Mars Campers Ranger: Review

By: John Willis, Photography by: John Willis


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All the bases are covered with Mars Campers’ budget-friendly Ranger softfloor.

Mars Campers is a quick growing and successful young company turning out a surprisingly high volume of value-packed trailers.

The entire Mars range offers exceptionally good value for money. The campers are built overseas and assembled in Australia, presenting well, with a solid manufacturing quality. Mars runs rings around many competitors by producing a solid tub and chassis, and it goes to the extra trouble of galvanising the entire construction before painting. I have no doubt that this process will extend the lifespan of the modules for many light years.

Design & Construction

From the nose cone back, the Ranger has a lot to offer. The polyblock coupling sits out front a 100x50x3mm A-frame drawbar and continues on to a square-sectioned chassis. There’s a separate handbrake for the 10in electric brakes and Celso had replaced the swing-down jockey wheel with a bolt-on pneumatic style as he knew I hated pivoting versions. Both are options, so take your pick.

Mars uses a large amount of checkerplate aluminium for the tool box construction, as well as for extra stone protection on front of the tub and mudguard steps. It’s very practical, lightweight, and provides a pleasing visual offset to the dark grey tub and light grey tent and PVC tonneau cover.

Storage

The tub itself is made from 2mm galvanised and hammertone-painted steel. All of the welded construction seems very pleasing, with a distinct eye for detail setting it apart from many other imports.

The tub dimensions are 1200x2030mm and it provides plenty of storage for those long space adventures with its 490mm depth.

Out on the guards is a 9kg gas bottle and 20L jerry can holder, however I understand that later versions will have 4.5kg gas bottle holders as the larger ones sit proud of the trailer width.

Set up

The softfloor tent unfolded and assembled relatively easily, revealing a large internal living space. The support frame is fairly standard for a softfloor and reasonably strong with heavier tubular steel bows than many in its class. The canvas is an imported 14oz fabric with no tropical roof as standard.

There are two doors and plenty of windows, all with suitable awnings, enclosures and midge-proof flyscreens. The enclosure is very large, with 2.30x5.35 metres of ground space as well as the queen size foam mattress up front, accessed by a simple ladder. The entire tent is lined with a sewn-in PVC floor with a zippered section for access to the RHS side of the trailer.

Interior

There are full side-wall enclosures with doors and screens for the entire awning, plus a floor, and even a further full-length awning which extends from the first for extra liveability on a long stay. That is an amazing amount of roof footprint for a budget camper.

The surprises continue when you unlatch the tail gate and fold out a full stainless steel kitchen complete with pressurised water pump, tap and sink, as well as a sliding utensils drawer on smooth tracks. There’s fold-out extended bench space and still room for some storage for dishwashing liquid and kitchen necessities under the sink.

There is no stove, nor battery for the water pump supplied in the basic kit price, which I don’t see as a problem as most campers will already have a portable stove — and it allows the option of battery size, chargers and other accessories.

The Wrap Up

Mars Campers is a company on the move, and it’s a serious contender in the Australian camper trailer market. It offers an incredible amount of space,  accessories, standard inclusions and quality construction for a module in this price range.

The Ranger softfloor simply runs rings around many competitors.

Hits & Misses

I liked…

  • Good tent size
  • Practical stainless kitchen
  • Strong construction
  • Honest value for money

I would’ve liked…

  • Change the lock on toolbox

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Check out the full review in issue #81 October 2014 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.