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RV Review: Forthcoming Happier Camper HC1 Studio

I have seen a lot of the very distinctive and sorta retro Happier Camper HC1 trailers around, many more than I would have suspected. The cute little trailers offer a lot of flexibility thanks to a modular interior system dubbed Adaptiv™. It allows you to easily reconfigure and also add items to the trailer. 

In fact, my wife and I specifically went to an RV show half a state away years ago when these first came out so we could look at them, thinking they might fit what we were looking for. One of the reasons this didn’t fit was that there really wasn’t a specific kitchen and bathroom in the mini trailers. Well, now that’s changed with the announcement of the Happier Camper HC1 Studio. 

One of the reasons people trade in their RVs is that the RV that they have now no longer meets their needs. When I was working in sales, there were a lot of people who would buy something and then end up not fulfilling their vision with whatever they had purchased. 

These unusual little trailers are comprised of a fiberglass outer shell much like a boat and a reconfigurable inner layout using the company’s components that they refer to as the Adaptiv™ system. 

Front kitchen in the Happier Camper HC1 Studio

The biggest change to these trailers is the addition of a permanent kitchen in the front. That kitchen consists of a two-burner flush-mount stove, a sink, and a drawer-style 12-volt refrigerator. Interestingly, this is almost the same kitchen configuration as Lance offers in their nifty 2075 as an outdoor kitchen. 

While the Adaptiv™ system was available with many of these components in the past, having them built in and plumbed permanently to the trailer makes a big difference to some buyers, I would imagine. 

Bathroom

Even more than the kitchen, adding a bathroom to the trailers might be enough to get some prospects to become buyers.

The bathroom is a wet bath, of sorts. Essentially it’s a shower stall, but in that you’ll find a dry flush toilet. The good thing about this system is that you can take the toilet out and use the shower unencumbered. There is also no black tank, since this is a dry flush toilet much like the Laveo dry flush toilet I had written about. 

Well, it’s a dry flush toilet if you remember to take it out of the stall before you take a shower. Although, perhaps you could accomplish all morning activities at the same time if you don’t. 

Warm daze ahead

Another big change on this model is the addition of a water heater and space heater. Previous iterations of the Happier Camper HC1 were relatively primitive in their functionality, both a plus and a minus. However, this one does add the previously mentioned water system along with a space heater and water heater in the form of a Truma AquaGo system. That combines both functions into one unit—saving space and minimizing the number of separate systems. 

There are 17 gallons of water to draw from for the sink and shower, and 17 gallons of storage for that water to go when it’s done making you and your dishes clean. 

Having a space heater might also balance the scales for some prospects with this model. 

Adaptiv™ system in the Happier Camper HC1 Studio

The Adaptiv™ system is what really makes this RV stand out. It is essentially a series of cubes that fit into notches in the floor of the trailer that outfit it the way an owner would like. In the Adaptiv™ system are modules that include coolers, sinks, toilets, bunk beds, tables, chairs, refrigerators, cooking surfaces and more.

Each component is based on a cube shape and sort of snaps into the floor of the trailer like a Lego brick. So, using this system, you could start with a simple layout that serves your needs today and adapt and change and upgrade as your needs and vision changes. It’s actually quite brilliant.

With a traditional camper, if you think you can go without a toilet or a sink or envision yourself with a certain type of sleeping arrangement, that’s what you’re getting unless you trade it in. With the entire line of Happier Camper models, you can buy more components of the Adaptiv™ system down the road to suit your style then.

Change up the Happier Camper HC1 Studio for multiple uses

Furthermore, if you need a well-equipped camper this weekend but want something just to haul your toys the next, that’s a possibility, as well. The modules can go in and out and be reconfigured on the fly. You can even easily carry the components outside and use them there. So the kitchen that’s inside one minute can be an outdoor kitchen the next.

All of this fits into a tiny trailer that is so easily towed. It does have some built-in cabinetry and lighting. On the passenger side there’s a large window that flips up almost like a take-out window on a catering truck. Some of the videos on the company’s website show one camper passing food out the window to another.

The back of the HC1 Studio is a large hatch on struts so you can get the modules or other cargo in and out. In fact, the HC1 includes tie-downs, so you could haul motorcycles or bicycles or kayaks and the like.

In summary

Even without the clear benefit of a very light camper factoring into the equation, the large rear hatch at the rear along with the very flexible Adaptiv™ system could make this the kind of rig that really fits a lot of people. 

Further, Happier Camper has also added models specifically for business use with a large side window that flips up. Think of using this for a coffee trailer or photo booth, that sort of thing. 

In fact, one of my favorite business stories is of New Belgium Brewing in Colorado. Those folks started their business out of a barn and brought a vintage trailer that had taps in it to community events, offering samples of their brew to people. 

You could potentially take your garage brew in a Happier Camper HC1 and visit community festivals to grow your hobby into your livelihood. Neat. 

Price of the Happier Camper HC1 Studio may be an issue

The one barrier I can see to greater prosperity for the brand could be the $49,995 base price of this model. It’s clever, well-made and offers tremendous flexibility plus a very unique style. But this is also a big nut to crack. However, there are van lifers who are ponying up $200K for a van conversion, also. So somewhere there is a money tree. 

Cool addition to this line of trailers

Still, the Happier Camper HC1 Studio is a very cool addition to an already nifty little line of little trailers. 

*****

I would love to read your comments and suggestions over on our new forums, where you can weigh in and start or join a discussion about all things RV. Here’s a link to my RV Reviews Forum.

If you’re RV shopping here are some tips on RV shopping from a former RV salesperson—me!

Tony comes to RVtravel.com having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. You can find his writing here and at StressLessCamping where he also has an RV podcast with his wife, Peggy. 

These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. They are based on information from a single unit and may not reflect your actual experience. Shop your RV and dealership carefully before making a buying decision. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.

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Bob M
21 days ago

I agree price is to much. Being modular might be a good way to manufacture RV’s. If you want a large oven than you could drop a cabinet in with the oven size needed. Pop in theater seats instead of sofa bed, Dining tables instead of dinings booths. Options could be endless.

Les
21 days ago

I’m thinking a lot more trailer I could get with 49k, with better boondocking capability. It would be interesting to see how a company spokesperson substantiates that price, comparatively speaking.

Jewel
21 days ago

Maybe I missed it but I did not see any cooling unit. For $50k and small windows (and was there even a screen on the rear door?), an A/C would be nice.
I guess this thing is only for off-grid minimal camping with no solar and how many batteries?
I agree with Tom, ugly price.

tom
21 days ago

Very ugly price.

Steve
21 days ago

Tony, we have a Truma AquaGo in our MH and is a water heater only. The Truma Combi is the combined water/space heater. So, if the HC has just the AquaGo, it only heats that 17 gallons of fresh water.

Tommy Molnar
21 days ago

Back in the 80’s, a friend and I would take a week every year and disappear out into the Nevada desert for a week of ghost towning, metal detecting, prospecting, and all around just having fun. THIS trailer would have been fun – for me. This is a one person trailer, far as I’m concerned.

Our son has a “Bean” teardrop trailer. It cost him bunches. When the baby came, that was the end of the Bean. It has sat in his front yard for over a year. I almost think this might fit the bill. They are ‘minimalists’.

But in both cases, the price would preclude acquiring this unit. I’m sure they have to price it high to make up for a small production number. But still. We didn’t pay that much for our Arctic Fox (10 years ago).

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