ERolf P.
Minneapolis , MN
Joined July 2016
Ultra runner and car camping enthusiast. I enjoy thinking and planning for backpacking trips a lot more than I like going on them.
Ranger Review: Renogy Water Filter at Temperance River Campground

Campground Review

Temperance River State Park is just off of scenic Highway 61 north of Duluth, Minnesota about 60 miles. You will be camping near the shores of Lake Superior with expansive views out over the lake from the top of several tall cliffs along the lake.

The campground has a clean bathroom with showers. There is running water available at several spots within the campground as well as at a spout outside the restroom. The sites themselves are large and tree-lined. There is plenty of space for one or two tents or a small RV or travel trailer. We camped in our 1989 16 foot Scamp trailer and had lots of room left in the campsite to cook dinner and set up chairs, as well as plenty of space for our dog to run around.

The campground is close by to many hikes within Temperance River State Park, as well as just down the road from the Superior Hiking Trail, Cascade River State Park, and several other state and national forest areas.

Product Review

As a Ranger for The Dyrt I get products to test from time to time. Today I am testing the Renogy Water Filter. The full video review is below, but I'll give you the rundown here.

  • Sturdy construction, should last many trips.
  • Decent flow rate, filled a 32-ounce bottle in about 90 seconds.
  • Contains input and output tubes, input tube float, and a prefilter.
  • Filter can be removed or replaced.
Ranger Review: Midland X-Talker Radios at Wabasis Lake County Park

Product Review:

In addition to camping, I also had the opportunity to review the Midland X-Talker Radio. In addition to the write-up below, check out my product videos on this post.

Midland X-Talker Radio: The X-Talker radios come with both removable AAA batteries and an integrated rechargeable battery. The radios have very good range (up and over hills, too), a call feature, many channels to choose from so you don’t end up chatting with your neighbors (unless you want to). They also have an option to switch over to the weather radio to get forecasts and storm warnings. I really like the weather radio right with the X-Talker, so that even if I am not using my radio, I can throw it in my backpack or into a drawer in the camper and when the weather turns, I will be able to know what is coming.

Ranger Review: Renogy Solar Backpack at Wabasis Lake County Park

Campground Review:

There was a big mixup on Friday night that caused us not to be able to check-into our cabins and we had to scramble to find a new place to stay because the office unexpectedly closed at 9:00 pm instead of at 10:30 pm (the time posted on their website). However, we were able to get a hold of the staff the next day, we were refunded for our first night, and had a great second night at Wabasis Lake staying in the camper cabins. Each cabin had a living room, two bedrooms, kitchen work counter, dining table, microwave, and a small fridge. One of the rooms contains a queen size bed, and the other bedroom contains two sets of bunk beds. There is also a large couch in the living room, where you could sleep another person (or two if you laid the couch cushion/futon mattress on the floor.

The cabins are located just across the road and slightly up the hill from Lake Wabasis, and facing almost due east, which leads to wonderful early morning sunrises over the lake from the front porch of the cabins. There are two sets of bathrooms at Wabasis Lake, one set (toilets only) at the boat house near the lake, and a second set that has newly renovated showers and toilets as well.

Despite the mix up at the front desk, and a pretty frustrating Friday night, I would be happy to head back to Wabasis Lake for future trips.

Product Review:

In addition to camping, I also had the opportunity to review the Renogy Solar Backpack. In addition to the write-up below, check out my product videos on this post.

Renogy Solar Backpack: The backpack has an integrated solar panel on the rear outside of the pack, which can also be flipped over for added protection when not charging. The backpack has several pockets on the outside, including expandable pockets on both sides of the unit. The side pockets are large enough for about a 20 oz. water bottle, but nothing larger. I wish I could fit a full size Nalgene bottle in there. The pack charges when in direct sunlight only, so if you have a device to charge, you need to make sure you stay in the sun. I would recommend connecting a small battery to the solar panel to charge all day while you’re out hiking (or detach the solar panel and leave it to charge back at camp while you go out and adventure) and then use that stored power from the battery pack later that day.

I would like the pack to be a little more rugged, something more akin to a daypack for hiking rather than a standard issue backpack, but it made up for deficiencies in this area with plenty of extra pockets, including a hip pocket and laptop sleeve.

Tettegouche Hike In Cabin (B) Review

The Tettegouche Hike In Cabins are located on the back (North West) side of the park, a side not frequented by the many day hikers and the rest of the campers. The cabins are located 1.7 miles away from the parking area, accessible only by foot. The hike to the cabins is along a minimum maintentce service road, so the going is fairly easy, but there is a fair amount of vertical tilt to the hike, so be prepared to shed a layer or two, especially if you're not in great shape.

The cabins themselves are situatied on Mic Mac Lake, which is a remote freshwater lake. Cabin rental comes with access to the centrally localed shower house (running water and hot showers!), all the firewood you can hope to burn, a hand pump for water, and access to the main cabin lodge, perfect for large group lunches.

