Woolrich and Four Wheel Campers announce 100 Woolrich Limited Edition pop-up truck campers for the outdoor enthusiast. Four Wheel Campers is about to go full-on Buffalo Check.
Known as the original outdoor clothing company, Woolrich was founded in 1830 by John Rich in Plum Run, Pennsylvania. As part of their remarkable history, Woolrich furnished wool blankets for the Union soldiers during the Civil War, supplied the military with wool blankets during World War 1, equipped Admiral Byrd’s team for three expeditions to Antarctica, and outfitted blankets and clothing for the US soldiers in World War II.
187 years after their founding, Woolrich clothing is sold in thousands of department and specialty stores across the United States and Canada. Their brand and products are synonymous with the outdoor lifestyle, as is their classic red Buffalo Check fabric pattern. If you’ve been on Earth for a couple of decades or more, you probably know the Woolrich style.
So what is Woolrich doing co-branding with Four Wheel Campers (itself a 45-year-old company) to produce 100 Woolrich Limited Edition pop-up truck campers?
Both companies represent and support the outdoor recreation lifestyle and market high-end products with extreme outdoor capabilities. The opportunity comes from how they approach the outdoor recreation marketplace from totally different perspectives with totally different (but equally vibrant) communities.
Woolrich has also coordinated successful co-branding product partnerships with Converse, GORE-TEX, Goal Zero, and even Dogfish Head Brewery. It’s exciting to see them turn their attention to the pop-up truck camper marketplace, and make a serious play.
To find out more about the Woolrich Limited Edition Four Wheel Campers and the partnership behind it, we talked to Matt Henwood of Main Line Overland, and Robert Vogl at Four Wheel Campers.
Matt (along with his brothers and business partners Pete and Thomas) spearheaded the initiative with Woolrich and was involved throughout the design and development process. All of the photos in this article were supplied by Thomas Henwood from Main Line Overland.
Robert is the new CEO of Four Wheel Campers and will be featured in an in-depth interview in a few weeks.
Above: Woolrich Limited Editions of the Four Wheel Camper Hawk (left) and flatbed Fleet (right) models
TCM: How did the Woolrich and Four Wheel Campers co-branding partnership come to be?
Matt: At the Four Wheel Camper dealer meeting about a year ago, we talked about the possibility of a special edition project. We wanted something to further differentiate the Four Wheel Camper brand and the product from other camper brands. Four Wheel Campers has done the Silver Spur edition, but we wanted something more unique. We also wanted an opportunity to work with a larger brand.
After the meeting, we did a lot of research and started to vet potential partner companies. Being from Pennsylvania, we’re big Woolrich fans, so we reached out to them. Their initial reaction was extremely positive. They loved the idea and the visuals of Four Wheel Campers we sent them.
Two months after the dealer meeting, we had a meeting with Woolrich at the Woolrich Mill in Pennsylvania. Tom Hanagan, then President of Four Wheel Campers, came out from California to meet with the folks at Woolrich.
Above: Tom Hanagan of Four Wheel Campers and Rob Stuart, Woolrich’s Fabric Designer, at the Woolrich Factory in Pennsylvania
We got the grand tour of the mill, which was amazing. It was like a step back in time with their machinery and process showing the intricacy and attention to detail. We got to really see how they make their textiles and fabrics.
We then sat down with Nick Brayton, President of Woolrich, and descendant of the Rich family. We talked about the collaboration with Four Wheel Campers and the potential of the project.
Both companies are made in America brands with a history in the outdoor sphere; Woolrich being the original outdoor clothing company, and Four Wheel Campers as the leading outdoor enthusiast camper brand.
We brought some truck campers along with us and invited Nick and the Woolrich team to step inside and see the quality, craftsmanship, and materials of Four Wheel Campers. Then we sat down with the Woolrich designers to explore the interior design possibilities.
Above: The Buffalo Check woolen fabric in the Woolrich Limited Edition Camper
During that process we went through multiple iterations of patterns and looks. We came back to the original Buffalo Check woolen fabric that Woolrich is known for.
Above: The Buffalo Check wool blanket tag which includes the Woolrich and Four Wheel Campers logo
Above: The wool blanket is specially-loomed for the bed’s dimensions
The cabover bed features a Buffalo Check Woolrich wool blanket specially-loomed for the camper bed’s dimensions, with Buffalo Check bolsters and throws.
Above: The woolen heathered grey 21-ounce Woolrich Civil War reenactment upholstery in the Woolrich Limited Edition Camper
Above: Interior photos with the Woolrich Civil War reenactment upholstery and the Buffalo Check pillows and blanket
We also decided on a woolen heathered grey 21-ounce Woolrich Civil War reenactment upholstery for the dinette and bed area. It features a reversible Sunbrella “Summer Side” for warm weather comfort. The result is an interior with a cozy and warm aesthetic for all seasons.
TCM: How did things progress with Woolrich after the initial contact and meeting?
