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Train to Trail - Harpers Ferry Winter Backpacking Trip - Hiking in West Virginia

1003 ratings | 57710 views
Join Mike and I for for a “Train to Trail” Winter Camping, Backpacking, Campfire cooking, & Hiking adventure in Harpers Ferry, WV. GPS Data at http://www.sintax77.com We tried something a bit different for fun on this winter camping trip – instead of driving, we decided to take an Amtrak train directly to the trailhead. This is actually and idea that Mike and I had been kicking around for a while now. The first challenge was finding an interesting trail that was actually close to a train station, without a need for secondary transportation or an excessive walk. After a bit of research, we determined that Harpers Ferry, West Virginia fit the criteria quite well. The train practically dumps you right on the Appalachian Trail. We booked our tickets, packed our bags, and hit the trail, er, I mean, train station. For an easier read, check out my full blog post and trip report here: http://www.sintax77.com/train-to-trail-harpers-ferry-winter-backpacking-trip-hiking-in-virginia/ With 4 days and 3 nights off, we had decent amount of time to play with on this trip. The challenge however, would be that we needed to plan an out and back trip that didn’t put us to far away from the train station on our final morning, rather than doing a loop like we normally prefer. Fortunately, we quickly realized that to be a perfect excuse to do a a laid back, more camping, less hiking kind of trip. The plan? After leaving the train behind,we would hop on the Appalachian trail for a few miles – just long enough to feel the seclusion of the deep winter woods, and set up a base camp for the duration of the trip. Other than that, we really had no hard set plans, other than relaxing, having a good time, and brushing up on our campfire cooking skills. Did we succeed? I guess you’ll just have to watch and see… Trailhead: Harpers Ferry Amtrak Train Station Trails Used Leave Harpers Ferry via Appalachian Trail South After around 3 miles, bushwack West to unofficial campsite. Return via Appalachian Trail North Notable Gear Used on this Trip by Mike Gregory Palisade 80 backpack EMS Down Parka EMS Ascent Hard shell Jacket MSR Whisperlite International stove Dream Hammock Thunderbird Hammock Hammock Gear Burrow 20 top quilt Hammock Gear Incubator 20 underquilt Hammock Gear Cuben Hex Tarp with doors Portable bluetooth speaker with fancy lightshow GSI cookset Notable Gear Used on this Trip by Sintax77 EMS Longtrail 70 backpack (2011 version) Montbell UL down parka EMS Ascent Hardshell MSR Rapidfire stove (see my video on it here) *no longer manufactured – modern equivalent is the MSR Windpro. MSR Flex Skillet Dollar Store tongs and turner for cooking Sea to Summit Alpha Cutlery Set Fozzils Bowl / Plate Dream Hammock Darien Hammock Hammock Gear Burrow 0 top quilt Hammock Gear Incubator 0 underquilt Hammock Gear Cuben Hex Tarp (standard model, no doors) Pocket Chainsaw SOG Flash I tanto blade pocket knife
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Text Comments (289)
Benjamin Malave (20 days ago)
Where were your packs during the ride?
sintax77 (19 days ago)
They had some larger luggage cubby holes spread throughout the train that worked perfect for them.
Mike Beeber (22 days ago)
I am at home with the flu and, like you guys, have lots of time on my hands. Thanks for the fun informative video!!
MairuFrost (2 months ago)
even 2 years ago i still hate your editing style, but it was lss anoying then o.o go back to this at lest
Donnie Glover (2 months ago)
Really love your trips. I am a double organ transplant patient still recovering from a liver and kidney transplant. Although I can only Go backpacking by watching your videos, I hope to get back in the woods by next year. Thank you and keep the trips coming. Donnie in Mississippi.
AppealingEnd (6 months ago)
Hopefully this will lead to more camping videos. As far as the little pan goes, I’m sure the company will say he used it for something it was not meant for.
