Bigfoot RV announces 12-volt compressor refrigerators, flush mount cooktops, Garnet SeeLevel gauges, 200-watts of solar, day-night roller shades, new wall paneling, and more. And that’s not all that’s happening at Bigfoot HQ.
This past summer marked the fifth time we have visited Bigfoot RV in Armstrong, British Columbia since launching these fine electrons in 2007. Over that time, we’ve seen significant changes at the company including the triumphant relaunch after the Great Recession.
Through that evolution, the Bigfoot clamshell fiberglass build process has been refined and advanced, but remains fundamentally unchanged. More importantly, a high percentage of the Bigfoot RV team, including company President, Grant Bilodeau, have been with the company longer than our magazine has existed. At Bigfoot, the core team counts their tenure in decades.
During our past visits, we toured multiple buildings across one of the largest manufacturing campuses in the industry. Where most truck camper manufacturers are fully contained within one building, Bigfoot was spread across a fiberglass building, wood shop building, inventory warehouse, and production line building. The production line building also contained the cabinet shop, electrical, and plumbing.
This time, Grant was excited to show us a major change he and his team had made to the plant. In a nutshell, the wood shop, production line, cabinet shop, electrical, and plumbing have all been consolidated into the fiberglass building (shown above). Bigfoot production is now effectively under one roof.
Above: Bigfoot was building travel trailers during our visit
Given the size and open floor plan of the fiberglass building, this makes perfect sense. Not only is the fiberglass building larger than most truck camper factories, but Bigfoot had utilized this same building for fiberglass and production about 15 years ago. With some tweaks to the layout, adding the wood shop, cabinet shop, electrical, and plumbing was a no-brainer.
Above: The Bigfoot cabinet shop now located in the fiberglass building
This plant organization change might seem like a small thing, but it’s resulted in a sea change of manufacturing synergies and renewed cultural energy at Bigfoot RV. For example, having nearly the entire production team and process – fiberglass to final finishing – under one roof has enabled faster and more effective communication between the different departments. This, in turn, creates continuous opportunities to improve efficiency and quality.
Above: Four fiberglass booths are located in the rear third of the factory
All of this is music to Grant, the single most quality-focused person we’ve ever met in the truck camper world. From our multiple multi-day Bigfoot visits, you are as likely to find Grant in the factory as you are in his office; working with his team, checking their work, and slowly, methodically, steering Bigfoot RV forward.
Above: Brian McKenzie, Plant Supervisor, and Grant Bilodeau, President of Bigfoot RV
If you’re interested in Bigfoot’s meticulous clamshell fiberglass manufacturing process, check out, “The Glass Secret: Under the Bigfoot Shell”. The article is a detailed behind-the-scenes look at Bigfoot RV’s time-tested and proven manufacturing process, with photography and information you won’t see anywhere else.
2024 Bigfoot Updates
Bigfoot is announcing a list of refinements and new options for 2024. To showcase the updates, the team had a 2024 Bigfoot 25C9.4SB on hand. Click for an in-depth review of the Bigfoot 25C9.4SB.
The first announcement is the availability of 12-volt compressor refrigerators. This feature is being rolled out, model by model, and is likely to become a standard across the board during 2024. And to accommodate the increased electrical requirements of the 12-volt refrigerators, all 2024 Bigfoot electrical systems are now lithium-compatible.
Glass flush mount cooktops are standard for 2024. The flush mounting creates a cleaner presentation and allows for better use of the counter space when the unit is closed.
We published a Bigfoot 25C10.4 review in which I commented that the old-school tank monitors should be replaced with a more accurate SeeLevel II (or equivalent) system. Evidently, Grant agreed and has made the update across the board.
The SeeLevel II tank monitors are digital and give the levels of your fresh tank, grey tank, and black tank in percentages. This is far more precise than the four-level green, yellow, and red light LEDs of traditional tank sensors. The version selected by Bigfoot (SeeLevel II 709-P3) also turns on the water pump and displays the battery level. For Bigfoot campers, the SeeLevel II tank monitor system is a logical choice.
It seems that every camper manufacturer is upping the solar panel ante for 2024, and Bigfoot is no exception. Rather than making a 400 or 600-watt panel system standard, they’re offering 200-watts standard and allowing the customer to option up to 400-watts.
At first blush, 200-watts may not seem competitive, but we ran our camper with one 150-watt panel for five years without needing more. One 200-watt panel is plenty if your electrical requirements are limited to normal camper use; LED lights, roof fans, 12-volt and USB charging of devices, and moderate furnace operation. One panel also means fewer attachement points, less wind resistance, less weight, and less stuff to maintain.
Bigfoot is also offering up to 400-watts if you want to power a larger battery bank, and/or use an inverter for 110-volt items. We also recommend 400-watts of solar if you option the compressor refrigerator.
For 2024, Bigfoot is installing MCD American Series Duo Day-Night Roller Shades in the kitchen area.
These compact shade systems include day privacy and night blackout shades and are designed to be easier to use and clean than traditional Venetian blinds.
With a touch of luxury and fun, the 2024 Bigfoot campers are getting quilted leatherette dinette cushions with Bigfoot’s ape logo stitched in.
In person, these cushions were not only comfortable, but have a distinctly high-end look and feel. The stitching was particularly tasteful and impressive. And having the Bigfoot ape at your back? Love it.
The new woven textured wall paneling surprised us with the difference it makes to the overall interior aesthetic. The result is a more cohesive, more inviting, and overall more modern look to the 2024 Bigfoot units. Sometimes small changes make a big difference.
Finally, all 2024 Bigfoot models are getting new linoleum flooring. The lighter wide panel pattern helps to give the units a brighter and more open feel and matches well with the new wall paneling.
The Bigger Picture
The big takeaway from our visit bears repeating; putting the Bigfoot production team under one roof has supercharged this stalwart brand. Bigfoot RV has found its groove.
Standing in their factory, I asked Grant if the quality of the campers he’s making today is different than the campers Bigfoot made during the mid-2000s. At that time, Bigfoot was producing truck campers, trailers, and motorhomes, employed well over 200 people, and was producing a multiple of what it builds today. Without hesitation, Grant said, “Today’s Bigfoot campers are by far the best we’ve ever made.”