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Ranger Review: Rom Pack at Langwood Education Center

Campground Review:

Surrounded by hardwood forests and native prairie, Langwood Education Center, located in rural Wapello, Iowa is the perfect spot for nature retreats, family gatherings, outdoor education classes, and more.

With rates starting as low as $99 per day/$194 per overnight for up to 100 people, Langwood provides a quiet and serene setting for camping, hiking, canoeing, and reconnecting with nature.

There is plenty of space for individual tents, as well as 5 electrical hookups for RVs for $10 per night per RV. An A-frame bunkhouse is also available. The bunkhouse is a split level with a total of 21 single beds on the first and second level. Campers will need to bring their own bedding. While Langwood is open through the winter months, water is shut off, so campers will need to bring their own water supply. Check in time is after 1:00pm and check out time is 11:00am.

Campfire rings and outdoor picnic tables are available. Langwood’s 92 acres houses a lodge with a full kitchen, and ample seating including tables and chairs. There is a separate, modern restroom within short walking distance of the bunkhouse and lodge.

For an additional fee, campers can use the ropes course located by a large pond on the property. Six canoes are also on site for use. There is no additional fee for the canoes, but a waiver must be signed in order to use them.

For the women's outdoor retreat weekend I attended, I chose to bring my tent and camp out rather than utilize the bunk house. The area for tent camping is quite large with a variety of shade trees, and offers a fair amount of privacy.

With hiking trails throughout the property, the woods offer prime area to see migratory birds such as kingfishers, herons, and a multitude of warblers. At night, great horned and barred owls can be heard calling back and forth.

Langwood provides quiet walks through Iowa prairies and clear, star-gazing nights. This spot is perfect for larger gatherings, offering privacy and a quiet space away from the busyness of everyday life.

Product Review:

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time. This time around I had the opportunity to test out the three-in-one RōM Pack from RōM Outdoors. https://romoutdoors.com/product/rom-pack/

I’m always up for giving a new backpack a try. I was really interested to see how the RoM Pack compared to my other daypacks and backpack. The RoM Pack is unique as it offers a twist on the traditional pack; a three-in-one pack, blanket, rain poncho combo.

I took the RoM pack with me on the recent women’s outdoor retreat at Langwood Education Center. It seemed like the perfect weekend to test out the versatility of this pack. From prairie seed collection, to orienteering, to night hikes, the pack offered something useful throughout the retreat. The pack includes two detachable, smaller saddlebags; great for throwing a water bottle and snacks in for the prairie seed collection hike.

Between sessions, we had the opportunity to wander the grounds and take time to relax. This presented the perfect opportunity to break the pack down and try out the blanket. It was a cool autumn day, and lounging in the sun was a nice reprieve from the busy morning activities.

While it didn’t rain during my stay, I did decide to try on the poncho to see how it fit. It was a little bulky, but would definitely help repel rain. It was easy enough to take off and flip back over to blanket mode.The outer material is meant to resist water, so whether you’re wearing it at as a poncho or using it as a blanket, you’ll stay dry. Another plus is the removable stuff sack located inside the pack. I used it specifically to store my dirty clothes from the first day of the retreat.

The pack itself is made of a durable, water resistant material, and includes two mesh side pockets good for stowing water bottles, and bug spray. While the pack is slightly heavier than my other daypacks, 4.6 lbs, I would consider using it for shorter day hikes, but will get the most use out of it to store and carry clothes and gear on camping and fishing trips. I’m also a shorter individual, so the pack was a little big on me. I was able to adjust the straps enough to get a fairly secure fit.

The RoM Pack also comes with a small booklet with step by step directions on how to put the pack back together after breaking it down. The booklet also includes information on identifying poison ivy, oak, and sumac as well as different ways to build a campfire; a nice addition to the pack itself.

First to Review
Super nice owner!

Just looking for a layover spot after a long day of driving. Couldn't figure out where to register so we walked into the bar/restaurant, Bobber's Grill. The owner was at the bar. Was going to charge us $35 because he thought we needed hook ups. Explained we were self sufficient and really just needed a place to park…very willing to pay for a tent site. After confirming we needed nothing else, he said "Well if that's all you want, you can park in my lot here and buy a beer." Deal!! The tent sites were really muddy that day so we were thrilled to have a lot. Place is right on the lake. Lots of boating. Quiet at night. Really a fun place to be.

Adventurous

We stayed at this campground for two nights and had a phenomenal experience the whole time we were there! It is a beautiful state park/campground about 20 minutes outside of Maquoketa (so if you forget or need something you can run into town and get it). The bathrooms were very clean and well-maintained throughout our stay. This state park is definitely for those who enjoy hiking and adventures as within the state park is a system of 11 or 12 caves that are connected via pathways and you can even walk or crawl through and explore some of them! We had an absolutely amazing experience and hope to visit again soon!

First to Review
Spacious campsite, well maintained, clean shower houses.

Located on Coralville reservoir, has nice beaches.

