Four Wheel Camper Frequently Asked Questions
1. What model Four Wheel Camper do you own?
I have a Four Wheel Camper from the 1980s. I believe my camper is a 1984 to be specific, but when I purchased the camper there were no identifying marks to be sure of the year. The folks at Four Wheel Camper suggested the camper was an 82 or 84. My Four Wheel Camper specifically is the seven foot Fleet model, made for 80s import trucks like the old Toyotas (pre T-100).
You can learn more about my old Four Wheel Camper Fleet, how I bought it for $300, and what made me start to restore it in my Origin video.
2. Where do you camp in your Four Wheel Camper?
I often get asked where I do most of my camping in my Four Wheel Camper. I live in the front range of Colorado and do most of my camping around the Front Range and the i-70 corridor. I almost always go dispersed/off grid camping on National Forest or Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. Occasionally I camp at a proper campground where I pay for a site in a State Park or forest service campground. I have gone as far North as Montana and as far East as the Atlantic Ocean. If you want to find more specifics of where I camp, I have put together a very helpful map of all my camping locations (and corresponding camping videos) found here:
This map does not have the exact locations and should be used for inspiration only, not for route planning. Please do your own research, and if you have a location you think I might want to check out, drop me a comment, I always love finding new places to camp.
3. How can I support your youtube channel and Four Wheel Camper adventures?
I am so happy to hear that you find my youtube videos enjoyable or inspirational. One of the best parts about sharing my truck camper activities on youtube is getting comments and emails from people saying that my videos have inspired them to go camping, restore a camper, or just enjoy life a bit more.
If you want to give back to the channel and provide a bit of support, I would be more than appreciative. Feel free to provide this support in whatever way you see most fit, but here are a few ideas for you to help my youtube channel grow.
1. The best way you can support the channel is by simply sharing my videos on social media and other online platforms with like-minded folks. Also like, comment, and subscribe to the various social media post, especially youtube, to encourage more distribution of my videos in the youtube algorithms.
2. You can support directly by picking yourself up a sticker at
stickers.tgmorissey.com. Feel free to donate a little extra for any specific reason too.
3. Use my Amazon affiliate links found here,
https://www.amazon.com/shop/timmorrissey. When you enter Amazon through my affiliate links I get a small commission on anything you buy, and it cost you nothing extra.
4. Where can I buy a part you used in your camper build? What part is this?
I have a comprehensive list of all the different parts and tools I used in my Four Wheel Camper on a public google sheet available here: http://bit.ly/TGMorrisseyParts and also on an Amazon storefront https://www.amazon.com/shop/timmorrissey.
If there is a specific part or tool that you do not see. Drop me a comment or chat and I will do my best to get you the info you need.
5. Your videos are awesome, but I would love to read more about the four wheel camper, do you have any write ups of the build?
So glad you found the camper videos interesting. I actually started the camper project in 2015 but did not start making videos until the end of 2016, so there are about 1.5 years of camper projects that have little to know video. However during that time I did keep a comprehensive build report on the site
WanderTheWest.com. Wander the West is a great site for any truck camper enthusiast and even more so for specifically Four Wheel Campers. Once I started making videos, I was not as comprehensive on the write ups but there is still plenty of info there.
You can see my build write up here:
I have a different question.
If I did not answer your question or you need more clarification, submit new suggestions for the FAQs in the chat below and I will answer them soon.
6. How long is your Four Wheel camper?
My Four Wheel Camper is a mid 80s Fleet model. This model was seven foot long in length to fit old import trucks. It fits well in both a 2nd Generation Toyota Tacoma (6 foot bed) as well as a 1st generation Toyota Tundra (6.5 foot bed). With both trucks the camper hangs off the bed about 6-12 inches. I leave the tailgate on to support this overhang, it has worked well for me.
7. How long is the Four Wheel camper attached to your Toyota Tacoma?
The first truck I had for my Four Wheel Camper was a 2009 Toyota Tacoma, a second generation Tacoma. I had the access cab with a 6 foot bed. As the second and third generation Toyota Tacoma has a non-metal bed, specifically, a composite bed, you can not drill holes in the truck bed. Four Wheel Camper makes a special mounting bars that mates with the mounting bolts in the Truck bed to provide mounting points for the camper. The D-rings in the stock bed are not designed to support the camper, nor are they in the right location. I purchased my bed tie down bars used from the local Four Wheel Camper dealer. You can also work with a local fab shop to make these bed bars as well. I think it is a wise investment to ensure your camper is secured to your truck properly.
