Home » The Overlanding Mad Scientists At EarthCruiser Want To Make A Slide-In Camper For Electric Trucks

The Overlanding Mad Scientists At EarthCruiser Want To Make A Slide-In Camper For Electric Trucks

Earthcruiser Camper Topshot

It seems like every other month, someone announces plans for an EV-focused slide-in truck camper. It’s a great idea given the popularity of overlanding and the advent of electric trucks, but most of these camper concepts appear to be nothing more than hopes, dreams, and domain names. As such, it feels about time that an established company like EarthCruiser stepped up to the plate.

Earthcruiser Core Double Cab Front Three Quarters

In case you aren’t familiar with EarthCruiser, this Oregon-based outfit normally specializes in building insane overlanding RV rigs and 4×4 cab-over trucks that I’ve covered before. Pretty much every little kid wants to drive a big truck at some point, and EarthCruiser’s normal fare gives off a Tonka-like feel. However, six-figure rigs aren’t exactly mass-market products, so the firm is branching out to something a little more practical.

With a sudden influx of electric and hybrid trucks on the market, EarthCruiser is looking to capitalize on the EV overlanding trend. Thankfully, this isn’t some sort of Cybertruck camper grift, but instead a slide-in camper for trucks like the Rivian R1T and Ford F-150 Lightning — you know, vehicles that actually exist on the mass market.

EarthCruiser Render Slide In Rear

As of right now, EarthCruiser is fairly mum on details, but here’s what we know. The company says its slide-in camper will be lightweight, aerodynamically-efficient, and integrate with each vehicle’s hardware. Those are some fairly sensible goals, and I’m looking forward to seeing how EarthCruiser achieves them. Weight and drag are two of the biggest killers of EV range, so a slide-in camper that’s lighter and slipperier than a trailer should help mitigate frequent charging stops. In addition, integrating with modern trucks’ hardware should mean taking advantage of the variety of onboard power points on offer. Imagine running a refrigerator or climate control off of an F-150 Lightning’s built-in 240-volt socket.

From the renders, it’s easy to see that EarthCruiser is going for a pop-up design, likely to minimize frontal area while still allowing enough space for a sleeping area. The Rivian R1T in the renders has a bed length of just 4.5 feet, so packaging a sleeping area up top feels like a sound concept. In addition, EarthCruiser is using a nicely chamfered hard-side design that should allow for good interior room while still maintaining a compact profile. Overall, there’s lots to like here. I reckon that EarthCruiser will have a home run on its hands should an actual production model look like this.

EarthCruiser Sketch Render 1

Of course, just because a product doesn’t exist yet doesn’t mean that a company can’t seek deposits (deposits on vaporware seems to be the trend nowadays). While it remains to be seen if EarthCruiser can drum up many $100 deposits, I have a feeling that the show will go on regardless. It’s not like this is a company that came out of nowhere with no proof of manufacturing expertise. A quick glance at the website shows a field for what truck you’d like to fit the camper to, so I could see this whole deposit thing being a useful exercise in market research. Either way, EarthCruiser claims that more details on the slide-in camper will be available later in 2023, so watch this space.

(Photo credits: EarthCruiser)

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25 Responses

  1. Looking at that advertisement for the EarthCruiser in the snow and talking about EV overlanding reminds me of Captain Robert Falcon Scott, who was a British Royal Navy officer and explorer who led two expeditions to the Antarctic regions: the second one was fatal when he ran out of fuel and food on his return trip just some 11 miles short of a large depot of food and supplies; the “One Ton Depot”.

    From the article above, “Weight and drag are two of the biggest killers of EV range… Let me add, “cold as the third killer. Some recent reporting has shown range drops of almost 50% in, shall we say, “typical Canadian winter temperatures”.

    So unless you are overlanding in Asbury Park in New Jersey or take along a bunch of sled dogs and a giant hamster wheel for them hooked up to a generator I can’t see this concept ever working out very well.

    So, unless

    1. Four wheel camper use to have a model for blazers that replaced the back cap and offered a big opening between the front seats and the camper. The midgate might allow something similar

      1. Your comment made me go look. They still make campers similar to the one you described for the Blazer that fit current Wranglers and Broncos. If my Bronco reservation hadn’t been delayed beyond all reason, I’d probably be lobbying to get one.

        Also, I came across a 1978 Bronco with the pop up camper on it, and it looks stunning, complete with all the 70’s striping on the truck and echoed on the camper. There’s a new automotive dream for me.

  2. While well-written and interesting, there are 3 problems with this article.
    These are not products. They are ideas, speculation, and a couple of illustrations.
    It is unclear if EV Overlanding is actually a “trend” or too compromised by range issues.
    It seems a bit like a paid advertisement.

  3. So, take the EV, add weight and drag, then hook up more electric draw.

    Where are you overlanding to, a charging station?

    Plus the 4.5 foot bed is about as long as any of these trucks currently get. If you have 2 people in the camper you’ll have to open the door to have enough room to scratch your ass.

    1. Perhaps they include a very long electric cable /s

      I just can’t see EV overlanding vehicles going off road / forest service roads. It is one of the use cases that diesel hybrid makes a bit more sense.

    1. There’s trade off though. A slide out can be left at the campsite while a van or SUV means your bringing your whole camp with you. The idea that one is better than the other, just because of access while driving, seems somewhat narrow minded, but I guess that’s what matters to you.

      1. More importantly to me, the slide-in can be taken out when your not using it, leaving you a useful truck when you aren’t camping. A camper van is kind of a 1 trick poney. If you already own a truck for other reasons, adding a slide in is a much cheaper option that a dedicated camper van.

    2. Same problems with trailers. Most of them have limited access. The slides cannot bear weight.

      A Class C or Class A slide out is different is designed to be walked on. Though you have may have to the side shuffle to move around 🙂

  4. This is probably the worst use case imaginable for BEVs. Also I’m so sick of seeing renderings with specs. Renderings are meant to convey design and nothing more.

    ^ that’s more targeted at the articles I see like “some dude crams a 9 million horsepower Bugatti w16 into a 2nd gen Camaro!…

    … In this rendering where they didn’t even model an engine”

  5. It’s a stupid idea. Mainly because all current electric trucks have 6ft> long beds which means you need something that goes over the cab or that sticks out further than the bed in order to sleep your average male comfortably. Both options are bad for aero and practicality. Considering BEVs have a hard enough time as it is with cold weather cutting range in half and range loss due to battery degradation worsening aero drastically gets rid of what little practicality one of these setups would offer.

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