Earthroamer - Living full time questions

MNmtb

New member
Ok, this is not a “can I do it question”

I might have a significant life change very soon and I have a few questions about living in an Earthroamer full time.

I am able, in fact required to travel, for my job and can also locate my self just about anywhere. I don’t want to be tied down by a permanent residence that I would be paying for but not living in most of the time

so here are the things I just don’t know:
- how are they in the winter? I know they have heat and the fresh and grey water are heated, but what is a realistic low temp to live in where the systems will still operate?

- if this were your primary vehicle, what kind of insurance rates could I expect? I could theoretically “ domicile” anywhere so I recognize that each state can be very different
- everyone is different, I know but what is a range of maintenance costs that I should expect? This may need to be broken down into standard maintenance such as oil, fluids, etc and other typical/experienced costs of owning one

I am not worried about costs like fuel, living. Etc. but
Ore the mechanical and system maintenance costs to live in one full time and probably 20-30k a year in miles

unexpected costs are just that. Unexpected. So I will deal with those as they come up and should be set to address those as needed

many other helpful thoughts from owners would also be appreciated

Thanks in advance everyone!
 

LovinPSDs

Adventurer
My first instinct is it's not a great idea to put 20-30K miles a year on a rig of that caliber. Not because it can't handle it, but why would you want to simply wear out something like an Earthroamer from a mechanical standpoint in a handful of years. Especially if these miles aren't miles spent exploring, but more commuting. If you have the money, hey go for it, but could you offset this by bringing a motorcycle or something?

As for domicile, many in the RV world choose states with no income tax and little to not state taxes... I'm pretty sure North Dakota comes out on top usually, but can't remember off the top of my head.
 

gkieser92

New member
If living full-time in an RV, it seems like a trailer is a better option for several reasons:

If your tow vehicle needs maintenance, you can still be in the trailer while it's being worked on.
Putting 20-30K miles on a year means your tow vehicle and trailer will wear out and depreciate in different timeframes. The longevity of one will not affect the other.
Trailers allow you to "basecamp" in an area and still use your towing vehicle separately. Do you really want to pack up camp just to drive to the store for an errand?
For the money, you can get a more spacious trailer than the living quarters of an Earthroamer.
The Earthroamer is built for when you need equal parts off pavement, off grid, and luxury comfort. Balancing these needs raises costs and requires design compromises that are not necessary if they are split between two vehicles.
If you unhook your trailer, your tow vehicle can get you further off road. When you look at ER's off-road pics, the trucks can do some impressive things, as long as the trail is wide enough and there are no overhanging branches.

I think ER's are awesome, and they were the first "overlanding" vehicle I ever lusted over. But if I was going to have a traveling lifestyle full-time, I'd probably go with a nice trailer and a pickup like a Raptor, Power Wagon, or something I built up. Then I'd put some sort of cap on the truck will let me have secure storage and camping ability to use when I park the trailer and go into the backwoods but still have a functional truck.
 
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martinf

New member
I believe this family lives (used to?) full time in an EC. For people commenting about price and maintenance, a lot of Europeans do that in rigs worth a lot more. But I agree that for someone based in the USA who still work full time something like an ER is probably overkill for 95% of the time. There are not that many options for "all seasons" campers but a super C or class A toyhauler with minimal mods would allow you to bring a car/motorcycle to commute while your RV is parked somewhere.

Also as mentioned above a trailer could also be nice. If you have the budget for an ER, the Living Vehicle trailer is "off road" capable, well insulated if I recall properly and offers extended off the grid living capabilities.

I owned an airstream trailer that I loved for longer trips but found cumbersome for weekend trips so I bought a van. If I were full time I would reconsider the trailer. I could park it and use the tow vehicle for short overland trips and come back to my camp.
 

MNmtb

New member
Thanks everyone for your thoughts but I am still looking for answers to my original questions if anyone is able to provide.

My situation is fairly unique in that my job is as a Expert Witness for OSHA (not employed by OSHA just industrial safety accidents, self employed) related events in generally industrial settings. So, my use case for the ER is not as a so much a mode of transportation but a means to do the things I want when I don’t have to be on-site somewhere. For example, head somewhere and mountain bike for a few days, head to Utah, park it and ski, then if the snow reports say head to. Colorado, I would Head there for a week or two. Maybe head to Seattle and meet some old friends for a week or two and SCUBA dive.

i would like to buy used and avoid the big hit on depreciation.

regarding the miles, it is just a high end estimate. I can park it and fly out to where I need to be for an on site evaluation.

i find it interesting that folks say to keep the miles low. i would hope the engine could go 200k easy with proper maintenance. I find that things break and need to be replaced by NOT using them (think boats), and keeping systems running generally prolong them with proper attention and maintenance. You all seem like an EarthRoamer needs to be handled with Kid Gloves. I want to use it. Get me where I want to go, then head out and hike, climb, bike, ski etc.

am I wrong here?
 

da/dt

New member
Which chassis are you considering for the basis? I think that would have a large bearing on overall maintenance costs and a ballpark estimate could be had by combing commercial use forums.
 

gregmchugh

Observer
Full time RV travelers usually pick a domicile state based on low taxes and Texas, South Dakota, Florida are the most common states used. Here is all the info you need...

