Feature Vehicle: EarthCruiser Mercedes Benz G-Pro Escape

There is no way around it, the EarthCruiser Mercedes Benz G-Pro Escape is an object of desire. This tightly integrated pop-up camper mated to a Mercedes Benz G Professional chassis has serious off-road capability combined with a refined and compact living space.

EarthCruiser Mercedes Benz G-Pro Escape camper

EarthCruiser Australia Builds A Beast

With offices in Bend, Oregon, and New South Wales, Australia, EarthCruiser describe themselves as a “world-class overland company dedicated to a community who want a lifestyle of traveling without barriers.” With founders Lance Gillies and his wife, Michelle Boltz, two well-traveled explorers, it’s easy to see how EarthCruiser vehicles have evolved to become a well-regarded choice for the most remote and demanding international overlanders.

The G-Pro Escape (offered by EarthCruiser, Australia) upholds EarthCruiser’s quality and durability standards, but with a wheelbase of just over 11 feet, it is one of the smaller vehicles in their lineup. Compared to other offerings like the Unimog, Iveco Daily Euro, and Fuso EV 4×4, the G-Pro Escape opens up even more remote and technical overland objectives thanks to its smaller footprint (it can fit in a standard shipping container). And although Mercedes is discontinuing the G-Pro in AU until a re-release in 2022, EarthCruiser still has some of these older models available.

The EarthCruiser Mercedes Benz G-Pro Escape at a Glance

As you might expect with a price tag over $200K, the Escape has an extensive list of features: powered pop-top roof, powered retractable steps, and a powered sunshade/awning, all run by a 500 amp/hour set of lightweight, lithium house batteries. There are also 540 watts of roof-mounted solar panels to keep everything powered and a 3000-watt inverter produces enough electricity to run an optional air conditioning unit.

Clear, vinyl windows surround the perimeter of the pop-top, letting in ample sunlight (with opaque coverings for sleeping). Insect netting ensures that you can open the windows on warm days to keep things comfortable inside the camper.

The cab of the G-Pro Escape is intentionally minimalist, although EarthCruiser has done quite a lot to “soldier-proof” things, as they say. Everything is built for remote travel, with the only real trappings of luxury here being the brown, leather upholstered seats. The EarthCruiser team extended the rear cab wall, giving the front seats approximately 3 inches of additional travel for a more comfortable seating angle. They have also added a small center console which is not standard.

The cab does have one other unique addition; a touch screen control panel where you would expect to find a rear view mirror. From this screen, users can access multiple vehicle cameras (i.e., backup, sides, and front), emergency lighting (bar, fog, etc.), and DC peripherals like the camper pop-top and steps. This control panel also lets you transfer fuel from the auxiliary fuel (160L) tank to the main fuel tank (90L).

Bathroom

The side entryway to the camper body doubles as a bathroom with a powered, retractable toilet and wet-shower. A sail-fabric shower curtain stows under a hard plastic hatch in the ceiling above. There is even an additional outdoor shower that stows in a hard-sided exterior cabinet.

Kitchen/Galley

The kitchen has a 22L fridge/freezer combo, Webasto diesel cooktop, and one duel-plug power outlet on the backsplash. Molded polyethylene storage cabinets with soft-close hardware and travel locks keep cabinets and drawers from opening up when you’re rambling across rough terrain.

*An additional touchscreen control panel is located in the kitchen.

Dinette/Sleeping Area

Leather-trimmed seating for two and a stowable Lagun table make up the main seating area. The dinette converts for sleeping with a slide-out, double-sized bed. Manual “critical override” switches for all electrical components and systems can be accessed from inside the camper, below the seating in the dinette area. And a control panel for the camper heating system is mounted right next to the bed, allowing users to turn on the heat and warm up the living space without getting out from under the covers. earthcruiser.com

SPECIFICATIONS

POWER

V6/135Kw/400N, 6 cylinders, diesel

5 Speed Automatic

SUSPENSION AND DRIVE

3,430-millimeter wheelbase

Upgraded shock absorbers

Coil spring upgrade

Tire monitoring (TPMS)

3 lockers—front, center, and rear

WHEELS AND TIRES

35 x12.5R17 wheels, track wider by 150 millimeters and custom flares installed

RECOVERY AND ARMOR

Rear snatch points

OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES AND UPGRADES (NOT INCLUDED ON BASE MODEL)

Portal axles

Central tire inflation and monitoring (CTIS)

Winch bullbar

Cruise control

On-board compressed air

Front and/or rear 13,000-pound Runva winch

EarthAir rear-mounted air conditioner

80 channel UHF (GME) with aerial

Reversing camera

Upgraded sound system featuring Hema mapping, Bluetooth and iPhone connectivity

Roof-mounted fans

But what if you live in the USA? There are a few options, including purchasing the vehicle and registering it in Australia, although that will only permit international travel, as it is too new to import to the USA. Or, you’ll want to check out the EXD which EarthCruiser Oregon can build on your choice of a Ford F350 or Ram 3500 chassis.


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Matthew Swartz is originally from Connecticut and currently lives in Denver, Colorado where he passionately pursues rock climbing, trail running, and skiing. Matt’s love of travel has inspired him to through-hike the JMT and part of the PCT, bike across the United States, and explore the West coast of South America from Ecuador to Patagonia. Matt and his partner Amanda have also travelled across much of the Western US in their 1964 Clark Cortez RV, which they lived in, on the road for the better part of three years. Matt has worked for the USFS as an Interpretive Ranger and Wildland Firefighter and Matt's photography and writing has been published in Rova Magazine, the Leatherman blog, 'Hit The Road' by Gestalten Publishing, and Forbes.