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Front Dinette or Side Dinette?

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#1 3DogNight



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Posted 06 April 2018 - 09:41 PM

When hubby and I were touring the showroom we decided we liked the (Hawk) side dinette more than the front dinette since it was nice to look out the side window while seated. But it seems most, if not all, of the dealer inventory builds we've seen online have the front dinette. I'm wondering why. I'd love some feedback from Hawk owners regarding why you chose either option, and if you have any regrets on the layout of your choice. 


It seems like such a big decision! 



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#2 Casa Escarlata Robles Too

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 10:06 PM

When hubby and I were touring the showroom we decided we liked the (Hawk) side dinette more than the front dinette since it was nice to look out the side window while seated. But it seems most, if not all, of the dealer inventory builds we've seen online have the front dinette. I'm wondering why. I'd love some feedback from Hawk owners regarding why you chose either option, and if you have any regrets on the layout of your choice. 


It seems like such a big decision! 



I don't have a FWC Hawk but I can give my opinion on a side dinette.

I have a 2009 ATC Bobcat,slightly narrower then a Hawk.

We ordered our Bobcat with a side dinette the second one made by ATC.

We have spent 8 years camping with it from Alaska,2 times,to Yellowstone  8 times and many places in between.

We really like the additional space it gives over the roll over couch.

Also IMO the front dinette makes it harder to get into the bed and takes up space we use for our Truckfridge cooler.

With the side dinette the table can stay up all the time and it also makes it easier to use as a "bed" when down.


Have you looked into the "other" pop up camper,ATC. Check them out. Marty and team are great to work with.

Either company will build you a quality camper


Have fun building your camper.


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#3 longhorn1


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Posted 06 April 2018 - 10:24 PM

We don't have a Hawk but we have a Grandby front dinette and love it. We spend very little time inside, so the fact the windows are behind the seat doesn't bother us at all. We cook outside, eat outside unless the weather is bad. If we are going to view the outside it is from the outside. Getting into bed has never been a problem, the table swings to the side and under the bed overhang. Step up onto the dinette seat, swing a leg up and crawl the rest of the way. We got into all 3 models and both of us liked the front dinette. Good luck with your choice. jd
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#4 Ronin


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Posted 07 April 2018 - 12:41 AM

I'm in the Casa Escalarta camp. I had the rollover couch and after trying out front and side dinettes at the factory opted to convert to the side dinette. We can climb into bed without having to re-arrange dinette seats or table. I generally get up first in the morning to get coffee going and I have full access to the stove and can sit in either of the seats. BTW we don't use the pull out bed - it's a tad tight but we gain space by not having to carry the 2 extra mattresses. We are off season wanderers, so it's usually pretty chili in the mornings so we like our breakfast inside. Sitting on the side offers views out the side window and out the back door. The other advantage is either one of us can get up to grab another cup of coffee or tend to whatever might be cooking on the stove. We can still have full view of each other when one of us is cooking or sitting below while the other is hanging out up above. Everything seems to just flow better with the side dinette. We never have to re-arrange anything as we transition from setting up to cooking/eating to sleeping to packing up in the morning. I'm sure that those with front dinettes love their configurations too. It's just a matter of getting into the right routine and minimizing the extra amount of gear you take with you.


Congratulations on taking the leap!!


PS - Do check out All Terrain Campers. Marty is a joy to work with and is willing to virtually build you a custom camper at a much lower price point. 

Edited by Ronin, 07 April 2018 - 12:47 AM.

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#5 billharr


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Posted 07 April 2018 - 12:58 AM

+1 on the side dinette. I purchased a 2013 Hawk shell with a front dinette. Thought I would do a build and keep the front dinette. Wife was not sure so we drove up to FWC and looked. I liked how the front dinette could be made into a larger bed than the side dinette. The wife did not like how little floor space there was with the front dinette. So I converted the front dinette into a side dinette and did my build to max storage. We also sleep without the pull out save space and bed is ready to go.  Set in both if you can.  

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#6 dharte


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Posted 07 April 2018 - 01:03 AM

I would have gone with the side dinette over the front dinette (mostly for the window view while seated) but I wanted the full length extra bed, which I frequently use. Also you get more cabinet storage with the front dinette. However, my wife does have issues with the tall counter heights and has a hard time opening and closing the velcro windows. Each floor plan has pros and cons-my dream camper is a Grandby flatbed.
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#7 Kali


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Posted 07 April 2018 - 05:17 AM

I was torn between the two as well. I did not like how the galley is not as open in the side dinette,  particularly when entering the door. I also like the bigger seating area with the front dinette, and the tons of extra storage. Each one has pro's and con's. I spent a lot of time in each one. and finally decided on the front dinette. I like how open it is. Spend as much time as time as you need sitting in each one. Best to find what you like/don't like now vs. after purchase. 

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#8 trikebubble


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Posted 07 April 2018 - 06:18 AM

We went with the front dinette in our Hawk. We have two mutts, so the dinette ned works well for them. We rarely eat inside when camping so the dinette is usually left in the bed setting. The front dinette also gives you the large rear lower cabinet that fits our Thetford Curve porta-potti. I do not believe that would be an option with the adorable dinette. 20180317_134753.jpg
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#9 Advmoto18


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Posted 07 April 2018 - 11:47 AM

We prefer the front dinette.  More room to move about the very limited space in our Hawk.  Plus the front dinette turns into a very comfortable twin bed when solo and needing to stealth camp.


The windows in the front dinette are not for looking out, one is an emergency exit which is required by regulation.  Not sure why FWC even installs the ride side window in the front dinette version.  Maybe a symmetrical design feature.


If I was going to order a new camper with a front dinette, I would try and delete the right side window.  They are not very good windows in terms of insulation value.

Edited by Advmoto18, 07 April 2018 - 11:48 AM.

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#10 Missing Link

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 01:33 PM

As has been said above, each person (or couple) has specific needs and desires.  We owned a 1989 Fleet with a couch for 10 years and traveled to many places in the west.  Later, we owned an ATC Bobcat with a side dinette for seven years.  Among other places, that camper visited Alaska three times and the Maritime Provinces of Canada once.  We are in our second year in a Hawk with front dinette and it has taken us to the Maritime Provinces (including the Trans Labrador Hwy.), as well as numerous additional trips in California, Nevada, and Oregon.  When choosing between the front/side dinettes, we too were very torn . . . . hated to give up the side window.  However, we went with the front dinette as it affords more storage space, which was very important to us.  After 21,000 miles in the front dinette, we feel that it was the right decision for our needs and we really love the layout.  Yes, the counter top is a bit high but other than that, everything else is better for us in that configuration.  We got an outside shower but no water heater; that gives even more space.  Another feature that we love are the containers (don't know a better word) with hinged lids on top of the cabinets on passenger side.  With the front dinette, we have almost more storage than we need and that means absolutely nothing rides on the floor or needs to be moved when setting up camp . . . . a place for everything, and everything in it's place.  Again, all of the comments in this thread, including mine, are personal opinions because we all want something slightly different in our rigs and we all camp just a little differently than others.  I believe you will be pleased with whichever floorplan that you choose.  We are headed out to the east side of the Sierra and Death Valley in about an hour, so I need stop rambling, and finish packing.  Good luck with you decision; either choice will be a good one.   

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