8. How is the four wheel camper attached to your Toyota Tundra?
The second truck I had for my Four Wheel Camper was a 2005 Toyota Tundra, a first generation Tundra. I had the double cab with a 6.5 foot bed. These truck beds are similar to most modern truck beds and made from metal, so you can just drill holes in the bed for your mounting locations. The holes are used to instal cast d-rings (not forged) and should be highly enforced with big aluminum plates (not small washers). Four Wheel Camper sells a mounting kit for this exact purpose. The location of the mounting points in camper and bed specific as the angle the turn buckles make is important to the process. Watch this video to learn more.
9. Where can I buy the mounting hardware to mount the four wheel camper to the Toyota Tacoma?
Four Wheel Campers sells the mounting hardware to mount your camper to your Toyota Tacoma. The kit consists of purpose built large metal bards that interface with the existing bed bolts of the truck bed. I highly recommend you use this hardware rather than make your own. Reach out to Four Wheel Campers.
10. Where can I buy the mounting hardware to mount the four wheel camper to the Toyota Tundra?
Four Wheel Campers sells the mounting hardware to mount your camper to your Toyota Tundra. The kit consists of d-rings, backing plates, and other small pieces. I would highly suggest you use their hardware rather than make your own. Reach out to Four Wheel Campers.
11. What lift do you have on your Toyota Tacoma to handle the Four Wheel Camper?
The first truck I had for my Four Wheel Camper was a 2009 Access Cab Toyota Tacoma, 4 cylinder manual transmission. To accommodate the camper I installed 1 inch riser blocks and Firestone Ride Rite Airbags. I went with airbags as I thought I would take the camper on and off a lot and thus wanted to have that adjustability. In hindsight, I actually rarely took the camper off so I wish I had gone with a new leaf pack instead. If you are tight on cash (like I was when I had the Tacoma in grad school) the airbags are a cost effective way to get the job done. My father in law now has my old Tacoma, has very little in the bed, and the riser blocks and air bags are perfect for him. I never had any issues with the airbags on the Tacoma (the same is not true for the Tundra).
12. What lift do you have on your Toyota Tundra to handle the Four Wheel Camper?
The second truck I had for my Four Wheel Camper was a 2005 Double Cab Toyota Tundra, a first generation Tundra. I purchased this truck used and it came with bigger tires, wheel spacers and a lift, specifically riser blocks and air bags just like I had on my Tacoma. As I was familiar with this style life, it made the purchase an easy sell for me. This style lift is not ideal for the camper, but it is adequate. In actuality the riser block and airbags are much more for show than for use. And even worse, once the camper was in the bed, it became apparent that one air bag leaks. I have to refill the bag about once a week and should really replace it. I run the bags at 60 psi with the camper. The tires are 33 inch tires. The stance is awesome but I wish I had new springs and leaf packs instead. Maybe someday I will upgrade to a proper lift but this is getting the job done in the meantime.
13. How does your Toyota Tacaoma handle the Wheel Camper?
The first truck I had for my Four Wheel Camper was a 2009 Access Cab Toyota Tacoma, 4 cylinder manual transmission. This is really a bit of a small truck for the camper but it certainly worked. During the rebuild process (which took years) there was a period of time that the camper was just a stripped down shell, with no bench or galley, just a bed for sleeping. When the camper was a shell, the 4 cylinder handled the load just fine. I did not go anywhere too fast, but the truck was adequate. However, once the camper was fully built out, and especially loaded for camping with things like water and propane, the 4 cylinder definitely started to struggle. Hills were third gear, off road steeps needed a run up. Depending on your level of preferred adventure, some would not find this enjoyable. Plus the gas mileage was terrible anywhere (10-12 mpg). The truck was likely well overloaded. Once I upgraded to the double cab Tundra it was night and day.
