Four Wheel Camper Hawk Flatbed – Our Overland Truck Camper

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In this post you will find all the details about our Four Wheel Camper Hawk flatbed model. Let’s start off with the basics.

Watch the full walk-through of our 4×4 Pop-Up Truck Camper.


Four Wheel Camper Hawk Flatbed

Four Wheel Camper Hawk Flatbed Russos

We considered quite a few options before we made the decision to buy a Four Wheel Camper Hawk flatbed mounted on a Norweld aluminum tray.

Getting to take a FWC camper out for a spin helped us make the decision. If you are considering a Four Wheel Pop Up Camper, I would highly recommend renting one for a few days to see what you think.


Having lived out of a Class A motorhome towing a Jeep Wrangler, then downsizing to Class B camper vans, and now living full time out of a pop-up overland truck camper, I can tell you there are pros and cons to each.

If you’re trying to figure out which camper to get, my recommendation is to do your research to figure out what works for you. Luckily, there are camper rental companies that make it easier to try different types of before you make a decision.

FWC Hawk Flatbed Options

Kait and I went back and forth on quite a few options before we placed our order. In this section I’ll share all the options we picked and what we would do differently now that we’ve been living out of it for a while.

List of options on our Four Wheel Camper Hawk flatbed model.

  • Model: Hawk_FB
  • Siding Color: Silver Spur
  • Fabric: Gatlinburg Mesa
  • Options:
    • Jack Bracket – Aluminum Upgrade
    • 2-Way Refrigerator/Freezer – 85 liter
    • Forced Air Furnace w/ Thermostat
    • DSI 6 Gallon Water Heater w/ Outside Shower
    • Powered Roof Vent Fan
    • Extra Roof Vent
    • 8′ Side Awning Fiamma F45S
    • Yakima “Tracks Only” Installed on Roof
    • Side Wall Steps
    • Solar Panel Portable
    • Rear Floodlights – LED Exterior
    • LED Lighting
    • Thermal Pack
    • Flush Mount Glass Top Sink/Stove Upgrade
    • Hot Water, Inside & Outside Shower (FB)
    • Accordion Aluminum Scissor Steps
    • Watertank Cushion
    • Silver Spur Interior Only (UTE)
    • Lithium Battery System
    • UTE Rear Rack only
    • Dual 160W Solar Panels with .8 ga wiring
    • Norweld Deluxe Weekender 7’ Tray
    • Stir Up Step for Norweld Tray
    • Flat Bed Tray install

Things we would do differently.

  • Order the camper without the Yakima tracks on the roof. Given the height of the camper and the weight of the roof, we don’t plan to store anything up there.
  • Order the clip on table for the Norweld tray. This options is still available.

Order and Install Process

Mike Olds was our sales contact at Four Wheel Camper. He managed the changes to our order form and processed all the paperwork.

A 15% deposit was required to secure our production spot and to get the order started. It was 12 weeks from when we paid the deposit to when we took delivery of our completed camper.

Since we ordered a flatbed camper, it took a week for the installation at the Four Wheel Camper factory in Woodland, California. We dropped off the truck on Monday morning and picked up the completed camper mid-day on Friday. During that time, they removed the steel flatbed on our truck, installed the 7′ Norweld Weekender tray with boxes, mounted the Hawk camper and gave us a full walk-through of our new camper.

Watch the install and build process of our overland truck camper.


Lithium Battery System

One of the main requirements for our camper is having enough batteries to power all our electronic devices everyday and be able to recharge those batteries without having to plug into shore power.

The lithium battery system option in our Four Wheel Campers gives us that ability.

There are three Battle Born LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Batteries in our camper for a total of 300Ah. Enough to run my coffee gear, Kait’s multi-cooker, our laptops and smart phones, a two-way fridge and more through a 2000 watt inverter.

The Manager30 by REDARC Electronics is a 30A battery management system that handles the charge of the three lithium batteries. This system has multiple functions including an MPPT solar regulator.

Two 160 watt semi-flexible solar panels charge the batteries when the sun is out and a secondary alternator on the F350 charges the batteries when we’re driving.

Our FWC Hawk Modifications


Below are the modifications we’ve made so far to our Four Wheel Camper Hawk flatbed. I’ll try to update this section as we make more changes to the camper.

