Things To Consider Before Living in a Camper

The idea of living off the grid and traveling from one landscape to another is a reality for many. Here are some things to consider before living in a camper.

Camping is quite a popular hobby that many people enjoy, and some love it so much they choose to live in their RVs. If you adore the great outdoors, you won’t find it surprising that nearly a million Americans live in campers full time. In fact, you might even desire to become one of the many whose backyards are wherever they choose them to be. While the idea of living in an RV is exciting, it is not something people go into lightly—here are some important things to consider before living in a camper.

Minimalistic Living

One thing experienced campers will tell you is that you must grow quite comfortable with minimalistic living and, at times, uncomfortable means. When traveling on the road, your vehicle will have significantly less water supply than you would expect at home, lasting two to three days at most. That is why you must learn how to use your water supply sparingly. As such, if you enjoy long showers, you might want to start taking shorter ones to acclimate yourself to the conditions on the road

Moreover, you must make peace with leaving things behind and only keeping that which is necessary. However, this doesn’t mean you must throw everything away. Often, many campers will have a home base or rent a storage center to store personal and important items and information they can’t take.

Internet Accessibility

Often, camping will find you in quite remote landscapes, and while that is the whole point, we must still be accessible. We cannot forgo the fact that we still have obligations to friends, family, or work. As such, you need to consider how you will attain high-speed internet access when in rural areas. Keep in mind that your family and friends want updates on your whereabouts, and in the event of an emergency, you must be able to contact authorities.

Mail Forwarding

One thing to consider before living in a camper is the fact that you will still need an address to receive mail. You won’t have to worry much about receiving your bills in the mail, as many people utilize online systems to pay their bills. However, the mail is not entirely obsolete, as you will need an address to receive important notices and documents. That is why, as you travel, you must continually have your mail forwarded. Many campers will forward their mail if they plan to stay in an area for about a week or two.

5 of the Best Hobbies for Thrill Seekers

There are plenty of relaxing hobbies in nature, but you may want to consider these extreme options for those aiming for something a little more exciting.

There are a lot of great hobbies for those looking for a serene experience. Camping, fishing, or bowling are great for those quiet afternoons. However, if you want to really feel like an adrenaline junkie, here are five of the best hobbies for thrill seekers. These activities are sure to get the blood pumping and spice up any afternoon.

1. Skydiving

Skydiving is a classic extreme sport. You hop in a plane and fly into the sky, only to don your parachute or wingsuit and leap out to meet the ground head-on. For many, just the rush of the dive is exciting enough, but additional challenges like trying to land on a target or perform certain tricks in the air add to the thrill.

2. Bull Riding

If you’re looking for one of the best hobbies for thrill seekers in the state of Texas, you’ve gotta get yourself onto the back of a bull. Saddle up and see how long you can stay on the back of one of these bucking beasts. Rodeos and fairs are excellent opportunities to give this one a go.

3. Racecar Driving

If you’re an auto enthusiast, there are plenty of reasons to get your car on the track. Auto-racing is a fast-paced hobby where you need to make quick decisions and test the bonds between yourself and your vehicle.

4. Kayaking

Kayaking, canoeing, or any aquatic activity that gets you and your friends roaring down the river rapids are all great ways to stay active and bond with your buddies. This sport is one to avoid if you don’t like getting wet, but if you’re ready to challenge the water, kayaking may be the extreme sport you’ve been looking for.

5. Dirt Bike Racing

Dirt bike racing is another extreme competition where you must control speed, balance, and control. Revving up your bike to fly over steep hills and sandy dunes makes it an unforgettable experience and a fun time for anyone looking to prove that they’re the best.

What Are the Differences Between Van Life and Overlanding?

For men who don’t just want to spend time outdoors but want to actually live there, the van life or overlanding sounds great. Learn about the differences here.

Outdoorsmen love nature and want to spend every possible second on a trail, on a boat, hunting, fishing, or on some other kind of adventure. While you can easily do that when you live in a state as geographically diverse as Texas, sometimes you need to do more than just visit the great outdoors in your free time—you need to live there. Van life and overlanding are two versions of living outside that more and more people are embracing, and you can too. Keep reading to learn about the differences between van life and overlanding so you can pick the option that’s right for you.

