Browsing Instagram one day, I came across the account @hellaroadtrippin and found the couple who owned this awesome 1974 Chevy C20 with a vintage Four Wheel Camper (Keystone model) to also live in the Bay Area. I immediately reached out to see if they’d be interested in meeting up to do a video tour of their rig. Fidel and Rachel who I found to be extremely kind, were all in for meeting up to give a tour of their square body/camper setup. I am especially fond of this setup because it reminds me of my childhood, where we had a camper mounted to my 1974 Chevy C10 stepside for numerous family vacations to go boating.
The ¾ ton Chevy C20 boasts the original big block 454 paired with its beefy turbo 400 transmission, and has the original factory dual battery and air conditioning which at the time of our tour was not working, but Fidel mentioned he may fix it in the near future.
Since the vintage squarebody is a Camper Special, it has factory tie downs for a camper (two on each side, has dual front and rear sway bars, dual 20 gallon fuel tanks (40 gallons total) and a unique setup where there are shocks mounted between the bed and the cab which I’m guessing is to minimize flex bounce of the frame. As Fidel states, “The more I looked into it, I realized that this was a pretty highly optioned truck for its time”.
After walking around the truck, we moved onto the vintage Four Wheel Camper, an older model they used to offer called the Keystone. Fidel did some research on the camper and found it to be one of FWC’s earlier versions, and believes it’s from the late 70’s or early 1980’s. All Terrain Campers in Sacramento, CA who offers repair/restoration work on older Four Wheel Campers, performed the work on it, by replacing the canvas for the pop-up roof, and addig gas strut assists for raising/lowering the roof to make it much easier to do so, as original campers did not have this. All Terrain Campers also rewired the Keystone’s power to the factory auxiliary side battery of the C20 square body.
Moving onto the interior of the camper, the updates Fidel built out himself. The camper interior and its original appliances were completely stripped out, except for they believe the original sink basin which they retained. Fidel mentioned there was just a patchwork of different materials inside the camper which he tore out. With the camper completely stripped down, he and Rachel started to take it camping to figure out they want to set things up. The results were exactly the kind of ingenuity, practicality and craftsmanship that I’m personally a fan of.
Along part of the length of the driver’s side of the camper, Fidel built a cabinet and countertop (along with the rest of the interior) with lumber/materials from Home Depot. Closest to the door is their sink basin, a stainless steel sink where he crafted a faucet soldered of copper pipe that’s connected to a 6 gallon water storage tank below, powered by a foot pump tucked away under the cabinet. A drain leads outside where they can catch their gray water in a 5 gallon bucket.
On the other side of the cabinet is their storage. Up top is where they store their propane Coleman 2-burner stove. Fidel mentions they don’t usually cook inside the camper, so it’s just a convenient place to store the stove. Below are a couple of cabinet spaces where Fidel and Rachel stow away many of their camping essentials.
Purposely placed closest to the door for easy access on the driver’s side sits an RTIC Insulated Cooler which holds ice for 3 nights and serves as a perfect, affordable solution for Fidel and Rachel’s camping needs. Fidel also built a paper towel holder here next to the door, also for easy access.
Along the front of the camper floor and truck bed, Fidel built a cushioned bench that also doubles as a large storage compartment for blankets and clothing. And along the passenger side, Fidel built a cushioned bench that also doubles as storage for other camping items, big enough to house things like fold up camping chairs. The setup was quite spacious, practical, clean and most notably very comfortable. I find even new setups sometimes lack that home comfort feel, but this setup immediately invoked a feeling of being cozy.
A throwback memory to my childhood, there’s a double-slider window setup, with both the truck and the camper having slider windows, so you can access the camper without ever getting out of the truck cab.
As with the rest of the interior setup, the flooring was also very practical. Fidel used click-together wood laminate flooring from Home Depot and a throw rug which was a perfect solution, where dirt inevitably gets in the camper so you can easily sweep or mop the floor, and shake your rug outside.
For power on the inside, All Terrain Campers built a nice wooden box that houses a 12-volt socket and 2 USB ports for powering electronic devices. They also added interior LED roof lighting.
After some research, Fidel mounted a MaxiTrac awning on the passenger side of the camper they purchased from Napa Auto Parts that fit their budget at $120.
Finally, some nostalgic and thoughtful final decoration of the camper included a few old license plates and window stickers Fidel and Rachel decided to leave as part of the history of the camper, a legacy from the previous owner who was an avid fisherman and had taken the camper on many journeys, including to Alaska.
Thank you very much Fidel and Rachel for allowing me to tour your old Chevy squarebody/FWC setup. It’s certainly one of my favorite camping rig tours I’ve done.