For 2015, every aspect of Eagle Cap truck campers has been re-examined. Every material, appliance, and design element has been challenged. Introducing the next generation of Eagle Cap.
Every year, a few truck camper manufacturers take a leap forward announcing a list of significant upgrades to their truck camper product line. These changes are sometimes controversial, even among the manufacturer’s leadership teams, and often the result of rigorous consumer research, painstaking design and development, strategic purchasing decisions, and, finally, a bold decision that says, “Let’s take a step forward, and make this happen”. In business as in life, there is no growth without risk.
For 2014, Eagle Cap stunned the truck camper community with standard frameless thermal pane windows, standard seven cubic foot Dometic Renaissance refrigerators, and optional recliner theater seating. Based on the number of new Eagle Caps we have seen at rallies, it’s fair to say the 2014 changes were a hit. Eagle Cap had made the right risks to take the brand to the next level.
If the 2014 updates were a surprise, than the 2015 updates are going to knock some socks. For 2015, the Eagle Cap leadership team took a completely fresh look at the product line, from stem to stern, and made more changes, upgrades, and improvements than the three previous years combined. Prepare yourself for an Eagle Cap that’s no longer tied to the past. This bird is changing course, and flying in some very new directions.
For the official 2015 Eagle Cap product announcements, we talked to Greg Tucknies, National Sales Manager for Adventurer Manufacturing. To view Greg’s video walk-around tour of the 2015 Eagle Cap updates and changes, click here.
Above: The 2015 Eagle Cap above is shown on a single rear wheel truck for demonstration purposes only. For proper truck and camper matching, read “Matching a Truck and Camper“.
TCM: Perhaps the most exciting Eagle Cap news for 2015 is the announcement of the all-new 2015 Eagle Cap 960. We realize that it’s early going, but what can you tell us before the formal announcement and full reveal of the 960?
Greg: A lot of the 2015 changes will be highlighted in the Eagle Cap 960. For example, it will be the first Eagle Cap model with the new bedroom configuration including the California king bed.
TCM: Eagle Cap is also releasing a redesigned 850. What is changing in the 850 for 2015?
Greg: The Eagle Cap 850 is a strong seller for us. The biggest change will be a full-wall slide. We are keeping the positive aspects that make that floor plan popular including the ability to fit a long or short bed truck, and the 850’s extraordinary storage opportunities.
TCM: For 2015, Eagle Cap is changing to a new front nose cap. Does this mean you’re discontinuing the wrap-around fiberglass front nose cap?
Greg: Yes, we are discontinuing the wrap-around fiberglass front nose cap on Eagle Cap truck campers. The focus for the 2015 Eagle Cap models is aerodynamics and significant weight reduction. The biggest weight item on Eagle Cap campers has always been the one-piece front and rear fiberglass caps. The front nose cap was also a hindrance to our ability to improve the aerodynamics of the unit.
Over the past four years, it became increasingly clear that the considerable time and investment needed for the front and rear fiberglass caps would be better put elsewhere in the camper design. You will see an extensive list of updates and improvements to Eagle Cap for 2015 that reflect this change, including an all-new front nose cap.
Above: The new 2015 Eagle Cap one-piece fiberglass front nose cap
TCM: Is the new nose cap fiberglass?
Greg: Yes. The new Eagle Cap fiberglass front nose not only dramatically reduces the weight of Eagle Cap campers, but it also improves aerodynamics. Where the old front nose was flat, the new front nose was designed to be sleek. The new nose was developed with a new mold and a completely new contour. For starters, it has a three-step tiered-down shape, and more nose slant.
The nose also features a two-tone gel coat finish. In the pictures you’ll see the nose has a white center and brown side accents with the aerodynamic ribs. We tested three colors, but the brown looks the most elegant. A few Eagle Cap dealers have already received campers and said the changes hit the mark. We’re very excited about the new fiberglass front nose cap.
Above: 3M Extreme Sealing Tape covers all attachment screws to further improve the quality of the front nose cap seal
Now that we have dropped the front and rear wrap-around fiberglass caps, we are able to use our proven TCC (True Composite Construction) wall lamination. Using our TCC, 2015 Eagle Caps will have a better and stronger structure than ever before, including a much better bond than was possible with the fiberglass caps.
Above: A modular U-shaped dinette in Amaretto
TCM: Some die-hard Eagle Cap fans may have trouble accepting the dropped wrap-around front and rear fiberglass caps, but Adventurer/Eagle Cap must have the ability to make the changes it believes are necessary to improve the product.