Grant Osborne (7 months ago)
Hey Shawn, just a quick shout out to ya. Thanks to you and this video I just took my 15 yr old nephew on a 3 day backpacking trip South of Harpers Ferry. I'm able to live car free in RVA and I try to take him camping about once a year, but renting a car for each of our trips makes it kind of expensive. This video gave me another option and forced us both to live out of our packs rather than just doing some lazy car camping. It got pretty cold and we got rained on a few times but we still had fun! Thanks brother, and keep making vids!
Explorers Of The Wild (8 months ago)
You guys really know how to have fun, and make the most out of a camping trip! I really enjoy these “unconventional trips” Do you have anymore trips like this planned? This and you Camping with a sled vid are two of my favs of yours. Nice job fellas
Samuel Doak (8 months ago)
Who makes your camp chairs? What are there weights?
Marc Grossetti (8 months ago)
Loved Harpers Ferry. Did the Loudoun Heights out and back and hung out in town for a while going through the shops. Love the historic Civil War towns. Great day trip and day hike.
Uncle Fuzzy (9 months ago)
Ninja skit was killing me but I almost fell out of my office chair at work when he dumped the noodles on the ground and u screamed nooooo. Funny dudes
Steve Pike (9 months ago)
Amazing! Sintax77 I just LAWL’d out loud lots from, “I love this line, you have like the NINE hundred foot line extension!”......🤯🤪🤯🤪🤯🤪
Gary Bennett (10 months ago)
Great video as alwyas. What kind of packs were you guys using?
sintax77 (10 months ago)
+Gary Bennett Thanks, Gary. I was using an EMS Longtrail 70 and Mike had his Gregory Palisades 80. Both are 2011 models, but I believe they're both still in production.
The Hiking Bear (11 months ago)
Hey sintax77 idk what is is about this video but I believe it’s my favorite video I have watched like 3-4 times just when I have nothing better to do ...the wife took over the tv .. but love ur videos can’t wait for more
sintax77 (10 months ago)
+dustin sloan Haha, thanks Dustin. We had a lot of fun on this trip.
tokillamurderer (11 months ago)
Man, you love that word, "perc-u-late"... lol, I can't get enough of it. It's the adjective for anything involving cooking food. Perc-u-late. You should be a comedian. Love the vids man.
ManzanoMan (11 months ago)
1:08:28 - he looked at a river, because he had to walk a hundred miles and not watch TV and thought is was really cool. That is some funny stuff right there!!! lol!!!!!
vanscoyoc (1 year ago)
The train is the way to go especially when you're tired, last thing you want to do is fall asleep at the whee trying to do a multi hour drive.
Live Life (11 months ago)
Tired? What did they do to be tired? That is hilarious. They base camped eating snickers, spam, and mac and cheese.
vanscoyoc (1 year ago)
I like Mike is a total foodie and has some really ingenious ideas. I bet he is a chef in real life but might be an EMT a nurse, a doctor...don't know.
Armando Veloz (1 year ago)
Not sure if I missed it but what is the hammock sock you used on this trip. Trying to get my wife to try some hammock camping.
sintax77 (1 year ago)
+Armando Veloz It's an Argon hammock sock by Dutchware. The one in the vid is a summer half mesh version that I brought by accident, but it still worked great. Here's a link to the actual winter one https://dutchwaregear.com/vented-winter-sock.html
Piper78W (1 year ago)
great video Sintax andTrail. I really enjoyed it.
Monkey Fist (1 year ago)
Love the fossil plate that folds into a bowl. Where did you get those I've been looking everywhere for something like that
sintax77 (1 year ago)
I found mine on Dutchwaregear.com
BirdShot IV (1 year ago)
One of my favorite videos of yours Sintax! Always love the adventures with you and Mike
Scout Sniper (1 year ago)
Awsome trip
Thomas Dolan (1 year ago)
Did they give you a hard time on the train in regards to your gear you have a stove with fuel? And did you have any knives? I am looking to do a trip from West Palm Beach FL to Jacksonville FL and then I am driving up to North Carolina to do a portion of the AT
sintax77 (1 year ago)
+Thomas Dolan Nope, no issues at all. In fact, Mike's mega size pack was clearly over the carry-on size limit and they still didn't mention it (even it D.C. where it was much more strict and formal than our station in Wilmington). No questions about pack contents, etc. I didn't ask them about fuel and, well, neither did they. Due to our layover in DC I didn't bring any larger knives or my usual sidearm. I just played it safe with a small pocket knife.
