Professional surfer and surfboard shaper Ryan Burch had an idea — an idea that crosses the minds of most surfers at some point in their lives.
He wanted to trade the crowded and hectic lineups of his hometown Encinitas, California, for empty, peaceful, and wave-rich lineups in Canada.
Driving up the coast would be the easy part. Because he wanted to get off the beaten path, the hard part would be finding the right vehicle to do so.
“We did a lot of road trips up to the Northwest in a van, and loved it,” Ryan said. “But it was a 2-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive car. You’d hit anything like a graded dirt road with a little bit of rain and you’d be slipping all over the place.”
In short, Ryan needed something off-the-grid worthy. He also didn’t want to be “a victim to the road warrior lifestyle” that comes with having a vehicle like a van, where getting off the beaten path is nearly impossible. Once the asphalt ends, so does your adventure.
With the size and weight of a van, the thought of camping next to serene and flowing rivers, empty beaches with waves all to yourself, or a forest teeming with the sounds of nature is nothing but a fantasy.
Along with these factors, Ryan needed something that could fit several surfboards, camping gear, and his pregnant wife.
Above all, Ryan needed all this at an affordable price.
He turned to Four Wheel Campers, a company that has been making pop-up truck campers — and off-the-beaten-path adventures happen — since 1972.
After choosing his camper model and visiting the Four Wheel Campers headquarters for install, Ryan received added suspension for his Toyota Tacoma and was on the road — the crowded lineups of Encinitas in his rear view mirror.
Four Wheel Campers has been making off the beaten path adventures like this happen since 1972. Photo courtesy Four Wheel Campers
“The idea with getting a 4 by 4 is to get to these locations that we haven’t been able to access before," Ryan said. "After driving it the last 10 days, it definitely feels like it’s going to take us anywhere I’m comfortable driving. A 4 wheel drive is a new chapter for me and I’m excited to get more comfortable with off-road driving and see places and camp places we would never be able to get to in the van.”
In the days to come, Ryan surfed empty, dreamy lineups, shaped a surfboard, enjoyed time with his wife, and above all, adventured to untouched and unpioneered locations.
For Ryan Burch, when you're off the grid, creativity abounds. Photo courtesy Four Wheel Campers
From shelter to food, sleep, hygiene, and more, his Four Wheel Campers rig powered him along the way. Here's what made Ryan's off the grid trip a success — and what makes Four Wheel Campers one of the best camper providers for surfers and adventure enthusiasts.
#1: Four Wheel Campers have tremendous floor plan flexibility.
The Fleet Slide-In Camper Model, which Ryan chose, fits mid size truck bed sizes 6’0" - 6’7". Within this model, Ryan had three options to choose from:
the Roll Over Couch
the Side Dinette
or Front Dinette
With the Roll Over Couch option, in addition to a fridge, furnace, sink, stove and queen size bed, this model — which Ryan chose — offers a 62” by 35” area that doubles as a comfy couch or a lower bed.
Not only is it a great option if you want to have a day bed; in Ryan’s situation, it was the perfect place to lay his large surfboard quiver in addition to using roof racks.
Ryan's Fleet Slide-In Camper Model proved to be the ultimate adventure camper. Photo courtesy Four Wheel Campers
If you’d rather have a seating area instead of an additional couch, the Side Dinette model offers just that. With all the features of the Roll Over Couch option, it features two seating chairs, along with a table — the ideal setup if you're looking for sit down dinners during your adventure.
The third option within this model — the Front Dinette — replaces the two seating chairs from the Side Dinette option and instead places seating on both sides of the front of the camper.
This is what Ryan loved about Four Wheel. Just as no adventure has a template, Four Wheel Campers allows you to choose from one of several options that best fit your needs.
#2: Four Wheel Campers allow you to escape completely off the grid.
“It’s been pretty eye-opening getting these opportunities to pull off and feel removed from the road, whereas the van you were a victim to the road warrior lifestyle, camping at rest stops and on the beaten path all the time,” Ryan said while sitting on a serene and quiet riverbank.
Whereas some camper options like vans or RVs allow you to live in the elements, there's no doubt that you’re limited on where you can go.
For Ryan’s surf trip, he wanted to be completely removed from it all — completely off the grid where peace and creativity abound.
It doesn't get more off the grid than this. Photo courtesy Four Wheel Campers
That’s why he chose Four Wheel Campers. The Fleet model, as well as other models, include everything you need for a sustainable trip to an empty beach or quiet forest, including:
King Size Bed
Hot Water Heater
Interior & Exterior Shower
Solar Panels & Dakota Lithium Batteries
Awnings, Surf Racks, Roof Steps
Plenty of waves and an empty lineup: exactly what Ryan Burch was craving when he left his hometown of Encinitas and ventured north. Photo courtesy Four Wheel Campers
#3: Four Wheel Campers achieves the perfect balance between functionality and spaciousness.
Ryan's Four Wheel Camper was just the right size — big enough to fit his gear and family in, but compact enough to fit into the 6 foot long bed of his Toyota Tacoma.
"I was inspired to [look for a camper] by growth of our family," Ryan said. "We are going to have a baby and we wanted something with a backseat. I was looking at the possibility with Four Wheel Camper to get a lot of sleeping-camper-space without having to go with this huge monster rig.”
With Four Wheel Campers, you'll have a place for your items — surfboards, wetsuits, food and much more — with enough space left over to stretch your legs.
#4: Four Wheel Campers are simple to install.
With factory and dealer locations spread across America, from California to Washington, Florida, North Carolina and many states in between, getting your camper installed is as simple as visiting the factory and having it adapted to your truck — while you watch.
The ultimate surf rig, Ryan Burch approved. Photo courtesy Four Wheel Campers
#5: Four Wheel Campers are affordable for surfers and adventure enthusiasts.
As surfers, we’re not trying to buy the most expensive or luxurious camper on the market. We’re all — Ryan included — looking for something that gets the job done within our budget. That can be difficult with van buildouts costing anywhere between $50,000 - $100,000, or the cost of an RV starting at $100,000.
That’s what makes Four Wheel Campers the best choice — their slide-in base models start at $17,995.00 and their full camper models start at $26,625.00.
If that's still out of your budget, check out their Project M Topper, starting at just $11,495.
Best of all, there’s no need for buying a completely new vehicle with their campers — your truck is all you need.
If you are looking to hit the road sooner than later but don’t have the total sum yet, Four Wheel Campers provides a financing option. You can even get your estimated monthly payment in 15 seconds.
Ryan felt the pull of adventure, and Four Wheel Campers helped him find empty lineups like this. Photo courtesy Four Wheel Campers