Adventurer Manufacturing announces the 2017 Adventurer 89RBS, an 8-foot 9-inch, hard side, single full-wall slide, with a wet bath. The 9-foot slide-out market just got more competitive.
Create a successful company or product and you will eventually have competitors attempting to take a piece of the pie you created. This is as inevitable as it is healthy. Competition destroys complacency, focuses management on strengths and weaknesses, and fuels innovation.
If there’s been a product trend in 2016, it’s been tighter competition. We have seen more and better floor plans going after very specific target markets. The most obvious example of this trend is the emergence of serious half-ton compatible hard side models. A less obvious example is the focus on 9-foot hard side slide-out floor plans; the sweet spot for towing, and a long-time best seller in the truck camper marketplace.
Enter the 2017 Adventurer 89RBS; a fresh take on a familiar floor plan and a new competitor in the coveted 9-foot hard side slide-out battleground. Adventurer Manufacturing has brought their latest design and manufacturing acumen to bear and believes their new entrant will dominate. Naturally we are intensely interested, but skeptical. That’s our job as journalists.
To find more about the 89RBS, including what makes this new Adventurer a contender, we talked to Greg Tucknies, National Sales Manager for Adventurer Manufacturing.
2017 Adventurer 89RBS Specifications:
The 2017 Adventurer 89RBS is a hard side, single-slide, wet bath truck camper made for short or long bed trucks. The interior floor length of the 2017 Adventurer 89RBS is 8’9”, the interior height is 78″, and the center of gravity is 38”. The 2017 Adventurer 89RBS has a 44 gallon fresh tank, a 31 gallon grey tank, a 31 gallon black tank, and a 6 gallon hot water heater. It can accommodate two batteries and has two twenty-pound propane tanks. Adventurer is reporting the base weight of the Adventurer 89RBS to be 3,018 pounds. The base MSRP for the 2017 Adventurer 89RBS is $29,540.
Above: The 2017 Adventurer 89RBS on a Ford F350, long bed truck. All photography provided by Adventurer Manufacturing.
TCM: At first blush, the Adventurer 89RBS floor plan looks like an 89RB flipped, with a full-wall slide out. Is that accurate?
Greg: It is. We started with the Adventurer 89RB concept, but the 89RBS was designed fresh from the ground up.
Our primary focus was to make the 89RBS long bed and short bed compatible, and make it generator capable for long bed and short bed trucks.
Above: The interior kitchen and cabover of the Adventurer 89RBS
We also designed the Adventurer 89RBS as a rear bath design because it opens up the floor plan and cabover bedroom area. Since we moved the bathroom to the passenger’s side, we needed to make an all-new mold for the bathroom. The wet bath in the 89RBS is now the largest wet bath ever made for an Adventurer truck camper. It’s actually 12-percent bigger. Customers are going to love it.
Above: The dinette in the Adventurer 89RBS
TCM: Does the 89RBS replace or compete with an existing Adventurer model? We know from previous interviews that Adventurer likes to compete plans against each other.
Greg: We strongly suspect that the 89RBS will replace our best selling 86SBS. We’re still building and selling the 86SBS, but we believe the 89RBS will surpass it. Of course, sales and the marketplace will dictate what happens.
The 86SBS has been the number one slide-out truck camper for Adventurer since its launch. Over the years, we have done a lot to update and refresh the 86SBS to maintain its success.
One limitation of the 86SBS we could not get around was the inability to have a generator in a long bed truck configuration. With more and more customers wanting generators, this has been missed opportunity.
Above: The Adventurer 89RBS floor plan allows it to carry a generator with either a short or long bed truck. The generator compartment can alternatively be used for storage.
TCM: There are at least three 9-foot, hard side, full-wall slide, wet bath campers already in the marketplace. How does the 89RBS differentiate and compete?
