Canaan Valley – Pointy Knob Trail

My original plan for this trip was to car camp Friday night, test out some of my cold weather gear, then hit the trail Saturday returning Sunday. Well, the car camp happened Friday night. I took along my winter top and bottom quilts and temps dipped down to 25 deg. F. I’m happy to report that with my lightest weight insulation on, I got hot. I actually had to vent to let in a little cold air. The top and bottom quilts will no doubt get me down to 0 deg. with light weight insulation, and with my heavy insulation, who knows. The top quilt used is a Hammock Gear Winter Burrow w/sewn foot box and 3oz. of additional down. The bottom quilt I used is a Warbonnet Winter Yeti with 2oz. additional down. Warm warm.

Saturday was the day I planned on hitting the trail. I ended up sleeping in a little, it was hard getting out from under the warmth and comfort. I did some alcohol stove testing while I was out in the elements. Played a little more with the tried and true Bushbuddy Ultra wood gas stove, and relaxed gulping down 3 cups of coffee and reading my book. Needless to say, I was unmotivated to hit the trail. While relaxing I thought about doing a little fishing with my Tenkara fishing rod. So after getting packed up I headed to the trout stream only to be destracted by a trail head sign on the way out. Pointy Knob Trail which I have not been on yet called to me, and it was yelling. So I pulled in, got my pack out and headed out. I had no plans to stay the night on the trail, but I took the pack with all my stuff just in case I decided to. My total pack weight was only 18.5 lbs with everything, food, water, everything. I was quite proud of the winter weight.

After hiking only a few hundred yards into the trail I noticed this trail was tight. Tight meaning that the laurel was blinding my views of what awaits around the next turn. Not only that, I had the sun glaring directly at me making what was visible hard enough to see. This is a very black bear populated area, this is West Virginia’s archery season for bear also. The last thing I wanted was to turn a corner and find a wounded black bear. So I hiked along noisily, whistling, calling my imaginary dog, and talking to myself. The trail itself provided it’s own obstacles, rocks, and mud. Deep, stinky, black, mud with a thin layer of ice over the top with no way around it. I trudged through it all.

As I hike along taking pictures, talking, whistling, shooting video, I noticed multiple piles of bear scat along with multiple sizes of tracks. The last track, I turned around and headed back. This was a very large track, the wind was blowing hard enough near the top of the point that any noise I was making is gone with the wind. This was enough for me to talk myself out of continuing on. I know, I know, the likelihood of actually seeing a black bear, let alone being attacked by one is slim here in this area. But as I said this is archery season, a possible wounded bear would care less if it wasn’t me that made it that way. I’m satisfied with my decision to turn back, there is always another day.

I present to you my first video adventure. If you watch it, please comment. Any comments will be appreciated. I’m looking for tips on what I can improve upon. To me, I feel as though I took too much video of some areas and tracks. I feel as though I should shoot more little snippets of interesting things, followed by pictures of some of the highlights. So enjoy.

Pointy Knob Trail at Garmin Connect – Details.

Pack contents for this hike. Items marked with a (*) is not included in pack weight. These are items I either have in hand or on my person.


  • ULA Circuit backpack – 36oz.
  • *Trekking Poles – Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork (pair) – 18oz.
  • *Keen Voyageur mid boots (pari) – 32oz.
Total for gear – 36 oz (2.25lbs)

Sleep & Weather

  • D.I.Y. Knotty Stretch Side Hammock, 1.1oz ripstop w/dynaglide whoopies, zing-it SRL and stuff sack – 8.8 oz.
  • 2 Dutch Buckles & Straps – 3 oz.
  • ZPacks 4 season CF Hammock tarp w/all tie outs, 2 Dutch Flyz, & Mountain Goat Tarp Skins – 9.2 oz.
  • Mountainfitter (Lawson) Ti Stakes (6) – 1.5 oz.
  • MSR Groundhog Stakes (4) – 2.4 oz.
  • Hammock Gear Long Winter Burrow w/+3oz. of added down – 32.4 oz.
  • Warbonnet Winter Yeti w/+2oz. of added down – 19.3 oz.
  • Cocoon Ultralight Air Core Pillow – 3.7 oz.
  • CAMP Nano Biner (2) – .32 oz.
  • Packing foam sheet (for testing) – 1.1 oz.
Total for Sleep & Weather – 81.72 oz. (5.10lbs)


