You can now build and option Adventurer and Eagle Cap truck campers online with MSRP price, option weight, and wet weight information. This is a game changer.
For many years Truck Camper Magazine has championed the cause of safe truck and camper matching. Our Newbie Corner article, “Matching a Truck and Camper” has been read over 39,500 times and has helped hundreds, if not thousands of people to assemble a safe truck and camper match.
The challenge now is making sure the data consumers need for safe truck and camper matching is available, complete, and accurate. Behind the scenes, we regularly talk with truck camper industry leaders about this important issue and implore them to make accurate truck camper and truck camper option weight data more accessible.
Today we are very excited to help debut a new online system developed by Adventurer Manufacturing that is designed to directly address this need. Adventurer Manufacturing’s Build Your Own system not only allows you to build and option their Adventurer and Eagle Cap truck camper lines, but it also shows you the resulting dry weight with with options, wet weight with options, and MSRP prices with options.
Clearly this is big stuff and could potentially signal a way of the future in the truck camper industry. We are thrilled and congratulate Adventurer Manufacturing for taking such a bold and unprecedented step in the right direction.
But before we get too excited, there are a few items regarding Adventurer’s Build Your Own system that need to be addressed. First, the system requires a bit of explaining to understand how it works and why it works that way. Second, the camper weights given also require a bit of explaining to understand why they are what they are.
And third, four line items needed for a safe truck and camper match are mentioned but not included in the Adventurer Build Your Own system; people and pet weight, tie-down and turnbuckle system weight, suspension enhancement equipment weight, and cargo weight including food, clothing, kitchen supplies, bedding, towels, toiletries, pet food and supplies, cameras, computers, electronics, and all required truck camper chemicals, cords, hoses, and tools.
To get to the bottom of the Build Your Own system, we begin by taking a close look at the system and go through it step by step. Next we talk to Greg Tucknies, Sales Manager for Adventurer Manufacturing, to address questions and dig deeper into how the Build Your Own system came to be, and where it’s going.
Adventurer Manufacturing “Build Your Own” System
To start the Build Your Own system, choose, “Build Your Own” from the top navigation menu on the Adventurer Manufacturing website or go directly to the page here: www.amlrv.com/build-your-own-camper/
You will then be taken to a Build Your Own registration page and prompted to complete a short form to register as a user of the Build Your Own system.
As a registered user, the Build Your Own system will save your camper builds automatically and email you each camper configuration you build. If you forget your password, you can always reset your password through a link on the Build Your Own system registration page.
Once signed in, you’ll be taken to the Build Your Own system page. You will them be prompted to select a truck camper brand; Adventurer or Eagle Cap.
When a truck camper brand is selected, a drop down menu will appear under that brand showing currently available models. Choose one of the models and a list of available options for that model will appear in a second column to the right.
The MSRP, option name, and weight for each option item are displayed left to right in this second column. Options highlighted in blue are Standard Build Options.
Standard Build Options are options that Adventurer Manufacturing builds into every truck camper not special ordered from the factory. In order to not receive these options on a camper build, you must special order a truck camper from the factory.
Select which options you want from the Select Your Options column. Again, if you deselect a blue Standard Build Option, you will be required to custom order your camper from the factory.
As you select and/or unselect options, the options price and MSRP will change in the third column.
The listed dry weight with options and wet weight with options will also change as you select and/or unselect each option.
When you have completed your truck camper build, you have two options, save and save and send. The save option saves your build within the Build Your Own system. You can recall this build at any time by signing in under your user name and password.
The save and send option also saves your build within the Build You Own system, but also emails you a copy to your email address.
Either option requires you to give your truck camper build a name in order to save that build. For example, you might name your first truck camper build, “Adventurer 80W with AC”.
Interview with Greg Tucknies, Sales Manager for Adventurer Manufacturing
TCM: How did Adventurer Manufacturing’s Build Your Own system come to be? Tell us the history of the concept, design, and development of the system.
Greg: The concept of the Build Your Own system came from our many years of experience in the truck camper industry. Customers call the Adventurer factory every day with questions about what a particular Adventurer or Eagle Cap truck camper weighs dry, wet, and with options. Customers ask the same questions at every RV show we attend. We have literally answered these questions every day for years.
Unfortunately, the industry hasn’t always done a good job of answering these important questions. A few years ago I was training a new sales guy at an RV show. A customer came up to him and asked if the truck camper in front of us would fit on a half ton truck. He said, “yes”. Well, it was an eleven and a half foot hard side truck camper. I had to cut in and say that the eleven foot hard side truck camper couldn’t go on his half-ton truck. We have to provide accurate and honest information to the retail buyer.
With truck campers, it’s not just about making the sale. It’s about making a correct and safe truck and camper marriage. That’s where our new Build Your Own system started from. It took us six months of fine tuning and tweaking for the Build Your Own system, but now it’s ready to help our customers.
I would like to see every manufacturer giving this type of information to the consumer so there is no confusion on what a particular truck camper weighs. We want them to know exactly what our products will weigh.
TCM: Can a customer take a Build Your Own report to an Adventurer or Eagle Cap dealer and place their order?
Greg: Yes they can. We actually created the Build Your Own system for three reasons. First, we wanted to provide honest weight information for our customers. Second, the Build Your Own system is a sales tool for our dealers. And third, the Build Your Own system is an ordering point for our dealers. Dealers can go through the Build Your Own system with a customer, build their unit, and order the camper right from our website.
TCM: How did Adventurer go about calculating the base dry weights of the campers?
Greg: When we build a new floor plan, we weigh that unit and subtract the weight of the options that we put on that unit. Dave Frampton, our Product Development Manager, has an internal calculation page with each camper option weight. That’s how we arrive at base dry weight with no options.
