Four Wheel Campers

A problem facing landscape photographers in the western US is the vastness of the region.  It’s often a very long distance from a good location to the nearest lodging.  Consequently, most of the nature photographers I know who live here have some sort of self-contained vehicle, so that they can stay on-site.

I just got back from southern Utah, where a group of photography friends got together to spend a week in the remote back country.  This was really just a social gathering, but with some very serious photography tossed into the mix.  What set this gathering apart, though, was another connection.  All of us have four-wheel drive pickup trucks (from Toyota Tacoma to full-sized GMC) with a popup camper mounted in the truck bed.  More specifically, we’ve all bought camper models manufactured by a California company:  Four Wheel Campers.  Yes, this is a plug for their products.  I’ve owned a Four Wheel Camper for a number of years now – and am planning to upgrade to a new model this coming spring – and have nothing but good to say about both the campers themselves, and the company.  The company definitely understands photographers as Tom Hanagan, the owner of Four Wheel Campers, is a Nikon shooter himself.

The truck camper is my base-camp, my home on the road, my office in the wilderness – with all the creature comforts of stove, refrigerator, furnace, 85-watt solar panel, queen bed, and lots of storage room.  The weather can be awful, but I remain dry and warm, able to work on my laptop, cook a meal or make coffee, or read with a glass of wine at hand.  And I can set up camp – or break camp and be on the road – in just a few minutes at most.

For specific details, check out their website:

Here are a few photos from my trip.

Rock and cracked mudFirst lightAgave and lichened rocksIce crystals over streamLake Powell sunsetSunrise on Burr TrailRocks and cracked mudHoodoos at sunriseTemple of the Moon by moonlightSunset light on ridgeWeathered juniper in sandMorning light on hoodoos



  1. Andrew McLachlan November 30, 2012 at 5:53 pm #

    Lovely collection of photos…that camper sure looks a lot more comfortable than the back of my Subaru Outback.

    • John December 1, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

      Years ago I did the “sleeping in the back of the car” routine also…but it sure gets old after a couple of days.

  2. James Doyle December 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    John, I enjoyed your blog about campers. Here in Australia we have the same problems with distance (maybe even more so) and I spent nearly twenty years camping in tents and the like during my travels but I’m getting “old” and my back doesn’t cope well with the hard ground any more so the idea of having a “hard shelled” tent sounds more in keeping these days, as I don’t like caravans.

  3. Chuck Turner January 3, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    John, I absolutely enjoyed the trip, the locations, the camaraderie & your insights into all things photographic (and Nikon, especially). Also, thank you to your shout out of Four Wheel Campers. I laughingly, but seriously, tell everyone I know that my Four Wheel Camper is the best piece of photographic equipment I’ve ever purchased. Keep up the great work and hope to see you on the trail soon.