Ranger review of Banner and Oak Baseball hats at French Pete campground, Oregon.
As a Ranger for the Dyrt I have the pleasure and opportunity to test and review product every so often, this is my review of the Banner and Oak "Sierra" and "Nebo" baseball hats; conducted at French Pete campground off hwy 126 in Oregon.
French Pete campground is a smaller, somewhat primitive campground located in Oregon, Off hwy 126 and the Aufderheide forest road #19. It has less than 20 sites, two pit toilets, water and trash services and costs less than $20 per night. They also offer wood sales from the onsite camp host. French Pete is not a year round campground, and does not offer full hookups.
My site, #16 was in the rear off the grounds right on the small river that feeds the Mckenzie. It being late August the river was low, but you could tell that if you stayed in spring during the snow melt, the river would come right up to your "doorstep" or tent step; if you will.
Within the campground there is not much for the kids other than enjoying nature and learning the outdoors. Up hwy126 though, you will find many hiking opportunities and waterfalls such as Tamolich blue pool, and Sahalie/Koosah falls. They are some distance from the site, but are highly suggested for anyone who enjoys the scenery Oregon has to offer. If you don't want to venture too far, there is the French Pete trail across from the campground, and just a ways back down 19 is a very popular (clothes optional) "Terwilliger" hot springs. Just be ready, as this is the most popular hot springs around this area.
Overall a decent campground off the beaten path, I suggest bringing all your necessitates with you as it is a trek to get back to services and would break the solitude that this campground offers.
Banner and Oak are U.S.A. based and everything is made here as well. They offer clothing geared towards the outdoors and have a small selection of apparel based accessories.
I chose the "Nebo" baseball hat; named for the mountain, and the "Sierra" baseball hat; not sure of the origin of that name…
Both hats are ol' school snapback, with high crowns and a slight curve to the bill. Personally I prefer fully curved bills like I used to wear playing baseball. You can hand curve these to fit your style, but I noticed that they don't hold a curve too well. No biggy, just means I have to re-curve each time I wear them.
They are very well made, with stitched on patches and outdoors inspired logos. I have received many compliments on how they look and how they fit. I recommend checking out their site to see if you can find a style you like, you wont be disappointed.
As a Ranger for The Dyrt I am lucky enough to test out products every so often. This is my test and review of the https://www.naturescoffeekettle.com/ 100% Colombian kettle kit and hot chocolate kit at Hampton campground, in Oregon.
Worst campground ever! If it wasn't for the Nature's coffee kettle and the nice hiking nearby, this would have been a most unenjoyable campout. I'll get to the good parts later on in the product review.
With that I will start with the two good points of this campground; it is on the middle fork of the Willamette river and it's only 5 bucks a night. After staying only one night, I realize why this is. There is only a pit toilet; no other amenities at all. There is a boat landing that is now too far from the river to land any boats. The 4 site campground is small and the sites are right on top of each other, and there were bees everywhere. To top it off, the campground is right on HWY 58 AND the train tracks. I counted at least 10 trains going by, and I was gone hiking for half the day I was there. Five trains sped almost within feet of the site while I tried to sleep. I knew this campground was right on the tracks, but hadn't realized the frequency, speed and length of the trains that go by.
I would say pass on this campground if you're in the area; instead venture further east or west to find many other grounds that are way nicer, and more quiet and secluded.
Also, nearby are some nice hikes, I hiked the easy 6mi. Patterson mountain with views of lookout point reservoir. There is also the Goodman creek, Eagles rest and Hardesty mountain trails nearby. These are still accessible from other campgrounds. Avoid this place at all costs!
Now to the good stuff!
The Nature's coffee kettle deserves a five star, made my morning! "Waking up" to a decent brew after a night of howling track burners made it all better.
Nature's coffee kettle is a new system that brews the coffee right in the bag; ala Mountain house. I like how the bag comes pre loaded with a pouch of your choice of one of many available style blends. These you can also buy separately, as this kettle can be used up to 5 times, I'm sure you could use it more, but they recommend 5. I also like how there is little to no cleanup, just toss the pouch after use and recycle the bag after it's last use. This unit is nice and lightweight, will fit into your backpack nicely and doesn't require any of the bulky standard coffee brewing equipment.
The things I don't like are: the bag itself does not stand alone when pouring the boiling water in, so you need to make sure to have a good grip on it, and try not to pour boiling hot water on yourself. The other issue I have, is the coffee that comes out is not that strong, I like a good strong dark brew especially when I'm camping. What they recommend is to run your batch through 2-3 times to reach desired strength. At first I thought this would be annoying, but after brewing 3-4 separate batches, the first with a single run through and the rest with two runs. I found it to not be as bad as I thought and I finally got a really good tasting brew the last time.
In time, with practice, and trying different brew lengths and temperature water, you can actually fine tune the brew; I kinda like that.
I also tried the hot chocolate pouch. The hot chocolate that comes out is super thick, creamy and very rich. It was delicious! It would be very good for the little ones, I had to drink it all myself, so I poured a little in my coffee and made myself a "mocha". I normally like my coffee black, but if you are into the sweeter coffees, this is a nice extra use of the coffee kettle.
