Recreational vehicles and more outdoor news

Posted on: December 31, 2019 | Bob Frye | Comments

Take a quick look around the outdoors world with a tip, a new piece of gear and more

Tip of the week

Suggest a winter camping trip to an uninitiated friend and the reaction is often muted at best. Or, to be more accurate, they just plain call you crazy. But winter can be a really fun season for camping, provided you adapt to the conditions. That means making sure you can get a good, warm night’s sleep. A warm sleeping bag is a must, of course. So, too, are a couple of good sleeping pads. Use two in winter. Put a closed cell foam one on the ground, then top that with one of the self-inflating variety. That provides maximum insulation.

Lure of the week

Lure name: Gill Pill

Recreational vehicles are good to take ice fishing.

Gill Pill

Company: Custom Jigs & Spins (

Lure type: Jighead

Sizes and colors: Available in four sizes – 8, 10, 12 and 14 – in 10 colors, white/black, frog, clown, firetiger, glow brite, red glow brite, gold, nickel, orange tiger and bumblebee.

Target species: Crappies, bluegills and yellow perch.

Technique: The Gill Pill has a half moon profile. They are small – as tiny as 1/100th of an ounce at their smallest, yet relatively heavy for their size. The real key to their action is in their flat bottom. Jig it just off the bottom and that shape makes it flutter in a way that entices finicky panfish to strike. It’s 45-degree offset hook makes it possible to catch even nibblers. These work best when tipped with some kind of bait, be it something natural like a maggot or waxworm or an artificial like a prepared bait.

Sugg. retail price: $1.50.

Notable: These don’t have to be just for ice fishing. The two mid-sized versions in particular work in open water, too. Paired with 4-pound test and no bobber, they catch panfish in shallow water. In deeper conditions, use a slip bobber to keep the lure one to two feet off the bottom. In all cases, tip them with a waxworm, leech or bit of nightcrawler.

Outdoors oddity of the week

Recreational vehicles, or RVs, seems like a modern convenience. After all, campers back in the day roughed it, right?

Not if they didn’t have to, they didn’t.

Henry Ford’s first automobile debuted in 1893. They began rolling off the assembly line in 1913. It didn’t take long after that cars started winding up in the hands of average Americans.

By then, the RV was already a real thing.

According to the Smithsonian Institution, the first one was built in 1910. They grew in popularity thereafter until the Great Depression and World War II put things on hold.

But the industry boomed when all those servicemen and women returned home and it’s been going strong ever since.

The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association estimates that between eight and nine million American families own an RV today. A University of Michigan study says they travel 26 days and 4,500 miles a year, on average.


Check this out: Glamping a camping trend here to stay

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Bob Frye is the editor. Reach him at 412-838-5148 or See other stories, blogs, videos and more at

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