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Hello everyone, and welcome to another post on the greatest camper event of the year; Overland Expo West 2019! One thing that we’re learning from this year’s event is that truck life is such a huge part of the off grid adventure movement here in the United States. Living the van life might be all well and good if you’re wanting to head into the forest or take a trip to some of your favourite off grid van life travel spots. But if you really want to go the distance and get to places no man or woman has ever gone before, then you need to start looking at some off road trucks and a pop up truck camper to go with it. If this sounds like a dream that I’ve just plucked from your head, then a good place to start would be with the EarthCruiser EXD, the off grid truck built for the adventurous digital nomad

This article is sponsored by Four Wheel Campers. They were kind enough to invite us to Overland Expo which gave us the chance to produce this article for the Van Clan community. Check them out if you’re interested in the best pop up truck campers around.

The EarthCruiser could well be a space ship from Star Wars. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see one of these drifting over the dunes in the new movie! From outside in, this cool and fresh Oregon born camper is a work of off-roading art. Flawlessly designed and with every minor detail thought out and catered for, the only thing left to do is to drive it to a nice location and reap the benefits of living in such a tech-friendly tiny home. Let’s check it out!

Could The EarthCruiser Be The Most Advanced Truck Camper Of All Time?

The EarthCruiser EXD is one of the best looking truck campers on the market, with more storage than an IKEA cabinet and a front bumper that could knock the biggest of boulders away.

Now I know that this might come as a shock to you, but I’m going to switch things up a little bit today. Instead of talking about the outside of the camper first, I’m going to head straight for the interior, because that’s where the magic happens – I’m talking about camping magic, not like the real magic in this Harry Potter House!

The EarthCruiser is raised pretty high up, and it needs to be to cope with any unfriendly bumps or potholes as you cruise across the earth (see what I did there? I’m here all week). Once you open the door to the camper, a set of steps will automatically fold down and extend outwards, giving you access to the camper without having to jump up or borrow your neighbour’s kid’s pogo stick. It’s a simple solution, but one that is greatly appreciated. 

Step Up Into A World Of Awesomeness!

Most campers just have a doormat when you step up into them, but not the EarthCruiser. Your first step brings you into the mud room, which quickly transforms into a fully functional shower! There is a small sink on your right hand side that you can use for washing any grime or mud from your hands, and then the tap itself pulls up to turn into a shower head. After flipping a latch and creating a ‘shower-pen’ door, you can pull a curtain down from the roof and set about giving yourself a good scrub down. Not only that, but you can flip down an extra table and make even more space if you need to stretch out. 

This secret cubbyhole is also where you’ll find your cassette toilet. EarthCruiser have chosen to include a cassette toilet rather than a pump model so that you can easily empty it anywhere. It doesn’t matter whether you’re on a campsite, at a black water emptying area or near a toilet in the middle of nowhere, the cassette option provides you with a safe and hygienic way of depositing your black water. It keeps you off the grid where you belong, and reduces the amount of trips that you would need to make back into civilisation. 

The Pull up shower as you enter the EarthCruiser is super useful and stows away incredibly neatly in the fawcett housing

Tell Us About The Interior Of The EarthCruiser!

So the first thing that struck me as we entered the camper is that it’s so white and clean looking. The design is far from clinical though; it feels calming and uncluttered, a peaceful space that you could mediate in while listening to the birds outside your window. It’s a nice touch in my opinion, and a stark contrast to the powerful nature of the truck itself. 

A clever feature in the new EarthCruiser models is the cut through to the back of the truck. If you’re stuck in a traffic jam and want your passenger to nip up and grab some biscuits or just don’t want to get wet once you park up, then you can access the living area from the truck itself. It’s a neat little feature that wasn’t included originally, but the team at EarthCruiser listened to their customer feedback and gave the people what they wanted. It’s little touches like this that make a camper company seem far more approachable and easy to deal with. 

The EarthCruiser Kitchen Is Perfect For Off-Road Chefs. 

If you like whipping up your favourite vanlife recipes with your trusty top cooking accessories, then the kitchen area in the EarthCruiser will make you feel as though all of your Christmases have come at once! The most important thing to me when it comes to cooking in a camper is storage for all of your dried goods, fresh food, and utensils, and the EarthCruiser doesn’t disappoint. 

