Hey folks, newbie here, been lurking for a long time and have found some great information.
I found the site because I was looking for a solution to the following problem: I do a lot of kayak fishing, and I want to start fishing more tournaments that are in different states, as well as just taking general, relaxing fishing/camping trips. If paying for gas weren't expensive enough, motel rooms ain't cheap either. So I've been doing lots of reading trying to come up with a viable alternative solution to having to stay in (read that "pay for") motel rooms.
There are three major options I have come up with, each having its own set of pros and cons.
1st option: Buy a regular tent that sets up on the ground, throw air mattress in it, and stay in campgrounds at or near the fishing locations. Haul kayak in bed of truck.
Pros: cheapest of the options; fairly quick to set up; preserves ability to stay mobile with the kayak with a minimum amount of hassle loading and unloading the kayak; don't have to pack every time you leave to go fish
Cons: probably the least comfortable; more exposure to elements; less secure than camper shell on truck or lockable expedition trailer
2nd option: Buy a camper shell for the pickup truck and build an elevated plywood platform in the bed, and put about a 6 inch memory foam mattress on top of the plywood platform. Sleep on that. Carry the 'yak on racks on top of the shell.
Pros: most comfortable bedding situation, also most secure for gear storage; don't have to deal with pulling a trailer; can leave bed made up all the time for either napping at rest stops on long trips or for sleeping once you get there
Con: good camper shells are expensive; would have to pack lots of things up every morning when leaving campsite, then unpack again in the evening; the hassle of loading a kayak on top of roof racks on top of the camper shell of a 4WD pickup
3rd option: Buy/build an expedition trailer and mount a rooftop tent on top of it. Build the trailer such that it can carry the kayak when traveling to and from the final destination, and then having arrived there, unhitch the trailer, set up the tent, lock the trailer tongue, and throw the kayak in the bed of the truck and have mobility to different launch points.
Pros: more comfortable bedding than ground tent (not a big fan of air mattresses); sturdier tent than ground tents; storage for lots of gear/gadgets/conveniences on the trailer; would serve as a base camp, preserving the easy loading of the kayak in the bed of the truck for driving to different launch points
Cons: expense of buying/building trailer, and then having to add a rooftop tent; the pain of having to pull a trailer long distances; not as comfortable as truck bed camping (I wouldn't think).
Just wanted to see if any of you guys had any insights into what would be the best option? Any pros and cons that I haven't thought of? I was really enamored initially with the idea of truck bed camping because I think it would be the most comfortable, but the more I think about having to load the kayak on top of the camper shell of a 4WD pickup, the more I tend to think that an expedition trailer would probably be the best option.