Title: Principles of Overlanding: Expedition Campers
Show notes for podcast #154
Principles of Overlanding: Expedition Campers
Matt Scott and Scott Brady discuss the merits, considerations, and limitations of the overland campers, and how to best prepare your overland home on wheels. They do the deep dive on EarthRoamers, EarthCruisers, Adrenalin Campers, Nimbl, and others.
Scott is the publisher and co-founder of Expedition Portal and Overland Journal and is often credited with popularizing overlanding in North America. His travels by 4WD and adventure motorcycle span all seven continents and includes three circumnavigations of the globe. His polar expeditions include two vehicle crossings of Antarctica and the first long-axis crossing of Greenland. @scott.a.brady
Matthew is a leading expert in automotive adventure. He has extensively explored the world's most remote places by 4WD and is considered an industry authority on overland travel. He is the only American to ever become an editor of a major Australian 4WD publication and has over 15 years of competitive auto racing experience. @mattexplore
Scott Brady: Hello and welcome to the Overland Journal Podcast. I am your host Scott Brady and I'm joined today by my cohost Matt Scott and we do the deep dive on the principles of overlanding. Expedition vehicle campers. So these are going to be the big expedition trucks that we see all over Instagram. Man trucks, earth roamers, LMTVs. We're going to talk about why large vehicles like that are so popular for overlanding, how to prepare them properly, things to consider around those vehicles, and why sometimes bigger just might be better.
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Scott Brady: Okay, Matt. So we're going to talk about the principles of overlanding expedition vehicles.
Matt Scott: I'm excited for this one. This is my specific niche.
Scott Brady: It is, and you, and you have been doing a lot of research on it recently. You've been spending a lot of time on the category and you also, I believe, have a really strong argument for the benefits of it and an understanding of the downsides because you've now owned your [00:02:00] Earthroamer for how long?
Matt Scott: Oh, we bought it at the end of 2020.
Scott Brady: So yeah, that's, that's, that might be the longest you've ever owned a car.
Matt Scott: Yeah. And I have zero interest in selling it. It is, it is like my prized possession, so to speak. It had always been a goal. Like, like my goal when I was, you know, just started working at Overland Journal 10 years, well, it was more than 10 years ago. So it was 2011. I wanted an Earth Roamer with a KTM rally bike on the back. But I have a, I've got an earth roamer with a factory KTM rally bike in the back.
Scott Brady: Okay. So, how did your life change when you, when you arrived at that goal? Like what it's something that you've wanted forever.
Matt Scott: I mean, obviously it was a lot of work and a lot of stress. I think, I think that, you know, to put it in a way that maybe society would understand is it's, it's my boat, it's my boat that I could do my little projects on and I clean and it's my own little ecosystem and world that I have [00:03:00] complete control over, you know, so in the way that, you know, an entrepreneur or executive or something might have that boat, that's their escape. The Earth Roamer is my land boat. And you know, it's actually funny because there's a lot of systems that come. From the marine world. They do a super applicable with expedition vehicles. But you know, we just found out that we started getting out more and we changed how we traveled. We had for a long time really focused on, you know, very remote places that other people couldn't get to. And that was, you know, best evidenced by the vehicles that we were, we were building. Look at the gladiator that we had. If people don't know what it was. It was, you know, basically an AEV, Gladiator with, adventure trailers or AT overland summit camper on the back. And that was awesome because we were able to get really, really remote
Scott Brady: As remote as you wanted to.
Matt Scott: Yeah. I mean, if it, [00:04:00] if you could get something, I don't think that there would be many vehicles more capable than that, that you could still kind of sleep inside of. But we started to kind of hit our limits with that. You know, we obviously we're, we're doting a Greyhound parents and Laura and I are not small people. I'm six two. She's, you know, just under six foot. Our dog is 80 pounds and big and that was a lot to ask from that small of a space to, to try and have some kind of temperature regulation or whatever. So, you know, we always knew that, we wanted some kind of expedition vehicle and the earth roamer for us just made so much sense because we knew from the summit camper, that we wanted something that was hard sided and how it, you know, to go back to how it changed our, our travels is that we were less [00:05:00] interested in, you know, the, the very remote, technical trails because we actually ended up finding that those had become very well used. There was a lot of.
Scott Brady: And you've done a lot of them.
Matt Scott: And we've done them and I've done them two, three, four or five times. So it kind of lost its appeal, you know, you know, eventually it just kind of felt repetitive. So, you know, we, we kind of shifted, you know, well, actually, you know, the, the big thing that we noticed was that by going for maybe like easier spots, because obviously an earth roamer or an expedition vehicle does not have the same technical terrain capability as a light truck. Although they're pretty good. You know, we started doing a lot more national forests and we started slowing down a little bit more and.
Scott Brady: You have to slow down.
Matt Scott: Yeah, you have to, and it became more about the experience of camping. And, you know, if you were in, [00:06:00] if you were in a place that didn't have an amazing view, uh, you know, you did, you didn't have to do the rocky trail that went to the promontory point with the amazing lookout. Well, one, we realized that that's what everybody else was doing with this whole explosion and overlanding. And we're, we're spending a lot more time in national forests and national parks. You know, we use it, you know, sometimes we use it just like it was an RV. And I think that's really where, where I see the expedition vehicle space growing as it is this amalgamation of overlanding, as maybe it's perceived in the U. S. The, the forerunner with a roof tent or the truck camper or something mixed with a bit of the RV world, because you kind of have to have solutions and, and, and problems from both we love it. Like we just absolutely [00:07:00] love it.
Scott Brady: Yeah. And you get out in it a lot. You use it a lot. In fact, there's been many times I've come over to your house and we hung out in the Earth Roamer in your garage. It's like a cool little spot.
Matt Scott: One, it's amazing to have a garage that your Earth Roamer fits inside of. Two, it serves this multi purpose of it's my, you know, everybody wants to have a hangout.
Scott Brady: You're retired. You're like a retired person at 30. Like you bought the retired person's house that has like the room for the class a motor home and it's perfect. I love it.
Matt Scott: It all works. I love living in Prescott. You know, and it's, you know, but you know, to touch on that by basing ourselves in Prescott, it allowed us to do this. We were, if, if our business was based in Southern California, like, like so many, you know, businesses are, our house would be four times the cost. That's where the money for the Earth Roamer came from. You know, we really look at the Earth Roamer as our cabin, you know, we go out with family and we go out with friends in it and it's.
Scott Brady: You get to go to greyhound events in it.
Matt Scott: Yeah, [00:08:00] it's awesome. Like, you know, you get to be the star of the show. It's, you know, and it's also really nice for traveling with, with dogs. Ours is, it's a, you know, four door LTS. So it's, you know, LTS just means, stretch essentially. So, again, we're, we're able to go out with our friends that have toy haulers or travel trailers, and we're as much a part of that group as we are able to go out with friends in roof tents or truck campers. You know, we can kind of go either way with it.
Scott Brady: And we did that recently within the last couple of months, we did that trip to Alamo Lake and I was towing a Patriot camper behind a Raptor R and we took a backcountry route to get there and you went every single place that we went.
Matt Scott: It was fun.
Scott Brady: And that was my experience with, well, let's, maybe let's back up for a minute and I think it would be good for the audience for us to define what we mean by [00:09:00] an expedition vehicle, which a lot of times that term is interchangeable with expedition camper. So maybe you can kind of share what you believe is, like, what defines an expedition vehicle as opposed to an overland truck.
Matt Scott: To put it bluntly, it's more, you could think of it as an RV that is, you know, capable of extended off road travel. You know, we're A class C motor home might be able to go down the dirt road a little bit in quartzite to find, you know, the campsite. It's not something that you're going to want to do with that vehicle because longterm, it will compromise the vehicle, right? So there's.
Scott Brady: And all the systems that you have on expedition campers are much more robust and bigger capacity batteries, more water on board.
