Ethan K.
Birmingham, AL
Joined July 2016
Great primitive and cabin rental camping

I really enjoyed staying at Jenny Jump. It is set up nicely for primitive camping and you are able to hike out straight from the campsite(which is always a plus!). Theres a great look out point as well. If you want, they have the option of renting a small cabin/shelter that you can stay in if you are not into tent camping. There is also specific areas for group camping but always good idea to reserve in advance to make sure you can lock it down.

Camping not allowed, only a trailhead

Hialeah is NOT a campground for tenting and staying over night. It is a great picnic area and beautifully set up right along the Delaware River. The site is the beginning of the Hileah trailhead for the McDade recreational trail. The signs make it clear, however, that you are not supposed to camp in the area.

Catered towards RV

I did not particularly like staying at Foxwood. They certainly cater towards RV camping and not really set up as well for primitive camping. They did have a pool which was a plus, however, nothing felt like it was kept up and maintained well. If you are in the area, I would advise checking out one of the other campsites instead. I also felt like it was too expensive for what they offered.

Large area, family friendly!

Delaware Water Gap was a massive campground that was incredibly well kept and had spaces for both RVs and primitive camping. The site was very kid and pet friendly, outfitted with both a pet and children's playground(see pictures and videos). The primitive sites were separated from the RV area which is nice because it felt like we had more privacy that way. Each site had its own fire pit as well. If you stay here, be aware of the wild grouse that roam the whole campground!

Not a camping site - Nice health/weight loss facility

Deerfield Spa is NOT a campground and we did not stay here. We stopped by because we were in the area and were able to speak to one of the employees. The spa/resort is for people to come for a few days and get healthy and try to lose weight. The facility seems very nice with tennis courts, a pool, a workout gym, and a private chef for the entire stay. Everything was very clean and well kept.

Small and woodsy (and wolfy!)

Camp Taylor is a small and woodsy campground. Each site a decent amount of space and privacy which was nice. They have a welcome store with some rocking chairs out front if you want to relax away from your campsite. I would say the definite highlight and attraction for staying at Camp Taylor, though, is signing up to go see the rescue wolves. Unfortunately we did not do this because the timing did not work out. If I ever am back in the area I will definitely try to make that happen though!

Ranger Review: Primus Onja at Worthington State Forest

**Campground Review**

We REALLY enjoyed staying at Worthing State Park. The whole place was fairly large and very well maintained. We had a ton of space for our individual campsite and felt like we were far enough away from others to have our privacy but not too far into the woods that it felt creepy. They bathrooms were also clean which is always a plus. If I were to come back, I would consider reserving a spot ahead of time to get one of the campsites along the riverbank(although it seemed like those could get buggy). The only downside I would say to Worthing State Park is how far it took for us to drive to our site every time we wanted to leave. It was a good 5 minute drive down a gravel road from the entrance of the campgrounds to our tensile (watch the time lapse). That said, I would highly recommend staying at Worthing State Park!

**Product Review** 

As as Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time— on this trip I tested the Onja Stove from Primus.

I really enjoyed my first experience with the Onja Stove. One of my favorite parts of camping is planning fun meals to make, however, I feel like I am often limited because I have to cook just one component at a time and limited in the size of the pot or pan I can use. The Onja certainly helped some this problem. 

It has a double burner which allows for two full sized pots and pans to be used at once on it. I The stove itself is very sturdy which was a huge plus. In the past, I always felt like I had to constantly be holding on to my pots and pans because they felt like they would just fall off the small burner they were balancing on. The Onja stove had more the feel of a kitchen stovetop. I could let the food cook on the burners and walk away without the fear of it tipping over. Another big plus of the Onja stove is its sleek design. It folds up nicely into itself and has a carrying strap attached for walking around with it. 

The Onja is very easy to set up and attach the burners too. Once you start cooking with it, there is a small learning curve for getting the right temperature/amount of flame, but once you get that down, its smooth sailing. 

The Onja comes with a beautiful wooden cutting board on top, however, its narrow design doesn’t make it the most practical of cutting boards and I would still recommend you bringing another. The Onja definitely is a game changer in terms of cooking on a campout. It allows you to focus on cooking with two pans/pots at once and with the stability of a kitchen stove top. It is quick and easy to set up as it folds open and close with ease. 

Pros to Onja:

-Double Burner. Now you can cook your bacon and burgers at the same time! No more cold bacon on your hot burger.