Cabin B has two bunk rooms, each with a full size bunk bed with full size bunks on top and bottom, which means you could (in theory) put 8 people in the cabin without resorting to putting anyone on the floor or on the couches in the living space. There is also a cooktop, mini fridge and freezer. The cabin is heated with a woodstove (which we put through it's paces on a breezy and chilly late May weekend).

We spent time hiking the nearby trails up to Mount Baldy and taking in the views of Lax Lake, Mic Mac Lake, Lake Tettegouche and many of the nearby ponds and streams. When it started raining, we played a few dozen games of cribbage and took advange of the cooktop to be able to cook our camp meals inside while we stayed warm and dry. There is also a camp ring and bbq grate outside the cabin for outdoor cooking and s'mores in nicer weather.

Cabin B is my favorite cabin at Tettegouche Camp, situated right on the edge of Mic Mac Lake (like 3 feet away)!

Tettegouche Hike In Cabin (B) Review

The Tettegouche Hike In Cabins are located on the back (North West) side of the park, a side not frequented by the many day hikers and the rest of the campers. The cabins are located 1.7 miles away from the parking area, accessible only by foot. The hike to the cabins is along a minimum maintentce service road, so the going is fairly easy, but there is a fair amount of vertical tilt to the hike, so be prepared to shed a layer or two, especially if you're not in great shape.

The cabins themselves are situatied on Mic Mac Lake, which is a remote freshwater lake. Cabin rental comes with access to the centrally localed shower house (running water and hot showers!), all the firewood you can hope to burn, a hand pump for water, and access to the main cabin lodge, perfect for large group lunches.

Cabin B has two bunk rooms, each with a full size bunk bed with full size bunks on top and bottom, which means you could (in theory) put 8 people in the cabin without resorting to putting anyone on the floor or on the couches in the living space. There is also a cooktop, mini fridge and freezer. The cabin is heated with a woodstove (which we put through it's paces on a breezy and chilly late May weekend).

We spent time hiking the nearby trails up to Mount Baldy and taking in the views of Lax Lake, Mic Mac Lake, Lake Tettegouche and many of the nearby ponds and streams. When it started raining, we played a few dozen games of cribbage and took advange of the cooktop to be able to cook our camp meals inside while we stayed warm and dry. There is also a camp ring and bbq grate outside the cabin for outdoor cooking and s'mores in nicer weather.

Cabin B is my favorite cabin at Tettegouche Camp, situated right on the edge of Mic Mac Lake (like 3 feet away)!

Busy and Cold at Riverview Campground

William O'Brien State Park has two different camp grounds (plus a couple of group camp grounds and two hike-/cart-in sites. We stayed at the Riverview campground. down the river bluffs from the main portion of the park, and as the name implies, on the shores of the St. Croix River. Our site was a non-electric site on the outside ring, with just a thin slip of woods and a hiking trail between us and the St. Croix river. On a hot summer day, the breeze off the river would be welcoming and cooling, but on an abnoramlly chilly spring day, the wind off the river was a bone-chilling constant. The campsite itself was situated about 500' from the shower/bathroom, and those facilities were clean, and in service, but otherwise unremarkable. There was not a lot of other tent campers at the campground, likely the cold temps kept some folks away, but the electric sites in the rest of the campground were filled with campers. We had the unfortunate experience of being across the road from the loudest group of campers in the campground, as a part of eight different families and their campers used the site across the road from us as their main gathering point. Quiet hours at the campground are from 10pm to 8am, and their festivities carried on until nearly 2am both nights. There was no effort from park staff to enforce quiet hours, which was a bummer.

With the exception of the loud neighbors, and unseasonable cold weather, this was a solid campground, and being near the river with quick access to the hiking trail was a plus.

Zumbro Endurance Run Camp

Camping at a horse campground for the annual Zumbro Endurance Run event. Huge campsites (designed for horse trailers and horses and all that), fire rings, water and ample pit toilets near sites. Great hiking and running trails, and some of the most popular horse trails in the state.

Canoe Camp

This is one of the most beautiful campsites we have stayed at in the midwest. The canoe campsite (also accessible through cart-in) is located on a small creek just off of the Mississippi river. There is a fire ring, picnic table, and ample tent space. There is about a 500yd walk to the restrooms, and you have to go another 500yds to the main campground to find the showers. We camped in mid-September, and the water to the main campground had already been turned off for the winter, so no shower review. The bathrooms near the cart-in sites were well maintained and clean, flush toilets. There was drinking water access near the old WPA water tower (but the water came from the city, not the well and water tower). We had some rain, but the sandy soil mean things drained quickly and were nearly dry in the morning. Lots of neat hiking trails within this small park, and a Minnesota Historical Society Site across the road at the Charles A. Lindbergh historic site (his boyhood home).