  • Top insulation, Cabela’s E.C.W.C.S. Thermal Zone Polar Tech Power Dry 1/4 zip mock. – 11.2 oz.
  • Bottom insulation, Under Armor Cold Gear base 3.0 – 9.2 oz.
  • Socks, Smartwool Expedition Trekking – 6 oz.
  • Black Rock Gear Down Hat – 0.95 oz.
  • Serius Balaclava – 1.2 oz.
  • The North Face Glove Liner – 2.5 oz.
  • *REI Revelcloud synthetic jacket (M)- 12 oz.
  • *Socks, REI Merino Wool Light Hiker II – 1.8 oz.
  • *DIY Wrist Gauntlets – 1.0 oz.
  • *Under Armor Boxer Brief – 3.8 oz.
  • *The North Face Paramount Peak Convertble Pants – 18.9 oz.
Total Clothing – 31.05 oz. (1.94 lbs)


  • Snow Peak 900 Pot, Lid, Cozy, Windscreen, Bushbuddy Ultra, Bandana, Fire starting, & sack. – 13.1 oz.
  • REI TiWare Long Spoon – 0.6 oz.
  • Reflectix food cozy bag – 1
Total Cooking 14.7 oz. (0.92 lbs)

Miscellaneous Items

  • Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter & 32oz. bag – 3.5 oz.
  • Petzl Tikka XP2 headlamp – 3.1 oz.
  • Small Tea Light Candle Lantern w/2 candles – 4.1 oz.
  • Garmin Oregon 450 – 7.5 oz
  • Adventure Medical First Aid Kit – 7.9 oz.
  • Gerber Bear Grills knife & sheath – 11.5 oz.
  • Hygiene, TP, Wipes, Sanitizer, toothbrush, baking soda – 3 oz.
  • Book – 5.3 oz.
  • *iPhone 4 & case – 5.9 oz.
  • *Canon Powershot 210SX camera w/case, Stick Pic w/biner, spare battery & memory – 10.8 oz.
  • *My DIY SOL kit w/fish hooks, snare, fire starting, etc. – 2.6 oz.
Total Miscellaneous – 45.9 oz. (2.86 lbs)


  • Water – 65 oz.
  • Food, enough for 2 breakfast, 2 lunch, 1 dinner & desert – 23.8 oz.
Total Perishables – 88.8 oz. (5.55 lbs)

Total Pack Weight – 298.17 oz. (18.63 lbs)

Total Base Weight – 209.37 oz. (13.08 lbs)

Notes on how I decided to take what I did.

Gear, this is my go to pack for any time of the year right now. I stripped a few things off that I found I don’t use. Items like the thumb loops, hydration bag, accessory pocket, & trimmed some straps.

Sleep & Weather, Since this is the time of year here that presents cool to warm daytime temps and low night time temps, I did some calculating. Last year I used my 3 season top/bottom quilts along with heavy insulation for night. With the addition of my new winter weight top/bottom quilts, I found that I can actually save weight by leaving the heavy insulation at home and use the heavier quilts. So, 3 season quilts & heavy insulation weighs more than winter quilts & no heavy insulation. Since through the day I don’t need heavy insulation, and in the evenings/night when temps drop, the winter quilts keep me warm. I saved allot of weight by using my DIY hammock over the Warbonnet Black Bird. No skeeters in cold weather, so a bug net is not needed. The ZPacks tarp is cuben fiber, so weight is light and I also use the small 1.25mm Z-Line for tie outs. Zing-it is used for 2 separate ridge line tie outs w/Dutch Flyz. I take additional stakes along to tie down the doors if needed. I also always carry the 2 CAMP biners, just in case. The packing foam sheet I took along worked at keeping me warm, although it was not needed, but it caused a significant amount of condensation under my feet/lower legs between it and the top quilt. My cut down thermarest pad has not had this problem. I think it’s because the Thermarest has dimples or valleys & ridges if you will. Those allow air movement where the packing sheet did not.