Van Life Definition

You’ve probably seen videos on social media where people share about their van life. They either bought or fixed up some type of van so that it was more of an apartment on wheels than a vehicle, and then they set out to live on the road. People from all walks of life are embracing this comfortably nomadic lifestyle, outfitting vans with internet access so they can work remotely, training pets to enjoy the great outdoors, and even homeschooling their kids so that little ones can grow up adventurous. For most of these people, there is no end destination in sight. Their aim is to travel and try new experiences, possibly enjoying adventures like rock climbing and fishing along the way, but not necessarily planning for them.

Overlanding Definition

Overlanding focuses more on the adventure side of travel, and people who overland may use different modes of transportation to get to those adventures. You may or may not have a final destination in mind when you set out overlanding, but you definitely know where you plan to rock climb, fish, hike, and hunt. Most overlanders drive vehicles designed for off-roading and just plan to camp as they travel towards their adventurous destinations. However, depending on where those adventures are, you may start on a plane, rent an off-roading vehicle, and then set out overlanding. You might also ride a boat somewhere, leave it docked, and set out on a shorter overlanding excursion with your supplies. No matter how you get there, overlanding focuses on bunking down in the elements and finding adventure.

Which Is Best for You?

Your choice between van life and overlanding will be based on many factors, such as your lifestyle and finances. The costs of van life can quickly add up, since you’ll need fuel and insurance for the van, food while on the road, and will probably have to rent out a campsite. However, you’ll also be more comfortable and be able to bring more of your life with you, like your work.

Overlanding will have its own costs associated with it, but bringing your own camping supplies and only buying food you can cook on a campfire will keep your costs much lower. You’ll also have a better opportunity to experience nature and have the adventures you want. However, you may find it more difficult to balance work and other life needs with an overlanding lifestyle.

The differences between van life and overlanding are that van life is more comfortable and designed to accommodate your lifestyle, while overlanding gives you a better opportunity to experience nature and enjoy adventures. Whichever you choose, van life and overlanding are both great ways to break the mold and live out your outdoorsman dreams.

What Do You Need To Build an RV Solar System?

Camping in an RV is a fantastic experience. Those looking to add some sustainability to their trip may want to use this checklist to build a solar system.

It’s always a good idea to take the RV out for a weekend and enjoy a camping trip out in the wilderness. To help create a greener, more sustainable camping lifestyle, many people are investing in alternative energy sources for their campers. One of the most popular investments is creating a solar panel system, and when living in Texas, you may get bonus incentives for investing in solar energy. If you’re wondering what you need to build a solar system for your RV, Texas Outdoors Network has the answers for you!

Solar Panels

Naturally, one of the most fundamental parts of building a solar panel system is having solar panels. Whether you lay them flat or choose to angle them slightly toward the sun, having solar panels on the roof of your camper is a vital part of building your system. We recommend getting monocrystalline panels for campers due to the limited space.

Battery Bank

The solar panels on your camper collect energy, but you need somewhere to store that power, or you’re not going to be able to use it. Lithium-ion battery packs are among the best when it comes to safe, reliable storage of your solar energy.

Charge Controller

Think of the charge controller as the middleman between your solar panels and the battery bank. You won’t be able to build your RV solar system without a charge controller. Essentially, this device safely regulates the amount of usable power that goes from your panels to your battery. The charge controller prevents the battery from overcharging and keeps everything running smoothly and efficiently.

Inverter

When you use power from your RV or camper, the energy typically comes from the battery, which is often a 12v DC source of electricity. Your solar panel system’s inverter allows you to convert the 12v DC power into 120-volt AC power, making it better for charging laptops, coffee makers, or other similar devices. When you install the inverter near your battery bank, your system allows you to utilize AC power from your solar panels fully.

Top Fall Activities To Do With Your Jeep

When it comes to spending time in the great Texas outdoors, you can’t beat the autumn season. Check out the top fall activities to do with your Jeep.

For many Texans, fall is the best season of the year. After swelteringly hot summers, it’s great to welcome cool, crisp weather and spend time outdoors. Explore the top fall activities to do with your Jeep.