Return to Baylor

My wife and I have returned to Baylor Regional Park on a couple of occasions after our first trip. We love the small size of the campground, the nearby lake with paddleboat rentals, the park and the nice hiking area. This isn't a great spot for the super outdoorsy person that wants access to miles and miles of trails, but as a spot to escape the Twin Cities for a weekend and dip your toes into the outdoors, this place is excellent. Camp host is friendly. Restroom facilities are clean and well maintained, and there is a storm shelter in case of inclement weather.

Camping just outside of the suburbs

We spent two nights in the campground. It was fairly busy, but we still felt secluded despite a full campground. There are nice paved trails around a couple of lakes/ponds for biking, and easy access to the shower and bathroom facilities (which were very nice).

Camper Cabins

We spent a chilly November night in one of the camper cabins. The cabins are about a 1.5 mile walk from the parking lot, up and over a hill. We arrived after 10pm and make the hike to camp in the dark with the help of our headlamps. Cabins themselves were nice, bed, wood burning store, kitchen prep area, and a small table. There are several cabins for rent. The cabins are alongside a lake, with beautiful views and plenty of access to hiking trails and the Superior Hiking Trail as well.

History and Trails

Fun visit to the park and historic Forestville. We did not see the caves. Camp ground was nice. Adequate shower facilities. Very nice trail system, very will maintained trails all through park. Historic Forestville is a fun stop (additional $). We had some wet weather come through, but because of the sandy soils, things dried out and drained very quickly.

Lakeside with a view

Spent the long Labor day weekend at Shetek in cart in site 7. About a two block walk into the woods. Site 7 is lakeside, but the steep embankment makes it feel a little farther away. There is a pit toilet and water near the cart in sites, both in good working order. The flush toilets and showers are about a quarter mile farther. In very nice condition. Lots to do at the camp, nice lake for boating and plenty of ponds for kayaks and canoes and for fishing.

Group Camping, Hiking, and Water Sports

Wonderful time in Perrot State Park. Camped in the group campground, site A. Plenty of room for many tents, and nice level ground to pitch tents on. Huge fire ring for large group fires, and both a large grill on the fire ring, and freestanding charcoal grill. Lots of options for hiking and walking in the park with more than 13 miles of trails. We did a 5 mile hike up and over two of the more popular bluffs. We also did a two-three hour canoe/kayak trip and had a blast.

There is not a swimming beach at the park, so if you're into that, you'll have to leave the park, but there is more than enough to do at Perrot State Park.

Split Rock and Roll!

This park seems a lot busier than it really is, because of all of the traffic from folks visiting the lighthouse. In reality, once you sneak in past the crowds to the campsites, the park is quiet and filled with really great hiking trails, both along the shore of Lake Superior and connecting further inland to the Superior Hiking Trail. One our most recent camping trip at Split Rock we stayed in one of the backpacking cabins. Very secluded. Right on the cliffs overlooking the lake. It was a bit cold and windy (we were camping in April, afterall), but watching the sun rise over the lake with the lighthouse framing the image, was worth the hike. 100% go there, people.

Give 'em the Gooch!

I have spent many weekends at Tettegouche, in the group campground, in the tent campground, and in the hike in cabins. What a great state park! Lots of trails to hike. Beautiful waterfalls to experience and photograph. A nature lover's dream. Campground has centrally located water and shower facilities. Very nice visitor center at the main park gates.

Hot and Stormy

Spent two nights at the campground. Night one was extreme heat and humidity and night two was extreme storms. Because of a large wind storm several years ago, there is very limited tree coverage in the campground. As a result, the sites get very little shade and protection from the hot summer sun, and the lack of vegetation means that sounds from around the campground can be heard throughout. Water fountain is centrally located and bathrooms are adequate. Shower facilities are mediocre, but do provide sufficient privacy, and were relatively clean. Lots of trains and hiking areas. Interesting nature center and convenient camp store.

Rainy Weekend Review

We spent two nights at Lake Wissota State Park tent camping in site 30. The site was very deep, and very private with lots of tree coverage on all sides to block out any noise and most of the light from your camping neighbors. The water source was a little far away (about 200 yards) but we were located near the bathroom and showers. The shower facilities were mediocre, but about what you'd expect at a state park.
Park has a swimming beach and several miles of trails.

Worth taking a trip into town and walking up and down the main street. Visit the local shops, and make sure to visit Leinenkugel's brewery for a tour and a pint, but don't over look the Brewster Bros. Brewing Company and the Chippewa River Distillery, also located right in Chippewa Falls.

Great Family Destination!

One of my favorite things about Gooseberry Falls is how convenient the falls are to the main visitor center. The falls are only about 150 yards away! And the falls are wide and have plenty of space for adults (and kids) to go stomping around and splashing and jumping in puddles and dipping your toes in the cool water. Because the falls are easy to access, and because the park is the first in a string of state parks just north of Duluth, MN, the park is very busy from May to October, but it is worth fighting the crowds.