Automotive

EarthCruiser takes van life off-road truckin' with the EXD adventure rig

EarthCruiser takes van life of...
Finding serenity with EarthCruiser's latest: the EXD (left) and MOD truck campers
Finding serenity with EarthCruiser's latest: the EXD (left) and MOD truck campers
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The EXD interior includes a kitchen area, bathroom amenities and a convertible dinette/bed
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The EXD interior includes a kitchen area, bathroom amenities and a convertible dinette/bed
EarthCruiser is currently developing the EXD (left) and the MOD (right) – the MOD is a modular pickup camper that lets you plug-and-play different interior equipment
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EarthCruiser is currently developing the EXD (left) and the MOD (right) – the MOD is a modular pickup camper that lets you plug-and-play different interior equipment
Finding serenity with EarthCruiser's latest: the EXD (left) and MOD truck campers
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Finding serenity with EarthCruiser's latest: the EXD (left) and MOD truck campers
The full electric pop-top on the EXD provides for 82 in of interior headroom 
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The full electric pop-top on the EXD provides for 82 in of interior headroom 
At camp with the EarthCruiser EXD
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At camp with the EarthCruiser EXD
EarthCruiser imagines the boxy EXD as a more rugged, capable answer to a camper van
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EarthCruiser imagines the boxy EXD as a more rugged, capable answer to a camper van
With a 1-ton American pickup truck as its base, the boxy EXD offers plenty of off-road capability, payload and towing
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With a 1-ton American pickup truck as its base, the boxy EXD offers plenty of off-road capability, payload and towing
The EarthCruiser EXD works its way through the forest
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The EarthCruiser EXD works its way through the forest
EarthCruiser is still putting the finishing touches on the EXD but plans to build up to 10 customer models this year
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EarthCruiser is still putting the finishing touches on the EXD but plans to build up to 10 customer models this year
The EarthCruiser EXD's pop-up roof is electrically actuated
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The EarthCruiser EXD's pop-up roof is electrically actuated
Exploring in the EarthCruiser EXD
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Exploring in the EarthCruiser EXD
The kitchen includes a 130-L refrigerator, induction cooktop and stainless steel sink
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The kitchen includes a 130-L refrigerator, induction cooktop and stainless steel sink
The dinette converts to a bed
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The dinette converts to a bed
Though some of EarthCruiser's EXD photos show families, the EXD floor plan looks more suitable for an adventurous couple
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Though some of EarthCruiser's EXD photos show families, the EXD floor plan looks more suitable for an adventurous couple
EarthCruiser EXD
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EarthCruiser EXD
EarthCruiser EXD
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EarthCruiser EXD
View gallery - 16 images

As it celebrates 10 years of cruising and conquering earth, Australian-American expedition vehicle builder EarthCruiser is preparing a new type of rig. Growing out its lineup from full-size adventure motorhomes and pickup pop-tops, it's developing a 4x4 camper van alternative. Like a van, its EXD camper travels as a boxy, live-in motorhome, but unlike a van, it rides atop a rugged, ready 1-ton pickup truck with more grunt and payload. So if camper vans confine your wanderlusting spirit, the EXD might be your adventure rig of choice.

EarthCruiser is hoping to tap into some of the enthusiasm and marketing power that continues to surround #vanlife, positioning the EXD as an attractive cross-shopping alternative for those looking at 4x4 camper vans. Every EarthCruiser EXD blog post and social media blast we've read includes a mention of van life or comparison with 4x4 camper vans, listing EXD advantages like higher ground clearance and all-American 1-ton pickup truck-levels of payload and towing capacity.

Not that the EXD really looks much like a camper van – it's boxy, comes with a pass-through between driver cab and camper, and has four wheels, but that's about where the similarities end. In actuality, the EXD slides between the extremes of EarthCruiser's existing lineup – big, beastly Mitsubishi Fuso and Unimog off-road motorhomes and smaller GZL pickup pop-up campers – and is much more in line with an XPCube or Quantis Marq.

EarthCruiser EXD
EarthCruiser EXD

That's not to say that EarthCruiser's plan of luring in some 4x4 camper van buyers won't work. In fact, the 4x4 van market is rather limiting from the outset. There are a few 4x4 van options on the aftermarket, but the Mercedes Sprinter 4x4 is currently the only factory built all-wheel drive van available. Couple that with some of the power and payload advantages of a truck, and you can start to see why someone with six figures to spend on an all-terrain camper might choose an EXD over something like a Sportsmobile Sprinter.

EarthCruiser is still working on the EXD, but it has started aggressively teasing its new model recently, releasing some photos and video clips. The camper box is built from insulated molded fiberglass, and measures 120 x 63 x 81 inches (305 x 160 x 206 cm, L x H x W) with the roof down. The entire roof pops up via electric actuators, expanding headroom from 62 to 82 inches (158 to 210 cm).

The EXD mounts to either a flatbed truck or directly to an American 1-ton 4WD pickup truck chassis with 8-foot (244-cm) bed and single rear wheels, such as the 2017+ Chevy Silverado 3500 or 2018 Ram 3500. The prototype calls a Ford Super Duty F350 home.

The EXD interior features a U-shaped furniture layout with a rear dinette set that converts to a 78 x 50-in (198 x 127-cm) bed at the push of a button. Next to that convertible dinette on the driver side, the kitchen area houses a single-piece countertop, stainless steel sink, induction cooktop and 130-L fridge/freezer. There's also full bathroom amenities – shower, sink and toilet.

The EXD interior includes a kitchen area, bathroom amenities and a convertible dinette/bed
The EXD interior includes a kitchen area, bathroom amenities and a convertible dinette/bed

Other onboard equipment includes a Webasto hot water/air heater, touchscreen command panel, 181-L fresh water tank, 45-L grey water tank, 180-Ah 12V lithium battery, 150-watt solar panel and plenty of LED lighting. The options list includes air conditioning, extra battery power and solar, a microwave, winterization, a water draw system for collecting water from natural sources, and water purification.

With the EXD still under testing and development, specs and pricing could always change ahead of launch. EarthCruiser estimates the standard base price for the flatbed-mount model at US$107,000, with the direct-to-chassis kinetic mounting package adding another $25,000.

We'll take a closer look at the EXD once EarthCruiser gives it the full launch, but in the meantime, EarthCruiser founder and owner Lance Gillies will give you a tour of some key exterior features in the 5-minute video below.

EXD Tour Part 1

Source: EarthCruiser

View gallery - 16 images
3 comments
guzmanchinky
I just had my E-150 converted to a 4x4, complete with locking rear differential and low range for under $20,000 by a company called Agile Off Road in San Diego. I consider that a huge bargain, considering I picked up the van for under $10,000 and had a pop top installed by Sportsmobile for about $6,000. People spending six figures are definitely going the way too fancy route, in my opinion... But these things are cool...
Cryptonoetic
I assume this "drop-in", once dropped in, is permanent. Over 200 grand (including the truck) to pretty much take a perfectly good PU out of action is a bit much, IMO.
BlueOak
Not understanding why they'd design those spindley looking lift mechanisms on the *outside* of the structure where they are exposed to the weather and branches, etc... Seems like mounting them, protected, *inside* the structure would make a lot more sense. And looking at those interior shots, it isn't as if there isn't space in the interior corners for them.