Matt Scott: Yeah. So there's essentially, you know, there's self contained vehicles that. I think one of the biggest qualifications is live inside. They don't have to [00:10:00] be hard sided. You know, Earth cruisers, some of the Ross Monster stuff, which is awesome and are definitely expedition vehicles, are pop tops. You know, they often have a bathroom, a shower, some cooking facilities inside. You know, again.
Scott Brady: The nimble vehicles are pop top nimble vehicles or pop tops.
Matt Scott: Yes. You know, so, so it is this, as I said earlier, kind of this amalgamation of, I mean, it's basically just an off road RV when, when you really, really get down to it, that's the best way to describe it, but.
Scott Brady: Yeah, off road recreational vehicle.
Matt Scott: I believe there's also an element, you know, of, I mean, I guess, you know, you go from boats to yachts and part of that jump is the quality, you know, the quality, the components, the longevity of it. You definitely, I think that that's part of an expedition vehicle.
Scott Brady: Yeah. And it's not a yacht unless it's got a bathroom and a galley. And it's the same thing with these vehicles. Once you go to kind of an [00:11:00] expedition camper expedition vehicle, it's going to have a fully integrated kitchen. It's going to have a fully integrated bathroom.
Matt Scott: So like an expedition camper for me is like the AT Overland, Atara. It's, you know, it's not that it doesn't fulfill the same role as an expedition vehicle, but you know, like they have a, they have a, some bathroom facilities, but I think they use like a.
Scott Brady: Wrap on style.
Matt Scott: Yeah. Yeah. You know, one of those toilets and you know, there'll be a shower, maybe there's not a shower room, you know, and it's not to disparage it. It's just that, you know, there's a difference, You know, between the two, both in functionality, but I guess at the end of the day, also in cost and, you know, it is different than a truck camper, you know, a truck camper on the back of an AV, whatever, like that's a great solution, but it's not really an expedition vehicle. Like, I think we're talking, you know, another, another defining characteristic of an expedition vehicle is something that, it's an integrated system. You know, I [00:12:00] always call them integrated vehicles.
Scott Brady: It's not a removable camper really.
Matt Scott: That was always the, the exhibition portal forum heading was integrated Overland vehicles or integrated exhibition vehicles or something. They're kind of all in one. Now that does have its downsides that, you know, eventually I'll have enough miles on the chassis that, you know, I can't take my, the camper, which is really then the value and put it on another truck, that's the argument for Atara. For example.
Scott Brady: It can be removed and now you've got a flatbed pickup that you can use for other things.
Matt Scott: Yeah. You know, the thing that, I do recognize with a lot of these vehicles is, particularly when you get to like the unit cats and you know, some of the, the action mobiles and the bliss mobiles, you know, they're on truck chassis. Those things are measured in a lifespan often in the millions. You know, even with The F550 that is the basis of, of my [00:13:00] vehicle, you know, well maintained that is a half a million mile truck if you want it, you know, I, I like it because it's a, at the end of the day, it's a Ford truck, you know.
Scott Brady: You can go into any Ford dealership here in the U S.
Matt Scott: Yeah. I mean, you know, I had a, an interesting experience. The Earth Roamer uses engine coolant to heat the hot water tank that's in the back of the vehicle. And there's coolant lines that run down the frame two hours after buying mine, Not really being familiar with the truck. One of those burst happened going through the Eisenhower tunnel. So it just cooked the motor vehicle made it home after we realized what was going on at the bottom of the hill. You know, there's no alarms that went off. The coolant didn't even overheat because it was at night and 20 degrees or whatever. But I was able to take it to the Ford dealer in Prescott. They put a new motor in it. Yes, it was expensive. You know, did a lot of upgrades. And it was about 10% of what I, what I paid for the vehicle you know, but it was able to be done, you [00:14:00] know, so you can kind of look at these things as if you're servicing them properly, who knows really what the lifespan of the machine is. You're not daily driving it as well, you know, with an exhibition camper, maybe you're using it as your daily driving pickup. Well, then you're putting, you know, wear and tear on all this expensive stuff. And it accelerates the wear of the thing, which necessitates the fact that it has to get swapped out. Obviously there's different budgets and different realities. That's.
Scott Brady: I like that definition though, is it's a, it's an off road RV that is fully integrated with the chassis and it's designed for prolonged remote travel.
Matt Scott: Yeah. Like I can do, you know, El Camino del Diablo every day of the week. In an expedition vehicle. Could you take a Rental class C motor home down it. I mean, maybe but like.
Scott Brady: I've done that road, not for very far.
Matt Scott: You're not gonna you're not gonna want to own that thing at the end [00:15:00]
Scott Brady: Yeah, and it actually is it's a fairly challenging travel one of not the very last time that I did it by the time before Mike McMod was with us and Dave Nordstrom was with us and some other folks that had earth roamers and some of them had sprinter vans and other different vehicles, but we got the Earth Roamers through all of it. Yeah, no problem. And when I actually even before I started the magazine I worked with Earth Roamer and I led a lot of their trips and I did a dozen adventures including down Baja and everything else with Earth Roamers and I was consistently shocked at where they could go. The, the limitation really with these expedition vehicles is the height. So when you get into forested areas, you really got to make sure you're on major forest roads. So you're going to be looking at a road. That's like two digits as opposed to four digits. Like if you see FR 72, you're probably golden in your [00:16:00] expedition vehicle. If you're going down FR 3, 6 79 or whatever, B. You know, the more numbers that you got to go.
Matt Scott: I didn't actually know that.
Scott Brady: Yeah. So that's a really.
Matt Scott: You learn something every day.
Scott Brady: It's a, it's a, a quick tip for those.
Matt Scott: So in, in that regard, we do a lot of, you know, three digit, forest service roads. I like to think that, you know, with, with one of these vehicles, you are, you can go pretty fast. You know, particularly with the Romer, it's got a four link in the back, air suspension all the way around with King shocks. It's pretty capable, but, your pots and pans are still rattling, you know, your everything's.
Scott Brady: Because it’s got a pass through you can hear.
Matt Scott: Everything, everything that you are carrying with. You have to also put that in mind. Like, you know, I always say like, you see these vans that have, you know, all these, you know, desert racing lights on the, on the top. And I'm like, okay, that's cool. [00:17:00] But your thing can go 25 mile an hour off road lest you get hit in the back of the head by a pan. Like, you know, like there's, there are inherent limits of taking a small house down, a four wheel drive trail. You know, I mean, I think Bill Swes, who, who founded Earth Roamer, you know, and unfortunately passed a little bit ago, said that he had to design a house that was capable of withstanding constant earthquakes. So all of your systems have to be very robust. You know, You know, I have the bias towards the Earth Roamer because it's what I know, but there's a lot of options out there.
Scott Brady: Well, and it might be good. It might be good to kind of talk through, first of all, before we go into the, the individual models is you brought up a good point earlier before we started talking of serialized expedition vehicles and customized expedition vehicles. And I think that that is a really [00:18:00] important foundational discussion point is, so an example of a serialized expedition vehicle is the Earth Roamer. It is the Earth Cruiser. It is an adventure truck from GXV. It would be a, like some of the more recent adrenaline campers, and there’s more, we’re not trying to exclude anyone, we could spend the entire podcast talking about different brands.
Matt Scott: There's pluses and minuses to both. By having a consistent layout that maybe has a few available changes for dinette versus couch, couch versus whatever. You got to think about the wiring harness that goes into these. Like, I think a lot of.
Scott Brady: They can standardize them.