So does the Tacoma work well with a four wheel camper? In reality it depends. Ask yourself what kind of camper you are going to go with (basic shell or fully loaded) and what type of adventure level you like to have. Then make your decision.
Again I had the four cylinder base Tacoma, a 6 cylinder is a completely different story.
18. Where do you store your skis in your four wheel camper?
Where to store skis in a Four Wheel Camper is a major consideration for many. I purchased my camper with skiing as the primary purpose. There are a few different options to consider. You can just put the skis in the camper body and take them out when you get to your spot, you can attach a roof rack or side rack. What I ended up doing was making a ‘basement’ for my camper that has large drawers to accommodate my skis. I love my option.
The problem with just storing skis in the camper is that if you are at a ski resort or other parking lot, you may need to move from time to time, thus just having your skis leaning against your truck is not ideal, nor secure. Plus when it is time to go home, the snow on your skis is going in your camper.
The roof is pretty high so a roof rack / rocket box is also not ideal, though I have seen it done.
For my Tundra, I needed to raise my camper up slightly in order to fit in my bed. I decided to make use of this space and make a drawer system I now call my basement. I have two drawers that can each fit a pair of skis and poles. It is amazing to have a dedicated space for my skis, wet, dry or otherwise. I did not execute on the drawers perfectly (they stick a lot) but the concept is spot on. If you are an avid skier, and have a four wheel camper, I would highly suggest the basement drawer system for your camper. Especially if it already needs a slight boost to fit in your truck.
14. How did you build the pop up or canvas material?
The building and sewing of the pop up material for my four wheel camper is one of my favorite projects of the entire rebuild. I had never done any significant sewing prior to this project and learned so much along the way. It was a major endeavor and did not come out perfect, but certainly works well now. I did a ton of planning, spent so much time studying seams design to figure out the windows, and I am happy to report the canvas is working out wonderfully (it is actually vinyl coated polyester). I have a three part video series all about making the pop up canvas for the four wheel camper. Check out part 1 below.
15. Can you share your drawing and dimensions for the four wheel camper side panels and pop up material?
I took extensive measurements when rebuilding my four wheel camper and am happy to share what I can. However, take all of these drawings with a grain of salt. I know for sure that as I went to build a lot of these projects, I had to make many adjustments on the fly. So use these as inspirational guide, but not a map.
The drawings are located on my build page here:
16. Where to buy the canvas material to redo the pop up section of a Four Wheel Camper?
The canvas material is actually not a canvas at all, it is called Vinyl Coated Polyester. This is what the modern campers are made of as well. I got mine from here: https://www.mytarp.com/vinyl-fabrics.aspx
I went with the 22oz weight but in hindsight I would have likely gone with just the 18oz. My canvas is in fact a bit bulky when dropping the top, but not impossible to handle.
17. How is your DIY sewn canvas holding up after a few years of use?
Sewing the pop up material was one of the most daunting tasks in the entire four wheel camper rebuild. I am pleased to report that after a few years of use, the canvas is holding up wonderfully. I have developed just a few holes in the canvas where the roof and the body pinch when putting the top down. This is no fault to the canvas but rather that when I installed the roof I did not get the alignment perfect.
The windows are holding up very well. In heavy rain storms with heavy wind, we will get a bit of rain seething through the main lower seam (the seam that holds window layers together), but this issue is minor and has only happened a few times.
In general, the canvas (and camper on a whole) are holding up great. Learn more about checking in on the camper after a few years of use here:
19. How do you charge your laptop on the road?
I use a simply "power inverter" to charge my laptop and other 120V electronics when on the road. You can find a power inverter on amazon or in any auto part store like o'reilly, autozone, or big gas stations/truck stops. A power inverter will plug right into a cigarette lighter or directly to your house battery and take the 12v DC power from your camper, turn it into 120V AC power that your laptop wall charger runs off of. They are not the most efficient way to charge a laptop (since the electricity will be convereteed back to DC, DC->AC-DC is inherently lossy), and the fans can be kind of loud, but they work very well and are very cost effective.
Start with a cheap power inverter that is only a few hundred watts and can be purchased for under $50, then if you find yourself really liking it, upgrade to a few hundred dollar inverter that will charge faster (more power) and have higher quality parts and thus a quieter fan.