It quickly becomes apparent after surveying the hundreds of vehicles at the Overland Expo that overland rigs come in all shapes and sizes. At the show, you’ll see everything from motorcycles, Land Rovers, and Jeeps to Power Wagons, Unimogs, and EarthRoamers. You’ll also see all types of shelter popular with overlanders, including tents, teardrops, pop-top trailers, slide-in truck campers, and expedition campers. Even though the vast majority of overland vehicles at the show are Jeeps and FJ-Cruisers equipped with rooftop tents, you’ll still see a good number of trucks hauling detachable and permanently mounted truck campers. While some media outlets cover slide-in truck campers only, not here at Truck Camper Adventure, we cover them all. For this article, we toured dozens of rigs and ranked the best in a way that is fun, while at the same time providing key information about each. As you can imagine ranking these was difficult. We looked at several criteria when ranking these rigs, including off-road capability, tank capacities, amenities, overall cost and value, and coolness factor. So without further adieu, here are the Best Expedition Campers of the 2018 Overland Expo.
1. Global Expedition Vehicles Adventure Truck
An overland expedition rig doesn’t need to be big to be great, the Adventure Truck by Global Expediton Vehicles (GXV) provides ample evidence of this fact. What makes this drool-worthy rig somewhat unique in the expedition marketplace is that its engineered to fit in a small 21.5 feet long by 89 inch wide footprint. When ordering an Adventure Truck, customers have three single cab 4×4 chassis from which to choose: a Ram 5500, a Ford F-550, or a Mitsubishi Fuso FG. Outside, the rig features an integrated rear spare tire mount, a roof-rack, five exterior storage compartments, Seitz windows, and an aluminum two-step, entry system. Inside, you’ll find a modern-looking interior that includes a well-equipped galley, a large 40×32 wet-bath, a 54×80 sleeping area, and a large 87×24 dinette. Highlights include an electric induction cooktop, a Vitrifrigo 3.2 cubic foot DC compressor refrigerator with a 1.4 cubic foot freezer, a Thetford cassette toilet, and a stainless steel sink. As you’d expect from GXV, the electrical system in the Adventure Truck is first-rate and comes with two 270 amp hour AGM batteries, a 400 watt solar power system with a Mastervolt MPPT charge controller, and a Mastervolt Mass-Combi 120 volt inverter-charger. The tank capacities are just as impressive with 60 gallons of fresh water and 20 gallons of grey. The base price for the GXV Adventure Truck is $198,000.
2. FWC Hawk and Ram Power Wagon Truck Camper Rig
Without a doubt, one of the Top 4×4 Extreme Campers of the 2018 Overland Expo. The Ram Power Wagon is considered by many to be the ultimate off-road 4×4 truck. Pair it with the equally capable Four Wheel Camper Hawk, and you got yourself one helluva truck camper rig. The Power Wagon features an “Articulink” front suspension, a 2-inch body lift, a five-link coil rear suspension, locking differentials on both axles, a Warn winch, Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac 33-inch AT tires, under-chassis armor, and an electronic disconnecting front sway bar. Even the truck’s 6.4L HEMI V-8 engine—which produces 410 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and a peak torque rating of 429 pound-feet at 4,000 rpm—has been specially calibrated to increase rpm’s during low-speed, 4×4 travel. With a floor length of 6.5 feet and a dry weight of only 1,075 pounds, the Four Wheel Camper Hawk matches well with the Power Wagon. It features an east-west queen-size bed, a 20-gallon fresh water tank, a small kitchenette, a group-27 battery, two 10-pound propane tanks, and a three-piece portable dinette. Like all Four Wheel Campers, the Hawk features an aluminum flex-frame for extreme off-roading, fully insulated walls and roof, a one-piece aluminum roof, and an excellent proprietary tie-down system to keep the camper firmly in place when climbing steep inclines. It can even be ordered in fire engine red for extra pop. The lowest priced rig in this list, the Hawk is priced at a very affordable $17,995, while a 2018 Ram Power Wagon will set you back about $52,000 starting.
