Update for recent visit: Check out my other reviews of Oak Mountain to get an idea of some of the amazing hiking and places to see views. This site is one of four backcountry sites that the park offers. I have been to this one twice now since it is the closest to a parking area so is the most forgiving if you get a late start. The major thing to be aware of is that they do not allow fires at any of these sites so keep that in mind and you will need to either bring in your own water or purify it from one of the small seasonal streams that runs near the site. Overall this is a nice large site and you will definitely have your privacy since they closely regulate who stays at these backcountry locations and only a single group is allowed at each at a time. It is a wonderful place to get away for a night and see the stars.
Although I have camped at this park many times this was my first night at one of the backcountry sites and it was a HUGE improvement. I already love this park because of the many trails and wide range of terrain along with the lake where you can swim or boat. Usually the campgrounds however are crowded and close together so you don’t get the privacy that I usually want out of tent camping. This was a totally different experience. The site we stayed at was only a short walk, maybe 15 min from the road but it felt like a totally different world. We had a huge area to set up our tents (we actually ended up sleeping in Tentsiles) and there was a small stream that we could pump water from. We couldn’t hear a single car and it felt very secluded from the rest of the park. Another major advantage to this site is that it is located along one of the trails in the park so you could set up camp and go on a hike straight from there. You aren’t allowed to have campfires at these sites but this wasn’t an issue this time of year since it was already so hot out and additionally it seems that people sometimes don’t follow this rule since there was a firepit that appeared to have been used recently.
While in the park this visit we also took a hike to Pevine falls which I would highly suggest. There is a 5.5 mile roundtrip hike that starts near the beach area and ends at the falls. On a hot summer day you can take a dip to cool off before you hike back out. You can also rent boats from the marina and get out on the water. We actually got Oru Kayaks recently as a wedding gift and took them out on the water to test them out.
Overall, if you are planning on tent camping at Oak Mountain State Park I highly recommend checking out these sites over the traditional camping area sites. They provide more interesting scenery and are more secluded. It costs $6 a person to stay at the sites but you don’t have to pay the park entrance fee if you are camping. You can’t reserve the sites so you just have to go check in at the camping area the day of and get a site but there are usually several available, even in peak season.
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get to test products. At this campground, I tested the Beyond Clothing Aether Crew base layer shirt and Brokk Capris. Since the weather is so hot in Alabama these days and we were doing some pretty steep hiking I was excited to put these clothing items to the test. Some of the things I really loved about the Beyond Clothing items are:
- Material: These items are all made of incredible quality materials. The capris are tough but also stretchy and light. The pants material made them super comfortable and the stretchy fabric made it easy to move around and they were able to keep up with my flexible movements. Additionally, the shirt base layer material was incredible in the hot weather. Even though I was wearing a backpack and sweating like crazy it pulled the moisture away from my body and the ridges helped to keep me cool. I can’t fully describe just how comfortable both of these items were.
- Compartments/Pockets: The pants have several different pockets with a variety of closures and throughout our hikes I used all of them. The side pockets are deep enough to hold keys or a phone but sit close to your body and don’t get in the way. They are also lined with really soft material the I was able to use to clean my phone screen. The pockets on the lower part of the pants were deep and wide giving you storage for larger items you might need to carry.
- Style: I am a smaller guy and often struggle to find outdoorsy tough clothes that fit me well and also look good. Beyond really hit the spot and made some durable but also good looking items. I loved how the pants were cut short and allowed my legs to breathe while still being long enough that I didn’t scratch up my knees while moving around our campsite.
Can't wait to try these clothes out more in a variety of other camping situations.