After much research and debate I have placed an order for a 2021 Four Wheel Pop-Up Camper Grandby shell.
Here is a list of the options I selected along with a brief explanation for each:
2021 - Very easy choice since there are virtually zero FWC campers available let alone a Grandby Shell.
Four Wheel Pop-Up Camper - This was a long and difficult decision since over the past few years I have explored a number of options. Even up until recently I was still considering Arctic Fox, Lance, Palomino, etc. although I continued to come back around to FWC. My big turn offs were the interesting interior layouts and the excessively long waiting list which is now at 52-56 weeks. The value that I see in FWC is they have a mature product, a great reputation and can be ordered in a shell configuration which will permit the owner to customize. The fact that the top collapses to save on height is beneficial to my requirements since much of my exploring will be done off-road so impact with branches, low center of gravity, etc. all matter much to me.
Grandby - This was an equally difficult decision since many owners are quite happy with a slightly shorter option. When I finally decided to design this system using a 2021 RAM 3500 Tradesman regular can 4x4 8' box the solution was obvious - a Grandby it would be. My though was that for full time use the additional space in the camper shell would be much more valuable when compared to the additional storage offered by the crew cab. On those rainy or otherwise unpleasant days where I decide to spend time indoors the additional room afforded by the Grandby will be nice.
Shell - Although FCW has a number of options available for their interior layout I just was not terribly impressed by any of them. It is only my opinion but there is much to be gained by involving a professional with designing the interior. My goal is to perform additional research and solicit input from professionals who have more knowledge in this particular area. Again, I believe the current interiors in the FWC lineup is OK but it seems improvements are possible.
Fabric: Dovetail Greystone
Powered Roof Vent Fan ($310) - Although I have spent the past 2.5 years sleeping outside every night in a James Baroud hardshell tent and have no problems with the warm or cold weather, I have not spent a single night in a FWC. The powered roof vent fan seems like a very common option and since it involves wiring and it a reasonable cost I decided it was a good idea. I requested that the fan be mounted above the bed but was told it is commonly mounted above the stove. Since I do not have a stove I do hope this can be accommodated.
Rear Floodlights LED ($295) - A close friend recently had his FWC camper delivered and I was able to experience these rear floodlights firsthand. When pulling to camp late and setting up these seem like they would be a great benefit and at $295 I consider them a reasonable cost. If they were not LED I doubt I would have purchased them and that would have left me to select lights and perform the wiring myself. I am glad this was an option.
Thermal Pack ($750) - Initially I was not going to order this since I have slept in an unheated tent at near zero degrees Fahrenheit for a few days. I reasoned that in the FWC with a heater, the Thermal Pack would not be as valuable but then I began to consider fuel use, being out in austere conditions for weeks or even months, etc. and I easily justified the additional expense. One feature I do not like is the lack of sunlight when using this type of Thermal Pack. I do wish there was a heavier clear window they were able to use for this application.
King Bed Slide-Out on Cabover Bed ($500) - Although I enjoy sleeping N-S I was willing to sleep E-W. After thinking about it and reading posts by several others who either wished they had the king bed option or had it and loved it, I decided this was worth it. My plan is to sleep mostly N-S but we will see. If I have company the king bed option will be even more valuable. Another consideration is that the king option includes four pillows whereas I believe the standard option only included two - I may be wrong on this though. Those four pillows will provide me with additional options when configuring the interior since they may be used in other applications unrelated to sleep.
Smooth Siding, Black ($895) - This is all about looks and with a Granite Crystal Metallic paint on my truck black seemed like the best choice. It would provide some contrast but again be dark enough to blend well. I had considered the Metallic Charcoal color for my camper but was unable to find any pictures which clearly showed the RAM paint and FWC paint together. Black will be fine though and although the smooth siding will be more likely to show scratches, dents and dings all will be fine.
Since I do plan to install solar up top I am already planning to use forty pound struts in the front and rear. What will be most exciting is selecting the individual components and building out the interior once the camper arrives.
Cost of base camper: $13,295
Documentation fee: $65
Destination charge: $775
Installation fee: $595
Grand total: $17,480