Adventurer Manufacturing debuts the 2018 Eagle Cap 811, a hard side, single-slide, wet bath truck camper for long or short bed trucks. With the 811, Eagle Cap is flying in some new directions.
In the automotive industry, the concept of building one car and offering that same car with from two different brands is nothing new. Called platform sharing, this is how many models are developed from Ford and Lincoln, Chevrolet and Cadillac, Toyota and Lexus, Honda and Acura, Nissan and Infinity, and Volkswagen and Audi.
For decades, platform sharing has allowed automotive companies to push the base quality of their cars, drive down costs, and experiment with exterior sheet metal and interior design.
Sometimes it can be nearly impossible to see that one car shares an identical platform with another. Did you know that the Audi TT shares a platform with the Volkswagen Golf? I did, but I didn’t know the Fiat 500X shares a platform with the Jeep Renegade. In that case, one platform produced two very different looking cars from two very different brands.
Platform sharing is growing as automotive companies consolidate and look to leverage their development costs across multiple brands the world over. It makes economic sense, and can improve the overall quality of the cars. Automotive conglomerates can invest more into the quality of one platform that will be utilized across several brands and models.
So why can’t the RV industry borrow a page from this extremely successful concept? If a truck camper manufacturer has a popular floor plan platform that’s selling through a value-oriented brand, why not launch that same floor plan platform with high-end features through a luxury brand? Why can’t a luxury brand strip their high-end features and launch a popular model through a value brand?
They can. New for 2018, Adventurer Manufacturing is launching the Eagle Cap 811. In a nutshell, the Eagle Cap 811 is an Adventurer 89RBS stretched two-inches with Eagle Cap’s luxury features, materials, and refinement. The holding tanks, dinette, and kitchen counter are a bit bigger, but it’s essentially the same floor plan platform as the Adventurer with Eagle Cap’s high-end amenities and aesthetic.
To get the full measure of the Eagle Cap 811 and how this platform-sharing model was developed, we talked to Greg Tucknies, Director of Sales and Marketing for Adventurer Manufacturing.
2018 Eagle Cap 811 Specifications:
The 2018 Eagle Cap 811 is a hard side, single-slide, wet bath truck camper made for short or long bed trucks. The interior floor length of the 2018 Eagle Cap 811 is 8’11”, the interior height is 78″, and the center of gravity is 38.6”. The 2018 Eagle Cap 811 has a 44 gallon fresh tank, a 34 gallon grey tank, a 34 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 Eagle Cap 811 to be 3,366 pounds. The base MSRP for the 2018 Eagle Cap 811 is $37,860.
Above: The Eagle Cap 811; a hard side, wet bath, single-slide truck camper – all photos courtesy of Adventurer Manufacturing.
TCM: Does the new Eagle Cap 811 replace any current models in the Eagle Cap line?
TCM: The Eagle Cap 811 seems to be a direct competitor to the Eagle Cap 850. Is the 811 designed to eventually replace the 850?
Greg: The Eagle Cap 811 could very well replace the Eagle Cap 850. On the other hand, the Eagle Cap 850 is a tried and true floor plan from the original Eagle Cap company. All we did was modify it to a full wall slide for 2015.
The 850 has several unique features, including the pantry. Even though the 811 is a new floor plan, we would not be surprised if the 850 continues to be a successful model for Eagle Cap. It’s a proven Eagle Cap model.
After announcing the Eagle Cap 811 for pre-purchase, we are still receiving Eagle Cap 850 orders. We’ll let the market determine the outcome.
Above: The Eagle Cap 811 is 8’11” in floor length
TCM: The 850 is definitely a popular Eagle Cap model. The Eagle Cap 811 appears to share the exact same floor plan with the Adventurer 89RBS. What distinguishes these two campers from each other?
Greg: The new Eagle Cap 811 is truly 8’11”. The Adventurer 89RBS is 8’9”. The two extra inches of the Eagle Cap 811 allowed us to improve the tank size, dinette size, and kitchen counter length.
When we develop a new model, we review the customer and dealer feedback and requests on our existing models. With the Eagle Cap dinettes, customers commented on the U-shaped pad on the back of the dinette being too tight.
Above: The Eagle Cap 811 has a seven cubic-foot refrigerator
When we eliminated that cushion, we got an extra 3-inches of dinette width. With the 2-inches of additional floor length, we were able to make the dinette meaningfully bigger. We have also added 2-inches of kitchen counter space on the passenger’s side.
Above: Domino decor pictured above
We still needed to keep the Eagle Cap 811 under 9-feet because we wanted it to fit short and long bed trucks and have a good center of gravity.
Above: The generator compartment on the Eagle Cap 811
TCM: Was developing the Eagle Cap 811 as simple as up-fitting the Adventurer 89RBS with Eagle Cap materials and appliances, or was there more involved in the process?
Greg: That was basically it. We have had tremendously positive feedback with our models that fit long and short bed trucks including the Adventurer 89RBS, 89RB, and 86FB. The fact that they are all generator capable is great because dealers can stock two or three and have them in stock for people with long or short bed trucks. That is a feature theme we want to continue.
