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RV review: Happier Camper HC1 travel trailer

By Tony Barthel
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 that vision with whatever they had purchased.

It would seem that this reasoning isn’t something that’s going to affect owners of the Happier Camper trailers. These unusual little trailers are comprised of a fiberglass outer shell and a reconfigurable inner layout using the company’s components that they refer to as the Adaptiv™ system.

Happier Camper Adaptiv SystemBuilt in Los Angeles, California, Happier Campers come in two flavors, plus the Adaptiv™ system is also available to outfit a van. The original model, the Happier Camper HC1, is a very small trailer measuring 10 feet in the length of the body itself and weighing in at just 1100 pounds, with a tongue weight of 110-150 pounds.

Suddenly a lot of Subaru owners just started paying closer attention.

So what do you get in that small of a package? Actually, a surprising amount.

HC1 Adaptiv floor plan

The Adaptiv™ system is what really makes this RV stand out and 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 change. 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.

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 – as 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.

The trailer 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, and some of the videos on the company’s website do show one camper passing food out the window to another. All of this fits into a tiny trailer that is so easily towed.

Each HC1 comes equipped with an AGM battery, 30-amp shoreline power hookup, and a solar-ready port (among many other features). If you want to get some extra mileage from your electrical system, you can upgrade to the Off Grid power package, which includes a lithium battery and an inverter.

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

When the Happier Camper HC1 was first introduced, I was so intrigued by it that I went from my home base to the California RV Show in Southern California just to look at this trailer. It was every bit as cool in person as it is in pictures. But, I didn’t buy one. I do actually appreciate a more traditional trailer – but not everyone shares my vision.

It’s good to see people creating innovative RVs, and this is certainly one of those. It may not be for everybody – but the idea of being able to reconfigure your RV at a moment’s notice is really a neat idea. Considering that the Adaptiv™ system is now available in the larger Happier Camper HC2 and also available to use to outfit vans shows what a good idea it is.

Who knows – this unique design could make you a happier camper.

These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with my own research and represent the most accurate information and opinion at the time of writing. Your experience is always encouraged.

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