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Why Truck Campers Are the New Full-Time Rigs

Why Truck Campers Are the New Full-Time Rigs

More people than ever are choosing to live full-time on the road, whether it’s a gap year from college or a retirement plan. Choosing this lifestyle is free, full of opportunities, and embracing every adventure life throws us.

It’s been a little over a decade since ‘vanlife’ and ‘living on the road’ resurfaced in popularity, and now we are seeing another shift in this lifestyle. Many who have been full-time for numerous years are trading in their vehicles. Vanlifers are selling their vans and upgrading to rigs with more accessibility and versatility. We’re unsure what this new lifestyle is called since ‘vanlife’ no longer quite fits – riglife, maybe? Either way, we love the transition!

Why Vanlifers are Switching to 4×4 Campers & Truck Rigs 

One main reason vanlifers choose to switch their rigs is accessibility.

Living on the road is about embracing new experiences, getting out into new terrain, and sleeping under the stars in the country’s most scenic locations. Instagram made the van look perfect for years: an incredible, built-out home on wheels that opens up to stunning scenery.

However, there should be “read terms and conditions” under each post in 2023. Why?  These scenic Insta-worthy places are typically full, illegal, or overflowing. Many places ban overnight parking after an influx of people hit the road. After COVID, spots that were once legal to camp are now illegal.  

But often, inaccessibility is the biggest issue. Most vans are 2WD or AWD, and many places are 4×4 only. 4×4 vans do exist, but price tags are often 100k+.

So, What Are Vanlifers Deciding to Do?

They are buying off-road trucks and placing 4×4 campers on them. They get the best of both worlds! Just take a look at a few of these campsites that are only accessible to 4WD truck campers:

flatbed camper
lightweight truck camper

Overlanding truck campers & pop-up truck campers have skyrocketed in popularity in the last decade, and many of our customers aren’t first-time rig owners. They’ve lived on the road in the past, whether full-time or part-time, and upgraded their rig based on the lessons they’ve learned along the way. Here are some of the lessons we’ve taken note of:

I want to go everywhere: We’ve heard it from nearly everyone – it can be disappointing to finally hit the road only to figure out so many iconic places are 4×4 only. Bentonite hills? 4×4 only. Marlboro Point? 4×4 only. Cottonwood Pass? 4×4 only. Many of these people wait their lives to finally fulfill that dream of exploring the United States, only to be disappointed about where they can go. 

I want to utilize my space: Pop up truck campers have one significant advantage – they pop up! When they are closed, the campers are so small they drive like a regular truck, which can be a major advantage in cities and national parks where navigation can be tricky. Many of our customers are tired of driving big rigs that are stressful to park or drive. Truck campers provide all the space (with ceilings at 6.5 feet) but can be compacted when hitting the road.

I want something lightweight: Built-out vans usually weigh a couple thousand more pounds than truck campers. They also get worse gas mileage. When traveling often or living on the road full-time, miles add up, and so does the gas. Many switching to our truck campers want to go further while saving money. 

Photo By Travis Burke Photography

What 4×4 Rigs Are Most Popular?

It’s a question we get often, and it can be hard to answer! The answer differs based on what you’re looking for.

Best rig for full-timers: Our flatbed truck camper is the best model for those living on the road full-time who want no limits regarding accessibility. This is our most popular rig for those who have upgraded after being on the road full-time for 2+ years.

Best rig for the weekend warrior: Our slide-in camper is our most popular camper because it is the best of both worlds. It can be used as a full-time rig but is also perfect for those looking to explore remote places with all the comforts of a built-out rig. Our slide in 4×4 campers have a built-out kitchen, rollover couch, full power hookup options, and more. It can be customized based on everyone’s needs, no matter the quest!

Best rig for the budget traveler: Not everyone needs a fancy rig, and we get that! We love minimalist travelers who want everything that comes with a camper without all the bells and whistles. Our Project M truck topper starts at just 10k and provides everything a minimalist camper would need on the road. It comes as a shell and can be built out however one desires. Better yet, it weighs only 360-390 lbs to start, making it ultra lightweight and ready to handle the toughest of roads.

Each of our rigs is custom-built based on your truck. You can build and price out your custom truck camper here:

Build your flatbed camper.

Build your slide-in camper.

Build your pop up truck topper.

Thank you for your interest in our campers!


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From the time of your order, depending upon your location, we are installing new campers between 2 – 4  months out. Lead times are finally coming down!

We wish you many fantastic adventures in 2023!!

Team Four Wheel Campers

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