Whoever designed the first Four Wheel Camper Hawk was a genius. First introduced in the late 1970s, thousands of Four Wheel Camper Hawks have been sold over the years. Today, it’s still the company’s best selling truck camper. As a matter of fact, more Hawks were sold in 2021 than in any other year. With a floor length of 6.5 feet and a dry weight of only 1,075 pounds, it’s easy to see why the pop-up camper still holds the top spot—any full-size, short-bed truck can carry it, including America’s most popular vehicle, the Ford F150. But the camper has a lot more going for it than just size and weight. To learn more about what makes this camper is so popular, we spoke with Four Wheel Camper VP, Dan Welty.
2021 was a record-setting year for RV sales. What were the top three selling truck campers at Four Wheel Campers?
Dan Welty: Our highest selling model is the Hawk, in our slide-in platform product line. The vast majority of the truck population is a full-size with a 6.5 bed length. It follows that our Hawk model is compatible with this truck type. Our second highest volume model is the Fleet, in our slide-in platform product line. The Fleet is compatible with the Tacoma, Ranger, Colorado, Canyon, and Frontier mid-size trucks with the 6.5 bed. Again, the population of these trucks is high and leads to correspondingly high camper sales. Our third most popular model is the Project M topper platform. It’s dimensions vary to be compatible with about 85 percent of trucks. The Project M topper platform was introduced in Fall, 2019 and is really gaining in popularity.
What in your opinion makes the FWC Hawk such a popular little camper?
Dan Welty: As mentioned above, the Hawk is compatible with the vast number of trucks sold. As a matter of fact, there are more half-ton truck on today’s streets than any other type of pickup. People can meet their personal interior space needs by selecting from three distinct Hawk floorplans. The Hawk and a truck with a 6.5 bed-size find middle ground in terms of interior camper space and the overall truck length and maneuverability.
The Hawk, like our other campers, is built with aluminum-welded frames. The frames flex slightly when traveling over challenging terrain. This design and construction translates into Four Wheel Campers longevity of 30+ years. We began in 1972 and there are campers 40+ years old in use.
Lastly, as with all of our models, we offer Hawk owners the ability to order new upholstery, cabinetry, and other parts and materials. Owners of 20+ year old campers often have us refurbish their roofs as well. This facilitates generations of camper use and fun adventures!
Are there any upgrades or changes planned for 2022?
Dan Welty: Over the last two years, since we introduced the Project M topper camper platform, three factors have slowed new product development. Yes, the combination of COVID, a move to a new facility, and supply chain challenges have translated into a reduction in new products. That said, a key development has been the integration of lithium batteries and enhanced power management systems on a range of truck camper models. Though we are still in the grip of COVID and supply chain dysfunction, we are targeting 2022 for adding products compatible with the Jeep Gladiator, Maverick, Rivian, Lightning, and other new truck entries. Sales of these trucks will guide our product rollout priorities.
Which colors and textures do you now offer for the exterior?
Dan Welty: Camper exteriors are aluminum and come in three textures and nine colors. Textures include smooth, a corrugated look, and diamond plate. Colors include white, black, red, gray, metallic gray, khaki, and two silvers.
Which fabrics and cabinet finishes do you offer for the interior?
Dan Welty: We provide our customers with numerous options, including 15 fabrics and three cabinet finishes (gray, natural, and cherry). Camper interiors include three cabinetry styles, including gray, natural, and cherry. All fabrics are selected to meet high abrasion and overall durability standards. You can see each fabric applied in a camper on our website. Clicking on the fabric type icon will present that specific fabric within the camper.
You offer several floorplans (roll over, shell, side dinette, front dinette) for the Hawk. Which of the four is the most popular?
Dan Welty: The side dinette floorplan is the most popular upgrade. It accommodates dining for two people and is positioned in front of a very large window, offering a great view to the outdoors. The starting price for the roll over couch floorplan is $23,495. The popular side dinette upgrade costs an extra $1,050, while the front dinette upgrade is an extra $2,125. The basic shell model is only $14,995.
Which make of electric jacks do you go with?
Dan Welty: We use Rieco Titan jacks. They are excellent jacks. Using a cordless drill, one can apply or remove the camper to the truck in about 20 minutes.
What are the holding tank sizes of the Hawk? What about propane?
Dan Welty: Our slide-in and flatbed campers offer 20 gallons of fresh water and two, easy to carry 2.5 gallon propane tanks. Gray water is released via a hose and fills a collapsible, ground based container.
Why doesn’t Four Wheel Campers offer a grey water waste tank as an option?
Dan Welty: We have opted to not have a fixed gray water tank as it compromises camper interior space and storage capacity.
What options do you offer for lithium batteries and solar?
Dan Welty: As an optional replacement for our AGM batteries, Four Wheel Campers now offers up to three Battle Born lithium batteries, depending upon the camper type. The Hawk model, for example, can accommodate one or two lithium batteries depending upon the floorplan. Current lithium batteries are 100 amp hours, but are expected to increase to 135 amp hours at some point during the summer. One or two rooftop 160 watt solar panels are available based on camper type roof size. On the back of some camper platforms, including the Hawk model, we also offer a plugin for a portable 130 watt solar panel. This handy, fold-up solar panel can be hung on the camper, a tree, etc., and can be shifted around as the sun moves.
What are your most popular options?
Dan Welty: The most selected options and accessories are the furnace, stove, and rooftop solar panels. Other popular items include a hot/cold sink, outside hot/cold shower, and Yakima rack system for kayaks, sups, storage boxes, etc.
What is the maximum sleeping capacity for families?
Dan Welty: The Hawk model sleeps three to four adults, depending upon the floorplan. More broadly, the slide-in camper platform for full-size trucks sleeps two to four adults. The slide-in camper for mid-size trucks sleeps two to three adults, while the flatbed platform for full and mid-sized trucks sleeps two to three adults.
We love the Four Wheel Camper Hawk. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about the camper?
Dan Welty: The camper is insanely rugged. Based on similar structural designs and materials, the Hawk’s light weight and low profile minimizes truck stress and maximizes fuel efficiency. And for the campers, the queen- and king-size beds offer comfort and enable most people to sleep in width and length directions. The wide breath of camper platform styles, and a deep menu of accessories and options, ensures that owners find the right camper to meet their adventure and pricing preferences. It’s our best selling camper for a reason.