Carrizo Plains National Monument is the largest single native grassland remaining in California in SE San Luis Obispo, and my husband and I have been wanting to visit. We found Kern Cattle & Land Ranch which has now been turned into a campground for people to enjoy.
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Note: Pack in. Pack out. Please folks, remember to take your trash with you and leave the place better than you found it. It was sad seeing beer bottles and bullet shells littering the area. We did our best to pick up what we could and take it with us, but LNT!!
My husband and I decided to do a road trip along the PCH up the coast (with Big Sur as the final destination). Along the way, we made multiple stops and camped at TV Tower Road since we heard so many phenomenal things about the view.
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Pro Tip: Drive up TV Tower Road before sunset. 1) Sunsets are magical here 2) Better visibility of the road while the sun is still out. There are no road or street lights to guide you.
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time - this weekend I was incredibly BLESSED with the opportunity to test out the Maverick Camper by Escape Campervans. This opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time since my cat recently just passed away, and I do not take a second of this for granted. So where did we decide to go? First on the list, Morro Bay! My (now) husband and I fell in love in Morro Bay 6 years ago, and then he proposed to me at the Morro Bay Rock 2 years later. We figured we would bring our cat’s ashes to “The Rock” as a final resting place so we can make an effort to return as often as possible. After our day in Morro Bay, we continued on along the majestic Pacific Coast Highway until we reached Big Sur on Hwy 1.
I’ve done this road trip many times since childhood, but it felt like an entirely new experience doing the trip in a campervan. I am, now, totally convinced that the #vanlife is for me. Here are my thoughts on the Maverick #JetsonVan.
Tips for maximizing your campervan experience!
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As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time - this weekend I tested out products from Ethnotek. Before I get into the specific products, I just have to say that I am a huge fan of the company’s values and mission. I love that the brand celebrates diversity and is supporting art and culture from around the world. The beautiful prints are inspired from different regions and honor the origins. They source the fabric and labor from villages in Ghana, India. Guatemala, Vietnam, and Indonesia, and each product comes a tag that tells you who made it. My bag was made by Vankar Shamji and his family in India! So happy to be part of the tribe!
Cross Body Bag - I chose the India inspired print and I love the design. The fabric is beautiful and well made. It’s a good size for traveling and holding the essentials, but don’t expect to fit too much in. It’s perfect for passports, wallets, sunglasses, headphones, and other small items. I found it particularly useful at the airport. I love all the little compartments which makes it really easy to organize when you’re on the go. Even though it’s a small sling, the main roll up compartment surprisingly can be adjusted to hold a little more. I love the small document compartment that is great for holding brochures and travel guides that you don’t want bent. My favorite part are the two hidden zipper pockets! One has a small storage pocket, and the other one allows you to reach into the main compartment without having to unroll the top -- really clever and convenient design! Another great feature is the padded air mesh panel in the back of the sling. It helps ventilate and provide some airflow so you don’t get too hot when the sling is on your back. The padded mesh panel is also another compartment where you can stow away valuable items such as wallet, keys, etc. My one gripe about the bag is the nylon seatbelt strap because it loosens and slides. I have to constantly adjust the straps so it hangs at the right height that I want. After about 20 minutes of walking, it slowly slides out of place and I have to readjust the straps. Not a huge issue, just a little annoying.
Padu Zipper Pouch - I got this pouch in the same print and it fits perfectly inside the cross body bag and provides a little more organization. The zipper is high quality and works with easy. The inside of the has a good lining that makes it easy to see the contents of the pouch and clean. It’s surprisingly spacious and I was able to fit all my makeup inside. The pouch is really just a great additional accessory to the cross body sling and I love it!
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As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time - this weekend I tested Snapbuds. Snapbuds is an earbud detangling system which keeps your earbuds from ever getting getting jumbled up into one of those hair-pulling knots. I love that they found such a simple solution to a problem that is VERY REAL. If you’ve ever spent time untangling earbuds than you understand the frustration.
When I received the product it seemed simple enough, but I was a little overwhelmed with how much instructions came with the product. There are 2 ways - original and bolo - that you can set up your snapbuds, and I went with the original. Just be careful when setting up because they are permanently affixed. I screwed that up the first time opening the package because I got excited to snap them together without reading directions and ended up having one less snap.