I'd say https://www.naturescoffeekettle.com/ is a great product for backpacking or just the casual camper as it is packable, easily disposable and offers a great tasting brew anywhere you might find yourself outdoors.
Great hidden gem in the high elevations just behind Oakridge, Or. It's about 20 miles from Oakridge up a washboard gravel road. I suggest an awd/4x4, or a car that can handle the terrain. I have a 4x4 truck, but with bad tires, so I was fishtailing the whole way up, and down. Once you arrive, the campground opens to a gorgeous little alpine lake with a surrounding ridge.
It is a very small, very primitive campground with six sites, two all gender pit toilets, bear proof garbage can and water pump. At $8 a night though you can't go wrong. I do suggest however to have a backup plan, as it would be a bummer to find it full after driving so far out.
Three of the sites are park and walk in, with the others park at site style; all are first come. I was able to score a walk in site right on the lake! Each site does have a table and fire ring, and you can even find some mountain Huckleberries along the trail into the sites. My site was huge and all three sites had enough space for at least 3 tents and were decently spaced from each other.
If you do find it full, or while you are staying; take advantage of the nearby Blair lake trail before you leave. It is a 17 mile moderate-difficult trail that heads toward the Waldo lake wilderness, through a great meadow and and then forest above the lake. You can take it about 4 miles to the Mule mountain lookout if you prefer a shorter hike. I wasn't able to go to the lookout as the trail was in the process of being closed due to a nearby active fire. I was able to get to a good viewpoint of the lake and grounds below; with a little bushwacking. There is also an overgrown trail circumventing the lake, but I hear it also takes a little bushwacking to complete. The lake itself is warm and great for swimming and floating, and I even saw some fish jumping so I imagine you could do some catching as well.
A great place to just get away from the grind and city noise, where you feel like your out in the middle of nowhere. I'm going to have to come back in the shoulder season when there is some snow in the hills and I can finish the hike that I started.
This isn't a traditional Ranger review, as this is the item that I purchased after winning a $50 REI gift card via The Dyrt contest in Oregon.
After contemplating my needs I decided on the Columbia Silver ridge lite LS shirt from https://www.rei.com/product/895032/columbia-silver-ridge-lite-long-sleeve-shirt-mens
In the past I haven't been able to afford true hiking, non cotton shirts. I have always just gone with my old T-shirts, sleeveless dri-fit or Dickies 50/50 work shirts. I can't believe the difference! This shirt is so lightweight, and with its vents and breathability, it keeps me dry on hot hikes. It does soak up the sweat a bit though, but when removed it did dry out very fast and didn't leave salt stains like cotton. I like that it is also UPF-40 rated with omni-vent, and the sleeves roll up and with a button strap; stay rolled up. It also has mesh, breast, velcro closure pockets.
The only down side to this shirt is it's length, and no "Tall" size availability. Being on the tall side, this is a problem I will always run into. It rides a bit underneath my pack and is not quite long enough for tucking. Other than that a great shirt and for the price, as compared to the other brands at higher cost; I can't see the advantage in those without trying them first. A good shirt to get away from cotton, I will definitely try other styles from Columbia in the future.
I was in the area to hike the nearby "Iron Mountain" to see the unbeatable views of the Cascade peaks from the lookout at 5500 ft. elevation. You can see from Mt. Hood to the north, down to Diamond peak in the south; on a clear day. I unfortunately got a view of the west's own smokey mountains due to all the wildfires in the area. Good excuse to come back and top it again someday.
House rock was one of a few grounds that are right off hwy 20 within 10 or so miles from this and many other hikes. It is down a short gravel road from 20, so just far enough away to only get faint road noise. It is nestled in an Old growth forest with many Douglas firs and Big leaf maples; among other plant species.
Being the busy season in Oregon all of these campgrounds had the "full" signage at the entrance. I've learned not to trust these signs, as anything can happen, and with all of the campgrounds, these signs sometimes don't get flipped daily; especially if there is not a host on site. This visit is a perfect example, there are only about 10 sites in this two loop small primitive campground. All of the sites had been booked weeks out with tags behind tags on the site posts. I did luck out as the last empty spot I checked was a walk up site and the previous campers checked out and left; so I snatched it.
This is a pretty cool campground right on the Santiam river, with a few swimming holes, a waterfall and nice short and longer hikes. The shorter is to the cascading falls across a long wooden foot bridge. The longer is a trail that follows the old Santiam wagon road from back in the 1800's. You can still see the ruts in the trail at some points and you even pass by a large "House rock" with a cave that was used by pioneer families back in the day to seek refuge from storms. This trail continues on across and down a gravel road and then becomes a trail once again. You can follow this trail for about 4 miles one way to white mile post marker 5 and take a spur trail to the right. Take this to the top of "Knoll" viewpoint, here you get amazing views of the valley, Cone peak, Jumpoff Joe mountain, and if you plan to hike Iron mountain you can size up the challenge here before you tackle it. Although, Iron mountain trail starts at the trail head at Tombstone pass further up hwy 20.
I stayed here peak season and on the weekend, so there were some large groups that had booked a few sites together. This meant some whooping and hollering into the night, but also meant a peaceful early morning for me.
At $18 a night I was surprised at the lack of amenities, these include: 3 all gender pit toilets, garbage service, and an old fashioned water pump, that's it.
