If you’ve been following our blog and social media pages, you’ve well seen the release of our newest EarthCruiser vehicle, the EXD camper. A few blogs back we compared 1 ton trucks to popular conversion vans. Like we said in the blog, we love the van life concept, and the EXD is how EarthCruiser would do vanlife!
Since the release of the EXD we’ve been getting a lot of questions regarding what makes it such an amazing machine. Most recently Truck Camper Adventure (TCA) asked to interview Lance about what makes it different. Below is some of the dialog…
TCA: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. But before we do so, can you tell us how EarthCruiser got its start?
Thank you, TCA is great information source for people to figure out if this life style is a good idea for them.
Excellent question, the easy answer is because Michelle and I love to travel, and we share a passion to experience as much as the world as possible. We met in Malaysia on an extreme 4×4 rally in the Malaysian Jungle, we know what it is like to away for extended periods of time in interesting places.
There was really nothing to buy in my native Australia that offered the key ingredients we wanted. First and for most a reliable 4×4 chassis that has plenty of weight carrying capacity and is really capable. A comfortable full size bed, a real shower, a real toilet, happy wife happy life. It goes without saying systems designed for extreme use in extreme environments.
We saw we would have to start from scratch. Thus, EarthCruiser was born, we built it for us, and seems there is more of us than we first thought. The company has since grown significantly internationally to include a full range of expedition vehicles on a number of different platforms.
TCA: Tell us a little about the EXD. How did the concept and design start?
Glad you asked! I think there is a few things going on in the Overland industry at the moment. Most of your readers already know that camps grounds are crowded and can be expensive.
The United States is blessed with so much land owned by the people for use by the people, the people also want to enjoy the journey not just the destination. We wanted to give our customers some options on how they can reach that destination, the EXD we hope will provide that.
EarthCruiser EXD although having many of the features of the EXP model it is not chassis dependent, from the very beginning it is made as a unit body for many applications.
Meaning our customers can have their chassis of choice, we have provided a system that is incredibly capable and comfortable that could fit just about any make in the correct weight class.
Think of the EXD as a fully self-contained unit, just as happy and comfortable fitted to a Uni MOG or 2018 Dodge RAM 3500.
The key difference for our customers is we will offer more features such as EarthCruiser kinetic mounting and pass through for the 2017+ Domestic pick trucks. For a customer with a Uni MOG as example all you need is a flat bed and it will bolt on.
All of the water tanks etc. are all internal, no fooling around with waters lines external batteries, it’s done and ready to go.
The EXD we think will provide more choice and some significant advantages to the growing overland community.
TCA: What makes the EXD different from other rigs in the overland market?
There really is nothing to compare it too. We have been building molded composite expedition trucks for some time now. We know what works we know what does not.
The key difference for the EXD is uncompromising structural integrity with intelligent systems and functionality and wide choose of chassis options. In addition we outfit the camper with proven systems, that normally would be seen as premium options from other manufacturers.
TCA: What is the MSRP of the EXD?
The EXD is very competitively priced. Combining the self-sustaining camper with the price of a chassis, you are right in the ballpark of a high end sprinter van conversion, but with a chassis that can do way more.
TCA: What does the total price include? Does the price include the truck and any modifications done to the truck like the suspension?
We do not supply the chassis like we do for other models. For 2017+ domestic one-ton pick-up trucks we offer a turn key “Expedition Package”, customers supply the chassis.
TCA: What is the total weight of the EarthCruiser EXD?
The first one we completed came in sub 3000 lbs.
TCA: What are the tank capacities of the EXD?
It is equipped with a 48 gallon fresh water tank and 12 gallon grey water hold. The diesel heated hot water tank has a 2.9 gallon capacity
TCA: How many batteries does the battery compartment hold?
It comes standard with a 180 amp hour lithium system. You can upgrade this to 360 amp hour if you wish.
TCA: What about fuel capacities? How much diesel can the rig carry?
Depends on your chassis of choice. The chassis does not have to be diesel.
TCA: Can you tell us about the EXD’s heating, cooking, and refrigeration systems?
Air and water heat is the Wabasto dual top diesel heater. Cooking is induction cook top that can be used inside or outside. With the increasing fire restrictions, we think this makes sense.
TCA: Is the bathroom a wet-bath or dry-bath?
Classic EarthCruiser walk through shower, so I guess it would be a wet bath. The advantages of our walk-through shower system (most people have no idea they “walk through”) the shower is huge particularly with pets that get muddy paws.
TCA: How many people can the EXD accommodate and where does everyone sleep?
Ideally two, there are options for sky beds for kids. Many customers are considering roof top tents (rear entry type), they can enter the RTT from inside the camper. Makes sense to me, kids are having a ball and mum and dad get some privacy.
TCA: How durable is the roof on the EXD? How much weight can it support?
