FWC Worth It? Insight Appreciated!

Exeter

Member
Hey all - looking for some advice. Wife and I are coming from rooftop tents and wanted to upgrade to a more comfortable environment for sleeping and cooling off/cleaning up after hiking.

We were initially 100% wanting an interior shower and toilet. I was hoping to get insight from y'all with first hand experience.

We are debating between a Palomino Ultra Lite with a full wet bath which is around 15k, compared to a Hawk which is obviously twice the price. Most of the hawks we are seeing also don't have the interior shower or toilet (I know it is an option, but we are buying now and can't wait
:p ). We do a good bit of camping off-grid and like to get out remote. Is the interior shower and toilet worth having or is it more of a hassle? We will do all season camping, but mostly spring/summer/fall. Some but not a lot of winter.

Most importantly, why the Four Wheel Camper over the Palomino? Anyone have experience or can outline the why behind the value of the 4 wheel camper with less in it?

TIA for y'alls help. I haven't been able to see one in person yet but may make a drive tomorrow to my nearest dealer. Just trying to understand the value and justify the huge price difference.

Just really trying to understand the variation in cost and if it is worth it for me to pay so much more to use it 20 to 30 times a year?
 

craig333

Expedition Leader
Depends on what you mean by off grid. I don't think a Palomino would survive what I do but if you never engage 4wd it may do just fine for you.
 

Flhtruss

Observer
Hello Exeter
I will be happy to share my opinion with you. Forget the inside shower, to small, the hassle of setting up tear down and getting rid of the humidity not worth it in my opinion. You can shower outside remote needs no curtains a cheep tent for populated areas is much easier. We like our porta-potti, there are different types so find one you both like.
I think you need to spend some time looking and actually getting into these different types of campers. That way you might find the answer to your question types of campers. FWC are kinda a niche product I think. Any way you choose I think the transition from roof top tent to pop up camper, is nice. Hope this helps a little.

Russ
 

Exeter

Member
Depends on what you mean by off grid. I don't think a Palomino would survive what I do but if you never engage 4wd it may do just fine for you.
To be frank it will primarily be BLM/Forest Service roads. We will run some areas like White Rim, some of the Colorado passes, etc. We won't be doing the Rubicon Trail.
 

Exeter

Member
Hello Exeter
I will be happy to share my opinion with you. Forget the inside shower, to small, the hassle of setting up tear down and getting rid of the humidity not worth it in my opinion. You can shower outside remote needs no curtains a cheep tent for populated areas is much easier. We like our porta-potti, there are different types so find one you both like.
I think you need to spend some time looking and actually getting into these different types of campers. That way you might find the answer to your question types of campers. FWC are kinda a niche product I think. Any way you choose I think the transition from roof top tent to pop up camper, is nice. Hope this helps a little.

Russ
Thank you! We have been in several so far, but haven't been able to get our hands on a Bundutec or a FWC yet. Bundutec is about 9 months out right now which is just too long for us. FWC has some in stock about 4 hours away so we are going to take the drive in the morning to check them out.

I've heard from quite a few folks about the humidity and hadn't thought about that. I think that does sound like a bit of a problem in that type of environment...a great way to get mold. The wife does not want to get outside the camper in bear country to pee at night, which happens every night. So we will probably get one with an external shower and use a porta-potty or bag system inside the camper at night and outside the rest of the time for her.
 

Taco-Bender

Member
The thing I don't get with Palomino, and other popups built by generic RV Mfg's, is the skirt/flap around the bottom of the canvas.

That was fine on our old popup trailer (it's waist high) but how the heck are you supposed to tuck that thing in when you're collapsing the top and the skirt/flap is 7' up in the air?

I can only see this as a huge PITA.

525781
 

Exeter

Member
The thing I don't get with Palomino, and other popups built by generic RV Mfg's, is the skirt/flap around the bottom of the canvas.

That was fine on our old popup trailer (it's waist high) but how the heck are you supposed to tuck that thing in when you're collapsing the top and the skirt/flap is 7' up in the air?

