TCM EXCLUSIVE: 2010 Eagle Cap 1165


With three slide outs and loaded, Eagle Cap swings for the fences with their all new 1165 triple slide truck camper.  Will this third triple be a home run?

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After many months of anticipation, Eagle Cap is finally ready to announce their all new 1165 triple slide truck camper.  We’re saying all new because this is not just an Eagle Cap 1160 double side with one more slide-out.  Oh no.  From the full-basement up, this is truly an all-new camper.

While some may call foul on the obvious similarities between Eagle Cap’s new triple-slide rookie and it’s competitors, Eagle Cap has a few change-ups for us.  To learn more about what makes the 1165 a contender, we asked Chris Epp, Owner of Eagle Cap, to give us his best pitch.

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TCM: Tell us how the new Eagle Cap 1165 triple slide came to be.

Chris: As you know, a few of our competitors are now building campers with three slides.  For some time, we have been getting pressure from our dealer network to produce a triple slide to compete with these competitors.  We deliberated for awhile before taking the plunge.  2009 was a fairly difficult year for the RV industry, so we were not in a hurry.  Making a triple slide camper is not something you just do on a Saturday afternoon.

Starting last July, we saw the market turn around for Eagle Cap Campers.  A few months later, we decided to develop the Eagle Cap 1165 triple slide camper.   We had numerous calls requesting a triple slide and people saying they would order one once we started building.

We also wanted to do something different from what our competitors are doing.  We developed a new front cap mold.  The one that we used on the 1160 is designed for a smaller basement camper.  The new 1165 has a full basement.  The entire floor of the 1165 sits above the box of the truck.  As a result, the 1165 is a taller camper than the 1160.

TCM: So the 1165 is not just an 1160 with a third slide-out?

Chris: No, it’s not just an 1160 with a kitchen slide.  It’s a completely new camper.  In fact, there are some ideas developed on the 1165 that we have already built into some upcoming campers.

TCM: How have you increased the strength of your frame and structure to handle three slide-outs?

Chris: The floor of the 1165 is very strong.  It’s one and a half inch welded aluminum with plywood above and below and block foam in the voids.  The floor is also laminated for additional strength.  We’re very pleased with how the floor turned out.  There is no deflection in the floor when the slides go in and out.  The floor is the foundation of the camper and is of key importance when building a triple slide.

TCM: Tell us about the challenges you faced during the development of the 1165.

Chris: There wasn’t anything really.  Nothing out of the ordinary happened.  We have built well over 200 double slide Eagle Cap 1160s and Okanagan 117s.  And we had already built the 126TKS with Okanagan.  We knew what we were getting ourselves into.

TCM: What have you done to help keep the weight of this camper in check?

Chris:
There were several things.  The biggest difference was the use of a different adhesive.  The adhesive is much lighter than the other adhesives we use.  That was the biggest weight reduction.  

TCM: Really?  An adhesive took out that much weight?

Chris: It’s very surprising how big of a difference it makes.  In fact, we’re using the new adhesive on our regular products.  On our 850 we have been using the different adhesive and it has made the camper 150 to 200 pounds lighter.

This adhesive is very expensive.  It’s not a new product.  One of our suppliers introduced us to it and it has had great success in other fields.

TCM: And what is this new adhesive?

Chris: I can’t tell you.  We signed an agreement with our vendor not to disclose the name of the adhesive.

TCM: What is the dry weight of the 1165? 

Chris: We haven’t built a standard built unit yet and prototypes tend to weigh more.  You end up doubling up on the weight here or there by adding things that aren’t necessary in a standard built unit.  It’s normal for a production model to weigh less.

TCM: Would be willing to submit a weight ticket for the 1165?

Chris: We have no problem doing that.

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Four days after the interview, Eagle Cap submitted the above certified weight tickets showing the prototype Eagle Cap 1165 at 4,700 pounds with options.  The ticket on the left shows the truck weight at 9,600 pounds.  The center ticket shows the truck and camper weight at 14,300 pounds.  The difference is 4,700 pounds.  The sheet on the right shows the weight of the included options.  For information about determining the weight of your camper and the payload of your truck, check out, "Matching a Truck and Camper".


TCM: What differentiates the 1165 from the other triple slide campers currently on the market?

Chris: First off, we are the only one with the nice Eagle Cap fiberglass front cap.  The nice thing about that cap is that the fiberglass overlaps the sidewall fiberglass.  We are able to seal in between the two pieces of fiberglass.  Then we install a trim molding over the joint with a second seal line.  Finally after we have trimmed away the sealant we cap seal the molding.  We refer to this as our Triple Seal Corners.  No one does it better.  Our competitors do not overlap their front and side fiberglass.  Rather they butt the pieces together and hope the putty keeps the water out.  We also have a crowned rubber roof, which gives better water drainage off the roof.

The 1165 is built 100 inches wide instead of 96 inches wide.  We have four additional inches of width in the camper before putting the slides out, which makes the 1165 feel more spacious and roomy.  It’s impressive.

When you step into our 1165, we have a coat closet in the left hand side which is built into the rear slide.  That’s why we went to 100 inches wide.  The rear slide is ten inches wider than an 1160.  From past experience we know that customers really appreciate having a coat closet by the entry door.

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TCM:
You were also the owner of Okanagan.  Was there any influence from the Okanagan 126TKS from three years ago?

Chris: The Okanagan 126TKS was an excellent camper.  The problem with the 126TKS was that it is a foot longer than the Eagle Cap 1165.  We didn’t want to go that big with this new camper. The 126TKS was a fair bit heavier and longer and the center of gravity was pushed back further. 

TCM: Was Scott Curtis, the designer of the Okanagan 116, 117, and 126TKS involved in the floor plan?

Chris: Yes, Scott Curtis did the drafting of this unit up in Canada.  We brought the drawings down here.  We call him when we need clarification on some issues or when we need major changes to the drawings.

TCM: When can we expect to see the Eagle Cap 1165 at RV Shows and on RV lots?

Chris: Our production is out until mid-July.  You won’t see a 1165 before then.  We don’t want to rush production because it’s a big step.  We don’t want people to have problems.  We want them to have the Eagle Cap experience.

Let me tell you, our dealers are chomping at the bit to put this in their yards.  We’re moving ahead, but we are not going into production before we are ready.

TCM: What will the warranty be on the 1165?

Chris: It will be our same terrific two year bumper to bumper warranty.

TCM: Are there any other model changes for 2010?

Chris: The Eagle Cap 800 is soon to come out.  I can’t tell you more than that.

TCM: And we’re looking forward to debuting that camper in Truck Camper Magazine.

Chris: Absolutely.

TCM:
Is there anything we didn’t ask you about the 1165 or Eagle Cap that you would like to add to your interview?

Chris: We told you our sales were out until the middle of July.  Sales have been very good since last July and even during the winter we were producing campers.  We are not producing at the pace of two years ago, but we are going at a good positive pace.

TCM: Thank you Chris.  Speaking of July, we’ll see you then.