The Soaring Eagle Adlar line continues to expand and add features with the new 6.5XLS. This is the first Soaring Eagle with a kitchen and a removable induction cooktop. If you’ve been interested in a Soaring Eagle but wanted a little more, this one is for you.
In my late 1990s advertising agency days, my boss called it scope creep. The phrase described projects that got bigger and more complex as the customer asked for a small change or one more thing.
Of course, sometimes scope creep is a good thing. In the early days, Truck Camper Magazine was bombarded with article and feature requests. By absorbing this feedback, we were able to grow and expand the scope of the magazine to better serve our industry and audience.
Listening to Scott Tuttle and Scott Bradshaw, we were reminded of our positive scope creep experience. As their Soaring Eagle Campers fly the nest, land on dealer lots, and take off on customer trucks, they too are getting an earful of feedback. Where our feedback turned into mod contests and destination stories, their feedback turned into creating entirely new truck camper models.
From a bird’s eye view, the feedback for the Soaring Eagle Adlar series is soaring toward more traditional RV floor plans and amenities. A little more comfort here. Another appliance there.
The trick for Soaring Eagle is to maintain their simple, wood-free, low-weight, and affordable concept while adopting as many dealer and customer requests as they can. From what we’re seeing in the Adlar 6.5XLS, they are doing exactly that.
To feather the Adlar 6.5XLS nest a little better, we talked to Scott Tuttle and Scott Bradshaw, Partners at Soaring Eagle Campers.
Soaring Eagle Adlar 6.5XLS Specifications
The 2024 Soaring Eagle Adlar 6.5XLS is a hard side, non-slide truck camper made for short bed trucks. The interior floor length of the 2024 Soaring Eagle Adlar 6.5XLS is 74” and the interior height is 76”. The center of gravity is 32”. The Adlar 6.5XLS has a 7 gallon portable fresh tank, no grey tank, and an optional porta-potty. It can accommodate five Group 24, three Group 27 or three Group 31 batteries.
Soaring Eagle is reporting the base weight of the Soaring Eagle Adlar 6.5XLS at 1,197 pounds. The base cost of the 2023 Soaring Eagle Adlar 6.5XLS starts at $20,337. Click for a Soaring Eagle 6.5XLS brochure.
Is the Soaring Eagle Adlar 6.5XLS based on the Adlar 6.5XL, or is it an entirely new camper?
Tuttle: The Adlar 6.5XLS started with the Adlar 6.5XL.
Our first Adlar model, the 6.5 was a simple sleeper unit. That camper hit the mark, but dealers asked for a model with a few more amenities. Then we came out with the Adlar 6.5XL with more interior space, a pull-out bed, a microwave, a wardrobe, and a portable toilet. The Adlar 6.5XL became our top seller, but dealers and customers asked for another model with even more amenities.
Bradshaw: The XLS has the same dimensions as the XL, but it’s a very different floor plan. The XLS features a kitchen area with a standard convection cooktop, a standard 12-volt DC refrigerator, a sink option, and a side dinette. It’s more of a couple’s unit than a family unit.
Is the Adlar 6.5XLS designed for full-size, half-ton, short bed trucks, same as the XL?
Bradshaw: Yes, the XLS is designed for full-size, half-ton, short bed trucks. And, like the 6.5 and 6.5XL, you can close the tailgate on most short bed trucks.
Can you get the 6.5XLS stripped down? For example, if you only wanted the 6.5XLS floor plan, and nothing more?
Tuttle: Yes. We’ve had customers ask us for that. Some customers want to get rid of the cooktop. Some customers only want a refrigerator. I find it interesting that some customers want less than the basics we’re putting in because we already utilize fewer amenities than most brands. I guess some people just want to get up off the ground and have more comfort.
Bradshaw: The XLS has a more traditional RV feel inside. You can cook inside with the convection cooktop and refrigerator. The induction cooktop lifts up and out of the countertop so you can use it outside. It has a built-in look in the camper, but it’s also portable. It’s pretty cool.
From previous new model introductions, your team prefers to mock up physical prototypes during development. Tell us about the design process for the XLS.
Tuttle: That was quite the deal. Starting with an empty XL, we built mock-ups of the XLS cabinetry, countertops, cooktop, sink, and faucet. Then we moved these elements around until we got what we thought worked best.
Bradshaw: The dinette was on both sides of the camper multiple times. And the refrigerator and cooktop were in multiple places.
Tuttle: When people would visit our factory, we would take them to our XLS prototype and ask them for feedback. After that process, we came to a floor plan everyone agreed was best for our smaller space. Of course, the next person to see the camper will say, “Why did you do that?” That’s the nature of design.
The XLS weighs 100 pounds more than the XL. Is this weight mainly from the kitchen and kitchen appliances?
Tuttle: Yes. The 100 pounds is from the refrigerator, induction cooktop, and additional cabinetry and countertop area. All of these features are standard in the 6.5 XLS.
Were any adjustments needed to the Soaring Eagle all-aluminum and composite build for the 6.5XLS?
