It’s been three months in the new truck, a switch that is proving to be great for us on nearly every level. From -35 degree temps and big snows in Colorado to the dirt roads of Joshua Tree, we’ve put 10,000 miles on and been savoring the ride.
The new GXV is so purposefully-built for our current travel needs, we decided to name it Argo, the famously well-engineered ship that, with a little design help from Athena, allowed Jason and the Argonauts to voyage in search of the Golden Fleece.
Like the Argo, our new home on wheels is fast, well-designed and lets us go on a variety of adventures without worry.
In GXV terms, Argo is a GXV Turtle, but with a few custom additions:
1) A slightly longer length and 2) A custom gear garage.
It was built on a 2018 Dodge RAM 5500, is 27′ in overall length, and has a full kitchen, toilet/shower, dinette, and queen size bed in its 14′ living area. (You can read more on why we chose the Dodge over other chassis choices here. That last post also discusses a bit about why we selected GXV as our builder once again, as well as a bit of our thought process in its design).
Why did we sell our last Goliath of an off-road truck camper (the M1083 6×6 also made by GXV)? We outlined many reasons here and here, but mainly, as much fun as traveling full-time has been, the pull of land was calling us.
It had always been our intent as we traveled to seek out a place we could call home, and we were fortunate to find that in Alaska. After buying land in Palmer this past fall, we decided our home on wheels would have to be smaller and more purpose-built for the long annual road trips between Alaska and the lower-48. Ultimately, we wanted something that would provide better fuel economy, faster highway speeds, and less maintenance.
The LMTV is a great off-road vehicle that can be re-engineered to be more pleasant on-road, but the Dodge RAM 5500 chassis is an on-road vehicle that happens to also perform well off-road.
- 4×4 Dodge Ram 5500 with limited slip differential.
- Total Bumper-to-Bumper Length: 27’
- Cabin Length: 14′ (+2′ of garage storage)
- Cabin Material: 3″ structural foam encapsulated in fiberglass and carbon.
- Interior layout features dinette, galley, bathroom/shower combo, steel cab to cabin access door, pantry storage, queen size bed, and prioritizes interior cabinetry storage and kitchen countertop prep space with an additional flip-up counter.
- Dedicated full-width gear/bike garage in the rear (garage can carry up to six bicycles or two fat tire bicycles inside + totes for other tools/gear). This is also where electronics and batteries are housed.
- 41” tires (Including a spare with GXV’s first-ever swing-away external tire carrier designed specifically for larger tires).
- In-floor heating in the cabin, bathroom and gear garage to keep all our equipment warm & dry (Yay, warm Nordic ski boots!!)
- 2 x Mastervolt 400-amp hour lithium phosphate iron batteries and a full Mastervolt electrical system.
- 800 watts of solar, as well as 2 x 200-amp alternators from the truck’s engine to charge the batteries.
- Vitrifrigo Stainless Steel Marine Fridge/Freezer and Webasto Diesel Cooktop.
- Armor Vision windows & main cabin skylight (Expensive, but Worth. Every. Single. Penny).
- Extra storage: 1) Headboard cabinetry storage. 2) Overflow gear in rooftop Yakima Rocket Boxes. 3) Storage for inflatable paddleboards above the cab.
- 2 x 40″ light bars from Black Oak. One is a flood pattern and the other a spot pattern for 88,000 lumens of usable light.
- 2 x Vision X light cannons in the bumper.
- 3″ thick, fully integrated door with a 3-point locking system