EarthRoamer XV-JP "Northwest Edition"

kjp1969

Explorer
I wanted the original concept to work so badly- most campers are either too big and heavy for a good trail or too small to live in, and this just seemed to balance the two so well. But everyone seems to think it didn't work. Never having seen one in person much less used one, I just have to trust that it's so. I'd love to get my hands on one someday, but with only a dozen or so made, it probably won't happen. Luckily I still have my '95 Bronco, so maybe it will get camperized someday.
 

Drewgould

New member
I wanted the original concept to work so badly- most campers are either too big and heavy for a good trail or too small to live in, and this just seemed to balance the two so well. But everyone seems to think it didn't work. Never having seen one in person much less used one, I just have to trust that it's so. I'd love to get my hands on one someday, but with only a dozen or so made, it probably won't happen. Luckily I still have my '95 Bronco, so maybe it will get camperized someday.
Hey, never give up, you might find one, one day!
To add some balance to my desire to change the roof on mine, we have used ours in bad weather (see picture) with the flysheet Earthroamer supplied to help keep it water tight. To be fair, on a trip last year we camped for two nights with what the UK weather were describing as a storm. The rain was going sideways past the Jeep, and the wind was between 35 and 50 mph, and everything held together + stayed dry. We also this year in June (great British summer!) camped at the Overland show at Stratford upon Avon for the weekend to display the Jeep, and had a short sharp shower on the last morning we were there. This time we had no flysheet, and the rain was moderate, + no wind, and apart from a minor dribble from by a window zip, we stayed dry. The biggest issue we've had, which is the main reason for looking at an alternative roof design is that in a storm, being 9ft + up in the air leaves you quite exposed! Even on camp sites with wind break hedgerows, you're actually sleeping above these, and with the roof 'tent' being just that, and fabric it can get a bit noisy. It's also obviously a bit of a faff to fit the flysheet, although some of this is practice. The other consideration for us is that we want to (OK, I want to, Claire's not as keen!) head north through Norway at some point, and I'd prefer it to be during the aurora season, which will be cold, and having a large roof area made of canvas will not be as practical from a heating perspective on a trip like that. So this, along with the generally wet and windy weather we get in the UK is what has driven my planning for an alternative. On a (rare) glorious summers day, with a gentle breeze, and pitched up in a remote scenic spot, I've yet to find anything that does a better job than the Jeep, size, weight etc all considered.

Enjoy your Bronco, and don't forget to share pics when you camperise it!
 

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mhiscox

Expedition Leader
I can see where this thread, and other mentions around the web, would make owning an XV-JP seem like a dreadful idea. ☹

It's not, though . . . I'll second what was just implied: the balance between trail capability and cabin comfort is unmatched with the XV-JP. Unmatched to the point where it seems almost unfair to park with your fellow trail runners, climb in the back, turn on the lights and heat, open up the fridge to select your meal, crank up the stove and have dinner ready while the everyone else is still organizing the camp kitchens.

But the XV-JP is admittedly a better idea for one. Two rather friendly people can use it if most of their time unrelated to the palatial original bed is spent outdoors. But with only one person, you can (after a wee bit of modification) sleep on the bench without substantially deploying the roof. Lessening the roof opening is the key to making the cabin work in foul weather. Keep the roof closed or slightly ajar and problems of noise, heat retention, awesome clearance height, leaks and general tent integrity are hugely reduced.

But another way to optimize the XV-JP experience is to just not use it when its weaknesses will come out. On a still, warm and dry evening after a fun day on the trail, climbing into the original tent for a good night's rest under the stars was tough to beat. The problems come with wind, rain and cold. The original tent is too noisy in a high wind, too cold in low temperatures, too damp in substantial rain and unworkable in snow. Still, there are many workarounds, from earplugs to rain flies to better sleeping bags, that can create a tolerable situation.

Unfortunately, you still have the problem of perhaps needing to fold the dripping--and maybe even frozen--tent back up when it's time to move. Which one could correctly point out is no different than what thousands put up with using a rooftop tent, so why make such a fuss? Unfortunately, the difference is that the drippy XV-JP tent gets folded up INTO your living space, which is seriously hard to live with. One's willingness/ability to avoid frequently doing this is, to my mind, the biggest issue that establishes the line-in-the-sand, go/no-go workability of the XV-JP for any potential owner.

IF you can keep the roof largely closed in inclement weather because there's only one person sleeping in it OR because you don't take the rig out when the tent will get wet, the XV-JP is a great option. I assure you that having the comforts of a "mini-motorhome" while having the footprint and trail capabilities of a built Rubicon is very special and exceptionally fun.
 

mk216v

Der Chef der Fahrzeuge
I'll second what was just implied: the balance between trail capability and cabin comfort is unmatched with the XV-JP. Unmatched to the point where it seems almost unfair to park with your fellow trail runners, climb in the back, turn on the lights and heat, open up the fridge to select your meal, crank up the stove and have dinner ready while the everyone else is still organizing the camp kitchens.
It's as if you've tested your theory a few times. :p
 

kjp1969

Explorer
Here's the thing- the original is a clever design, and I love that. Clever designs don't always work, though.
It seems like inclement weather, high wind, cold temps, that's when you really want a camper. So, however clever it is, it needs to do bad weather reasonably well. If it's nice out, a ground tent and good air mattress is acceptable for me. And much, much cheaper. A 4wheelcamper or similar seems also to be pretty good, but things start to get heavy and bulky pretty quickly from there.
 
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