What it's like….
The campground has sites available for camper/RVs, tents, and also has six platform tents that you can rent to sleep at. The platform tents have electricity available in the tents, but thats about it. The platform tents are pretty big and they do have cots, chairs, tables, inflatable mattresses, etc.. available to rent if you want to up your platform tent experience. Each site has a fire ring and picnic table, and there is access to a dump station for the RVs and campers. They have an onsite general store that has about everything you could want from sandwiches to spark plugs you should be able to find what you need. There are also some disc golf holes set up, a basketball goal, and a "hammock city" area in the middle of the primitive campsites. The bathrooms are pretty magical with access to 25 cent/min showers and the campground even has WIFI, which isn't a reason to go camping, but when you don't have any cell service it comes in pretty handy.
What to do….
The campground is located about 10 miles north of the Boxley Valley in Arkansas which has some of the best hiking and canoeing you will find in the US. If you like to canoe or kayak and you haven't been on the Buffalo National River, you are truly missing out on one of the most scenic rivers out there. There are also ton's of hiking trails many taking you to the various waterfalls in the region. If you are stumped on which trails to go on my two go-to hikes in the area are the "Lost Valley Trail" and the "Whittaker Point (Hawks Bill Crag) Trail". Both are pretty accessible to all and will not disappoint.
What I thought….
I've been to the area before so I knew the hiking / waterfall chasing would be amazing, and it was, but I had never heard about the campground before. I was more than pleased with campground. Everyone we ran into who worked there was extremely helpful and I could not have been more impressed by the cleanliness of the park and its amenities. I was especially impressed by by the bathrooms at the grounds and that the campgrounds had WIFI. The only reason I gave this campground a 4/5 and not 5/5 was how close it was to the highway. Being in the middle of know-where helped keep the traffic down at night, but if there was anyone passing you were going to hear it. Regardless, I would 100% go back and probably do so pretty soon and take the whole family.
We were here for two nights and had two different experiences. Not to say that either of the nights were particularly bad experiences, but it did feel like the second night was way different from the first.
When were driving from the "main land" to the island there was a distinct smell from the lake. I knew there would be a smell, but wasn't 100% prepared. Although, the first night at the campsite we didn't smell anything….but the second night we did.
At the campsite itself there were only vault toilets, no hookup, but there were flush toilets and pay showers about a mile down the road near the public access center.
The thing I loved about the island was the abundance of wildlife, and how frequently you saw it. Of coarse there are antelope, but they also have a herd of buffalo, deer, coyotes, and big horn sheep.
It was neat camping on the Great Salt Lake, but I think I'd like it during fall or winter just a little better.
For a video review of this site CLICK HERE
Being a Ranger with TheDyrt often gives me the opportunity to test out products, and on this trip I was able to try out some freeze dried meals from Mountain House.
I'm not a huge backpacking food prep person. I know a ton of other campers who love to create their own recipes, and throw them in the dehydrator to get the ready for the backcountry. I'd rather buy pre-made meals that I know are going to work when I'm ready for dinner after hiking all day.
I've had meals from Mountain House in the past, but this allowed me to try some recipes that I hadn't had before. I have some goto meals that are awesome, and so far the new one's that I've tried have been just as good. The one that surprised me the most was the the breakfast skillet, this has definitely made it to the "goto" list!
For a extended video review of this product CLICK HERE
Camping with the GO: Day 8
During our road trip around the US, I was able to try out the GO camper from SylvanSport. After camping in the GO for about a week now, we are still finding things to impress. One things we really like is how easy it is to crank the tent into place. I've been around other pop-up style campers and love how much smoother the cranking system is on the GO!
I was definitely out of my zone here. I am used to backcountry camping, no amenities, and sleeping with no one to be seen. This was almost the opposite of what I usually do.
Amenities: General store, water, electric (30/20 amps), showers, flush toilets, laundry mat, basketball court, swimming pool, mini golf.
See what I mean. There wasn't anything I could think of that would make my camping here more comfortable, but it did mean that it was packed and with some RV's that I have no doubt cost more than my net worth (but i secretly loved seeing those)
This was my first time at a KOA and it was a nice to be able to relax and kind of "glamp" for a couple of nights.
One thing that was pretty cool was an area called the "wagon wheel". It was an area for tents that is walled off and has a kitchenette area available.
For a video review of this site CLICK HERE
During our road trip around the US, I was able to try out the GO camper from SylvanSport. We were blown away with this camper. It is easy to see why so many people call this the Coolest. Camper. Ever.
I could spend all day talking about what we loved about this camper, but I'll try to limit it to just a couple of the highlights. Let's say…..two things we loved about the GO and one thing we think could be improved on.
