We had a pretty cool site up on a hill which was awesome. But the noise from the congested RV campgrounds below made it feel less peaceful. I can deal with mosquitos, but the mosquitos here were unbelievable. It seems like a fun way to get out on a lake, but in terms of hiking or rest and relaxation it wasn’t really our thing.
I backpacked the IAT with a group and we camped for the night at Mauthe Lake at the beginning of April. There are lots of downed trees at the campground, which sort of detracted from the landscape (tornado damage, I'm told). Pit toilets were open, but water had not yet been turned on so be prepared to filter if you go this early in the season. We perused different sites/loops for a while to find adjacent non-electric sites large enough for multiple tents at each and were able to fit 8-9 (small backpacking) tents between 314 and 313.
lots to do at mauthe lake! one of my favs. good fishing.
The campground itself is fairly small, but is segmented in ways that allow you to have great privacy and some decent hiking. The lake has a nice area for swimming, as well as dedicated boat/kayak launches. There's a nice hiking trail that wraps around the entire lake, which makes for a good hike. Very family friendly.
Mauthe Lake is a solid campground with nice sites and a beautiful lake. There is ample hiking in the area being part of Kettle Moraine State Park. The 2 mile trail around the lake is very nice.
There is a good mix of options for campsites: full shade all the way to sunny. While most sites are good sized, there are a few small ones.
The campground has a central bathroom/shower building and each has its own pit toilet restrooms.
Overall, this is a nice campground and we try to go once a year.
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time, this time I got to test the Renogy Solar Backpack[https://www.renogy.com/renogy-solar-backpack/].
As a backpack it is great, and the solar panels are an added bonus.
- The backpack is stylish, has tons of pockets everywhere, and small features that add to its utility
- It has a solar panel that can charge your stuff
What's not great
- The solar panel part zips off and can be reversable on the backpack itself, but to access the inner pockets of this part while it is still attached to the backpack is somewhat difficult/awkward.
- The solar panel is slower to charge than I thought it would be. It charged a little less than a quarter of my 13k mAh battery in about 3 hours with mostly sunny conditions. This was about 70% of my phone. I don't have much experience with this small solar kits, so maybe this is normal, but I was expecting faster.
- Mine was stepped on and it got some cracks in it. I would have expected it to be a bit more durable on a backpack. It does still charge, but looks all cracked. I'm not sure if the performance is affected by this.
Overall I'm still very happy with the backpack and will definitely make use of it, though if I were to need a solar charging kit, I'd probably buy it separately from the backpack itself. I don't see the practicality of hiking with the solar panel charging…the pack would only be a day pack, but if you only need a day pack, your phone should be fine for just a day. You'd get better performance from a stationary panel, which is how I used this one anyway.
Mauthe Lake is a great campground for both family camping or friendly adult camping. Each campsite comes with a fire pit and grate, as well as a picnic table. Sites are spacious and clean. Showers are warm and clean.
Sites 522 and 523 make for a perfect "group" site without the group price. Book them together and you have an instant party pad that fits 12 people. 522/23 are also in the upper corner of the park so it's a little more private. You get a similar effect with sites 508 and 510 but much more foot-traffic.
I love camping at Mauthe in the fall while the leaves are turning. As it starts to cool, the crowds thin out. We've camped while being the only (party) group on the entire upper-500s loop. It's fantastic! I also prefer camping at Mauthe in the fall because the hiking is lovely. I don't miss the swimming because the lake and beach are small and not great for sunbathing or wading. It gets VERY crowded.
There is a general store just outside the park gates and they have anything you could possibly need in a pinch. Owners are very friendly and helpful.
With the rising popularity of this campground, we were fortunate to get a short-notice reservation for a portion of Fourth of July weekend.
Our site was about 50/50 sun and shade throughout the day. Within the campground, both coniferous and deciduous sites are available and you have your choice of full shade all the way to almost full sun.
Each loop in the campground has pit toilets and there is a new-ish centralized shower and flush toilet building.
The lake is clear and beautiful for swimming, canoeing, kayaking, or just relaxing. The area around the beach has a playground, as well as a large area with picnic tables, park grills, and open fields for playing sports or games. There is even a reserveable shelter for special events.
There are a lot of hiking options within Kettle Moraine North and one of our favorites is the the Tamarack Nature trail. Unfortunately, much of the trail was flooded, though it didn't stop us. With more than 6 inches of water in some places, my shoes were wet, but it was still a good time.
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time, this time I tested a High Hopes Hammock.
Having used hammocks in the past, the biggest issue I've had was the hammocks are often too short for me, at 6'5". I was happy that the High Hopes hammock was long enough, and very comfortable. The quality of materials are very good and the bag is attached.
If you get the version without the straps (as I did), the included "rope" is just a couple short lengths of paracord. I'd recommend picking the version with the straps if you don't already have any.
High Hopes has two distinguishing characteristics. The first is that they donate either a hammock, survival supplies, or money to organizations helping underprivileged countries, the homeless, or those affected by natural disasters. This giving program is the reason you are paying a little more than other similar hammocks. The second feature is their cocoon function with velcro. This is great if you want some privacy (from people or bugs)…perfect for a nap.
Overall, High Hopes hammocks are quality and comfortable. Check them out, especially if you are on board with the High Hopes charitable mission. High Hopes is certainly a Ranger-worthy product.
Mauthe lake was my very first camping experience and continues to be a go-to site for my family. Decent sized campsites with options for tents, campers, electric, etc.
I live very close to this park and camp here often. It is a nice family type campground with a nice swimming beach and playground for children. There is only 1 bath house here and MANY pit toilets that are surprisingly clean and not real stinky. It is part of the Northern Unit of the Kettle Moraine and there are great hiking and biking trails as well as horse trails with a horse camp nearby. Every once in a while you can spot an eagle soaring around dinner time. There are sites very near the lake, but I prefer the ones up the hill. Mosquitos are present in the early summer and the breezes topside keep them at bay.
Lots of room. Big lake, wooded sites. Right off the Southern Kettle Moraine trail.