For me this was a great place to stay the night to prepare for the hike the next day. That way I could get up early and start my hike and have the mountain to myself. I'm glad I only stayed one night, I feel like this would be a good shoulder season campground, when there is still some snow on the mountains and not as busy.
This is the second time staying in and reviewing this campground. The first was in a yurt with my 82 year old pop, this time was with my best friend and his family; including his 3 year old. This trip was quite a bit different than the first.
This time we stayed in the tent specific loop H, loop I is also a tent specific loop. These are the deepest loops into the park, with zero hwy noise, and are off the paved road which continues graveled to the sites. The sites in these loops are WAY better than the others. The others in this huge campground are mostly R.V. sites and are crammed in like sardines. They do offer power and water hookups, although I did not see sewer at those sites. The tent sites, on the other hand are way bigger and are more spread out, with a little more privacy. Each of the sites have standard fire rings w/ grills, picnic tables, with dish water troughs and water bibs nearby.
Last stay I noted how the pit toilets in the yurt loop were outdated; not so for the tent loop. It was a newer lodge looking complex, with gender specific, clean, flushing restrooms, with running water. They also have the single, private shower rooms, with hot water that are free to guests, not timed, and there is a small changing area in each of the shower rooms. These had not been cleaned as early as I used them, but I could tell they were well maintained.
Within the campground there are a few trails, some wooded, some to the beach, and some are ADA paved interpretative. We utilized the nice little trail behind the sites that spits you out right at the updated play structure and grounds. We took another to the beach, each of the access trails are easily located on the main drag and range from 1/3 to 1/2 miles to the beach. Easy for most and just short enough for the little ones. The day use area can also be accessed via the "Cooper ridge trail", or stop off at the disc golf course on the way.
The only downsides to this campground are, even though this is one of the biggest campgrounds on the coast with hundreds of sites; it does fill up fast in the busy season. With that being said, there are people everywhere. That's not a big deal unless you are looking to get away from the crowds and have a quieter experience. This is definitely geared towards families and tourists checking out the beautiful Oregon coast. The other was the fog horn blowing in the distance into the wee hours. At first not a big deal, kinda cool, but every 10 seconds. I don't recall this last time, so I imagine it is just in use when the fogs in and you actually get used to it after a while.
All said a good place to go on the Oregon coast and it is very centrally located with many tourist opportunities nearby, including: The Newport aquarium, old town Newport and the Rogue brewery. There are also many more just south of the campgrounds. Stop in for a good stay near the beach with plenty to keep you busy.
This is the second time I have stayed at this campground, but the first time I stayed alone. This visit I was with my brother's family, including my 2 year old nephew and 3 year old niece. Last time I stayed here I reviewed the site under the "Tahkenitch area" not realizing that this was a blanket listing covering the entire lake and surrounding day use areas. I have since added this campground with its exact GPS location on the map, as well as its direct link to recreation.gov.
I was more impressed the first time than I was this weekend. I was surprised at how much traffic noise there was. It is right on hwy 101, so that's understandable, but I guess it was easier to block out the motors and jake brakes last time. My niece and nephew were really bothered by it, the 2 year old has issues with loud noise and I hadn't remembered it being that bad.
Also, the women's bathroom was out of order, for at least a month, according to the cleaning log on the temporary porta potties. They also turned the flush men's restroom into a all gender for the time being. During our stay it wasn't fixed, and as it happens, the men's went down too. Hopefully they will get these fixed soon.
For the price you don't find many amenities other than the standard fire pits, picnic tables, garbage service, water bibs, dish water troughs, and an extra pit toilet.
As for activities; the beach is too far for a nice family hike or walk, although there is a nice little stroll to the dunes through a well wooded forest area. I don't suggest following it to the ocean as it is a harder hike not suitable for too young of kids. You can instead drive to the nearby Siltcoos beach area access or other access points along 101. There is also Elbow lake and Tahkenitch lake to fish, boat, or just relax by the water.
I'd say an okay campground all together, but not my favorite spot. We picked it this time as some of the sites are park and walk-in with lots of privacy. We thought this would be a good idea with kiddos just getting into camping. Gonna have to find a more adventurous spot as they get older.
If you are looking to avoid the crowds at Honeyman state park and are wanting a smaller more wooded campground with lots of privacy, this might be the place for you.
Mazama village campground is located just inside the south entrance to Crater lake national park, about 5 or so miles from the rim.
Mazama village is a very large campground with cabins, a motor lodge and 7 loops with about 30 sites per loop. Each loop has flushing toilets and running water in the gender specific restrooms, and water bibs as well. Each site has a bear box, fire pit, table, and some have RV power hookups. They don't seem to have dish water troughs though.
What I found strange was the check-in process. I made reservations months in advance, but when I arrived; it wasn't a specific site I reserved, but a chance to choose a site. Sites are allocated by RV and tents; by size. There is only one loop, E that is specifically for smaller tents, so I was forced to choose from only 5 sites. I was able to luck out and find a decent site with shade and some privacy, as it was hot and dry and a lot of the sites did not offer much for privacy.
Upon entering the campgrounds you find the Annie creek restaurant and gift shop, I had chili and cornbread for dinner and wasn't too impressed with it for the price. There is also a general store, fuel pump, laundry mat and pay showers. You can also make bookings for tours and other activities at the general store.
