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Editor Note: Angling Report Editor Emeritus, Don Causey, filed this report on a new way to go fishing in the Patagonian region of Chile. For those looking to extend a trip or anyone looking at DIY options for fishing Chile, this report will be of particular interest.
The fixed lodge as the end-all way to go fishing away from home is having to make way these days for all kinds of innovations. Think motherships. Think VRBO, Airbnb, and a host of similar platforms. Now, also think four-wheel-drive campers. Yes, campers. Starting this season you can fly down to Chile and rent a camper to go fishing for a week for as little as $1,400 during the shoulder season and for $1,750 during prime time. Admittedly, that leaves you with an important question – namely, where to go. More on that in a moment.
First, here is how Four Wheel Campers Patagonia (the company behind this camper idea (https://www.fourwheelcamperpatagonia.com/) described the unique experience it provides in an recent email: “As you read this, two four-wheel campers are sailing down to Coyhaique, Chile. They will be available for rent starting October 1, 2019. The vibrant city of Coyhaique is surrounded by beautiful glacier clad mountains, national parks, numerous world-class fly-fishing rivers and more adventures than you can experience in a lifetime! It is the ideal jumping off point to Chilean Patagonia.”
“Seeing Chile from a camper is nothing new, of course, but having your own lightweight, rugged, low-profile camper mounted on a diesel 4×4 truck is new for most international clients. The low profile of our vehicles makes driving them on Chile’s winding roads easy and stress free. Imagine being able to drive anywhere a 4×4 truck can take you. Now, imagine popping up your camper wherever you decide to spend the night. Your evening glass of wine can be enjoyed with whatever spectacular backdrop you choose….”
This camper/fishing idea is the brainchild of two Americans. One of them is Dan Bailey, whose background is in conservation and fly-fishing travel. He has traveled extensively in Chilean Patagonia and knows the ins and outs of what is involved in arranging fishing trips. The second is Denny Saunders, a camper expert who owns a successful company called Four Wheel Campers Jackson Hole. He is the one who knows all about the equipment involved in the business – namely, the campers themselves. As for the where-to-go side of things, that is a work in progress as this is written.
For now, it appears that much of the responsibility for the “Where to go” portion of this formula will lie with a third participant in the business, Andres Mickman of Koon Outfitters in Coyhaique Chile. Andres has spent the last 15 years exploring the vast fishing opportunities that southern Chile has to offer, according to Bailey, who I interviewed for this report. Bailey says Koon Outfitters specializes in custom fly-fishing trips, and that is what he plans to offer interested would-be campers. “Comprehensive trip planning, including day-to-day personal guiding, will be provided on request,” Bailey says. “The company is also considering the creation of week-long trip itineraries that provide written day-to-day travel and fishing instructions. Frankly, we are still working on this side of things, but for sure we will be able to meet the where-to-go fishing information needs of all would-be campers. They just have to let us know how much and what kind of guidance they need. Price of this where-to-go service will depend on the complexity and detail of what is provided.”
In case you are wondering, the campers we are talking about here are not the giant rolling condos you see on American highways these days. The camper these guys are ramping up to rent in Chile are those that fit on the back of a pickup truck – specifically on a Mitsubishi L200 4 door diesel 4×4 pickup truck (manual transmission). The unit is called a Fleet Front Dinette Camper. It’s on the small side. Let’s call it compact, ok? But that does not mean it is bare bones. Here’s what it includes:
- A front dinette table that can fold down into a second bed
- A spacious queen-size bed that easily accommodates two people
- Interior head room of six feet, four inches when extended
- A forced air furnace and thermostat to keep you warm
- A powered roof vent fan to keep you cool
- A propane fridge that can hold a week’s worth of food
- Ample storage for your gear
- A Yeti cooler for any excess food or drinks
- A two-burner propane stove
- A sink, hot water, and outside shower
- A 20-gallon water tank
- A six-gallon hot water heater and outdoor shower
Sound live-able and exciting? Do you see yourself in a camper like this in Chile? If you book a camper this season, file a report and let the rest of us know things went. You can inquire about a camper by writing Dan Bailey at: email@example.com. The winning way to look at this, probably, is as a multi-year investment that will start as a fully guided experience the first year and move toward DIY as your knowledge of the area increases. Enjoy! – Don Causey, Editor Emeritus.