Matt Scott: Yeah, I think a lot of the problems that I see with some of these Expedition vehicles, when they're custom or they're a new, a new business, you know, it's like kind of looking up the skirt as looking at the [00:19:00] electrical systems. I can, I can display the electrical system in the Earth Roamer to a electrical engineer and they're like, wow, that's really nice. I won't name names, but you know, there's some out there that I've seen where I'm like, wow, like you've got like 12 positive wires crossed over each other and all that stuff rattles and moves and wears and I'm like, like, you know, you got to, when you're asking. And for all of these, these custom modifications and you want the camper with the rooftop party deck and the, the 12 other weird custom things that you want, that all comes as a compromise and it can't be engineered as a system. It, you know, it's like comparing a hot rod to a GT 500 that comes off the line from Ford. One is engineered and consistent and has components. And if there's a failure, they can then, [00:20:00] you know, fix that on the line, and, and make those changes where, you know, with hot rods, you have the guy down the street that builds hot rods and you have, you know, Domo speed that builds hot rods, that is really, really good and it's, and it's a craft. So that's the thing that you have to, you have to really understand that, you know, there's, there's differences there and I, are there things that I would like differently, you know, in, in my layout for sure. But I also know that I can call somebody and say, I have ER 1 0 7, what is the heater in my truck? And there's actually like, okay, cool. We'll send you the parts for that.
Scott Brady: Or, or you have something that stops working and you get Earthroamer on the phone and you tell him you have ER 107 and he's going to say, okay, you're going to open up the bathroom cabinet and you're going to, there's going to be four screws. They're going to hold this panel [00:21:00] in place. You're going to take those four screws out. Okay. You're going to see the yellow and the green and the blue wire. Okay. You.
Matt Scott: Cut the blue wire.
Scott Brady: Exactly. Cut the blue wire. Yeah. So, but there's a huge advantage to that because it, it, because it is serialized and it's the same thing with earth cruisers. When I borrowed an earth cruiser, I had a minor issue and I was able to call them up and they're like, no problem. They knew exactly where the, the relay was. They knew exactly where the switch was. They, and they were able to provide us with immediate support. The upside of the custom stuff is you get exactly what you think you want. But I want to talk about that for a second, because I think the problem is, is that people who buy custom. Expedition vehicles. They have never owned one before. In most cases, they have rarely had a, like a sphere of experience. So they had it kind of have it in their mind that, okay, we want that. We want this alley or this galley style and we want this giant [00:22:00] bathroom and we want this, we want that and everything else. And then they end up with this very unlivable space because it's got so much stuff packed into it and it comes because they lack that experience or they want to integrate all of this fancy new technology that hasn't been proven yet. And. They're going to say yes. This custom expedition vehicle company is going to 1.2 million bucks. Here's your camper. But the reality is, is that the closer you can get to just like in think of a land cruiser, they make millions of them and they make them very well. The closer that you can get to serialized production, the more reliable it will be. The better serviceability you'll have, the better chance you'll be able to get it fixed in the field. If you've got to fly in a technician from Earth Roamer or from, from Earth Cruiser, they're going to know what to bring. They're going to know how to fix it and your downtime is going to be limited. Whereas the number of catastrophic failures that I've seen with custom expedition vehicles, like [00:23:00] frames and these bodies breaking body mounts.
Matt Scott: You're doing, you're doing, I mean, even at a level, everything's a one off and there's no, there's no repetition. You know, like it's, it's silly to not, you know, like Lance that, that owns and runs earth cruiser in the U S he is. A smart guy, but also one of the most well traveled people I've met.
Scott Brady: In the industry. Yeah, for sure.
Matt Scott: He puts he puts his earth cruiser on a boat and he's gone for I mean, he's just he's gone for a while but it's that experience that then gets integrated into the vehicles. That makes them so good like I mean, you know to I want to make sure I give earth cruisers some love because while I Love, love, love my earth roamer. If I was to undertake serious travel, like I was gonna, I don't know when I'm coming back and I'm going to drive around the world. I would do it in an earth cruiser.
Scott Brady: Yeah. Put it in a container.
Matt Scott: Yeah. They [00:24:00] fit in containers. Even if you don't get the FX that I think, I don't know if those can, I think you can put different wheels on them. The FX, has a solid sides, which I think is really cool. You know,
Scott Brady: And if not, you roll it.
Matt Scott: Yeah, they're the right size. They're a little less intimidating in the vehicle. Like, when you see an Earth Roamer, like, like, it's, I have to, I have to, you know, figure an extra 10 minutes to get gas. If I'm, if I'm in a rush. Cause it's all these people that come over and... I always hate the first question is how much that thing costs. And I'm like, Oh, I don't want to answer it. I don't want to answer it. You know, but with the earth cruisers, they're a little bit more low key. They fit in a regular parking spot. Like, I mean, the earth roamers can fit in a parking spot if you have a room to back up. And they're pretty maneuverable with the high steer axle that the are, you know, [00:25:00] wide track axle or whatever it's called. But the Earth cruisers are this fantastic, you know, well proven.
Scott Brady: And they don't look, even though they are not inexpensive, they do not look.
Matt Scott: They look like a kind of a bread delivery van, which you either love or hate.
Scott Brady: But I think it's an advantage while you're traveling. I think it's an advantage to be in this white nondescript, looks like a delivery vehicle. And in fact, in most countries, a Fuso. Is the delivery vehicle. So if you think about the roads, the parking spaces, the turns, like they've got to move goods and services around all these small towns and that's what they use as vehicles that size.
Matt Scott: Yeah. You know, so, you know, there's all these different, you know, layers of the onion.
Scott Brady: And the fact that it's cab over. So you end up.
Matt Scott: Which you either like or you don't like, I have to say, like, I.
Scott Brady: Well, the ride quality goes down, but the maneuverability goes way up. So, there's, like, everything gets a compromise.
Matt Scott: Yeah, yeah. Like, personally, I'm not a big cab over [00:26:00] guy. You know, so the LMTVs, the manned trucks, like, things like that.
Scott Brady: Unilogs.
Matt Scott: I just like driving a pickup truck. Like, it's.
Scott Brady: It's what you drive every day.
Matt Scott: It's very natural for me. You know, my expedition vehicle is no wider than a dually. In fact, it's actually narrower than a modern dooly.
Scott Brady: So probably marginally.
Matt Scott: Yeah. Yeah. Not, not that much, but it is a couple of inches on either side.
Scott Brady: Eight foot, six inches wide. Is that how wide your earth room is?
Matt Scott: Never measured it.
Scott Brady: Yeah, they're pretty wide.
Matt Scott: I just know that how much from the cab, how much it sticks out. And I know that, you know, a dooly sticks out more because it has the single rear wheel conversion. But you know, there's, there's a lot of things that, that go into it. And then. You know, I think one of the things we need to talk about for, for the essentials is the consequences of taking a very heavy vehicle, very remote with a lot of systems become a lot higher. You know, I would never, for [00:27:00] example, carry a starter in a, you know, in a, in, in my old gladiator, in my jeep, because if it broke down. You know, my buddy can throw a strap on the front and we can tow it somewhere to where a tow truck can get it to or whatever. The thing that we learned really quickly when we had this, this major problem with our truck, right after getting it was, oh crap. Like if this thing breaks down on the side of the road, it, it requires like, like the same. You know, record to come get you. That would get a semi truck. Now, if you're on the highway, those things are all over. If you're down for a forest road with four letters on it, you you're, if it's something that you're not capable of fixing, you are bringing somebody in. So we, for example, every, every electronic sensor that's on the engine that could create a, a no start or no run [00:28:00] condition. We carry those. It was just, you know, yeah, it was, it was like 800 bucks in sensors. But if I don't have them and I need them, what is that going to cost me? Sure. We carry a starter. You know, we carry, I continue to run the DPF system on mine. You know, I always say like if I have the luxury of, of owning an earth roamer where I can afford to fix and service the DPF. Cause I like enjoying nature and I don't want to, you know.
Scott Brady: Yeah, we never want to pollute unnecessarily.
Matt Scott: It is illegal to take that off. But some, some people will, we just.
Scott Brady: Well if you're traveling internationally you could take it off.
Matt Scott: Yeah, we just, we, we've decided we carry the, I think it's like the temperature sensors or something that are known to fail. Well, they were like 20 bucks. I have like five of them, you know, carrying with you some of those components generally related to the chassis. Like if you run out of heat or your [00:29:00] AC stops working or something, that's not catastrophic. So you have to plan for those. I'm going to call them catastrophic events. Like obviously if the engine goes, goes poof, there's really nothing that you can do with that. But with most modern vehicles, the core of them are pretty reliable. Like they've made millions of Ford six, seven engines. We know exactly what the problems are and what the, you know.
