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Adventurer 116DS Double-Slide Review

Adventurer Manufacturing starts with a clean slate, throws out the multi-slide playbook, and dares to build a truly unique double-slide floor plan.  The question is, does it work?

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In an industry that routinely puts entire truck camper floor plans on a copy machine to produce their latest camper, the Adventurer 116DS is quite the rare find; a truly unique floor plan.

There are many good reasons why we don’t see many new floor plans in the truck camper marketplace.  The most important reason is risk.  It’s simply safer to copy or evolve an existing floor plan that’s already selling well in the marketplace.  After all, the truck camper industry is in the business of selling truck campers, not entertaining us with interesting new floor plans.  I know – shocking, right?

Another reason new floor plans don’t regularly hit the marketplace are the inherent space and weight limitations of the truck camper concept itself.  The introduction of slide-outs has certainly “opened-up” the possibilities over the past twenty years, as have the increased payload capacities of modern trucks, but those factors only go so far.  Several truck camper industry leaders have told us that the best truck camper floor plans have already been invented and there’s very little room, literally, for future innovation.

Well, don’t tell that to Adventurer Manufacturing’s ace design team; Dave Frampton and Dave Catron.  If it’s nothing else, the 2014 Adventurer 116DS is definitely innovative.  Even a quick glance at the floor plan tells you that Adventurer has come up with something quite different for the multi-slide market.

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In full disclosure, I wasn’t exactly excited when I first saw the floor plan of the Adventurer 116DS.  At first blush, the floor plan looked awkward.  The kitchen peninsula and rear kitchen slide was so different than anything ever attempted on a truck camper before.  What would that be like?  The placement of the sofa or optional theater seating seemed forced.  Would that seating position be comfortable?  And the wet bath made no sense to me for a multi-slide truck camper.  Why did they do that?

Then I had the opportunity to spend some time in an Adventurer 116DS at Princess Craft Campers this past April.  Within minutes, most of those notions went out the side door.  In the proverbial flesh, this camper works.  If ever there was a truck camper that shouldn’t be judged by its floor plan, it’s this one.

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Over the past few years, Adventurer has been steadily upgrading the exterior aesthetic of their truck camper line.  The 116DS in front of us featured the high-gloss Lamilux 4000 exterior fiberglass (a 2014 update) and dark tinted windows with black frames and accents (a 2013 update) and all LED lighting (also a 2013 update).

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The gold and garnet logo and graphics have also been stepped-up, but remain subtle and understated by RV industry standards.

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Perhaps the most interesting exterior feature is the rear slide.  Based on a Schwintek system, the refrigerator vents and the narrow horizontal window gives clues to the unique floor plan inside.

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I was very happy to see the ladder on the rear of the camper giving important access to the camper roof to check seals, remove debris, and make sure that tree limb you just graced didn’t poke a hole in the TPO roofing material.

That said, I’m not entirely thrilled with ladders on slide-outs.  It should go without saying that you never climb a ladder on a slide-out when the slide-out is out (try to say that three times fast).  I actually stopped a twenty-something knucklehead from climbing a ladder on an extended slide-out earlier this year.  The good news is that my command tone still works, “Get down!”

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Will you think less of me if I admit to standing on a travel trailer roof to take this photo?  With the trailer underfoot, the roof on the 116DS is actually quite unadorned.  Just look at the next camper down the row and you’ll notice more going on up top.

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