Tuttle: We built the 6.5XLS exactly the same way we build everything. When we built CampLite truck campers under LivinLite, they were an all-aluminum structure, including the floor structure. That’s something we also do at inTech (where I’m an owner), and again here at Soaring Eagle Campers.
Bradshaw: There is no wood in the construction of the Soaring Eagle frame and box. The entire cage construction is tubular, welded aluminum. We use block foam insulation. On the outside and inside, we use composite backing on both the exterior fiberglass and the interior wall and ceiling coverings. There is no wood in the entire structure. The walls, floor, and roof will not rot.
Tuttle: A huge majority of RVs build their interior wall panels with luan wood backing. When this material is exposed to moisture, whether it is through condensation, rain, or leaks, it expands which leads to delamination, mold, and rotting. Luan is the Achilles heel of a lot of RVs. When an RV is only a couple of years old and already rotting from the inside out, it’s a problem.
The only wood we use in Soaring Eagle Campers is the cabinet faces. If the cabinet faces somehow were to get wet or damaged, they would be quickly and easily replaced. Structure is not easy or quick to replace. Cabinet faces are.
At the Elkhart RV Open House, you showed an XLS with a batwing-style awning. Is that an available option?
Bradshaw: Yes. It’s a batwing-style awning made by Nomadic and offers 129 square feet of freestanding covered shelter. When you are not using the awning, it folds into a bag covering and zips up. We had a problem finding short enough awnings that can go on the back wall.
Tuttle: The batwing awning is not cheap at $1,000, but it works really well with our campers. There are even more expensive straight awnings that would fit, but we liked the batwing awning better.
Why did you select a two-burner induction cooktop for the 6.5XLS?
Bradshaw: We knew we wanted to stay electric with the 6.5XLS. The day will come when we offer a propane furnace and stove, but we wanted to keep this model electric. To power the induction, 6.5XLS owners will need to plug-in at a campsite, use a portable generator, use something like a Goal Zero lithium power station, or load up on lithium batteries and solar.
What is the wattage of the induction cooktop?
Tuttle: It is 1800-watts and can be used inside or outside the camper.
The Adlar 6.5XLS has an optional electric tow kick heater. Tell us about this feature.
Tuttle: It’s a small 110-volt baseboard unit. We use it in our mobile medical units at Wakarusa Coach. It’s perfect if you need heat and want to stay all-electric. The heater is installed in front of the side dinette. There’s a long battery box there and the heater can be placed at the end of the battery box toward the door. It’s a nice little heater.
We are working on an option for an LP tank to be mounted on the rear exterior wall with a propane heater on the inside. Most people are happy just using a Mr. Buddy style heater or, if they’re plugged in, they can get our optional electric heater. We do have some dealers in Canada who have been asking us for an LP tank, so we’re working on that.
Batteries are optional for all Soaring Eagle Campers. Where do batteries go in the 6.5XLS?
Bradshaw: First of all, our batteries are optional because everyone wants something different for batteries. The battery box is in the step up to the dinette bench.
Since the 6.5XLS comes standard with the convection cooktop, does it include the 110 package?
Tuttle: Yes. The 6.5XLS comes standard with 110V because the convection cooktop is standard. If someone only wants a 12-volt system, we can eliminate the convection cooktop from the build.
What does the 110 package include in the XLS?
Tuttle: The 110 package includes 110-volt outlets on the inside and outside, a WFCO converter, and the required wiring. There are 110-volt outlets in the kitchen where the cooktop is located, on the interior rear wall, and on the camper exterior.
Is the XLS pre-wired for solar?
Bradshaw: Yes, the XLS comes pre-wired for solar. We offer 160-watt and 320-watt solar panel options.
Does the Adlar 6.5XLS come with standard roof-mounted vents or fans?
Tuttle: Yes, powered roof vents are standard. Most people are getting a MaxxAir fan and/or an air conditioner. If you don’t get an air conditioner, you can get two MaxxAir vents.
The XLS is the first Soaring Eagle with a sink. Where does the sink draw water from and where does it drain to?
Tuttle: It has a portable 7 gallon fresh water tank below it. That’s enough to wash your hands or wash dishes. The sink water drains to the outside of the camper into an auxiliary tank or bucket. There is no grey tank.
For those who haven’t seen or used a hand pump faucet, explain how it works.
Tuttle: When I was at Livin Lite, we built entry-level campers called QuickSilvers that had a very similar hand pump sink option. Hand pump faucets like this have been around for over 50 years. It’s perfect for basic camping to wash out a coffee mug or dish. You push down on the handle to vacuum the water out of the portable tank beneath it and into the faucet. It’s purely mechanical.
Is the sink large enough for washing pots, pans, and dishes?
Bradshaw: Yes, you can wash small pots, dishes, and mugs in it. The sink measures 10 inches by 12 inches and is about 5 inches deep. It’s a composite plastic sink with a sink cover.
The refrigerator is an impressive size for a small camper. What size is it?
