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In January 2020, Kait and I took delivery of our Four Wheel Campers Flatbed Hawk pop-up camper and in this post I will share a detailed build list of our Hawk flatbed camper, all the modifications we made along with a review after two years of living in it full-time.
Four Wheel Campers Flatbed Hawk
Let’s start off with the basics of our Four Wheel Campers Flatbed Hawk build by answering some of the most popular questions we get.
How much does a Four Wheel Camper weigh? Our Hawk flatbed camper had a dry weight of 1,640 lbs from the factory with the options we selected, which are listed under the build specs.
Do Four Wheel Campers have a bathroom? Yes, we built our FWC Hawk flatbed with an indoor toilet, indoor shower and an outdoor shower.
Where are Four Wheel Campers manufactured? They are manufactured in Woodland, California.
Do Four Wheel Campers have air conditioning? Some Four Wheel Camper models offer air condition as an option. When we ordered our Hawk Flatbed camper, air condition was not an option on the Flatbed model.
What year is your truck? We mounted the pop-up camper on a 2000 Ford F350 Super Duty. Check out our 7.3 Powerstroke article for all the specs and details of the truck.
Watch this full walk-through video of our Four Wheel Campers Flatbed Hawk filmed shortly after we took delivery to get a better idea of our camper build. Keep reading for the complete list of build specs and modifications we made over the two years we lived out of this pop-up truck camper.
Build Specs: Hawk Flatbed Camper
Kait and I went back and forth on quite a few options before we placed our order. In this section I’ll list all the options we picked for our Hawk flatbed camper and what we would do differently if we ordered another one.
Hawk Flatbed Camper Options:
- Model: Hawk_FB
- Siding Color: Silver Spur
- Fabric: Gatlinburg Mesa
- Jack Bracket – Aluminum Upgrade
- 2-Way Refrigerator/Freezer – 85 liter
- Forced Air Furnace w/ Thermostat
- DSI 6 Gallon Water Heater w/ Outside Shower
- Powered RV Vent Fan
- Extra Roof Vent
- 8′ Side Awning Fiamma F45S
- Yakima “Tracks Only” Installed on Roof
- Side Wall Steps
- 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
- Portable solar panel
- 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.
Lithium Battery System
One of our must have requirements for the Four Wheel Campers Flatbed Hawk build was a lithium battery system that could power all our electronic devices daily and be able to recharge those batteries without having to plug into shore power.
The lithium battery system option installed in our Hawk flatbed camper gave us that ability. There are three Battle Born LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Batteries for a total of 300Ah. Enough to run my coffee gear, Kait’s multi-cooker, our laptops, 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 management system has multiple functions including an MPPT solar regulator.
The two 160 watt semi-flexible solar panels mounted on the roof charge the batteries when the sun is out and a secondary alternator on the truck charges the batteries while driving. The portable solar panel came in handy on partly cloudy days or when the roof mounted solar panels on the camper were covered by shade.
Order and Install Process
Mike Olds was our sales contact at Four Wheel Campers. 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 Four Wheel Campers Flatbed Hawk.
Since we ordered a Hawk flatbed camper, it took a week for the installation at the Four Wheel Camper factory in Woodland, California. We dropped off our truck on Monday morning and picked up the completed truck camper mid-day on Friday. In that time, they removed the steel flatbed on our truck, installed the 7′ Norweld Weekender tray with boxes, mounted the Hawk Flatbed camper and gave us a full walk-through.
Below is a video of the install and build process of our Hawk flatbed truck camper.
Below is a list of the modifications we made to our Four Wheel Campers Flatbed Hawk over the two years we lived out of it. Some of our favorite truck camper upgrades are highlighted in the video below.
- Permanent gray tank. I made a 3 gallon gray tank that mounted 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 a lightweight flatbed truck camper full time.
- Seal around inside shower and toilet. I added extra all purpose silicone sealant around the edges of the inside shower and toilet area to prevent water from seeping through any cracks.
- Portable toilet. Instead of ordering a built in cassette toilet, I installed this portable toilet using a mounting plate in the same location.
- 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. Watch the video of our roof leak and repair.
- 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.
- 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. Mule Expedition Outfitters did the Truma upgrades on our Hawk flatbed camper.
- 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. Watch our video review of the Maxxair vent fan or check out our post on RV roof vent fans.
- Custom mattress. We ordered a custom mattress from Mattress Insider to replace the one that came with our Four Wheel Campers Flatbed Hawk. 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. 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 Hawk Flatbed Camper
These are some of the essential accessories we used in our Hawk Flatbed camper. Check out our full list of essential camping gadgets for more.
- Water Purification System. Access to clean drinking water is important when filling up from various water sources on the road. We use an inline water filter along with a gravity fed water purification system. To learn more, check out our post on RV water filtration systems.
- 5 Foot Propane Adapter Hose. This adapter allows us to use camping grills and small BBQs with the onboard propane tanks instead of using the 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.
- Portable dehumidifier. To help control the dampness and humidity inside the camper, we sometimes run a small and quiet dehumidifier at night.
- 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 fire extinguisher is mounted to the ceiling of our Hawk Flatbed camper towards the middle for easy access. We can grab it while in bed or in the kitchen should we need to put out a fire.
- External Trash Bag. Overland Gear Guy makes a variety of sturdy exterior bags that can be hung on the outside of the camper. We secured the Pack It Out Bag to the rear rack and it’s great for holding aluminum cans and other items.
- Counter Top Organizers. We worked with Rob at Overland Gear Guy to design a set of kitchen organizers that work with the velcro on the thermal pack. Now we can keep all our kitchen items on the counter without having to put it away when we drive.
- Awning Extension. One of our favorite accessories for the camper is the Fiamma awning extension made by Dragon Fly Tarps. This tarp easily attaches to the rail on the awning and provides additional sun production when we’re sitting outside.
