Earlier this year, we took you inside the EarthRoamer Rally, sharing photos and highlights from this off-road adventure. We thought you might like to know more about these extreme overland vehicles, so we invited EarthRoamer founder Bill Swails to tell us – and you – more about the company and the vehicles it builds.
EarthRoamer began as the answer to a problem. Bill is a systems engineer with a passion for wildlife and landscape photography, and he simply wanted a way to travel off the beaten path to remote locations where he could photograph the raw wildness and beauty of unspoiled nature. But there weren’t any vehicles truly designed and built to be driven to remote locations while providing living quarters and keeping their inhabitants comfortable for extended periods of time. Bill soon discovered that there were many others like him with the desire to travel and camp in comfort far away from RV parks. Thus began a new career and a new passion — the founding of EarthRoamer and the mission to build the world’s best Xpedition Vehicles (XVs).
Early on, Bill decided that there were plenty of companies building big RVs; that market was of no interest to him. EarthRoamer would design and handcraft the best XVs possible using the most innovative products and technologies. He recognized that his XVs would not be inexpensive – after all, molded composite bodies, high-quality marine-grade components, innovative technologies, advanced engineering, cutting-edge design and handcraftsmanship don’t come cheap – but he believed EarthRoamer could provide value that discriminating customers would appreciate. In 2002, Bill began designing and building the EarthRoamer XV-LT prototype on a Ford F-450 cab chassis and the first Ford-based EarthRoamer XV was launched less than a year later at the Ford 100th anniversary celebration in Dearborn, Michigan.
Today’s EarthRoamer models are an evolution of the original, and they are built on the current Ford F-550 chassis. With its one-piece molded composite body, three-point camper-mounting system, massive solar panel array, incredible off-road capability and elimination of the need for propane or a generator, the EarthRoamer XV-LT has established a new class of vehicle. Unlike conventional RVs, EarthRoamer XVs are equipped with all of the capability and support systems necessary to travel confidently and comfortably to remote areas and be self-sufficient once you get there. Bill recognized that many of the most incredible places to visit in the U.S. and throughout the world simply aren’t near a hotel or motel and are inaccessible with traditional RVs, so he designed the EarthRoamer XVs to eliminate the dependence on external electrical, water and sewer hookups required by RVs.
From his early photography trips to remote Alaska, Bill knew that comfort was as important as capability. All EarthRoamer XV models are designed to carry passengers safely and comfortably over long distances, while elegantly functional and luxurious living quarters provide a spacious place for them to eat, sleep, shower and relax when taking a break from driving or upon reaching the final destination. Hardwood cabinetry, leather seating, granite counters, a convection microwave, a forced-air furnace, air conditioning, a king-size bed and a private bathroom with a shower make the EarthRoamer XV feel like a luxury condo on wheels. Adventurous people who appreciated good design, engineering and craftsmanship, and who were frustrated with the limitations and poor quality of traditional RVs, immediately embraced Bill’s unique concept of a luxury XV, and the company expanded rapidly.
Today, there are more than 150 EarthRoamer owners, ranging in age from their 30s to their 80s. Like Bill, many owners have a passion for nature and wild places, and many are photographers, writers, fishermen, cyclists, motorcyclists, boaters, pilots, off-road enthusiasts and hunters. The list of EarthRoamer owners’ passions is endless, but the one thing they all have in common is a youthful lust for life and an insatiable appetite for adventure. You won’t find them sitting on a couch living life vicariously through a TV show — they are out exploring the world in their EarthRoamer XV and creating their own real-life adventures! Rather than passing by the world at 30,000 feet, with an EarthRoamer, they are immersing themselves in local cultures and exploring unspoiled places at their own pace.
With 253 million acres of public BLM land, 193 million acres of national forest land, 6,624 state parks and 58 national parks in the U.S., containing thousands of beautiful remote campsites, you could easily spend a lifetime of adventure without ever leaving the country. For more adventurous travelers, the world becomes your backyard with an EarthRoamer.