1. Roughing It: A Camping Trip
Chances are that at some point in your childhood you went camping, it’s a tradition, a kind of a rite of passage, really. If you can survive a few days without electricity, some bug bites, camp fire meals and sleeping on the ground, without wanting to hurt your tent mates – it will make you a better person. There are far too many people hitting up tanning salons, for a job that the sun does naturally. Seriously, get outside! We should still be carving out some time each year to rough it, there are so many benefits to camping. First and foremost, the digital detox. Although you may not realize it, you need a break from your phone, tablet, computer – whatever screen you’re sitting in front of. Power them down and put them away and instead, immerse yourself in the surroundings. Spending a little less time with your eyeballs plastered to a screen is also good for your relationships. Your spouse, kids, family and friends are important, and the great outdoors has a way of forging deep bonds. Do some hiking, take in the scenes and soak up some of that much needed vitamin D. Camping is also a great way to introduce kids to an active outdoor lifestyle by teaching them skills like how to build a fire, set up a tent, identify wildlife, and more.
The Trek with DECKED: I am steadily becoming more of a minimalist all the time, and camping is no exception. Clutter annoys me and hauling around extra stuff, just for fun, really isn’t any fun. If it can’t fit in the drawers of my DECKED unit, then it’s not coming along! The exception to that rule is a cooler and generator for long stays. Make your vehicle your mobile camping command center with everything you need stowed away in the drawers. Cooking equipment, lanterns, sleeping bags, clothes and other personal effects, they can all be stowed away, but easily accessible whenever you need them. Drawer dividers and D-Boxes are super handy for further organizing your drawers and keeping things tidier and easier to find. If you're into tents, cool, they'll fit too. If you're like me and want to minimize the gear you're carrying, then leave the tent behind and sleep in the back of your truck, on top of the DECKED unit. But what if it rains? You weeny…just bring along a tarp and rig it up above you for those instances. Sleeping under the stars is way better than staring up at tent poles and is one of the many things that makes camping so great.
2. Ripping Lips: A Fishing Trip
There are so many incredible fishing opportunities across the country that you could stretch a line every day for the next 5 years straight, and still not come close to experiencing them all. You may be water loyal and like to stick to the same puddle, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Here in the heartland, I have a tendency to stick to fisheries full of bass, catfish and panfish. However, if you are ready for a little adventure, some of America’s National Parks offer fantastic fishing that is worthy of the road trip required. If you are a fly fisherman, Yellowstone National Park is a must. Plenty of cutthroats, rainbows and browns can be found in the Gallatin, Madison, Firehole and Yellowstone rivers. Next, Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota and its system of lakes and rivers is an excellent place to target walleye, pike and smallmouth bass. If you’re looking for something salty, Biscayne National Park in Florida offers hook ups with snappers, bonefish and even some sharks. Be sure to look into all of the National Parks for an extensive list of fishing opportunities.
The Trek with DECKED: The more bodies that pile in your vehicle, the more gear you have stacking up in your cabin. Once you get everyone in and all their “stuff” crammed in, the once roomy cabin is now cramped, and everyone is a little cranky. This isn’t the kind of stuff you can just throw in the bed of your truck either – in the event of weather, your clothes will be soaked or ruined so they need to be properly stowed. Plus, if you put your gear in the back, you risk having it stolen when you stop off for gas or a bite to eat. Thieves are turds. Stolen gear is not only expensive, but it ruins the trip if you don't have the proper gear for the task at hand. The drawers in the DECKED unit are a secure, space saving and headache eliminating solution for cabin clutter. The DECKED drawers run the length of the bed, so they are a good size. Plus, they have a 200-pound capacity per drawer. So, you can easily store all your fishing gear: rods, reels, net, tackle boxes, etc. Trailering your boat? Awesome, everything you don’t need will be secure when you drop off the truck for the day. Kayak or float tube fishing? No problem, those will fit right on top of the DECKED unit, just strap them in and you’re ready to jet. Bowfishing? Cool. Your bow will easily fit in a drawer and be protected.
3. Off-Roading: An ATV/UTV Trip
The U.S. encompasses more than 3.5 million square miles and within the borders of our amazing country, the terrain and sights are super diverse. There are hundreds of thousands of miles of off-road trails that weave through these amazing landscapes that are open to OHV’s (Off Highway Vehicles). Taking advantage of these trails lets you see much of America’s wild spaces up close and personal. Using an ATV or Side-by-Side allows you to cover more terrain than you would be able to if hiking, plus you can bring the whole family along for the experience.
The devil is always in the details with a trip like this, so you need to spend a little time in front of your computer planning. Use all of the great resources online to help you pinpoint OHV friendly trails and open riding areas and then review the rules and requirements for using those spaces so that you stay in compliance with local law.
Personally, I have my sights set on Moab, Utah next. They have an extensive system of trails on both BLM and public land that take you through canyons and national parks. I’m taking notes from the infamous “127 Hours” movie – I’ll be bringing along extra water and praying that I make it back out with all my limbs ;)
The Trek with DECKED: I have a couple of Yamaha Kodiak 450’s and a Yamaha Wolverine X4 that are my trusty trail companions. When traveling, I always load one of the Kodiaks in the bed of my truck and then trailer the other with the Wolverine X4. The DECKED unit in the bed of my truck really shines for this application. Because it has a 2000-lb payload, I can comfortably put my Kodiak on top without impeding the use of the drawer system below. The system is constructed with a steel subframe, so even a full load won’t affect the operation of the drawers below the deck. An off-road OHV vacation also requires you to bring specific gear to keep you and your machines in top shape. The drawers in your DECKED unit can comfortably accommodate all your protective clothing, plus your tool kits, small air pumps, patch kit, tow straps, first aid kit and more. And when you’re ready to hit the trail, all of your gear will be secure, out of reach and out of sight, within the drawers of your DECKED unit so you don’t have to worry about it while you’re on the trail.
Now, here’s your chance to win a sweet prize package from DECKED. Not only do you get a chance to outfit your vehicle with a DECKED system, but the Grand Prize winner will also get to spend a day on the water with FLW angler Scott Martin plus take home some awesome gear. Check out the contest here and throw your name in the hat!
Hugs, Handshakes and Happy Roadtrippin’