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Downsizing from a Fifth-Wheel – RV LIFE

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Downsizing from a Fifth-Wheel – RV LIFE

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RVers are presupposed to go up in measurement, not down!” our pals informed us after we introduced our choice to downsize from a fifth-wheel to a pop-up truck camper. However after 16 years of full-time RVing in a trailer, this radical change was a very long time coming.

Backcountry camping in the Yukon (Image: @LiveWorkDream)
Backcountry tenting within the Yukon (Picture: @LiveWorkDream)

Buying and selling a fifth-wheel for a pop-up truck camper is permitting us to dive even deeper into the RV tenting way of life we love a lot. Right this moment we take pleasure in a higher sense of ease on the street, and at a a lot decrease value of possession. We predict this choice is proving to be considered one of our greatest strikes but, and right here’s why.

5 years in the past in case you informed us we might be dwelling in a truck camper, we might have mentioned you have been nuts.

Our inexpensive and paid-for Arctic Fox fifth-wheel was serving us properly. We put over 100,000 miles underneath its wheels whereas working and full-time RVing throughout the nation. Our rig was off-grid succesful, custom-made and comfy.

However throughout the previous few years, we realized that our tenting fashion was getting a little bit too comfy.

Do All Full-time RVers Sluggish Down? Apparently We Did!

At the Alaska border crossing with our Project M (Image: @LiveWorkDream)
On the Alaska border crossing with our Mission M (Picture: @LiveWorkDream)

Taking a look at our RV LIFE Journey Wizard itineraries, it was apparent that our travels had slowed down significantly since we began this way of life in 2007. We might see that our lengthy cross-country RV adventures and boondocking experiences have been turning into extra rare.

Like many long-term full-timers, we opted to calm down and revel in longer stints at favourite locations as a substitute of all the time being on the go. As working-age full-timers, we made essentially the most of our off-hours by having fun with RV park facilities like spas and health facilities. We frolicked with seasonal regulars who turned like household to us. At our favourite winter resort in Southern California, we joined a neighborhood of like-minded nomads. Our new fashion felt so refreshing after the turmoil of the pandemic years.

However possibly it was as a result of Jim obtained his AARP Card, or maybe have been have been simply bored after some time. Ultimately, the shortage of journey began attending to us. We clearly noticed that our day by day life had morphed again into the kind of stagnation that ignited our full-time RVing way of life within the first place.

In 2023 we took have a look at how our full-timing fashion had modified. And after 16 years chasing the solar in our fifth-wheel, we traded the comforts of a totally outfitted RV for a bare-bones Mission M truck topper by 4 Wheel Campers.

Downsizing from a Fifth-Wheel to a Pop-Up Truck Camper Was a Lengthy Time Coming

Fifth-wheel getting towed on the Alaska Highway (Image: @LiveWorkDream)
Our Alaska Freeway inspiration for downsizing. (Picture: @LiveWorkDream)

The thought of truck camper life first appealed to us throughout a 2018 street journey to Alaska. We spent three months on the Alaska Freeway. In that point we beat up our Arctic Fox worse than we did within the earlier seven years towing it.

From a damaged leaf spring and beat up suspension, to a few flat tires and deep window pockmarks brought on by flying street gravel, driving our solely dwelling on the Alcan felt like a nasty thought from the get-go.

Throughout that journey, we additionally needed to skip many backcountry roads and beautiful campgrounds that have been too difficult for our 27-foot fifth-wheel. We watched smaller truck campers and Class B vans go into these locations the place we couldn’t. It was all we wanted to know that sometime we might return in a smaller, completely different RV. And final yr, that’s precisely what we did when downsizing from a fifth-wheel to a pop-up truck camper.

A Welcome Return to Our Tenting Roots

Project M Truck Topper in the desert on Dodge Ram 2500 (Image: @liveworkdream)
Small is the brand new large. (Picture: @LiveWorkDream)

Possibly you’ve seen 4 Wheel Campers’ full-loaded, ultralight pop-up truck campers. They’re not simply fairly. These rigs can take you deep into faraway locations the place no typical RV can journey.

Designed and constructed with as a lot house and equipment as a hard-sided truck camper, however with a lighter weight and decrease profile that allows higher off-road journey than a van or different small RV, these truck campers are true journey autos.

“It’s like ‘Geezer Backpacking!’ RV LIFE writer Larry Chiuppi informed us a few years in the past when he gave us a tour of his Hawk mannequin by 4 Wheel Campers. He beloved towing the camper behind his Class A motorhome. Larry would park it at a resort, then take the Hawk onto loopy grime roads and insanely lovely camp spots. His Geezer Backpacking idea intrigued us. Years later after we deliberately re-designed our RV way of life, we went straight to 4 Wheel Campers.