Chaos Reigns (1 year ago)
I think your new stove windscreen might work better if you leave a small gap between it and the pan, so hot air can flow up, sucking more oxygen in the bottom. The whisperlite manual says "Leave a 1-inch (2.5 cm) gap between Windscreen and pot for optimal performance."
souperjen24 (1 year ago)
What kind of camp chairs are you guys using, out of curiosity? And also, would you recommend using a sock if you already have a bug net? Thanks!
GamedOut Gamer (1 year ago)
The Fallout 3 reference is better with me since I enjoyed it more than 4. =) PCMR! Good vid. You might enjoy Backpack Simulator here is some gameplay https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iIlvLyr9RQ
billy goat (1 year ago)
Man that ain't camping. Man you might as well stayed home in your backyard man😜
Tanner Ferrell (1 year ago)
https://nps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=6298c848ba2a490588b7f6d25453e4e0 I had found this map and looking to use it in the summer to fall to find a place to go. but I'll be nooobing the trip
Carlos Almeida (1 year ago)
Great vid! ... Great vid! Tks for sharing. Crack on 👍.
Eat Carbs Outdoors (1 year ago)
Great trip. Thanks for the video
Stephen Vezmar (1 year ago)
A friend and I did this section one year ago. We stayed in Treehouse Camp at Maple Tree. Hiked down to Weaverton Cliffs. Nice weekend. We're heading to DE Water Gap in one week! Backpack AT south to Duncannon.
Carlos Casamayor (1 year ago)
Hey, nice fireplace!. Mother fuckers builders, great idea.
John Bulerin (1 year ago)
I hope you geocached that spot I would love to see that fire place on a personal trip..... awesome find of that spot guys
sintax77 (1 year ago)
Yes, it's tagged in my GPS data for download http://www.sintax77.com/train-to-trail-harpers-ferry-winter-backpacking-trip-hiking-in-virginia/
John Bulerin (1 year ago)
I enjoy watching all your videos sintax. but this by far is the best, funny as heck. the fact that Mike is just having fun with nothing going wrong is a straight A+ lol. thanks for this one.
jerryj bloodworth (1 year ago)
This was one of your best vids.Killer fireplace and trail cooking too!
Joe Nungesser (1 year ago)
this was, perhaps, one of your best outings..... for not going very far at all! that "oven" was great! Harpers Ferry area is fantastic! thanks for taking us along, and keep em coming.
Erik Harshman (1 year ago)
awesome adventure. thanks for taking us along
bbrudnic (1 year ago)
Wintery goodness! Thanks for another vid Sin.... at 49:26 when you guys are discussing winter fuel for stoves and how the cold affects performance with canisters, I've found that a hand warmer strapped to the concave bottom of the canister works well to keep vapor pressure up. On my Jetboil it fits snugly between the orange folding tripod and the concave base.
Bobby Shah (1 year ago)
This is first sintax video where he did not have proper planning, day 1/night 1 dinner issue LOL. will see the rest tomorrow... I saw the whole thing. Great trip and two great guys. The only thing I would change is bring a nice bourbon....
Darryl Lawler (1 year ago)
Anything more specific about that "portable Bluetooth speaker with fancy lightshow"? Not exactly the best thing for minimizing weight when hiking, but we do festivals too. Would love to have one of those for post-show festivities. Thx!
Darryl Lawler (1 year ago)
Appreciate the follow through!! Best wishes for a great holiday to you and yours.
sintax77 (1 year ago)
Thanks, Daryl. He texted me the brand, it's an Ion palm sized party speaker. http://amzn.to/2gJIxrW
Darryl Lawler (1 year ago)
Thanks for the reply. Identifying that specific model from all the other Amazon offerings would be helpful. No rush. If you happen to remember to ask him, great. If not, no big deal. Love your channel and thank you for all the effort you put into this. It shows. Look forward to every upload. Great work!
sintax77 (1 year ago)
Funny you should mention that - the first time Mike showed me that speak was while camping at Firefly Festival. That thing lights up the inside of a 8 person tent like you wouldn't believe, haha. I'm not sure of the specific brand, I'll have to check with M ike. There are several on Amazon, etc, but this one goes along to the music really well, rather than being random.