 

MNmtb

New member
Looking at the LTS. There is a nice pre-owned on the ER website. Right now I am trying to pair down the trappings of everyday life to fit a Roamer lifestyle. Trying to figure out if 3 bikes, SCUBA gear and a few pairs of skis can fit. Looked in to “bulletproofing” the engine and seems like $ well spent.
 

taylor3633

Observer
Have you gone and looked through one? I lucked into an 06 earlier this year and love it but the gear you speak of might be a tight squeeze. That said, if it is just you that opens the back seat(s) up to storage. I suggest you go kick the tires on one.
 

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buddilly

Member
Looking at the LTS. There is a nice pre-owned on the ER website. Right now I am trying to pair down the trappings of everyday life to fit a Roamer lifestyle. Trying to figure out if 3 bikes, SCUBA gear and a few pairs of skis can fit. Looked in to “bulletproofing” the engine and seems like $ well spent.
I had a 2019 LTS and I am not sure if all of that would quite fit. That said - pick up the phone and call them. I am sure they would be happy to assist.
 

sierraskier

New member
- how are they in the winter? I know they have heat and the fresh and grey water are heated, but what is a realistic low temp to live in where the systems will still operate?
I am not full-timing and only have a year of experience with the ER, so might not be a helpful for your situation, but can provide another data point.

I have camped in Jackson Hole in temps as low as zero with zero issues. Full of water, 2 humans and a dog. Thermostat was set to 72 and we actually had to turn it down b/c we were too hot, with single digit overnight lows. Each rig/generation is going to be slightly different, but just to give you an example of what's built into them (or at least mine, a 2012) to handle cold weather:

- all tanks, plumbing up in the camper, as you already know
- camper shell very well insulated with the fiberglass/balsa sandwich, looks like foam board insulation inside of that
- furnace hot air actually ducted under the sub-floor and into bathroom
- "freeze protect" option you can turn on which is 1) heat tape on tanks and plumbing 2) solenoid that slow drips hot water into tanks (never used it)
- thermostatically controlled fan located behind galley by pump and plumbing that turns on below 40 deg (I think that is the temp) and pulls warm air from camper back into space to prevent freezing. This one isn't even disclosed but apparently was added as a standard item sometime prior to my rig.

I am based in Tahoe, so not the coldest winter climate, but I know there are several other owners who routinely camp in throughout the Rockies in the winter.

- if this were your primary vehicle, what kind of insurance rates could I expect? I could theoretically “ domicile” anywhere so I recognize that each state can be very different
Unsure how full-timing impacts insurance rates so can't speak to that, but getting them to insure for the full value of an ER can be tricky, as with any one-off, non-standard rig. Be prepared with comps of other rigs from the ER Pre-owned list, and any other data you can give them to help defend the insured value.

- everyone is different, I know but what is a range of maintenance costs that I should expect? This may need to be broken down into standard maintenance such as oil, fluids, etc and other typical/experienced costs of owning one
Having come from owning an SMB for 8yrs, pretty much everything in the ER is more difficult and expensive - oil changes on the 6.7 diesel are like $200-300, and if you want to keep it in best possible condition the recommended is about every 3-4k miles, so you can do the math. The 41" MPTs and Hutchinson rims are they're own little project as well - you can't just roll into your local tire shop to have them balanced, rotated...unless you want to roll the dice and then risk some resulting issue in a place where help or a tow might be unavailable. Also 95% of shops won't touch a 41" tire on a beadlock rim and most won't have the rack required to get a 16-18k lbs rig up, so you likely will need a truck tire or RV shop. So be prepared to qualify up front the shop/tech right when you walk in the door to save yourself and them a bunch of wasted time and energy. There are a few owners who have the time/skill to do rotations, etc themselves, but the Hutchinson's take extra time and have some unique quirks you need to be aware of (O-rings, leaky bolts, adapters, etc.). However, this adds cost compared to standard rig you can take to any tire shop. The only other system on the rig that is somewhat unique, but critical to operation, is the Accuair suspension system. I carry 1 extra airbag and tank pressure sensor, as those have failed in the field before. I've had no issues, but a few other owners have so better safe than sorry.

All that said:

1) all of these nuances can be properly managed if you have the desire, money, knowledge and time
2) I still firmly believe there is not any other rig that you can take as many places (especially in snow/cold temps with high clearance and 4WD) and be as comfortable. I know many that disagree, just my personal opinion/experience

To answer your other question - if you have a crew cab ER (not a super cab like mine) with the rear seats taken out and storage platform, you could definitely get 2 bikes back there, and possibly 3 with some creative packing. Obviously if you have a hitch rack it's no problem. You can easily get 3 pairs of skis in the rear storage locker, likely more.

EDIT: Also, join the ER owners forum and spend some time there. Several owners have posted about ongoing costs.
 
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