We’ll hold our final opinion until we’ve had the opportunity to see the 2015 product. We certainly agree with the focus to reduce weight and improve aerodynamics. It’s also exciting to see Eagle Cap make bold changes, and push forward.
Speaking of pushing forward, another exciting idea Eagle Cap is presenting for 2015 are changeable dinette area options. Tell us about this new modular approach.
Greg: Most every change we make is customer driven. Year after year, we hear from customers who want to modify and change their dinette areas. We hear requests like, “Can I get rid of my dinette and put a sofa in?” Unfortunately, we cannot do custom work because of manufacturing efficiency, so another solution was needed to meet this customer demand.
Above: The modular face-to-face dinette. Click thumbnails to enlarge.
Typical truck camper dinette-slides, including previous generations of Eagle Cap campers, are constructed so the dinette seating is part of the necessary structure of the slide room itself. For 2015, we built our slide-outs to be structurally independent of the furniture they contain. This allows the furniture, whether it be a face-to-face dinette, U-shape dinette, sofa, or theater seating, to be modular. The furniture is no longer needed for structure, so we can offer our customers the options they have long been asking for.
TCM: If the slide rooms are structurally independent of the furniture, can customers theoretically put their own furniture in the slide rooms?
Greg: I got a call last week where a single guy wanted the 1160 or 1165, but didn’t want a big dinette. He wanted a desk. We’re building him a 1165 with an empty dinette slide so he can put in his own desk.
This innovation also helps our dealers who no longer need to stock duplicate campers of the same model just to have a regular dinette version, a U-shape dinette version, and a sofa version. Now they can stock one camper, and offer every option. It is quick and easy for the dealer to change the camper from one modular option to another, based on what the customer wants. It can even be done later, if the customer needs it changed. Eagle Cap’s new modular system gives our customers the option to make their campers the way they want.
Above: With the modular system, you can take out the dinette and put in a sofa
Above: Or take out the sofa and put in theater seating. It’s up to you.
TCM: That’s a great idea. It sounds almost too good to be true.
Greg: There are some challenges to the modular system that we’re still working on. For example, if you take the dinette out and put in a sofa, behind the dinette there are exterior storage doors that once opened up to the space under the dinette seats. If you put the sofa in, the outside doors are going to open up to the back of the sofa. The aesthetics might not be exactly what you want, but this approach gives the customer the most flexibility.
Another customer wanted a free standing table and chairs. They were ex-fifth wheel owners. If they remove our modular dinette, they would have two exterior compartment doors that open to the inside of the camper, but no storage. There will be some give and take. How a customer finishes off the exterior storage might be a learning curve. This is the first step to moving forward and thinking out of the box.
Above: For 2015, Eagle Cap is using only Schwintek slide mechanisms
TCM: For 2015, Eagle Cap is changing all slide mechanisms to Schwintek slide mechanisms. Why is Eagle Cap making this change?
Greg: We’ve been testing the Schwintek slide mechanisms for three or four years. When we first installed the Schwintek systems, we had lots of issues. There were problems with installation instructions, problems with the motors, problems with the motor sequencing, and the system needed rollers to support the weight of the slide rooms.
All of these issues have now been addressed. Since working with the company last year, we have had zero Schwintek slide mechanism problems. The motor has been changed, the install is solved, and the sequencing and programing of the brain has been fixed.
By using Schwintek slide mechanisms, we are further reducing the weight of our campers and lowering the interior profile of our slide rooms. The Schwinteks also draw less power from your batteries, which is great for dry camping. We also like the way Schwintek slides seal and self adjust. The Schwintek slide mechanisms are more expensive, but it was time to make the change for our 2015 Eagle Cap models.
Above: The new 12-volt USB charging station ports
TCM: Tell us about the new 12-volt USB charging station ports.
Greg: The 12-volt USB charging station ports are another customer driven request. We look carefully at the annual Truck Camper Magazine reader surveys. From those surveys, and our own customer and dealer feedback, it was clear that we needed to add more 12-volt and USB charging places in our truck campers.
To keep within RVIA safety codes, we have a 12-volt on one side of the overcab and a 110-volt outlet on the other side. The dinette has the USB power center, so people can charge their devices when they’re in the dinette. Customers have asked for that many times.
Above: One-piece molded sinks
TCM: Tell us about the new one-piece molded sinks Eagle Cap is announcing for 2015.