Crater lake itself was amazing and there were tons of hikes and activites to take advantage of around the rim. It is a drive though, getting from the campground to points of interest on the rim, luckily the vistor center is the first thing you come across as you head up the west rim drive. There they also have a little gift shop and info on the national park.
On my last night in the campground I was exhausting my options for hikes and had been trying to find the nearby Annie creek trail. I ended up walking through the campgrounds and found the trail head behind the amplitheter; that happens to hold church service on Sunday. The trail was pretty sweet, it is a 2 mi. loop and either direction you start it's quite a drop into the gorge to a creek oasis running through the middle. It was quite a treat to find as the sun was going down on my final night.
All said, it was an okay campground not the best I've stayed in, but I made the most of it and had an amazing time visiting my own states national park; Crater lake.
As a Ranger for The Dyrt I get the chance to test and review outdoor gear from time to time. This is my testing and review for the Baltoro 65 ruck sack from https://www.gregorypacks.com/
Let me start by saying this pack is AWESOME! I have never been able to afford such a quality pack in the past and have always had an inexpensive pack. I am amazed at the difference in quality when it comes to a true backpacking pack made by a reputable company.
I have always been a big guy and after hurting my knee many years ago, I never found the inspiration to start real backpacking. For the past 10 years I have been building my gear box and moving more toward lighter and more quality gear. With the help of TheDyrt and Gregory as well as other fine outdoor companies; I have finally rounded out my gear especially with this pack being the final touch. I now feel I have the confidence, gear, and with growing experince to tackle harder, longer and steeper treks.
I received this pack just before my road trip to Crater lake. I tested it a few times before my departure and then many times while on the way to the park. I kept if full, around 40+ lbs. on all hikes, including 11 mi. on the Diamond view lake trail, Rosary lakes PCT section trail and the Howlock mtn. trail at Diamond lake. Then to top off the week; 5 mi. up Mt. Scott at Crater Lake. I was amazed at how good it felt and how well it handled the weight. It was real nice with all the adjustments that can be made, to make it fit me perfectly and make it actually comforable to carry.
Other features I like include:The zipper front that allows you access to the main ruck sack compartment w/o having to open the top. This way you can get to items on the bottom of the pack without having to remove the others on top. Another feature is the removable water bladder holder that can be used as a daypack/hydration pack when you don't want to take your full pack on a small jaunt. I also like the water botlle holder that is stowable and has a shockcord(like the trekking pole holders) that helps keep the bottle from falling out.
The quality of this pack is unreal, the ripstop holds up to branches, the zippers are strong with good loop pulls. All the materials used seem to be of high quality and were put together very well. I look forward to many adventures with this pack as I feel it will last me quite a while. It will help motivate me to go further and tackle harder, longer trails and stay out for more nights now that I can carry everything I need and with such ease.
I highly recommend this pack to anyone and everyone, I don't know what else someone could ask for from a backpack. Great job Gregory!
This was my final stop for two nights on the way to Crater lake. It is a fairly large campground with 3 loops; A, B, and C. My site was in the C loop which is located in the middle of the grounds, and it was a very large site. Unfortunately this meant no view of the mountain and instead, views of other campers looking back at me. If you want better views and almost lake side spots, go for the sites in loop B and any others on the lake side of the loops. They aren't directly on the lake but just across the camp road.
There is a boat landing down the way, but across from some sites there was plenty of space to drop a small craft or inflatable. It was also shallow enough for swimming as I saw lots of kids enjoying the sun. I decided myself for a float the last day, but the wind kept blowing me back into shore, so I gave in. There were white caps on the lake so there wasn't as many boats out as you would normally expect.
Nearby you can find many outdoor activities; horseback riding, boating, and fishing, among others. Of course I was there for the hiking and waterfall hunting. Drive up 138 from Diamond lake about 20 miles and you find Toketee falls. A little further down a back road is Umpqua hot springs, a relaxing spring made up a many pools of different temps on the mountain side. It is on a 3 mi. trail as well, but either way if you park at the main lot, it is still a nice hike up to get to it.
Other than the majestic Toketee, you can also checkout Watson, Whitehorse and Clearwater falls. While Whitehorse and Clearwater have campgrounds at the falls, Watson was by far the best fall. I liked it better than Toketee, it's just a little more to get to it, but well worth it.
As for the hiking there are a few trails to choose from, I stopped in at the Diamond lake lodge and they provided me with maps and literature on the hikes close by. I chose to take the Howlock mtn. trail located just behind the horse corral. It was a moderate to difficult 10 mi. round trip to a decent view at the base of the Thielsen peak. It would be a cool 14 if you took it all the way to a PCT junction. Also at the Diamond lake lodge you can find a restaurant, store and marina with boat rentals. They also have public pay laundry that you can take advantage of. I cheated and bought my first dinner on my trip at the restaurant and had one of the best jalepeno cheeseburgers that I have had in a while, and at a decent price too.
All and all Thielsen view is a decent campground, very family friendly just not much in the way of privacy as the trees were thin and it was very dry; Not a lot of greenery. Lots to do and plenty of space to spread out and relax by the lake.
