Planning an RV Trip - Advice Needed

Hey all!

First time posting here but couldn’t really find another active community and was hoping you guys would be able to help.

This summer, we’re planning to do an RV trip over four weeks (relocation deal) from Chicago, going down south and finishing up in Vegas.

We’ve never been kayaking before apart from a few small tours but with the amount of lakes on the way, thought it might be a fun hobby to pick up while we’re on the road.

Been doing some research and stumbled upon clear bottom kayaks - they don’t seem super popular here but does anyone have real-life experience with them? How often would we actually be able to see something or is it only something that’d be fun in the tropics?

As an alternative we were looking into kayak fishing but that would come at a much higher cost for the trip as we’d also need to buy fishing gear and I’m not sure how easy/comfortable that’d be for complete beginners?

What other gear would we realistically need (on a bit of a budget) - I’m assuming drybags, and maybe something to help transport them from an RV?

Any and all recommendations, ranging from gear to destinations are much appreciated!

Thanks ahead,

What kind of RV?

It’s a relocation deal from a company called Apollo, we don’t know exactly which model until they give it to us in person.

Basically as far as I understand, they’re all brand new and instead of paying for transportation to sell them to the West coast, they rent them out at a discount to people like us and we’ve got to get it to their other office by a certain date.

There are many more RV questions you haven’t thought of yet.

New RV transport usually means you can’t use the RV or it becomes a used RV. Get it to the office by a certain date? As a 150 night a year RVer I have reservations about that deal.

So let’s say they let you use it and the time is generous. We travel an average of 350 miles a day. It makes a travel day that starts relaxed and ends before the rush hour. Usually have travel days in two or three days of overnights in parks. Then a two night stay at a interest park with paddle, tourist point, or bike path. Adding days with big miles is not fun.

Sure we can switch drivers and log in big miles, but that seems more like work.

Fishing…you realize you’d have to buy a license for each state you fish in crossing the country. Also the fishing changes for each area in terms of gear, bait, technique, season, regulations.

Good shout - from Europe so totally unaware of things like this.

Also thanks for the other insights - we’ve done the math on the trip length etc ourselves and don’t have a whole lot of concerns about that, considering our route.

They also know that it’ll be used to some extent - these deals are quite common.

Too many variables. If it s a motor home which I assume it is you cannot attach a rack to the back. Otherwise you may have bought it. Motor homes can transport rec kayaks on the back like those little heavy clear bottomed kayaks but require hardware They are unwieldly not seaworthy and for calm water use only. And the website had me laughing… A properly fitted sea kayak that will handle big water fits you like pants not pajamas.
If you have time rent a boat enroute.

I think the whole deal is suspect. You will be getting transport. Not a vacation

We are going cross country too soon but with a trailer and a truck with a cap and racks that accommodate 18 foot sea kayaks, The boats are going too. It took some time to work out the outfitting so that the boats are safe and secure and not punching holes in the RV on turns.

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Maybe, in Europe.

Clear water…? Not so much. I’m from the south out water is “coffee” colored. Can’t see down but can see through. Besides think of clear plastic drug over a gravel beach, concrete ramp or rock. Not sure I want to see the Gators anyway.

Some water is muddy after rain. Some water is full of vegetation.

Clear kayak would be interesting on a clear spring run in FLA or mountain lake. But they are not made for paddling performance. Short trip nice calm days.

The clear bottom kayaks have not taken off here in the states. Never actually seen one live. I suspect this is because the acrylic they are made of would scratch very easy, and a scratched acrylic isn’t clear any longer.

I would suggest renting at various places along your route. This way you don’t need to transport the kayak and gear, or even purchase gear prior to your trip (besides some clothing like baselayers, fleece, wind breaker, etc. - you could use the same type of clothing you would use for hiking, running, or other active sports). A dry bag could be useful to keep your gear dry while paddling.

The water areas will be as you head south from Chicago and then along the gulf coast. Once you start crossing Texas, it will dry out pretty quickly and the paddling opportunities get further apart.

Parks built by the ccc typically State and National parks, are typical small spaces with narrow widths. Trees typically encroach in areas you might think should be clear for driving. Take site equipment suggestions seriously. If the park is popular you may need reservations. For example Yellowstone. I have reservations for some state parks up to January next year.

