no avatar

Truck camping can be fun

By DICK MARTIN • Nov 10, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Readers know that I like to hunt and fish.

But I also like to camp, especially when I can combine this sport with one or both of the others. I started my camping around age 12 when I and my friends would head for the hills overlooking the Ohio River, build leanto's since we had no money for tents, and often spend several days roaming the woods, sometimes hunting squirrels, pawpaws, berries, and other good things.

From there, as I grew to adulthood I took my family first in a little poptop, then a trailer, then sometimes a small motor home, and a few times in a big full sized motor home. It was always fun.

But later on I turned to what became a long time favorite, camping in a six cylinder full bed pickup truck with an ordinary cap. That was a great way to camp and you might find it so, too. When I started out on a trip, whether a couple of days or weeks, I tossed an old mattress in the back with a sleeping bag on top, added a cooler and small one or two burner propane stove, a box of groceries and cooking gear, and whatever other things I needed, whether it be guns or fishing rods or both, and off I went.

Camping that way has a lot of advantages. On deer hunts I could drive right to my chosen hunting spot if on private land and with permission, have a leisurely campfire dinner, then come dawn make a quick breakfast and be in deer territory in minutes without a long drive to get there. Usually, I'd bow hunt the rut until 10 or 11 a.m., then switch to a .22 rifle and try to bag a couple of squirrels, then hunt until evening when I'd fry the squirrels if luck was with me, and sleep the sleep of the just. 

It can get cold in a truck cap and you might want to add a few things if the weather turns bitter beyond normal. You should never use a propane or gas heater because that can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, but it's easy to hook a little electric heater to a car battery or whatever and heat the inside enough to take off the chill.

I did much the same on ice fishing trips as soon as the ice was safe. Again, no need for a long drive or at least a very short one, then out on the ice, fish until you get tired, then walk back "home" to a crisp fish dinner and a nap before heading out again. I've used the cap in summer too, a favorite being to take my son along when he was in his teens, head for the Kelleys Island State Park campground and a shoreside campsite, and set up camp for even four to five days.

We'd fish, hike around the stone quarries, swim, bike country roads and feast on our catch most times. It was good together time, a man and son excursion that Scott still remembers. Camping in a cap is very inexpensive and requires little gasoline compared to a hauled trailer or motorhome. A good way to enjoy those hunting and fishing trips this fall and winter.

* * *

Hooks & bullets

• Readers who like wilderness adventures might be interested in a new book from well known adventurer Bear Gryllis. His book is "How to Stay Alive — the Ultimate Survival Guide For Any Situation." It covers survival skills from making a fire and building a shelter to finding food and even escaping from quicksand. The book is $19.95 from William Morrow Paperbacks or Google from Amazon.com.

• For those who like to visit South Bass Island or Middle Bass often during the year, the Miller Boat Line is offering a Season Pass through Dec. 31 for next year. The Put-in-Bay adult pass is $410, a savings of $40 and the Middle Bass adult pass is $475, a savings of $50. Call 1-800-500-2421 to purchase one.

• Ohio hunters and anglers can now buy multi-year licenses, a tactic that will save both time and money. Prices for youth hunting or fishing licenses will be $28.60 for three years or $47.58 for a five year license. An adult three year hunting or fishing license will be $54.08 or $90.22 for a five year license, and the 10 year will be $180.44. For a full list of the various license costs or to purchase one or more, visit wildohio.gov or stop at a regular license vendor.


Dick Martin is a free-lance writer from Shelby. Reach him at [email protected] You also can visit his blog at outdoorswithmartin.com.

Norwalk Reflector Videos