-Opens and closes very easily because of its design-Sturdy device. You can cook on the stove without the worry of your pots falling off.

-Attractive design and comes in two different colors 

Cons to Onja:

-Too heavy/bulky to take backpacking. Good for picnic and car camping only.

-If you want to use both burners, you have to invest in two gas canisters

-Cutting board not a very practical device because it is too narrow

Ranger Review: Magna Trail boot at Peralta Canyon Campground

The Peralta Canyon Campground is located in the Superstition Mountains and includes a 5.1 miles out and back hike to Fremont Saddle on the Peralta Trail. From Fremont Saddle you get an amazing view of Weaver's Needle (see photos) and the surrounding valley. The hike up to Fremont Saddle was nearly all up hill and of moderate difficulty. You are allowed to set up camp at various points away from the trail, but if you are willing to wait to get to the top before setting up, it is definitely worth it. There is way more space to make camp and get comfortable. Also the views are much more stunning and then sleeping right off the trail.

It is important to note that there are no water sources, but definitely always will be a heat source… (there is a dried up riverbed which may flow during the rainy season?). The trailhead was very easy to find with our GPS and there is a large parking lot at the beginning with plenty of spaces. Because of the dry climate, you are not allowed to make open fires when camping in this area. There is an alternative route back down the mountain called the Cave Trail (which we did not take) which apparently is very neat, but should be done with people who know the area because that trail is not well marked or obvious.

The landscape and whole area was very beautiful (especially to someone not from the area like me) and I would definitely recommend others check out Peralta!

Product Review

As as Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time — on this trip I tested the Magna Trail Hiking Boot from Vivobarefoot

I was not been happy with the prior pair of hiking boots that I own and I was excited to try something new with the Magna Trail boot. If you have not hiked in shoes that try to emulate walking barefoot (which I hadn't), these definitely will take some time to get used to. At first I felt like I was feeling every rock I stepped on in the heel of my foot. It wasn't painful, but was something I was hyperfocusing on. However, after about an hour of hiking in them, I quickly forgot about that and the bumpy ground and rocks no longer bothered me at all. I also imagine this being even less of an issue if I were hiking in a flatter, less rocky environment like the forest.

One thing I particularly enjoyed about the shoe was how lightweight and breathable they are. The boots didn't weigh me down at all while still offering most of the support of a heavy, sturdy hiking boot. They also allowed my feet to breathe and not get super sweaty. There is a neoprene sleeve that tightens around your ankle which served me two purposes: 1) it provided extra support to my ankle and 2) it kept out annoying rocks and dust from sneaking into my shoes. While I felt sturdy enough, if you are someone who struggles with balance, these may not be perfect for you.

Lastly, a major advantage of all Vivo shoes is how they fold up and can be packed when space is tight. Each of their models bends and and can be folded without harming the shoe at all. I found this very useful on this past trip. See the pictures to see what I mean! Also important to note how stylish and attractive each of the models of shoes Vivo Barefoot offers!

Pros to Magna Trail:

-Weight. Super lightweight and breathable shoe that still offers enough support when hiking

-Size. The ability to fold up and pack in tight spaces is a huge advantage compared most other hiking boots which usually take up a quarter of your bag.

-Comfort. While there is a learning curve, once you get used to the shoe, the feeling of walking barefoot feels more natural

Aesthetics. They sexy af for a hiking shoe.

Cons of the Magna Trail-:

-Comfort. If you not used to walking barefoot or do the majority of your walks in a rocky environment this MAY be an issue. '

-Support. If you are someone who struggles with balance and usually uses a high ankle, heavier boot, these may not be for you.

Overall, I really like the Magna Trail shoes and am excited to hike more in the future with them. They are light, comfortable and stylish to boot! (Get it?!?!) Would definitely recommend!

Absolutely loved! Great lake and campsite

This was beautiful campground with an even nicer lake. You are able to do a hike around the lake. They have both cabins for rent and camping spots on platforms which are great, especially when it rains. You can also rent canoes and take them out on the lake for an afternoon activity. Highly recommend if you are in the area!

Very primitive, but enjoyed the seclusion

I would say that Steam Mill campground was much quieter and more secluded then the rest of the camping options in Stokes State Forest. They had a fairly nice and well maintained bathroom facility. Each of the camping spots were big and outfitted with picnic benches and fire rings for cooking. The biggest negative was that the waters spouts were near the entrance so if you are staying deeper into the campground, I would consider this. Of the camping options in Stokes State Forest, Lake Oqcuittunk and Steamill were each a bit closer to High Point which offers more hiking options which was nice.