The first positive was just the amount of room you had when you had to GO completely set up. When we had it in "sleep" mode we easily had our queen sized air mattress in there and still had about another twin sized area to put our stuff. I had no trouble standing up in the tent (I'm about 6') and slept pretty great during the trip. It could easily sleep 4 adults and probably even up to a family of 6.
Second positive, light weight. At roughly 800 lbs, this thing could be pulled by anything. The light weight also lets you pack it down with gear and still be able to pull it through the mountains without stressing your vehicle. We would frequently get the camper close to where we wanted it, and then unhooked it to move it by hand into final position. Easy Peasy.
For the negative there really wasn't anything huge, but more nit-picky. The thing that kept coming up was how you stored the privacy screen and water proof screen when you had them unzipped on the windows. There is a small mesh flap with elastic that really wasn't strong enough to keep the screens inside it when you unzipped, as a result the screens often got caught underneath things and you had to keep moving them out of the way.
At the end of the day, we loved our two weeks in the GO!
Big. Beautiful. Right on the Lake.
This is one of the few campsites that I've been to that has just about every amenity that I could want. There are flush toilets, showers, laundry, general store and restaurants. But, there aren't any electric/water hook-ups at the sites, which for me isn't that big of a deal.
I have to admit, I spent most of my trip away from the campsites exploring the park, but the time I did spend in the park was pretty awesome. We went in the middle of June and there was still snow on the ground over much of the park including the campsites. We ate dinner one night at the Grant Village restaurant, and really wasn't impressed compared to how much it was. I'd much rather just have cooked myself, but I'm all about the experience so we tried it.
Other than the number of people, even though it's expected at Yellowstone, we loved the site and will definitely keep it in mind when we go back. Just remember to get a reservation about 6 months out to secure your site.
For a video review of this site CLICK HERE
As a Ranger for TheDyrt, I occasionally get products to test, and on this trip I was able to test the A5 Soft Shell Action Shirt from Beyond Clothing. When I was looking for something to get from Beyond Clothing it took awhile to pick something out. Eventually, I settled on the soft shell and boy were we happy I did.
When we got to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone my wife and I were afraid that we didn't pack right for the kind of weather we were having. That was until we put on our soft shells. They were great in keeping us warm in the morning when the temps were cool and but were still breathable while we hiked to prevent us from getting too hot.
We definitely lucked out with this buy. Love them!
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Camping with the GO: Day 12
During our road trip around the US, I was able to try out the GO camper from SylvanSport. For the first week and a half of our trip we didn't have a drop of rain. I guess Mother Nature was saving it all up for Yellowstone. While in the GO we never had to worry about any of our stuff getting wet, and we were also able to sit out side under the large awning. Great times!
Let me first take some time to talk about the amenities….vault toilets….that's it. So if you need showers, electric, water, flush toilets, etc. you may want to look else where for a place to stay.
But, if all you need is a place to set your tent (or small camper) and a place to sleep while you spend your days exploring Yellowstone National Park this is site works just fine. For the couple of days that I spent at this site all I really used it for was a place to sleep. I was more interested in going out through the park during my days here.
There were about 80 sites in the campgrounds and they are all first-come, first-served. The sites were pretty small, but all did have a fire pit, table, and bear-proof container
For video review of the camp CLICK HERE
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I occasionally get products to test, and on this trip i was able to test clothing from Roanline. The clothing that we got from Roanline was just what the doctor ordered: soft, comfortable, and light.
We bought a mixture of long and short sleeved shirts, and luckily we remembered to bring the long sleeved ones when we got to Yellowstone. I knew it would be cooler, but I did not expect the 32 degree nights.
The thing that I think I like most about Roanline is how they primarily feature up and coming brands that I haven't probably heard of. There is a big "shop local" movement and I like to do so when ever I believe I am getting quality products. And so far, I've loved the small brand products we've purchased.
For other videos like these CLICK HERE
Camping with the GO: Day 10
During our road trip around the US, I was able to try out the GO camper from SylvanSport. And although we love the GO, there have been a couple of "first-world problems" that we've encountered. What I mean is there are some things we think could be improved, but have essentially zero impact on our over all love of the GO. One of these problems is the mesh lining that is used to store the privacy and water screens for the windows. They were pretty loose and didn't really hold the screens in place once you unzipped the windows.
When I was planning my road trip for Summer 2017 I only choose this campsite because of location. I need a campsite near Las Vegas and Red Rock Canyon and that was it.
After getting to the site I couldn't have been happier with my random site pick. First off, its in the mountains so your altitude is almost 4000 ft more than in Las Vegas so you drive out of that desert heat. When I turned off the highway about 15 miles from the site it was close to 110 degrees and when when we got to our site it was down to 85.
With mountains in every direction, the summits of which still had snow, its hard to beat the views when waking up. Unfortunately, we were only able to stay one night, but there is no doubt that we will come back here when camping in the future.