Once you have your snapbuds in place, it’s really simple and easy to use. They look a little funny on the ear buds at first, but they are pretty small and light so they don’t affect the function or design. I crumbled my earbuds and shoved them into my pocket to try to tangle it naturally a couple times and they never tangled! The magnet placements really make them hassle free. Snapbuds are one of those products that you never realized you needed until you own it! It’s great for travel and people on-the-go, which makes it great for camping/backpacking. It’s nice to be able to pack your headphones away into a stuff sack or pocket, and easily pull them pull them out without having to deal with the nightmare of untangling them.
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As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time - this weekend I tested multiple items from HUMAN GEAR. I’ve never used Human Gear products before so I was really excited to test them out. All their products have a lifetime guarantee which is amazing, so you know their products are going to be legit. Right off the bat, I loved all the color selections that their products have. I lose and misplace gear when I’m camping very easily, so I like when my gear is brightly colored. After testing these products, I’M A FAN.
GoTubb (Small) - I like these but I feel that this size is much to small for what I normally need. This isn’t the most practical size for me, personally. I tend to lose small items like this but I found it pretty useful for holding my spices. I LOVE that it can be opened with one hand (GENIUS), which really came in handy when I was cooking -- I had one hand on the pot and the other hand opening go-tubbs to get to my seasonings. I also used one of the GoTubbs for holding my CA State Park shower tokens -- handy for that!
GoToob+ (various sizes) - I’ve tried many travel soft tubes before, and these are definitely SO MUCH MORE SUPERIOR than anything else out there. There are lots of little features about this simple tube that makes such a HUGE impact. I’m actually really excited to talk about these tubes and share my experience.
GoCup - I have a couple telescoping cups already and these stand up to other products out there, but what sets these apart is the lid. It has these air vent holes that keeps the lid suctioned on so that it doesn’t leak during transport or pop off. The built-in pill case is a cool feature, but I don’t see myself using it very often. I’ll mostly use this cup for measuring things since it has volume markings on the interior. It’s only half a cup so it’s rather small.
FlexiBowl - These are so much fun! I love the shape, and I love how flexible it really is. They really can be bent, squeezed, squished…YOU NAME IT…and yet it’s not flimsy and still holds its shape. These are great for backpacking because it’s so packable. They also clean super easily -- run some water and a quick wipe is all it takes since it has that super smooth interior. These bowls are also a lot bigger than they look and can hold a lot of content.
GoBites (uno, duo, trio) - I love all the different models and they all come in handy for different purposes. I find the Trio better for packing a lunch for work. Some highlights of the Trio is that it comes with a reusable toothpick, and the knife doubles as a bottle opener. The storage container is handy!
But for camping, I find the Uno and Dup much more practical. My personal favorite is the Duo! When attached together, it’s pretty long so it’s great for cooking with since it has a far reach. I like that the edges of the fork have a sharper edge so you can also use it as a dull knife. These work great.
VEGAN CHILI RECIPE (6 servings) - SPICY
Note: Remove Chilli Pepper Flakes & Jalepenos from recipe for non-spicy chili.
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As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time - this weekend I tested Mountain House’s Homestyle Turkey Casserole. I’ve been a long time fan of Mountain House and their products, so I was really excited to try the casserole. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, so you bet I was stoked to bring a little bit of that holiday comfort food with me while camping. As always with all Mountain House products, this was so easy to make -- literally as easy as boiling water. Directions were simple as to be expected and the ingredients inside looked like real food. Once I add the water, the smell was phenomenal. Everything rehydrated perfectly and evenly. There were very nice large pieces of turkey, lots of harvest vegetables, and a heaping amount of stuffing. For two people, the serving size was generous and this was a very satisfying/filling dish. While my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed this, it’s not one of my favorite Mountain House meals.
[ LOCATION -5 Stars ]
[ AMENITIES -3 Stars ]
[ CLEANLINESS -2 Stars]
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time - this weekend I tested Renogy’s Multi-Functional Solar Backpack. I have another solar product (bluetooth speaker) from Renogy that I love, but this solar backpack blew me way. The panels are much larger so it charges so much more quickly and efficiently. I was able to charge my phone to 100% in an hour and a half of being plugged in, and also it kept my husband’s laptop charged while he was doing some programming at our campground. As a charger, it totally met my needs and exceeded my expectations.