Go on a Scenic Drive

No doubt about it, fall is beautiful. While New England lays claim to some of the most iconic leaf-viewing sites in the country, Texas has its fair share of beautiful scenery to enjoy. Check out the Pineywoods Autumn Trail that loops for 145 miles between Athens and Palestine. There will be plenty of color-changing deciduous trees to take in.

Texas is a huge state, so there are many other scenic places to visit. The hill country is a favorite for people who enjoy seeing natural wonders any time of year. In the fall, visit places like Lost Maples State Natural Area, located just a couple of hours northwest of San Antonio.

For something a bit different from the usual fall scenery, visit West Texas—the temperatures at popular places like Big Bend National Park are lower at this time of year. And while you won’t see fall foliage like in other parts of the state, the brilliant autumnal hues of the land itself will charm you.

Join an Off-Road Group

If you’d like to go off the beaten path, you can off-road. And if you’d like to largely eliminate the stress of off-roading without sacrificing the fun, join an off-roading group.

You’ll find welcoming groups of Jeep enthusiasts that make off-roading exciting. Being part of a community of off-roaders will help you develop your skills more efficiently than you would on your own, too.

Check out the rules of the group before you head off for any excursions; community guidelines will help you prepare for your trip. And as the days grow shorter in the fall, it’s prudent to invest in accessories that improve your visibility while off-roading.

Tailgate

Another top fall activity to do with your Jeep is participating in a tailgate party. Have a blast this football season by tailgating in your Jeep before the big game. Like any great get-together, you’ll need food and beverages, utensils, and comfy chairs.

Modifications to your Jeep can improve your tailgate experience. Installing a cargo carrier makes it more convenient for carrying items like your grill, chairs, and cooler. And accessories like a folding rear tailgate table give you more surface area for preparing food.

Tips for Ensuring Your Boat Stays in Peak Condition

Having a boat is a great pleasure in life. However, taking care of it is a challenge. Here are a few tips for ensuring your boat stays in peak condition.

Owning a boat is exciting, as you can take it out on the water and escape from all your regular day-to-day worries. Go too long, though, and you may have a new concern on your plate—the condition of your boat. Numerous days of boating with little maintenance can lead to some issues down the line. Read on to learn how you can ensure your boat stays in peak condition.

Keep Things Clean

The first thing you must do to ensure your boat stays in the best condition possible is to keep it clean. You should keep the deck clutter-free; in the case of an emergency, you want everyone aboard to access safety gear quickly. Doing so will be incredibly difficult if there is a bunch of junk in the way. Additionally, you must keep the boat’s hull and motor clean. Even if you’re not boating in salt water, you should rinse your boat off with fresh water and boat soap to keep grimy buildup at bay.

Get the Right Equipment

One of the most important things you can do to keep your boat lasting throughout the years is to invest in the proper equipment. A boat is not just something you can take out on the water; it is an intricate combination of materials, parts, electronics, and mechanical pieces all working together to keep you afloat. For example, your boat’s battery is essential because your time on the water will quickly lead to disaster if the battery runs out of juice. That’s why it’s necessary to get the proper marine lithium battery charger that can work with your boat’s battery, ensuring you launch and dock without a fuss.

Check Your Boat Trailer

Your boat can be in the best condition possible, but you can’t get anywhere near the water without a good trailer. If you do not adequately care for your trailer’s tires, cruising on the water will forever be an out-of-reach dream. Check your trailer’s tires regularly, as they can quickly get damaged from year-round sun exposure. Consider storing your trailer and boat in a shed or barn during the off-season, and keep the tires elevated to reduce further damage.

Ensure your boat stays in peak condition by giving it this extra attention. A small bit of care can go a long way for your boat, ensuring you have a boat you can enjoy for years to come.

The Best River Fishing Destinations in the United States

If you’re looking to fish the most beautiful rivers in America, grab your gear and get out of your comfort zone by checking out these destinations.

There’s nothing quite like getting out on the river for a day of fishing. Many enthusiasts consider river fishing a relaxing and enjoyable outdoor activity. As you plan your next nature-bound vacation, read up on some of the best destinations for river fishing in the United States.

