Got the urge to climb a mountain? If you do Bill Swails and Michele Connolly hope you do it in one of their EarthRoamers.
While conventional motorhomes were never intended to detour too far off the asphalt jungle without fear of being stuck, EarthRoamer's (Class-C) XV-LT and the new XV-JP are purposely-built to get people into and out-of the most scenic terrains this world as to offer. In a nutshell, the idea behind this unique way of RVing came out of a desire to encourage people off the couch and into the wilderness by offering many of the comforts and amenities found in more traditional RV platforms.
The EarthRoamer XV-LT in Colorado on a snowy winter day with the Continental Divide as the
For at least one of the founders this dream to discover the world began somewhere in the early 1970's. EarthRoamer CEO Bill Swails was an avid reader of such classic adventure stories as Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer and Robinson Crusoe and he desperately wanted a break from his engineering position with McDonnell Douglas to pursue other interests. The aerospace industry just didn't provide the kind of stimulation that he felt he wanted from life, and after returning to continue his education at UCLA he met Michele Connolly. Together they formed an alliance and mutual love for the great outdoors that continues today at EarthRoamer.
Seeing the Light
After graduating with an MBA from UCLA, Bill headed to Denver, Colorado in a new position with a tele-communications company. But something was amiss in this new corporate world and the outdoors called again. This time Bill set his sights on mountain climbing and his nature photography. He quenched his passion by scaling 39 of the 54, 14,000-foot mountain peaks that Colorado has to offer. As it turned out that was just the beginning.
He was making plans to travel around the world, but couldn't find the right vehicle to do it in, so he improvised and by 1998, Bill had designed a Dodge Ram 2500 diesel that could carry him and his equipment into the most remote places he had only dreamed about. He called his new adventure rig the ER2K and it was a four-wheel-drive labor of love.
The ER2K was a rough-road capable, durable mode of transportation that offered some of the creature comforts found in other RVs. From that humble beginning, EarthRoamer was born. And today Michelle and Bill are committed to making people's life more rewarding by providing vehicles that can go practically anywhere that their imagination takes them.
For two very smart people, forming EarthRoamer might have been a gutsy move, especially when RVers were comfortable living out their dreams with swimming pools, and golf links. But something told Swails and Connolly that there were plenty of active outdoor adventurers who'd gladly pass on the RV park for a breathtaking trek into nature's wonderlands and so together they created the XV-LT and the new XV-JP. To date, Bill and Michele have taken EarthRoamer around the world - crossing some of the most inhabitable lands from Central America to Alaska.
While the Jeep Rubicon is recognized as a natural fit in rough terrain, EarthRoamer improv
We got an opportunity to see the new XV-JP just as it came off the production line at their headquarters in Lafayette, Colorado. The new vehicle is based on the popular four-door Jeep Rubicon Unlimited platform and in 2007 became the first "camper" vehicle to cross the infamous Rubicon Trail in the High Sierras.
It is designed to carry two adults into some of the most technically challenging terrains. It carries it own 25-gallon supply of fresh water and can be deployed to provide up to 9 feet of interior height with a queen-sized bed in a loft area. It also has a shower, sink, toilet and cooking facility aboard.
The EarthRoamer XV-LT is based on a Ford Super Duty F-550 platform. It can carry 2 adults and 2 children comfortably. It is equipped to handle 90 gallons of diesel fuel and 85 gallons of fresh water. Unlike the more modest design of the XV-JP, the XV-LT is not much different on the inside than your typical Class-A with granite countertops, convection oven, enclosed shower, king-sized bed, and other niceties.
Unlike the more modest design of the XV-JP, the XV-LT is not much different on the inside
What both rigs have in common is their uncanny ability to travel into areas that are only four-wheel-drive accessible. They also are completely self-contained and self-reliant without dependence on external power and hook-ups. Preserving the environment is a top concern for EarthRoamer and they have equipped their vehicles to "tread lightly."
Renewable energy sources like solar and bio-diesel are used when possible. Solar power is the primary power source for lights and appliances, and the vehicles are designed to operate without the need for a noisy generator. There is no generator because large deep cycle batteries, 510 watts of solar panels and dual engine alternators mean you can camp quietly with all the comforts of home.
Of course all of this high-end, high-tech innovation comes with an adventurous price. The XV-JP will be offered for around $75,000 and the XV-LT starts around $230,000, we are told.
If this first look at the EarthRoamer XV-JP and XV-LT gets you as energized about traversing the mountain roads as it did us, then you'll definitely want to check back in again as we scout the country for other thrill-seeking RVs. Happy trails.
The XV-JP is the first "camper" vehicle to cross the infamous Rubicon Trail in the High Si
Thanks to a Loftop tent, the JP offers plenty of sleeping room.
XV-JP (standard features)
Capacity: 2 people
Engine: 3.8L V6, 202 hp, 237 lb ft of torque
Four Wheel drive with locking differentials
On-board air compressor
25 gallons fresh water
10 gallons gray water
4 gallon black water cassette
4 gallon hot water tank (engine heated)
"Queen" size bed
80 watt solar panel
21.6 gallon fuel tank
7500 BTU forced air heater
3 cubic foot refrigerator/freezer
210 amp hour AGM battery bank - No generator required
XV-LT (standard features)
Capacity: 2 + 2
Engine: 6.4L dual turbo diesel V8, 350 hp, 650 lb ft of torque
Four wheel drive with limited slip rear differential
On-board air compressor
85 gallons fresh water
26 gallons gray water
5 gallon black water cassette
California King size bed
510 watts solar panels
510 amp hours AGM battery bank - No generator required
7.0 cubic foot refrigerator/freezer
59 gallon fuel capacity standard, 90 gallon available
2000 watt pure sine wave inverter
6200 BTU digital air conditioner
13,600 BTU forced air furnace