Greg: If you compare Adventurer truck campers to two or three competing brands, Adventurer truck campers are consistently less money, have a longer warranty, are less weight, and offer a better center of gravity. We are extremely competitive brand-to-brand and model-to-model.
Above: The 89RBS is generator ready for long or short bed trucks
At first glance you might think the 89RBS is similar to other campers, but it’s got much more to it. It’s the only camper I know about that is generator capable for a short or long bed truck. It also has one of the largest, if not the largest wet bath in the industry.
Above: A seven cubic foot refrigerator is standard in the 89RBS
The 89RBS kitchen features a seven cubic foot refrigerator, which is larger than the competitors, and standard in all Adventurer models.
Above: The new entertainment cabinet in the 89RBS
We’ve also incorporated a new entertainment cabinet into the 89RBS and have a new cooktop with a glass top that gives the kitchen an even richer look.
Above: The new stove in Adventurer Campers this year has a glass top
There’s plenty to differentiate the 89RBS from the competition.
Above: The unique slide design allows for the generator compartment under the slide
TCM: Tell us about the design and development of the 89RBS. Were there any challenges?
Greg: The 89RBS has been on the drawing board for five years. Dave Frampton, Adventurer Manufacturing’s General Manager, came up with the breakthrough design changes that really made it work.
One of the biggest challenges of designing the 89RBS was getting the center of gravity right. For example, our initial plan was to have under bed storage. When we designed the 89RBS with under bed storage, the center of gravity moved too far forward, and the cabover headroom was compromised.
Above left: Showing the water heater in the cabover on the passenger’s side. Above right: Showing the water heater area inside the cabover wardrobe of the 89RBS.
By eliminating the under bed storage, and moving the propane compartment, battery compartment, and water heater, we perfectly dialed in the center of gravity.
Above: The 89RBS has an 8’9″ floor
TCM: Is there some magic to the 8-feet 9-inch floor length?
Greg: 8-feet 9-inches was the longest floor length the 89RBS could have and offer the proper center of gravity location on a short bed truck. It’s important to us and our customers that the 89RBS carries properly on a truck.
Above: Photos of the production of the 89RBS in the Adventurer factory
TCM: Were there any changes or advancements made to the Adventurer framing, lamination, construction process for the 89RBS?
Greg: The 89RBS uses our tried and true TCC (True-Composite Construction). We recently bought new lamination equipment to help with our production process.
Above: The Adventurer 89RBS has stainless steel appliances
The 2017 updates announced in Truck Camper Magazine this past May all apply to the 89RBS including the stainless sinks and appliances, all-new molded one-piece countertops, all-new interiors, and bolder exterior graphics.
Above: The all-new molded one-piece MDF countertops
TCM: Is the 89RBS aluminum framed?
Greg: Yes, all slide-out models are aluminum framed at Adventurer Manufacturing.
Above: The slide-out is on the driver’s side
TCM: Why put the slide-out on the driver’s side rather than the passenger’s side?
Greg: We’ve had a ton of customer feedback on this topic. If a slide-out is located on the passenger’s side, it impedes into the campground patio space. If a slide-out is located on the driver’s side, it can make hooking up to campground amenities more difficult.
We decided it’s better to locate slide-outs on the driver’s side to avoid the slide being in the camping area. Once you’re hooked up to amenities, a driver’s side slide is not in your camping area.
Above: The Happijac steel ram slide mechanism is used for the slide-out room
TCM: What slide-out mechanism does the 89RBS use?
Greg: We are using Happijac steel ram slide mechanisms on all Adventurers. We use Schwintek slide mechanisms on our Eagle Cap line of truck campers.
Above: The new fiberglass wet bath
TCM: Why did Adventurer decide to locate the wet bath in the rear passenger’s side rather than in a mid-bath location?
Greg: We wanted the 89RBS to have an open floor plan. Mid-baths close up the cabover area.
Above: The wet bath on the passenger’s side
Above: There is lots of open space in the middle of the camper
By locating the wet bath in the 89RBS in the rear passenger’s side, we maintain an open space near the cabover bedroom.