Alaska: Soldotna River Walk

Have you ever been night fishing? Many enthusiasts make Soldotna their destination when looking for sockeye. After dark, sockeye salmon tend to swim closer to the shore, so you won’t need to wade in too deep. Pack your hip waders and prepare for an ethereal night of fishing in the dark.

Idaho: Snake River

The boisterous twists of the Snake River run through Hells Canyon, the deepest canyon gorge on the North American continent. Plenty of fish, from trout to crappie to chinook salmon, call this river home. Enjoy the biodiversity of the river and the majestic nature views all around you.

Florida: Suwannee River

This delightful blackwater stream in Florida runs through a variety of marshes and wetlands, flowing more than 200 miles from Georgia all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Bass, both largemouth and smallmouth, abound here—you may even catch one that’s trophy-sized!

Montana: Yellowstone River

The Yellowstone River is the longest undammed river in the continental United States. Whether you prefer to wade in or take a boat out, you’ll see for yourself why it’s renowned for its trout fishing. For an unforgettable fly-fishing experience, head out to the mighty Yellowstone.

Texas: Brazos River

Don’t feel like traveling far? There are plenty of incredible rivers for fishing right here in Texas. The Brazos River, while muddy in many parts, boasts some of the best angling around right below Possum Kingdom Lake. Catch a wide variety of bass and channel catfish in these copper-tinted waters.

The best river fishing destinations in the United States aren’t always crowded tourist traps. Often, they’re tucked away in the wilderness or only famous among anglers. Grab your rod, reel, and tackle box and head out to one of these rivers for a productive day—or night—of fishing!

What Upgrades Should You Make for Your Fishing Boat?

Fishing isn’t about luck; it’s about strategy. Upgrading your fishing boat ensures success with every cast. Add these improvements to increase your odds.

Every fisher needs a dependable boat. Whether you prefer bowfishing, flounder gigging, or using a rod and reel, your boat could be the difference between a successful catch and a dead end. With so many options available, deciding between boating updates can feel exhausting.

Your enhancements will largely depend on the types of fishing you do. However, there are some upgrades you should make for your fishing boat regardless of your angling preferences. Reel in the big ones by making these helpful renovations.

Optimize Your Motor

If you’ve been fishing for a while, your boat has probably seen better days. Old engines require more effort to travel a short distance and are costly to maintain. Optimizing your motor will get you from point A to point B in record time.

Replace outdated outboard motors with newer models for maximum efficiency. Add an on-boat battery charger to ensure you always have enough power. For trolling motors, learn how to bond a portable generator for bowfishing to enhance performance and prevent electrical malfunctions.

Build a Live-Bait Tank

Every budding angler remembers using worms and minnows for bait. While some veterans believe that lure fishing is the mark of an expert, there are still several advantages to fishing with live bait. If this is how you choose to fish, you’ll need a live-bait tank to keep your options fresh.

There’s nothing worse than realizing you’re out of bait in the middle of a trip. Installing your own live-bait tank will help you avoid that problem. Crafty anglers can build their own tanks; however, there are plenty of 20+ gallon tanks on the market that will keep your bait alive.

Install an LED Light System

Another upgrade you should make for your fishing boat is adding an LED light system. This is especially helpful for night-fishers who need to illuminate dark waters. LED lights last longer and are more energy-efficient, making them the perfect addition to your setup.

Apply LED light strips to interior railings and steering areas to help your vision. These lights are low enough that they won’t disturb any potential catches. Gone are the days of juggling flashlights, rods, and bait!

You could also consider using radar technology or fish-finding software and upgrading your anchor to improve your experience. Customizing your boat to fit your needs will increase your odds and make you a more successful angler.

The Most Important Safety Rules for Going Off-Roading

Off-roading is a fun outdoor activity, but it can do some damage to your car if you’re not ready. Here are a few safety rules for going off-roading.

Off-roading is an exciting activity where you bring your car or dirt bike to unsurfaced roads consisting of dirt, mud, snow, and rocks. It’s fun to do with your friends or family on the weekend or even as part of a competition. However, there are some things to do before off-roading to ensure you and everyone you’re with remain safe. Read on to learn the most important safety rules for going off-roading.

