The crew at EarthCruiser have cooked up a new take on their approach to building rigs for overlanding – and it includes some of the world’s best-selling trucks.
The Oregon-based company already does brisk business with its other overlanding offerings, including cab-over machines that look ready to take on the Dakar. This new project will take that expertise and apply it to the chassis of one-ton trucks from the Detroit Three, meaning customers will be able to select a Ram, Ford, or GM truck as the base for a build.
Called the Terranova, it’ll allow outdoor enthusiasts to travel unbound without sacrificing performance, comfort, or livability. Thanks to using one-ton trucks as their base, they will provide a set of dimensions and driving position much more familiar to the average off-roader. Wheeling this thing on rugged terrain during an adventure or around town when you’ve surfaced for should be very comfortable for anyone who’s ever driven a Ford Super Duty, Ram HD, or GM 3500 pickup.
To get all the gritty details, we spoke with the General Manager and Engineering Manager at EarthCruiser, both of whom were eager to talk about their new venture. “The extra towing abilities, particularly at comfortable highway speeds, will be a strength,” said engineering guru Austin Steimer. “Designing for multi-functionality is part of our mantra.” The latter explains how the team can pack so many overlanding features into a relatively small footprint.
But what about payload? These new Terranova Expedition Campers are built on 2020+ model year one-ton truck chassis, all of which have maximum ratings in some form or another. “Fuel and water are heavy and dynamic,” said Steimer, referring to the weight density of liquids and their propensity to slosh around in onboard tanks. “That’s why we’ll use strong but lightweight materials like fiberglass and high density composites in [the truck’s] construction.”
EarthCruiser says the foam core composite construction, and multi-layer curtain, provide unparalleled protection against the elements. It should keeping the heat in – or out – during all four-seasons. Living in the wilds of rural Canada, your author would dearly like to test this claim on a frigid February evening. Given the brand’s years of design experience, we have no reason to doubt them.
“It will be a bit of a different demographic,” explained Chad Knight, EarthCruiser GM, when asked if the same type of customers who’ve lined up for their existing roster of overlanding vehicles will place orders for a Terranova. “Attracting customers with same basic desires as other EC products, with the capability to get them further from the bustle, but who still want comforts and amenities over and above a rooftop tent.” Combine that with the more familiar operation of a typical one-ton truck and they’ve got the recipe for a long waiting list.
That familiar operation, and cab, is part of the Terranova’s appeal. Do you like the saddle-esque interior of a Ram Longhorn Limited? Then start with that. Perhaps you’d rather pop for a F-350 Platinum and all the interior toys that machine entails. As for us, we’d select a Super Duty chassis equipped with the Tremor package and mighty 7.3L V8 gasser.
Pricing for all this off-road wanderlust? That’s pretty much up to the customer given the wide array of features and options available to be included in Terranova’s unique build, not to mention the varying costs of whatever pickup truck platform is selected as a starting point.
Off-road prowess and rugged overlanding, though? That’s standard equipment.