Others never make reservations. But they keep variations and schedules open .

Of course some “free spirits” boondock at truck stops, Cracker Barrell, and conservation lands. To fill in the gaps. Boondocking, ie no hook ups, can be nice away from traffic weather permitting.

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I’ve never seen or paddled a clear bottom boat but I have to wonder what advantage they offer beyond just looking over the side of the boat. I watch fish from my canoe all the time. In a kayak your legs are in front of you which would block some of the view…the view over the side is always wide open.

You might consider inflatable kayaks since the newer drop stitch models are supposed to paddle reasonably well and inflatables would make it easier to take them along in an RV.,8,3,4,2,1,6&sim=11

Regarding fishing it’s true that you’d have to buy fishing licenses in each state but they aren’t expensive and even cheap fishing gear works well if you just want to catch fish. You could buy some low cost stuff and see if you enjoy it. Even a simple pole with a line and bobber and hook with worm is going to catch fish.

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Clear bottom kayaks are really just canoes that are wide and short. They are rented in Key West where I was intrigued. But you have to look between your legs and your crotch gets in the way. I don’t see any advantage in paddling what essentially is a clear bowl of a boat.
As far as reservations yes in the summer necessary. We are going next week and don’t have any. We have done this before at this season. We are going the southern route through TX to Death Valley

Thanks for all the feedback - lots to ponder on and things we didn’t consider yet.

@Overstreet the relocation deals are super common in the US albeit probably not marketed well. Do a search and you’ll see.

“For a rental agency, relocating a car or RV for any reason is expensive. It involves hiring a transport vehicle, or paying someone to drive one way and cover their flight back. The mutually satisfying alternative is to sway customers with a low price. This ensures a prompt booking when a vehicle urgently needs to be moved, and best of all, creates a cheap road trip!”

We had friends who used to get brand new RVs for free for 3-4 weeks and only pay half of the fuel costs. Now these deals are more popular and we ended up paying around $1.2K for 19 days on the road and got a fuel budget too. Still quite a good deal!

Best to rent kayaks at each lake you visit.

  • No need to transport boats or gear.
  • No worries about theft while you are not right at the RV.
  • Minimal cost. You’re beginners; you won’t be paddling many hours at a time.
  • No problems with meeting state and other laws requiring inspections for the presence of aquatic invasive species (not visible to naked eye) on the boats, because boats rented at venues stay there all year.
  • You get to try a bunch of DIFFERENT kayaks instead of gambling on liking the one you bought.

Does your European country of residence have driver’s side on the left or right side of the car? I sure hope it is on the left…nightmare scenario of “other side driver” getting used to US road conventions AND learning to handle an RV in the same short timespan. Could be worse, like you also tow a trailer and/or a car…

Another factor is watercraft registration. Many (most?) states require kayaks to be registered as watercraft. Here in Ohio, someone from out of state is permitted to use their kayak as long as the kayak meets the registration requirements of their home state. I think having rangers or other authorities ask to see kayak registrations is not extremely common, but it does happen (I’ve been checked a few times). So you may want to register any kayaks that you buy. And that brings up where to register them, Illinois or Nevada?

Update: It looks like Illinois and Nevada do not require registration of kayaks. So if you can show some documents showing that you live in Illinois and/or are relocating to Nevada, you could claim that your unregistered kayaks meet the registration requirements of those states.

Come on up and paddle in Michigan. No registration required for any privately owned paddle craft.

Generally states with paddle craft registration give you 30 days to register when moving to the state, which is usually more than my visits .

Rental RV markets …missed the movement of “rental units.”. As you might have guested I’m not in that market.

Suspect those are Class C units, without a “towed”. ( Pronounced like the reptile) So you have to drive the RV when site seeing. Leave chairs, cooler, something at the site to let others know you are returning.

Actually there is a hefty fine in a lot of states if you don’t have the current years invasive species permit.
Some places like Idaho even have watercraft check stations all over that require you to stop for inspection. Invasive species are becoming a huge thing.
When I just keep a boat on top of my truck for after work paddling a few days in a row during summer, I end up having to stop for inspection on the way to and from work, in Washington and Idaho. Having a kayak strapped to your RV could potentially add some time to the travels for inspections if you are traveling anywhere as aggressively going after invasive species as out here.