There isn't water hook-ups but you do have electrical (20 and 30 amp), flush toilets, and showers. With only 11 sites it isn't overly crowded, but can be hard to get a site. The grounds are right on the road, but we didn't have much problem with the noise at all when trying to go to bed.
For a video review of this site CLICK HERE
As a Ranger for TheDyrt, I occasionally get products to test, and on this trip I was able to test the Moxie knife from CRKT. The past few camping seasons have been a little annoying without a reliable knife, and I always forget that I need one until I need it.
So, I knew that a new one was what I needed. I have loved the dependability that I've had with the Moxie. Whether it's sharpening a stick for marshmallows, cutting up food, or shaving down wood to help start a fire, I have not found an odd job that I couldn't get done with this knife.
My favorite feature is the safe release. I don't have to worry about accidentally opening up the knife, or even my son opening it up when he's not supposed to.
For a longer video review CLICK HERE
Camping in the GO: Day 8
During our road trip around the US, I was able to try out the GO camper from SylvanSport. At the past few sites we've stayed at, the GO has been the talk of the camp. Lately, when people ask what I like about it, I go straight to the colored coded tent poles. I've never had to question where the poles go in the GO all because SylvanSport had to foresight to eliminate a common headache by letting you know exactly where the poles go!
If you prefer to camp in locations where you can't see your nearest neighbor this is probably not the campsite for you. With over 300 campsites your neighbors are plenty and close.
Now, if you're fine with close neighbors then this is an amazing site. With a general store, laundry mat, flush toilets and pay showers, this camping area is pretty cool. But the best thing is that there are shuttles that take you to throughout the area around the canyon for FREE.
Most of the campers that were there while we were there camped in tents, but there is room for the smaller RVs and campers to be able to camp here without much problem. Biggest thing is GET A RESERVATION EARLY, and I don't mean a month before you go early. I mean 6 months before you plan on going to the canyon. There is a first-come, first-served site (Desert View) about 30 miles north of Mather, but it usually fills up about 10 am every morning.
For a video review of this campsite click here.
As a Ranger for TheDyrt, I occasionally get products to test, and on this trip I was able to test the Double Hammock form Grand Trunk. I've had other single hammocks from Grand Trunk before and loved them. So, I was excited to try out the double hammock. I had heard that regardless of if you plan on using the hammock by yourself or with another person the space in the double is the way to go and boy were they right.
I love laying out in this double hammock whenever I get the chance. Whether that is out in the courtyard during lunch or out in the backcountry on a camping trip, I love hammock.
I love that this hammock comes standard with a set of straps so you are ready to go as soon as you get it. But, I definitely recommend purchasing a set of Trunk Straps when you get your hammock. They will definitely make life with the hammock a lot easier!
For an extended video on this product click here.
Camping with the GO: Day 6
During our road trip around the US, I was able to try out the GO camper from SylvanSport. Today was one of the warmer nights that we've had while sleeping in the GO, but we weren't affected to much because of how well the GO is ventilated. Fall in love with something new each day!
When I started planning our trip to the Grand Canyon, I knew I wanted to camp somewhere close to the canyon. You can't get much closer than this. This campground is located on the south eastern rim of the canyon, and is only about 200-300 yards from the canyon. (as the crow flies)
There aren't any hookups at the sites but there are flush restrooms available. If you want to shower, you'll have to go to the other campground in the area (Mather Campground). There are no reservations for this site, and is first-come first-served only. The sites typically fill up by around 1 or 2 in the afternoon, but when we were there in June the sites were full by 10 am.
Most of the individuals who where camping there were in tents, but the sites have access to campers/RVs that are 30ft or less (truck and trailer)
We loved the few nights we had there, and nothing beats waking up and walking over to the canyon to see the sunrise. Definitely a must camp.
For a video of this review click here.
As a Ranger for TheDyrt, I occasionally get products to test, and on this I trip was able to test out Green Goo's Dry Skin products. During the summers my hands and feet really dry out from being outside so much and wearing sandals. Typically, by around the middle of June my feet have already begun to crack and split, which is both annoying and painful.
I was excited to try out the Dry Skin products from Green Goo, hoping that these would keep my feet and hands from cracking on our road trip, but I started off wrong. My problem was that I waited to put the Dry Skin on my feet after they had already begun to split. So, the lotion didn't work as well as I wished. Next time I'll definitely need to start using the lotion as a preventative instead of it being the problem solver.
For an extended video about this product click here.
Camping with the GO: Day 4
During our road trip around the US, I was able to try out the GO camper from SylvanSport. This was the 4th night camping the GO and we are still finding out little things that we love about this camper. Today it was the maneuverability of the GO. When we got to the site we were having trouble getting the GO exactly where we wanted it while it was hooked to the Jeep, but once we unhooked it we were able to steer it exactly into position with no fuss.