3. Aaron Wirth’s Lance 825 Overland Adventure Rig
If you’re interested in building a great overland expedition truck camper rig using a hard-side slide-in, Aaron Wirth showed everyone how with this “sweet, low-budget EarthRoamer” built around the very capable Lance 825. Every great rig starts with a great truck and in this all-important decision, Aaron chose well by going with a 2016 Ram 3500 4×4 Cummins chassis tricked out with size 37 Falken Wildpark M/T tires. The key component that makes this build work so well is the custom aluminum flatbed. Manufactured by Highway Products, the flatbed features nine storage compartments, a custom tie-down system designed by Sherp-Tek, and a very accessible spare tire mount located behind the cab of the truck. Functionality aside, the heart and soul of this rig is the Lance 825, a durable, short-bed truck camper that weighs only 1,837 pounds dry. The floor plan of the Lance 825 includes a north-south queen size bed, a full-size dinette, a well-equipped kitchenette, a large wardrobe, and a small wet-bath with a shower. The camper comes with 36 gallons of fresh water (including the 6-gallon water heater), a 13-gallon grey water tank, and a 14-gallon black water holding tank. In order to extend his time off-grid, Aaron ripped out the OEM battery enclosure and built a special vented battery box large enough to house two large group-31 batteries, and equipped the rig with a 420 watt Zamp solar power system. For everything, Aaron spent $170,000, considerably less than an EarthRoamer.
4. EarthCruiser EXP Anniversary Model
Easily, one of the Top 4×4 Extreme Campers of the 2018 Overland Expo. Designed by EarthCruiser founder, Lance Gillies, the EXP is one of the finest, most capable expedition rigs in today’s marketplace. For the EXP, it all begins with a Mitsubishi Fuso FG 4×4 chassis powered by the 3.0L I-4 turbo diesel. Why a Fuso and not a Ford F-550 or a Ram 5500? Two reasons. One, because it fits in a standard shipping container that can be shipped by boat anywhere on the planet. Two, because the Fuso, through Mercedes-Benz, is sold and serviced in over 70 countries worldwide, so if a problem with the truck were to ever arise, it can be repaired with little difficulty. The EXP looks large, but it isn’t. With the top down, the 12,000-pound rig is only 8 feet 6 inches high and 21 feet 9 inches long. The light and airy interior of the cabin has all of the amenities and comforts of home including a spacious kitchen, an entryway wet-bath with a sliding cassette toilet, a huge dinette, and a large queen-size bed. Highlights of the EXP include molded composite cabinetry, a 65-gallon fresh water tank, a water purification system, a 20-gallon grey tank, a Webasto Dual Top Evo 6 combination diesel water heater/furnace, an Isotherm 130L compressor refrigerator, and a Webasto X-100 ceramic diesel cooktop. The EXP’s electrical system is just as impressive and features a massive 540 amp hour AGM battery bank, a 2,000 watt Xantrex inverter, and a Zamp 300 watt solar power system. The EarthCruiser EXP lists for $265,000.
5. Alaskan Camper 8.5 Flatbed and GMC 3500 Truck Camper Rig
Coming in at number five is another rig that really impressed us—a 2018 Alaskan 8.5 Flatbed mounted on a Pro Tech aluminum flatbed and a 2017 GMC 3500 4×4 chassis truck. Even though Alaskan Campers has been making flatbed campers since 1992, this is the company’s first flatbed model with a side entry. Having a side entrance not only creates a better floorplan by separating the bedroom from the dinette, but also frees up the back of the camper for hauling things like motorcycles, bicycles, spare tires, and storage racks. Featuring Alaskan’s unique and patented hard-top pop-up and the company’s gorgeous, Wilsonart all-wood interior, the Alaskan 8.5 flatbed comes with everything you’d expect to find in a great overland rig, yet weighs only 1,940 pounds dry. Highlights of this brand new camper include a 27-gallon fresh water tank, a Thetford C220 swivel cassette toilet, a 2.4 cubic foot Nova Kool R2600 DC compressor refrigerator, two group-31 batteries, and the space-saving, energy-efficient Truma Combi water heater and furnace. Key options include either a 160 watt or a 320 watt Zamp solar power system, another 27-gallon fresh water tank for a total of 54 gallons, and a larger 3.5 cubic foot Nova Kool R3800 compressor refrigerator. According to Alaskan CEO, Bryan Wheat, an optional wetbath with a shower can also be ordered. The total price for this rig, including the flatbed, is only $98,000, with this fully optioned Alaskan 8.5 Flatbed pricing out at $41.994.