Greg: For 2015 we had new one-piece sink and counter top molds made for every Eagle Cap model. We started with one-piece molded sink and counters in the 1165 last year and it was very well received.
Above: The one-piece molded sink in the Eagle Cap 1165
TCM: Eagle Cap is changing to low-profile 13,500 BTU air conditioners for 2015. Will the new air conditioners run off a portable 2,000 watt generator like a Honda EU2000i?
Greg: Yes, they will, although they will not run on a portable 2,000 watt generator at high elevations. This is another customer driven request that we have heard. The lower profile air conditioners are more money, but we can order in volume so the price comes down.
Above: The Coleman Mach 8, a 13,500 BTU high-efficiency low profile air conditioner
TCM: What air conditioner are you using?
Greg: It’s a Coleman Mach 8 which is a 13,500 BTU high-efficiency air conditioner. You gain more BTUs and it draws less power. Plus, our campers are well insulated, further increasing efficiency. Low profile is the bigger request, especially on the taller 1160 and 1165 models.
Above: Slam latches do not use a standard 751 key
TCM: What are the new slam latches?
Greg: Slam latches are exterior locks and latches that do not use a standard 751 key. Slam latches are more prevalent on luxury fifth wheels and travel trailers. The old style Eagle Caps have thumb locks, where you’d push in and close. Those are a pain to get into. Our customers wanted something different, and more secure. We spent the extra money and put slam latches on all of our exterior compartment doors.
Above: Slam latches are on all outside compartment doors. There are four slam latches on the back of the 1165
With a slam latch, you can open the exterior compartment doors with one hand. You just grab the latch and it comes open. It’s easy to put things in the storage area because you have a free hand. Drop the door and the slam latch closes automatically.
The old 751 thumb pulls would also rust, no matter how well they were originally powder coated. Slam latches eliminate this problem because of the latch design. That’s another benefit.
Above: New passenger side windows on all Eagle Cap campers
TCM: All 2015 Eagle Cap models will have passenger side windows in the overcab bedroom. What led to that decision?
Greg: We were getting calls four to five times a month saying, “Can you put in another overcab window on the passenger’s side?” I even had people request to put a window inside the wardrobe, just to have an extra window. We put quality framing around all of our windows, so we couldn’t just put in a window.
Above: The nightstand with storage
With all the requests, we knew the window was more important than a bigger wardrobe. We wanted a blend between the two, so we redesigned the wardrobe. Now we have room for the window and we added a nightstand with storage. We also have a drawer so that you don’t have to reach under the nightstand and fiddle with the mattress to get to your stuff. Windows will be on the passenger’s side of all 2015 Eagle Cap campers.
Above: On rear entry 2015 Eagle Cap models, there is now a ABS formed tray with a V-channel on the bottom
TCM: We would have been one of those customers asking for the passenger side cabover window. The 850, 960, and 995 rear entry campers are getting a sliding basement storage tray for 2015. Is this the long plastic tray we have seen on other campers in the past?
Greg: It’s really similar to what you’ve seen in other campers. We didn’t want a lot of weight, so we have an ABS formed tray with a V-channel on the bottom to guide the tray in and out. Across the board we have heard requests for a basement storage tray. A tray makes your things accessible and there are multiple uses for them. You’ll find basement trays across the board on 2015 Adventurer and Eagle Cap rear entry campers.
Above: Tall bath skylights are now standard in 2015 Eagle Cap bathrooms
TCM: Tall folks are certainly going to appreciate the taller bath skylights.
Greg: The bathroom is the number one area taller folks want more headroom. You’ve always got the guy who is taller than 6’3” and needs to scrunch to use the bathroom. As long as the exterior height of the skylight is lower than the tallest point, it made sense to raise the height of the bathroom skylight. Our previous skylight company couldn’t give us taller skylights, so we went with a new manufacturer. These skylights add three to four inches of skylight height. It’s a lot more comfortable for tall people. There is a full bath skylight over the shower.
Above: Battery storage areas are now bigger in 2015 Eagle Cap campers
TCM: Boondockers will likely be very excited to hear about the larger battery boxes for 6-volt batteries. What was the thinking behind this change?
Greg: Again, we listened to the customers. When I was going through my Eagle Cap file of customer notes, a bigger battery box had many requests. If we were going to redesign the next generation of Eagle Caps from the ground up, we needed to make the battery boxes bigger. We found an extra inch here and there, and put the larger battery boxes in. Larger batteries will make boondocking an even better experience.
