This Rugged New Camper Van Is an All-in-One Escape Pod for Off-Road Adventures

Overlanding, already on the rise pre-pandemic, has seen its popularity explode as outdoor enthusiasts take social distancing to the extreme. If you’re in the market for a turnkey go-anywhere machine, the EarthCruiser Terranova is an all-in-one escape pod that’s a giant leap from your everyday modified 4×4, ideal for off-the-grid recreation (or when the proverbial fan takes a hit).

On the narrow roads of Southern California’s coastal mountains, the over-cab explorer, starting at $315,000, is surprisingly friendly to drive despite weighing as much as an African bush elephant. There’s little sway as the 10,800-pound weight is distributed evenly across the Ford 350 chassis—you can also use Dodge’s Ram 3500 as a base—and deftly managed by a suspension buoyed with Rad-Flo shocks and custom springs. Mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission, the 350 hp, 7.3-liter Godzilla V-8, with 468 ft lbs of torque, flexes plenty of muscle and quickly dispatches moderate climbs.

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Surprisingly, the Terranova is considered the entry-level model from Oregon-based EarthCruiser, an outfit founded by Lance Gillies and Michelle Boltz, who initially crossed paths in a Malaysian jungle. “We both enjoy traveling very much, and traveling with your own gear is really important for the independence and convenience,” says Gillies.

To that end, Gillies and Boltz decided to develop their ultimate transport. “Imagine an EarthCruiser as its own little energy system, it has got to be self-contained wherever it is,” mentions Gillies. “It could be just as happy sitting in a Starbucks carpark or a on beach in Morocco. Our job is to make sure that it doesn’t know or care.” And practically nowhere should be considered out of range. “It’s actually pretty easy to move a vehicle around the world, if you know how to do it,” he adds, “and the main claim to fame for our trucks is that they can fit into shipping containers.”

The all-season composite camper electronically extends to a roofline of 10.5 feet and offers amenities for up to four occupants, including an induction cooktop, a fridge and freezer, an indoor shower, a freshwater reservoir and loads of cargo space. And, if work must come with you, tailored connectivity solutions are an easy add-on, with solar panels replenishing the 12-volt lithium battery.

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