6. Earthroamer Expedition Vehicle XV-LTS
It’s difficult not to include an Earthroamer when ranking great expedition rigs. The Earthroamer XV-LTS is an amazing piece of engineering. The company calls it an “Xpedition Vehicle,” or “XV” for short. The acronym fits because this rig isn’t anything like your grandpa’s RV. Unlike the standard RV motorhome, which is pretty limited on where it can go, the Earthroamer, with its high-clearance and four-wheel drive transmission, can go practically anywhere. For the Earthroamer, it all starts with the Ford F-550 Super Duty chassis powered by the 6.7L turbo diesel. This chassis, which comes in Ford’s premium Lariat interior trim package, offers a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 19,500 pounds. The Earthroamer needs this hefty rating because everything in this 29-foot-long luxury expedition rig is big and packed with first-rate cabinetry and components, including granite counter tops, a large wet-bath, a massive 1,200 watt solar power system, four 158-pound AGM batteries, mammoth 41-inch Continental tires, and a 90-gallon fresh water tank. It’s also equipped with a king-size bed, a 1,500-watt induction cooktop, an 8 cubic foot, two-door compressor refrigerator, diesel heating systems, an auxiliary 50 gallon diesel tank, a Buckstop front bumper with a Warn winch, and an air ride suspension system with three pre-selected ride heights that would make any gear-head green with envy. Pricing for the Earthroamer XV-LTS starts at a cool $483,861.
7. Camper Logic Voyageurs and Ram 5500 Truck Camper Rig
A great overland expedition truck camper rig from a brand new company based out of St. Paul, Minnesota. Camper Logic offers a variety of overland products including turtleback trailers, truck campers, and aluminum service trays. Shown here is the company’s Voyageurs model and new aluminum “Tray-Pak” mounted on a Ram 5500 4×4 chassis outfitted with a Buckstop winch bumper. The camper is 12 feet long, 86 inches wide and features a welded aluminum frame overlaid with laser cut aluminum sidewalls and a full walk-on aluminum roof. Moreover, the 2-inch thick walls and ceiling are fully insulated with R8 polystyrene foam, making it a true four-season camper. The Voyageurs stunning interior features bamboo flooring, aluminum frame cabinets overlaid with maple and birch, loads of storage, a large kitchen, a spacious wet-bath, a large booth dinette that can convert into a queen size bed, and a full-size east-west sleeping area in the cabover. The Voyageurs is also equipped with a massive 800 watt solar power system, an Espar D2 diesel heater, an Isotherm Cruiser 4.6 cubic foot compressor refrigerator, a 40-gallon fresh water holding tank, a Thetford cassette toilet, a Xantrex 3012 inverter with charger, and two MaxTank 155 amp hour batteries. One must-have option is the expedition-friendly, 100-gallon fresh water tank that is mounted underneath the floor. Pricing for the entire rig, including the Ram 5500 chassis and the tray, starts at $170,000.
8. AEV Jeep Wrangler JKU Outpost II
Everyone knows that the Wrangler Rubicon is a great overland rig, but when it’s mated with a chassis-mounted truck camper, it’s even better. Dave Harriton, the president of American Expedition Vehicles (AEV), built this particular rig, called the Outpost II, and he went all out. The upgrades to this very impressive Jeep Wrangler include an AEV 5.7L HEMI engine with a re-tuned A580 transmission, an AEV 4.5-inch high capacity lift, AEV front and rear bumpers, an AEV snorkel with prefilter, and a HEMI air box top. The Jeep is also equipped with BF Goodrich KM3 37×12.50R17 MT tires, AEV Borach beadlock wheels, a Warn Zeon 10,000-pound winch, and a full-size spare tire mounted underneath. The 750-pound, aluminum-framed camper features an 80-inch fold down sofa, a 4-gallon water heater with engine heat exchanger, Seitz windows, an Espar B5 gasoline-fired furnace, a slide-out National Luna 50L compressor refrigerator/freezer that can be accessed both inside and outside the camper, a 22 gallon fresh water tank, LED lighting, a slide-out Partner steel stove, and an electric pop-top roof with a 265 watt solar panel. Dave tells us that this prototype is still a work in progress with a kitchen sink, a fold-out bed, and other upgrades planned. He also told us that the Outpost II is a one-off build, but I suspect that if enough people ask for it, AEV will be more than happy to comply.