This campround is a lot like the nearby Whitehorse falls campground. Very small and primitive, but with a waterfall right in the park. It is also just down the road from Diamond Lake and is close by many other waterfall destinations. I would think that this would also be a good spot to use as a backup plan if all other grounds were full. It was very busy when I visited, but found if I stayed for a bit and took the less popular trail, I had that side of the falls to myself. Very peaceful once the crowd dies down.
I stumbled across this "mini" campground when I was in the area waterfall hunting and staying at nearby Thielsen view campground. This would be a great backup plan, if you find that all other options are exhausted around the area. It is small and primitive with no amenities other than a pit toilet. It does have the falls right at the entrance and is close by many other falls and the Umpqua hot springs. It is in proximity of Diamond Lake and it's many outdoor activities.
Not the greatest spot, but a good 'last resort'.
Trapper creek is located just off hwy 58 on the shores of the fishing lake Odell, but is far enough off the road to quiet the hwy noise. It is a smaller primitive site with around 30 fairly private and good sized sites, that can be reserved ahead of time via recreation.gov. It is nicely wooded with green surrounding, and a little creek flowing behind adds a nice background to the atmosphere.
They offer RV sites as well as tent, with water bibs, dish water troughs, pit toilets and garbage/recycling services. They also have wood sales if you didn't find any along 58 on your way up.
There is a boat landing, but if you head further down the road to Shelter cove resort, they also have boat rentals. Also there, they have a little general store, cafe, and public pay laundry and showers. These aren't technically amenities of Trapper creek, but can be accessed by non guests of Shelter cove. They cater to all as this is a popular stop off for PCT thru-hikers.
Nearby I found many hiking opportunities, with the Diamond peak wilderness trail head just across from the grounds. As well as a PCT section hike just across hwy 58 at Willamette pass ski area. Both have many a connector trails and can be used for backpacking trips. Wilderness pass is required to pack into the Diamond peak wilderness. It just takes a moment to fill out at the trail head and is worth taking the time. Hiking, boating, fishing or just lounging by the lake, there are tons of ways to enjoy this campground and surrounding areas.
As a Ranger of The Dyrt I have the awesome opportunity to test products from outdoor companies every so often. This is my test review of the compression socks from https://www.lilytrotters.com/
I received these last year for winning the Oregon camping contest. I wasn't sure what to do at first as these socks are mainly made for women. I ordered the largest size in black, but was still unsure if they would work for me. When I received them, I thought "no way", and put them aside until I figured what to do with them.
On a whim I decided to try them on before my trip to Crater Lake and am so glad I did! I am a larger dude with pretty big calves and these surprisingly fit! They are tight, but they are supposed to be. I wore them for the first time when I hiked the Rosary lakes section of the PCT just across hwy 58 from Trapper creek. This was an 11 mi. round trip hike and after just completing another 11 miles the day before, both with a 40 lbs pack. I'm no scientist, but after the first mile or so, my legs were losing the soreness from the day before and warming up nicely. They felt so good that I decided to continue the trail past the lakes and up a black diamond ski run of Willamette pass ski area to find a chair lift, and an incredible view of Diamond peak, Odell lake and Trapper creek campground below.
I love these socks so much, I may have to get another pair or two, and it looks like they now have calf sleeves. If only they did knee sleeves, still might have to try. I highly recommend, even if you just use them as recoup socks for after a hike, they are great!
This is an okay smaller campground right on Hwy 58, that being said you do get quite a bit of hwy noise during the day which quiets at night fortunately. If you luck out and get site #3,4,5,6, or 7, which are park and walk in; they are right on salt creek so it muffles the noise a bit.
There is a nice little swimming hole at the day use area, but the water is fairly cold. Nice spot for a picnic and a field for the youngsters. Other than that, not much for the kids, except enjoying mother nature as it flows by. You can however take them to the nearby Salt creek falls, which is breathtaking and only about 10 min. down hwy 58. The falls has two viewing areas that are easily accessible for kids, and if they are a little more adventurous, you can take them on the 3.5 mi. loop to the Diamond creek falls. This is a nice little hike through the forest and offers a different style fall with front row viewing.
For the adults, there is also the nearby Mcredie hot springs. It has about 6 pools of varying temperature, split by the creek with access to the other side via a dirt road down hwy 58. I didn't feel this was as family friendly as the falls though. A decent place to warm up, if you can get there when it's slow.
Since this campground is more primitive, don't expect rv hookups or many other amenities. They do have dish water troughs, pit toilets and garbage service. No recycling, and the water bibs were not flowing at the time of my stay. There was a host on duty, but I did not see any wood sales.
Blue pool definitely isn't an attraction in itself, but is was nice to have a spot right on the creek to relax after a day of hiking. A good spot to use as a home base for all the nearby outdoor adventures to be had, and to stop in on your way down hwy 58.
As a Ranger for The Dyrt I have the awesome opportunity to test and review products from great outdoor companies every once in awhile. This is my review of https://www.roanline.com/ a company that provides outdoor and camping gear. This review was conducted at Whittaker creek recreation site in Oregon.
Whittaker creek is a medium size 30 site, BLM, first come first served campground encircling Whittaker creek, where it meets the Siuslaw river. It is a mile or so off of hwy 126, just before Mapleton on the way to the Oregon coast; approx. 1 hr from Eugene.
