Rolling Homes: Cool Autumn Air Beckons RVing, Hunters, and Anglers
As summer fades into autumn, chilly mornings are ideal for hunting, fishing, or walking in the woods. Whatever your outdoor passion, a good quality Recreation Vehicle makes any adventure more comfortable at the end of a long day exploring.
For lifelong angler and hunter Jimmy Smith of southern Oregon, getting "up close and personal with the great outdoors," is a top priority.
"Many times I have followed a gravel road that meandered onto a track that soon resembled a foot path. My truck and camper can easily handle narrow forest service roads and access rough areas for remote camping," says the longtime RVer.
Smith chose a rugged four-season, lightweight fiberglass 10.2-foot Classic Northern Lite (northern-lite.com) slide-in camper for his 2001 F-350 Ford four-wheel-drive truck, saying "It gets me to where I want to camp -- far into the woods, away from the sounds of civilization."
Avid outdoor enthusiasts have long been fans of slide-in campers because they can go anywhere a truck can and, at the same time, leave the bumper free to tow a boat, ATV, or horse trailer. Once at a base camp, the camper can be easily off loaded to use the truck independently.
The Northern Lite's two-piece, molded clamshell construction is similar to a boat and makes for a sturdy and weather-tight setup. By eliminating the multiple seams along with the wood and aluminum framing found on conventional truck campers, it is 15- to 20-percent lighter. It can easily carry everything one needs for comfortable camping including a full kitchen, bathroom with shower, and over-cab north-south queen bed. Smith's camper's dry weight is 2,360 pounds.
According to GoRVing.com (a recreation vehicle industry marketing group), sizes of slide-in campers range from 8 to 20 feet, with selling prices for new units averaging between $6,000 and $55,000; some models even have the capacity to sleep up to six friendly people.
For cool-weather camping, RVers Ron and Sharon Vail of Powell Butte, Ore., opted for a 2014 Lance travel trailer 1985 that they tow with a 2015 Dodge Ram 2500 4WD diesel.
The Lance has "everything we were looking for in size, convenience, and features," says Ron, an upland bird hunter, "yet it is still small enough to take into the back country."
The overall hitch length of a Lance 1985 is 23 feet, 3 inches with an interior floor length of 18 feet, 9 inches. The dry weight is 3,925 pounds, with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 5,700 pounds.
"Storage was important to me," says Sharon, "as well as a good kitchen and a comfortable bed. I also like the full-width bathroom and shower. With a super-slide dinette, it has plenty of room for both of us. The bed folds up so there is a lot of floor space during the day."
During hunting season the Vails travel to the mountains for grouse, to low agricultural land for pheasant, and to straight up and down terrain for chukar partridge. "We like to camp next to a river or lake for fishing," adds Sharon.
Ron describes his favorite hunting scenario, saying, "I've been in the field all day with Paige, my Brittany hunting dog, and I've got a few birds. I'm cold, wet, and tired, but I had a blast. I come back to camp and the trailer is warm, I smell dinner cooking when I open the door, and Sharon has a martini waiting for me. That's a good day."
According to GoRVing.com, conventional travel trailers vary in size from 12 to 35 feet, range in cost from $8,000 to $95,000, and can offer sleeping arrangements for up to ten.
Smaller Rugged Pull-Behind
Interest is growing in smaller, rugged pull-behind teardrop trailers by urban anglers who want to get away to a secluded lake, cast a fishing line, and catch a memory.
"You don't have to own a huge truck to pull a TerraDrop. It is perfectly happy behind a small SUV, or Jeep," says Jon Christianson of Oregon Trail'R (oregontrailer.net). "The 8-foot TerraDrop is designed and built to allow you to go places you would otherwise have no access to with a less-capable camper. It makes off-grid camping really doable. TerraDrop allows you to explore the outdoors un-tethered by the limitations of traditional RVs and trailers."
According to Christianson, "One of the main things driving the resurgence of teardrop trailers is that people want to reconnect with the outdoors and have a 'real' camping experience. Teardrops are great because you still spend the majority of your time outside, and you fully experience all the things in the area you've come to visit. At the same time, you're afforded a very comfortable and secure place to sleep, as well as a convenient place to cook your meals."
With options including a high-capacity water tank, a high-performance absorbent glass mat battery, solar integration, and a built-in propane system, "TerraDrop can be configured for long trips without need of hookups and dump stations," said Christianson.
Depending on options, the tough TerraDrop can range between 1,150 to 1,600 pounds, making it easy to tow with almost any vehicle.
Sport Utility RVs (Towable and Motorized)
Those who want to haul motorcycles, dirt bikes, or ATVs to their hunting or fishing camp will appreciate the Sport Utility RV (SURV).
"Available in both motorhomes or towable units, the rear end of a SURV drops down, forming a ramp for access into a 'garage' area for safe storage and transport of motorized toys. The living quarters and garage are frequently separated by a wall," according to GoRVing.com. Toy haulers range in length from 19 to 39 feet. New units range from $10,000 to $170,000 and sleep up to eight.
Many Recreation Vehicle manufacturers carry SURVs in their product line including the Aluminum Trailer Company (aluminumtrailer.com). The ATC Toy Hauler's floor and ceiling are welded to the side walls, creating a fully integrated, lightweight aluminum frame that is half-ton towable.
Base weight of the 7-by-20-foot ATC toy hauler is an estimated 3,730 pounds with a GVWR of 7,700 pounds. The 8.5x28-foot model with front bedroom, an optional tip out bed, and other standard features lists a base dry weight around 5,445 pounds with a GVWR of 11,440 pounds. Interior height is 7 feet.
Finding Campgrounds Near Hunting And Fishing
Recreation.gov is one-stop site for trip planning, information sharing, and reservations on 12 federal agencies. The Army Corps of Engineers, Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Archives offer advance reservations at 2,500 federal areas for more than 60,000 facilities and activities. Reservation fees may apply.
ReserveAmerica.com is an amazing resource for researching and reserving campsites in state and local public and private campgrounds across North America. A non-refundable fee applies to each reservation.
GoCampingAmerica.com is one of the largest privately owned campground databases online. Hundreds of private parks across the country offer hunting and fishing opportunities, either onsite or nearby. Fees may apply.
1.) Cool autumn weather is a perfect time to camp along a gently moving stream and catch a memory. Photo Courtesy: Recreation Vehicle Industry Association
2.) A sport utility RV, like this all-aluminum half-ton towable toy hauler, is ideal for just about any active family who wants to take motorcycles, ATVs or other motorized toys on their autumn camping trips. (Courtesy of Aluminum Trailer Company)
3.) The rugged TerraDrop trailer by Oregon Trail'R is perfectly happy behind a small SUV making off-grid autumn camping really doable. (Photo courtesy: Oregon Trail'R)
4.) RVers Sharon and Ron Vail chose a 22-foot Lance travel trailer because it has "everything we were looking for in size, convenience and features, yet it was still small enough to take into the back country." (Photo credit: Julianne G. Crane)
By Julianne G. Crane, for Motor Matters. JULIANNE CRANE has been a writer since the mid-1970s and began specializing in recreational vehicle lifestyle in 2003. Thousands of her articles and posts have been published in newspapers, magazines and online. In 2008, Crane began publishing RVWheelLife.com. Her homebase is Spokane, Wash., however Julianne is on the road RVing six months of the year, exploring the U.S. and Canada.