Campground
Jennifer B.
Reviewed Aug. 28, 2019

Ranger Review: Banner and Oak Hats at River Expeditions

Campground Review: 

River Expeditions in Oak Hill, WV, is an all-in-one camping-to-glamping resort for outdoor adventures in the New River Gorge where I shared a 3-day adventure with a young lady who was a first-time camper. We both enjoyed the friendly, knowledgeable staff and all the amenities, including an outdoor swimming pool, game room, restaurant and saloon.

River Expeditions offers tent camping, safari tents, RV sites, bungalows, mini-cabins, deluxe cabins, and even luxury cabins with private hot tubs. Prices range from$15/night for tent camping to nearly $400 for the luxury cabins with a 15% discount for booking online, and a 50% discount from November 1st to March 3rd. All accommodations include a complimentary continental breakfast. 

River Expeditions is spread out over a 100-acres, with the tent camping located in open meadows, surrounded by trees. The RV camp sites are too close together for my taste and the gravel parking spots are all on a slant, so it would be a challenge for larger trailers to get level there. My camping buddy and I upgraded from my tent to my RV van due to thunderstorms and heavy rain. We selected spot#6 which allowed us to park parallel to the electricity and mostly avoid the downhill slant. 

The New River Gorge National River has some of the best whitewater rafting in the country, so we booked a trip on the lower New River and it was great! River Expeditions has good gear and great guides like Porter who had us cracking up when he shared some local folklore. He gave us lots of opportunities for a relaxing swim outside the raft. We also got to test the power of a whirlpool and jump off a huge rock, while we paddled downstream through the rapids. 

The New River Gorge is a climber’s dream, so we booked an evening of rock climbing with David Wolff, Director of the New River Climbing School and he was amazing! I would describe David as an expert instructor, combined with psychological counselor, who helped my camping buddy cope with her fear of heights during the rappelling portion of the outing. 

There are lots of great hiking trails in the New River Gorge. The 2-mile Endless Wall Trail has been rated the #1 National Park trail by USA Today. The view from Diamond Point is amazing, with the rocky outcroppings overlooking the New River. You’ll often see climbers scaling nearby rock walls and you can watch rafts negotiating the rapids in the river below. Tip: There are two small parking lots which can fill up fast, you may want to arrive early on the weekends. If you have a big party, you can carpool from the Canyon Rim Visitor’s Center which is worth a visit to use their flush toilets and get free trail maps. 

We also hiked the 3-mile Long Point Trail which gives you an amazing view of the New River Bridge, a steel arch bridge, more than 3,000 feet long, which spans the gorge. If you visit on the third Saturday of October, you can join tens of thousands of visitors who watch dare devils base jump from the structure during the annual Bridge Day celebration. 

On the final day of our visit, we tried River Expeditions’ 3-part zipline in the pouring rain, something I wouldn’t repeat because I was too soaked and cold to enjoy the experience. I’d describe it as a beginner’s zipline, so if you’re looking for something more dramatic, with better views, you may want to check out the competition at Ace Adventure Resort

The only negative caveat of our stay was a run-in with the resort owner caused by unpredictable hours for the pool and other amenities, which closed early with no advanced warning.  We were threatened with eviction when I used the half-covered hot tub at 9:30 PM after we were told at check in it stayed open until 10 PM.

Product Review: 

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time, so my camping buddy and I wore Banner and Oak hats during our 3-day adventure in the New River Gorge.

I want to be honest, without trashing Banner and Oak, because I love their American-made hats and would definitely recommend them. 

With that said, I’m disappointed that Banner and Oak has apparently abandoned their founding pledge to sell American-designed and fabricated hats, with 95% of the materials sourced in the United States. 

I noticed the recent change when I opened my sample box and two of three hats inside were made in China and Bangladesh. 

My favorite hat of the trio is the American-made Banner and Oak Scout with a patch that pleases my soul, featuring the phrase“Freedom To Explore” embroidered across the top with a stars and stripes tent centered underneath. This hat is well-made, with quality materials, and generates positive comments whenever I wear it. 

The quality of the China-made Banner and Oak Trailhead hat is fine, but the brand is unknown in West Virginia, so when I showed it to other campers, they wanted to know something about the company. I told them Banner and Oak is a relatively new American apparel brand headquartered in Arkansas, so they seemed confused by the“Made in China” tag inside. 

The hat made in Bangladesh is the Banner and Oak Pathfinder from the women’s line. The quality is noticeably inferior, with puckered seams and the front logo slightly off-center.

All three Banner and Oaks hats I tested have a list price of nearly $30/each, so my buying preference would be for any style of their top-quality, American-made hats, designed, fabricated and sourced in the USA.

  • Entrance Sign
  • Campground Check-in and Store
  • Interior of camp store
  • Primitive tent camping in open meadows surrounded by trees
  • RV camp sites are close together and slant downhill
  • Lodge-No rooms here, but nice place to play pool/hangout
  • Outdoor pool and hot tub
  • Complimentary Continental Breakfast
  • Saloon where you get two free beverages after rafting
  • Deluxe Cabins
  • Luxury cabin with private hot tub
  • Large modern bathhouse
  • View of the New River Bridge from the Long Point Trail
  • Teaberry plants
  • Endless Wall Trail wearing Banner and Oak Hats
  • Endless Wall Trail-Diamond Point
  • Tree clinging onto the edge of the Endless Wall Trail
  • Sarah enjoyed her 1st hike on the Endless Wall Trail
  • Rappelling from a cliff on the Bridge Buttress Trail
  • Rappelling instructor, David Wolff, New River Climbing School
  • Zipline stands
  • Sarah ziplining in the rain.
  • Fayetteville is a cool town to visit with lots of interesting shops
  • Cathedral Cafe, Fayetteville, WV
  • Enjoying lunch at the Cathedral Cafe, Fayetteville, WV
Site#6 RV site

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