2021 Backpacking Round-up


One hundred and twenty-two miles hiked, eleven thousand feet of elevation climbed, and twenty-one nights spent in my hammock. I went on a total of ten trips. I visited Hercules Glades five times. Piney Creek two times (and one day hike), and I’ve now hiked all the trails at Piney Creek, having completed the Siloam Spring Trail, Woods Trail, and the full length of the Piney Creek Trail. And I did one trip each to Devil’s Backbone, Ridge Runner Trail, and Irish Wilderness.

I’ve (unpublished) write-ups on all of the trips, but, I visit Hercules so often, there is not a lot new to share — I did find a total of five, new to me, springs. The Ridge Runner Trail and Irish Wilderness are the only new trails/wilderness areas I hiked. The last couple of trails at Piney Creek were new, and hiking the complete length of the Piney Creek Trail was fifty percent bushwhacking, as the western end appears to get very little traffic. It doesn’t help that the hollow is very narrow in places so the trail gets washed out.


My gear has remained remarkably stable this past year. The only changes have been in minor refinements and upgrades.

Note. None of the links below are affiliate links.

  • Tarp — I invested in a Hammock gear ‘The Journey’ winter tarp, with doors, for use in colder and wetter weather.
  • Tarp Stakes — along with the tarp I got some new aluminum ‘Y’ profile stakes. I wasn’t expecting them to be anywhere as good as my needle stakes (which you cannot buy anymore). I was wrong. They are very good and work well in the Ozark’s rocky ground.
  • Wood Stove — I bought a titanium wood stove to shave off some weight to compensate for the additional weight of the bad weather tarp. I’ve not used it much, but it doesn’t seem to work as well as my Firebox Nano stainless steel stove.
  • Water Treatment — After breaking a dirty water bag, I added some connectors and piping so I have a gravity filter which does not put undue strain on the connectors, which was what broke the dirty water bag. The Sawyer Squeeze is still going well, and I see no reason to change filters.
  • Camera — I got a new phone with a good camera, and that’s allowing me to drop a couple of pounds, and just as important some bulk. It’s not as good as my mirrorless camera, but for places I’ve visited countless times, it is fine.
  • Tent — Yes, you read that right. We bought a tent. Our MSR Mutha Hubba Has not stood the test of time well. After less than ten years of careful, intermittent use, the fly-sheet fabric has become all sticky and, well, unusable. We are not impressed. MSR ignored our requests for help, so, I’m sad to say, that’s a manufacturer we will not be using or recommending again.

    We’ve replaced it with a Zpacks Duplex tent. Very expensive, but also very light. Ginger has been doing some solo trips, so a light-weight dependable tent was essential. Its five minute set up time is leaving me with a bit of ground-dweller envy.

Hercules Glades

Piney Creek

Devil’s Backbone Wilderness

Ridge Runner Trail

Irish Wilderness

What do you think?

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