Les Love (1 year ago)
best video and trip I have watched of yours. This is now on my list for someday for sure!! Thanks!
Allan Francis Xavier (1 year ago)
Church closed on Sunday???????????? Why??????????
Allan Francis Xavier (1 year ago)
👍cheers mate.
m1cajah (1 year ago)
Allan Francis Xavier You're quite welcome. Have a wonderful evening yourself!
Allan Francis Xavier (1 year ago)
+m1cajah oh ok. Great thanks for taking time and giving me the info. You have a goodnight..
m1cajah (1 year ago)
Allan Francis Xavier I live nearby. The Church on the hill is not "active" and only has services a few times per year. It was a very active church in its heyday, but the largest Catholic Church in WV (St. James) is only 8 miles away in Charles Town so most just go there.
Michiganhiker69 (1 year ago)
Just finished watching the "Train to Trail" video, VERY COOL!!! I was wondering if you have ever done a video on the GPS units out there. I would like one that I can create way points on trails and upload to the internet, and can send basic messages and of course be used to signal HELP if needed. Thanks for the videos, they are a great source of inspiration as to the kind of experiences I will have once I get my pack put together. Thanks
Beyond The Veil (1 year ago)
All trails should be tagged on Google Earth, but it will take years for that to happen. Mike, was well set for the camping mode. He might carry more weight but he is well prepared as you should be in cold weather. Man you guys ate well on this trip. Sometimes it is cool to just kick back and enjoy being in one spot. It looks like you guys had a lot of fun on this trip.
ArkansasHiker47 (1 year ago)
sintax i love your videos i watch atleast a couple of your full length vids every night im so glad i found your channel. Got a quick question for you though, im looking for a watch and wondering what you used or recommended.
flashman V (2 years ago)
Great video. Everclear also doubles as backup fuel for an alcohol store, so it is really necessary survival gear :-)
pmhops77 (2 years ago)
So, party kit, projection screen, and Dark Side of the Moon... You guys were high AF weren't you lmfao...
rhey simon (2 years ago)
Not the noodles 🍝
Kevin Piggott (2 years ago)
Brilliant and Mike is so knowledgeable
J (2 years ago)
Yes! Train to trail.. I am gonna have to do this
Little PAW 1969 (2 years ago)
Looked like a fun trip! Mike is a funny guy! LOL!
Latanya t (2 years ago)
Great video. Thanks for sharing.
Lance Wondoloski (2 years ago)
Trail killer, Sintax77 great adventure. Welcome to my world. The railroad. Nice video. After a long day on the railroad your video made my day. Thanks
Lance Wondoloski (2 years ago)
Hey Mike and Sintax77, the Potamic Grill at Harper's Ferry drew first blood. Not you guy's. No dinner for you! Off to the mountains. Nice.
expedition_fitness (2 years ago)
What brand of camp chair are you using? Thanks!
sintax77 (2 years ago)
+onefenian They're Byer of Main TriLite camp stools. Well worth the extra pound under the right circumstances.
Jarred Howard (2 years ago)
Hey sintax, been subscribed for a while and decided to re-watch your trip planning tip videos and I think you should start doing videos of the planning of all your trips! Could be a lot of fun and interactive for all of Ustinov get ideas and rely submerse in the hiking community together!
sintax77 (2 years ago)
+Jarred Howard Pretty cool idea, I like that. Thanks!
Luke Denham (2 years ago)
Ever been in Grand Teton?
sintax77 (2 years ago)
Not yet, but I'd love to at some point!
swatsullivan (2 years ago)
New Subscriber. I'm enjoying watching your camping videos! I was just thinking after watching some AT thru hiking videos of doing a plane to trail trip. Some good airports right along the AT. We'll see if I can get a free weekend!
nope (2 years ago)
Hey Shawn, could you please do a video where you show how to attach an underquilt. Last night i tried my hg underquilt and i frose, so im sure i did not attach it the right way. Tnx
nope (2 years ago)
thank you so much !
sintax77 (2 years ago)
Good idea, I'll keep that in mind for a future vid - thanks!
