Fly Fishing Things

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Tents and Campers.   Affordability or comfort?

In Colorado where I lived and fished for many years, and I dare say, most places in the west, you have to travel some distance to get to your favorite fishing spot. Unless of course you are fortunate enough to live on a lake or stream. Even though that being the case, fishing the same water over and over could tend to become boring, and I suspect you would find yourself venturing to other places to fish. The point I'm trying to make is that to fly-fish in the west may involve considerable travel, and with the travel, time. A close in trip for me was a trip to Spinney Mountain Reservoir, 75 miles away, and which took approximately an hour and a half travel time to get there. If I wanted to fish for the big ones cruising the shore line in the early morning hours I had to leave the house at 5 in the morning to be ready to fish at first light. If I fished all day, which I had the habit of doing, I would end up leaving to go home at dark, which put me home at 10 or 11 at night. Getting up and doing it again on Sunday was hard because I didn't get a full nights rest. If I went on a long trip like to the Treasure Island area on the North Platte near Encampment Wyoming, it took 2 1/2 hours one way! Well, I think you get the idea.

 The solution to fishing more and traveling less was to obtain some type of overnight shelter;--a tent for example. That way I could leave Friday afternoon; fish all weekend and return Sunday evening. I didn't have the money to buy a real nice camper, (actually I did but just didn't want to spend that much money), so I decided to buy a tent, and I concluded that the money I would save on gas would pay for a tent in no time.

flyfishingthings.com/tentMy first form of shelter was a tent that I bought from Cabelas. Not as nice as the one shown here, but it did the job. Problem was you had to set it up and take it down.  And I can also tell you that little one man tents do not have a kitchen or bathroom; they just give you a place to sleep and provided shelter if the weather turned sour.  Another problem with a tent is finding a flat area to set it up.  Around most lakes the land slopes toward the lake. It's better if you orient your self across the slope instead of aligning up and down the slope.  That way you wake up in the morning not scrunched up with your head or feet against the side of the tent.  If there is a camp ground, most likely the campsites are gravel areas; and although flat, they are not soft, and grassy.

Another problem with tent camping was the whole issue of meal preparation. If you wanted to cook up a great meal after a hard day of fishing you had to get out all the cooking gear, make a fire and go for it. To me, it was just a whole lot of trouble. I would just break out my little portable stove, set a can of stew on it, heat it up then wolf it down. Moving on.

flyfishingthings.com/truck tentAfter a while, I thought wouldn't it be nice if the tent was right on my truck. You know, just make something that attaches to the bed of your truck so that you wouldn't have to worry about finding a campsite. Just park the truck on a level spot, get your gear and go fishing. When you return set up the tent and go to bed. Your up off the ground, right. At the time I made notes and even drew up a design, because the only ones that were on the market were home made, and I thought wow, this could be a great invention. Turns out I should have followed my instincts. With one of these baby's you can go off road into the wilderness and enjoy that high mountain lake you've always wanted to fish, provided of course you have a four-wheel drive truck.  Anyway, besides being up off the ground all the other problems remained. By the way, if you do decide to purchase a truck tent, or even sleep in the bed of your truck,  be sure to buy a ground pad to lay on. You can't believe how the cold can transfer from the metal of the truck bed into your sleeping bag.

Although these two kinds of tents do provide shelter and give you a place to sleep so you can spend the weekend fishing, they have their limitations. There's still no place to tie flies, kick back and have a beer, or read the latest issue of "Fly-Fisherman".  You can, but it takes a lot more effort than what I wanted to put into it.  Another note:  Be careful how long you run the light in your tent off the truck battery or at least make sure you have a good pair of jumper cables.  Moving on.

flyfishingthings.com/Truck camperTruck campers. Now we're talking. I got all the comforts of home, (including the debt that goes with buying a "home away from home", not to mention I had to buy a bigger truck).

I have a comfortable place to sleep, a kitchen to fix a great meal, my own private bathroom and shaa weer, and a table to tie flies at, and they're warm!--man I'm in heaven! I even have extra beds for my fishing buddies, which, by the way, help share in the cost of the trip. Oh; did I forget to mention the cost of gas? Ooops. But hey, if you got the money, go for it.

All kidding aside, a camper like the one pictured really is a great  accommodation to have on a fishing trip. Your wife, girlfriend, significant other, or whatever will really appreciate it.  Except for the gas issue I would have stuck with this solution. I had a camper very similar to the one shown. It didn't save my divorce though. Humm, maybe if I bought it before I got the divorce...  Sorry.

flyfishingthings.com/slide-in popup camperWhat I eventually ended up with was a slide-in-pop-up.  Because they're lighter and less  wind resistant the cost of gas is reduced considerably.   Pop-up trailers come in two styles:  one that slides into a truck bed and the other, you pull with a vehicle.  Coleman campers www.colemantrailers.com  are famous for the latter style.  flyfishingthings.com/pop-up pull trailer



One advantage to the pull pop-up is that it frees up your vehicle to run errand's if you need to, and they can also sleep a lot of people. Setting them up can be a little bit of a hassle, but that's the nature of the beast. flyfishingthings.com/camper van

Conversion vans or camper vans have a place in the scheme of things because if you're a single person or a couple; they can be and are a very convenient solution. They have about everything but a bathroom. However, you might as well own another vehicle because that's is precisely what they are. And of all the solutions, true camper vans are the most expensive, costing upward of $40,000 dollars. They progress from the size shown here up to a full fledged motor home.

Now on  to the very costly but final solution.

flyfishingthings.com/Travel trailer  My fishing buddy in Colorado has one of these. I can tell you going on a fishing trip with him (Which I've done on many an occasion) in a trailer like this,  is fantastic. It has everything.  I mean you could sell your house and actually live in one of these. 

 Once you arrive at the campsite, position and level the trailer, you're ready to go. Other than the cost there is no down side.

I'm not going to pretend to know the level of affluence of a beginning fly fisherman. I do know; however, that fly-fishing tends to be an expensive endevor. For those of you that have the budget this page is for you. Incidentally, if you happen to have a fly-fishing wife (ahem, you are so blessed) without a doubt she will appreciate, and most likely accompany you on more trips if you have a "home away from home". Especially one with a built in bathroom, if you get my drift.