What happens when you buy an expensive off-the-shelf expedition camper and you find out it just doesn’t fit your needs? Well, most people might sell it and find something else, but Mike Hiscox didn’t, he decided he could do something better, and he did.
Although it’s no longer available, EarthRoamer’s XV-JP was a diminutive off-road camper which attempted to fit the utility of a motorhome onto the exceptionally capable Jeep Wrangler Rubicon chassis. After spending a season with his XV-JP, Mike enlisted a small group of craftsmen to literally tear his vehicle down to the bare walls and rebuild it into something stronger, better, and more efficient.
While the truck is upgraded from stem to stern, the biggest issue Mike had with the original design was the large cantilevered rooftop tent, which flipped the roof 180° and was suspended by a complex cable system. In addition to being too transparent to allow for comfortable sleep, it was almost completely permeable to rain (or fog, or dew), took too long to set up, and took up too much space when stored. The team chose to implement a Westfalia-style pop-up with a heavy-duty insulated tent, and lifted by a pair of pneumatic struts.
The wonderful zebrawood, copper, and teak interior of the new ‘Northwest Edition’ as the team called it, was built by Washington-based surfboard-builder, carpenter, and craftsman Paul Jensen. If you like multi-functional vehicle interiors, check out the interior of Paul’s Sprinter, or the incredibly detailed build-log for the one he built for a local couple, links to both of these can be found on his website.
More photos and lots of source links after the break.
Sources: For lots more detail about the build, and why the team made the choices that they did during the development of the vehicle, read the entire 54 page thread over on Expedition Portal. You can also read Paul Jensen’s detailed log of his four day shakedown cruise in the XV-JP. Paul also put together a blogspot page about the vehicle and some of his other automotive work. You can also find a lot of photos of the deconstruction of the original XV-JP on Mike Hiscox’s Picasa album.