If you need any amenities when you camp this is definitely NOT the camp for you. But, if all you need is the ground, the stars, and yourself, this is DEFINITELY the site for you.
With zero hookups, no fires, no water access, there isn't not a lot of extras that come with these campsites. Regardless, camping in the White Sands National Monument, is one of the more memorable backcountry sites I've been to. The hike from the parking lot is barely 2 miles, but when you get to the site there is just seas of white surrounding you. And if at all possible try to camp here during a full moon. The light reflecting off the sands is a different experience.
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I occasionally get products to test, and on this trip I was able to test out sandals from Tredagain. I am always skeptical of the "flip-flop" style sandals. In my experience, they fail after only a few months of wearing them, either by the connection between your toes breaking or the sole of the sandal splitting.
So, when I ordered these sandals I was already counting down the days until they broke.
Well, I'm still counting. When I got the sandals out of the box I was extremely impressed at the durability of the soles.
They were made for being put through the wringer.
During our road trip, my wife and I both had pairs and probably wore them 80% of the trip. We love these sandals. They were definitely #1 of the products were able to test out during our road trip.
Now, being flip-flop style sandals makes it hard to wear them in situations when you will be climbing or in need of footwear that stays secured to your feet. Other than that, they have become my go to sandal.
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Oliver Lee is an amazing place to stay in southern New Mexico. This park is located about 20 minutes south of Alamogordo and a half hour drive to White Sands National Monument. We spent two nights here and were blown away with the desert views that surround the site. They have both developed sites with access to electricity and water as well as some undeveloped sites. We went in the middle of June during a heat wave that was hitting the southwest United States, but was really able to enjoy the park and surrounding hiking during the morning and afternoons.
I was actually pretty surprised at the amount of other campers that were there, and available amenities. When I was beginning to look at camping here I thought it would be a pretty primitive site, but was blow away at the available bathrooms, showers, and hook ups. While we were here they were replacing much of the water hook ups in the park, which meant the water was shut off during most of the day, but really increased the availability of the water.
If we are ever back in southern NM we will definitely be sure to swing by and stay for a night.
Click here to see the video review!
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I occasionally get products to test, and on this trip i was able to test the Klymit Insulated Static V Luxe sleeping pad.
I was excited to be able to test out this pad primarily for its claim of being comfortable for side sleepers.
With other pads that I've tried in the past I always run into the problem of whenever I try to sleep on my side I get spots what are always in contact with the ground and will eventually begin to hurt.
Not with this pad. Except for the times when I was changing my sleeping position, I never felt the ground.
I am truly in love with this pad! So far I've only been able to use pad in warm climates, so I can't attest to its insulative properties, but I can't wait to take it out this winter!
Click here to see an extended video review!
Camping with the GO: DAY 1
During our road trip around the US, I was able to try out the GO camper from SylvanSport. This was the first night we stayed in the GO and were blown away. Our first impression of this camper is SPACIOUS!! There is so much room in this camper, it's almost unfair. Definitely, loved our first night!
I've only been here once, but loved the trip. Great swimming, fishing, and hiking around. It's pretty close to Mammoth Cave and has a ton of places to stay if you wanting to camp.
If in Arkansas, Petit Jean State Park is a must. With a ton of trails, lodge, restaurant, and waterfalls it is a nature lovers dream.
Unless you are in love with mosquitos you may want to stay away from here in the summer, other than that it's a pretty nice place to escape for the weekend. We spent most of our time hiking around on the trail system within the park and fishing a little bit. I'm from the south so mosquitos are pretty much the norm for summer, so they didn't deter us.
I love Devils Den State Park. It is easily one of my favorite places in the Ozarks to go for day hiking, backpacking, camping, and just getting outdoors. The Yellow Rock trail will lead you to one of the most beautiful overlooks in Arkansas and the Butterfield trail is a overnight backpackers dream! I can't wait till the nights get into the 50s so I can camp some this Fall!
When we were at Table Rock State Park it rained and rained and…rained. But this just meant that we spent most of our time exploring the nature center and Branson. We can't wait to get to come back and spend time in the water and fishing, although we did fish some without much luck.
I was here this last spring with our HS Seniors and college students from our youth group. We white water rafted down the Ocoee River and spent a day hiking and lounging when we got to the waterfalls. The hike was only about 3 miles round trip, so we didn't kill ourselves getting to the waterfalls and back. Beautiful
Could only hike here for one day but the views are unbelievable and the weather was perfect. We spent about 4 hours just taking every little trail we could and couldn't have been happier
It's been forever since I was here but all I can remember is how I loved playing in the small rapid/ waterfall area.
Was able to hike around black canyon with our dog Millie without a care in the world. Always love the ability to hike any where in South Dakota
While on our trip through the Badlands and round the Midwest we also got to wander around Custer State Park and love our experience. There was picture perfect views around every turn and can't wait to go back!