Examined: Happier Camper HC1 Studio Assessment

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I knew the small camper I’m towing behind my truck was lovable as a result of everybody—from soccer mothers outdoors of the grocery retailer to bikers on the fuel station—saved telling me it was.

The Happier Camper HC1 Studio positively has a singular mid-century trendy vibe—image what the Jetsons would sleep in in the event that they went tenting. It is cute as hell and appears to be designed particularly for making your Insta web page pop. However simply because a chunk of drugs appears to be like fantastic in a photograph doesn’t imply it performs properly within the discipline. And, beginning at $39,950, it higher be good. So, I spent three nights residing within the HC1 Studio in and round Joshua Tree Nationwide Park in California to see if it was greater than only a fairly image.

Happier Camper hit the scene in 2015 with their first trailer, the HC1, which shortly established their distinctly retro exteriors. On the within, a modular system of cubes might be rearranged as benches, seats, a mattress, sink, range, and even a rest room. Every dice clicks into place, becoming tightly into grooves molded into the trailer’s fiberglass ground, or might be faraway from the HC1, so you may arrange a cushty camp outdoors. Alternatively, you may depart the cubes at house and use the HC1 as a gear trailer due to the ground’s 4 burly D-rings that allow you to safe unwieldy gear. The trailer itself is gentle as hell: the dry weight of the HC1 is 1,800 kilos. The shell is comprised of two layers of fiberglass with insulation within the center, like a tub, which suggests it’s gentle sufficient to be towed with a Subaru or small SUV, and is heat sufficient for winter tenting.

In November, the corporate launched the HC1 Studio, which retains the modular mattress and desk system however provides a stationary kitchen with a two-burner range, sink, and Dometic drawer fridge, in addition to a rest room with a bathe and bathroom. It additionally comes commonplace with propane and sizzling water heaters and a lithium ion battery that powers the fridge, inside lights, and the USB ports. You may as well improve to a package deal that features photo voltaic (from $49,950), which doubles the saved battery capability, provides an air conditioner, and offers you the potential to remain off the grid longer.

Happier Camper HC1 Studio
Considered one of many attainable inside configurations of the HC1 Studio. (Photograph: Graham Averill)

The addition of the kitchen and loo do eat into the inside house and restrict your potential to make use of the Studio as a gear hauler. But it surely ought to go with out saying that having a kitchen and loo within the camper is extremely helpful and turns tenting right into a extra civilized affair. I like cooking outdoors, so I might in all probability desire the modular kitchen that you should use inside or outdoors, however having the toilet was clutch. I requested the founding father of Happier Camper, Derek Michael Might, why he added the HC1 Studio to their quiver and he was blunt: “As a result of some folks need 4 partitions round them once they poop.”

It’s true. It’s exhausting to overstate how nice it’s to have a rest room within the trailer. I significantly prefer it after I was tenting on BLM land with out pit bathrooms. The dry flush system Happier Camper makes use of is nice, because it eliminates the necessity to cope with waste water. Mainly, a battery-operated flush system sucks your waste right into a bag that you just eliminate in a dumpster. To avoid wasting house, the bathroom is situated contained in the bathe, which is fairly frequent for RVs. Is it bizarre to sit down on the bathroom once you take a bathe? Sure. However is it value it to have the ability to bathe once you’re deep within the desert miles from the closest working water? Completely. (The Studio has 17-gallon contemporary and grey water tanks.)

A giant a part of the attraction of Happier Camper’s trailers is that they’re small, which makes them simpler to tow and maneuver. The Studio is sufficiently small to suit right into a single parking house, which is nice once you’re on the street. It’s additionally not a lot taller than a teardrop-style trailer, so it doesn’t act like a sail the best way some taller campers do. I drove by way of the windmill fields of Southern California throughout high-wind warnings and barely felt a wiggle behind me.

The flip facet is that the inside can really feel a bit claustrophobic. It has 73 inches of headroom in entrance of the kitchen, which is loads of top for most individuals to face upright, and roughly the identical quantity of width because the queen mattress, so most individuals can sleep in there with no drawback. However I’m six foot, three inches tall, so I needed to hunch and sleep at an angle. Even for those who’re underneath six foot, you’re going to wish to be actually enamored with the particular person you’re sharing the camper with, as a result of house is tight.

Nonetheless, the inside may be very properly designed and I used to be completely comfy throughout my tenure within the Studio. There are lights the place you want them, charging ports in all places, and sufficient house for 2 folks to occupy the bench seats and desk after I reworked the mattress into the lounge configuration. And there’s loads of storage for gear. Every dice pulls triple obligation as a seat, mattress assist, and organizational bin. There’s no wasted house on this factor in any respect—each angle inside the shell appears to cover a drawer or cubby. With the ability to pack your entire gear away (one dice for kitchen instruments, one other for garments, etcetera) lets you declutter the inside and maximize the residing house. And since the inside footprint is compact, you might be standing outdoors of the camper and easily attain in by way of the door to entry the fridge for a beer. I discovered that significantly useful.

Happier Camper HC1 Studio rear hatch
The modular design of the HC1 Studio enables you to arrange camp nevertheless you’d like—inside or out. (Photograph: Graham Averill )

Personally, if I didn’t have a finances, I’d get the upgraded model. You get facilities like an awning and a sound system, plus photo voltaic panels and two lithium Ion batteries with an influence inverter for AC. The mannequin I examined had AC shops along with the USB ports, however these shops might solely be used when plugged into shore energy, like at an RV resort. I spent my entire weekend worrying that I used to be draining the battery life by holding my beer chilly within the Dometic fridge, and in reality, ran out of energy on my third night time within the desert. I woke as much as heat beer and no energy for lights or my cellphone.

As a result of it’s so rattling cute, I used to be nervous how the Studio would deal with tough roads. It doesn’t appear to be a burly overlander, and it isn’t, but it surely has 14 inches of clearance and you’ll improve to bigger all-terrain tires if you realize you’ll be exploring questionable roads. I had the inventory tires, and the Studio dealt with the washboard backroads of Joshua Tree with no drawback. I wouldn’t take the factor rock crawling, however I’ve little question it’s robust sufficient to outlive nearly all of Forest Service and BLM roads on the market.

The good function on the Studio is the massive rear hatch, which opens and kinds an awning. After a hike or path run, I might pop it, sit on the mattress with my legs hanging out, and benefit from the breeze and a few shade whereas consuming a beer. I awakened early every morning, opened the again and watched the solar rise over the mountains whereas sitting there consuming espresso. Perhaps extra importantly, the flexibility to mainly take away a wall creates the phantasm of more room once you’re sitting contained in the camper.

My spouse and I’ve an ongoing argument about whether or not we want a camper or small RV. I’ve been lifeless set in opposition to them as a result of for those who’re going tenting, I consider you ought to be outdoors. I don’t wish to drive an RV to a campground and sit in it, consuming microwave popcorn, and watching TV whereas sitting on a sofa. My spouse counters with the quite simple and logical assertion, “It’s OK to be comfy, even once you’re tenting.”

Happier Camper would possibly simply be the center floor that {couples} like us are in search of. I’m not against sleeping on a cushty mattress after I’m tenting and there’s nothing improper with having the ability to bathe and poop in non-public. The HC1 Studio provides you these facilities with out engaging you to disregard what’s outdoors its fiberglass partitions. And sure, it would look nice in your social media feed.


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