A Hawk in the Arctic

Clutch

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

Sent from my Passport
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.


Seems like what the Euros have been doing for years, is taking an awful long time to catch on here. Most of what we have here is junk at premium prices.


I have been keeping up with what Mark aka Jeep has been doing. Looks great! Though a little too big for my taste. A Tacoma sized camper would be nice...

http://www.maltec.org/fahrzeuge.html



http://www.gazell.fr/produit/gazell-cabine-approfondie/

 

sg1

Adventurer
The FWC is in many respects a very good camper. I was looking for a camper I could put on my daily driver, take on rough roads and use for about 6 weeks in summer for mostly back country camping in Canada and North Western US. The Hawk does a lot of this quite well. Northstar, Alaskan etc are certainly good products but I would not want to take them on Forestry Service Roads on a half ton truck. The Hawk has one big problem though it is not designed for our Western Canadian climate.
I therefore really have only 2 options. Either I find a way to keep at least our bed dry even if the weather is lousy for a while or I get a new camper, an expensive solution. None of the existing products I looked at is really convincing. Either it is way too heavy or I would not trust it to survive a few thousand miles or kilometers on bad roads.
As you suggested LiteIndustries (Jeep) would know how to build a modern lightweight yet robust pop up camper with reasonable 3 (Canadian) season capability. Composite materials are certainly the way to go. I have owned a camper build with these materials for almost 6 years now and it definitely is way better than anything I had before. In Europe only some very low priced RVs still use aluminum let alone wood framing. Jeep certainly seems to know how to work with these materials and his shop is actually quite close to where I live and I will have a chat with him. But first I will try to improve my Hawk to meet my minimum standards, a dry bed even in lousy weather.
Stefan
 

DEnd

Observer
Ok so you have a couple of issues. #1 is condensation. Four your uses a wood framed camper would actually be better at combating condensation than a FWC. This is because Aluminum is about 4000 times more conductive than wood (As Dr. Lstibruek says "I know this because they don't make electrical wires out of wood.") The bad news with that is it won't solve the condensation issue, and that will cause the wood to rot. This is ultimately what leads to floor pack issues with FWCs. Replacing the floor pack with something like Coosa (a composite wood replacement) would likely solve the rot issues that FWCs see. Coosa however is fairly expensive. Storing the camper where it can dry out will prolong the time before a problem develops.

For your minimum improvement you need to get the bed off the sides and the floor. Providing air space acts as a capillary break and warms the mattress up so that water cannot condense on it. Something like this will help: http://frolisleepsystems.com/ You can also add insulation to the sleeping compartment to help prevent condensation from forming there.
 

Roger M.

Adventurer
A lot of companies are marketing what is essentially a fiberglass camper with insulation and/or other materials bonded to the inside of the fiberglass.

But to me, these aren't a true contemporary composite camper, where the structure, insulation, and outer and inner finishes are all bonded together prior to assembly, and the benefits of the associated strength, watersheding, and weight savings are realized.

You may not get the potential for "swoopy" designs you get with a fiberglass camper shell, but for overlanding I prefer a workmanlike, squared off design rather than the "Gazelle" style anyway.

A true composite truck camper, suitable for a mid or full size pick up truck, and of a size and weight that suits overlanding (not something that tries to replicate a motorhome stuck on the back of a pick-up), and forgoes a fabric pop-up in its design seems nowhere to be found.
 

Clutch

<---Pass
A lot of companies are marketing what is essentially a fiberglass camper with insulation and/or other materials bonded to the inside of the fiberglass.

But to me, these aren't a true contemporary composite camper, where the structure, insulation, and outer and inner finishes are all bonded together prior to assembly, and the benefits of the associated strength, watersheding, and weight savings are realized.

You may not get the potential for "swoopy" designs you get with a fiberglass camper shell, but for overlanding I prefer a workmanlike, squared off design rather than the "Gazelle" style anyway.

A true composite truck camper, suitable for a mid or full size pick up truck, and of a size and weight that suits overlanding (not something that tries to replicate a motorhome stuck on the back of a pick-up), and forgoes a fabric pop-up in its design seems nowhere to be found.
Looks like some companies are using the same composites as refrigerated trucks, as I was thinking earlier. Even sell double pane windows.

http://totalcomposites.com/

http://totalcomposites.com/expedition-trucks-rvs/






Was thinking of getting a slide-in reefer body, then install windows. The door has a decent seal on it, be great for keeping dust out.