Scott Brady: And you Bulletproof yours? As I remember, did a version of that.
Matt Scott: I have some parts from Bulletproof on there. So like I did the Bulletproof EGR, it's not really needed on the six, seven, to be honest, that was more of like a six-oh thing. Where as these emission control systems were starting to come onto the market, there is, there's growing pains for sure. The 6.7 doesn't have many. You know, that motor is still in [00:30:00] production. But there were things that, that we did, you know, for reliability. We did different exhaust manifolds because everything was out. We did a different turbo, not a necessarily a performance turbo, although it does flow slightly more. When my motor went poof. You know.
Scott Brady: The poof took out the oil.
Matt Scott: It's oil, it's oil cool. So you don't then know what gets in to that turbo. So you have to replace it. Like the Ford turbos for the early six sevens are known to have some issues. Ford's pretty good at revising parts. You know, but the, the basics here that I'm, that I'm really trying to get out is, you know, develop a relationship with a mechanic that knows the chassis, That you have and figure out what is breaking because if you have an LMTV or you have some, you know, the, the man truck that you are not going to get parts for, [00:31:00] you know, at the, for a dealer down the street, you know, you, it's probably smart to carry some of that stuff with, no, I'm not saying carry a, you know, a spare transmission because the transmission might go, you know, those are, those are those big things that if they happen, You're just going to have to deal with.
Scott Brady: It’s the risk of driving it.
Matt Scott: Yeah. And that kind of translates into, you know, if you have the parts, you have to, you know, you have to have some skill to be able to replace them. It doesn't mean that you have to do it quick. It just means that you have to get the job done so you can get out. So tool kits are going to be different for an expedition vehicle versus a Jeep. You know, you have large suspension components. Like I carry a socket for the four link that is a Kelderman system on my vehicle. Well, I carry the correct sockets and wrenches to be able to service that. [00:32:00] Not that I'm expecting necessarily that a bushing is going to fail or this or that. Cause again, those are things that you drive slowly to a point that you can get further help because you're not jacking this thing up and doing, doing that in the middle of nowhere. But a bolt might come loose that you need to tighten and you can fix that before it becomes a problem. So you have to, you know, consider both for the, the coach, you know, the camper portion, the live in portion, and then the vehicle, what tools you're going to need to service. On modern vehicles, you know, there's, you know, OBD scanners, like I carry, I think it's like OBD like 2, and I have this app called four scan. And it allows me to have some.
Scott Brady: It's a terrible name.
Matt Scott: I know. It allows me to have some basic functionality that, you know, the Ford diagnostics would have. More than an OBD II reader. Less than the computer that [00:33:00] Ford has. You know, things like, uh, forcing a region of the diesel particulate filter. I want to be able to do that.
Scott Brady: So you can regen it when you want to not when you're climbing some big hill or whatever. Yeah.
Matt Scott: Yeah, and there's some tuners that give you that functionality you know so like I have a Banks gauge in mine and I think that's the best thing that I could recommend any of these trucks because they're They're gonna be running towards the the higher end of their gross vehicle weight rating.
Scott Brady: Yeah, your earth roamer weighs 19,000 pounds.
Matt Scott: Yeah, I mean it depends on what is in there, you know, mine has 117 gallons of fresh water. That's, that's a lot. You know, that's half a ton of water.
Scott Brady: But you also did a good job recently of, you had this extra storage box on the back and a bunch of extra things and you pulled all that off.
Matt Scott: I pulled all that off. [00:34:00]
Scott Brady: You had to have saved hundreds of pounds.
Matt Scott: Hundreds of pounds. And I, and I also went through and kind of optimized that spares package. For me, after having the traumatic event with the engine right after getting it, I carried a lot of things that I didn't need. You know, but pair some of that back based on experience. Like if I, and also I kind of make my, make things modular now. Like I've found that these Pelican 1550 cases, yes, they're a little bit heavier, but they, they fit in the space really well. So I have one that is like, you know, that I'm building, that is my big trip kit. Like if I'm driving to the Arctic Ocean again, there's things that I would take with me that would be different.
Scott Brady: Or maybe you're going down to Baja or whatever.
Matt Scott: Or a place where, you know, serviceability is going to be more of a challenge. You know, don't be afraid to, to kind of segment your kit. [00:35:00] You know, I always carry a belt. Because that's a no start condition. On my truck I carry a, I do carry a fuel pump. Not that they're necessarily known for going out. But if they do, the truck's dead in the water. And I have decided to allocate the space for that. So, you know, to kind of wrap it up, you know, carry the tools that you need to service your vehicle. Likely the, the, the bolt, the size of the bolt that holds your control arm on for a Jeep and the one that is on a medium or heavy duty truck chassis, they're going to be different sizes. You know, try and work with that kit when you're at home. So you have that process of elimination.
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Scott Brady: I remember there was, early on in Earth Roamer, they had a client, I won't name names, but he was a very wealthy Australian that drove an Earth Roamer around the world. And he was in Mongolia when there was a problem with the Ford. know, either the engine or the turbo or something like that. And the only way around it, cause there was no way to move the vehicle safely from where it was at. So he had to just coordinate getting a Ford technician, all the parts, flying them into Mongolia. Probably getting in a Land Cruiser, driving to the vehicle and doing this major repair to the Ford in the middle of Mongolia. [00:37:00]
Matt Scott: That would not have been cheap. But you do have to consider that if you are going to be taking one of these vehicles to very remote places, that that is a possibility. You know, that's why going with, you know, let's, let's maybe transition from, from this to, there's a lot of DIY guys. So let's talk about, you know, let's use the, as an example, there's, I mean, there's so many chassis, there's the LMTV, there's these man chest. I mean, there's, there's a lot out there and you primarily see this with European travelers because. For whatever reason, there's just a lot of very applicable vehicles there. And there's a much larger expedition vehicle scene.
Scott Brady: Yeah, go to Aventura and all red. Yeah, it's incredible.
Matt Scott: Yeah, exactly.
Scott Brady: Go look at a Unicat in person. It's just awe inspiring, you know?
Matt Scott: So let's just talk about the guy that buys the ex military Unimog and, you know, builds their own camper. I think that stuff's great. Like those are the people that I totally see traveling.
Scott Brady: Yeah, there's a lot of that [00:38:00] out there.
Matt Scott: You know, there's a lot of guys that really do use their earth roams and their earth cruisers and, you know, and other, and other vehicles. I, I feel bad to keep, you know, defaulting to Earth, roamer and Earth Cruiser, but they're just, in the US they are, the, the lions share volume.
Scott Brady: Yeah. They, they just have big volume.
Matt Scott: They've been around longer.
Scott Brady: They’re big, and they have big volume, yeah.
Matt Scott: You know, but the, the DIY guys. I love cause they're, they're, you know, they'll get their box from total composites or box manufacturer and they really know these vehicles because they've built them and there's a huge advantage to knowing the systems. The downsides is maybe the guy that's installing the heater or the electrical system or whatever is doing the best that he can, but you know, maybe isn't, a professional electrical engineer or, or something. So you know, if you're listening to this and it's like, Oh, an earth roamer or earth cruiser or [00:39:00] GXV adrenaline, you know, all of these things are not in the financial budget, which is just a reality. There are a lot of options for building your own, like quite affordably, like you can, you know, affordability is relative to this space. It is. Inherently expensive. Like there's no way of getting around the fact that you're going to have to buy very expensive lithium batteries and all of these components.
