Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

2014 EarthRoamer XV-LTS conquers the world, tailgates afterward

By

May 23, 2014

The 2014 EarthRoamer XV-LTS at Overland Expo

The 2014 EarthRoamer XV-LTS at Overland Expo

Image Gallery (56 images)

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.

The EarthRoamer XV-LTS is built on a 300-hp, 4WD Ford F-550 platform

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.

Electric-folding side couches and an upper bed provide sleeping space

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.

The tailgater option includes an external swing-out kitchen with grill, stove and sink

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.

EarthRoamer is preparing the XV-HD for launch next year Photo: EarthRoamer

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.

Source: EarthRoamer

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.   All articles by C.C. Weiss
Tags
22 Comments

Looks cool, but hey, I could build one for less than 100 grand.

eMike
24th May, 2014 @ 12:37 am PDT

Holy smokes, what is the bolt torquing pattern for those gnarly wheels.

Buellrider
24th May, 2014 @ 11:58 am PDT

Exceedingly overpriced, and it won't go far with what is certain to be very poor fuel mileage. Some of the space management looks good but some looks very poor. Does not seem that well thought out.

And I agree, it could be built for less than 100 grand.

For the price, it should certainly be amphibious as well. Perhaps a highly customized Gibbs Phibian would be a better choice.

Mindbreaker
24th May, 2014 @ 03:22 pm PDT

The base truck is probably $60k or more with options, by the time they replace the suspension, tires, bumpers, fenders, lift kit, add the winch, tie in the electrical system etc. its probably close to $100k alone.

Look at the front left wheel from this angle: http://images.gizmag.com/gallery_lrg/2014earthroamerxv-lt-58.jpg

It's not factory kit.

Daishi
24th May, 2014 @ 08:57 pm PDT

Looks that make me want to stay home.

BeWalt
24th May, 2014 @ 10:29 pm PDT

Well said about amphibious capabilities Mindbreaker.

For that price it could also be somewhat armored and setup with heavy machine guns. Anyways at these prices you are selling to guys who probably deal with the Military Industrial Complex one way or the other or do their finances. No penny stocks here.

Maybe the Pentagon needs a $500 hammer?

eMike
25th May, 2014 @ 12:36 am PDT

My question is why does it have to be so custom. What is wrong with getting a capable 4WD that is almost there from the shop floor.

Then purchasing a generic kit, which inevitably exists. Then the only modification is the mounting.

In our neck of the woods people do this sort of thing all the time, and the choice of animal is usually a Toyota Landcruiser 70 series. Because it can go offroad where a Ford cannot..

Nairda
25th May, 2014 @ 03:44 am PDT

It's a camper!

RelayerM31
25th May, 2014 @ 03:40 pm PDT

To the commentors above - Go ahead and build it for less than $100K. Surely you know something more than the company that has been building them for the last 14 years.

As far as price, how is the price of the Earth Roamer so much worse than any of the myriad RV's on the market?

Rt1583
25th May, 2014 @ 07:11 pm PDT

For close to the same money I would like to see individual suspension height options, not just the whole axle.

They can't have it already, they would not need that ugly improvised solution of one wheel on a little ramp to get the whole thing level.

If they call it a go-most-places vehicle, why replace dual rear wheels with singles anyway?

The Skud
25th May, 2014 @ 08:15 pm PDT

@ eMike

When was the last time you made repairs in a bunker full of decaying nerve gas rockets. The $500 hammer was designed, tested, and certified that it would not generate a spark under any circumstance and it still had to be able to be used as a hammer without falling apart.

Slowburn
26th May, 2014 @ 01:21 am PDT

@ Slowburn

I am ex-military from the Cold War, so yes, I am aware of the special needs of military crews. I had my atropine shot handy.

But still it does not justify a high price like that, designed for your supplier buddies. Actually the pricing of this vehicle and its probable customers may ring all sorts of audit bells.

I am not a great fan of needing atropine or nerve gas, heavy military spending, Quantitative Easing, bailouts and bleeding the tax payer dry.

