Eden Springs Campground & RV Park in Benton Harbor, Michigan, run by camp manager Cindy, may well be one of our favorite small town parks! We are spending the month of August 2018 here and have found the venue quiet, well maintained, friendly and inexpensive ($375 for a month). I do not expect the prices to stay this low now that it has been “discovered”. They are working on adding an updated restroom, dog park and other facilities. The sites are large, level and spaced far apart from each other. We pulled in with a 42’ rig, pulling a 28’ hybrid trailer (total 70’) and easily pulled into our site without having to unhook. We had enough space to park a jeep in front of and and in back of the attached rig. The sites are designed so that no camper or RV faces a sewer connection. All of the hook ups are centrally located between two sites, with each rig having their driver side towards the hookups and their awning/entry sides facing the opposing side. Each site has a gravel space between them that could be traveled through, though campers all set up picnic tables, chairs and campfires there so practically there is no egress, thus privacy. This camp has the best WiFi of any camp we have ever stayed at. Some spots offer OTA TV and satellite reception. Ours did not as we chose to have a full tree canopy. Most of the sites offer Full Hookups with 30/50 amp service. The camp manager, Cindy, provides fire rings and picnic tables as requested, so, if you need either, just let her know when you call. The tables were clean and in good shape. The fire rings can be placed anywhere you want. As an aside, when a camper leaves, Cindy and her crew comes and removes the rings, cleaning up the residue so there is no mess left! The campground grass is cut routinely and “weed-whacked” as needed. Cindy has been one of the nicest hosts we have met on our travels. She is always pleasant, available as needed for emergencies and even delivered our mail one afternoon. She is a font of knowledge about the area and willing to share. Probably in keeping with her personality, the majority of the visitors here have been friendly, chatty and willing to help each other. The RV resort is about 10 minutes from St. Joseph, MI and multiple rural wineries in the area (a favorite pastime for my wife Audrey). St. Joseph’s is a small town located on Lake Michigan with excellent food, event venues and a lovely white sand beach. Be sure to stop at the Chocolate store in town & Silver Lake Pizza for a desert/dinner well worth the time. The town of Benton Harbor itself once was booming city/community, which has come into hard times, but we did not have any problems traveling around that area. This area also has a non-defunct amusement park attached to the campground which is being slowly renovated by a group of volunteers. They have restored several of the buildings, a fountain and a miniature train which takes visitors on a 1/4 mile ride on Saturday/Sunday. Additionally, the camp is home to it’s own 1800’s era baseball team which plays home and away games in the old bare handed style! Behind the camp is a now mostly abandoned religious enclave called the House of David which was started in the late 1800’s/ early 1900’s (Google it!). Some interesting architecture and several restored mansions for the 5 remaining members of the group. I recommend this park for someone wanting a quiet, clean stay.
This campground is very unique. Whether it is the late 1800s, early 1900s buildings on site, or the rumor that this place is haunted, you’re going to have some kind of fun. You can walk around the campground and check out the restoration on these early buildings (and a flower bed shaped like a battle ship), take a train ride with the kids around part of the grounds, and hang out in a large beer garden area and get mesmerized by a fountain.
This place can accommodate a lot of people and a lot of different options. The RV sites are furthest from the amenities, but also the most shaded. There are smaller “amish cabins” for rent that have A/C, tent sites with electrical hook ups, and larger full-scale cabins that look to sleep 6+ comfortably. It’s a place close to the I-94 interstate, so it’s also convenient for road trippers. It was hard, but I could faintly hear the highway. Or maybe that was the ghosts!
There is play equipment and toys for kids, and this place is very well maintained. The landscapers and restoration artists are doing good work. The bathrooms were clean, and showers were hot. I liked that there was a separate area for dish washing – and that it was even provided!
They also have WiFi, but I wasn’t surprised it was pretty spotty. I had better cell coverage in my tent spot. I imagine by the office (or wherever the router is, maybe closer to the full timers in their RVs?) it is better. While I loved how the campground had a lot of dog baggie stations to help keep the place poop-free, I was really bummed to learn there was a $5 pet fee with this reservation. The $25 for the tent site seemed pricey enough, and it’s the first time I’ve encountered this fee while camping.
There’s a lot of interesting history here. It was a cult at one time, there used to be a vegan restaurant and an ice cream parlor, and there was a hotel here at one point as well. What I liked about it was you could walk around the campgrounds and learn about it from the signage.
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time – and today I am testing the ICEMULE Pro XL Backpack Cooler.
- You can check out a video review below.
This is one amazing cooler for all the right reasons. First, and most importantly, it keeps things cold. I had this thing filled with 30 pounds of beer and ice and left it in out on a dock by the water, in the sun, for a day. I put it next to another transport-friendly cooler. There was still so much ice left over in the ICEMULE and the other cooler I used was only water. 36 hours later, there was still ice.
Secondly, it’s a backpack, and it is great at that too. The backpack straps are cushioned and come with a sternum strap for load dispersion – two things that were greatly appreciated when this thing had 30 pounds of beer + ice in it. There is also some padding for against your back that is a breathable mesh, to keep you cooler for longer while you’re lugging (mule-ing?) this thing around.
It has a roll down seal, very much the same as waterproof sacks, and this is very much waterproof. It floats in water, so I had no concerns when I went kayaking with this. I strapped it into the boat, paddled to an island, hiked to a spot with a view, and cracked a few brews, had a sandwich, and watched the day pass by.
I do like that there is some flexible bungee webbing on the outside front so I can stash something like a jacket or a pair of shoes or something. I can lash things to the top where it clips and seals, but I would have appreciated some more pockets. Thing is, this cooler packs away very small for it’s 33L size, and a pocket would – I guess – prevent it from being so travel-friendly. My solution was to pack a smaller waterproof bag inside it and that way I could still transport all my things in one bag. This proved useful when I wanted to keep the sandwiches from getting wet from the ice in the cooler.
It also has an integrated valve that lets air in and out in this layer of the bag nestled between its durable outside protective layer and its inner cooler material. Yes, this definitely helps with the packability I was just mentioning, as you can let a lot of air out to compress it, but it also aids in the cooling effect of your stuff. When you load this up with ice and your whatevers, if you let air in, then seal it, it will keep the air in the bag and that air will help keep the cooler colder for longer while the ice melts off. Not a lot of backpack coolers have a valve system.
This bag is the Pro XL size. 33L is a big bag. They make some other sizes, and other models that come with less or more features (like outside pockets) so as a brand, ICEMULE has you covered. There are a few companies out there doing backpack coolers now, but I haven’t seen a better value out there. These are a great price considering their performance. I love how cold things were staying and how tough the bag held up through the woods. I am definitely bringing ice cream with me the next time I go hiking.
- It floats in water
- Contents stay cold 24-36 hours later
- Adjustable shoulder and sternum straps help handle heavy loads
- Built-in side valve for better packing and cooling.
- Not much external storage/pocket options, but they have other models online with that feature.