Clothing, like a said above, the heavy weight insulation stays home this time of year. Now if temps through the day get really low, like down in the teens and lower. I may take it, which would add 28 oz. Through the day when hiking the REI Revelcloud jacket could be on me or strapped to my pack, just depends on temps and situations. So it could add to the weight of my pack 12 oz. That would take my total pack weight up to 310.17 oz. (19.38 lbs.). In the evening I slip on the lightweight insulation for sleeping/relaxing plus I sometimes sleep in my outer wear depending on temps & condition of outer wear. So if they are wet/muddy, the hang.

Cooking, this is the time of year when the Bush Buddy Ultra wood gas stove comes out. I like a fire this time of year & through winter. Not only does it heat water, it can give me warmth. I can also burn a fire in it getting some hot coals ready for a fire in a fire pit. I find fuel as I hike and/or around camp. I just don’t like messing around with alcohol much in the winter. My reflectix food cozy bag I will sometimes place in the bottom of my top quilt to reflect heat back onto my feet if temps really drop. I also use it as a sit pad and store a piece of Tyvek in it.

Miscellaneous items, the Sawyer Squeeze filter system is new, I have not tested it yet, but it sure is light. My headlamp could be lightened with a different model, but the Tikka has been bomb proof for me, it just works and lasts. The tea light candle is an item I don’t always take, I do like the twinkle of candle light at night though. The GPS unit I like having. It has come in so useful at times, and I can record my tracks, upload, and keep track of stuff. I like marking scenic areas or interesting things along the trail that I can go back to later. My first aid kit is what it is. I can certainly reduce the weight of it, but I am perfectly content with what is in it. It’s a mental security I guess. I also keep a sheet of paper in it printed out with my name, address, contact phone numbers, any allergies, drug allergies, medical history, blood type,  & insurance info. This may come in handy for anyone that would need to perform first aid on me unconscious. I also keep an identical sheet in my pocket just in case I get separated from my pack or emergency personnel rush me off to the hospital. The knife, yes there are lighter alternatives out there, and I may go to something else like a mora. But my brother bought me that knife for my birthday and I have used it many times battening wood. I also make use of the fire steel, but end hammer, and sharpening steel. So for now it stays. I don’t always carry a book along, sometimes I do, especially solo outings. The rest is kind of self explanatory, the little SOL tin I carry has all kinds of little survival items in it. That stays in my pocket.

Perishables, food & water. Gotta have them both. My good friend WV gave me this idea. On the first day, make your meals hearty of easy. I now usually stop at Subway and pick up a sub to eat later in the evening. That keeps me from having to cook. So the weight of that was not added above, sorry I don’t carry a scale with me when I go. I usually go high calorie for meals. My breakfast is usually a couple packs of oatmeal or grits per day. On my typical 3 day outing I carry one dinner w/dessert, breakfast for two days, and snacks/lunch for two to three days depending on starting time of day one.

So that’s it. That was my pack contents for this trip.

12 Responses to “Canaan Valley – Pointy Knob Trail”

  1. I like it!

    The video makes me feel like I’m hiking along too. Music’s good too.



    • Thanks Liz. I may still upgrade to a different camera. I’m looking at a couple different options and a lightweight gadget to provide a much smoother video. I’ll post up a review if I go that direction.

  2. Cool!

    The thing about your video is that it made me think about getting out to hike more. I live in Vermont, which is mostly hills and mountains, which normally intimidates me into thinking I need to pack for a week.

    I forget that there is so many great places to hike here that I can really go out and do a day hike or an overnight without planning to sleep in one of the AMC huts at the top of the Green Mountains somewhere.

