First roadtrip

Test porte-matériel Jacquard SKEP

HEADING TO L’HÉRAULT

It’s such a pleasure to finally see him in real life! After hundreds of hours of design, calculations and prototyping, we can finally touch it! This new prototype much more successful and optimized. After the various stress tests (load tests, high speed, sudden change of direction, emergency braking and speed bumps) everything is ok! So off we went for that first trip with the gear carrier.

And it's me who sticks to it (Theo). Direction Hérault area to discover the Caroux massif with my girlfriend.

GETTING PREPARED

So before leaving, I choose my configuration for this weekend. Hiking and walks on the program. So we take a large box for hiking equipment and the most important, the plancha and my burner. My girlfriend insists on taking extra water. The showers consumes water ! So I install the single jerry can holder and presto, 20L of extra water.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

When driving, you do not feel any difference with this type of load. We had already experienced this, but you have to see what happens when you use it.

For the opening of the closure, we have modified the locking system. Now the arms of the gear carrier open and close like a door. Just lift a handle to unlock it. When closing, it snaps and locks automatically. This solution is much more ergonomic than our old hand broaching system. Finally, to lock the assembly in the driving position, we have integrated a toggle which is located at the top of each arm and which goes in the groove between the tailgate / doors and the roof. It is plasticized to protect the body.

Then there is the locking of the arms of the gear carrier. They can be locked in 1 position at 165 °. This opens up a lot of new possibilities. For the shower, for example, we stretched a curtain, with magnets, to be able to shower out of sight. And there are still other ideas to be found. Like stretching a hammock, installing ropes to hang out the laundry or dry neoprene suits, ...

The cargo box mounted on the arm offers a surface at the right height to be able to install the plancha. What a pleasure to be able to cook comfortably outside, it is appreciable and practical. We even come to wonder if a module dedicated to the kitchen might not be a good idea ? For now, we'll just turn the box so we can open it from the front, leaving the plancha on top. The small rim on the cargo box holder allows you to put all our ingredients and utensils, it's very practical!

Once the dishes are finished, all you have to do is put away in the cargo box without risking soiling the interior of the van.

"OH, BUT IT OPENS! "

This first experience with the gear carrier is rich in lessons. In addition to minor modifications, we are considering adding hooks to the top of the uprights to hang a hammock. We are also going to modify the bike carrier module to make its use more practical. Finally, we are going to change the reference lights with a more qualitative system that includes reversing lights. All these modifications, we discover them thanks to the prototypes and the meetings.

We passed several vanners, taken aback by the gear carrier. I admit feeling a certain pride in these moments. I am thinking especially of meeting a couple who are impatiently awaiting the Fiat Ducato they have ordered. It was a superb meeting during which we were able to discuss about the gear carrier and receive the first opinions and ideas in person.

We would like to be able to show it more easily! Obviously, at the moment, this is not feasible ... But we are already looking forward to the first gatherings to exchange again. In the meantime, we are embarking on the next prototype which will most certainly be the last before the marketable model!

THE PRICE

This 3rd prototype must be the culmination of our objectives, design a modular, practical and durable equipment carrier!

It is by dint of optimizations and improvements that we have been able to make progress on the costing. We were thus able to present a price range last week. The carrier system, shown in the image below, is estimated between € 1,820 to € 1,910 without modules.

If the price is not yet set, there are still some parameters to be determined, including the number of orders.

On the other hand, some costs are already fixed. As we explained in the article "THE GEAR CARRIER : THE TECHNIQUE! », We manufacture the gear carrier and its modules entirely in France. This approach guarantees the quality and reliability of all manufacturing processes: from welding to assembly, including powder coating and cataphoresis for long-lasting anti-corrosion protection. In order to make deliveries faster and reduce the kilometers traveled by the gear carrier, setting up a short and local circuit is an advantage for us but also for you.

We also use special steels, with significant mechanical properties, particularly in terms of stress and fatigue. Regarding the movement parts, we use stainless steel, as for the pivot pins which will be machined in the mass.

The screws are also made of stainless steel, so there is no risk of corrosion there either.

We plan to repeat the experience of testing the carrier in condition with other users. If containment slows us down, it allows us to take the time to prototype this 3rd version and test it on a larger scale. To start this test phase in real conditions, we hope to test 4 to 5 gear carriers on Transporter 4, 5 and 6 and on Trafic 3.

We are gradually approaching the commercialization that we would like to be able to achieve quickly while ensuring the quality of the product. To achieve this, we are thinking more and more about a solution that has been suggested to us several times by the community, to use a system of pre-order and crowdfunding.

These are all interesting ideas that we will be looking at in addition to the European approval and the design of the modules. One thing is certain, we can't wait to be able to show you all this in real life!

Théo