Nice County Campground on east shore Lake George

Primitive campsites (non-electric) surrounded by natural area with access to a boat ramp and docks on Lake George, flush toilets, water access, playground, picnic area, and pavilion.

First to Review
Beautiful campground surrounded by trees.

This campground has many beautiful spots to camp. There were also a few playgrounds that my grandkids loved. We were there on a lovely night and had a great campfire. Close to amenities if you forget something.

Nice campground along Mississippi River.

Has clean facilities including showers, restrooms, small camp office with host. Some sites right on river with beach shore for fishing. Near town of Buffalo for any needs. Boat ramp, lots of parking.

First to Review
Smaller campground along Wapsipinicon River

Primitive sites with fishing, boat ramp needs work but fine for paddling, newer shower house, across river from great nature center- Wapsi River Env Ed Center that has live raptors, snakes, turtles, and exhibits. Good place to gather wild edibles.

Nice access to lake

Nice grassy sites near lake for fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing. Near Iowa Raptor Project that conducts raptor programs and site with walking tour and live raptors, and Macbride State Park as well.

Another good campground along Mississippi river

Great fishing, near Fairport Fish Hatchery, and Wild Cat Den State Park.

Nice campground along Mississippi River

Nice location to spend time fishing, watching sunsets, and paddle. Near Wild Cat Den State Park.

Great hiking and caving campground

Enjoyed the trails and many caves to explore! Mature forests and wildflowers.

First to Review
Clean park along Mississippi River

Nice campground along Mississippi River with lots of fish to catch. Has playground for younger children, near Wild Cat Den State Park.

Excellent hiking and wildflowers

Small campground with access to great hiking to Devils Punch bowl and more. Excellent spring wildflowers, historical grist mill and schoolhouse. .

Park Terrace- Great county park and campground

Campground office with wood available, snacks, bait. Beach has kayak, paddle-boats, and fishing boat for rent. world class disc golf course, 4 lakes with good fishing, 2 large cabins sleeping 8 each! Greta staff.

Great campground, plenty to do.

Clean facilities with lots to do: beach, fishing, visitor center, fossil gorge, ice cream and bait shops near by, nearby Iowa Raptor Center at Macbride State Rec Area has live raptors to view and staff conducts programs throughout the year.

Good primitive campground

Clean, quieter than other modern campground on other side. Paddling rentals on other side of the lake. Cheap camping in nature including good fishing access.

First to Review
Pack in Sites

We love doing some backpacking and finding the most secluded sites we can. Well we found a pretty good one that is relatively close to our home and is rarely reserved. Its only 1 hour North of the Quad Cities where I live & open year round!

These sites must be reserved online and are $13 a night. Firewood is available for purchase at the main campground from the campground host.

To get to both the pack in sites you have to hike a 1/2 mile. You need to bring all of your supplies including water. (Showers & modern facilities are 1/2 mile back at the main campground)

The first approx 1/4 mile is up a slight continuous incline, when you get to the Y intersection you take a right & follow approx another 1/4 mile with a slight continuous downward slope.

You will then come to another Y intersection , to the left is a medow leading to Bear Creek & The Swinging bridge. To the right is a small open groomed grass area with an outhouse. Continue on the path about another 100 ft and you will see the two sites.

We like to stay at the Pack in site #1 due to the differece in the levelness of the sites. Site #1 is pretty level all around & is decently sized.

Site #2 has a short level area with an incline through the rest of the site, but this site is big. Due to this incline I believe you would not want to stay on this site during a storm. You're either going to be at a constant incline on the hill or have the water rushing down the hill at your tent.

There are plenty of surrounding trees to creat awnings or hang a hammock.

If you bring a base camp filtration system the creek is not s very far walk to retrieve water.

There are about 5 trails to explore nearby. On the main trail to get to the pack in sites there are a few very small caverns you can visit that are accessible by stairs right off the trail.

At night you can hike about a 1/2 mile to the Watchtower and watch the beautiful sun set over the horizon of treetops and if you stay long enough you can stargaze.

It is always a beautiful and peaceful time we have at Eden Valley.

At night the Nature drowns out any noise from the highway. You can heat coyotes & other animals rustling through the woods.

It is absolutely pictch black. PERFECT for stargazing on a clear night.

One of my favorite places to escape to for a weekend and forget about all the stress of daily life.

Ranger Review: OOahh Sport Slide Sandal by OOFOS at West Overlook Campgroun

CAMPGROUND REVIEW - 4 stars

The West Overlook Campground at the Coralville Dam Complex north of Iowa City is run by the Army Corps of Engineers and has 89 sites. We've stayed at many of their campgrounds and have always been pleased with them; trees and grass are always appreciated. My only issue with this campground is that the sites are too visible and usually too close to each other for our liking.

FYI there are other campgrounds at the Dam Complex: https://corpslakes.erdc.dren.mil/visitors/projects.cfm?ID=B503910

Campground Basics

  • See the video of the campground for a view of 5 camping areas within West Overlook. There is a bathroom/shower house near sites 1-33 and a second bathroom/shower house near sites 39-60.