TjRoland (2 years ago)
Not sure if you guys care but i heard those cans are lined with some type of plastic film, when you cook it in the can that stuff is melting into your food.
TjRoland (2 years ago)
no NO, don't even do that...i swear....at least let me move. lmao
Will Dupuis (2 years ago)
Nice to see you guys in my neighborhood. :)
Francisco Carrasco (2 years ago)
You ever try scratch labs energy chews? Might come in handy when you need a boost.
Gavin Smith (2 years ago)
Awesome fun train to trail video, enjoyed every minute.
Matthew L (2 years ago)
I love the zelda sound effects!
Steve Parkin (2 years ago)
58:57 - "Not like this....not like this..." great video, guys! Loved the epic fireplace.
Tim Eubanks (2 years ago)
my favorite scene is the one where you're pretending to sleep lol.
Christopher Biegel (2 years ago)
Do you know what Mike's lightshow/speaker is called?
cctn2012 (2 years ago)
Pretty crazy i enjoyed it thanks!
Creeks And Clovers (2 years ago)
Classic train to trail idea and video! (and the use of "duel fuel" was a good idea to cook, cleans, or drink?) Nice hike gentlemen!
Robert L. Kessinger (2 years ago)
Drink is the, "Appalachian Ass Kicker"...
Brent Gilbert (2 years ago)
I just went out on my first hammock camping hike few weeks ago, on the NCT in Michigan. I'm 63, and not in the best shape ever, and my kit weighed in at about 40 lbs. NOW I understand why you pay so much attention to the weight of each individual item you take! : ) I will be doing things differently on my next trek, AND getting back in shape! Thanks for all your instructive videos!
DreamBig vake (2 years ago)
What type of under quilt does mike have ?
sintax77 (2 years ago)
+DreamBig vake It's a Hammock Gear Incubator 20.
Barry Hipkiss (2 years ago)
Great video, loved the light show.
i subscribed to your channel and hope you like and subscribe to my channel Doug Stevens keep up with your nice videos :)
Saline Scott (2 years ago)
Can you and mike go with me and some fellow YouTuber's on a trip in the big frog wilderness area on sept 10 and 11. Evan's backpacking and I are big fans of yours. Be cool if you could make it. It's near Cleveland, TN and connects to the Cohutta wilderness. No permit required and you can camp anywhere.
Saline Scott (2 years ago)
+sintax77 Maybe you can go next time. I'll let you know when we plan another trip like that.
sintax77 (2 years ago)
+Scott Taylor Hey, man. Thanks for the invite! Mike and I are actually headed out west for new video right around then. No permit and camp anywhere sounds like my kind of jam, though. Enhoy it!
Saline Scott (2 years ago)
That's an awesome fireplace!!! Love it
Kaiser King (2 years ago)
i recon if you take the handle and put it on upside down it would work better as a handle then when ready to pack up just turn it back around
sintax77 (2 years ago)
Great tip - thank you!
Bushcraft Angrygerman (2 years ago)
whyed did you pick the union ???
Wraith6765 (2 years ago)
Just a suggestion with the Toaks pans, if you're going to try using them to drain pasta, use the pan bottom (i.e. the part of the pan that normally is on the stove) against the food/water that you're draining. Doing it that way stops the handle from randomly flipping into the closed position, because the weight is pushing the hinge further open instead of in the closing direction. Hopefully that makes sense...feels harder to explain than to just show it...
spam singles taste better then spam in a can!!
sintax77, that train was diesel/electric. that funny looking antenna looking thing is for overhead electrical wires. third rails are used on the NY subway system, long island rail road, the hudson rail line(up to poughkeepsie) and the harlem line(up to bruster). these 4 are the only ones i know of.
smashtrack uses a big yard in queens, NY. if im correct the tunnels they use are not sanctioned for diesel any more. the only strate diesel trains allowed are circus trains and freight trains. they use bigger and wider tunnels. i will tell you and anyone! i have seen what happens to a rat when the third rail come to life!! POP!!
sintax77 (2 years ago)
Yeah, I researched that a bit further after filming as well. I figured it was diesel down there, but I was surprised to learn that NY metro were the only Amtrak lines still using third rails.
