I don’t know about all of you internet folks out there, but I’ve found that a weekend escape into nature is the best (and only) relief from dull city life. I “use” nature to chill and to brush away the cobwebs. You can call it simple relaxation, but it sure does the trick as it recharges my batteries and calms my nerves.
Knowing all too well the pressures of our jobs (and by jobs I mean bosses), I have come up with the idea to write this beginner manual on how to have the perfect weekend outdoors. Of course, not everyone shares my idea of relaxing so unless you are a nature lover you might want to skip this one.
RV camping is all about possibilities, and there is an array of fun things you can do over the weekend. From enjoying nature and birdwatching to my favorite activities – fishing and hunting – you will find ways to entertain yourself.
I will explain how I discovered my perfect weekend, and I will try to teach you how to do the same. However, you are more than welcome to explore and research on your own as the great outdoors has something tucked away for every one of us.
I was always quite attracted to having a “home on wheels”, for a long time I was never bold enough to get one myself. Though, even if I had, I wouldn’t have known what to do with it. Once I did a bit of research, however, I found out that there are millions of people that share my desires and a bunch of places specialized for RVs (we’ll get to that later on).
If you are a beginner when it comes to RVs, much like I was, you should know that there are certain prerequisites and rules that you need to keep in mind.
First of all, buying an RV could prove to be very expensive, so I definitely recommend renting. Furthermore, renting gives you the option of testing whether this is the right thing for you and seems like the best choice since you probably won’t be using the RV during the entire year.
After deciding on a rented RV, I took it first for a couple of short test runs. It is very important to get to know the RV you’re driving, and it does take some time getting accustomed to it.
When it comes to RV camping (and every other camping for that matter) preparation is everything. It is vital to prepare a plan for the route you’re going to take, and don’t forget to plan in a few stops along the way. Calculate the amount of food you’re going to need, and prepare in advance any additional equipment you might need.
So far, I’ve only had one minor accident, but it has taught me to bring spare parts and a basic tool kit every time with me. This includes stuff you wouldn’t usually take into consideration such as light bulbs, cables, screws, pins, etc.
2. Choosing the Right Spot
The number of camps specialized for RVs is at an all-time high in the USA, and there are loads for you to choose from. Travel Channel did a fantastic review of the best RV camp sites, but finding a serene spot that is surrounded by nature might not be as far as you think. Great hunting and fishing locations are found wherever nature flourishes.
Forests and river banks that are nearest to you can make for a perfect spot as long as they are adjacent to a road. Going to a site that isn’t specialized for RVs requires quite a bit more effort, though it more than pays off in the peace and quiet you’ll be receiving.
If you choose to camp in a place built for RVs, first locate the electrical, water, and sewage hookups. Alternatively, it is a wise investment to get an RV generator so you can be free to go to a more secluded place.
Once you’ve picked out a spot, clear the site of any debris and carefully inspect the ground for any holes, stubs, or similar hindrances. Next, make sure your RV is leveled and stabilized (blocks are my weapon of choice in this matter). Block your wheels to prevent any Benny Hill-like inconveniences from occurring.
Get everything you need prepared and start scouting the area to find the perfect spots for the fun parts – hunting and fishing.
When I decided to take up hunting, I was frankly in the dark but kind of loved the idea of being a hunter. Hunting is one of the most popular activities in the USA, both as a hobby and as a sport, so getting familiar with it was not that difficult.
I knew well enough not to think of hunting as a game so I signed up for a hunter education course (in the state of Texas you can even have it online). The course gave me answers to some common questions such as where and when to hunt, dealing with the game after a successful hunt, etc. More importantly, the course will teach you about safety precautions, firearms, and basic techniques.
You can get your license from your local wildlife agency, and they can provide useful info on the hunting regulations and available game in your state. You should be aware that hunting is strictly regulated, so I advise you to check everything before you head out on the road.
Of course, getting yourself armed is what first comes to mind, but buying a rifle should be the last piece of equipment that is purchased. The gear varies depending on where and what you’re going to hunt. However, there are certain accessories you’ll need wherever you plan on going. A camo suit and a hunter’s orange vest are excellent items to start with.
Calls, decoys, GPS, and related accessories all help the average hunter, but since you’ll be hunting in an unknown area, I suggest getting game cameras (with night vision if possible). Set them up on your first day of camping, and you might spot animal activity and trails which you could use the next day.
Fishing was suggested to me by a friend, saying that fishing is the most therapeutic activity on the planet though it isn’t for everybody. Now that I’ve become somewhat of a veteran fisherman, I can clearly see that he was right on the money.
Fishing requires patience, resignation, and endurance, but don’t worry, the catch is very much worth the wait! Also, there is something unbelievably soothing in finding yourself next to a body of water with only the sounds of nature and your thoughts.
Since a fishing license is not required in most places within the USA, you should focus on acquiring the right equipment and honing your skills. A fishing rod is the first and foremost, along with a reel, but its type is based on what kind of fishing you want to do (I have gotten quite fond of fly fishing, so a fly-rod is a must for me).
Fishing lines are next on your list and are also dependent on the type (weight) of the fish you’re catching and the type of rod you are using. Bait and lures come to mind naturally even to a non-fisherman so it would be imperative to have them on your list. You can choose between live and dough bait or an artificial one (flies and lures). Flies and lures are essential in areas that do not allow live or dough bait.
As I would not want to bore you with other equipment that you will find out anyhow once you’ve found an interest in fishing, there is one seemingly natural thing that I need to warn you about. It is about appropriate clothing, a mistake I made and would not recommend anyone to try and do the same. Trust me – fishing waders should not be underestimated.
Go Out and Have Fun!
I have basically told you everything I had known before I took my maiden RV voyage into nature, so the rest is on you. Take it from me, you will have a lot of tales to tell, both rewarding and disappointing.
You will not get everything right the first time, but that is the point. Challenge yourself and let your mind wander from the issues of the workweek; let it sink into the riches that our land is offering.
Once you get used to the freedom and overall joys of the outdoors, you‘ll find yourself craving it during the week, waiting impatiently for the weekend to come.