Choosing to pursue alternative living by living in a van is a big step; it means breaking away from the crowd and doing something unconventional. But, living off the grid in a tiny home can bring so much freedom and joy, if done right. Van life costs are lower than the price of living in a house; there are fewer bills to pay which means you have more money to enjoy life and to go on adventures, whether that means more travelling in a van or staying static while chasing your dream job. But to be happy living in your off grid home you need to choose the right compact camper for you. So today, we’re going to look at what it’s like living in a Four Wheel Camper.
With so many different vans out there to choose from, it’s challenging to know what will make the best tiny house, and the answer will be different for everyone. To work out what is going to be best for you, you first need to look at your needs. How much space do you need, are you planning to drive off road, do you need to have solar electrics or will you be able to plug into the grid, will you be stealth camping or boondocking, and what items are your van life essentials. By answering these questions, you’ll be one step closer to discovering what is best for you.
Living In A Four Wheel Camper
Something that ticks a lot of boxes for me is living in a Four Wheel Camper; these pop up campers are surprisingly spacious and can be customised to suit your specific needs. Initially, I wouldn’t have thought of living full time in a pop top camper, but after testing one out for two weeks, I’m a complete convert. Read on if you want to know what it is like living full-time in a Four Wheel Camper.
Itching to try out Full Time Van Life? Want to reveal to the world that you’re a weekend warrior? Head over to our brand new Facebook Group! It’s a place to pick up vanlife tips, share ideas, and meet other van life enthusiasts from around the globe!
Four Wheel Campers have many different models, all of which could be turned into the perfect space for full-time truck life, but today we’re going to be looking at the model we tried and tested on our Californian road trip: The Hawk Flat Bed Model. The most significant difference between the Hawk Flat Bed Model and most of the other Four Wheel Campers is that, as the name suggests, this camper requires a flat bed to be fitted to your truck before the camper is installed. This does come at an extra cost but, if you’re going to be living in a Four Wheel Camper full time, the extra space it provides is priceless.
The Hawk Flat Bed Model
We spent two weeks living in a Four Wheel Camper, and available space never felt like an issue, even with two of us sharing the camper. Inside, we had more than enough room for our belongings as there was plenty of storage under the beds and in cupboards throughout the build. The under-bed compartment was a massive bonus and would be a lifesaver if you chose to live in a Four Wheel Camper full time. The storage spanned the whole length of the bed (which is over the top of the cab) and was easily accessible thanks to lift assist pistons on the base of the sleeping area. The Hawk had enough storage space to squeeze in all of your adventure gear and more besides!
The kitchen was compact but included everything we needed- a two ring hob, a sink with running (hot and cold) water, plenty of storage space, and a large fridge. If you plan on living in a Four Wheel Camper full time, then a model with a refrigerator is a must; how else are you going to keep the beers cold after all? There is nothing like coming home after a long hike and being able to easily make a healthy dinner in your camper before settling outside by the campfire. Heaven!
Living In A Four Wheel Camper – The Interior
The feature within the Hawk Four Wheel Camper that we loved and used the most was the seating area. It’s great to have a place to relax inside on rainier days, as well as somewhere to prepare and eat your meals. For us, it was also a great place to get some work done as there was enough room for two to sit and spread out on the table. The bench seats also doubled as huge storage bins which were perfect for storing larger items of outdoor gear.
The bed within the camper is massive and super comfortable, with more than enough room for two. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s the biggest bed I’ve ever slept on. The bed takes up the entire section of the camper that lies over the truck itself and also has a slide-out part to enlarge it further. Most nights, we didn’t even bother pulling the bed out as it was big enough without, but it takes about two seconds to do if you do want more room to spread out. Above the bed was a 12v fan roof vent which provided a blissful breeze on the warmer Californian nights.
Relaxed Lifestyle Living In A Four Wheel Camper
Living in a Four Wheel Camper is comfortable and relaxed with all the amenities that they can contain. Our model also had a toilet, another must for full-time van life, and enough solar-powered electrics to keep all of our gadgets charged on the go. An excellent electrical system is a must for full-time van life as even though I have tried to minimise my possessions, I still have a laptop, camera, phone, kindle and GoPro, all of which I kept charged easily on the go. On top of these essentials, we also had running hot water, a luxury for many vandwellers, which was great when it came to washing.
The hot water also extended to the outdoor shower, a great way to include a camper shower without taking up unnecessary space inside. After a day out at the beach and in the ocean it’s great to be able to wash off the sand and salt before jumping into bed.
The Pop Top Roof
When we first began our two weeks of living in a Four Wheel Camper, the thing I was most apprehensive about was the pop top roof. It’s just so different from the Sprinter Camper Van style that I’m used to. However, the pop-top turned out to be the camper’s best feature. From start to finish, the roof takes about three minutes to pop open. Once the six external clips are open, all that is left to do is to raise the roof from the inside. This is simply a case of pushing the ceiling at either end, which is easy thanks to the gas-assisted lifts that are there to help propel the roof up.
Being able to collapse the roof for the journey meant that driving was smooth and easy, and we were able to drive much faster than bulkier campers or vans on the freeway. But perhaps the best benefit of living in a four wheel camper was the parking. Unlike a regular camper van, there was no need to worry about height restriction barriers which was great when it came to beach parking. We could also park in a regular car parking space in any carpark without a problem. As our camper was no bigger than many cars, we didn’t have to plan our parking as much as we usually would in a typical motorhome. This gave us even more freedom to our days and meant that we spent less time planning our route and thinking about parking, leaving more time for the fun stuff!
Driving A Four Wheel Camper
As all Four Wheel Campers slide onto the back of trucks, you can choose what vehicle to pair them with. This freedom of choice allows you to go for an off-road vehicle so that no road is too much of a challenge. Being able to take your camper off road will enable you to reach more remote locations away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life while surrounding yourself with beautiful scenery. That is what living in a camper is all about.
Our days in California were spent kayaking in Big Sur, hiking in Yosemite, and paddleboarding on Lake Tahoe, and it was amazing knowing that we had a homely base to return to. Living in a Four Wheel Camper made our trip simple. There was never a need to look for somewhere to stay for the night, and there was always somewhere to cook and have a shower after a long day of adventuring.
We absolutely loved our two weeks living in a Four Wheel Camper and think that The Hawk would be a great camper to live in full time. Our pop up camper felt like home for our road trip, and we didn’t find ourselves missing anything at all. Driving the truck with the camper on the back couldn’t have been easier and made the drive along the Californian coastline a dream. It was a fantastic experience and one that we would recommend to everyone!