Amazing lake! But on the pricier side...

Sebago has a huge lake and great beach area. It was perfect for lounging and swimming in during a hot summer day. We were able to rent a cabin which was equipped with an outside grill and picnic area. It is great if you are going with a group/family and people want to sleep inside a cabin as oppose to a tent outside. It was definitely more on the pricier end for just a weekend camping getaway, however, because of the cabins and nicer amenities.

Camping for Active Military and Veterans only

Unfortunately for me, Round Pond is camping reserved for active and retired military personnel only. We drove through and the whole space is rather large. There are several signs everywhere making it clear that it is only for military. The same is true for Lake Frederick another nearby campsite. Similar to Lake Frederick campsite, Round Pond had a beautiful lake that would be very ideal for a hot summer day. 2 Stars only because I was not able to camp here but the grounds looked nice!

Only for Active Military and Veterans

Unfortunately for me, Lake Frederick is camping reserved for active and retired military personnel only. We drove through and the whole space is rather large. There are several signs everywhere making it clear that it is only for military. The same is true for Round Pond Recreation Area, another nearby campsite. The lake is quite beautiful and I wish I had the chance to camp here. 2 Stars only because I was not able to camp here but the grounds looked nice!

Large Group Reservations Only

We were NOT able to camp at Henry Kauffman. While this is listed as a campsite on the Dyrt map, it is important to note that this site is only for large group reservations though organizations such as YMCA and JCC. While it seems like a great place to send kids in the summer, do not expect to set up a tent. I showed up and the gate was closed. Definitely recommend checking out the website first… https://www.camphkc.org/

Primitive, hike in only

Harriman State Park offers primitive camping only. You biggest downside is that you have to hike in about a mile or two to get to the various sites. The advantage of this is that you are already on the trail and you will be far enough from car/street noises. There are several camping options once you begin hiking in. Make sure to bring enough supplies to last for your trip as it is a bit of a hassle to have to hike back out to your car.

Spread out. Raised platforms a big plus

The biggest positive about Beaver Pond is how spread out it was. You definitely feel like you have your own space and are not camping on top of your neighbor. Many of the camping options were on platforms which is especially nice if it recently rained or if you are expecting rain during your stay. I also particularly enjoyed the communal sink which made it very convenient and easy to wash dishes and fill up water.

RV and Cabin Rental Only...and a miniature horse!

It is important to note that there is only RV and cabin rentals offered at Pleasant Acre. The grounds are up on top of a mountain and is quite beautiful and quiet. This is a great place to get away and bring your family and dogs. They offer several planned activities for kids and they have nice facilities like a great swimming pool and ping pong. Important to not miss: the amazingly beautiful miniature horse that wonders around its huge pin located in the middle of the campground.

Loved, but be ok with a little seclusion

This was one of my favorite campgrounds in this area if you don’t mind a little seclusion. To get to each campsite, you have to drive up a big hill that circles around the entire grounds (and eventually the lake). The campsites peel off as you drive around. Each site is fairly secluded from the next so it offers lots of privacy. If you want to be closer to other people. there are options to camp closer to the lake. There is also a large covered patio down near the lake.The campground is big and quiet which I liked. There is a great lookout point that you can walk to and they also have a memorial that is worth checking out if you stay here.

Nice camping, but disappointing lake

The caping set up was nice and I enjoyed the proximity to available hikes in the area. The ‘lake’ however, was kind of a disappointment. It was much smaller then I expected and a rather underwhelming. Of the camping options in Stokes State Forest, Lake Oqcuittunk and Steamill were each a bit closer to High Point which offers more hiking options. Each campsite was set up with a picnic table and a fire ring. One big positive was the covered picnic area which was a nice place to bring food and eat and hang out during the day to get out of the sun.

Away from main road, quiet and secluded

I really enjoyed camping at Shotwell. To get there, you have to drive about 2 miles down a road away from the welcome center. This is nice because it is quiet from traffic from cars. Each campsite is fairly big and far enough away from each other so you feel like you have your own space. Some of the sites had a platform to set up your tent on which is nice, especially if you are going after it recently rained. Our site had a picnic table and fire ring. There was a communal bathroom which was fairly well maintained and a large dumpster near the front of the site to drop off your trash. They did have a cabin-like option but I did not stay in it and do not know much about renting those.