By Mike Willis
There is no denying that RVing has become a way of life here in the inland northwest. Even the most diehard hunters are trading their wall tents in exchange for a new way of life, commonly referred to as “glamping” (which was derived from the words glamorous and camping).
This turning point in a man’s life is much like when he finally breaks down and gets a minivan after child number 2. The newfound conveniences and opportunities that this new lifestyle presents overshadows all shame and reluctance that he previously had. As he moves forward into this new chapter of his life (we shall call convenience), he realizes that there is no looking back!
Once your spouse has come to realize that this “family RV” is used primarily on your hunting and fishing excursions, it’s time to get things dialed in for your basecamp.
A generator is a must-have to live up to your new glamping status fully. This generator is going to ensure that you have dry gear every morning when you head back out into the field.
Your shower is a wonderful feature of your RV and will assist you tremendously in more than just scent control! One of my favorite ways to utilize the onboard shower is for drying my gear.
You will need to procure a shower curtain rod and install it in the middle of your shower (after showering, of course). This rod is where you will hang your wet clothes inside of your shower. Dripping is not an issue as there is a drain just below your clothes.
You will need to purchase a small electric space heater that has a low power draw. Place this heater to the side of any dripping but below your clothes. This process does not require a lot of heat! Note: Propane heaters produce too much moisture and are not effective for this application.
Next, you will place a small portable fan inside the shower and clip it to your shower head and allow it to oscillate. By closing your shower curtain and cracking open the roof vent, you will have yourself an excellent clothes dryer that uses natural convection and movement of air to quickly dry out your gear while you sleep.
Invest in a good boot dryer that has a fan. Getting a boot dryer that holds multiple boots is a good idea as you will likely have your buddy with a wall tent over during storms. Also, the additional drying stations allow for drying gloves and other gear such as a binocular case.
When selecting your boot dryer, heat is beneficial. With that being said, be careful of dryers that produce too much heat as they can be damaging to your boots if they dry too quickly.
Just because you have a nice RV doesn’t mean that you won’t appreciate the conveniences of a good popup tent. These tents are great for setting up tables and leaving gear outside that doesn’t require going in the RV. Lots of wet hunting gear can foul up your new home quicker than a Mountain House Chili Mac meal shared among friends.
When establishing a basecamp, it is amazing how much water you will use. For this reason, a good transfer pump is an excellent resource at your camp. If you are next to a river, you can pull water directly into your RV holding tank.
Transfer pumps come in 12 volts or 110 volts. I prefer the 12-volt version because I can use the battery on my ATV, truck, RV, or jumpstart kit to power it.
Obviously, this water has not been filtered or sanitized. You will need to plan accordingly. It is great for showers, washing dishes, and flushing the toilet. I like to fill my water bladder for my hunting pack with it and use an inline filter.
If you are not on a water source, purchase a couple of the large plastic jugs that transport 7 gallons of water each. The transfer pump will draw from the jugs and into the RV holding tank without having to hold them at shoulder level while they pour.
Don’t forget to bring a five-gallon bucket and some scent-free detergent with you. You can carry these items to the water’s edge and wash your hunting clothes to eliminate the scent and improve morale. RVs equipped with an outdoor shower will save you the walk down to the river.
When establishing a basecamp, it is essential to consider scents. Consider which direction the wind predominantly blows from and use this information to determine fire pit locations and generator locations. There is nothing worse than filling your camp with fumes and unwanted smells.
Throwing some fresh earth or cedar scented wafers in the RV is a great way to keep undesirable odors at bay. I like to dedicate some cabinets to hunting gear only and throw branches and scent wafers in them to overpower any unnatural smells that may be present. This also protects your clothes from scents generated by cooking.
Whenever possible, cook outside. Sometimes this isn’t realistic, but when you can use an outdoor grill, it is always a good idea.
It is sad to say, but this is something that must be considered no matter where you are. Anytime you are leaving something sitting in the middle of the woods unattended, you must consider the possibility that unwelcome visitors may stroll through your camp.
Bring along a security cable or chain and a lock. Run this through any ATV ramps, gas cans, generators, ATVs, and anything else valuable. I secure these items to the frame of my RV as securing them to a tree is usually not a good idea in a place where most people have chainsaws.
If you have a buddy with an enclosed trailer, this is the best way to secure your site while you are in the field. Make sure that you put a trailer lock on the enclosed trailer and your RV if applicable.
One more thought regarding security; Leaving an egress window open is also leaving an ingress window open.