Bradshaw: It’s an Everchill 3.3 cubic foot, 12-volt DC compressor refrigerator. We actually improved the make and model refrigerator since the Elkhart RV Open House in September.
Can two full-grown adults fit in the dinette?
Tuttle: Yes, two adults can fit sitting side-by-side. That was part of our prototyping. It’s also easy to get in and out of the dinette with the swiveling table.
Does the dinette in the 2024 Soaring Eagle Adlar 6.5XLS convert into a bed?
Bradshaw: If you remove the dinette table, and place the dinette back cushions over the rear passenger side countertop, that area becomes a 28-inch x 72-inch bed. That’s perfect for one adult or perhaps two small grandchildren. For hunting or fishing buddies, it adds a second adult-sized sleeping area.
The floor plan shows a toilet. Is that a porta-potty storage spot?
Tuttle: Yes, that’s a porta-potty storage spot. It tucks under the countertop.
Is the pull-out bed standard or optional in the 6.5XLS? The bed is 45” x 72”.
Bradshaw: It’s currently optional, but just about every unit ordered has it. We will probably make it standard in the future. A camper rarely ships out of here without the pull-out bed, electric jack prep, and solar prep. All of those items are likely to become standard in the future.
Tuttle: The cabover bed starts at 45 by 80 inches. When you pull the bed out, it becomes 80 by 81 inches.
Where is the exterior and interior storage in the 2024 Soaring Eagle Adlar 6.5XLS?
Tuttle: Starting in the kitchen, there’s two-door storage in the kitchen base. If you don’t opt for the sink or microwave, those spaces also become additional storage. There’s a small space above the microwave, storage built into the dinette base, and a wardrobe on the passenger side.
Remember, most of our customers are coming from tent camping, not RVing. They will often use the entire camper as storage and put their coolers on the camper floor and backpacks and duffle bags on the dinette and cabover. It’s a little bit different market and mindset than the traditional RV buyer.
Are the four windows the same size as the XL?
Bradshaw: Yes, the window sizes are the same in both models.
What is the base dry weight of the 2024 Soaring Eagle Adlar 6.5XLS?
Tuttle: It’s 1,197 pounds with standard features.
Where is the center of gravity for the 2024 Soaring Eagle Adlar 6.5XLS?
Tuttle: It’s 32 inches from the front wall.
Are there any new options available for the 2024 Soaring Eagle Adlar 6.5XLS?
Bradshaw: Options for the XLS include the new toe-kick heater, sink with hand pump faucet, roof air conditioner, electric jacks, removable jack brackets, roof solar packages, roof racks, and more. The induction cooktop and DC refrigerator are standard in the XLS. The Batwing was new for the Elkhart show on the XLS and is now available on all of our products.
What is the MSRP for the 2024 Soaring Eagle Adlar 6.5XLS with standard build features?
Tuttle: The MSRP for the 2024 Soaring Eagle Adlar 6.5XLS starts at $20,338. A 6.5XLS that’s well equipped is $22,500 including a MaxxAir fan, pull-out bed, electric jack prep, solar prep, microwave, sink, and a porta-potty. Fully loaded with the heater and air conditioner, the XLS gets closer to $25,000.
What is the warranty for the 2024 Soaring Eagle Adlar 6.5XLS?
Tuttle: We have a three year structural warranty, just like we used to have at Livin Lite. But at the end of the day, we stand behind our campers because we care about our customers and we will do whatever we can to make it right if we mess up.
We built thousands of units at CampLite. The times we had to do a structural repair I can count on one hand. It just didn’t happen very often. At Soaring Eagle Campers we stand behind our campers and make things right. Neither myself nor my business partners want to be a part of a company where people complain about the quality of their campers. We couldn’t sleep at night.
Our campers are a tremendous value. It is a matter of pride that they will outlast most of our customer’s trucks! That should make people feel good about buying them.
When will the 6.5XLS be available at Soaring Eagle dealers?
Is there anything about the 2024 Soaring Eagle Adlar 6.5XLS you want to add?
Tuttle: Most Aldar units are shipping with electric jack prep and solar prep. If you want electric jacks or solar, they’re easy options for your dealer to install. Our northern dealers are not ordering units with air conditioners as they aren’t as necessary in those areas. It’s important to remember that a lot of our customers are coming from tenting and don’t want some of the heavier and more expensive RV options.
Bradshaw: Our campers are popular with couples or outdoorsmen who might want a little more comfort, stay a little longer, and/or cook inside their camper. I’m excited that we now have a camper for those customers.
You teased a wet bath camper with full systems for 2024. Have those plans progressed?
Tuttle: It has. We are working through what we want to put into the new 6.8 model. The next step will be prototyping which I expect to take place in the first quarter of 2024. We are speeding up that development process now.
The Adlar 6.8 will have the same aluminum and composite structure as our other campers, but will feature a full wet bath, and a LP cooktop and furnace. It’s basically a full-size truck camper with full amenities; something we have not offered before.