Above: You can access to the bathroom with the slide-out in
TCM: Can you access the bathroom with the slide-out in?
Greg: Yes, you can. Actually, it’s quite easy to access the bathroom with the slide-out in, especially with the sliding door. You can definitely do it.
TCM: Why are the holding tanks 44 gallons fresh, 31 gallons grey, and 31 gallons black? Were those existing tank sizes, or are they new tanks?
Greg: We had to design new tanks for the 89RBS. Having large holding tanks is always a popular feature. We originally thought we might have to fit smaller tanks in the 89RBS, but Darryl McLean, a member of our design team who focuses on systems and basement design, did some excellent work rearranging the layout to fit the larger tanks.
Above: There is a wardrobe, night stand, and window on the passenger’s side
TCM: What is the reason for putting a wardrobe and nightstand on the passenger’s side cabover instead of the standard cabinet and hamper?
Greg: Ever since we debuted the first nightstands in a truck camper design, customers have said they love them. They would much rather have nightstands than the typical shirt wardrobes and hampers. They want a convenient place to put a book, smartphone, watch, iPad, and/or glasses.
Customers also want a window on both sides of the cabover. For the 89RBS, there wasn’t room for the double door wardrobe, shirt wardrobe, hamper, and a window. We opted for the double door wardrobe, nightstands, and a window.
Above: The Queen size bed in the Adventurer 89RBS
TCM: Adventurer has been putting a mix of King size and Queen size beds in their new models over the past few years. Why did the 89RBS get a Queen size bed?
Greg: We certainly talked about putting a King size bed in the 89RBS, but it would have meant losing too much storage.
Above: Thermal pane windows are standard in the 89RBS
TCM: What type of windows are standard; single or thermal pane?
Greg: All Adventurers have thermal pane windows standard except for the 80RB and 80GS.
TCM: Is the Adventurer 89RBS a basement model?
Greg: Yes it is. There is wheel well height basement with the slide-out tray storage compartment that we added in 2015.
Above: There is room for two batteries in the front wall of the 89RBS
TCM: How many batteries does the Adventurer 89RBS have, and where are they located?
Greg: The battery storage compartment is on the lower front exterior wall of the 89RBS. Having the batteries on the front exterior wall is fantastic for optimizing center of gravity. The battery disconnect is just inside the basement door.
Our competition likes to say that locating the batteries on the front exterior wall leaves you unable to unload the camper if the batteries go dead. Well, you can simply start your truck and have the necessary power from the truck to off load the camper. It’s a no brainer.
Above: Two vertical 20-pound propane tanks in the 89RBS
TCM: What are the propane tank sizes in the Adventurer 89RBS?
Greg: There are two vertical 20 pound propane tanks, and they are up front to keep the center of gravity forward and are great for the exchange a tank program most anywhere these days.
Above: Low water drains, fresh water drains, and water heater bypass are easy to access
TCM: What considerations are given for winterization?
Greg: Winterization tools are all standard. We have low point drains, fresh water drains, and an easy to access water heater bypass. There is also a winterization valve in the water pump area, which is in the bedroom step area. Everything you need for winterization is standard for Adventurer.
TCM: Can the optional air conditioner run on a portable Honda EU2000i generator?
Greg: Yes, we are using the 11,500 BTU Coleman Mach air conditioner. It’s not the low profile model, but its efficiency is designed to run on a Honda EU2000i.
Above: The Comfort Step bumper is installed on 98-percent of Adventurer campers
TCM: Tell us about the standard bumper and entry step system for the 2017 Adventurer 89RBS.
Greg: The standard bumper and step system for the 89RBS is the Super Step, which is a 9-inches deep and a 36-inch by 8’ folding step. You can upgrade to the Comfort Step, the same industry leading system Adventurer and Eagle Cap has offered for many years now. The Comfort Step has been ordered 98% of the time.