  • Permanent gray tank. I made a 3 gallon gray tank that mounts to the chassis of the truck to catch the gray water from the kitchen sink. We have the collapsable gray tank bag, but this permanent solution makes it more convenient to live out of our truck camper full time.
  • Seal around inside shower and toilet. I added extra seal around the edges of the inside shower and toilet area to prevent water from seeping through any cracks.
  • Self-Leveling lap sealant added to all the screws on the roof. After a leak in the roof, I removed all the screws in the roof and replaced them with new screws and lap sealant.
  • Truma AquaGo on demand hot water system. We replaced the factory 6 gallon hot water heater with this instant hot water heater by Truma. Although we lost the extra 6 gallon water capacity in the camper, we still have the 11 gallon auxiliary water tank in the Norweld tray.
Photo credit: Truma
  • Truma VarioHeat. This lightweight and compact propane heater replaced the factory furnace in our camper. It is ducted in three places throughout the camper for better heat distribution. Kait’s favorite duct is the one next to the bed by her feet. If you’re interested in the Truma upgrades, contact Mule Expedition Outfitters.
Photo credit: Truma
  • Maxxair 6200K. The MaxxFan Ventillation fan with smoke lid has 10 speeds. The lowest speed is whisper quiet compared to the factory vent that came with our Four Wheel Camper. One feature we love is the smoke lid which allows us to run the fan in the rain and high winds. There is a version of this Maxxair vent with a remote control which costs more than the version we bought.
  • Custom mattress. We ordered a custom mattress from Mattress Insider to replace the one that came with our FWC. It is extremely comfortable and fits well as we were able to provide exact measurements over the phone. Our custom mattress is 5 and 1/2 inches thick which allows enough room for us to latch the roof on our FWC Hawk flatbed. Since everyone has different mattress preferences, we really liked the idea of being able to customize the thickness and the material for the mattress. Our custom mattress is made up of 1 inch gel foam and 4 and 1/2 inches high density foam with a firmness level of 6.

Accessories for Our Four Wheel Camper

These are a few of the essential accessories we have for our Four Wheel Camper. For the complete list, head over to essential camping gadgets.

  • 5 Feet Propane Adapter Hose. This adapter allows us to use camping grills and small BBQs with our onboard propane tanks instead of the small 1 pound propane bottles that they typically use.
  • Push button lights. Kait placed battery operated push button lights in different cabinets and compartments so we can better see the items inside. We use the one for our under bed storage compartment regularly.
  • L-Tracks and Single Stud Fittings. I installed aluminum l-tracks around the camper to keep things secure while we’re driving down the road.
  • Roof Vent Fan Insulated Covers. These roof vent covers are held on by magnets and easy to install. Each one can also be folded to allow airflow when the vent is open or when the fan is running. It’s also great for blocking out the early morning sunlight.
  • Element Fire Extinguisher. The E50 Professional is mounted on the ceiling towards the middle of the camper for easy access. We can grab it while in bed or in the kitchen should we need to put out a fire.

Truck Camper Life

Kait and I are sharing what life is like living out of our Four Wheel Camper on YouTube. Videos include why we decided to buy a flatbed truck camper over a Class B camper van and the ins and outs of truck camper life.


Four Wheel Camper Resources

These are some of the helpful resources we found during our research. Definitely check them out whether you’re considering a FWC or already own one.

Facebook Page for Four Wheel Camper Owners

Wander the West Four Wheel Camper Discussion

Truck Camper Adventure FWC Articles

Truck Camper Magazine FWC Articles

Overland Rallys & Shows to See the Latest FWC

This post is all about the pop-up camper we picked for our overland truck camper build. Learn more about the 2000 Ford F350 7.3 Powerstroke

2000 7.3 powerstroke Ford F350

Thinking of getting a Small Class C RV? Check out our list of the Best Class C RV Manufacturers.

Leave a Comment

39 thoughts on “Four Wheel Camper Hawk Flatbed – Our Overland Truck Camper”

  1. Hi, we love your video and your channel? We have ordered a Hawk camper and it will be ready next year beginning August. You mentioned that you modified the heater. Could you post pictures or a video showing the heater and how the ducts were installed?
    Thank you,
    Mayra

    Reply
  2. How is your internet when living in a pop-up camper and how are you set up for the system for the internet and is it costly?

    Reply
  3. Thank you for this thorough blog about your camper! Question in regard to the Maxx Air fan you have. Were you able to upgrade to the Deluxe version through FWCs or did you have to install the Deluxe fan yourself? Thanks again! We really enjoy your YouTube channel and blog!

