A Trip to Remember – 6 Weeks in a Four Wheel Camper Flatbed Hawk – Truck Camper Adventure
Six weeks of dirt, dust and dog food has been cleaned from our camper. We brought home enough of the Southwest, Midwest and Utah to amend a garden. It was a very successful and memorable trip. We saw some incredible sights and were able to connect with family and friends, while comfortably traveling in our new Four Wheel Camper Hawk Flatbed. We even learned a few things about our camper that made us very pleased with our decision to build out a flatbed. But first, let’s wind the clock back.
For six years, my wife Gretchen and I enjoyed our beloved Toyota Tacoma equipped with a Four Wheel Camper Fleet. It was nimble and reliable and provided cooking and sleeping comfort from the northern reaches of Canada to countless trips in Baja Mexico. We had our routine and could setup camp in minutes. When our friends were still leveling their trailers we were drinking margaritas. Most importantly, we could get into places where most rigs could not. When we wanted to bring kayaks and motorcycles, we simply hitched up our “Baja Buggy.” Once retired, our trips grew in length and duration. What we needed was more elbow room in the truck cab and camper without compromising off-road capability.When we started outlining requirements for our next rig, the Four Wheel Camper Flatbed Hawk was a natural choice. After a visit to the factory, the team at Mule Outfitters submitted our order and a COVID year quickly turned into project time.
Although there are several very good truck platforms available, we opted for a Dodge Ram 3500 Cummins diesel for two primary reasons: payload capacity and power. The inherent payload of a one ton truck required only minor suspension modifications—just a 2-inch front lift and airbags to help level heavier loads. Keep it simple, durable and standard. (I have seen too many custom rigs, broken and waiting weeks for a custom part in a remote Mexican town.) We fitted our new Ram with 35-inch BF Goodrich Ko2 tires on Method wheels, Westin rock sliders and a Proline front bumper with an integrated Warn 12,000-pound Zeon Winch. Mule Outfitters helped us sell our stock bed and subsequently installed a Norweld Aluminum Flatbed. The under-tray boxes were a “must have” but we opted not to get the rear sliding storage compartment. This allowed the tray to sit lower on the truck frame and reduce the camper entry height by about 5 inches. We did add a custom designed rear bumper to make the spare tire more accessible and provide some rear end collision protection. A custom rear rack was also added to hold traction boards, shovel, trash bag and extra fuel. Both of these items were [again] fabricated by the talented team at Proline in Prineville, Oregon. A Baja Designs light bar up front and floods in the rear were installed to help with late evening travel and camp setup. GPS systems along with VHF/HF ham radio communications completed the cab. (All of this work was done while our Four Wheel Camper Hawk was on order).
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