Why the Mission M Pop-Up Truck Camper?

Project M truck topper factory interior with options (Image: Four Wheel Campers)
Mission M truck topper manufacturing unit inside with choices (Picture: 4 Wheel Campers)

The Mission M is a customizable and really inexpensive different to a totally loaded pop-up truck camper. It’s an ultralight shell weighing in at simply over 400 kilos and not using a load of drugs. Not like a slide-in truck camper, you retain the tailgate on the truck for the reason that topper is bolted to the bedrails.

Surprisingly spacious inside as soon as the highest is up, the M is a clean slate with non-compulsory gear. It has a footprint that lets you design and construct on-board amenities finest suited to your tenting fashion and out of doors toys.

As soon as we knew it was what we wished, we started working with the 4 Wheel Campers household to get the phrase out about their customizable pop-up truck camper topper. We additionally determined to maintain our battle-tested 2006 Dodge RAM 2500 diesel pickup truck. To tailor the Mission M to our wants, we added upgrades like solar energy, exterior lighting, gear mounting rails, and an awning.

Camping in the Yukon with Project M Truck Topper by Four Wheel Campers (Image: @LiveWorkDream)
Off-road tenting close to Kluane Lake, Yukon Territory. (Picture: @LiveWorkDream)

Contained in the truck mattress, Jim repurposed recycled plastic panels right into a small kitchen galley. The sink and water pump are plumbed right into a freshwater RotoPax container connected to the inside mounting rails. As you’ll see within the video beneath, he used the identical panels to assemble cupboards for a Dometic fridge, detachable propane range, and cupboard space for tenting gear like a collapsible port-a-potty and private belongings.

The Mission M turned our excellent automobile for a downsizing transition out of the full-time RVing consolation zone. Together with it got here the promise of extra thrilling travels paying homage to our adventurous backpacking days so way back.

North, To Alaska within the Finest RV for Us

Inside weeks of putting in our Mission M on the 4 Wheel Campers manufacturing unit in Northern California, we bought our fifth-wheel. Most of our possessions additionally obtained bought, and we moved into the rig. Then we headed north on the Alaska Freeway. The aim? To spend one yr in a little bit rented cabin locally of Willow. The city is beginning line of the well-known Iditarod Sled Canine Race. And It’s a spot the place we’re studying the ropes of an actual winter, full with sled canines and the loopy mushers who love them.

This time, the drive to Alaska was enjoyable, enjoyable, and shockingly cheap. We additionally loved an MPG that I’m virtually embarrassed to let you know about.

Dodge RAM 2500 MPG with Project M Four Wheel Campers Topper (Image: @LiveWorkDream)
Sure, our MPG is that good on the freeway. (Picture: @LiveWorkDream)

We knew the Mission M was a sensible choice the second we hit the Alaska Freeway.

Navigating over the street’s limitless frost heaves, potholed gravel roads, and shut wildlife encounters with our nimble rig invigorated us with a way of freedom that had disappeared from our fifth-wheel life.

Gone have been the concerns about tight curves and discovering a spot to camp. With our smaller RV, we pulled into again nation campsites with anticipation as a substitute of worry. Boondocking turned simpler than ever.

Don’t let the small measurement of the Mission M idiot you.

Camping after downsizing from a fifth wheel to a Project M pop-up truck camper (Image: @LiveWorkDream)
There’s loads of room for our necessities. (Picture: @LiveWorkDream)

Downsizing from a fifth-wheel was the most effective factor we might have accomplished. We’ve all the pieces we’d like inside. From a king-sized mattress to a kitchen, cell web, and ample inside house, it comfortably homes all three of us. No, it doesn’t have a rest room, leisure middle, or electrical fire. However we get to spend extra time outdoors in unimaginable locations out of attain for typical RVs. We additionally save a lot cash on gasoline and campsite charges. The change is properly well worth the trade-off for us.

Right this moment as I write this from our Alaska cabin, we’re within the depths of our first snowy winter. Sadly, even the most effective four-season RV isn’t any match for the sub-zero temperatures of this land. Day by day we step outdoors we’re reminded of the true that means of “rugged,” “chilly,” and “journey.” So for now, our Mission M is parked simply outdoors our cabin. It’s patiently ready to ferry us into the Alaska and Canada again nation come spring. That’s when our new lighter, extra nimble RV will assist us write the subsequent chapter in our off-road prepared, full-time RVing way of life.

How we constructed our Mission M






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