After considering our options and choosing to simply purchase a slide-in camper for our truck, we then had to decide from a long list of possible models and manufacturers.
I had the image of a Four Wheel Camper in my head from the start, but was worried it might be to utilitarian. We knew that we wanted a pop-up camper. One that expanded upwards to provide headroom and access to an over-the-cab sleeping area, but that collapsed back down for a lower center of gravity and sleeker profile.
We considered the excellent hard-shelled popups from XP, but ultimately they were too heavy, too expensive, and production was booked out to far. We also considered slightly more complex, better appointed options from Hallmark and Northstar, as well as the offerings from Alaskan camper. All of these manufacturers are well respected and build suitable options. However, these all have more complex lifting mechanisms for the folding roof and are aimed more toward the traditional RV market. That meant they had extra features like permanently installed showers, toilets and wastewater tanks. Many had wood frames as well. All of those features are great, and definitely make life more convenient, but they also add a fair amount of weight and eat up valuable storage space.
We ultimately decided on Four Wheel Camper for their simplicity and their lightweight, resilient aluminum frame. We spent a few months looking for the perfect used camper, but found they would often be sold in hours after listing due to very high demand. As our trip grew nearer, we bit the bullet and ordered a new unit from our local dealer. We chose to have ours built without many of the common options in order to save money and so I could outfit it with a few very specific items.
We had our unit delivered without a refrigerator, battery, battery wiring, awning, or exhaust fan. We did have FWC install their indoor/outdoor shower, hot water heater, furnace, and flush-mount sink and stove. We also chose the dark and modern "Silver Spur" interior package and the front dinette layout.
Our truck is a full-size, with an 8' bed so we were able to get FWC's largest model, the Grandby. It fits cleanly inside the truck, without extending past the sides, or the rear. I never have to worry about catching it on a passing Mexican truck and negotiating parking lots or tight mountain trails is essentially the same as if I were driving the truck on it's own. The camper is relatively light, 1400lbs from the factory. Completely loaded down with water, food, fuel, and beer our whole rig weighs about 8800lbs, which is still 400lbs below our capacity. So far we've been really happy with our little home. We originally thought we'd spend a night or two in hotels every month, but at this point we'd rather stay in our camper. It's simply more comfortable and convenient than a hotel.
Here are links to additions and modifications I installed in our camper-
- 200AH Deep Cycle 12v Battery
- Blue Sea ACR, Allows the truck or solar panel to charge both the truck batteries and the camper battery without allowing one system to drain the other
- Isotherm 12v Refrigerator (And freezer. Ice ice baby!)
- Additional USB/Lighter 12v charging ports
- Arb Awning (Nobody likes rain in their beer)
- Dometic Cassette Toilet and hold down brackets (Because a bouncing toilet is a BAD toilet)
- Roof Lift Struts, so Taylor can raise the roof while I drink beer
- 90W Portable Panels from Overland Solar Keeping our batteries charged up when we're too lazy to drive anywhere..
- Custom Engraved "Running From Monday" Bottle Opener :)
A few forum posts and threads on the camper build-
- Isolator, battery, and wiring install on Expedition Portal
- Fantastic Fan Install on Wander the West
- Great Discussion on FWC wiring, charging, and batteries on Wander the West