    Reply
    • Joe installed the Maxxair himself with a tall ladder that we borrowed. The difficulty with the FWC is that you can’t walk on the roof, so it’s a bit cumbersome when trying to get the old fan out and new one in.

      Reply
  4. Hi Joe and Kait,
    Thanks for the great content. I was wondering, how did you route your sink to your permanent gray water tank?
    Thanks!
    Greg

    Reply
  5. Hi Joe,

    In regards to your comment about wishing to bring warmer air into your battery box you may wish to consider something like the Airplate A1 by AC Infinity. It is a USB powered cabinet fan designed to cool audio cabinets.

    I used one of these to draw warmer air in the living space of my van into the enclosure under my dinette seat (you can reverse the wires on the motor to draw air in versus expelling air). This keeps this enclosure warmer and prevents the water lines, in the floor under the enclosure, from freezing. I used an inexpensive 12volt to USB adapter to supply power to the Airplate A1. Works great and it comes with an inline switch so you can power the fan off when it is not required.

    Reply
  6. Hey guys,
    we’ve followed you for some time but don’t recall if any of your videos address our question, which is….now that you’ve been in the full size truck rig for some time, has there been areas you haven’t been able to access due to size? Do you ever wish you had a smaller/nimbler rig? We are asking because we are about to embark on exactly the same style rig as you and, although we have no intention of crazy 4×4, we do want to get to those isolated far away places throughout AZ, NV, CA and CO. We don’t need to get “everywhere” but we also don’t want to be super limited as well, otherwise, what’s the point of having such a killer set up ;)? Also, has the size of your rig ever bothered you in inner cities? Thanks in advance 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Clint – Since we live in this full-time, we wouldn’t want our rig to be any smaller. If we were just doing this on a part time basis, we’d probably consider something smaller but our size hasn’t hindered us at all. I think if we did find some places where our size prohibited us from going, we probably wouldn’t want to go down that trail anyway. We don’t have any issues in inner cities and can park virtually anywhere, minus parking garages. We’re no larger than a full-size pick up and you see them everywhere.

      Reply
  7. Can you comment on the height of your rig as setup? Love the layout of the flatbed models, but it looks like with tire size and the tray height, it may be taller than our garage height of 94”. Also looking at the Fleet flatbed model that seems to be around 5” narrower and 5” shorter but much more limited on payload and capability with possible mid size truck combinations.
    Jeff

    Reply
    • We’re about 9-9.5′ tall, but it’s going to be different for each truck because of how it’s set up with suspension, etc. The slide in models sit significantly lower than the flatbeds so you might want to look at a Hawk or Grandby slide in.

      Reply
  8. I love your Four Wheel Flatbed build. I was wondering if it would fit on a 1st Gen 2006 Toyota Tundra Longbed (6.0′)
    Thanks
    Rob

    Reply
    • Hi Rob – the short answer is, yes it can and people have done it. The longer answer is that a Tundra is not designed to carry that much weight and you would be way over the GVWR of the vehicle. The flatbed and camper will add about 2,000 lbs of weight. Then consider a full tank of water, all of your clothes, gear, etc plus your weight and anyone you bring with you and that will add another 1,000 lbs or so. Those who have been successful putting these on Tundras have done a LOT of suspension work for it to carry the load, however that doesn’t take into consideration things like the wheel bearings, driveline, etc that are not spec’d for that amount of load. We’ve also spoken to a few dealers who will not install the flatbed on the Tundra due to liability issues because again, once the camper is on the truck it’s grossly overweight.

      Reply
  9. Very good. Glad you explained the flatbed details. I don’t see many pickups with flatbeds on the market. Would a stake bed with wood deck work?
    The roads in Central America eat suspensions for breakfast.

    Reply
    • Robert – most people purchase flat beds specifically for these types of campers. One of the most popular and the option we went with is the Norweld Weekender Deluxe. I would suggest contacting Four Wheel Campers directly to ask about which different bed will work and which won’t. My suggestion is that you consider staying away from a stake bed. They tend to be made out of steel and are extremely heavy. An aluminum bed is a better option and to your point about the suspension, it helps reduce the amount of weight the suspension is having to deal with when going down rough roads.

      Reply
  10. Hi again Kait & Joe,

    Above in this blog you mention that you replaced your 6 gal FWC default hot water heater for the Truma AquaGo.