- Cell Signal Booster. Since we work while traveling and require internet access, there are times when we need to boost the cell signal. We’ve had the weBoost cell phone signal booster for several years and it has saved us from having to break camp in the national forest to drive into town for better cell service. Learn more about staying connected while traveling by checking out our Guide on Internet for RVers.
What It’s Like to Travel in a Four Wheel Campers Flatbed Hawk
Kait and I created a series of videos sharing what life is like living out of a Hawk Flatbed camper. Videos include what it’s like living out of a truck camper full time, exploring national parks, going on group trips (including one of our favorites to Baja California), and some of the ins and outs of truck camper life.
Rent One Before You Buy One
We considered quite a few options before we made the decision to buy a Four Wheel Campers Hawk flatbed.
Getting to take a Four Wheel Campers rental truck camper out for a spin helped us make the decision. Whether you are considering a truck camper or another type of RV, 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 various Class B camper vans, and then two years of living full time out of a pop-up 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.
Resources for Four Wheel Campers Owners and Researchers
These are some of the helpful resources we found during our research of Four Wheel Campers. Some of these also offer a great way to meet other Four Wheel Camper owners and learn from each other’s experiences.
- Facebook Page for Four Wheel Camper Owners
- Wander the West Four Wheel Camper Discussion
- Truck Camper Adventure Four Wheel Campers Articles
- Truck Camper Magazine Four Wheel Campers Articles
- Tour a Four Wheel Campers Flatbed Hawk and meet owners at one of these Overland Rallys & Shows
2 Years Later: Our Four Wheel Campers Review
After living out of our Four Wheel Campers Flatbed Hawk for two years we filmed a video review of the pros and cons. Watch the video for all the details.
Whether you already own a Hawk flatbed camper or doing research for a future camper build, I hope you found this post helpful! Want to discuss your camper build with us or want to pick our brains about truck camper life? Learn more about booking a 60 minute call with us.
47 thoughts on “Four Wheel Campers Flatbed Hawk Build Specs and Review”
I am in the process of installing a 7′ Norweld bed on my 2000 F350. I am having some issues with 4WC about what brackets to use between the bed and the frame. Can you tell me how many of and what brackets you installed to the frame? Can you also tell me if they installed spacers between any of the brackets and the frame? My bed came with 5 brackets, 2x have “H1” machined into them and 3x have “H2” into them. 4WC does not know what to do on the 1999-2016 trucks. If you have pictures that would be great as well. Thank You for your help in advance. Sherman
Hi Sherman – FWC in Woodland installed the flatbed. I do know that Norweld was coming out with a new version of the bed so maybe that’s what you have and why FWC can’t help you. That said, our bed has three mounting brackets installed. One in the middle, behind the rear axle and then one both front and rear. The front and rear brackets have 2 spacers installed between them and the frame. My suggestion if you’re still having problems is to contact Norweld who would be the best option to help you.
I have a Hawk Flatbed on a Ram 3500 Turbo Diesel. I have been watching you to on YouTube before you got your Hawk. Love upgrades you did. The one think I can’t find is the storage system you put above your counter/sink area? If you could give the brand/name that would be GREAT.
The countertop organize is this one made by Overland Gear Guy.
Love your set up. I pull a off-road trailer with my 2001 7.3l, love that truck. My question to you, is about the gear vender you’re running in Leo. What are the pros and cons please share. I’m considering purchasing one for my truck. Love your videos keep them coming.
The con is that there’s another thing to go wrong. Pros are having extra gears and potential to improve mpg. You can read more about the GV here: https://www.gearvendors.com/index.html
Hello Kait and Joe! :0) Do you have any tips on dealing with mice while overlanding? Thanks! We really appreciate your YouTube videos and your website!
We’ve never had an issue with mice so I can’t give any advice.
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?
Hi Mayra – we didn’t do the work ourselves, it was done by https://dasmule.com/
I would suggest giving them a call and asking about the heater the Russos have.
Hello Kait and Joe! :0) What type of recovery jack do you carry? Where do you keep it? Thank you in advance!
We carry an 8 ton bottle Jack and some planks to sit it up higher if needed. We just store that in the back seat.
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?
Hey Lawrence – this article will walk you through what we do and some of the options out there for mobile internet: https://weretherussos.com/internet-for-rv/
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!
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.
Hi Joe and Kait,
Thanks for the great content. I was wondering, how did you route your sink to your permanent gray water tank?
Hi Greg, we took the drain line and ran it through a hole drilled in the bottom of the camper and the flatbed.
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.
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 🙂
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.
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.
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.
I love your Four Wheel Flatbed build. I was wondering if it would fit on a 1st Gen 2006 Toyota Tundra Longbed (6.0′)
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.
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.
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.
I noticed you picked up your FWC with Redarc already installed.
Did FWC do the install? If not, who?
The Redarc Manager30 was installed by FWC in Woodland, CA.
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.
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.
Hi, can you tell me where you bought your hook step from, that you use to step up into your camper.
We ordered the Norweld clip on step from Four Wheel Campers. You may also be able to get it from Mule Expedition Outfitters.
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.
Hi Dan, we’re still figuring out ways to deal with the condensation. Running the fan on low definitely helps and we have the portable dehumidifier.
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?
We no longer use the scissor steps and gave it to a friend to repurpose for his rig. For us, it was too much work to setup, heavy and took up valuable space.
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
Hey Yus, the pricing for the options have changed since we bought our camper. You can price it out using the builder tool on Four Wheel Camper’s website for the latest cost.
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!!!
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).
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).
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.
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?
Hi Tristan – the F350s suspension is adequate for the FWC but we’ve decided to beef it up a bit because of the type of off-road travel we do.
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,
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.