TCM: How do you get the option weights?
Greg: We start by calibrating our scale by putting 500 pounds of weight on it and making sure it reads 500 pounds. Then we’ll put an option and everything that’s needed to install that option on the scale.
For example, when we weigh an air conditioner, all of the screws and Sikaflex that’s used to install that air conditioner is put on the scale with the air conditioner to get the option weight. Our campers come standard with air conditioning pre-wiring as part of the base weight, so that wiring is not calculated in the option weight.
We just did this scale process with ten to twelve of the new options for 2013. We wanted to make sure we did it accurately so the weights match up on the Build Your Own system.
TCM: At first blush, it’s confusing as to why the listed Base Dry Weights on the left hand side of the Build Your Own system don’t match the starting Dry Weights on the right side of the Build Your Own system. The blue Standard Build Options are also a potential source of confusion. Can you explain the different dry weights and what Standard Build Options are?
Greg: When you first go to the Build Your Own page, the base dry weight is on the left and the standard option weight plus base weight is on the right.
Let’s take the Adventurer 86FB as an example. It has a base dry weight with no options of 2,205 pounds. On the right side you’ll see the weight as 2,605 pounds. That’s with standard build options.
A standard build option camper is a typical camper that you would find on a dealer lot. Rarely does anyone build a camper with no options. If you un-click those standard build options that are in blue, you will see that the 86FB will match up to the base dry weight of 2,205 pounds.
95% of our campers that are built have those standard build options. The blue highlighted options are the standard build options, but they are not mandatory options. If a customer wants to build a dry weight with no options, like the 86FB, take the standard build options off and it would weigh 2,205 pounds. A few customers will special order campers and delete standard build options, but you may just have to wait for your unit because 95% of the campers we build ahead include our standard build options.
TCM: Do the wet weights include full fresh water tank, full hot water heater, full propane tanks, and batteries?
Greg: Yes, the wet weights include one or two batteries, full fresh water tank, full hot water tank, and full propane.
TCM: If there are two available positions for propane bottles or batteries, do the wet weights include two full propane tanks and/or two batteries?
TCM: For a complete truck and camper match equation, you need six payload weight categories; 1. Camper wet weight including full fresh water, full hot water heater, full propane, and batteries (all available positions for LP and batteries). 2. Camper option weight. 3. People and pet weight. 4. Tie-down and turnbuckle weight. 5. Suspension enhancement product weight. 6. Cargo weight including food, clothing, kitchen supplies, bedding, towels, toiletries, pet food and supplies, cameras, computers, electronics, and all required truck camper chemicals, cords, hoses, and tools. What is Adventurer Manufacturing’s position on how a customer should address these six categories?
Greg: Our Build Your Own system gives the consumer an accurate camper weight with options including full fresh water, full how water heater, full propane, and batteries.
Our Build Your Own system does not take into account the people and pet weight, tie-down and turnbuckle weight, suspension enhancement product weight, and cargo weight. We chose not to address those four categories because there is no way for us to know what our customers and their pets weigh, which tie downs and turnbuckles they will choose, which suspension enhancement equipment products they may need, and what cargo they will take with them.
Your recent, “Payload Match Challenge” article series was outstanding in that you demonstrated how to correctly match a truck and camper and weighed all six payload categories down to the pound. The majority of customers I deal with understand how to properly match a truck and camper, but need an accurate camper weight with options for their calculations. This is where the Build You Own system can help.
TCM: What are the plans for the Build Your Own system from here?
Greg: We launched the system about two months ago. We have already made improvements to how the results print out. We’ve also made tweaks based on your suggestions with our wet weight calculations. The system is done, but we may do more tweaking.
Right now our priority is testing the camper weights to make sure they’re accurate to what the Build You Own system reports. So far every camper we’ve built in the system and down the production line has been within five pounds.
TCM: Given the accuracy of the system, will Adventurer Manufacturing guarantee the Build Your Own weight will match the actual weight of an ordered truck camper?
Greg: That’s a fantastic idea. We want our customers to know that these weights are honest and accurate and nothing says that louder than a guarantee.
As we do more testing and continue to verify that the Build Your Own weights are accurate, we will consider offering a guarantee that the actual camper will be within a certain number of pounds of the weight given by our Build Your Own system.
We want to be on the cutting edge. A Build Your Own Weight Guarantee would be proof that we are the leaders in the truck camper industry.
When you deal with dealers in provinces in Canada, British Columbia being a prime example, they are real sticklers on camper weights up there. The police in Canada will stop truck campers going down the road if they are appear overloaded. They will put the campers on portable scales and weigh them.
When you deal with that kind of environment, the camper dealers have to make sure they match a truck and camper correctly. In instances like British Columbia, it is critical that we’re accurate for our retail customers.
Being accurate with camper weights is becoming more and more important. We hear more and more people concerned about weight, payload, and proper matching. We thought the Build-Your-Own system was worth the money and the time to develop for the retail buyer, our sales team, and our dealers.
TCM: Since the Build Your Own system is relatively new, are you open to feedback from our readers?
Greg: Absolutely. People can contact Jim DeBord or myself at [email protected] if you have comments, suggestions, or questions to make the Build Your Own system, our website, or our products better. We are open to ideas and suggestions. We strive to be as customer friendly as possible.
Perhaps the biggest surprise to us is that customers are building several units and looking at array of campers from eight and a half foot campers to eleven foot campers. You can almost see that they are looking at the size of truck they will need because they will build the same model three different ways to get the weight the way they want it. One person just emailed me and said, “I am so glad to see a manufacturer providing this information to the retail buyer”. We have already had great success with our Build Your Own system with about fifteen to twenty hits on the system every day.
TCM: Thank you Greg. And congratulations on the Build Your Own system. It’s a big step in the right direction.