To Build an EarthRoamer

Just a few weeks ago we featured EarthRoamer’s flagship demo vehicle, their beautifully crafted XV-LTs. It is a sight to behold, but seeing how these incredible machines come to life is nothing short of extraordinary. Earthroamer’s team of nearly 30 employees are a dedicated and skilled workforce with a collective passion for perfection. There is no denying that their productions command a hefty price, but having witnessed first hand how much work goes into each truck, it’s easy to see why so many people are willing to pay such a sum.

 

IMG_7878

 

Each Earthroamer begins as a brand new Ford F-550, which in itself is not only an impressive machine, it also clocks in at over $60,000. While any ordinary company might leave well enough alone, Earthroamer goes a step beyond and essentially dismantles the base truck so the chassis can be prepared to accept all of the suspension, wheel, and electronic modifications necessary to be paired to the Earthroamer body. It takes more that four weeks for the chassis to be fully prepared.

 

 

One of the first phases is to remove the rather modest suspension system of the F-550 and replace it with a highly refined and tested Kelderman air suspension. The chassis is also fitted with a reserve fuel tank and the reinforced pass-through that will connect the cab to the living quarters.

 

IMG_7994

 

 

The chassis is then fitted with the impressive wheel and tire combination that gives the Earthroamer its formidable stance and off-road performance. The wheel wells are enlarged and fitted with Earthroamer’s proprietary fender flares.

 

 

To facilitate the addition of the extensive electronic upgrades, the entire interior of the cab is removed down to the metal floor pan. The rear pass-through is fitted with the necessary support reinforcements and the dedicated wiring panel is put in place. That panel can be isolated with the flip of a switch so the OEM electronics can be quickly, and independently, diagnosed by any Ford dealership.

 

IMG_7946

 

The sheer scale and brawn of the Earthroamer suspension simply dwarfs the factory setup. The air springs not only allow for proper leveling of the truck for optimal camping conditions, it improves the truck’s already impressive off-road handling.

 

IMG_7896

 

Nothing is left to chance with every individual component torqued to spec and then marked with blue paint to indicate such measures have been addressed. The detail in the routing of every line and the position of every fitting speaks to the uncompromising detail of the Earthroamer team.

 

 

The King shocks with their remote reservoirs have been specially valved to meet the unique demands of an Earthroamer truck. The military grade Continental tires are imposing and their legendary durability makes them an ideal choice for these large-scale vehicles.

 

 

IMG_8093

 

Further attention to detail is seen with the silicone shielded lines near the hot exhaust system. Held in place with rubber-covered stainless steel retainers, nothing is left to chance.

 

 

The Earthroamer body is mated to the chassis at three main points. Two rubber mounts positioned just behind the cab retain the forward portion of the body and one centrally located rubber pad just aft of the wheels connects the rear of the body to the chassis. This creates a three-point connection that permits the chassis to fully flex beneath the body. This keeps the body and chassis from competing with one another in demanding off-road conditions.

 

IMG_7918

 

IMG_7953

 

As part of chassis-prep, the proprietary Earthroamer bumper is installed and fitted with a winch, and full compliment of driving and off-road accessory lights. The fenders are fitted at this time and the chassis is made ready to receive the body.

 

 

Perhaps the most impressive and important element to every Earthroamer is the body itself. Constructed of balsa-core fiberglass, the body is constructed in one continuous piece creating a monocoque structure that weighs only 1,500 pounds. The fiberglass employs a woven fabric for maximum strength and the long forward overhang is so strong, it doesn’t require any additional internal or external supports.

 

IMG_8057

 

To achieve Earthroamer’s stunning interior habitat, a team of four craftsmen spend four to six weeks building every single cabinet and fixture in-house. Working with alder and maple, each cabinet is made by hand and carefully fitted into the interior.

 

IMG_8052

 

Even the smallest details matter, like recessed drawer and cabinet pulls which not only add to the clean aesthetics of the living space, but keep the pulls out of the way. The tolerances and quality of craftsmanship are superb and a reflection of the team’s commitment to producing the very best.

 

IMG_8077

 

Each project is numbered and fitted with a series of detailed inspection lists.

 

IMG_8073

 

IMG_8085

 

IMG_8127

 

Once completed, the entire team halts their works to see the new ‘Roamer roll out the door. There is a personal connection to each truck that speaks to their love of what they do.

 

IMG_8152

 

IMG_8205

To get your hands on your own Earthroamer, you need to be patient. The demand for these vehicles has not only driven resale values over the original purchase prices, it has created a year-long waiting list.

IMG_8210

 

IMG_8218 - Version 2

 

 

It’s an impressive journey for the base Ford F-550, and only just the start of a life of refined adventure. If you ever get a chance to see one of these trucks in person, take note of the smallest details as that’s what really sets these trucks apart. Their uncompromising design and construction has made them increasingly desirable. They really are amazing and beautiful creations.

 

www.earthroamer.com

 


Recommended books for Overlanding


Vehicle-dependent Expedition Guide
by Tom Sheppard
From $136.99
Into Africa
by Sam Manicom
From $24.08

Christophe Noel is a journalist from Prescott, Arizona. Born into a family of backcountry enthusiasts, Christophe grew up backpacking the mountains and deserts of the American West. An avid cyclist and bikepacker, he also has a passion for motorcycles, travel, food and overlanding.