Behind Hallmark’s new K2 is a story about a third who just built his first. Who’s first and third? The one, the only, Matt Ward. Did we mention that he saws toilets?
Matt Ward is third generation in the Ward family at Hallmark and the K2 is his first camper design. On the surface, the K2 is a Hallmark Guanella LX with a cassette toilet and a laundry list of state-of-the-art, off-the-grid features. But there’s so much more to this story, and the new K2.
TCM: You’re third generation in the Ward family at Hallmark. From what I understand, this is your first camper design at Hallmark. Why now?
Matt: I wanted to build a camper that better suited my personal and family needs. As a half-ton truck owner, I don’t need a full bathroom with holding tanks. But my daughter, Georgie, and son, Harper, don’t want to squat in a hole and they’re scared of outhouses. They think they might fall in the big hole. So having a cassette toilet is a big deal to my wife, Molly, and our two children. The outside storage is also important for toys and gear storage.
TCM: Were there any significant challenges when designing or building the K2?
Matt: Oh yeah. When I told dad and Randy that I wanted to put a cassette toilet into our eight-foot Guanella, they said I was an idiot. But I said it would work and I had the dimensions measured. The Thetford CW-200 is a smaller toilet that Rex Willett at Northstar has been using for awhile now. It’s really nice. But what really sold me was when I saw the Earthroamer XV-JP. If they can use the CW-200 in a tiny jeep, it’s a shoe-in for a Hallmark.
TCM: So when did your dad and Randy finally get on board with the K2?
Matt: They weren’t on board at first. I actually called up Thetford, unbeknownst to Dad or Randy, and placed an order for a CW-200 toilet. They were not happy with me on the day it arrived. Then I took the toilet back to a Guanella and it fit without modifications. Ah ha. Then I took a saw and cut the toilet and made it fit even better.
TCM: You took a saw to the toilet?
Matt: Yeah. I modified it. I cut the top off and made sure there was enough room for someone’s butt. When Dad and Randy saw how well the toilet fit, they jumped on board.
TCM: We can only imagine the, “Will it fit my butt too?” quality control tests. Tell us about the LED light on the toilet. That’s not how the toilet comes from Thetford.
Matt: No. I cut a hole in the toilet and plopped in the LED. I wanted a little light on the toilet to help my son, Harper, find his way at night. He’s scared of the dark, but with the light he can find the toilet. The light also doubles as a low-draw night light for the camper.
TCM: How does the K2 fit into the Hallmark product line?
Matt: A lot of people want a Guanella with a cassette toilet. For those people, the K2 will be huge. The other thing people will like about the K2 is all the additional storage that comes from using a removable refrigerator. The K2 has really become it’s own model. It’s more than a Guanella with a cassette toilet.
TCM: What can you tell us about the Waeco refrigerator?
Matt: It’s a 12-volt or 110-volt refrigerator with a Dannfoss compressor. Danfoss has emerged as a leader in compressor technology and the Waeco only needs 7.5 amps, max. The refrigerator location is the same but the removable Waeco means you can have more counter space. Dad installed chrome hooks that spin and release the fridge easily. They also totally lock for off-roading. That was all dad’s design. When we took out the standard refrigerator, two huge storage areas became available and we saved about forty-eight pounds over the standard refrigerator. It’s also nice to be able to take the refrigerator outside for when you’re eating outside or when you want more counter space in the camper.
TCM: What is the fresh water tank capacity of the K2?