As hunters or fishermen our pursuits often take us on adventures away from home if even for just a weekend. We always want to spend as much time in the woods or on the water when on these trips. There’s always that one part of the planning: “where am I going to sleep?”
I remember when I was 16 I would drive my 1996 Toyota Pickup two hours from home to hunt at Chickasawhatchee WMA in the swamps of South Georgia. My first stop was on Leary Rd. at Abbot’s Food Center where I would stock up on Gatorade, Christmas tree cakes and two big cans of ravioli and of course a bag of fried chicken. There was no hotel close by and I couldn’t afford that anyway. I’d just roll the windows down, stick my feet out and sleep in the truck. I thought I was a genius when I took an air mattress for the bed of my truck…until it rained and mosquitoes toted me off. Heck, I once took a hammock to Olcmugee WMA for a quota hunt. I bought it on the internet and it even had a mosquito net! That was pretty cool until the ratchet strap popped and I was awaken by slamming to the earth at 2 a.m.
In 2019, my wife Mary and I were planning our first big “Turkey Tour.” We planned to start in south Florida and to hunt all the way up to Montana. I did’t figure her or the dog (Forrest Gump) would be in to sleeping in the truck or in any fancy hammocks. We could crash with buddies in some places but not everywhere. Hotels were an option in some places but not convenient at all. In the spring of 2020, a little thing called Covid-19 had just popped up and caused a few issues with travel and accommodations. Issues included: finding hotels remotely close to where we were hunting, public/gas station restrooms being closed, unloading all of our gear just to reload it, finding pet friendly hotels, check out times, and of course, bed bugs. I was once on a duck hunt in rural Nebraska where we stayed in a hotel. I woke up with a golf ball sized bug bite on my arm. Never been a fan of hotels since.
We wound up settling on our very first RV. It was a 2018 East to West travel trailer from Camping World. What a game changer! We never went into gas stations for bathroom breaks, we slept in our own bed, never had to unload gear, no check out times, we had a freezer full of turkey meat and fish. If we got tired while driving, we would just pull over in a parking lot and sleep and we could always camp close to where we were hunting. Having an RV opened our eyes to a whole new world for sure. We quickly realized there are many different classifications, sizes and types of RVs. Some will be better for you than others but there’s guaranteed to be one that fits your needs.So I have gone through and picked out my top 6 RVs for different applications and budgets.
1. Dutchman Voltage 4225
Go big or go home! The Voltage is a Toyhauler Fifth Wheel. This thing is an absolute monster at 46’ long and just over 16,000 lbs. You can choose between several floor layouts to best suit you, but the starting price is around $144,000. It’s for the outdoors men and women that want to bring ALL of their stuff with them and stay for as long as they please. The 13” garage with loading ramp means you can bring your ATVs. With the tough rubber floors, we also use our garage as a mud room, for bikes, kayaks and other hunting gear. The loading ramp also makes one heck of a patio to hang out on. This RV has external 30 gallon fuel tanks to refuel your ATVs. It also holds fuel for your built-in 5500 watt generator. It has an auto level jack system, which makes set up very easy. It even has two awnings and an outdoor TV. The inside of this RV is as luxurious as can be with a king size bed up front, couches and entertainment center, full size kitchen and two bathrooms and a loft. It has three a/c units and cleverly the garage a/c is separate as not to get fumes from your toys throughout the rest of the RV. If this is for you, I would highly recommend going to Camping World and walking through one with an associate. There is several layouts and customizations that make these things awesome.
2. 2022 Forest River Rockwood GEO-PRO 12RK
Now for the other extreme. This is for the guy that just needs a bed! If you’re a hunter or fisherman that just needs a bed for yourself, this is one to look at. It’s also much more friendly on the budget. They range from $10,500 to $27,000. I see it being perfect for the public land turkey hunter that’s traveling all over the place. It’s only 11.25’ long and weighs 1,252 lbs. You could pull this thing with you hippy friends Prius. It is built rugged and can go wherever you pull it. You can power it with a small generator and have all the essentials - a comfortable bed, TV, outlets, lights, awning and complete outdoor kitchen with a 20 gallon water tank. This thing would have beat the heck out of the bench seat of my 96 Yota!