Like this guys pop-up, uses a translucent hard material (plexi) instead of fabric.

http://passion4travel.pl/mieszkanie-dla-dwojga-na-hiluxie/



 
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Runt

Adventurer
I run a Phoenix pop up camper and I live & work in Northern British Columbia. Very similiar temps. I do not take the camper off the truck and I use it year round. Some months I sleep in it over 20 days. Been on for 120,000 kms. It sees primarily rough forest service roads. This is not my first pop up camper.....I have learned a lot with the first pop up Phoenix built me. Rob built it exactly to my needs up North. What we added for cold weather conditions:

Extra insulation in the floors, pop up, walls and roof.
What they call "Winter Grade Curtains"....basically a heavy rubber backed fabric. Greatly helps the cold transfer on the windows.
Two Vents.....one over the sleeping area that is also an escape hatch that I open up to stare at the stars and one in the wash room that is the "Fantastic Fan"....basically a two way powered fan..
Furnace is a 20,000 btu unit.
Heat tape and insulation on all tanks and tubes etc.
Interior floor was "Rhino Lined" about 4" up the walls to make cleaning up snow easier.

Methods I found that reduced the condensation the most:

The vent over the my head in the cab over bed allows me to crack the vent / escape hatch just an inch or so and greatly reduces condensation and it still stays warm. I wipe down the camper, fire up the generator & run a 30,000 btu electric heater and open up the vents and turn on the fantastic fan every couple days. Same methos is used when I come home on weekends.

Rob also built the bed to have air circulation under it through the storage. The sides have small spaces specifically for air to move. I did add a condensation mat from Cascadia Vehicle Tents. Same one I have on my RTT.....works well.

Hope that helps.
 

Roger M.

Adventurer
Digging into the Total Composites website, it appears that these are the very composites that XP Camper and Mark (Jeep) use in (some or all?) of the construction of their units.

Very interesting!
 

Runt

Adventurer
I run a Phoenix pop up camper and I live & work in Northern British Columbia. Very similiar temps. I do not take the camper off the truck and I use it year round. Some months I sleep in it over 20 days. Been on for 120,000 kms. It sees primarily rough forest service roads. This is not my first pop up camper.....I have learned a lot with the first pop up Phoenix built me. Rob built it exactly to my needs up North. What we added for cold weather conditions:

Extra insulation in the floors, pop up, walls and roof.
What they call "Winter Grade Curtains"....basically a heavy rubber backed fabric. Greatly helps the cold transfer on the windows.
Two Vents.....one over the sleeping area that is also an escape hatch and one in the wash room that is the "Fantastic Fan"....basically a two way powered fan..
Furnace is a 20,000 btu unit.
Heat tape and insulation on all tanks and tubes etc.
Interior floor was "Rhino Lined" about 4" up the walls to make cleaning up snow easier.

Methods I found that reduced the condensation the most:

I run a -30 C sleeping bag to keep the furnace from kicking in too much. Less it kicks in the less condensation I get.

The vent over the my head in the cab over bed allows me to crack the vent / escape hatch just an inch or so and greatly reduces condensation. I wipe down the camper, fire up the generator & run a 30,000 btu electric heater and open up the vents and turn on the fantastic fan every couple days. Same method is used when I come home on weekends. This dries it right out with in a few hours.

Rob also built the bed to have air circulation under it through the under bed storage area. The sides have small spaces specifically for air to move. I did add a condensation mat from Cascadia Vehicle Tents. Same one I have on my RTT.....works well.....little condensation build up.

Hope that helps.
 
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sg1

Adventurer
Thanks. My present plan is to install Frolis under the mattress and put spacers between the mattress and the sidewalls.
Here is a hardsided pop up a friend of mine in Switzerland just builds. http://www.viermalvier.de/ubbthreads.php/topics/623000/10.html To put the roof up he first lifts the roof and then lifts up the front and the side panels. Similar to an Aliner travel trailer.http://aliner.com/campers/
The entire cabin is made of frameless composite materials and put on a RAM 2500. He intends to use it for winter travel in Northern Norway to do northern light research. It was build by Ormocar, the same company who build my other overland vehicle. They have been building overland vehicles since 1982 and only use composite materials. They even build their own panels and therefore can design the thickness and weight of the panel according to the vehicle used and the intended use. Check their website http://www.ormocar.de/index.php?id=1&L=1 and start dreaming.
Stefan
 

Clutch

<---Pass
Digging into the Total Composites website, it appears that these are the very composites that XP Camper and Mark (Jeep) use in (some or all?) of the construction of their units.

Very interesting!
I stumbled upon that by accident, looking at reefer truck bodies.
 

smlobx

Wanderer
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.

As a builder of energy effecient homes I did not like the aluminum siding and frames found in FWC. This kind of construction results in extreme thermal bridging which (among other things) results in a lot of condensation when the conditions are right. Sine we live in the warm and humid south we chose Hallmark and so far have been very happy with how it performs.
They have versions for all size trucks but do weigh more than FWC's
 
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