Matt: After the meeting, there was an extensive testing period with the different fabric patterns and colors. We specifically tested the density, durability, and softness of the fabrics. We wanted to make sure the fabrics we selected would result in a good experience for the Four Wheel Camper customer. That process ended toward the end of last summer.
Above: The Woolrich Editions will have a Cocoa Maple wood grain Mica for the base cabinetry and Blackstone Mica on the countertops (shown above)
We then moved on to the other materials and features for the Woolrich Limited Editions. Once we got the initial prototype built, we decided that the countertops needed to change color. There were a number of iterations and adjustments before the final design was approved.
Overall, we were in conversations with Woolrich for about a year. There wasn’t really any settling throughout the process. Everybody was pushing for the best possible final product.
Above: More pictures of the factory and manufacturing process
TCM: Woolrich is a 187-year-old outdoor clothing company from Pennsylvania. Four Wheel Campers is a 45-year-old pop-up camper company from Colorado and California. What’s the opportunity for these two companies to work together?
Robert: The opportunity to partner with a company with the reputation and longevity of Woolrich would be exciting for any organization. Woolrich is iconic.
The Woolrich partnership allows Four Wheel Campers to appeal to markets that are not currently aware of our brand or products. There’s a large segment of outdoor-oriented people who don’t know about Four Wheel Campers. The product concept is something they’ve never seen before. The Woolrich Limited Editions are a great product introduction for this broader market.
They are also great people to work with and have a high level of integrity. The experience has been everything you would expect from a family business that’s been closely held for so long. You would enjoy having a beer with the Woolrich team.
Above: The flat aluminum skin on the flatbed and slide-in versions of this camper
TCM: As fellow Pennsylvanians, we certainly would. The first thing most Four Wheel Camper enthusiasts will notice is the use of flat aluminum skin for the exterior of the Woolrich Limited Editions. What’s the advantage of flat aluminum versus filon fiberglass or rolled aluminum?
Matt: The smooth aluminum skin is lighter, sleeker, and more modern than filon fiberglass or corrugated aluminum. Durability-wise, the flat aluminum is going to have a longer life span.
We wanted to modernize the look. We wanted something clean. We like the smooth aluminum look – like an Airstream – and we wanted this camper to look different. The aluminum also has a unique silver finish that differentiates the Woolrich Limited Editions from other Four Wheel Campers.
Above: The etched banding trim is another feature of the Woolrich Limited Edition Camper
Another nice touch is the etched banding trim. It’s a single-piece aluminum extrusion with no vinyl that can degrade over time. Additionally, there are some stainless up-fit trim pieces. Even small things like the water fill ports are more premium on the Woolrich Limited Editions.
The team at Four Wheel Campers worked hard to color match the backside of the water heater, the furnace, and refrigerator vents. The goal was to negate the color variances and make an even cleaner look.
Above: The retro Four Wheel Campers logo and the Woolrich classic logo
They even used the retro Four Wheel Campers logo to tie into the look of Woolrich’s classic logo. The two logos look great together on the campers.
TCM: If the aluminum skin is popular, might we see that feature available in the future?
Robert: That’s a good question and not one that I can answer right now. It’s certainly possible that we will offer another type of smooth skin if that’s what the marketplace wants. As of now, the flat aluminum skin will be exclusive to the Woolrich Limited Edition models.
Above: The Rotopax and Maxtrax are standard on the flatbed models
TCM: Are the Rotopax and Maxtrax mounted on the rear of the flatbed model standard equipment?
Matt: Yes, the mounted Rotopax and Maxtrax are standard equipment for the flatbed UTE models. There’s a factory-built back rack for the Rotopax and Maxtrax. We have seen the flatbed customers up-fitting those options, so we made them standard for the Woolrich Edition.
TCM: Tell about the interior materials of the Woolrich edition. The classic red Woolrich Buffalo Check Pattern cushions and blanket are real standouts, but are the other materials different as well?
Matt: The cabinetry, countertops, and fabrics all have a different look than a typical Four Wheel Camper. There’s a traditional feel like you’re stepping into a cabin. You’ll see that from the draw pulls to the cabinetry.
We wanted the interior to be different, but premium, without adding weight. We also wanted all the materials to be extremely durable.
TCM: How does the quality and durability of the Woolrich Limited Editions compare to a standard Four Wheel Camper?
Matt: Four Wheel Campers are always evolving. Everything on the Woolrich Limited Editions is similar to a standard Four Wheel Camper, but the materials are going to be more premium.
We are adding Woolrich on top of our already high-end and high-quality product. With their quality fabrics and materials, we have taken Four Wheel Campers to an even higher level.
Above: Hawk model of the Woolrich Limited Edition Camper
TCM: Are you going to interweave production of the Woolrich Limited Edition units with other Four Wheel Campers? Or are you going to run 100 units down the line?
Robert: While I would love to block out a space for the 100 units to be run all at once, that is not realistic. Just like we do with the Silver Spur Edition, they’re going to be interwoven with our standard units.
