The Wedgetail – An Amazing Popup Truck Camper Design From Australia
Is it possible to Build Your Own Wedgetail-Style Popup Truck Camper?
You really have to see the video to understand how amazing the Wedgetail is, so go ahead and watch this video now.
Now let's be clear... I am 100% a DO-IT-YOURSELF-er. My interest in camper designs is to find ideas I can use in my own camper.
After quite a bit of consideration, I've concluded that a basic version of this would not be TOO much more complicated than making a "Four Wheel Camper" style pop-up camper! But with the extra space comes some compromises. Here's a comparison.
- On the "Four Wheel Campers" (4WC) pop-up style, the bed sits on a cantilevered cabover. This keeps it very compact, allowing you to camp in town within a normal parking space. But the cantilevered sleep platform adds some engineering to the design, making it a bit more complex than just putting together "a large wooden box with a lid."
- The Wedgetail design, despite its complexity, is precisely "a large box with TWO lids" -- one on top, and one in back. Though both are cantilevered like shelves, they receive support underneath, so extensive calculations are less critical.
- The 4WC pop-up design is very compact. Since the roof lifts straight up, it allows you to day-camp in town within a normal parking space. The Wedgetail camper design requires substantially more space -- to use it properly, you'll inevitably be "double-parking." That's fine if you plan to do most of your camping in the country, but it makes day-camping in town much more difficult, and "stealth camping" nearly impossible.
- The 4WC design can be used without lifting the lid. It's tight in there, but not unlike using a regular camper shell. The Wedgetail, however, requires the rear wall to be lowered just to enter it, again making it impossible to stealth camp. (Though I suppose you could wall yourself in?)
- The pop-up in the 4WC design is relatively easy to construct. The fabric around the edge is just a 2.5 to 3 ft strip of fabric all the way around. The roof-lift mechanism is only as complex as you need it to be to raise and support the roof on both ends.
- The Wedgetail design requires some more complex geometry to raise the tent as you flip the lid open. However, it's not all THAT complicated, and if you've worked with pop-tents much, much of it will be familiar. You can tell in the video that the center posts raise in sync with the lid, but the corners are set up by hand -- just like in a large "family style" pop tent.
- While the 4WC's roof can be opened manually, the Wedgetail requires a winch and associated mechanism to open the top, because the roof needs to be a weight-supporting bed-platform / living space as well (read: potentially rather heavy). I do suspect it could be rigged to open manually, with a pulley system assisting the lift and drop, but it requires some extra engineering in any case. The same goes for the Rear Wall / Porch.
- Cabovers are a nice use of space, even if you don't put a bed there. The Wedgetail does not have a cabover, and after some thinking, I've concluded that without some reconfiguring, the design cannot support a cabover. Not because of any strength issue, but because the winch-driven roof opener on the front of the unit cuts across the cabover area. The roof opener probably can't go on the back wall either, because it would be in the way of the door. Even if the cabover wasn't huge, it would be nice to attach an aerodynamic fairing, but again, the roof opener is in the way.