Truck Camper or Off-Road Van? An Adventure Chef’s Top Pick

Adam Glick is no stranger to the nomadic lifestyle. As a professional chef aboard yachts ranging from 90 to 225 feet, he always had a…

Adam Glick is no stranger to the nomadic lifestyle. As a professional chef aboard yachts ranging from 90 to 225 feet, he always had a campervan at the ready in the marina parking lot.

In the beginning, back in 2008, Adam lived in a beat-up old van with no windows. He calls himself one of the original “van lifers”, long before it was something cool to show off on Instagram. 

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“This all started because when I wasn’t working on a boat I found myself homeless and got a van out of necessity,” he said. “I would finish a job and all my possessions were in storage. I didn’t keep a house.”

Interior of a Ford Transit campervan
Adam built this Ford Transit out himself. Photo: Instagram.com/chefadamglick/

When Adam started making a little more income, he eventually upgraded to a Ford Transit with a 4×4 Quigley conversion built out by Sportsmobile – his 4th van.

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Why a 4×4 Van Wasn’t Enough 

Adam’s Ford Transit van was pretty decked out – it had a roof rack, solar panels, ladder and spare tire rack.

“The real issue I ran into was that it was too tall,” he said. “The van was 13’ tall and you drive around with your butt puckered cause you’re worried about every branch and low bridge. It’s stressful having such a tall vehicle.” 

Chef Adam making coffee outside. Photo: Instagram.com/chefadamglick/

He realized he wanted something different when he was driving down dirt roads in the Grand Canyon with a cumbersome van.

“I drove past two guys with identical F-250 Super Duty flatbed trucks with Four Wheel campers,” he said. “So I thought, how do I do that? Those guys have it figured out, they are the ones with the view.”

Adam realized his hobbies had morphed from surfing and working aboard yachts to 4-wheeling and off-roading. His need to get further into nature, and further away from people, was acute.

Adam Switched to an 4×4 Truck Camper

When Adam first started living the van life, it was easy to park. He could go anywhere, spend the night anywhere, and never had any run-ins with cops.

But as van life grew in popularity, those special spots got more and more crowded. 

Adam’s Four Wheel truck camper. Photo: Instagram.com/chefadamglick/

“I’ve watched the progression. I watched it change year after year and I watched my favorite spots go to shit and are now covered in garbage, poop, toilet paper, tampons,” Adam said. “When I watched that happen it made me want to never promote locations or do anything with van life.”

A truck camper was just the ticket. It can go over much rougher terrain than a van, and under low-hanging tree branches. A Four Wheel truck camper only extends 6” from the height of the cab, making it much more versatile for true overlanding.

“My objective when I get in my truck is to not see anyone else. I do this for solitude, for myself, for introversion, for a moment to think. I can’t do that with someone’s kids running around next to me. That is the way it is.”

He chose a Four Wheel Truck camper over competing brands due to its low profile. Adam loves overlanding in the Pacific Northwest, which has a lot of downed trees. 

Truck camper with a view. Photo: Instagram.com/chefadamglick/

“For the vast majority of the trails to get to the mountaintop or view, you are combatting low lying tree branches,” said Adam. “You can either hang out the window with a chain saw and hack them off going down the trail or lower the profile of your vehicle.”

He thinks a pop-up truck camper for overlanding is really the only way to go.

Click here to learn more about Four Wheel truck campers.

Adam’s New Career as The Adventure Chef

Rather than working aboard fancy boats, Adam now has his own company. He works as The Adventure Chef, putting together top-notch meals for people out in the wilderness.

Cooking a pizza outdoors. Photo: Instagram.com/chefadamglick/

“For example, I have a guy in northern Oregon who is going to have me cook for his anniversary,” he said. “We might do it by a river and make something with the blackberries they pick, and either buy or catch some salmon. The truck has all the tools I need for a romantic meal.”

Another upcoming event is for a group of 50 executives on a beach in Los Angeles. His jobs range from small to large, a perfect way to showcase his skills and cook in nature.

Adam also worked with Messermeister to develop a compact folding knife system for people living in truck campers, vans, boats or RVs. He felt like there was a huge gap in the market for cooking utensils that work in small spaces. 

“I found a way to create a folding chef’s knife, folding fish fillet knife and folding cutting board,” he said. “There’s also a peeler, a paring knife, forks and spoons. All these fold down into a nice kit that fits in a glove box, backpack or drawer in your camper.”

You can buy a 6-piece set, a 3-piece set, or individual items like a folding chef’s knife or folding camp utensil. Click here to browse the knife collection.

Adam also hosts a show on Outside.tv called “Stoked”, an adventure-based cooking program.

What Adam Wants You to Know About Cooking Outdoors

Adam often seems people stuck in ruts when it comes to camping food. They feel they need to bring hot dogs, hamburgers and s’mores. Things that can sit out for hours or days without going bad.

However, a vacuum-packed ribeye can last just as long in a cooler. 

An elegant camping meal. Photo: Instagram.com/chefadamglick/

“There is no need to think you have to eat a hot dog when a ribeye lasts just as long for the duration of your camping trip. Most people are just going out for a weekend. Your food won’t go bad in two days.”

He encourages people to bring high-quality shelf-stable foods like olives, pimientos, pickled items, and anything jarred or canned.

But he also doesn’t want people to forget about good, fresh food.

“Tomatoes won’t go bad in two days, and neither will grapes,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to bring food. Don’t be afraid to bring normal food. A head of romaine lettuce, radishes, carrots, cucumber – this stuff isn’t going to go bad that fast.”

Campervan vs Truck Camper: A Clear Win

While Adam considers himself one of the original van lifers, he won’t go back to one anytime soon.

Photo: Instagram.com/chefadamglick/

The Four Wheel truck camper is much more versatile for his needs. It has a low profile, fits on a 4×4 truck and can go many places vans can’t.

For Adam, that ensures he’s headed to secluded and beautiful campsites, far away from the masses, places he can reflect, take photos and cook delicious meals. 

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One Comment

  1. Jennie Saldivar says:

    I so enjoy following Adam & his journeys on Instagram. He is an inspiration to all of us. He’s come a long way from yachting and we’re so happy he did!! I wish him & Tex many years of awesome travels!!🙏❤️☮️

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