April 28, 2022 2 min read 3 Comments
You might have heard GFC kick around the term “vertical integration” a lot, but what does it mean? Well, it's a fancy way of describing the fact that GFC owns the majority of the manufacturing processes that go into producing a camper. From machining to sewing, we try to do everything we can internally. So what does this have to do with us removing the locking functionality from the upper tent assembly? More than you might think.
(Above: Previous plunger locks.)
"This new latch is designed to hold the rear latch assembly down in extreme off-roading situations and keep the opening process simple and reliable."
We don’t just do our own manufacturing processes internally because we are trying to keep our costs down, it also allows for rapid micro innovations. While most other companies are shipping through parts stacked on pallets from third party domestic or international vendors, we are making just enough parts for a week or two worth of campers. This results in us being able to make small changes, usually sparked from an internal idea, but occasionally from customer feedback.
The locks are one of these micro innovations that we have recently made. The previous locking pins seen in the v2 walk-around video posed two issues to us that prompted their elimination. Firstly, we had a handful of customers experience the locks failing on them after getting clogged with dirt and debris from off-road use. Because we designed the camper for off-roading, this is of course not ideal. Secondly, they are no longer available as they were one of the components not made by us.
That opened the door for us to design a part we are referring to as the “Spring Pin”. This new latch is designed to hold the rear latch assembly down in extreme off-roading situations and keep the opening process simple and reliable. These new lathe turned parts are produced here in the Gallatin Valley too.
TL;DR: Our products change over time, we designed our company to allow for continued innovation and improvement. But that doesn’t mean that we won't have your back in that process. If you love your locking latches, keep running them and watch this video in the event you have them ever seize up on you. If you feel the need to make a change, you can always reach out to us via the service request form, and that goes for anyone who has a question about the use or maintenance of their camper.
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