There is so much storage inside this truck camper that you would probably be hard pushed to fill it all. All of the cupboards throughout the build are fitted with a latch-lock system, which is super important for when you’re driving over rocky terrain or crashing through the undergrowth in search of the worlds greatest park-up spot. 

The EarthCruiser also has a pantry area towards the back of the build too, which is great if you want to keep snacks in for when you get a little peckish in bed etc. The Isotherm drawer fridge included in this build is an absolute beast, with two compartments for fresh veg, meat, cheese, beer etc, and a freezer compartment too. Food is the key to off grid living, and you could easily spend a couple of weeks at least in the EarthCruiser without having to go near a supermarket. 

Is The EarthCruiser The Perfect Camper For Living Off The Grid?

There are so many added extras in this build that are designed to keep you away from the city and in nature for longer. Take the water system for example. There are two taps in the EarthCruiser; one with normal hot and cold water that you can fill up from any potable water point, and another with an inbuilt filtration and purification system in it. This is a seriously cool bit of kit that can make any water safe to drink. You can fill the tank with water from a stream, lake, or even a puddle, and the EarthCruiser will take out all of the impurities and make it safe for you to take a swig from. I wish I had one of these in my travelling tiny house

The kitchen area in the EarthCruiser is big enough to make incredible off grid meals.

The purification system instantly makes the question of ‘how far is too far’ totally irrelevant (as long as you’re stocked up on food that is!). Now you don’t have to worry about straying further away from the safety of a water tap, and with the heavy-duty solar package and onboard battery system you’ll never need to plug into a power source again. 

Sitting down inside the EarthCruiser in dinette mode

The EarthCruiser Has The Craziest Electrical System That We’ve Ever Seen!

How many campers have you seen with an electrical system that would put C3-PO to shame? This it the first off-road vehicle that I have ever seen use a system that is normal found on luxury yachts and sailboats, but it instantly turns the camper into a techno-geeks paradise! Don’t worry if you are a self confessed technophobe thought; what I’m about to show you is super easy to use and pretty much foolproof!

Working the CZONE computer system in the build

If the EarthCruiser EXD were a person, then the CZONE system would undoubtedly be its brain. It’s essentially a super computer, a bit like the main frame that Obi Wan Kenobi tries to shut down, except this one has a nice touchscreen panel instead of scary-looking levers. 

The CZONE system gives you access to a bunch of controls that give you access to your lights, the motor that moves the roof up and down, the water pumps, etc. If you have an iPad or hand-held tablet, then you can also mirror the display on your device and control all of the CZONE’s parameters from anywhere in the van. How ace is that!

Tell Us More About The CZONE Super Brain!

Everything inside the EarthCruiser can be accessed from this point. You can monitor your water levels, check how much solar power is coming in, and you can also see how much charge is left on your batteries. The EarthCruiser uses a lithium-ion battery system with 360aH available to the user. These batteries operate in near freezing temperatures, unlike the lead-acid batteries that pack up and go to warmer climates whenever you try to use them in winter. 

The CZONE system has a whole host of hotkeys that you can set up too. You can press a button to turn everything off before you set off driving, and you can also set it so that the roof will automatically lower 45 seconds after you have left the camper. This system is designed to make your life so much easier and basically does the hard work while you kick back and enjoy your trip. 

The 2000W Pure sine wave inverter in the EarthCruiser is always on, so you don’t have to mess around trying to find the switch if you want to charge your laptop or hook up a coffee pot. This is where the CZONE system gets even more interesting, as it will tell you what the output of a specific device is and how long you can run it for before the batteries will be depleted. It removes the guess work out of the electrical system and makes it simple to use no matter your expertise in whipping up mathematical equations. 

I’m Not An Engineer; What If It All Goes Wrong?

The EarthCruiser is an impressive spectacle, with its white exterior and motorised pop top roof with windows built in.

The EarthCruiser engineering team have planned for every eventuality. If something does happen to your CZONE system while out on the trail, then all of the manual controls for the roof, water, inverter etc. are underneath a lockable box that the screen itself is housed in. That way you can still access all of the functions in the camper without having to worry about driving around with your water pump constantly on and the roof stuck up!

