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As a wildlife photographer, founder Bill Swails built the original EarthRoamer Luxury Xpedition Vehicle (XV) before #vanlife was a thing. He started with a pickup and camper, but quickly learned that it wasn’t good enough for where he wanted to go so he hired someone to build something custom. When the 4WD community caught word,they wanted one, too.
He sold his first in 2003, and by the end of 2008, the company had built 100 units. That may not seem like a lot, but consider that every unit is custom-built in their Dacono, Colo., factory, with just six in production at any given time. Today, they are building 25 semi-custom luxury rigs a year, each starting at a little over $450,000. The vehicle has attracted the likes of the Nomad Yoga Family, a family of four that chooses to live in theirs, and a guy who bought his with custom ski racks to catch as many first chairs as he could.
The solar-powered EarthRoamer XV-LTS, their most popular model, is built to last whether you’re chasing snow or going off-grid. You could settle in comfortably for up to two weeks with a friend. A one-piece seamless waterproof fiberglass shell, double-paned acrylic windows, insulation, and heat guarantee you’ll stay warm and cozy.
The RV on steroids hosts 41-inch military tires and is built on a modified Ford F-550 4WD truck, which means it can go where other RVs don’t dare. EarthRoamer President Tyler Tatro insists “it rides smaller than it looks.” (It looks like you need a special license to drive it. Turns out, you don’t.) The EarthRoamer can raise and lower seven and a half inches and was built so that the truck’s frame would flex independent of the shell; most RVs are mounted to a frame. The tough exterior contrasts with its interior, which is top-to-bottom luxury, a true home on the road with features like a stand-up shower, real-wood floors, leather seats, room for a king mattress, and, of course, a wine rack.
EarthRoamer’s newest offering, the 35-foot XV-HD, takes things to the next level, selling for $1.5 million with living space two times that of the EarthRoamer XV-LTS, and an overall size and berth that requires a Ford F-750 (yes, they go that big) converted to 4WD with 46-inch tires. As Tatro says, if the EarthRoamer is an RV on steroids, the XV-HD is an EarthRoamer on steroids. Bon voyage.
Take these off-road trailers on your adventures this winter
Moby1 Expedition Trailer
The Moby1 XTR is a teardrop reimagined. It’s built on an independent, coil-sprung suspension with more than five inches of travel. Add a roof-top tent, and it’s perfect for a family getaway.
Starts at $20,500; moby1trailers.com
Don’t let the styling fool you; the Vintage Overland is built for the backcountry, with a Goal Zero solar generator and plenty of gear storage. Bonus: You don’t need a truck to pull it.
Starts at $12,500; vintageoverland.com
A bit more posh, but if you add the offroad package you’ll still be as capable, with 33-inch tires, a four-inch lift, Jeep-style heavy-duty fenders and rock sliders.
Starts at $19,750; timberleaftrailers.com