We also figured that since Truck Camper Magazine readers voted the Adventurer 89RBS the Best Truck Camper of 2016 that the floor plan would be received well as an Eagle Cap.
TCM: That’s a good point. Are there other advantages – other than production efficiency – to having the Adventurer 89RBS and Eagle Cap 811 share a floor plan?
Greg: Using the same basic floor plan allowed us to quickly produce the Eagle Cap 811. If you’ve got something that works, use it.
TCM: Will we see more Eagle Cap models debut with Adventurer floor plans?
Greg: We have also talked about developing a non-slide Eagle Cap, perhaps with one of Adventurer’s non-slide floor plans. We haven’t done that yet because Eagle Cap is doing so well with single and multi-slide models. Most of our dealers are carrying both Adventurer and Eagle Cap brands.
Above: The Eagle Cap 811 was designed on a computer
TCM: After the first Eagle Cap 811 prototype was completed, were there any adjustments made to the design to make it production ready?
Greg: James Epp, Owner of Adventurer Manufacturing, recently pushed us to build a prototype for an upcoming motorhome. In the meeting, we stated that we have been very successful at producing production-ready campers from our 3D computer designs. We have needed very few tweaks and changes before beginning full production.
In same breath, we finished the Eagle Cap 811 and it’s the cleanest unit ever built from the floor plan up. Directly from our 3D models to the end of the production line, it needed less tweaks than anything we have designed and built here at Adventurer.
Above: The wet bath in the Eagle Cap 811
TCM: What kinds of minor changes are we talking about?
Greg: There were a few insignificant trim issues and some other changes for efficiency of production. It is nothing the customer would notice. The systems were darn near perfect.
The crazy thing is that the additional 2-inches of length (compared to the Adventurer 89RBS) allowed us to have larger holding tanks in the Eagle Cap 811.
Above: Eagle Cap campers have Digi-Level systems for more accurate tank monitoring
There are 44-gallons of fresh, 34-gallons of grey, and 34-gallons of black in the 811. Compare that to 38-gallons of fresh, 25-gallons of grey, and 22-gallons of black in the 89RBS. Those 2-inches really opened things up in the basement.
Above: Storage in the kitchen of the Eagle Cap 811
TCM: Are there any core build quality differences between the 89RBS and 811?
Greg: We use our TCC (True Composite Construction) lamination process for both our Adventurer and Eagle Cap brands. Structurally, all Eagle Cap and Adventurer truck campers are built the same except for a 3-inch crowned roof for Eagle Cap versus a 2-inch flat roof for Adventurer. The structure of the walls and floors are the same.
When we bought assets to Eagle Cap, they had a fiberglass rear cap bumper. That was very limiting as it did not allow for our popular Comfort Step system.
Above: The Comfort Step system with the entry assist handle is available on all Eagle Cap campers
When we went to full lamination, the campers got stronger as we moved those pieces together. Now we have a three-year structural warranty versus the one-year warranty from before.
TCM: Tell us about the interior decor options for the 811. Have the new 2018 Eagle Cap interiors been a success?
Greg: We were initially concerned about only offering two interior decor choices for 2018, but that’s what our interior design team presented. We now have hundreds of 2018 Eagle Cap units in the field with the new decors and the feedback has been exceptionally positive.
When Jim DeBord, National Sales Representative for Adventurer Manufacturing, gives tours here at the factory, he asks customers point blank what they think of the 2018 interiors. So far he has heard zero negative comments.
Above: Looking from the cabover to the back door, Denim decor pictured above
Above: Above: Looking from the back door to the cabover, Denim decor pictured above
We even ask, “You don’t think it’s too bland?” The feedback generally tells us that our customers want to accent the interiors with their personal items and make the camper their own. That’s exactly what the interior designer team said.
Above: Driver’s side (left) and passenger’s side (right) of the cabover bedroom
TCM: Tell us about some of the new standard features for the 811 – specifically the Camper Caddy, thermoformed countertops, and stainless steel sink.
Greg: We are doing some things on the Eagle Cap 811 that we are not yet doing for the rest of the Eagle Cap line. These features may or may not transition to the next Eagle Cap model year. With the 811, we are putting a toe in the water to see what the public things about these changes.
Above: The Camper Caddy in the Eagle Cap 811, Domino decor
One feature exclusive to the 811 is the Camper Caddy. Shawn Matthews, our Head of Engineering, recommended the Camper Caddy for the 811.
Above: The Camper Caddy is also in some of the Adventurer models, pictured above in the Adventurer 80RB
We have offered the Camper Caddy in our lighter half-ton Adventurer models, but never in an Eagle Cap. After we installed the Camper Caddy in the 811, our photographer took photos showing phones, computers, and other items in the pouches. It uses that space very well.
For the 811, there is no shelf on the front cabover wall – no head-banger that people sometimes complain about.
We think the Camper Caddy gives you more usable storage. It completed the look up front, and gives you more space to store things. Shawn had a vision and it came out looking nice.