No issues walking on the roof, 4 inches thick of light weight composite material. Designed to lift with snow on the roof. With the four worm drive actuators lift and lowering the roof is at the push of a button and takes about 18 seconds, there is a manual override.
TCA: What are the advantages of going with a rig like the EarthCruiser EXD rather than going with a flatbed slide-in truck camper like those made by other companies?
Freedom of choice and its unique structural integrity is my best answer. The EXD can be fitted one-ton pick-up truck on a flat bed and can just as easily be fitted to a LMTV on a flat bed. If you’re ready for a dedicated expedition vehicle, no problem to fit your EXD o a 2017+ one ton with a pass through and all the extra outside storage goodies.
The EXD is designed for these different applications, it is not being modified for these applications, it is a world of difference. Plus the way it has been designed and constructed will look good on any truck even after years of off-road use.
TCA: I assume standard solar panels and roof racks can be installed on the roof. Is that correct?
Solar system is standard, when I say system I do mean system. It is not anything like you would see on a typical RV. Racks are an option.
TCA: What innovations does EarthCruiser incorporate into every EXD build?
We need a separate interview for this one.
EXD is only available with –
- lithium battery system.
- Bluetooth touch screen interface for all systems management with manual over ride
- All water tank is inside
- Yacht build interior
- Walk through shower
- 360-degree view
- The option for so many chassis
TCA: Your interiors are light and airy with white cabinetry. Do you offer any options in cabinetry like wood finishes?
TCA: What are the most popular options ordered by your customers?
So far with the EXD it has been the “Expedition Package” where will turn key your 2017+ one-ton pick-up truck into something very special.
TCA: Can customers order an inverter that’s fully integrated with the camper’s 110-volt electrical system?
Master 2500W inverter charger is standard on all EXD. We also offer 240-volt system for our international clients.
TCA: What’s the largest solar power option that you offer for the EXD?
Up to three Solbian 154 watt panels, shatter proof and recessed into the roof.
TCA: What entry step system is provided with the camper?
Either two or three steps, electrical with override, no silly ladders for the EXD.
TCA: How many 12 volt/USB charging outlets come standard?
Six inside and two in locker boxes, all standard.
TCA: What options, if any, do you offer for awnings?
Manual batt wing type.
TCA: Can you tell us a little bit about how the EXD is constructed?
Sounds simple enough but there is so much more to it. We are first and for most off-road adventurers, and understand that ANYTHING outside the body line of the truck is a HUGE liability. It will at some point get broken off or rattle off. The EXD will follow the body lines of a pick-up truck, if the cab fits the body fits. Great care has been taken to get the body lines of the camper correct, the angle of the walls is not a random accident. They will help you miss trees as you’re going around that off camber corner of a tight track, they will also lesson wind noise and the effect passing semi-trailers have on your truck will be much more pleasant.
These are some of the many reasons we do not purchase off the shelf flat pack walls and glue them together.
The lament schedule (what composite materials are used, resins and weaves of matting and where they go) is a science in its self, we spend a great deal of time and resources to achieve maximum rigidity and light weight. We build things to last in extremes conditions around the globe, this is what we do.
TCA: How large are the tires and what is the ground clearance of the rig?
It all depends on what you do to the truck before or after bringing it to us. Our suggestion for the Expedition Package is that 37-inch tires make lots of sense.
I know they look great but the military style rims and tires are noising on the road and are very expensive to maintain. Factory E mark tires are all that is necessary on the EXD. Ideally we want a truck that is going to drive nice, stop and corner well and have a lower cost of owners ship as possible.
As for clearance, your diffs and suspension brackets are lowest point, and that varies from chassis to chassis.
TCA: What are the approach and departure angles of the rig?
Depends on the truck of course, this is something we pay careful attention.
TCA: Is there anything unique about the EXD that you’d like to point out?
Yes, there is. I have been fortunate to be able travel internationally to for fun and business in the overland industry for some time. I can say there really is nothing out there like the EXD in terms of flexibility and what you get in a distinctive package. When it comes to systems and functionality we match it with the best from German manufactures, when it comes to clearing define as a made in the USA EarthCruiser rather than a square box on the back of truck well we are clearly not a square box like all the other square boxes.
TCA: Is the EXD a true, four-season truck camper?
TCA: Why should customers go with an EarthCruiser EXD rather than going with anther manufacturers truck?
My advice to anyone considering investing in this life style is go and see them all, and talk to owners and get their experience. We are humbled by how wonderful our owners are, and truly consider them part of our family. In talking with them you are guaranteed to get an honest opinion.
TCA: The EXD is a terrific overland expedition rig. If readers wanted to order one how would they do it, factory direct or through a dealership?
Presently we are only offering the EXD domestically direct from our manufacturing facility in Bend.
TCA: What is the wait time if somebody wanted to order one now?
Four to six months.