I can only see this as a huge PITA.

View attachment 525781
That was a concern of mine as well. Also the overall durability of it and the ability to collect/retain water under the flap. The corners also felt like there were openings in the fabric under them. Rep said it was for cords and things to run through. I prefer the taught canvas like on the FWC or some of the other ones. I don't know. For the price I think it'll work, but just not sold on it for a long term purchase.
 

Taco-Bender

Member
That was a concern of mine as well. Also the overall durability of it and the ability to collect/retain water under the flap. The corners also felt like there were openings in the fabric under them. Rep said it was for cords and things to run through. I prefer the taught canvas like on the FWC or some of the other ones. I don't know. For the price I think it'll work, but just not sold on it for a long term purchase.
To be honest, our popup trailer was a Palomino and during the 18 years, and thousands and thousands of towed miles (and smiles), we really didn't have any major issues with it. When we sold it a few years ago it was still very useable but the canvas was definitely showing its age.

The flap/skirt thing would have me cussing like a sailor on a truck camper though. Deal breaker for me.
525785

525786
 

Oka 374

New member
After spending 12 months and 55,000 km travelling in the US and Canada with a Palomino pop top with the skirt setup we never found it to be a problem. It always pulled itself in as the top came down with only occasionally needing a little push here and there with a small broom.
The only time we really had to think about it was if it had or was snowing as the buildup had to be brushed off before lowering the poptop, again either with the broom or one of those windscreen brushes, not a big problem at all. The vinyl sides have plastic strips in them which bend inwards as the top comes down which usually pulls the skirt in as well.
 
My opinion, your best value in a pop up camper is an All Terrain Camper (ATC). A small company with a reputation for solid, light weight construction, customization, and customer focus. They’re not as glitzy as some of the other pop ups, but your money is going to the build, not the glitz.
 

Buliwyf

Viking with a Hammer
Check out Bundutec if you need a sizable shower.

I think they can add AC as well. I need a rooftop AC and an indoor shower, that pretty much means Bundutec or a hardside for me.
 

windtraveler

Observer
Be patient and only spend you $$ once. I found Bundutec to be one of the best values out there. A great product at a fair price and you can get exactly what you want. I’m discussing my second project with them now. Highly recommended. Well worth the wait.
 

knoxswift

Active member
Really depends upon your use case.

I have traveled over 70k miles with my FWC. Purchase choice was it's off-road capabilities and lightweight (I have the Eagle which at the time was the lightest popup). I think it has excelled in this because I have had little issues with it or with my truck over all these miles. Alaska, USA and Mexico all have tried to beat the FWC and it's still in great shape.

Small size but really packed with excellent features I have never said I wish I had this or that. Well except for maybe air conditioning, lol!
But really I enjoy the small size camper for my type of use. Outside shower has been great I love having hot water available anywhere and time.

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Andy Douglass

New member
For our FWC outside shower, which is on the driver's side (Hawk), I cannibalized some parts from an old tent. The tent had the standard fiberglass/shock cord poles, and at the bottom of the tent where the poles go, there was the older style of aluminum "studs" (like a heavy piece of aluminum wire that is bent into a lollipop shape) which attach to the tent with key rings. The metal sockets at the end of the tent poles fit over the studs when the tent is set up.

I took two of the aluminum studs and bolted them to some small aluminum angle brackets I had. The brackets get bolted to the jack brackets on the driver's side corners of the camper. Basically, you end up with the tent studs mounted like tank turrets to the jack brackets. I cut down one of the tent poles to fit between these two studs with enough extra length to make a shallow semi-circle that runs the length of the side of the camper (horizontal to the ground), to be used as a curtain rod.