Scott Brady: But you can, you can find a Mitsubishi Fuso FG, let's call it 10 years old, which will be pre def pre all that stuff. You can find those in the 30,000 range here in the United States. And then you basically, you build a, and there, there are, there's like total composites out of Canada that builds boxes, very affordable. They're unfinished on the inside. So now you've got a proven global platform for 30,000 bucks. The box [00:40:00] is going to cost you less than that unfinished, but it's ready to be bolted on to the chassis rails. And then you take the time to do it all yourself so that you know where every wire is, you know, you know, watch YouTube, learn how to set these things up and go with well proven components. Put less stuff in the truck than you think you need. And the next thing you know, you're off. You're off doing it yourself.
Matt Scott: Yeah, it's very important for me to stress that this is not just a club for guys that are dropping half a million or a million dollars on these vehicles I think the heart and soul of the expedition community are the DIY guys. I mean like frankly that is who I see traveling internationally using these vehicles as intended the most bar none. Yeah, you know, an earthroamer leaving the U. S. happens, but generally, generally it is the exception. Yeah, there are just so many, you know, honestly, people my age in Europe [00:41:00] that are building their mogs or, or whatever, or they buy a chassis, modify the chassis. And this is like where bliss mobile comes in. And I think that bliss mobile is really cool is you buy this box like, some really dear friends of ours, Cullen and Candy, actually bought Bliss Mobile box and they bought a truck through Bliss Mobile. They're, they're, they live in Arizona. They keep it in Europe and they do all these, one, they do all these cool Bliss Mobile trips with other owners and there's good camaraderie, but they will be able to, you know, sell that truck off, keep their box. Ship it to bliss mobile in the United States. Have Spencer Park, put it on a Ram or put it on, you know, one of the, you know, an Acela truck or something. And they're big assets. Is all pretty much self-contained and that's.
Scott Brady: It still has their, their pots and pans.
Matt Scott: And it still has their pots and Exactly. It's got their own stuff in there. They just move the box and then you [00:42:00] don't have to, there's no temporary import. There's no carne. You're just bringing the box in.
Matt Scott: That's your asset. There's no, there's no emissions regulation.
Scott Brady: Nothing.
Matt Scott: Any of that stuff. Now, the thing you have to. But you do have to notice that there's different voltages. So with these campers, with these expedition vehicles, much like an RV, you have shore power. So you have a 110 based system, like either a 30 or 50 amp. Most of these are 30 amps and then you're going to, you know, higher voltage, 220, 240. So you know, one of the things that I'm currently researching, like I would love to ship ours to Iceland. And then, put it on a ferry and then do, the Scandinavian Nordic countries. How do I, how do I charge it now when you're moving every day? That's not really.
Scott Brady: I think there's actually converters.
Matt Scott: There are, but there's not a lot of information on that. So if anybody's actually figured out a solution for that, that's actually reliable and isn't, yeh.
Scott Brady: Isn't gigantic. [00:43:00]
Matt Scott: Gigantic. You know, that's interesting to think, but you know, there are these options. And it's actually really cool that Bliss Mobile's in the US now because super cool. They're, they're very reputable. They actually, and I want to give a shout out to them. They have a, I wanna say it's an eight or a 10 foot box that can go, they're, they're partnering with AEV to build trucks for this small, this new small box size. I mean, if that was.
Scott Brady: Imagine that.
Matt Scott: If that was out when I, when we bought our earth roamer, it would be. Really hard to not have a brand new, cuz basically the newer chassis you can get the more reliable, personally I believe that they've become, the faster they are, the better the braking, you know, they're just nicer inside too.
Scott Brady: You know, a new vehicle. I mean, I think a, a lot of people misunderstand that if you, if you have a 30 year old 80 series Land Cruiser, which. When it was new was one of the [00:44:00] most reliable vehicles ever made. But a 30 year old 80 series land cruiser is no more reliable or less reliable than a new land Rover. I mean, it's just the reality, having a new car with new belts, new, like all the new systems, it's going to be more reliable than an old car.
Matt Scott: There's a lot of things that, you know, and this is maybe again, going back to the guys that are looking at doing this from a DIY level is. You know, if you find the Unimog, the LMTV, whatever chassis you're choosing, a lot of times these are ex military and there's this idea, oh yeah, well they're, they're well maintained. Sometimes. Yes. And sometimes you can find them with shockingly low miles or kilometers on them. But the oil seals don't care. You know, the, there's a lot of components that will time out.
Scott Brady: Anything rubber.
Matt Scott: Anything rubber. It's it's time related not necessarily mileage related for sure. So not saying that it's not a good idea You can get a [00:45:00] lot of bang for your buck, but you have to you then have to prepare for having the rear main seal for you know an obscure unimog engine that In the United States, we don't get.
Scott Brady: That's why I, I keep coming back to that Mitsubishi Fuso FG, like 10 year old, it's going to be pre deaf, no particulate field.
Matt Scott: They put a million miles on those.
Scott Brady: All day long, all day long. They, they're pretty good.
Matt Scott: Yeah. So, you know, recovery also changes from the kind of recreational four wheel drive side to the expedition vehicle side. You know, I've got a lot of Maxtrax because that's my gig, but I carry eight because one of the things that I'm most worried about, like, I think if I'm going to get stuck in an expedition vehicle, I, I'm probably aware that there's a risk. But the things that you don't think of are, it rains overnight, you're in a field and [00:46:00] that much weight. Like the roads give way, you know, a lot of the you know, there was the Unimog, which I think was a GXV and big bend that, you know, had to have a helicopter come and, you know, bring it up. You know, I, I'm not going to comment on driver error or anything there, but the fact is the road gave way. There was recently an earth roamer, that was a big recovery thing that was on Instagram road gave way. You have to, you know, not only in the recovery scenario, but how you drive them, you have to give yourself more room. You don't want to put your, you know, your tire on wet soil on a shelf road at the very end. And you have to, you should have the training to get yourself out of some of these situations. You know, a lot of these vehicles will have front and rear winches, but they're only as good as your training. You know, most likely, like I have, [00:47:00] you know, I'm not saying it's the largest winch that Warren offers, but I have a Warren 16 five on the front of my vehicle. The chassis is rated for 19.5. Generally you want 50% more, but it's just not really available. So I have to.
Scott Brady: Lots of pulley blocks.
Matt Scott: Pulley blocks, and knowing how to do those things. That's where I really liked the max track stuff because if you're on unstable ground, you have something that you can winch up onto to at least stabilize the situation. Cause if the road gave way once, there's a, there's a strong likelihood that it could give way more as you move. You know, so building a kit that is appropriately sized to the weight of the vehicle and that may, you know, that means that the great recovery gear that you've invested in for your jeep, it's not going to work over here.
Scott Brady: It's not. And you may want to have another expedition vehicle with you. You may want to travel with a buddy, which is why.
Matt Scott: I do see [00:48:00] technical stuff.
Scott Brady: Yeah. That's why anytime we really pushed it with the earth roamers, we made sure we had a couple of them along because you know, it doesn't matter how capable a Wrangler is. It weighs one third what an earthworm would weigh. This is not going to pull it out.
Matt Scott: You know, you're just going to be trying to get an elephant to move on a leash.
Scott Brady: It's just not going to work.
Matt Scott: It's not going.
Scott Brady: Yeah, definitely recovery. comes to mind and being, being very cautious. I like the idea of someone putting, an e bike on the back of their earth roamer or earth cruiser, take your pick, having something like that that becomes your scout vehicle. I have used drones a lot with expedition vehicles where I'm.
Matt Scott: We just got one.
Scott Brady: Where I'm flying ahead and I'm looking at the terrain. Is this going to put me along a shelf road? Particularly on shelf roads. I like to go ahead and make sure that, okay, I get, this is the next place I can turn around. I come back, I drive to that place and I stop again. And I confirm [00:49:00] because, and also it gives the chance to run into people coming the other direction and just be like, is there any way you could stop here for about 15 minutes until I, Make it to this clearing so you can come around me. Because if you run into, if you're, if you're the one that's coming downhill, you should be giving way to whoever's coming back, who's going uphill. And are you going to back an earth roam or a earth cruiser or a GXV up a shelf road? That's very, very challenging. So I think having a, having a little e bike or having a small dirt bike.
