). It was a great trip!
    Hope you keep enjoying some trips in my home state!
    Happy trails!

  2. Enjoyed the video ( as always). I am in the market for a tarp and considering the HG cuben. I noticed you purchased a 12′ vs 11′. Now that you have lived with it for a while, any comments on long term view? Has the additional foot proven to provide significantly better weather protection? This is already an expensive piece of gear, so would love to hear your thoughts.

    Also curious if you ever used whoopee slings and your thoughts on these vs cinch straps. Thanks. Always look forward to new vids.

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