Skipping ahead of myself slightly, the battery system and fuses can all be found in a pull out drawer on the outside of the truck. All of the fuses and cut off switches for the electrical components in the camper can be found here and easily replaced or dealt with. If you’re new to electrical systems then don’t worry, you will still be able to figure out where everything is and easily change some of the more basic elements to get your system back up and running. The batteries and inverter are surrounded by a fan that keeps the pull-out rawer well ventilated too, so nothing will ever ben in danger of over-heating!

Can I Stealth Camp In The EarthCruiser?

You certainly can, and with the inclusion of the Webasto Dual Top diesel heater heating the air and water inside your camper, you can camp in pretty much any weather 365 days a year! The EarthCruiser has all of the elements of a stealth camper van and more, with the added option of still being able to reach your bed, the cupboards, and even cook with the roof down. Once the lights are on you can see perfectly and still move about freely. 

TheEarthCruiser has a clean and relaxing interior aesthetic.

One of the things that I liked most about this build is the motorised roof, which takes just 17 seconds to put up or down. There’s no heavy lifting or pushing to create the extra space; just push a button and the EarthCruiser does the rest!

Once the roof is up, however, you’re instantly greeted with a 360-degree view of your surroundings, making this a great place to sit and watch the world go by and providing beautiful views while you’re cooking your evening meal or brewing a pot of coffee. The windows have a built in bug screen so that you can create a cross-draft without letting pesky flies inside, keeping you cool and bite free!

It’s All Pretty Fancy, But Is It Good For Getting A Cosy Night’s Sleep?

The queen size bed in the EarthCruiser is mega comfortable (when the camera eventually turned off we almost went and had a kip in it!). It’s essentially a bed, a dinette, and a couch all in one. With the CZONE providing motorised assistance, the bed lifts up and reveals a table and even more storage that goes all the way back to the rear of the van!

What’s On The Outside Of The EarthCruiser?

I told you there was a lot to get through, so now let’s take a look at the outside of this truck camper. Each EarthCruiser is built onto a 4 door ram, 1 tonne truck. The EarthCruiser house is mounted onto the back, and then you’re good to go! The ample storage solutions inside the camper continue on the outside of the vehicle too, with hatch doors and cupboards running all along the side of the van and a tool cupboard built into the subframe itself. 

Flip down storage in the EarthCruiser, perfect for using as a cooking platform outdoors.

One of the clever storage features that I liked the most was the cut through hatch that can be accessed from both inside and outside of the van. It’s kind of like one of those serving hatches that you see in restaurants, only this one is designed for cleaning supplies and removing your cassette toilet (less interesting than food, but still super useful!)

This EarthCruiser Has Everything! Tell Us More!

The cooker in the EarthCruiser is a removable induction hob, and thanks to the 110V outlet in the main under-storage compartment, you can easily whip it out and cook outside on a handy flip-down shelf! Now everyone can sit around the grill and smell the sausages as they sizzle! You can also keep an outdoor refrigerator plugged in, as well as a TV and more. The main storage compartment is big enough to fit skis and paddleboards in too, so you’re never going to be short of things to do while out on the road!

One thing that impressed us about the build itself was that the main EarthCruiser house is directly flush with the truck itself, giving you a clear line of sight from both wing mirrors as you drive. You won’t have to contend with any nasty surprises while on the road, making this beastly vehicle one of the safest campers around. 

EarthCruiser Tyre - big in size but easy to lift off thanks to the hand winch

Last but not least, I think it’s important to mention the spare tyre system on the EarthCruiser, which although big in size is not hard to remove from the vehicle itself. Using a hand winch and a lowering arm, this spare wheel can be removed by a single person, so you don’t need to panic if you get a puncture while out on the trail. Everything in this build has been simplified, right from the first step of your adventure through to you parking back up on your driveway. 

Final Thoughts…

At $100’000 this camper is a steal. I know that not all of us have that kind of money stashed away, but if you do and are looking to make an investment, then you couldn’t pick a better vehicle than the EarthCruiser to spend it on. It’s such an affordable option for anyone looking to purchase an overlanding vehicle, especially one with more inbuilt controls than the Millenium Falcon!

Thanks once again to our sponsors, Four Wheel Campers, for inviting us along to take a look at all of the incredible Overland Expo Campers at this year’s event. Let us know your thoughts on the EarthCruiser on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

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