  • Dump station, drinking water, filling station, trash dumpsters and fish cleaning station are on the right just before the campground entrance.

  • Bathrooms are a bit old but fine. We were there mid-week when the campground wasn't busy so the bathrooms were quite clean. It's nice that there's a utility sink outside the bathroom.

  • Sites are all back in/pull in, and most are parallel to each other. Most parking pads are gravel but there are some concrete pads.

  • Each site has a picnic table and fire ring.

  • The price is right at $20 ($10 if you have an NPS Lifetime Senior Pass).

Activities In and Near the Campground

  • Horsehoe pits and 2 playgrounds in the campground

  • Boat launch site within the campground along with parking slots for boats in the camping area

  • Day use area with picnic tables, picnic shelter, volleyball court, beach and playground

  • Boating and fishing

  • Devonian Fossil Gorge and hiking trails near the campground

The lack of privacy and close proximity to other sites would probably prevent us from making this more than a one night stopover in the future. Our camping unit is a teardrop trailer so we spend most of our non-sleeping time outside, and we really don't like being in full view of another site less than 20 feet away. As you can see on a photo of the map, it's parallel parking at the sites. In some cases, they aren't too close to each other, but the tall trees do nothing to shelter you from having to view neighboring sites. It's a pretty area with all the trees and the lake.

PRODUCT REVIEW - 5 stars

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I will receive products to test from time to time. The OOahh Sport Slide Sandal by OOFOS is my first product review. And, yes, they are feeling great on my feet.

OOFOS advertises their products as 'recovery technology for your feet' with emphasis on absorbing shock on your feet, providing arch support, and reducing stress on your feet, knees and back:

https://www.oofos.com/pages/your-feet-earned-this

Here's what I noticed and what's important to me:

- Lightweight: I noticed this immediately when I opened the package and when I put them on.

- Arch Support: OOahh is a good name for the arch support I felt when I slipped them on. Other slides and flip flops I've worn have had a flat footbed.

- Sizing: At first, I thought they might be a bit large. My feet are 9.5 US, and the instructions indicated women should order up a half size while men order down a half size. I ordered a women's size 10. The size is working out well; they didn't feel too large despite my initial impression.

- Just Walking Around: I've tried flip flops, slides and Crocs as my 'hanging around camp' shoes which double as shower shoes. The flat flip flops make my Achilles tendons tight if I wear them too much, and Crocs cut into the tops of my bony feet. Slides fit my feet better, and the addition of arch support along with a cushy sole is great. The tops are not causing any hot spots on the top of my feet. I'm already wearing these other places than the campground.

- Shower Shoes and Safety: These are a 'must have' for me at the campground shower or my preferred Planet Fitness showers on the road because I'm not showering at any of these places in bare feet! This slide has to handle the moisture. Water collects a bit in the footbed due to the curviness, but I just shook it out. Most importantly, I haven't had the sandal slide or stick to any floor; sticking or sliding could be a disaster for a knee.

In addition to the blue slide (Wave) that I chose, the OOahh Sport Slide Sandal is available in many colors for women: https://www.oofos.com/collections/womens-ooahh-sport-slide-sandal

and men: https://www.oofos.com/collections/mens-ooahh-sport-slide-sandal

A note about sizing: The packing slip indicated the slides are a women's 10/men's 8. The OOahh Sport Slide is unisex sizing with a medium width, but be aware that not all OOFOS products are unisex sizing. Kudos to OOFOS for the comprehensive list of FAQs that I found helpful: https://www.oofos.com/pages/common-questions

Average

It’s an average campground. Parts are more like an open field. It’s nice, on a popular lake with a resteraunt near by. The people are friendly and it’s close to town. It’s a great place to just come relax and maybe swim.

Outdated :(

No such thing as a level camping spot at this campground. Bathrooms have three toilets and one shower stall. Bathroom is outdated. Needs serious repainting and improving. Campground hosts were friendly and on top of things! There was an event at the golf course…very snotty ladies parked their vehicles on our campsite and refused to move. Campground hosts were notified and they alerted DNR who in turn forced them to remove vehicles off our paid and reserved campsite. No playground equipment for children to enjoy. No dump station for RVs.

Well maintained

Great facilitity

Great little campground

Beautiful facilities. Pleasant camp hosts. The only problem is it's first come first serve. Hard to get a site

This is a beautiful Federally maintained campground.

It is best to make a reservation especially on the 3 major summer holidays

Great place

Nice, quiet and affordable. Saw lots of deer and rabbits right outside our door. Shower rooms are very nice.

Primitive Campground

Great shady area to set up a tent or camper. Close to the lake and costs only $9!

Woods

Quiet usually

Find your zen

beautiful park, spacious campsite, $20 for electric hookups. Love this park!!

Lots of exploring!

My family enjoyed this campground. Even though some of the campground was slightly flooded during our stay, we still had fun!