Matt Scott: Or bicycle or whatever.
Scott Brady: Bicycle, whatever turns you on.
Matt Scott: And to build on that, recognizing, That the consequences are different in the same way that you maybe need to carry some additional spares that you wouldn't in a jeep. Your mindset cannot be the same as if you were in a jeep. You have to adjust your risk level because the consequences become much higher, much, much quicker. You know, [00:50:00] simple situation, like you're, you're saying shelf red, somebody's coming down the hill. You know, you can't just kind of pull up on the bank and let them buy. It's, you know, some of these vehicles aren't maybe as wide as people think. You know, like I know on my room or the mirrors are still the same width as a Ford pickup truck. And they still stick out further. There's a, there is some mental game there. But you have to, you have to consider those things.
Scott Brady: But again, like you said, you get, you have to give them some room. So you're now, you're getting right up to the edge of the shelf road, which could give way because of the weight of the vehicle. You know, a thousand jeeps came through there before that then, and the road never gave way because they didn't weigh 18, 000 pounds. So I do think it requires a mindset change to say, I have my house with me. Why am I in a rush? If I've got my house with me, I'm going to take my time. I'm going to stage here. I'm going to verify that the route ahead is safe. I'm going to use multiple [00:51:00] communication devices and navigation tools to make good choices. And because anytime I've ever gotten in trouble with an expedition vehicle, it has always been because I'm like, Oh, it'll be fine. And I mean the one, the one platform that I found to be surprisingly nimble and, and really not an issue was a Unicat on a Unimog. So it was like a, like the four 16, isn't that right? It's the, it's the, it's kind of the, it's not the really old Unimog. It's not the brand new Unimog.
Matt Scott: Very boxy.
Scott Brady: like late eighties, early nineties. Unimog and it had a fairly small Unicat camper on the back of it and we were driving it around southern Africa and the stuff that we did with that was, I mean, it was a challenge for the land cruisers that were with us. This vehicle had no trouble. Lock all the diffs, 200 to one low range. It was incredible.
Matt Scott: And they're stable, port a laticles. Like it's, it's, you know, it's just bigger. And I think.
Scott Brady: It was short [00:52:00] wheelbase. It was fairly compact.
Matt Scott: So that's, that's one of the things to recognize is, do you have an expectation of doing the same trails that you have historically done in a pickup or a Jeep or whatever, like, is that, is that, are you trying to accomplish the same level of capability, but with more comfort that needs to dictate what vehicles you're purchasing? But most people, when they buy these, you know, it's an RV that is capable of extended dirt road travel. You need the larger tires, not only to look cool, but because you need the load carrying capacity of that tire. Like I, you know, on, on earth roamers and earth roamers actually run a unimog tire. It's a continental MPT 81. They are the best thing on that truck, but also the worst thing. They're rated to 68 mile an hour. If [00:53:00] you The truck will do a lot more than 68 But there's a lot of guys that they're on a you know stretch of pavement. They're not paying attention all of a sudden they're doing 80.
It's a hundred degrees out in Texas and the tires shred they blow up.
Scott Brady: Catastrophic.
Matt Scott: They're like, oh, I can't believe this. I'm like well, I can, cause you're, you're at the, you're at the extreme of what that tire can carry in terms of pressure and then you're exceeding the speed and it's hot and all these.
Scott Brady: 68 miles an hour. You're right. That's, that is as fast as you can drive an Earthroamer on MPTs. That's it.
Matt Scott: Yeah. I think with the new, there's like a 43 MPT that is like a 75 mile an hour rating, but you know, these tires have to carry, you know, you can't have. A dual rear tire on an off road vehicle because rocks, sticks, debris get stuck in the middle. It becomes an issue. Very quickly. So you're, you're currently right now, [00:54:00] you know, in the same way that like the limiting factor of a lot of travel trailers and toy haulers was what the vehicles could tow. You know, they've gotten bigger as the tow vehicles are higher performing. You know, the vehicles right now, if smart, have to be built to the capability of those tires. It's limited by that.
Scott Brady: And the MPTs are really good off road. They handle, they don't chunk. They don't, they rarely have flats. They're very, very durable. They're heavy duty military tires.
Matt Scott: You gotta keep them within their range though. Their range of design because, you know, particularly like the new like, again, to keep coming back to Earth Roamers, but the new LTIs, they're a little lighter, right, because they're carbon fiber composite camper, but they have more horsepower 10 speed transmission so they can just chug up stuff and go as fast as you really want. It doesn't mean that you actually can. You, again, you have to, [00:55:00] you know, you're driving a medium duty or, you know, or heavy duty commercial truck, no matter what you're doing. In any expedition vehicle, you are not building an expedition vehicle on an F 150. Like, there's that one company out of like, that has, God, what are they? Something north. That's building like these, I mean, technically they're an expedition vehicle, but they're putting them on an F 150. And they have like boat speakers on the back. The tires aren't there, you know, the chassis is not there. You're not building them on an LT truck. You're building them on a medium duty or heavy duty. And you have to adjust your mindset.
Scott Brady: Yeah. And to go off road. In technical terrain, particularly if you get into mud, you've got to have these MPTs, but then you have, you're capped on the speed. So if anybody listening that owns an earth roamer, check your speed right now, when you're going down the road, it's 68 miles an hour, you just need to slow down, go with the same [00:56:00] speed as the trucks just cruise along. Get into a slower speed. And just remember if anything goes wrong, if you have a blowout or a cow runs into the road or.
Matt Scott: It's always going to be better when you're going slower.
Scott Brady: You're going to be way better off having started off going slower.
Matt Scott: Yeah. I mean, a lot of these vehicles have pretty impressive braking systems. But once you're out of clamping pressure and those tires lock up, you're, you know, you're, you're, you're tire. At the end of the day, it's the tire that transfers the braking force to the ground. Once that tire locks up, even with ABS, there's still 20, 000 pounds to stop. You know, so, you know, in a lot of ways it's driving like you're towing something really heavy. You have to watch the temperatures.
Scott Brady: And then making sure that you put as much weight forward as you can. We'll all look at some of these vehicles and the backseat area will be completely empty. And then the back of the vehicle is overloaded with [00:57:00] all the really heavy stuff.
Matt Scott: I mean, it's shocking how many backseats are empty without a greyhound and expensive,
Scott Brady: But you got to move the weight forward because the rear tire is almost always the one that blows out.
Matt Scott: You know, I'm, you know, they're a large vehicle. So small changes are hard to notice, but by taking that rear case off. And, and that accomplished two things. One, it was the weight of the case that I removed. And then two, I moved things forward. You know.
Scott Brady: You probably removed things all together.
Matt Scott: I removed things all together, but I also moved, I shifted that weight forward closer to the axle. So you've got less of that pendulum effect on the back end. It's much better off road. It's easier, you know, you do notice 500 pounds, right?
Scott Brady: And your overall length is less.
Matt Scott: So, Let's talk about, actually, the campers for a second. You've kinda gotta be aware that things are going to break [00:58:00] inside of these campers. Like, I carry extra latches. You know, if you've got a bunch of pots and pans and something, you know, some of these campers will have, like, little magnetic latches that reinforce things. You need to carry latches. I carry a small thing of wood screws because, you know, when I first got it, we were maybe using it more off road than most. Although actually Kevin who owned mine did use it off road quite a bit. You know, latches would break. I have kind of like a small, I'm going to call it like coach kit that stays in the camper and it fixes things that are going to be problems inside. You know, so you do have to consider that. Like I keep my truck stuff outside. I keep my small little camper kit inside.
Scott Brady: Just, I mean, being, being careful about how much weight you put on the fridge door. That's a thing that a lot of people don't think about. Don't overload the spice cabinet with wine bottles. It's meant for spices, lightweight. Or else those [00:59:00] things fail. The other thing I noticed is that people will leave their water pumps on while they're traveling on dirt roads, which results in cavitation of the pump oftentimes because of the vibration. So shut those things, shut those things off when you're going down the road, make sure, give it a walk around outside and in, because it's shocking the number of times that people will pull away and the in the black water drain hose is still connected or or the charging or the charging hose or they set their coffee cup on the back bumper or whatever because they were in camp give the vehicle a complete walk around on the outside and then on inside pull on every cabinet make sure everything's closed and latched.
