A Hawk in the Arctic

Motafinga

Adventurer
Having an Alaskan myself I can vouch for it's worthiness in cold weather, it does gather some condensation on the windows however. If I could find a dual pane option that would probably help a ton. While it's certainly heavier than a FWC Hawk it's weight is no issue in a 3/4 ton truck, we even run a utility bed and haul motorbikes and the truck does great.
We do run a refletix tarp under the mattress that helps alot with keeping the bed warm and dry https://www.rei.com/product/407106/space-all-weather-blanket

We did a few weeks in the pac nw including Vancouver Island, it rained most of the time and the camper did awesome in the wet
 

sg1

Adventurer
To answer a few questions: We use a Propex forced air heater and it works well. When we heated we tried to stay between 60 and 65 . At night we opened our roof hatches a little, about an inch. When cooking we ran the fantastic fan to suck moist air out. Every morning we wiped every surface we could reach with a towel. You can not get behind the front or rear panels though. Before folding down the roof we aired the camper for about an hour by opening all the windows. This only helped a little because for the first almost 3 weeks it was raining almost daily and sometimes for hours. Everything was really moist and the camper didn't have a chance to dry out. I must admit these were unusual weather conditions even for this part of the world.
First priority for me is to make sure that the mattress stays dry. I will therefore put an airspace between the mattress and the cabover floor and the frame surrounding the mattress. How I don't know yet. If I find something suitable I will put insulation under the cabover floor. Because of the lack of space I can not both provide for airspace under the mattress and put insulation inside the cabover. Second priority is to keep the ceiling dry. A lot of condensation accumulates on the hinges of the front panel and on those wooden strips on the ceiling and, I am sure inside the roof. I will have to find a solution for that because that is where mold grew and it touches the bedding with the roof down.
If only FWC had put even only half an inch of closed cell foam between the headliner and the aluminum frame in the roof. This would serve as a vapor barrier and would greatly reduce the risk of condensation developing on the cold frame and inside the roof.
It is so frustrating. A little more attention by FWC to these issues and the problems could be significantly reduced.
Stefan
 

NRVhawk

New member
Stefan,

Some solutions to enhancing ventilation under the mattress that I've seen mentioned in other forums include HyperVent (a spun polymer mat originally developed for foundation ventilation, see hyperventmarine.com), dri-dek panels, Froli springs (frolisleepsystems.com), and wood slats. I plan to give HyperVent a try in my Hawk later this fall. As the Hypervent needs to be open to air at the sides, I plan to pull out the bed extension slider a couple of inches and then pull the mattress out an inch or so so that the HyperVent will have access to air along the two long sides of the mattress. Should be interesting to see if it works well.

- Rusty
 

Regcabguy

Expedition Leader
Why not check into northstar truck campers. They have a pop top and have a 4 season package like some other truck camper and are made very well. I love my hawk but it's not made for that from my searching and reading for years. And there's a few other that can build you what you want . Good luck I'm sure you could sell it
My friend just scored a TC800 shortbed model for $4k in excellent shape. It had been garaged when not in use.
 
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R3D2

Observer
I had similar findings with a FWC Hawk in wet and cold weather here in the northeast. I tried reflectix under the mattress etc. we caved, sold it and moved to a full hard side Bigfoot and a dually. It's big and heavy but I'm not wiping walls all the time anymore and we can travel for a month comfortably. Not many options for you without changing trucks unfortunately. Northern lite 6-10 maybe but they're hard to find.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

NRVhawk

New member
An alternative to HyperVent for under mattress ventilation might be rigid polyester air filter media, which can be bought in rolls for half the price of HyperVent (see McMaster-Carr).
 

Clutch

<---Pass
It is so frustrating. A little more attention by FWC to these issues and the problems could be significantly reduced.
Stefan
For the cost of them, you would think it would be a little better. Since I moved to this corner of the world a couple years ago. I was wondering how they handled the PNW, Canada and Alaska.
 

sourdough

Adventurer
I found the only way to lesson the condensate problem was to use the heater less. 3 season use only. Even below 32 degrees I slept with the heater off. I only flipped it on just to knock the chill off when getting up and dressing. I had the Froli springs under the mattress but not for ventilation, without them the bed was unbearable.
 

elmo_4_vt

Explorer
We've only had ours since earlier this year, but wiping down the inside walls before closing up is part of the normal procedure in damp weather or when it's colder than 40. We've timed it, and it takes about 5 minutes extra. With anything, it's a trade-off, and we pretty much knew it would happen based on other reviews on-line before we bought. The one benefit we have with our flatbed is full under-bed storage, which means that there is no condensation under the mattress because of the extra space/insulation, so we can't help there. That feature will be coming on future slide in models according to FWC. For us, it was worth it for the reduced weight and other well-known benefits of a pop-up camper.

Don

-
 
An alternative to an Alaskan is Hallmark. With the composite construction, there are no aluminum framing members to transmit the cold through the exterior walls. The overall design is a little different with the size being larger overall, although a comparably equipped camper would not weigh that much more. There is under bed storage which contributes to a little more insulation for the mattress.

We live in the Seattle area so understand damp and have had no problems (so far) with condensation. Granted we haven't had the pleasure of spending multiple days in dumping rain while out in it, but so far we haven't seen any condensation, even camped in temps in the teens.
 

Clutch

<---Pass
An alternative to an Alaskan is Hallmark. With the composite construction, there are no aluminum framing members to transmit the cold through the exterior walls. The overall design is a little different with the size being larger overall, although a comparably equipped camper would not weigh that much more. There is under bed storage which contributes to a little more insulation for the mattress.

We live in the Seattle area so understand damp and have had no problems (so far) with condensation. Granted we haven't had the pleasure of spending multiple days in dumping rain while out in it, but so far we haven't seen any condensation, even camped in temps in the teens.
I have been looking at Alaskans...seems like a whole other can worms with their all wood construction. Most of the used ones I have looked at have some form of water damage.

Thought it might be better to start off with an refrigerated truck or van, then cut a door and windows into it.
 

Clutch

<---Pass
I found the only way to lesson the condensate problem was to use the heater less. 3 season use only. Even below 32 degrees I slept with the heater off. I only flipped it on just to knock the chill off when getting up and dressing. I had the Froli springs under the mattress but not for ventilation, without them the bed was unbearable.
Isn't that whole point of a camper though....being comfortable, and not freezing your bearings off? If you can't run the heater, might as well tent camp.
 

Roger M.

Adventurer
With high-tech new sandwich composites coming to market as quickly as they currently are, and in the process becoming more and more affordable to use in RV construction, I think the concept of a completely uninsulated RV likely isn't sustainable in the long term.
When you introduce altitude into the equation, cold weather (and thus condensation issues) stretches into half a year for many locations in North America.

Compounding this thought is that most of the new sandwich composites are as light, or lighter than the comparable aluminum frame and skin construction - and offer amazing levels of insulation by their very design.

This forum has recently highlighted some incredible RV's constructed from contemporary composite sandwich materials - I think we'll be seeing lots more of them in the not too distant future.
 

ripperj

Explorer
Hit Mark (jeep) up about making an Alaskan type hardside popup out of modern composites.

Sent from my Passport
 

Roger M.

Adventurer
Mark's the guy I'm actually watching to do something like a fully composite sandwich truck camper! (how did you guess that?).
I'm reasonably local to him, and some of the designs he's come up with to date are pretty cutting edge.

He's got his composite flat deck rig on the go, and is on the cusp of releasing his modified composite teardrop trailer ... hopefully he might next consider a look at a true lightweight truck camper that isn't any larger than what's actually required for overlanding.
 
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