9. Global Expedition Vehicles Safari Extreme 4×4 RV
Another impressive expedition rig, the Global Expedition Vehicles Safari Extreme is built on an International 7300 extended-cab chassis with a GVWR of 33,000 pounds. Features of this drool-worthy rig, include a rear-mounted 13,500 BTU roof-top air conditioner, a rear mounted spare with a hydraulic winch, and a four-point kinetic mounting system that allows the truck and the cabin to flex independently off-road. The 16-foot long cabin, constructed of reinforced fiberglass and insulated with closed-cell foam insulation, features a leather dinette, a full wet-bath with a Thetford cassette toilet, hand-crafted custom cabinets, granite counter tops, and an exclusive 52-inch wide “Natura Opening Wall,” that offers panoramic views of the outside. Looking for a rig with a large fresh water tank? How does 135 gallons sound? Looking for a rig with lots of battery power? How about three 270 amp hour AGM Batteries, providing 810 amp hours of power. Other goodies include a stainless steel two-drawer Vitrifrigo 3.7 cubic foot refrigerator/2.7 cubic foot freezer with a positive lock system, a 3,200 watt Onan diesel generator, a 600 watt solar power system, and a Webasto hydronic thermo-90 heater. Surprisingly, this 24,000-pound beast can get 8-10 miles per gallon. When you factor in the rig’s 280 gallon fuel tank, you have an expedition rig with an eye-popping range of 2,500 miles. The Safari Extreme lists for $425,000, which includes the International chassis.
10. Hunter RMV Predator 6.6
If the Predator 6.6 looks like a military truck, you wouldn’t be wrong. The Predator 6.6 is actually built on a converted ex-U.S. Army M1079 Light Medium Tactical Vehicle (LMTV) that was used to transport soldiers and supplies around the globe. But as you can see, this rig isn’t anything like what the Army used and comes with a well laid-out cabin providing all the comforts of home. The floorplan features an east-west full-size queen bed, a bunkhouse, a large dinette slide-out, a huge dry bath, and well-apportioned kitchenette. Inside the Predator, you’ll find a DSI water heater, a stainless steel microwave, a 3 cubic ft two-way refrigerator, a two-burner propane cooktop, a 13.5 BTU roof-top air conditioner and a 5,500 watt Onan generator. Popular options include a massive 3,000 watt solar power system, a water purification system, a roof ladder, slide-out delete (highly recommended), and a washer/dryer combo. The construction features vacuum bonded Azdel fiberglass sidewalls, a vacuum bonded laminated crowned roof, and a welded aluminum framed floor. The full-time all-wheel drive truck features a Caterpillar 6-cylinder turbocharged diesel, capable of generating 225 horse power, an Allison 7-speed automatic transmission, and a central tire monitor and inflation system for all four tires. The rig lists for $200,000 for the starting model.
11. The Earthroamer Expedition Vehicle XV-HD
We’d be remiss if we didn’t include Earthroamer’s new XV-HD expedition rig in this year’s article. If you thought everything about Earthroamer’s 12,500-pound XV-LTS was big, this brand new Earthroamer takes the word to dizzying new heights. If more space and amenities is what you want, then the Earthroamer XV-HD delivers in a big way. This massive, 35-foot long beast, built on a Ford F-750 4×4 heavy-duty chassis with a 33,000-pound GVWR, features a custom floor plan, a king-size bed, granite counter tops, radiant flooring, a washer/dryer combo, and a large dry bath. This state-of-the-art expedition rig also takes self-sufficiency to a new level with 250 gallons of fresh water, a 125-gallon grey water tank, a 125-gallon black water tank, and an eye-popping 20 kilowatt lithium battery bank. The batteries are charged using the truck’s dual 200 amp alternators, which produce 125 amps each at idle, and the rig’s gargantuan 2,100 watt solar power system. Moreover, most of the electrical appliances and systems in the XV-HD run on DC power, including the two air conditioners, which means there’s no need to invert DC to AC. The price for the XV-HD is a staggering $1.5M, putting it well out of the reach of the average American. Yes, this rig is an impressive piece of engineering with state-of-the-art technology, but it’s also pretty limited on where it can go, which is why it missed our top 10.