I like the setup of this campground, it has very dense vegetation surrounding some sites, but others are wide open at the foot of the Whittaker ridge. If you luck out, a few sites have private access to the small wading pool created by a bend in the creek. It is a small pool, but nice for young children to swim, for adults to float, or just sun on the rocky shore. If you want a bigger swimming area, there is a river access trail to the siuslaw nearby. Just be aware, it wasn't maintained as of this review. I had to do some bushwacking and log hopping to get there, just gave me another reason to jump in and cool off. Also, be on the lookout for skeeters, I usually don't have an issue with them, but here they were on the attack.
Off of the main campground access road is the Whittaker ridge old growth trail to the Armantrout loop trail. This can be taken from either side as a point to point, or looped together for a 3 mile jaunt. The trail gains 900 ft. in a mile, so not the easiest for young kids, but I'm sure some can tackle it.
This campground is more primitive offering only 4 all gender pit toilets, wood sales, potable water bibs and dish water troughs. They also have garbage services, but I did not see a recycling area. They do not have RV specific sites, so no power, water, or sewer.
I suggest looking for a site on the back side of the creek (higher numbered sites) there are more on the creek and they are farther from the entrance. I wasn't so lucky and had to make due with one right as you drive into the grounds. I was surprised of the flow of cars in and out that seemed to just hangout for a bit and leave. This did lessen as the night went on. There also seemed to be lots of teenagers whooping it up, but this also died down later in the eve.
Overall an okay spot with plenty to keep you busy, and just a nice spot to take in the Oregon green.
This is my review of the 3 products that I found on https://www.roanline.com/
I want to start by saying this website is great. It has a lot of cool camping accessories and apparel for the outdoors. I like that this is a company started by a women for women, but they are not leaving out the men in their pursuit to outfit adventurous folk. I also like that they focus on smaller up and coming American businesses as well as companies that give back to the natural world.
My only criticism is the selection of sizes of the men's apparel. I get that this company was started due to lack of options, sizes and fit for women, I respect that and appreciate that they are not leaving the men out. However, I am a bigger guy around 6'4" 260 lbs. With that being said, the sizes offered end at xxl (with true fit disclaimer). I feel this can scare aware potential online buyers as I was deterred from purchasing, due to unsure sizing. I think they are missing out on a large demographic, no pun intended. Maybe they could offer a looser fit or a tall size, just an idea.
I did end up finding some nice camp accessories that I have utilized camping the past few months. These items include: the Sturdybros.com duck canvas dopp kit, and the Unitedbyblue.com Enamel camp mug and Mt. Mazama 100% Organic soap.
Sturdy Bros. is an American born company started by a couple of brothers. They hand make all of their products, featuring tool bags, aprons, gear bags, and an array of other leather and waxed duck cloth items for the handy man, or woman and any outdoor enthusiast.
I decided on the in house waxed duck canvas cloth dopp kit. This is incredibly well made, with a brass YKK zipper and hand sewn seams. It is a bit small, but it is just the right size for the essentials without adding a lot of pack weight. I feel this dopp will last me the rest of my life and is well worth the price. I was amazed at the quality, you definitely don't see this quality too much these days. I will be looking into more products from Sturdy bros. maybe a tool bag for my offroad rig.
United by Blue is a company big on ocean conservation and healing the natural world. Offering products made with organic and recycled materials and others that are easy on the environment. They also remove one pound of trash from the ocean for every product sold, although I do not know if this goes for product purchased from Roanline.com.
I decided on the UBB Metal Enamel mug as I was tired of the stoneware enamel mugs that were prone to breaking if dropped while camping and hiking. I also like that the metal keeps your hot drinks hot and your cold drinks cold, longer. This mug is also safe to use on the fire or stovetop. It is the National parks foundation mug, so it has some N.P. logos around the outside of the mug. I really like this mug and found no issues with it; except maybe that they left out Crater lake. A good mug that is big and what is expected and at a fairly reasonable price.
I also was interested in the UBB Mt. Mazama Rogue river series, clay and geranium soap. This soap is 100% natural and organic, so you can use it in the river without the worry of polluting the waterway. It also smells great, suds up nicely and washes away cleanly without leaving your skin tight. Did i mention it smells Awesome! Its not a strong perfume type smell and totally reminds me of the outdoors. A great addition to any dopp kit and camp showering routine. I just wish they sold mill ends so I could buy bulk at a discount as it is on the spendy side. Worth the splurge though.
https://www.roanline.com/ offers many good products, so head down and check it out and then go spend some time at the Whittaker creek recreation site in Oregon. Happy camping!
Lund park is located on Brice creek rd, past Dorena lake in Oregon. It's a ways out there, which is nice if you're trying to get away from it. This campground is only 8 bucks a nigh; walk up. For that price you don't get any amenities, other than two rather old pit toilets located on the far ends of the grounds and trash bins. It is very small, about 8 sites, and the spots were decently far apart on the inlet road, but then the inner spots were right on top of each other. The campground is right on Brice creek, so it is nice that you can hear the creek, but I didn't see much for access to the creek from the grounds itself.
