Expedition Vehicles: ridiculously overpriced or not


Small is great for weekend trips. Those trips are not on any level of full time living and traveling especially in hot tropical climates.


And if we are staying on the topic of "overpriced" I've seen some small rigs that are an order of magnitude WAAAAY more expensive, pound for pound, than ER, EC, Unicat and GXV rolled together!


Active member
There is no right or wrong answer here, it really depends on what you want in terms of comfort level and amenities. For us we are wanting more than a small vehicle can give us, speaking from experience of having owned both ;o)


One thing I have noticed is that there continues to be a move to have complete camper body builds done in lower labor cost countries in some cases at dedicated facilities. Discovery Motorhomes in Australia is having the camper body built in South Africa and shipped to Australia for mating to the Fuso chassis. Armadillo expedition vehicles in China reports to have camper body builds that are as good or better than the German builders. There is a current build being done in the Ukraine on a MAN chassis that I have been following that looks to be very high quality. I am sure there are others. Along with the Total Composites body panel imports and the Bliss imports adding to the options. Competition is good and if this continues then we should see many more options in the future. In the US, we are still hampered by the limited truck chassis options compared to elsewhere but that is not likely to change. Not much incentive for MAN or others to bring their 4wd trucks over here given the limited market for them. It would be nice if there were more cab forward 4wd trucks available over here. The Kenworth K-370 4wd conversion and the Fuso are what you can get now for a new vehicle option. There is Acela if you want an updated LMTV.


Viking with a Hammer
I think we have it pretty good for truck donors. Ford F550, Acela and other LMTV rebuilders, Kenworth. Flatbed and a box, done.


Any off-shore builds designed for the US market, and say shipped over in a container to be mounted here, is going to cost a lot due to the market and money here. Perfect world, open a catalogue, order a complete build, ship over in container, mount on choice of truck. Like the Craftsman Homes through the Sears catalogue of years ago. Supply and demand, short of both here, too many Boomers buying RVs not enough overland vehicles~!


If the quality of the box that ATW shipped over to Sportsmobile is any indication, the potential for offshore build and ship is high. That box was exceptional in quality and fit and finish. Up until the point it landed in SMB hands and then it all went south from there.

But that box was clearly built by one of the premier sailboat hull manufacturers in China.

Recommended books for Overlanding

Into Africa
by Sam Manicom
From $24.65
Long Way Down: An Epic Journey by Motorcycle from Scotlan...
by Ewan McGregor, Charley Boorman
From $26.5


I'm a little surprised on the cost of the $500k+ rigs for a base model. For my line of work I have lead the acquisition for 4 mobile command centers. 2 of them that are similar or larger than these Overland Rigs around. And no they dont hav ethe luxury that these vehicles have, but there is much more expensive equipment in our rigs (think tethered drones, 50ft masts, racks of servers, 4 of every communication method you can think of, SATCOM, banks of 48V lithium batteries.)
These rigs are built to order one offs that are completely custom. Every inch of it is tailored to our exact needs. Our version that is fairly close to a ER is about $450k. So with ER being assembly line products....the sticker surprises me!

Just my $0.02
There is over $200K profit in every Earthroamer.


Viking with a Hammer
You forgot the part about harvesting janky appliances from expired junk yard RVs.....
Well if you can't operate a Simple Green spray bottle, or stick a box together, then yeah, you're better off dumping $200,000 on something all new.

I've pulled perfectly good, only 3 years old, AC units off of crushed RV's for only a few hundred bucks. Windows, doors, furnaces. It's not like I'm rolling around naked on a brown mattress or anything.


LOL. Saving $600 on a moldy appliance and junkyard windows and voila! - your vehicle is no longer overpriced!

As mentioned previously, comparing some frankenstein of a DIY expo rig with one of the premier manufacturers and claiming they are the ones overpriced is silly.


Engineer In Residence
Comparing a DIY camper "expedition" or not, (with free labor and different build standards), to a low volume, professionally made (and supported) rig is somewhat ridiculous. Companies like Earth Roamer have to deal with warranty support, liability costs, and the overhead that comes with a shop, business, and full time staff. I know this site tends to skew towards DIY (as do I) but don't fall into the elitist thinking that everyone must have a DIY rig to get a good value, or to actually enjoy using it.

Some of these rigs are overpriced based on raw materials costs and features. However finishing work (to make it pretty) is time intensive, taking many hundreds of hours. All of which have a labor cost, and overhead as they take up shop space. This is part of the reason that these live-aboard rigs with lots of attention to detail and appearance are so much more expensive than utilitarian type support vehicles. Finishing work accounts for some 25-45% of man-hours on these type of builds.

Of course there is significant profit margin. To operate a successful business with such low sales volume, you need big margins. (Similar to performance/luxury cars). In order to get that margin it is often necessary to target specific market segments.


New member
Comparing a DIY camper "expedition" or not, (with free labor and different build standards), to a low volume, professionally made (and supported) rig is somewhat ridiculous
I couldn't agree more. Having gone through a "build", I understand the enormous amount of labour involved, as well as the R&D aspect. I based mine on an ATW bus, and can in no way match the quality of build they have acheived. All up costs for my finished rig came to $100k AUS, and considering what $250 - $300 k buys for an ATW Global Warrior, I consider it value for money to get their level of finish, beautifully considered systems and warranty.