Above: The double bowl stainless steel sink in the Eagle Cap 811
TCM: Tell us about the thermoformed countertops.
Greg: We debuted thermoformed countertops for Adventurer models last year and have continued with molded fiberglass countertops for Eagle Cap.
For the new 811, we are debuting a thermoformed countertop in an Eagle Cap model. Thermoformed countertops give the appearance of a solid surface countertop material, but with more strength and durability than molded fiberglass.
Above: The thermoformed countertop close up
The thermoformed countertop in the 811 really looks like a solid surface material. I have been amazed at how it looks with the rest of the interior.
Above: The Eagle Cap 811 with the slide-out in still has a little room in the hallway
TCM: Eagle Cap uses Schwintek slide mechanisms for all of its slide outs. Are Scheintek slide mechanisms continuing to perform well for Eagle Cap?
Greg: Schwintek is an ongoing challenge. Schwintek was here on 8th of August. They have changed their slide and inverted the rail and grove on top. Prior to that change, water could get in through the mechanism. They have also gone to steel shafts. That change improved our slide related warranty rate by about 90-percent.
Above: Happijac steel dual-ram slide mechanisms are employed on the 811
We are researching Lippert’s Slimrack slide-out system currently, but we have used the tried and true Happijac dual steel ram slide mechanism on the 811.
Above: Dual batteries fit on an exterior slide-out tray and compartment
TCM: You’ve talked about the increased holding tank capacities already. Are the battery and propane tank capacities the same?
Greg: Yes, those are all identical to the Adventurer 89RBS. There is a dual battery compartment and a dual 20-pound propane compartment.
Above: The Eagle Cap 811 has two vertical 20-pound propane tanks
It was interesting in TCM’s 2018 Ultimate Truck Camper Survey that 20-pound vertical tanks are the most popular. We built the Eagle Cap 1200 with two twenty pounders and nobody has complained.
TCM: Compared to 30-pound propane tanks, 20-pound tanks are much easier to handle, fill, and exchange. Are there any new options that are available for the 2018 Eagle Cap 811? Will the 28-inch HDTV be available on all Eagle Cap models?
Greg: There’s a new 28-inch HDTV that’s exclusive to the 811. When engineering built the cabinet in the 89RBS, the 19-inch HDTV look small in the cabinet. You could also see the wiring and it looked like something was missing.
Dave Catron in engineering used the same cabinet format, modified it just a little bit, and put in a bigger television. Now it looks good in that space, and hides the wiring.
Above: Every camper at Adventurer Manufacturing gets weighed. Here’s the scaled weight of an Eagle Cap 811.
TCM: What does the 2018 Eagle Cap 811 weigh with standard build features?
Greg: The base weight with no options is 3,366 pounds. The loaded unit, like the one in the pictures in this article came out to 3,816 pounds.
TCM: Wet and loaded, that could be a challenging payload for a short bed truck. Do you have a target truck model and configuration you can recommend to prospect short bed 811 buyers?
Greg: We strongly recommend a one ton truck. The 811 did not come in as light as we had anticipated, but that’s because the camper is 2-inches longer than the 89RBS and the tanks are bigger. Those are the weight trade-offs in this set-up.
The truck payloads are increasing each year. Our standard answer is that you need to match payload to the legal letter of the law. You need to look at the sticker on the truck’s door because every truck configuration offers a different payload.
Above: Adventurer Manufacturing marks the center of gravity on every truck camper they produce
Greg: It’s at 38.5-inches. The 89RBS is 38-inches. It moved back a half-inch for the 811. Adventurer Manufacturing marks center of gravity on all of our truck campers.
TCM: What is the MSRP for the 2018 Eagle Cap 811 with standard build features?
Greg: $36,085 is the base MSRP. A standard build with a rear awning, comfort step bumper, generator ready, and water filter is $37,860.
TCM: What is the warranty for the 2018 Eagle Cap 811?
Greg: We have a three year structural warranty for everything we manufacture. The appliances are one to three years based on the appliance manufacturer.
TCM: When will the 2018 Eagle Cap 811 be available?
Greg: They are shipping now. Call your local Eagle Cap dealer to ask about availability. You can also contact us for a brochure.
Above: A walk-around video for the 2018 Eagle Cap 811
TCM: Is there anything more about the 2018 Eagle Cap 811 that you would like to add?
Greg: The Eagle Cap 811’s dinette size is very comfortable. I’m very impressed with what the extra 2-inches of space brought to the dinette. People are going to love it. This camper also has an open floor plan with a very spacious interior.
Customers are also going to love the stainless steel sink, Camper Caddy, and the thermoformed countertops. The countertops are sealed and durable, but it does add 50 to 70 pounds per unit. We struggled with that weight when we made the change, but the durability is worth it. We may do things differently for the next model change based on the response from the consumers.
TCM: Are there any other new model announcements coming from Eagle Cap this year?
Greg: We won’t see anything new for Eagle Cap until next year, but we do have an Adventurer model that is being designed by engineering and hopefully it is getting close to being completed. That is half-ton slide model. We will be announcing that new model here in Truck Camper Magazine.