    Could you share more as to why you went this route over the other. Pros and Cons of each?

    — BTW: I was surprised your blog doesn’t include a “Build” section, along with your “What’s New” and “Lifestyle” sections. My wife and I are in the planning stages of an early retirement solution and your content has proved quite valuable. However, as we’re faced with making build decisions (ie. do we spend 2k on double battleborn LiPO4 batteries) I really value your first hand experience with your build set up the most. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi Dan,

      The 6 gal water heater worked well but it was very inefficient. It used quite a bit of propane and every time you want hot water, you have to turn the unit on and wait 20-30 minutes before you get any hot water. You also waste a lot of propane heating 6 gallons of water if you only need 1, for example. The AguaGo is much more efficient plus it’s on-demand so no more waiting for the unit to heat 6 gallons of water before you can use it.

      Reply
  11. The condensation you’ve experienced inside of the camper. Have you found a solution for this? Does leaving a fan on “exhaust” help with the air exchanges and alleviate condensation from building up? Thanks.

    Reply
  12. I noticed from your earlier videos that you purchased the Aluminum Accordion Scissor Steps, however your later videos show you using primarily the Norweld stirrup step.

    What led to the decision to change and do you still haul around the 5-step with you or just have it in storage?

    Reply
  13. Thank you so much for making such useful videos and your genuine sharing. I enjoy watching a great deal. What is the cost if I want the exact fittings of Hawk as the one you have?? Exclude the truck cost as I plan to buy a new truck. Cheers

    Reply
  14. I love this article and have seen all of your videos on the Hawk. I saw another video by someone else listing out good 4×4 truck campers. Their though was that the Hawk was built to RV standards and not really designed for true 4X4 use. Please let me know your thoughts on how solid your Hawk has been so far for true 4X4 Use. I really appreciate your guidance – my heart is set on the Hawk but I am really at a loss for how to find a RELIABLE and S America friendly truck to haul it with. Any guidance on that is super appreciated!!!

    Reply
    • Hi Sue – the FWC Hawk has been great and seems to be well suited for off-road use. We’re still breaking it in so time will tell. We found our truck on Expedition Portal (it was also listed on Craigslist). If you’re curious about which trucks are reliable, first research different brands and then start looking for the most engine they made. Any truck (new or used) can have problems regardless of how reliable people say it is. If you can accept this and be prepared for problems, then if/when they happen it will be much less stressful (and sometimes even fun).

      Reply
  15. I may have missed this on your site/in yourvideos, but why did you go with the Ford F350 rather than a F250?

    I know the towing weight is considerably more on the former, though I don’t know if it’s necessary in order to be able to haul the weight of the FWC (and a motorcycle which I believe you mentioned).

    Reply
    • Since we knew we’d be carrying a load full time, we wanted the most amount of truck possible without getting a dually – hence the F350. There’s little to no price difference between on used 250 and 350s so it made sense to opt for the truck with more capability.

      Reply
      • Thank you for the reply. I know the Tacoma needs to have its factory suspension beefed up before a FWC install; did you have to do anything to the F350’s, or was it good to go, given its high tow capacity?

        Reply
  16. What was the trade-off for you guys that pushed you to a truck camper vs an equally off road capable class b such as the Storyteller, Outside Van, or a few others you reviewed or had the opportunity to trial?

    We are currently in a Revel which we like, but traveling with dogs the floorpan isn’t optimal so we just put down an initial deposit on an OSV, but probably won’t get it for another 10-12 months. For us, we just couldn’t give up so much real estate to a fixed closet/shower. I like the shower system you guys have in the truck camper and something similar is on our design list with OSV.

    We are planning a trip up to Oregon in a few weeks to finalize things and appreciate all the info on Bend, OR in particular since that is a city we have never visited and plan on spending some time in on the way up.

    all the best,

    Will

    Reply
    • Hi Will,

      A big consideration for us is that we didn’t want a modern diesel. We plan to go into Central and South America and most places don’t have the Ultra low Sulfur diesel that the Mercedes requires. Also, the truck is far more off-road capable than the Sprinter or Transit with an actual frame rather than the unibody construction of newer vans and there are many more upgrades available for it to make it even more capable. Sportsmobile with the new “Classic” on the Ford E-Series platform was a serious consideration but it was well out of our budget.

      Reply

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