Truck Camper: Convertible Dinette

This is the last installment in our camper build-out: explaining how our dining area folds down into Ben’s sleeping bunk.This bed is almost full-length and we (the adults) have comfortably slept on it on several occasions. As such, the camper sleeps three adults and one child.

 

Here is a quick history refresher: We bought a Four Wheel Campers (model: Hawk) in the shell version, which means it came empty – with only the queen bed over the cab (the area in the photo below with the green sheet) and an electrical box (not shown).

 

The cab-over bed, as it is called, is typically a queen bed with slide-out extenders/cushions; however, because it slide out over the dinette bed (making headroom for our son scarce) we removed the sliders and extra cushions. 

We posted a bit more about the under-table bin construction here. The table pedestal is a marine version that we purchased from Overton’s (I believe it was the Springfield 3 stage air-powered table pedestal). We used 3/4″ plywood for the table top and covered it with ‘dog bone’ laminate (the same used by Four Wheel Campers). 

The table, when compressed, is supported by the two ledges that are screwed to the faces of each bench. 

Here the table is compressed and ready for cushions to be laid over the top.

A note about the cushions: I found a place in California that had the same fabric as the Four Wheel Camper cushions but it was crazy expensive. Eventually I went with a local shop in Seattle and picked a very dark grey fabric, which has held up well so far. We ordered 5 custom cushions and in total they were about $600, including tax. I had no idea upholstery was so dang expensive.  Just about keeled over after hearing the final cost. I half wish I’d made them myself.

Here’s the bummer: three of the cushions have a plywood backing. The backing is so that the cushions (when assembled in the dinette configuration) stand up and provide back support to folks sitting at the table. HOWEVER: the plywood they used was thick (1/2″) and it has made the cushions horribly heavy and cumbersome. It’s one my only camper build-out regrets. We were at the Four Wheel Camper factory a month ago and noticed that the backing they use for their cushions is very light-weight yet durable. Wish we’d done the same.

You’ll notice that the cushions of the dinette don’t quite reach the edge on the far left; they’re a few inches short. It’s not a huge deal; my 6’5″ husband successfully slept on the bed for several weeks when Emma was going through a rough patch (and slept with me in the big bed). So I’d say that our camper sleeps 3 adults and 1 child. Ben (at age 6.5 years) can still easily sleep in Emma’s ‘treehouse bunk’ on top of the fridge so we’ll have several years yet before needing a new arrangement.

One other thing to note in regards to cushions: I am not a fan of the Four Wheel Camper cushions on our double bed. Like many women, I’m a side sleeper and the cushions are exceptionally firm. I would wake up with aching hips and a sore neck. We added a 3″ memory foam topper which goes right up to the edge of the pop-top. The bummer is that we can not longer store pillows or sleeping bags up there while the top is in travel (down) mode however, my hips and neck wake up happy so that all that counts.

 

Truck Camper Build


The Empty Shell & Add-on Options 
Constructing the Driver Side
Constructing the Passenger Side
Constructing the table and floor compartment
Sleeping Arrangements
Construction Resources


 

2 comments

  • Connie & Stephen

    I think we saw you pass us earlier on the road back from Volcan Masaya! We’ve been traveling for 4 months, heading south and have been toying with the idea of overlanding when we get to a Colombia! We saw your camper and both said “one like that!” Glad we saw your sticker so we could bookmark your blog! Safe travels 🙂

  • Sonja

    YES!!! What fun! (And how incredible was Volcan Masaya?!). So glad you looked us up. Overlanding has been a hoot, although we’re currently tucked into an AirBNB which has a pool, so I suppose we’re cheating just a bit. 🙂

    We’re heading through Colombia too so let us know if you do get a vehicle; it’s always fun to make road connections.

    Safe travels to you both!

    -Sonja

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