Matt Scott: Developing that kind of pre drive checklist
Scott Brady: Yes. You got to do it every time.
Matt Scott: I don't have a Yeah.
Scott Brady: I think you need to just walk around and look.
Matt Scott: You know what, let's start on, on that kind of, you know, preparation and it's always, you know, your vehicle is going to tell you things, on [01:00:00] commercial trucks, wheel bearings are more of a thing. So hub temperature. So when I start my checks when I get out of the vehicle, like every time I get fuel or I stop, I put my tire, my hand on the tire and I put my hand near the hub because if that wheel bearing is going, it's going to be creating a lot of heat. You check, you check things like that before we leave for, you know, whether we just had lunch or whatever. I go and I verify every latch is closed because if you're gonna, you know, it sounds so trivial, but if you are, you stop for lunch and you're on an extended off road trail or whatever, and you break a latch and you don't have a replacement like you either. The solution is that you then take the drawer out, put it on your bed or something. Because otherwise it's just going to sit there and it's, it's, that's how they really break as people forget to latch them or whatever.
Scott Brady: And they slam closed. I was on one trip and their [01:01:00] overhead cabinet wasn't latched. And I can't remember what it was, some kind of a pot or pan came out and it landed squarely on the induction cooktop. And it, damn it, it destroyed.
Matt Scott: And then you had glass everywhere.
Scott Brady: It had glass, there was glass everywhere inside and it destroyed the induction cooktop. So they had no way to cook. No way to cook. Yeah. So it's, if you just take an extra couple minutes to give it a very, now we should be doing that with every vehicle. And that, you know, I have a daily and a weekly check sheet that I do on every trip. But. It's even more important with these campers because you're literally going down the road with your house on the back. And I mean, some of these things actually have a washing machine. Yeah. Like it, like.
Matt Scott: Which I thought was ridiculous. And you know.
Scott Brady: Until you live on the road.
Matt Scott: Until you live on the road and you're like, Oh man, I just spent like two hours trying to find a place to do laundry and yeah, you know, cooking is a big thing to, you know, you're no longer in the realm of little butane [01:02:00] stoves. You can bring more, which means you can prepare more extravagant.
Scott Brady: Or healthy meals.
Matt Scott: Or healthy meals. Like, you know, it sounds silly. We almost exclusively cook in our instant pot. Now, it's a one pot. It's, I do the dishes and then Laura cooks cause.
Scott Brady: She's a great cook.
Matt Scott: She's a wonderful cook. Yeah, but that's one less thing for me to clean, which, you know, not every one of these vehicles has huge water storage. Or you may be trying to conserve water, like when we take it down to Baja, we're a little bit less, you know, we generally try and run on the water that we have because we know it comes from our house. And the unfortunate reality of traveling in some places is that the water isn't always.
Scott Brady: Or it's hard to get to a purified water station.
Matt Scott: Yeah, exactly. You know, it's, it's less to clean. It's, it's all, you know, self contained. It uses actually very little energy. It's once it heats up, it's just cooking on pressure. We're even thinking [01:03:00] about bringing like a little air fryer. We, we don't use the fact that we have a diesel burner and we have like a microwave.
Scott Brady: Convection oven thing.
Matt Scott: We have like never used those things because these, you know, there's so many like one pot meals that you can do in an instant pot.
Scott Brady: And then you can make french fries or whatever in the air fryer, make cookies in the air fryer.
Matt Scott: I mean, like we do, we use it at home a lot. You know, Laura has even made kind of like a little cookbook for Earthroamer recipes and it simplifies trying to figure out what you're doing. I mean, I, I'm sure most people can relate to this, but you're going out camping, whether it's with your buddies, your family or whatever. And you know how to grocery shop for home, but then you don't know how to grocery shop for camping. So having repeatability with the things that you're making or one of 20 to choose from. And cool. This is what I need for my list. That has been huge for [01:04:00] us. Yeah. It's, it's removed a pain point of, of travel. Cause you're going to grocery stores that you're not familiar with, whatever. Yeah. So.
Scott Brady: That's great advice. And, and on the interior layout, just making it as open and spacious and simple as possible is a great idea. I would never want to have an expedition vehicle that didn't have a shower and a toilet. Otherwise, what's the point?
Matt Scott: Yeah. I see some that don't, or, you know, one of my beefs with the, well, on any pop top is that you, when you're, when you're traveling, Assuming you're traveling with somebody for a while and you have to use the bathroom to do a number two, like, you don't want to like be sitting under this half wall, like, that's, that's one of the reasons why I like a hard sized camper.
Scott Brady: You want some privacy.
Matt Scott: Yeah, I, you know, if I have to go drop one, like, even if you're married to that person, like, you don't want to be making eye contact while you're doing it. You know, [01:05:00] so.
Scott Brady: It's, that's a good point though. I mean, and it's really, it depends on the person. Some, some couples, you know, maybe they hold hands while they do that. Who knows? But you just like for everybody, everybody has different needs and it's being really honest about what you need. And if one of your goals is to get to remote technical places, you're going to end up with a, you should get a much smaller camper. If you just really want a, an all wheel drive RV, then get something big because you might as well have the washing machine in there, you know, if you can afford it. I mean, really it's being, I think, honest about what you want, because unfortunately a lot of these expedition vehicles. Decisions are made around how it reflects the ego as opposed to how it reflects the traveler's needs. Your ego is going to get a bump no matter what. So just let that part of it go because you're going to be driving something super cool no matter what version.
Matt Scott: They're all pretty cool.
Scott Brady: They're all super cool. So no matter what version you get, and the problem is, is like spending 2 million on a [01:06:00] camper. Like no one knows. No one can even relate to that. So it's really about buying what you need, that really meets your needs.
Matt Scott: I, you know, I don't want to like disparage the company or anything, but like a lot of the, like GXV guys that do these very extravagant builds, like they, they're at Overland Expo and then they're just off into the ether. Like you never hear of or see these people traveling because I think, you know, they're, they're obviously very expensive. So. I always correlate the ability to afford something with probably being, you know, fairly busy. And it's like it's this project. It's like they're building their boat, but then they realize, I didn't really need the party deck on top of my camper. You know, like, that's the worst place to put weight on one of these vehicles. You know, spend some time in one, you know, unfortunately, it's really hard to rent these because the like, [01:07:00] I get people that ask me, will you rent your earth from or for a week or whatever? I'm like, absolutely not.
Scott Brady: Not a number that works.
Matt Scott: If you just get somebody that doesn't know what they're doing and they're going up a hill and they just have the thing, you know, pegged going up, you know, a large grade, like you could blow the motor on it. You know they don't latch the latches, cause that's, you know, it's just new, I'm not saying it's negligence, but they just don't know. And then, oh well, you know, you gotta get a woodworker in or something. So it's, it's hard to know, but, but generally I think, go with the smallest camper and the least amount of stuff that keeps you comfortable. Like, it is all, like, being able to be inside of something that is, you know, kind of climate controlled, that is the luxury. You don't need the, you know a rare Grecian marble backsplash.
Scott Brady: Yeah, you really don't.
Matt Scott: You don't need the, you know, whatever some of these extravagant things are.
Scott Brady: And really consider this.
Matt Scott: You get people that want, like, [01:08:00] bathtubs. I know. And I'm like... It takes a hundred gallons of water to do a bathtub. Like buy a Class A.