Tell People Where You’re Going

Off-roading is thrilling because you can get away from the main roads and go out into the middle of nowhere! Unfortunately, when you go this far from civilization, you’re more likely to lose your cellular signal, and if anything happens, you have no form of communication. This possibility is why it is so critical to tell people where you’re going beforehand and how long you expect to be away. If any accidents happen, you’ll have to wait until someone comes to help you.

Bring Another Car With You

Along with letting people know where you are, you should bring another car with you. An extra car can tow you out if the mud traps your vehicle, and if it’s impossible to get free, you have a way to get home. Of course, sticking in the mud in the first place isn’t ideal, but you should prepare for the worst-case scenario. Otherwise, you’ll end up with no car, no cellular signal, and no assistance.

Find the Perfect Tires

You can go off-roading in your regular tires, but you may want to consider changing them for a better alternative. Standard tires aren’t the best for off-roading, and the drive can seriously mess them up. Instead, you should look for the best off-roading tires for your vehicle. With the proper tires, off-roading will be a fun and sustainable activity for your vehicle.

Wear a Seatbelt

You may not be on the main roads where the law can spot you, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear your seatbelt. If anything, wearing your seatbelts while off-roading is even more critical. Without a well-paved road, your vehicle will experience a lot of bumps, big rocks, sharp turns, and other hazards that can mess up your car. Wearing your seatbelt keeps you safe, and if a hazard leads to your car flipping over, buckling in will be essential.

Prepare for off-roading with these safety rules to ensure you have an exciting and safe time the next time you go out. These safety rules don’t mean you will be safe, though, as you must still be careful when driving behind the wheel. The Texas roads can be reasonably safe, but when going off-road, you are venturing into the unknown. While you can still have fun, you should always focus on safety.

The Equipment You Need To Start Tying Your Own Flies

Are you interested in tying your own flies but unsure where to begin? Let us help with our guide on the essential equipment every fly-tying workshop needs!

If you love to fly fish but get your flies from a fly fishing outfitter, you should consider making your flies yourself! In our guide, we’ll explain why you should start tying and get you started with the equipment you need to tie your own flies.

Why You Should Tie Your Own Flies

What’s the benefit of making your own flies in the first place? Well, if you ask any angler who ties their own flies, they’ll tell you that it may be a hassle at first, but the reward is definitely worth the effort.

Making your own flies allows for customization, so you can experiment and tinker to find the ideal fly for your favorite fishing spot. Once you catch fish using a fly crafted with your two hands, the satisfaction is double what you’d feel with a store-bought fly!

Pro Tip: Tying your own flies also saves you money long-term over buying new flies from fly fishing outfitters.

Essential Fly-Tying Equipment:

Ready to get tying? First, there’s some equipment you’ll need to start tying your own flies!

Vise

The first and most essential tool for your fly-tying hobby is a vise. The vise holds the hook of your fly in place while you’re tying and constructing it—you can’t make your own fly without one!

Your first decision will be to choose between a rotary and stationary vise. Both vises have their advantages, so it’ll come down to your individual preferences.

Bobbins

A bobbin supports the thread while the angler wraps the fly and gives them better aim and control of the line. Some intricate and high-quality (and high-priced) bobbins are available for experienced fly-tyers. For a beginner, it’s best to go with a simple and minimalist bobbin.

Thread

Speaking of thread, you won’t be able to make a fly without some! Anglers use many thread types, so you’ll want an assortment of sizes, colors, and strengths for your new fly-tying workshop.

Hackle Pliers

Flies often feature feathers or some other long, delicate material to attract fish. These airy and light materials can be difficult to secure with bare hands, which is where hackle pliers come in!

After creating a few flies for yourself, you may be able to make one without using hackle pliers—but for beginners, we recommend using pliers.

Whip Finisher

A fly isn’t finished until it’s neatly wrapped and the thread is tied. The final knot of a fly is difficult, especially for those new to fly-tying. This is where the whip finisher comes in hand.

A whip finisher keeps the thread and materials in place while tying, making the finishing knot and step of fly-tying a breeze for even new fly-tyers.