The best part of this campground, is it has direct access to the brice creek trail that follows the creek. If you follow the trail upstream you come across the trailhead for trestle creek falls. This is an easy to moderate 5 mile loop that goes by two amazing falls, with a nice scramble behind one of them. This is one of my, and many others favorite falls hike nearby Eugene, so expect it to be busy weekends during the season.
I wasn't impressed overall with this campground, but liked that it had access to the trail system. Great to use if you wanna make a weekend of it and not have to drive straight home after hiking. There are also some other campgrounds nearby that I think are better.
Limberlost campground is a smaller campground with about 12 sites set on a McKenzie river feeder stream. Some of the spots are right on the river so you can fish right from your firepit. Others are right on the hwy 242 side, but since this is not a super busy hwy, the noise doesn't get too bad. The hwy is a popular ride for long distance road bikers so be prepared when driving to the close by hikes, and if you are going up to the pass. If you do head all the way up you will passby a short 2 or so mile hike to Proxy falls. There is a parking fee, but well worth it for the two beautiful falls and the walk through the lava beds. Keep going up and you will find "Dee wright Observatory" and spectacular views of the central Oregon cascades. This is an Oregon must see for out of towners and LImberlost provides a nice jumping off point to see them. If you decide to wander east up hwy 126 instead, you will find Tamolich Blue Pool falls trail,Sahalie and Koosah falls trail, and you can take a dip at Belknap hot springs when your done hiking.
Limberlost campground is kind of primitive, offering only one pair of gender specific pit toilets, that were decently clean, and trash service. No power, wood sales, water, showers or water disposal of any kind. They do have standard fire pits and tables at the sites. Each spot is quite unique and offer a decent amount of privacy and aren't right on top of each other.
You can reserve spots online or by phone, but they do also accept walk ups. I imagine this place fills quickly in the summer with bicyclists on their way down from over the pass from Sisters, Or. Lots to do around the campground, but also a great place to just sit and relax and listen to the small river flow by.
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I have the distinct pleasure to tryout and review gear from great outdoor companies. This is my ranger review of the Primus Lite+ backpacking stove kit at Rujada campground in Oregon.
Rujada is smaller campground located just south-east of Cottage Grove, Oregon; up Bryce creek rd.
This is a nice, well-maintained campground right on Layng Creek, in a heavily wooded area. It offers 15 campsites, some of which can be reserved online and others are first come, first served. The sites are quite unique to each other, some offering privacy, some larger and open, and a couple just off the "Swordfern trail" next to the creek. You can hear the creek's small waterfall from most of the sites, and there is even a couple of spots on the creek to take a dip; if you wish.
The "Swordfern trail" starts at the day use area; where you can find a large ball field, horseshoe pits and a tiny playground. The trail continues into the forest following the creek, until it takes a big bend back around to the campground. It is an easy to moderate 2 or so miles, that I feel is family and dog friendly, as the grounds allows pets. If you want bigger hiking payoffs, just up the road approx. 6 miles, you can find "Pinard", "Moon", and "Spirit falls". Each are around 2 easy hiking miles and worth hitting, you can easily do all three in one day. I highly recommend these falls as they are some of the better, lesser known falls in Oregon.
As for amenities; Rujada has two restroom facilities, one pit and one gender-specific flush, with sinks, located nearby the day use area. They also have trash service, recycling, water bibs and dish water troughs. There are no r.v. specific sites, so no power or sewer hookups. Each site also offers the expected firepit rings as well as awesome picnic tables made from big timbers from back in the day.`
I liked this campground overall for its small size and more primitive nature, I will return and use it for a good jumpoff point for the many beautiful hikes nearby.
Primus Lite +
The Primus Lite+ is a great, light and well built integrated backpacking stove/pot kit from the makers of the original soot free kerosene stove back in 1892. These stoves have come a long way, now offering auto start piezo igniters, no need for manually lighting with a match.
The integrated pot system is attached with a grasp on the neoprene surround and a twist. No need to worry about your pot falling off while boiling water. If you would rather use your ol' trusty pot or kettle; it does have 3 small pegs that can be screwed into the burner to better balance your cookware. These pegs also attach to the pots strap and are at hand anytime. For more stability it also comes with two more options, one is an included tripod stand that fits 3 size fuel bottles. The other is a sweet, included hanging lanyard, so if you can't find a suitable surface, you can hang it from a nearby branch.
If you purchase the smallest size fuel canister, all items(less the tripod) will fit into the integrated pot, taking up the least amount of space possible in your pack.
This unit burns very hot, as the flame is concentrated directly on the pot and is not very adjustable. It does boil water very quickly though, 3-4 min. depending on conditions. I do feel that it might not be the best unit for cooking food as I could see it easily burning the food to the bottom. I might try rice or soup, just keep an eye on it. It is a perfect setup for making Mountain house meals and I love it for my coffee.
My only criticism would be the pouring spout, or lack thereof. The cap has a hole for pouring with two alongside to allow for airflow. My problem, which may be user error, is most times I'm pouring, the water spills down the side of the pot. I tried to pour quicker, or slower, at an angle, and almost always have this problem. It is getting better each time I try, so hopefully I can solve this soon.
All and all a great unit and does all that would be expected from this type of system, with some cool unique features. I recommend this to any backpacker or even the casual camper.
