A Hawk in the Arctic

TenaciousTJ

Explorer
Disappointing news, as I've been researching and planning what I hoped was an upcoming order for a FWC flatbed model.
 
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sg1

Adventurer
ATC is very similar to FWC and they build a flatbed pop up. Contrary to FWC they customize and may build a customized camper with reasonable insulation.
Stefan
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
Any small space with air breathers will have condensation issues. Unless you can use dehumidifier type tech it doesnt matter what camper you have.
 

Bruce

Observer
I recently sold my 2012 FWC Hawk for similar reasons; I couldn't justify the money for what I actually got...It was having issues with the roof (EASY to dent/scratch/crease), condensation (mold issues), and the interior was getting beat up. I found a smoking deal on an ATC camper that has been great....because I can sleep at night knowing I didn't spend an arm and leg on the damn thing. I have considerably less condensation issues I attribute to it have dual vents on the roof that we keep cracked, as well as two full size windows on each side that we crack as well. I know its taboo to be critical of FWC, but this was my experience...FYI, I live in Northern AZ; Baja, Moab, Utah, Colorado, etc is our playground; even in dry conditions condensation was an issue.
 
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sg1

Adventurer
I did some research in the Internet to understand condensation better and to maybe find a way to avoid it. What I learned is actually quite helpful.
The first fact I had to understand is that humidity in the air varies with the temperature of the air. The same air with the same amount of water in it will have a lower humidity the higher the temperature is. What that means for compensation is best explained with an example. If the air in my camper has a humidity of 50% at 20c (68F) condensation will develop on a surface with a temperature of 12c (54F) or less. If the humidity is only 40% condensation will not occur unless the surface has 8c (46F) or colder.
That means to avoid condensation I can either reduce the humidity in the camper or increase the temperature of the walls or the ceiling. Ventilation is the key to reduce humidity but won't work if it is raining heavily. Then the only strategy remaining is to keep the interior surfaces warm. This is only possible if the camper is well insulated and there are no thermal bridges.
Now I understand why I didn't have a chance to avoid condensation in cold and very wet conditions with a camper without proper insulation.
Stefan
 

TenaciousTJ

Explorer
What are people's opinion on adding a Propex Heater that intakes air from outside, and vents it out, to a FWC? Would this help reduce condensation and help keep the interior warm and dry over using FWCs factory heater?


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IdaSHO

IDACAMPER
If you want light and super insulated, you do need to get away from metal framing.

Composites honeycomb core panels are super cool, but lack legitimate R-values.


In order to stay lightweight and provide the needed R-value for full-time travel in ANY temp, Im sticking with wood framed, XPS foam insulated, all encapsulated and bonded with epoxy.

Once saturated with epoxy, wood rot is a thing of the past. And when built correctly, is just as light as similarly sized composite campers.
 

sg1

Adventurer
I have a Propex and it is a great little heater. But like any heater it can not remove water from air. I agree with Kenny, aluminum frames are the perfect thermal bridge creating cold surfaces. Aluminum is a great heat (or cold) conductor that is why it is used for pots and pans. A heater will reduce condensation if it can keep the interior surfaces warm. This will only work if they are insulated and not thermally connected to the outside.
Stefan
 

IdaSHO

IDACAMPER
Yep, here is only so much you can do with regards to moisture, but minimizing thermal bridging helps a ton.
At least then you do not have the moisture condensing in concentrated places.
In extreme situations, Ive even seen campers with aluminum (skinned) entry doors condense so much moisture on the interior surface of the door that it slowly drains down the surface, and drips onto the door frame/sill creating an ice dam.
Over time this can and will literally prevent exit. Yeah, then the door is literally frozen shut. A HUGE safety issue.


FYI, we use a Eva-Dry Dehumidifier in IDACAMPER2.0

https://www.amazon.com/Eva-Dry-EDV-500-E-500-Eva-dry-Dehumidifiers/dp/B000H0XFD2

Combined with an extremely well insulated wood framed camper, humidity issues are a thing of the past.

Rarely do we even have moisture collect on interior glass, even in sub zero (F) degree temps.

Although, I use dual pane insulated windows as well :sombrero:
 

TenaciousTJ

Explorer
Pretty discouraging, as I had my mind set on a FWC flatbed camper, and have for a long time. My plans are/were year around use in any climate and weather condition. I have yet to see FWC, on any forum, get involved in any discussion regarding significant condensation issues..despite the fact they are forum members and often contribute to other people's threads.


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Bruce

Observer
Pretty discouraging, as I had my mind set on a FWC flatbed camper, and have for a long time. My plans are/were year around use in any climate and weather condition. I have yet to see FWC, on any forum, get involved in any discussion regarding significant condensation issues..despite the fact they are forum members and often contribute to other people's threads.


Well, FWC campers have issues, but they're still good. They don't have much serious competition and they don't seem to want to innovate; and the price continues to climb. These campers aren't much different (other than styling) than the campers they built decades ago.

There is SOOOO much amazing innovation in the expedition world right now...textiles, fabrics, adhesives etc are getting better everyday. FWC doesn't seem to change, regardless of complaints; sure, the sales guy is on here all time keeping the PR aspect in check, but wheres the improvements? One pieces roof, curved door....then what? Everything else is an add-on, but the campers stays the same.

Again, its a very good camper, but I don't see the justification of the rising cost....I have a SWEET toy hauler (Northwoods Desert Fox 21sw) that I got for half the price of a USED Hawk shell....so don't tell me its materials and labor. We can discuss value all day long....sure demand is crazy high, but there is no serious competition. If ATC could get a good marketing person, their world could dramatically change; but they seem happy to have a couple of guys doing the bare minimum, and I can applaud that.
 

sg1

Adventurer
Here is what I would do:
Ask Matt http://overlandex.com for a quote on a composite flatbed pop up camper. It would be a great camper but might be a bit pricey.
Ask ATC whether they can modify their flatbed as follows:
1/2 inch of closed cell foam between the frame and the wall panels and the headliner and on every other uninsulated interior surface.
1 inch additional insulation in the floor of the cabover and an airgap between the floor and the walls of the cabover and the mattress.
Double pane windows like the Seitz windows. Their frames don't have thermal bridges and they are lightweight.
Forced air heater (Propex?) with hot air outlet into the airgap between mattress and cabover.
This could fairly easily be added to their existing design. It is not perfect but would reduce insulation problems significantly. The soft walls would still have condensation but this is unavoidable in a conventional pop up.
Stefan
 

Roger M.

Adventurer
There's nothing wrong with a company sticking with a product that sells faster than they can make them, and choosing not making any significant modifications to that product during its lifetime.

I think the point of this thread is for folks to really understand clearly that what they're getting with FWC (and ATC) is a completely uninsulated camper, with an inherent design element that results in essentially the entire camper being a thermal bridge (in both directions).

The thermal bridging, along with the fabric sides of the pop-up will pretty much ensure that you'll be dealing with condensation (in varying amounts) on a regular basis, and for as long as you own the camper.

I think some folks who own this type of camper simply accept the condensation issue as being the cost of owning an ultra light, low profile, off-road truck camper.
 
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