Top Reasons People Carry a Concealed Weapon While Hiking

The more prepared you are for your time outdoors, the better your hike. Learn the top reasons to carry a concealed firearm when hiking or backpacking.

Concealed carry helps keep you and your hiking party safe. Whether you’re in a remote area or somewhere more populated, a firearm can offer you protection and peace of mind. Learn the top reasons people carry a concealed weapon while hiking.

1. Protection From Wild or Violent Animals

One of the best reasons to carry a firearm while you hike or backpack is to fend off wild or violent animals. Fighting a wild animal with your bare hands isn’t a reliable option for securing your safety. Sometimes, just the loud sound of your firearm is enough to frighten a wild animal and prompt them to run away.

Even if you’re not facing a wild animal, encountering a violent domesticated pet is still dangerous. Every year, there are millions of dog bites from aggressive dogs in the US, and some of those cases prove fatal. Hopefully, you’ll never have to defend yourself from an aggressive animal, but if you do, a gun will help.

2. Protection From Human Aggressors

The next reason to carry a concealed weapon while hiking is to protect yourself from human aggressors. Whether you’re in a remote area or on a popular trail, stay aware of the people around you. While most people you encounter will be genuine outdoor enthusiasts such as yourself, some bad actors take advantage of trail conditions to attack people.

To increase your safety, hike in pairs and let a third party know about your plans. Also, stay visually alert and listen to your surroundings. If you wear earbuds, keep one out so that you can still hear clearly.

Learn to feel comfortable carrying a gun so that you can keep your weapon concealed from potential attackers. If someone chooses to attack you, you can defend yourself with your firearm.

3. Emergency Signaling

If you get lost or stranded in the wilderness, you’ll need all the help you can get to return to safety. Many times, you can’t rely on your cell phone in a remote area. You’ll need to signal for help.

Perhaps the most common distress signal is the signal fire. If you build a proper signal fire, you can attract attention from miles away. But in addition to this popular option, you can use your weapon to create an auditory signal.

Fire three spaced-out shots to signal distress. By spacing the shots five seconds apart, you help other people around your area identify the sound as a distress signal and identify the location it’s coming from.

Tips for Setting Up the Ultimate Campsite

When it comes to setting up the ultimate campsite, there are a few routes you can take. These tried-and-true methods will guarantee a fun and safe experience.

Camping isn’t for the faint of heart. If you’re planning on roughing it in the wild, you need a certain level of resilience. Picking up some necessary survival skills will set you up for a fun and exciting outdoor experience.

First, you need to know how to make your camping ground work for you. Setting up the ultimate campsite will save you from having a horrible adventure. Those new to the world of camping can use these tips to start on the right foot.

Get Off the Ground

There’s nothing wrong with sleeping on the ground. However, you’ll feel more at ease if you’re able to elevate your campsite. You can use a variety of tools and resources to get off the ground and create a more comfortable arrangement.

Bring an extra layer of sleeping material, like a cot or foam padding, so you don’t have to sleep in the dirt. If you want to get really fancy, invest in a truck camper and rest on your roof. Either way, make the most of your camping trip by setting yourself up for a good night’s sleep.

Build the Perfect Campfire

It’s not a real camping trip if you don’t maintain a fire. However, newcomers might not have the experience necessary to build the perfect campfire. You need this feature to stay warm, cook food, and keep the critters away.

Be sure to keep your fire a safe distance away from your campsite; you should also keep factors like wind and rain in mind so you don’t lose your hard work. Your tinder should be dead and dry, so collect plenty of sticks, twigs, grass, and leaves to keep your fire going.

Create a Stellar Kitchen

No campground is complete without an amazing kitchen. If you want to set up the ultimate campsite, you need a place to refuel. After a long day of hitting the trails and exploring the terrain, you’ll want an area to make all your favorite meals.

Bring a portable grill to cook lean meats and high-fiber veggies that provide plenty of nourishment. And assemble your meals downwind to avoid attracting predators. You should also hang your trash and food scraps from a tree away from your site so you don’t invite any unwanted guests.

If you do it right, camping could become your new favorite pastime. Use these tips to prepare for your adventure, and you’ll always have a good experience.