Picture yourself alone in the wilderness, hundreds of miles from civilization. Your next destination is a day’s drive away, over barren salt flats and through vast cactus forests. Drinkable water is scarce. Gas stations and electrical outlets are nonexistent. A flat tire could leave you stranded as coyotes close in on all sides. Most people would never sign up for such a dire situation.
But for the EarthCruiser contingent entering this year’s Baja XL, it’s just another day in paradise. A fleet of EarthCruiser employees and owners will start the 10-day, 3,000-mile rally in Los Angeles Jan. 25, driving the length of the Baja peninsula before looping back north toward California on day five. The route’s 10 untimed stages feature a variety of terrains, from silt beds to cracked asphalt, that will test the navigational and mechanical skills of every participant.
It’s a grueling event that offers nature’s beauty and wrath in equal measure. Paved highways become dirt roads. Dirt roads wind to sand dune seas that ebb to the foot of the Pacific. There are no rescue helicopters and no medical crews. The only things you can rely on are your team and the vehicle you’ve chosen.
Here are nine reasons why EarthCruiser owners have chosen wisely.
1. EarthCruisers thrive in any environment.
EarthCruisers have been tested in extreme conditions, from the Australian outback to the wilds of Mongolia. Multilayer windows zip away to let in evening breezes, while fiberglass insulation offers resilience against the cold.
2. Redundant systems keep you moving.
On a 3,000-mile rally through the desert, a dead battery could spell disaster. Luckily for EarthCruiser owners, solar panels flush mounted to the roof are constantly charging the vehicle’s batteries. If there’s an issue with the solar panels, the alternator can take over charging duties or the vehicle can be hooked up to shore power (if you’re in an area where shore power is accessible).
3. EarthCruisers purify their own water.
An abundant supply of drinking water is a Baja XL essential. EarthCruisers can store 65 gallons of water and feature an onboard purification system that meets rigorous EPA standards.
4. An EarthCruiser’s electrical efficiency is through the roof (literally).
High-efficiency, impact-resistant solar panels keep the power flowing. They ensure that the large house battery bank and engine battery always have enough juice to get going, and each system sips power so that you can stay off the grid for days, if not months.
5. An onboard air compressor enables adjustments on the fly.
Different terrains require different levels of tire pressure. If a vast stretch of sand calls for some deflation, an EarthCruiser’s onboard air compressor has you covered. It’s also handy for clearing dust and debris from the battery box or storage areas, and can be used to blow out water lines for winterization.
6. They’re shaped that way for a reason.
EarthCruiser owners are an itinerant lot, hopping from continent to continent in search of the next great adventure. If your EarthCruiser needs to get from Oregon to Japan, it can be packed snugly into a shipping container and transported across the ocean.
7. You won’t stick out in a crowd (unless you want to).
At first glance, an EarthCruiser rolling through the streets of New York City might look like just another Mitsubishi Fuso making a delivery. Expand the pop-top roof with the push of a button, however, and eyebrows will start to raise.
8. Total cost of ownership is less than you might think.
The EarthCruiser EXP is built on the ubiquitous Mitsubishi Fuso 4×4 chassis, meaning that it can be serviced by mechanics all across the world. It runs on diesel, gasoline’s more global counterpart, and models purchased in the U.S. are covered by Fuso’s 5-year, 175,000-mile warranty. Cheers to that.
9. EarthCruiser owners are one big family, and they travel to some unique places together.
If you spend most of your days barreling through the wilderness in a world-class overland vehicle, in search of isolation and exhilaration, you might be inclined to meet up with some like-minded folks every once in a while. Chances are you’ll have a story or two to share.
Follow along on the EarthCruiser blog as the team tackles the Baja XL.