OldPackMule (2 years ago)
Will you give your thoughts on the ENO sublink system?
Edogawa1117 (2 years ago)
Nice video again. It looked like an awesome trip.
Marlowe Heredy (2 years ago)
Woodland ninjas and a Flintstone fireplace, what's not to love.
R.ThomasSr (2 years ago)
Are you using a pack rain cover? Noticed on your gear list one from Dutch the ARGON Sil Pack Cover. Would that cover my 2500 cubic inch pack? RG
sintax77 (2 years ago)
Yes, I had it with me on this trip. I use that same cover on both my 46L (270ci) pack and the 70L (4200ci) pack seen in this video and it works just fine on both.
Eight1Eighty2 (2 years ago)
Arguably your best hiking video yet. Very enjoyable.
Brian MD (2 years ago)
Hope you enjoyed Harper's Ferry, my stomping grounds. I was wondering did you leave the oven intact? Cause I may have to see if I can find it and check it out. Love all the videos. Seeing your wife on other videos has encouraged mine to finally go out with me. Thanks!!!
Wood Knock Survival (2 years ago)
Sintax77 how did u come up with ur YouTube name??? I would like to know ur story!!! And by the way awesome videos as always!!! I plan to take a backing/camping trip soon!! I have got to get some more supply's!!!! Watching ur videos got me inspired to Start backing/camping!!!
panzerabwerkanone (2 years ago)
Last week 95+ degrees F in Georgia.  I really needed this cold winter camp video.  Thanks guys.
panzerabwerkanone (2 years ago)
I don't think I would be telling people you saw Mike's "Banana Hammock".
Joe Szabo (2 years ago)
Train people are always so nice .
Jooyeon Ahn (2 years ago)
Your editing between segments are always makes me trippy... That's why I like them so much. Amazing trip guys. I can't wait for this winter.
doug nc (2 years ago)
Oh man.. excellent production. Well done sintax77. As a self described senior circuit adventure hiker this video reminds me a lot of my own hiking adventures. Winter backpacking carrying a crazy heavy pack and low mileage. What a fun video to watch while I'm chilling in my AC away from all the bugs and heat enjoying major league baseball. I can't hardly wait for the temp gauge to drop so I can head back to the mountains. Cold stream trout fishing in the great smoky mountains is an art, a really tasty one.
Mary Gray (2 years ago)
Snow?? Was this a recent trip? It's going to be 100F in the Los Angeles area. I think our local mtns are in the 80s
Wildey's Here (2 years ago)
Cool trip Sintax. You and trail killa should definitely do more camping like this in West Va.
HEYimfilminghere (2 years ago)
YOU, My friend, inspire me.
Marcus Howard (2 years ago)
You seriously should have gone to the wax museum. It is awesome!!! Also, I can't say if they were open, but there is at least one or two other dining places right at the bottom of the hill, but on the other road. You were so close.
sintax77 (2 years ago)
Ugh, so close! I'll have to keep the wax museum in mind for a future trip in warmer weather some time. Thanks!
Northern Beattie (2 years ago)
Don't tell me you didn't see the UFO at 4:45 followed by the creepy face!! Dude you are lucky to still be here to tell the story.
Corrosive Cookie (2 years ago)
I would have left the spam and brought steak.
Starscreamlive (2 years ago)
Ninja Mike needs to make a return. I like him just as well as the Maple King on Shug's channel. I learn a lot from your other videos about packing lightweight, but this is the kind of camping that I'm partial to. Short distances and having fun. I'd like to see more of this style of camping down the road mixed in with your other adventures.
sintax77 (2 years ago)
Ninja Mike, right on! :D I'll have to let him know we need to schedule another cameo some time, haha. Glad you enjoyed the video, we certainly had a great time out there.

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