There is no storage in our bumper systems, but that’s because we care about center of gravity. Storage compartments add considerable weight to a bumper design, and then invite more weight to be added with customer items. That can move the center of gravity back as much as six inches, possibly more.
Above: Adventurer weighs each camper at the factory. This fully-loaded 89RBS was 3,534 pounds.
TCM: What does the 2017 Adventurer 89RBS weigh with standard build features?
Greg: I sent you a photograph of a fully-loaded 89RBS that’s on its way to D&H RV Center in North Carolina. The weight of that camper was 3,534 pounds.
The base dry weight of the 89RBS, with no options, is 3,018 pounds. The standard build is 3,124 pounds including a rear awning, slide topper, Comfort Step bumper system, generator ready, Heki skylight, electric jacks, and stereo system.
Above: The center of gravity sits at 38-inches from the front wall of the camper. You will find center of gravity stickers on every Adventurer camper.
TCM: With a base dry weight of 3,018 pounds, the 89RBS is certainly pushing the extreme of what’s possible for a short bed truck. Using the standard TCM wet weight calculation, the standard build 89RBS will be pushing 4,000 pounds. We had a special ordered 2013 Chevy Silverado 3500 short bed truck with 4,013 pounds of payload; so it’s possible, but not easy. Where is the center of gravity on the 2017 Adventurer 89RBS?
Greg: It’s 38-inches from the front. We measure the center of gravity at the end of the production line just like we measure the weights. We also mark the center of gravity on every unit sold. Always have. Always will.
TCM: What is the MSRP for the 2017 Adventurer 89RBS with standard build features?
Greg: The base price is $29,540. A standard build Adventurer 89RBS is $33,562.
TCM: What is the warranty for the 2017 Adventurer 89RBS?
Greg: All Adventurer campers have a three year structural warranty. All of the appliances and other components have a one to three year warranty, depending on the manufacturer.
With our TCC construction, aluminum frame, luan backing behind the Lamilux 4000 fiberglass, and closed cell blocked foam, we are confident in the structure. All of these elements go through our hot glue lamination to become one solid wall. We get 100% coverage with the hot glue process, making for a strong bond.
TCM: When will the 2017 Adventurer 89RBS be available?
Greg: They are available now. The first three have already shipped. Nearly every Adventurer dealer will have an 89RBS in the next month or so.
There are also some upcoming RV shows that will feature the 89RBS. Come visit us this weekend in Seaside Park, California at the Ventura Show from September 9 – 11. There’s also the Real RV Show in Sacramento, California from September 15 – 18, the RV and Van Show in Portland, Oregon from September 15 – 18, 2016, and the Snowbird Sale in Abbotsford, British Columbia from September 22 to 25, 2016.
In October and November, there’s the Tacoma RV Show in Tacoma, Washington from October 6 – 9, the North Carolina RVDA Show in Greensboro, North Carolina from October 6-9, and the Portland Metro RV Dealers Show at the Portland Expo Center from November 10 – 15, 2016.
Check out the walk-through video of the 89RBS from Adventurer Manufacturing.
TCM: Is there anything about the 2017 Adventurer 89RBS that you would like to add?
Greg: The 89RBS is another exciting new Adventurer floor plan that customers are going to love. It’s got more counter space, a bigger wet bath, and a face-to-face dinette. It’s our goal to not just modify, but to build a brand new floor plan and incorporate what our customers ask for.
We must be doing something right because Adventurer is in double-digit production growth for the fourth year in a row. We literally sell everything we can build.
TCM: Will there be any other new model announcements coming from Adventurer this year?
Greg: We are working on an exciting 8-foot slide-out model that will fit within the payload limitations of a modern half-ton truck. If we can pull that off, it will be incredible.
We have been working on this concept for a couple of years, with a couple of prototype attempts. If it doesn’t fit within the payload limitations of a half-ton legitimately, we won’t build it.