TCM: Will you build more than 100 if the units sell out quickly?
Robert: The concept is that we’re building a limited edition. We want the Woolrich Limited Editions to be special. We will not make more than 100 units. Once we get to 100, it’s done.
TCM: Are there any options to add to the Woolrich Limited Editions?
Matt: There are very few options as these units come fully-loaded with the best features. The only significant option is whether the customer wants a cassette toilet.
Dealers will probably buy these units on speculation. They are going to want low badge numbers, like numbers 1-20. Dealers were already trying to buy the units at this year’s dealer meeting.
Above: Tom Hanagan at the Woolrich Factory
TCM: Who’s getting the first Woolrich camper?
Matt: Tom Hanagan. The Woolrich Edition is a nice farewell to Tom and what he’s built up for the last fifteen years. Tom has the first prototype. I’m actually getting the second prototype. The Tacoma flatbed in the pictures is my truck. The Ford is Tom’s.
Above: Each of the 100 campers made will be badged with its serial number
These campers are going to be serial numbered 1 through 100 with die-cast “Woolrich Edition” exterior badging. There are only going to be a few of each model.
Above: The Woolrich Edition Diecast Badge that will be on the exterior of the camper
TCM: What models will be available as Woolrich Limited Editions?
Matt: You can get the Woolrich Limited Edition in four models; the Fleet, Grandby, and Hawk slide-in models, and the flatbed UTE models.
We are only building the Woolrich in the front dinette models. We are not building this special edition in the Swift or Raven because they don’t have a front dinette.
TCM: Tell us about the features that come with the Woolrich Limited Editions.
Matt: We wanted the Woolrich Limited Editions to have the best available options. For example, the standard interior features include a flush-mounted stainless sink, two-burner stove, stainless cabinet hardware, Isotherm refrigerator, DSI hot water heater, inside and outside shower, and a King slide-out cabover bed.
Standard exterior features include the aforementioned flat aluminum skin, 160-watt roof top solar panel system, Yakima roof rack, and full exterior lighting. Pretty much all the bells and whistles are in these Woolrich Limited Edition campers. Plus, you get the Woolrich fabrics and logos woven at the Woolrich Woolen Mill in Pennsylvania. It’s a fully-loaded premium camper.
Above: The two prototypes, a Hawk and flatbed Fleet
TCM: How many Woolrich Limited Editions have been built so far?
Robert: The two prototypes have been built; one flatbed, and one slide-in. We used those for the photoshoots and they helped us figure out how we wanted to build them. Along the way, we made some interior color scheme adjustments as well.
TCM: How does someone order a Woolrich Limited Edition?
Robert: The Woolrich Limited Editions will be custom ordered just like the other Four Wheel Campers. The only difference is that these are fully loaded, so there are very few options that one can add to these campers.
Woolrich is going to have a page on their website and in their catalog for future information. We will also have information on our website.
Above: The flatbed Fleet Woolrich Edition prototype
TCM: Where can folks see a Woolrich Limited Edition?
Robert: They will be on display at shows later this year. Our dealer in Pennsylvania will have them in various locations on the east coast. We will also have models for the media to look at and use. There will be at least two Woolrich Limited Editions at the Overland Expo in Flagstaff. And some Four Wheel Camper dealers will have them in their showrooms.
The first two production models are scheduled to go roll off the line in February. After that, it’s as they are ordered. There will be a handful that will be built in the beginning of March through May. Each camper interior will be individually badged and numbered with a Woolrich Edition “storyteller” number plate.
TCM: What is the MSRP of a Woolrich Limited Edition?
Robert: The flatbed UTE version starts at around $43,000. The slide-in version starts around $37,000, depending on the model. It is a premium-priced product. You are getting a lot for your money.
TCM: What is the warranty for a Woolrich Limited Edition?
Robert: The campers come with a five-year warranty on the camper’s frame, roof, and soft side pop-up material. The appliances come with their own warranty that’s one to three years and direct from the appliance manufacturer (Dometic, Norcold, Atwood, Suburban, etc.).
TCM: Does anyone from Woolrich want a Woolrich Limited Edition Four Wheel Camper?
Matt: Nick Brayton, President of Woolrich wants a unit, and Gehron Burkholderr, the Woolrich Digital and Marketing Director, really wants one too. Gehron was an important part of the project.
Robert: I want one too. I just haven’t figured out if I want a slide-in or flatbed model.
TCM: Is there anything else about the Woolrich Limited Edition models or the partnership that you would like to share?
Matt: The attention to detail from the people involved with the project at both Woolrich and Four Wheel Campers need to be recognized. It’s good to see hard-working American manufacturing companies working together. The pride that both groups took in the finished product is awe-inspiring. That can be seen throughout the camper.
Robert: This is the first co-branded project Four Wheel Campers has ever worked on. It’s a great way to bring out the positives of both brands. We also really enjoyed working with Woolrich. They are a down-to-earth and a really nice family. It’s been a lot of fun to work on this project.