I left the tank turrets loose when I first put the pole on them, so that the pole lets them find the right angle. Then I tightened the turrets on their brackets so that the angle is preserved. Now the turret/angle bracket assembly can be bolted and unbolted to the jack brackets when needed. I used all nylock nuts on these so that when we are on the road, they just stay on the jack brackets. We found an oddly sized shower curtain on amazon that fits the length and height of the tent pole curtain rod, and used cheap plastic curtain rings to reduce weight. When we hung the curtain the first time, the curtain rod sagged a lot under the weight, so I rigged up a length of paracord with hooks on either end. One hook mounts to the FWC roof bracket on the side of the camper (near the front), the cord runs down through an extra ring at the center of the curtain rod, and then up to the FWC roof bracket on the rear of the camper. This supports the curtain rod perfectly, and the height can be adjusted slightly by sliding the ring that the cord runs through slightly off center on the curtain rod. Next I put grommets along the bottom of the curtain. On asphalt, we tie rocks to the grommets with cord, on soft ground we stake the curtain down. Both methods get rid of slack in the curtain for breezy times. I got four neodymium magnets that are coated in plasti-dip type stuff. We use two of these at each end of the curtain to stick it to the truck body, which allows us to get the curtain ends to fit right against the irregular profile of the side of the truck. The coating on the magnets is important if you like the paint on your truck, but always wipe the grit off of them before you stick them.

We have one of those small folding wooden shower platforms (one of the few items we bought at Camping World during our only visit to that nightmare). Our first run, we just stood on that while showering. It worked but it was a bit of a gymnastics act. I came up with the idea of using a decent quality tupperware tub to stand in while showering. Initially I planned on having a length of drain hose hooked to a bulkhead fitting in the side of the tub, so that shower water would drain out as we showered. That plan did not work and I decided to plug the fitting and forget about the drain. It's actually better to be standing in shower water as weird as that sounds. I like it because it is precarious to reach down and wash my feet in this setup. Under the unspoken backcountry hygiene code, it is acceptable to rely on standing in soapy shower water to wash your feet. My wife likes it because it makes leg shaving easier. It also helps with water budgeting because you can see how much water you have used as you shower.

This setup works for us. It's a little "exciting" at times when we are in a campground as the shower side of the camper is usually facing the street, but we haven't been cited for indecent exposure yet. The tube we stand in is storage for the whole kit. The wooden platform fits in there, along with the curtain, rod, stakes, and even our towels. When I take down the curtain, I unhook the support cord at both ends, leaving it hanging from the middle curtain ring it runs through. Then I slide the curtain so that all of it is hanging from the center tent pole section. I unhook one end of the pole and fold the pole "around" the curtain rings (shower curtain still on). Then I unhook the other end and fold that half of the tent pole around the curtain as well. Then I roll up the curtain around the whole thing, so that it is all ready to set up quickly the next time. It does not take me more than a few minutes to set up or break down the shower kit, and it all fits in the tub, which travels under the side-dinette table in the camper.

When we first got the camper 12k miles ago, I thought it would be nice to have the option of the indoor shower. Now I know we would never use it. I think if we had a flat bed model, it might be more usable, maybe. We love the FWC, but it is just not big enough to mess around with a shower in there. We do not have any kind of toilet; for both of us the idea of having a toilet basically inside the kitchen/bedroom/dining room is not something we are remotely interested in.
 

grogie

Like to Camp
I don’t mean to hijack this thread, but I have some related questions as I’m considering a Fleet shell with the furnace, stove and the couch, but I’m undecided if I’d later regret not also having at least the water tank and sink (which would also require their 3-way fridge)?

One: About the FWC hot water heater, I had read another comment that an owner regretted it. They said that it takes a lot of propane to heat the six gallons of water, and they just preferred other methods to shower. So do you have to heat the entire six-gallon tank on the FWC water heater? (My wife and I are use to sharing a 2-gallon solar bag that I usually just add hot water too.)

Two: Any opinions of the FWC fridges vs. using a top opening compressor fridge? (I currently own a Snomaster.)

Three: How about solar? Would you get solar on the roof, and/or would you get the second battery?

Thanks as well.
 
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