I am sure most of us would agree.

eMike
26th May, 2014 @ 02:23 am PDT

This is laughable. He wants to drive this to pristine places to take pictures. The damage done to the environment getting there and leaving will high. Just get off your butt and hike. Leave no trace take nothing but pictures.

grsa
26th May, 2014 @ 03:21 am PDT

Yeah, it looks the business, but that long wheelbase is a handicap. For sure it'll take you where most motor homes would flounder, but it certainly won't take you "everywhere" as hinted at in the blurb. Personally, for that money, I'd opt for a Unimog as the base vehicle and some serious off-road ability.

Grunt
26th May, 2014 @ 03:54 am PDT

I would buy a used Sisu Masi made by the Finns and used by the UN. I have seen it work just fine in the Arctic at -40 and has plenty of desert use by UN forces. It twists through anything.

Photos:

http://www.sisua.net/gallery/d/3882-4/masivenyttelya3.jpg

http://www.sisua.net/gallery/d/789-14/masi5.jpg

or google sisu masi and see images.

eMike
26th May, 2014 @ 04:20 am PDT

@ Grant

Unimogs look cool too, similar to the Masi. Are they 4x4s?

eMike
26th May, 2014 @ 06:02 am PDT

@slowburn

So,

what was the grandeur behind the $900 toilet seat?

Wait-

never mind I'm sure that's on a "need to know basis"....

and I sure don't need to know!

As for the $525,000 price tag,

I would think $250K would be hard to justify.

Their Jeep was better-

if that could have been built more affordably

they wouldn't have had to go through bankruptcy reorganization.

What most people are looking to buy now has to be cost effective.

Really,

you could buy FOUR Ford Raptors with

the coolest off-road Super Camper trailers for this price!

Griffin
26th May, 2014 @ 08:35 am PDT

PS

As long as we are talking about ridiculous pricing,

how can any outboard motor cost more than average new car?

I don't buy anything brand new to drive

( too complicated,even the dealers can't fix 'em! )

and I will not buy anything that I have to finance.

If everyone refused to finance anything they did not NEED

the world would be much better off.

Mindless revving of the economy while creating a welfare state

(liberals and conservatives aside)

is NOT a good strategy.

Momentary activity and busy-ness disguised as

"progress" in the name of the "economy"

is deplorably short-sided and blind.

Short-sided selfishness has only accelerated

as humanity consumes its homeworld and breeds more&more people

and stacks them higher&denser in an asphalt jungle.

Ignoring the future will not make it go away-

it will make it worse,though.

Imagining a fantasy destination while you're on the road to hell

will not change your fate.

As individuals,

we can either take responsibility for our lives and each other

or we can just fiddle while Rome burns.

I don't like fiddles.

Griffin
26th May, 2014 @ 08:49 am PDT

Back on track

(my final comment)

The "Siberian Tiger" Ford expedition truck that is already linked

on this Gizmag page is $163,000.

It is VERY similar with some interesting design features.

I'll have to go with the Siberian Tiger....

if they can put it on an older,simpler truck for me!

Griffin
26th May, 2014 @ 08:53 am PDT

Amen Griffin

eMike
26th May, 2014 @ 12:34 pm PDT

@ Griffin

The $900 toilet seats were a result of congress insisting that extra passenger seats be put into a small personnel transport to make it more desirable for junketing congress critters. The extra seats required making the toilet compartment smaller and when they put the thing together the standard toilet seat could not perform all its functions so a custom designed toilet seat had to be acquired through the acquisition apparatus insisted on by congress.

If you want to find government waste look at the agencies that are not expected to stay on budget except under special circumstances.

Slowburn
26th May, 2014 @ 04:47 pm PDT

Very well written article Mr. Weiss! I saw the EarthRoamer at the Overland Expo and was blown away by the engineering, design and craftsmanship. Clearly the naysayers commenting above have never seen an EarthRoamer in person. Yes, it is priced beyond the means of most people, just like Ferraris, private jets and yachts are out of reach of most folks, but that doesn't make them overpriced. Quality design and craftsmanship never comes cheap.

To the web genius that said he could build one for $100k. Why don't YOU make them and sell them for half of EarthRomer's price. You could easily be making $150,000 per vehicle!

Also, each wheel height is individually adjustable. The wooden blocks under the wheels were there to show the articulation and that the truck could be leveled with the air ride suspension even on very uneven terrain.

Amazing vehicle - now if I just had the money...

TheTruth

TheTruth
31st May, 2014 @ 08:36 pm PDT
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