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Earthbound RV - The Rules Have Changed

Earthbound RV revolutionizes With a Lighter, Environmentally-Friendly Trailer Packed with High-Tech Amenities
Article Date: September, 2012


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Every now and then something revolutionary comes along that changes our way of thinking. Earthbound RV is doing just that. Its towable RVs are a perfect fit for the changing times.

Rising fuel costs are forcing RV owners to abandon their RVs, to travel far less than they used to, or to look for ways to operate them affordably. Ever stringent pollution and fuel-economy standards are forcing manufacturers to lighten their vehicles and reduce engine size. This is fine for daily drivers, but it just doesn't bode well for hauling heavy trailers.

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The environment is another issue. Existing RV construction depends heavily on limited resources, such as luan plywood from Southeast Asia. The adhesives used in this construction outgases some pretty nasty fumes, including formaldehyde, when it cures, and this can take quite a bit of time to vent out of a new RV. There is a lot of waste that doesn't get recycled.

Earthbound turns its back on existing construction techniques and begins with a clean sheet of paper. It places great emphasis on quality and includes features that are sometimes not even found in higher-end class-A motorhomes. In fact, when we visited the Earthbound factory in Marion, Indiana, we found it more akin to a top-notch aircraft assembly plant than an RV facility.

Construction Details

The biggest difference that you'll see in Earthbound is that there isn't a single piece of wood in its RVs. By not using wood, it eliminates the possibilities of rot, mildew, or mold. Instead, Earthbound uses recyclable materials, such as aluminum and aerospace-grade composites. Its commitment to the environment not only saves trees, but has earned the company the highest rated "Emerald" status at the NTA, and Roaming Times named it the "Green RV of the Year" for 2010.

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Sidewall, roof, and floor framing are accomplished with double-welded aluminum tubing that is later fitted with high-density insulation and vacuum bonded between layers of aluminum and composite materials.

The frame is electrostatic powder coated to improve resistance to rust. A wide-stance X-Track axle system offers a lower center of gravity for improved handling. Dual 3,500 Dexter axles with EasyLube hubs and independent torsion bar suspension make for a very smooth ride.

The crossmembers are fastened with huckbolts for strength up to five times greater than rivets or welds. Propane lines utilize lighter weight composite lines rather than heavy steel water piping to reduce weight and improve longevity. Power scissors jacks are attached to the frame for leveling the RV and feature manual overrides. Each jack is also protected by a skid plate to prevent any damage to the jack motors. The 15-inch Goodyear tires are mounted to polished alloy rims and a spare tire is conveniently located beneath the frame.

The holding tanks are seamless rotomolded and mounted beneath the chassis. Each holding tank is equipped with a 12-volt heat pad, which is strategically located near the valve. Each tank is sprayed with a ceramic-encapsulated insulation. Earthbound showed us how effective the insulation was by coating half of an electric skillet, which was heated to 300 degrees. An ice cube placed on the uncoated side instantly melted, but an ice cube placed on the coated side lasted for nearly 7 minutes. Using your Earthbound RV in cold weather will not be a problem.

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Interior walls are also framed up with welded aluminum tubing. Interior walls are used as part of the unibody construction and add to the overall strength and rigidity of the structure.

The floor and walls consist of an aluminum-tubing framework. All tubing is double welded on a jig to ensure accuracy and reliability. Rather than use the typical 1.5-pound foam, Earthbound uses a special high-density 2-to-3-pound foam insulation. Nonconductive conduits are then placed into the foam to prevent any electrical problems that can occur when wiring looms degrade overtime. Aluminum skins are bonded to the aluminum tubing and insulation using a specially formulated adhesive to ensure a secure bond. Multiple layers of composite skins and thermal breaks are added to the floor and roof assemblies to provide additional protection from the elements. These assemblies are vacuum bonded and ready to assemble. All of the interior walls also use aluminum tubing and everything is welded together to create a true unibody structure.

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The frames are electrostatically powder coated for superior rust resistance. Cross members are then huck bolted into place.

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All holding tanks are equipped with 12-volt heating elements for cold-weather use. Each tank is coated with a sprayed ceramic-encapsulated insulation equivalent to an R-13 insulation value.

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Interior cabinetry is also made of a composite construction. High-tech finishes are applied for a durable and easy-to-maintain surface.

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Wall assemblies are routed out by hand to allow for the various openings for windows, doors, and slide outs.


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