Above: Detachable power cord connection
TCM: Eagle Cap is moving to a exterior detachable power cord for 2015. Eagle Cap has always had a door and box with a 30 amp cord inside. Why was this change made?
Greg: I realize I’m repeating myself, but we heard from customers and dealers that this is one of the items they really wanted. We pitched against it because we weren’t sure about where customers would store the cord. But, we continued to hear that people wanted them. Once we got our heads around it, we were able to do it. It was actually easy to do and helped give us the extra space for the larger battery box.
Above: The Wingard Rayzar HD interior mount HDTV antenna is installed in the wardrobe closet
TCM: The Wingard Rayzar HD interior mount HDTV antenna is sure to cause a big stir. First, there’s no antenna on the roof, which is fantastic. But does the Winguard Rayzar HD perform as well, or better, than a roof-mount antenna?
Greg: You might find it amusing that we have had dealers send us their check-in sheets reporting that we forgot to install an antenna. The Wingard Rayzar HD is an interior concealed mount antenna so there’s no antenna on the roof of the camper. It’s a really super thin antenna, the thickness of three sheets of paper.
When we first got this new antenna in, we took it inside our metal building and did a scan to test the reception. With other antennas, we were lucky to get three fuzzy channels inside the metal building. With the Wingard Rayzar HD interior mount HDTV antenna, which was inside a camper on the counter, we got thirty-eight crystal clear channels inside our metal building.
Adventurer Engineer and design team member, Dave Catron, lives near a ridge in the mountains. He can’t get any internet signal, cable television, free digital channels, or a dish signal unless the dish is moved out. When he took the Wingard Rayzar home, he got thirteen digital channels up at the ridge.
Now we have no antenna on the roof, which means less screws and less leak potential. It’s located inside the wardrobe panel with a booster. It’s easy for a dealer to install after the fact. It’s incredibly different, but we wanted to push Eagle Cap forward everywhere we could.
Above: The top shelf on the wardrobe can be used for a satellite dish receiver
TCM: At least Dave can keep up with the news now. Tell us about the new wardrobe design with the top storage shelf.
Greg: As we were adding the window, we had to shorten the wardrobe by four inches. It’s pretty insignificant, and well worth the addition of a window.
Above: A close-up photo of the satellite dish receiver storage shelf above the wardrobe
We don’t offer a factory-installed satellite dish. There are too many options, and it’s easy to have a dish installed by a dealer or dish retailer. Folks who get a dish installed have told us that the receiver needs a storage shelf. Since we were redesigning the wardrobe, we made the top flat and recessed for additional storage on top, which is a good place for a satellite receiver.
Above: The 2015 Eagle Cap Systems Control Monitor
TCM: Does the new centrally located Eagle Cap Systems Control Monitor incorporate all switches and tank monitors including fresh, grey, black, battery, and hot water heater?
Greg: All of the switches are in one neat location. In addition to the battery monitor, tank monitors, and the hot water heater switch, the monitor includes the exterior patio light switch. It’s all in one place.
Above: Grabber latches are being used throughout all Eagle Cap campers for 2015
TCM: What are the “grabber latches” that are being added to the interior cabinet drawers?
Greg: Grabber latches have a bull nose; a big hook mounted to the cabinet’s side. It’s a solid feeling latch. We put grabber latches in some upper cabinets last year and are now using them throughout all of our Eagle Cap campers.
Above: Barn-style wood flooring
TCM: The interior aesthetic has been changed for 2015 including the back splash in the kitchen, overcab wall panel, and flooring. How did you go about choosing this new look?
Greg: Dave Catron was remodeling his house and went to a home show in Seattle. There he had the opportunity to see the latest and greatest in interior design. At the show, the most popular flooring was a barn-style wood floor. Dave brought in flooring, fabric, and countertop samples for us to see. At first I wasn’t sure it was going to work, but I’m the last person to ask about interior design.
Above: The kitchen and dinette of the 1165 with the new backsplash, new one piece countertop, and new flooring
We ended up building a rental motorhome unit with the new flooring and taking it up to the international rental show in Canada. That motorhome was the hit of the show. The flooring was matched with cherry and maple, and looked great with both. It really works.
Above: The refrigerator, microwave, stove, and oven area of the kitchen. Note the new backsplash behind the stove.
Above: The smart tile back splashes have the tile look, without the weight.
