NASA scientists and engineers that worked on the old space shuttle programs and future lunar habitats often talk about using every available inch of space in the cabin of the spacecraft or lunar module for working and living space. So, when a former space architect retires and starts doing outdoorsy things, he discovered that RV campers could be improved in much the same ways the spacecrafts are and lunar habitats can be. That is when he took it upon himself to design a new type of camper trailer that would meet the needs of outdoor enthusiasts, but also still fit in a garage. That was the genesis of the Taxa Outdoors Mantis pop-up camper trailer.
The exterior of the Mantis RV camper
The Mantis is the largest camper trailer in the Taxa Outdoors lineup. Even still, the dimensions of the trailer will fit neatly in a standard seven-foot-tall garage opening. It is nineteen feet long, and six feet, ten inches tall with the pop-up portion retracted. That height also means less drag on the towing vehicle, meaning better fuel efficiency when compared to the height of a traditional non-pop-up trailer. Also, the Mantis can be towed by most mid-size SUVs. Twelve inches of wheel travel on fifteen-inch wheels also means that the little trailer can be comfortable on some off-road trails. Standard rock guards protect the front of the trailer, and an optional full-sized spare tire is available. An awning provides a shaded area outside. Dry weight is listed at 2,970 lbs with a gross vehicle weight of 4,200 lbs.
The interior of the Mantis RV camper
Inside there is a twenty-gallon freshwater tank, a twenty two-gallon gray water tank, and a high-pressure laminate countertop with a sink that has a hinged lid to provide extra counter space. The pop-up is elevated via a stainless steel scissor hinge aided by support struts. A 2-burner stove will provide the cooking necessities, and an air conditioner will cool things down for the occupants who can sleep in the convertible dining area or in the front bunk area. There is a hot and cold wet bath to clean off after a day hiking or biking and a Dometic fridge to grab some beverages from to ruminate the day or the future. Recessed LED lighting also promises very little drain on the electrical system and the ability to see your favorite book clearly. The rugged trailer can sleep up to four adults.
The Mantis has a lot of multi-use surfaces. These surfaces and the pop-up top combine to make the trailer an airy feeling environment, giving it the impression of being a lot larger than it is. The trailer’s off-road prowess also gives it a little more capability than competitors. The price point starts at $39,995 and goes up from there, depending on how the camper is outfitted.
Impressions of the Mantis trailer
Overall, the Mantis is compact and yet, provides a very open-space ambiance. So, it will fit in the garage when not in use, but not project claustrophobia to its occupants when in use out on the trail. The ability to do light off-roading is also an added bonus. The trailer seems to be a good all-around package perfect for a small family itching to get outdoors but not feel like they are packed in a tin can like sardines.