Travel trailers tend to offer limited flexibility where you buy a layout and that’s what you’re stuck with for your ownership. The Happier Camper HC1 does away with those limitations. Its modular floor and huge hatch make it possibly one of the most versatile RVs on the road.
I recently marveled at the easy customizability of the Sea-Doo Switch pontoon boat and wished that more vehicles were built like it. The RV world could benefit from such similar. While trailer buyers can get various layouts, they’re usually locked with whatever they get. There’s no going back and moving the sink or converting it into a utility trailer for a day, at least, not easily.
The people of Happier Camper think they have the solution with their HC1 camper and its building block-like floor.
The HC1 starts off as a retro-styled camper. It’s built with a fibreglass double shell for strength and its design looks like the travel trailers of the 1950s and 1960s. It comes in at a short 3.05 m long for the shell and 3.96 m in total.
Fibreglass not only results in some cool designs but incredibly low dry weight. It’s one of the reasons that I adore fibreglass campers. The HC1 comes in at 499 kg with a 49 to 58 kg tongue weight. This thing can basically be towed by anything with a tow rating.
But that’s nothing new because fibreglass campers have been absurdly light for decades.
How the HC1 is different is on the inside. Pop the hatch and you’re presented with a fully modular fibreglass floor, ripe for building out a living space.
The company calls it the Adaptiv system and it offers a bunch of different cubes that you can throw in from seats and storage to a sink, refrigerator and even a dry flush toilet. The cubes snap into place like LEGO bricks and there are places in the floor for table legs as well.
The modular layout also means that you can remove the cubes to have furniture outside next to a campfire or for outdoor cooking. Or you can leave some of the cubes at home and use the camper as a utility trailer.
The trailer has D-rings throughout just for this purpose.
If the little HC1 is too small, the company also offers the HCT Traveller with its 4.27 m shell. It’s similarly modular, but loses the cool hatch, so you won’t be able to roll a motorcycle into it. Its design is also retro, looking like the fibreglass trailers of the 1980s.
For what it loses in the ability to haul, it gains in having an available shower, plumbed toilet and a hot water heater. That one is still light, too, with an 816 kg dry weight and a 100 kg tongue weight.
Now for the huge downside. The base 3.96 m Happier Camper HC1 starts at $US29,950 (A$39,950). That base price gets you a lot of cushions, a couple of tables and a few of the basic modular cubes. You could add a kitchenette for $US2,175 (A$2,901) and a fridge for $US1,335 (A$1,781). The 5.18 m Traveller comes in at $US49,950 (A$66,628).
That makes than more expensive than a Scamp, a popular brand of fibreglass trailers. A 3.96 m Scamp fibreglass camper reportedly starts at around $US15,000 ($20,009) and while you lose out on all of the cool versatility, you can get a shower, stove, sink and toilet right from the jump. It’s a similar story with Scamp’s larger 16-footer, which starts at around $US17,000 (A$22,676).
So you’ll have to decide if the novel modularity is worth the giant price jump. Still, I’m glad these things exist and hope that even more manufacturers take a crack at modular designs.