Above: The overcab of the Eagle Cap has a contrasting wall panel and a passenger side window for cross ventilation
The contrasting overcab wall panel is an accent panel. Again, Dave Catron found it at the home show and, once again, I didn’t know if it made sense for a truck camper. That too was debuted at the international rental show and was a stand out hit. People loved the contrasting panel. When we ran it past the ladies in the office, they loved it too. Now it will be featured in all 2015 Eagle Cap campers.
Above: Bluetooth is now available with the new Jensen audio-video system
TCM: We haven’t heard anything about the Bluetooth wireless technology standard in truck campers. How is Bluetooth being implemented in 2015 Eagle Cap campers?
Greg: A lot of manufacturers went to the iPod dock and the cord that connects the USB into the stereo. The next logical step is Bluetooth. Jensen had it available with their new stereo. That’s the perfect move for the next generation Eagle Cap. The new Jensen stereo will also be in the 2015 Adventurers. It’s an upgraded stereo with Bluetooth availability.
Above: More exterior bsement storage is now available in the Eagle Cap 1160 and 1165
TCM: For the past decade or so, almost every truck camper company has increased their fresh water tank capacity. This year Eagle Cap is announcing a smaller fresh tank in the 1160 and 1165 models. Why are you making this change?
Greg: People were asking for bigger storage in Eagle Cap when they saw the storage in the Adventurer 116DS. To make room for more storage, we reduced the size of the fresh water tank. It originally had 81 gallons. People don’t generally carry that much water and have requested smaller tanks. We are now running 66 gallon tanks and that gives you plenty of surplus water, and additional storage, so it’s a win-win. A third factor was overall wet weight. The smaller fresh tank will reduce the wet weight of the campers.
Above: Heki skylights are standard on 2015 Eagle Cap campers. Click thumbnails to enlarge.
TCM: Did the black and grey tank sizes change?
Greg: The black and grey tanks stayed same at 41 gallons each in Eagle Cap 1160 and 1165.
TCM: For 2015, Eagle Cap has added a long list of standard features to every Eagle Cap camper including slide toppers, countertop extension, Fantastic Vent fan, exterior barbecue/low-pressure disconnect, amplified HDTV antenna, Phat brand ladder, microwave oven, stereo AM/FM/CD/DVD/Bluetooth with two exterior speakers, diamond plate risers, and Heki bedroom skylights. Why did you make these 2014 options standard for 2015?
Greg: All of these options were included with standard builds. In other words, these options were on almost every Eagle Cap that left the factory. That’s simply what the customers and dealers ordered. The dealers requested that we just build them that way all the time. Eagle Caps are almost always option heavy because most Eagle Cap buyers want all the bells and whistles.
For example, diamond plate risers were not ordered maybe five times last year. They are used to accommodate the fiberglass riser for the box and bed. That was attached as an option. The quarter-inch diamond plate is now standard allowing us to bond the diamond plate riser to the substrate. Now that it is bonded, it is much stronger.
Even with all the new options, the 2015 Eagle Cap 1165 is actually 416 pounds lighter than the identically equipped 2014 Eagle Cap 1165.
TCM: That’s incredible.
Greg: We also moved the center of gravity one inch forward on the 2015 Eagle Cap 1165. Center of gravity is another focus on the next generation Eagle Cap.
Above: A 2015 Eagle Cap 1165 triple-slide
TCM: Is it possible to order a camper without this long standard list; say if a customer wanted a more basic camper and didn’t care for a microwave, or stereo system?
Greg: If you want a lighter weight and lower cost camper, look at Adventurer. Eagle Cap is the top of the line. Eagle Cap does not have a half ton camper. It is focused totally on the latest and greatest, the newest technology, and high insulation values. The Eagle Cap buyer understands that.
TCM: Is there anything else about 2015 Eagle Cap line that you want to share?
Greg: We have really dialed in the “Build Your Own” functionality of our website. Last year the furthest discrepancy was 84 pounds, and that was due to a change in rear bumpers. The rest of the builds were within twenty-five to forty-five pounds, lighter or heavier. The average was a 28 pound discrepancy. We’re getting closer.
We want to keep Eagle Cap on the leading edge. We’re always having discussions on how we can continue to make Eagle Cap better, and built like none other. We will continue to be thinking outside of the box, in innovative directions, and moving forward.
For more information on 2015 Eagle Cap campers, visit their website at www.amlrv.com/eagle-cap-truck-campers.