Scott Brady: True. It's so true. It's so, and then being a campsite where you're plugged into city water and you can have all the things you want. And I think there's a lot of, of importance around if you have the resources, getting the serialized unit, because you're going to end up with a better experience, better serviceability, better reliability, but you're also going to gain back a bunch of time. A good friend of mine built a custom expedition camper. He was not. Resource constrained, but he decided he wanted to do it his way and it took him almost two years to build the vehicle and I asked him what of, of any regrets that he had, he said, my number one regret is that I didn't just buy an earth roamer and leave and so fill in their earth cruiser and leave, you know, adrenaline camper and leave, like buy something, That is a serialized unit that has a high degree of [01:09:00] reliability. That's been well proven and then go, we only have so much time. And it was his number one regret is that he got exactly the vehicle that he wanted with all of the gadgets, all of the custom bumpers and suspension and all that other stuff. But he said, he said, I lost two years of experiences.
Matt Scott: And you can, you can try and, uh, you know, optimize as much as you want, but. Like, the, the, the reality is that hotels exist. Like if you, you know, rather than getting something that's like massive, massive, like, I don't think they're making that earth room or HD anymore. I think it was just too big.
Scott Brady: It's too big.
Matt Scott: Too much stuff, you know, like if you need, if you need the washer and dryer or this or this, and you're going to, you have the, you have the coin to drop a million, 2 million on something, you know, presumably then you have the coin to just stay at a nice hotel and stay dry clean this or, or whatever, like, I know that's not like the ethos of traveling and what we like to promote, but you know. [01:10:00]
Scott Brady: There's nothing wrong with that.
Matt Scott: You can still stay in. If you're after absolute comfort, you know, like at least once a week, we stay in a hotel when we're doing extended travels because living in a small box with another person, it's still like living in a small box with another person. Like, you know, I want to go have a drink at the hotel.
Scott Brady: Despite what the back splash is made out of.
Matt Scott: Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. You know, so be realistic and, you know, try and get something that's a small, like the earth roamers that I always look at with envy are the, they're, they have like the suicide door on the back.
Scott Brady: They're the extended cab.
Matt Scott: The extended cab that are the LTs. I always look at those with a lot of envy, but then I'm like, okay, like that would be great for like more off road. Like I would love to drive one of those to South America. They don't make them anymore, but in reality, I need the full backseat for the dog. [01:11:00] And there's three of us in this space that from the outside looks really big, but on the inside isn't actually that huge. And. It was worth it to have the two feet. So I'm really happy with that.
Scott Brady: You are happy, and look at how long you've kept the vehicle. It's literally met all of your needs, and I think that that's the key is you bought, there's a reason why they sell so many Earth Roamers is because they are kind of dialed. It's the same reason why they sell so many Earth Cruisers. They are, they're, they're, they're dialed. I lived in one. I lived in one for weeks and weeks and weeks, and I loved it. Yeah. I absolutely loved it.
Matt Scott: They're really good. And you know, there are a lot of, you know, these things are very expensive. There's just no way of beating around the bush with that.
Scott Brady: But everything's expensive.
Matt Scott: Yeah. Everything, everything has become expensive. Yeah, there are options that [01:12:00] are out there now that are comparable in size and functionality that are becoming more affordable. Again, like somebody's like, Oh, well that's still more than my house. Like, yeah, that's an expensive space. Like that's why the core of it is, and the soul of it to me is still like the DIY guys that are building their own campers.
Scott Brady: And there's a lot of them out there.
Matt Scott: And there's a lot, but you know, adrenaline has come out with something that's really attractive. The adventure trucks, XT, which is kind of a sub of GXV. They were acquired by, the group behind Storyteller. You know, there, there are options and in this space these days. And I think it's going to be really cool to see where it goes. Cause I see so much interest in it. I really see this kind of, it was like this progression of, you know, they start with the ground tent, they go to the roof tent, they go to the hard shell tent, maybe a truck camper or a wedge camper. And then it's van, you know, as people's families grow, as you get older and you want a little bit more comfort, [01:13:00] it seems like this is a segment of the industry that will continue to grow. And as it does, it will become more competitive and there should be more, more options available for different price ranges. And, you know, once we start seeing vehicles like this at RV dealers, and even Earth Roamer and Earth Cruiser now, you can finance them, you know.
Scott Brady: Finances a 20 year RV loan.
Matt Scott: Yeah, you know, some of them you can finance as equipment to kind of keep your cash, you know, making money. You know, and if you like. We could still sell ours for more than we paid for it. That's not always going to be the case. But with some of these vehicles, when you start, you know, you're in these financial circles, they don't want to wait the year so you can use yours. And if it's in, you know, kind of like new condition, maybe you put 10, 15, 000 miles onto it, you're probably selling it for what you bought [01:14:00] it for. Yeah, that's where we're at currently. You know, it's not financial advice, but there's been a lot of people I know that have. I've, you know, gotten a new earth from her every year or two, and we know a lot of these guys and, you know, it just keeps waterfall and cascading over, you know, so.
Scott Brady: And Expedition vehicles are a comfortable way to travel. If you want to be on the road for a long period of time, it's kind of nice to have your space. Despite the weather, it could be minus 20 out or whatever, there's reasons why they're popular and they are popular globally. They're probably the most popular in Germany and in.
Matt Scott: Germany has such a huge scene. Germany, Switzerland, Austria. Yeah, very, very popular there. So it'll be interesting to see where this goes. I geek out on this stuff. So if anybody has any questions, you know, reach out to me on Instagram. It's just Matt Explorer.
Scott Brady: All right. So there, there are some really great [01:15:00] books out there. This one, those that are on the YouTubes that you can see it. This one is, is written by Ulrich Dolde and this is not in English, but you can buy an electronic version that isn't English. It was translated.
Matt Scott: It's called Vonmobile.
Scott Brady: Vonmobile. And it is, it's kind of the Bible of expedition vehicles.
Matt Scott: I didn't even know about this one.
Scott Brady: Yeah, so that one's, that one's kind of insane. And then there's actually, like, like we all grew up with Haynes manuals. Believe it or not, there is actually, actually an Overland Camper.
Matt Scott: It's, it's really big in Europe.
Scott Brady: Yeah, so there's a, there's a Haynes manual, Overland Camper, by Mr. Wigglesworth.
Matt Scott: Oh my god, his name.
Scott Brady: Literally, Steve, Steve Wigglesworth. I don't know Steve. You have an amazing last name. And then this one here, when it comes to driving expedition vehicles off road, [01:16:00] this, this book here is incredibly valuable. It has English and German. Captions, but it talks a lot about technique in driving these really large expedition vehicles and campers off road. So this one's really important because there is some adjustments to how they need to be driven.
Matt Scott: I didn't even know about this.
Scott Brady: Yeah, there we go.
Matt Scott: Yeah. So Unimog Geländefahrstühle. So just, Unimog off road driving school. So, Gisbert.
Scott Brady: Yeah, so there's, but I think for the DIY, you really want to try to find the Ulrich Dolde book. I believe that Michael Braley is going to be your contact on that out of Germany. If you go to, I think they're overland Europe.
Matt Scott: Wow. This really dives in.
Scott Brady: Yeah. So that one, that one's really, really nuanced and it's also [01:17:00] very current. So these books oftentimes around building campers have an expiration date because the systems change, change so often, but this book is only maybe a year old. So it's, it's very cool. It's very current and extremely detailed and you can get an English version, that's been translated, so.
Matt Scott: Very cool.
Scott Brady: A lot of resources out there. Of course, there's a lot of conversations on expedition portal forum around expedition camper DIY builds. There's a huge community.
Matt Scott: That’s where I've gotten most of my information.
Scott Brady: There's a lot of community activities still around that, but there's some good Facebook groups to Matt has offered to answer all of your questions via Instagram DM. So.
Matt Scott: As many as I can. And there's also a lot of people, you know, that I follow that are in the process of building their trucks that you can follow on Instagram.
So you can see what they're doing, how they're doing it. And maybe that's your first step is it's just some.
Scott Brady: That's right. [01:18:00] That's right. So consider an expedition vehicle. And if you build your own, we would love to see a picture of it. You can post it up at a future date. And we thank you all for listening and we'll talk to you next time.