Burk Morgan, Adventurer’s Director of Sales and Marketing, gives us the skinny on the new 2010 Adventurer 80GS, the first truck camper with a manual slide.
New truck camper research and development is often a complex and multi-faceted effort. After an initial concept is approved by management, most truck campers begin as a three-dimensional model on a computer. The model is then brought into reality as a full-sized camper prototype by a small prototype development team. Once the prototype is completed, the new camper is again evaluated by management for a possible launch. Not every prototype makes the cut.
Burk Morgan gave us a heads up about a new Adventurer truck camper a few weeks ago. Since that time, the Adventurer team has completed their prototype and approved the new camper for production. Named the Adventurer 80GS (for galley slide), the camper was first unveiled at the 2009 Early Bird RV Show in Abbotsford, British Columbia. With a reported dry weight of 1,466 pounds, the 2010 Adventurer 80GS is designed for short bed half-ton trucks and looks to be a trailblazer in that category.
TCM: After the big move from Canada last year, is the new Adventurer factory now a well oiled machine? Or are you still opening a few boxes?
Burk: I would call us a well oiled machine at this point. We have a complete year under our belt and we’re actually hiring people to increase production. I explain to people that we were dismantled in Canada and given full range to make Adventurer successful in the USA. We have done that.
TCM: How did the Adventurer 80GS come about? What was the vision?
Burk: Trying to create a lighter weight product is a challenge in this industry. We had talked with the production and product development team about a lightweight camper like the 80GS when we were at Western Recreational Vehicles. We wanted to build a high quality, self contained, hard side camper that can go on lighter duty trucks. The 80GS is that camper. It fits 6 1/2 foot short bed trucks including the Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan.
TCM: Tell us about the development of the Adventurer 80GS.
Burk: We knew what we wanted and had a strong floor plan on paper. The camper came together very smoothly with only a few adjustments once the prototype had been built. All of the changes were minor cosmetic changes. Nothing changed within structure.
On the Adventurer 80GS we employed our Tru-Composite Construction. All the products we build feature this process of laminated structure walls ceilings and floors. There are lightweight composite materials in the side walls, ceiling, and floors that eliminated significant amounts of wood substrates and weight from the 80GS. These composites also increased the strength of the camper structure while they decreased the overall camper weight.
TCM: What challenges did you have in making the Adventurer 80GS?
Burk: The main challenges were the back and forth between design and sales. From a sales perspective, we want everything in the camper but we don’t want it to weigh anything. From a design perspective, we had to pair our initial wish list down. We needed to hit a specific price and weight point for the 80GS.
TCM: Tell us about the manual slide mechanism. Why is this a good idea?
Burk: Manual slide out mechanisms have been proven in the folding trailer industry for a number of years. There’s no electric motor and the slide works like a simple glide out drawer. There is no potential failure like you have with an electric slide and the mechanical slides are significantly lighter in weight. The slide also increases the available living area, storage space, and galley counter top area.
TCM: And how does it work?
Burk: It’s got a locking mechanism that’s simple to operate and locks into in position for travel. To extend the slide, there’s a handle attached to the outside of the slide. You grab it and pull it out like a drawer. We let people pull out the slide at an RV show in Canada. It’s very easy to do.
TCM: Other than the half-ton compatibility and manual slide, what features are you most excited about on this camper?
Burk: We were able to build a camper at 1,466 pounds base dry weight that offers a flush toilet, holding tanks, hot water heater, and an interior shower. The Adventurer 80GS has all the features that you would want in a self contained camper without the weight. It’s the first of it’s kind.
TCM: When will the Adventurer 80GS be available at dealerships?
Burk: The first units will be on dealer lots early next week. We will have a production unit at Louisville.