    The new camera and stabilizing device sounds like good options, but even still, with the equipment you have, there was a nice feeling of the hike.

    Am I making sense?


    • Makes total sense. The point you made about just getting out and exploring what are own states have to offer makes total sense also. I love visiting new areas in different states, but I also don’t have to wait to save money to just get out and enjoy what already in my back yard so to say.

      The best part of just getting out and doing it, every trip I find I need less. I come home, unpack and go through what I used on this trip, what I didn’t use, or what I have used in the past. From there I can make adjustments for the next trip. Usually it’s getting rid of something. But I am real close to having just what I need.

      I have a video of what I brought along for this trip I’m working on and hopefully will have that up in the next day or so. I’ll also write up some of my ideas on how I came up with what I took, so keep and eye out.

      Thanks again,

  3. Mike,

    Great! I’ll keep an eye out for your write up on things you brought along. My confession is that it’s always tough for me to not bring too much. You see most of what I carry is for “just in case”, just in case this happens or that happens, or whatever. Then I have this issue with bringing too many shoes, boots, or sandals, but that’s another story.



  4. Another great video Mike. Really makes me want to get back out to W.VA.

    Did you bring any cooking alcohol on this trip at all, or did you use the bushbuddy for all of your cooking? I haven’t used alcohol too much on really cold trips, but do you not like messing with it in the winter because it’s difficult to get lit?

    • Thanks Norm, if you do, let me know. Maybe we could hit the trail again.

      As a matter of fact I did bring my alcohol kit with me to do some testing. I didn’t take it on the trail though. I did come to the conclusion that in those conditions I will continue to use my wood stove. With the 4.8 oz. kit I use, I had to use 1.5 oz. of fuel to get a boil and twice as long. In a controlled environment, like workshop or home, I could use 1/2 oz. of fuel and get a boil in under 7min. Thats a big difference, to me anyway. Wood, I don’t have to worry about conserving fuel or boil times. I used the BB for all my cooking, although I did use that 2 cups of water from the alcohol stove for a cup of coffee. I’m currently working on building a smaller light weight wood stove that would work with a smaller pot. Be compact, and store in something similar to the way I store my alcohol kit. The BB I use a SP 900 pot, which is way more pot than I need for myself. Plus I usually carry a separate dedicated cup or bowl to drink coffee out of. So that normally adds more weight to my pack.

      Thanks again Norm,

  5. Thanks Mike. I hear ‘ya on the SP 900 – and I have the same dilemma with my BB. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

    Take care,

  6. great video Mike!
    i enjoyed your gear lists and laughed because i too, took all the “extras” off my Circuit – but then put everything but the wrist-loops back on! good use of different perspectives in your vid. maybe a 360º ?
    i am fascinated by your winter quilts – i have the WB winter T&U quilts and still had chilly spots at 25º. i now use in addition 3 sections of CCF cross-wise to cover my sides. below 20º i might go to the tent. no harm – it’s getting outside that counts 😉 i admire your sole use of the BB. i had a few times where i simply could not get my fuel started…i need to hang out with you and WV more.

    • SBD, thank you. The video is shaky, but after getting home I realized my camera has a couple of built in stabilization modes, I of course used the incorrect one when I did this video. We will have to take a look at your UQ & make any needed adjustments with you in it. I’m am now a firm believer in the way Brandon adds those draft tubes on his UQ. Man that thing kept me more than snug all night. Like an electric blanket under me. BB, yes, love hate I think.

      And yes, you do need to hang with us more often. 😉

      See you soon, BC

  7. Great! I cannot think of one thing to improve upon! Almost have tears in my eyes wanting to be Out There – right now!



  1. Pointy Knob Trail | I am Bear Chaser - November 6, 2011

    […] I use. Skip to content HomeAboutAdventuresCanaan Back Country, A War Inside My HeadCanaan Valley – Pointy Knob TrailD.I.Y. & Gear ← New D.I.Y. & […]

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