There are also so many features to this backpack that really impressed me. I love that the solar panel part can be unzipped off from the rest of the pack which makes it really convenient. I was able to remove the solar panel from the backpack and lean it on the ground to charge while keeping the rest of the backpack safely inside my tent. The solar panel part of the pack can also be flipped and reversed so you can have the panel facing out when you want it charging or faced inside when you want to protect it from exposure to rain. The backpack is also very safely padded for a laptop so that it is protected. I love the convenience of all the little pockets and compartments for organizing, the sunglass loop, and also a side pocket to hold a water bottle.
This backpack was so well constructed and designed with the user in mind. I highly recommend this rucksack to anyone looking for a solar backpack.
[ LOCATION -5 Stars ]
[ AMENITIES -5 Stars ]
[ CLEANLINESS -4 Stars]
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time - this weekend I tested the new and improved Boost Oxygen Cans, Renogy’s E.TUNES Solar Bluetooth Speaker, and TredAgain Hawthorne Sneaker Boots.
[Boost Oxygen Cans]
I went camping for New Years weekend and wanted to see how these work for hangovers. The cans say “Hangover Reliever” so I thought I would give it a shot after partying into 2018. First off, I really like their new and improved cans. I’ve used their older canister design in the past, and the mouthpiece on the new cans delivers oxygen to the mouth much more efficiently and comfortably. Also, the cans are ridiculously light so they barely add any weight to your pack which is great when backpacking. I tried the Natural flavor this time, but I think I still prefer the Peppermint and Pink Grapefruit. The natural flavor was missing that sensation of inhaling anything, but I guess that means Boost has achieved the “natural” effect! The medium can is perfect for 1 person, and the large can was great for sharing. As for my hangover, it definitely improved my recovery! I used an ENTIRE medium can to myself the next morning after drinking, and I felt less nauseous, and dizzy. I wouldn’t claim my hangover disappeared completely, but there is no doubt that it alleviated some of the side effects.
[Renogy E.Tunes Solar Bluetooth Speaker]
I am so in love with this speaker! The sound on it amplifies loud, clear, and crisp. Even at the loudest volume, the sound is great. The battery on it lasts surprisingly long. We kept it going at medium volume for about 5 hours with battery to spare for the next day. The solar panel is on the small side so it doesn’t recharge that fast, but it does just fine if you’re only using it to play music. If you want to charge other devices (such as a phone) don’t expect too much. The speaker also comes with a strap which I attached to my backpack. This thing is durable! It was swinging around my pack, getting dropped to the ground, getting bumped against things as I hiked, and it can take a beating. I love that it’s waterproof as well. The flashlight on it is also super bright. It came in handy when I was looking for items inside my tent at night.
It's a fantastic speaker if you're on the search for it. I also love the red cover that I selected for the speaker. It adds some extra flair, AND also makes it super easy to spot out when I'm fumbling around for gear. This little guy comes with me on all my adventures!
[TredAgain Hawthorne Boots]
I love the way the Hawthorne boots look. It’s a good mix between urban and outdoorsy. The leather is made with super soft and high quality suede, and the rubber soles are sturdy. We took them camping and they got really dusty, but a little warm water and a rag was able to clean them surprisingly very easily. My husband wears a size 13 and he says these ran a little on the small side. He suggested that sizing up a full size would’ve been more comfortable, especially with wool socks. They are great for going around town, but aren’t for anything technical. He wore them on a 4 mile hike and they were on the heavy side. He got some blisters on the back of his ankles, so they do require some breaking in (like most shoes). We love the style and the quality, but they definitely aren’t meant for performance shoes. He’ll be wearing them for more casual outings around town though!
Camping by redwoods is probably my favorite EVER. Even during the summer, you're able to stay cool under the canopies of the trees. I love that every corner is so picturesque! Mossy covered paradise! The scenery itself exceeds 5 stars.
The sites are relatively private and spacious. There are trees and brush that separate you from your neighbors. You'll want to pick a site that is close to the river, and far from the highway as possible because of the highway noise (although not terrible) isn't ideal when you're trying to enjoy nature. Any sites 40-60 were pretty good. #58 is the way to go! Riverfront real estate. The restrooms are a little sparse, so be prepared to wait a bit. I wish there was more available, but it looks as though there were only 4 for every 40 campsites? if you have to shower definitely use the facilities that are across from the Visitor Center, they are big and luxurious! Cost is 25 cents/minute.