3. No Boundaries NB16.8
This is another extremely rugged RV but with all the comfort you need. My wife and I recently did a public land elk hunt in Colorado and this one would have been perfect. It will go anywhere you need to go and has the ability to stay off grid for a while! They are priced at around $27,000. It comes in at 20’ long and weighs just 3264 lbs. It has a/c, heat, awning, a queen bed, couch, freezer/fridge, oven, gas range, sink and a full bathroom with 30 gallons of fresh water. It has just enough living and storage space to be perfect for a couple days of hunting, fishing or just enjoying camping.
4. Heartland Mallard M312
The Heartland Mallard is your mobile hunting camp! There are several floor layouts but we’re picking the bunk house layout so we can bring our friends. It’s perfect if you have kids or a group of buddies in camp. It’s 36’ long and weighs in at 7,012 lbs dry. The MSRP on this model is around $47,000. The Mallard sleeps up to 9 people with the king bed up front, 2 queen bunks in the back and a dinette that can be made into a bed. It has a full bathroom with it’s own outdoor entrance which is really nice and it can carry 45 gallons of fresh water. It has a ton of storage (indoor and out) and enough living space for everyone to be comfortable. It has a/c, furnace and a full kitchen. On some of these models you can add an outdoor cooking or entertainment station as well. It’s the perfect RV for a weekend at the lake with the family or a weekend in duck camp with your buddies.
5. 2022 Winnebago Solis 59PX
This Class B van is for the nomad. It’s really perfect for fishermen, because you can pull your boat behind. I could see it being ideal for tournament fishermen, public land hunters or if you’re a turkey hunter, chasing the 49. Odds are you’ll be spending more time in the field and less time hanging out in the RV. There are different models but this one comes in at around $130,000. When it comes to Class Bs think compact. They pack a lot into these vans! There is a sink, fridge, a/c, heat, toilet and a shower. There is one bed and one pop up roof bed. With a built-in 2,800 watt generator, you will have all the basic comforts you need. I recommend checking these out in person and seeing all the options available.
6. 2022 Thor Coleman 22CMF
This Coleman is a more budget friendly Class C coming in at around $100,000. It’s on a Ford E350 chassis and is 24.85’ long. It sleeps 5 people and has much more room, storage and comfort than the class B van. It has a queen bed as well as an over the cab bunk. It has a dinette that can be made into a bed and has a full kitchen and bathroom. It’s also a great option for people that want to haul their boat behind. It’s great for being mobile and having multiple people in camp.
Buying an RV is a big decision and I recommend doing your research and looking at RVs in person. We always go to Camping World and have an associate walk us through a bunch of different units when we’re deciding what to get. There is one other option out there that I think is an awesome way to go: https://www.rvrentals.com/. It’s much like Airbnb but for RVs. We used it for our elk hunt this this September. We needed a smaller, more rugged camper and we also didn’t want to haul ours all the way to Colorado for a relatively short trip. We were able to pick the perfect RV out close to where we were hunting. We picked it up from an awesome lady named Sharron and returned it when the trip was over. The price was comparable to that of a hotel room and it’s covered by GoodSam insurance in case there are any issues. It’s a great way to test an RV out or to just have one for one specific trip.
Having an RV has greatly improved our hunting and fishing experience over the past two years. It has certainly saved us money on hotel rooms and eating out. It’s so nice to not have to plan out where I’m going to sleep. I always have my own bathroom and bed. I can come back from a hunt and have a hot shower and a warm meal. I love not having to pack as carefully to save room, as I like having everything I need. The RV has meant spending more time outdoors and less time traveling back and forth. We’ve made some great memories in our mobile hunting camp and I can’t wait to for the next one. I do miss my 96 Toyota and campfire ravioli meals, but I sure don’t miss sleeping in it.