Standing in the shadow of an EarthRoamer XV-LT, it is impossible not to marvel at its sheer size and almost ominous presence. The 41-inch Continental 22-ply military grade tires jut out from beneath heavily flared fenders giving the vehicle a stance that declares––this is no ordinary RV. With 12.4-inches of ground clearance, a front bumper big enough to have its own zip code, and every imaginable off-road advantage available to the Ford F-550 platform, it is a titan of the backroad. However, stepping into its interior reveals the duplicity of the XV-LT. If it is burly on the outside, it is positively elegant and luxurious on the inside.
I recently had an opportunity to spend some time at the EarthRoamer facility on the outskirts of Denver, the guest of company founder Bill Swails. One of the highlights of the visit was a personal tour of their demo vehicle, an astoundingly beautiful and capable XV-LTS built on a Crew Cab chassis. At 27 feet in length it is the longest vehicle they currently offer. The 200-inch wheelbase, although considerably long for an off-road vehicle, permits the installation of an extended body, a habitat as full-featured and well appointed as any mobile accommodation I have ever seen.
Behind that imposing bumper and grill is a 6.7-liter diesel engine giving the XV-LTs a pound per mpg ratio that isn’t unlike that of a Honda Civic.
Having built over 140 units thus far, it would be a gross understatement to say they know what they’re doing. With a large team of highly skilled tradesmen working on components as large as the monocoque fiberglass body to tiny details like retractable drawer pulls, nothing is overlooked or neglected full attention. A quick walkthrough of their demo unit is enough to understand what makes an EarthRoamer such an exceptional vehicle. The materials used, and the manner in which they are employed, is uncompromising. From the King shocks specially valved for EarthRoamer, to the etched wine glasses and custom storage boxes affixed to the rear bumper, everything is top shelf.
The auxiliary lights are wired to the high-beams. Should the driver encounter another vehicle on the trail, the full assortment of lights can be instantly dimmed or turned off with a flick of a lever.
The recessed spare tire adds to the clean lines of the body. The attention to detail is evident in every facet of the truck, even in the storage boxes.
Customers have requested special graphics packages from scenes of the Alps to this view of Boulder’s iconic Flatirons.
Security concerns are addressed with options like these exterior door locks.
Each EarthRoamer is fitted with roughly the same floor plan. In this truck, the two couches join together with the flick of a switch to create one full-size bed. Floor and ceiling lighting add to the sense of spaciousness that makes the XV-LTs feel less like an RV and more like home.
The leather-wrapped wine rack shelves keep your finest bottles secured without rattling about. Cedar backed closets and a full head with shower add to the refinements.
The large main sleeping area includes a retractable TV and large skylight for added ventilation and light.
Each individual plate and bowl rests in a foam-lined shelf. Every drawer and cabinet opens and closes with authority. Nothing is chanced to rattle or break.
With the Colorado sun low on the horizon the solar panels on the roof of the vehicle were drawing in more than enough power to keep the batteries topped off.
The Brass Tax
It goes without saying, these are pinnacle vehicles and as such command a pinnacle price. With base models, albeit very nice vehicles themselves, starting at $250,000, it stands to reason models like this one above fetch a price nearing $500,000 or more. At first blush, such digits seem egregious. Having spent a portion of the day walking the floor of the factory, watching as these trucks are built, that number begins to sound reasonable.
This begs the question: Who buys these trucks? Undoubtedly, for some they are mere playthings, the spoils of a successful life. For others, they are prized possessions and likely the most expensive purchase they have, or maybe will, ever make. Some see modest mileage, but others see rugged use befitting of their intended purpose. One thing is certain, the typical Earthroamer owner is a travel enthusiast seeking the ultimate in capability and comfort.