It's also so convenient to Crescent City if you need to restock on supplies or beer. You can pick up coins and firewood by the entrance which is very convenient.
I came here during the summer and it was extremely HOT. Typically during the summer season, I like to find campgrounds that have a lot of lush trees so we can be under the canopies and stay cool, but Malibu Creek State Park is so convenient to LA. There isn't much shade on the actual campgrounds, but a few sites do have partial shade. There are some decent hiking trails nearby if you can bear the heat, but all the creeks are dried up so you can't really take a dip. It's much nicer and greener during the Spring or Fall.
The campsites are pretty standard, but they are spacious and have some privacy from neighboring sites. They come with a picnic table and there are coin-operated showers nearby. This isn't my favorite campground, but I love that it is local to me.
[ LOCATION -5 Stars ]
[ AMENITIES -4.5 Stars ]
[ CLEANLINESS -5 Stars]
If you live in LA and you're looking for a close place to get away for the weekend, O'Neill Campground is perfect. It's close to civilization so you'll have easy access to lots of shops and markets, but you still can enjoy the great outdoors. This campsite is definitely more family-oriented so you'll see lots of youth groups at the group sites. Campsites are large and spacious, but you're quite close to your neighbors -- don't expect much privacy. Each campsite has a paved driveway, fire pit, grill, and a picnic table. The showers and restrooms here are pretty incredible. Great water pressure and FREE hot showers. If you like hiking, this place will be great for you. Depending on how much of a work out you want to get in, you can choose your trail and length of your hike. Along the hike, you can get great views on the peaks as well as enjoy all the beautiful cactus along the path.
This place is very family oriented so you'll see lots of children and youth groups here. They have fantastic group camp sites that can accommodate groups of 50+.
Note: No alcohol allowed on the park grounds.
This past Memorial Day Weekend, my family and I escaped the city to Dixon Lake for a 3 day camp trip. Dixon Lake is the perfect campground for newbies who want to experience the outdoors, but don't want to sacrifice the simple comforts of life.
I come here once a year and there are always campsites available. The campsites are VERY close together, so hopefully, you don't mind making friends with your neighbors. This campsite, in particular, is nice because it's super convenient to local restaurants, shops, and even a brew pub -- it's walking distance. I also love the camp host who is super friendly and welcoming. The campgrounds is also walking distance from the river. You can see the river from some of the campsites as well. We always come here for river rafting which is so much fun. There are lots of rafting tour companies right along the river walking distance from the campgrounds. The campgrounds are pretty baren. No campfire, no grills, no picnic tables. You can gather rocks to make your own fire pit, but it does take some effort to find rocks and carry them back to your site…BUT IT'S WORTH IT.
We love coming here for the river activities and the convenience, but the worst part of this camp is the horrible restrooms and showers. They are currently under construction so I'm looking forward to seeing it when it's complete.
My family and I came here in August 2017 to see the solar eclipse in totality and it was spectacular! The rangers and staff made sure to put on events and activities throughout the week leading up to the event, and everyone was so friendly, welcoming, and helpful.
The campgrounds are HUGE, but campsites were pretty spacious. You don't get a ton of privacy, but there is plenty of nature to go around. The park is filled with Douglas Firs that provide so much shade all day, and lots of other maples and native plants. There is easy beach access throughout the park so every campsite can easily access the water. The water is pretty murky so make sure you wear water shoes and bring floaties for the lake. The park is also very dog-friendly, bike-friendly, and family-friendly.
One of the best parts about Detroit Lake campgrounds is the restrooms. They are clean and well-maintained. The showers are FREE, and they are hot! It doesn't get any better than that IMO. The town of Detroit is also about a mile away so it's very easy to drive/bike/hike into town to pick up any supplies you might need. There is also a little market for food/drinks, restaurants, and bars.
Beach camping is something else. I much rather prefer mountains, forests, and woods…there was something beautiful about this place as well. As far as the campsites go, it's a long stretch of 150+ rows of sites that are practically parking spots. You get a concrete parking spot that parks about 2 long RVs, and a very small 10x10 dirt patch. Some sites are bigger than others, but all of them include a fire pit ring with grill & a wooden picnic table.
The campsites are rather close together so be prepared for LOTS of noise and people walking through your site to get to the restrooms. The beach is the best part of this place. It's secluded and quiet. Great for surfers! If you're into nude tanning, that's available as well. BEWARE OF BEES!