EarthRoamer XV-JP "Northwest Edition"


Expedition Leader
Why not just change the material of the original tent to more opaque/waterproof material? Now you sleep on the rear seat area and this improves usability? Could you explain that?


Expedition Leader
This thread covers a lot of years, has a lot of posts, and contains a lot of detail and history. It takes quite a while to read through it, but many will find it worth their time, both for the information and the drama. But for a reader who just wants to know what got built and why, there is a short summary thread here:

that covers most all of the components of the first version.


While James is being circumspect in referencing me as "the customer," I suspect most everyone knows that this is my XV-JP and so I'm probably the best choice for explaining the reason for the redo . . .

Why not just change the material of the original tent to more opaque/waterproof material? Now you sleep on the rear seat area and this improves usability? Could you explain that?
When I bought the ER, the short-term (1400 miles) original owner's "tester" wrote me a long e-mail to warn me of the problems I would have with the tent's lack of weathertightness.

His experiences were confirmed in the first few weeks I had it (it arrived in November), and I started planning the revision soon after finding ER's original tent setup to be way too soggy for my use--when it was raining, when it was stored and even from internal condensation when it was dry outside. And as I'd been warned, there were also problems with the air-supported tent being floppy and intolerably noisy in high winds. (In fact, one night when delivering the truck, Chris Shontz had to sleep on the floor due to high winds in Kansas.) Also, I found it a problem that the entire setup was too large and grandiose to deploy quickly when you wanted to make a fifteen-minute stop someplace like a rest area, which was an issue because with the tent down, you could not even sit comfortably on the cabin bench, let alone stand. With the pneumatics, I can have standing height in about 20 seconds.

None of this would be compelling if I'd needed the giant queen size bed provided in the original design, but I didn't. Sleeping on the "ground floor" on a convertible bench/bed will, for my use, be far superior to climbing a considerable height into the much less weathertight tent. Further, the original tent was, as you might guess, truly unusable in seriously bad weather, whereas I will be able to live and sleep in the "Northwest Edition," as James has named it, in snow and sleet without ever leaving the vehicle, or even raising the roof if the weather is really gruesome. And you can easily see that the new version will be practical to heat during the winter, which was not the case with the original setup.

Haven said:
Regarding the new tent top, the result doesn't look long enough for adults to sleep in. Is this correct?
The principle person sleeps on a curbside bed 18 inches off the floor, but James and I are looking into the possibility that a second person can be accommodated with a bed that's supported by the roll cage above the streetside shelving. Because of the extra couple of feet available in the "nose cone," there's plenty of length. The only question, unsettled at the moment, is whether I'd rather use the space for the bed or have more storage.

ColinTheCop said:
Just thinking aloud, would it have been possible to do the tent sides in some sort of hard material that folds down into itself...? Even better protection in the rain i'd have thought.... almost like Sonke's toyota conversion.
I thought about this long and hard, but the complexity turned out not to be worth it. The cabin is pretty useful now even with the roof down, and I decided that having hard panels would take up space and increase the complexity without enough benefit. And while an overlapping roof like Sonke's would be very cool, the conversion we did was more practical because keeping the "hinged in back" arrangement made life much simplier by using the original ER hinge and latches.
Last edited:


Really nice work. - I definitely think the Westphalia style pop top is going to work better for Northwest weather. Out of curiosity I wonder if Earthroamer wouldn't think about just manufacturing the empty shells in this configuration to work around the existing role cage for JK owners. Ok. Maybe modify the front part so it fits snuggly down on to the existing jeep attachment points over the front seats (never really understood why that gap was left in there) and bring the pop top starting point a little farther forward so you can get a 6 foot bed up there with an e-camper style porthole over the rear seat. The JK is a great vehicle for getting through the snow - having a weatherized camper top so I could sleep at the back country trail head before skiing out. Now that's would be an interesting package.


Expedition Leader
Originally Posted by Gear
If you look closely at this photograph you will see in the bottom right corner the winch that is being used to close the top.

how does it open?
In the ER photo above of the tent when deployed, on streetside, you can see a silver "strut" going pretty much straight up to connect with the big "hoop" in the center of the tent, with the fixed end of the strut coming from behind the far rear part of the shelving, where it was bolted to a sturdy framework.

The pressurized strut raised the tent. You let the winch cable out to open the tent. The shortening of the winch cable pulls against the strut to close it. The tent would be considered "normally open" in the sense of the strut being always pressurized and busy holding up the tent whenever the winch cable doesn't exert enough force on the hoop to pull it closed against the strut pressure.


Expedition Leader
Looks great.

James, do you have any info on the air struts you used? I'm throwing some ideas around on a build and I keep going back between air and electric..



2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
wow truley amazing build guys....
great quality and I am sure it will stand the test of time...


Expedition Leader
James, do you have any info on the air struts you used? I'm throwing some ideas around on a build and I keep going back between air and electric. Thanks, Jason

ersatzknarf said:
Also, really like the idea of using pneumatic rams, rather than hydraulics (one leaky seal and oil everywhere ). I previously had a google around, but could not find ones similar. Would you mind to share where such ones could be found, please?

With the help of the fabrication team at Upscale Automotive in Tualatin, OR (where I have my Sprinter work done), we got the roof, rear step, roof rack and several of the other modifications done last year before it went to James.

The cylinders used are from Peninsular Cylinders in Roseville, Michigan. They have a two inch bore and a 45 inch stroke. There's much information at

And, FWIW, I very much agree with Frank about the advantages of pneumatic over hydraulic, especially for an overlanderer where an on-board air source is going to be valuable for many reasons. On the Jeep, the struts are proving to be great . . . smooth and lightning quick.


Dave Druck [KI6LBB]
Here's a video clip of Mike's air assist i shot last time i was up there visiting..
[ame=""]YouTube - ER Westy Style[/ame]

Overland Hadley

on a journey
Mike, I have been thinking about this build/rebuild all day. Looks like you are making some good improvements. I look forward to seeing your ideas when it comes to the interior.

But I must say, I am astounded by the glaring shortcoming of the factory XV-JP. I can not even comprehend the fact that the tent is not 100% waterproof.

Forum statistics

Latest member