About a year ago, we went to our first Bay Area Rivian Club event. It was billed as a Festival of Lights, and it turns out Rivian folks are good at both. Folks decorated their trucks with holiday lights and inflatables and paraded to Fieldwork Brewing in San Mateo. That is, people who had a Rivian. A lot of folks were still waiting for their deliveries. I remember we were all amazed to see an R1S in attendance! They were still quite rare to see "in the wild."
Matthew had already started tinkering with designs for a camp kitchen and we had a working prototype out making hot cocoa. The cocoa was a hit, along with the kitchen, and we quickly got to know a bunch of friendly Rivian folks around the Bay Area.
At that point, we weren't sure what we were going to do with our camp kitchen beyond personal use. We'd set up an Instagram account to document our progress and created a QR code so people could easily find us. That holiday party was about 6 weeks after Matthew started putting together the design. We thought we were on to something, and we got a lot of really positive feedback from folks. After the New Year, we started down the road of investigating making the project into something that could be manufactured for sale.
And what strikes me, is how much that first design resembles the one available for sale today. The flip open design, the open cubbies (to which we added storage bags), the location of the cooktop and sink. In mockups and drawings we tinkered and toyed with various configurations. Each decision was carefully considered and debated. Nothing about the design is an accident. When were were getting close to launching the store, we found beta testers who gave us valuable feedback. Matthew reworked the sled to make it easier to use, and here we are.
At the start of the summer, we took a 2,500 mile roadtrip through the Pacific Northwest with our Rivian, rooftop tent and Thunderbolt Camp Kitchen. We stayed at a different camp site nearly every night. We became experts in setting up and breaking down camp. And that's what convinced us that we never wanted to use a different cooking system. Never has morning coffee materialized so quickly while camping!
We launched the web store in July with the R1T kitchen and a few products from other manufactures that we think work well in our camp setup. By August we were working on the R1S kitchen and sleeping platform. In November we started shipping out Center Console bags. And we have even more new products in the pipeline for 2024. We can't wait to share them with all of you.
Thank you all for your support this year! We couldn't have gotten here without the support of the amazing Rivian community