I scouted this park while staying at Alsea falls campground just down the road.
Mcbee park is actually on the trail between Alsea falls and Green peak falls. One of the sites has the trail going right through it.
The sites were very large and some had some old shelters and tables. It is owned by the nearby Hull-oakes lumber company, but is open to the public. It looks like a local spot, but I'm sure it would be a good backup if Alsea falls is fully booked. They take reservations via phone, number found on entrance sign. (See photo)
Be prepared though, there are no services whatsoever, except maybe trash, so all backcountry rules apply. All in all a good location and right on the creek.
Alsea falls campground is located in a heavily wooded area about 30-45 minutes west of Monroe off Hwy 99.
This is a cozy little BLM managed campground with 16 total sites. Two are group sites, and only some sites can be reserved via recreation.gov (see photo for site #'s). The rest are first come first served.
The grounds offer two pit toilets; that were kept very clean, water bibs, dish water dumps, along with fire pits and picnic tables at all sites. They do not have full hookups, electricity or RV dumps. I also did not see any wood sales, or trash/recycling services, so plan to "pack in pack out".
Tons of BLM 4x4 only tracts are nearby to explore with many vistas overlooking the valleys and mountains. Just be aware, there are many impassible roads and gated areas, so scout as you go.
There are two main hiking trails, one is a moderate 6.7 mi hike on the west side of the "back country byway" and the other is the main hike to Alsea falls with the trailhead at the campground. The main falls is only about a 1/2 mile from the campground, but if you venture further; about 2 moderate miles, you find "Green peak falls" which for my money is a way better experience. Well worth the extra time and effort. This trail also takes you through "Mcbee park campground" which is a smaller privately owned primitive campground.
Alsea falls is a nice well maintained smaller campground that is family friendly and a nice distance away from civilization, but not too far. Nice place to get away and relax with plenty to keep you busy for the weekend.
As a Ranger for The Dyrt I have the privilege to test products every so often. This is my review of the Midland ER310 E+ Ready emergency crank radio.
This is a nice compliment to any emergency kit or to just bring along with you on any type of camping trip. This unit comes with a lithium ion battery that's included, but can also run on six AA batteries that weren't included. It can be recharged via the included micro USB cable through 110v wall outlet, solar panel, or by hand cranking. I suggest charging fully the first time on the wall outlet and anytime you need to get a full charge. If you are not using; unplug battery as it will last a good amount of time on standby; but wont be ready when needed. If you are running low on juice, the crank and solar are good ways to add some voltage, but don't rely solely on these as charging sources.
As a AM/FM radio it gets great reception with the fully adjustable, collapsible, stowable antennae and as an NOAA radio it has good reliability when storms hit. I have already used it on the coast through a wind and rainstorm as well as a thunderstorm at Alsea falls, both times had remarkable reception.
Other features include: Flashlight w/ high, low and s.o.s flash function, dog whistle and backlit display that can be turned on/off or a 5 sec. delay. It has good sound for its use and size, with good volume control. It also has a headphone jack; this may also be used to attach a separate speaker, if need be.
I highly recommend this unit as it works just as advertised and beyond. It can come handy if the occasion calls, but is nice just to use as campsite radio.
This is a very small remote campground past Dorena lake near Bohemia mountain. There are only 3 spots at this free of charge campground. If you can luck out, or go in the off season, this is a nice far out spot, off the beaten path to just relax by the 'Sharp's creek'. It is watched over by the local mining authority as it is located nearby many open mining claims. That being said, there are no camp hosts or water bibs, but there is a pit toilet, as well as fire rings and picnic tables in the sites . There are no stores or gas stations past Cottage Grove, so get your supplies before leaving town.
I liked how this place is small and more primitive than others, while still being a legit campground.
There are a few nearby hikes including the spectacular Trestle creek falls and Bohemia mountain, but you have to double back and up Bryce creek rd to find them, unless you have 4wd.
Sunnyside park is located on Foster reservoir, approx. 5 miles east of Sweethome, Or off of HWY 20.
After hiking the nearby Mcdowell falls trail I thought it might be nice to find a campground somewhere close and stay the night. There are a few nearby, and after driving through some, I decided on Sunnyside.
Nestled in the valley between some nice wooded snow covered hills, Sunnyside is a Linn county run park with about 150 sites, some are walk-up only while some can be reserved ahead of time. The campround is a wide open style grounds with most of the sites right on top each other, they seem to cater more to the RV'er than the tent camper and don't offer much privacy. That didn't stop me, I was able to find a spot with the two small ponds right outside my tent. These ponds are stocked with trout, so bring your poles.
The restroom facilities were decent, with flush toilets and private shower rooms. They were clean, but I didn't get to checkout the showers as they were being maintained during the off-season.
There is a boat ramp, with moorage for power boats and a decent size day use area. I can imagine that this place gets very busy when the reservoir is full, when in season, but suprisingly it and the campground proper were fairly empty. They also have a play structure for the kids.
They had Full hookup sites, water bibs and garbage service. There was also wood sales, which was delivered right to my pit, via golf cart by the nice couple who was hosting.
Even though it was the off season and very cold and wet, as I arrived a day after the last snow, it was a nice spot to just relax and enjoy the scenery.