Don't call the EarthRoamer an RV – it's an XV (Xpedition Vehicle), and it's ready to take you to the most distant, rugged lands on the planet. The latest model packs the same four-season, go-anywhere build EarthRoamer has always been known for with a few added features, including a tailgater package with external kitchen and slide-out TV. Gizmag took a closer look inside and out at the recent Overland Expo.
Introduced in 2003, the EarthRoamer was carefully constructed to solve some of the traditional shortcomings of RVs, providing a burlier platform for truly limitless road and off-road travel. The Colorado-based company takes credit for coining the term "Xpedition Vehicle," representing a versatile, go-anywhere mobile shelter that's built to offer a luxurious camping experience without the need for the water, sewer and electrical hook-ups of an RV park.
EarthRoamer showed the latest XV-LTS design at last week's Overland Expo just outside Flagstaff, Arizona, and while the massive, Ford F-550-based rover actually wasn't the largest or most imposing vehicle at the show, it was certainly within the top 5 percent. The muscular overlander has a one-piece molded composite body planted on the bare, commercial-duty F-550 chassis. A 300-hp 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 Turbo Diesel Engine with 660 lb-ft provides motivation to all four wheels, wrapped either in 37-in Michelin mud & snows or optional 41-in Continental military off-road tires.
EarthRoamer replaces the factory double rear wheels with a single pair, adds King off-road shocks and heavy duty anti-sway bars, and pushes the minimum ground clearance up to 10.4 in (26.4 cm). An optional air ride suspension system (required for the 41-in tire option) adds capabilities for adjusting the height of each wheel or axle independently, and an air compressor makes it easier to adjust tire pressures. While the XV-LTS is ready for rough off-road driving, EarthRoamer claims it's equally comfortable traveling on the pavement at highway speeds.
When company founder and photographer Bill Swails began designing the original EarthRoamer back in the late 90s, what he wanted was a vehicle that could bring him to remote lands to capture pristine, raw nature on film. Swails didn't want to give up the luxury of vehicle camping but needed something self-sustaining that didn't need to be tethered to the infrastructure or disturb the serenity with a rattling generator. To meet those types of mission objectives, EarthRoamer equips the XV-LT series with a 90-gallon (340.7-L) fresh water tank; a large solar array (660 to 1,100 watts) teamed with a 3.7-kW diesel generator powered by the Ford engine and an AGM battery bank; heat, air conditioning and hot water systems; and a 26-gallon (98.4-L) gray water tank.
When you first step inside the EarthRoamer XV-LTS, it's a bit of a shock to the senses, going from the "rough and ready" exterior to a downright elegant cabin. There's a living room with seating for six, a kitchen area, an above-cab king-size bed, and a bathroom with sink, 5-gallon cassette toilet and full-height shower. The acrylic windows and roof hatch provide plenty of light, ventilation and outdoor viewing, while integrated shades dim the interior for daytime napping.
The XV-LTS interior includes a variety of standard and optional equipment, such as leather couches that electrically recline into a bed, hardwood cabinetry, a stainless steel refrigerator and freezer unit, an electric induction or diesel cooktop, a convection microwave, a slide-out Keurig coffeemaker, a Bose surround sound system, and a wine cabinet with a set of "EarthRoamer"-etched glasses. We'd imagine it'd take all of 30 seconds to forget all about the barren, untamed wilds outside the door after getting comfortable inside.
If one were more interested in enjoying the wilds outside, a newly added tailgater package brings some of the XV-LTS' interior comfort to the other side of the door. It combines a swing-out grill and kitchen area with a 46-in flat-panel TV. That TV is available for when you want a little outside entertainment, then swings flat and slides into the camper body with a manual/electric system.
Other improvements for the 2014 model include increased 6-foot 8-in (203-cm) headroom, indirect LED ceiling lighting, a lengthened frame designed to accommodate the rear swing-out storage boxes, and new wood and interior design options. The options list includes 16,500-lb (7,484-kg) front and rear winches and Hella Rallye off-road lights.
EarthRoamer offers a number of different XV-LT configurations ranging from 22.6 to 27.5 feet (6.9 to 8.4 m) in length. The XV can use Regular, Super or Crew Ford cabs and standard, stretch or super stretch campers, offering cab seating for up to six people and sleeping space for four to six. Prices start at US$260,000 and rise to over $600,000.
As tends to be the case with show models, the XV-LTS we scoped out was one of EarthRoamer's higher-spec offerings, combining the XV-LTS (stretch) camper, a Crew Cab with Lariat interior and a variety of optional add-ons. The rep we spoke to quoted a price of $525,000.
If the EarthRoamer XV-LT doesn't seem big and brash enough for your adventures, EarthRoamer plans to offer something even bigger within the next year. It's currently working on the 363-hp Ford F-650-based XV-HD. It plans to begin production on that model in 2015, with estimated pricing starting at $750K.
You can take a complete tour of the 2014 XV-LTS in our photo gallery. Since it's a little hard to snap every angle of the interior with folks coming in and out, we've also included a few company photos of another XV-LTS interior.