Manufactured in Australia, the EarthCruiser EXP is a tough, versatile, purpose-built expedition motorhome, based on the Mitsubishi Fuso FG 4×4 chassis. EarthCruiser heavily modifies the suspension of the EXP to increase its off road prowess, and also to provide a smooth ride when traveling the highway. Of course the best part about the EXP, for me personally, is that it’s available here in the United States (although only in single-cab form, a dual cab is available in overseas).
One of the big selling points of the EarthCruiser is its size, not too big, but not small; economically designed to use every inch of available volume. The EarthCruiser packs everything you need for long, off-the-grid treks into a package that can be driven and parked just about anywhere. The interior is comfortable, bright, and efficient, sleeping up to four in the long wheelbase model.
The EarthCruiser is differentiated not only by what it has, but by what it doesn’t have. There is no integrated 120/240v electrical system for example. It features ample house batteries, as well as beautifully integrated rooftop solar panels. If AC power is needed there is a 1800 watt inverter, but there is no generator. You won’t find bulky wood, or heavy tile and marble surfaces either. The interior is molded fiberglass with integrated storage and furnishings. Everything is lightweight and purpose built.
Designed as a single fuel vehicle, and the camper heat and cooking are both diesel-powered (propane can be hard to come by in some areas, and can be subject to travel restrictions in tunnels or on ferries). The camper is designed with excellent natural ventilation, and while a ducted air conditioning system is available as an option, it is rarely added by EarthCruiser buyers.
One of the points raised on the EarthCruiser website, which I’d never considered is the ease, and more importantly the security of shipping the EarthCruiser. Most large expedition campers are simply too big for containerization, leaving them to be served by the RORO (roll-on/roll-off) shippers. Typically these shippers do not allow anything to be stored in the vehicle while it is in transit, and even so, theft from vehicles is hardly uncommon. This means that yes, you can indeed ship your large vehicle to Africa, but you’ll also need to ship everything you need for your journey separately, arrange for storage and pickup of supplies apart from your vehicle, etc. And of course, you’ll still be concerned with theft of interior and exterior parts of the exposed camper. All of this is alleviated when shipping the motorhome inside of a container. You can store, ship, and declare additional contents, and everything is far more secure than if shipped in the open.
EarthCruiser is based in Queensland, Australia. Their American distributor is located in Bend, Oregon. You can find out lots more about the EarthCruiser EXP on their website, earthcruiser.com.au, or their great YouTube channel. Pricing really depends on options, but seems to start at around $215,000 AUD. US prices will probably be higher due to exchange rate and shipping costs.
Click through for more photos and a short, nicely produced video tour from EarthCruiser.
As you check out this and other videos on their channel, you’ll notice that they talk a lot about security. There’s a panic button to illuminate all of the outside lights at a single press, for example. Also, they mention in a few of the videos that pressing a single switch will retract the integral awning and lower the roof allowing you to drive away from danger in as little as 60 seconds without leaving the vehicle. Beyond comfort, security is a big reason I’d never consider an adventure motorhome that didn’t have a connection between the cab and the camper box.
Mark and Sarah of the wonderful From A to B blog photographed this EarthCruiser SWB in Alaska last July. The couple left their home for a few years with the goal of driving the Americas from tip to tip. I’d love to do a feature on their amazing rig, an ex-military DAF 4×4 converted by Overland Vehicles Ltd. in the UK. As I write this they’re sitting on a beach in Panama. I’m jealous. Check out the blog to see where they are today.
Here is the single front bunk and the cab pass-through. One thing not answered by EarthCruiser’s extensive website and Youtube channel is where a second child would sleep. While the LWB model is said to sleep four, I’m having a hard time locating the second single bunk on any of the floor plans or photos I’ve seen. That being said, I think a comfortable hammock could be installed directly above this single without much effort.
David Gilchrist has written an extensive review of the EarthCruiser on the Australian website Caravan and Motorhome. He had the opportunity to put one through its paces on EarthCruiser’s home turf and seemed quite impressed. The review also features an extensive checklist of features listing everything from wall construction methods to the toilet roll holder. The photo above is from his review, definitely check it out for more details.