Mars Vanguard HF14: Review

By: John Willis, Photography by: John Willis


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The Mars Vanguard HF14 quaffs Murray mud — nothing melts in its mouth!

The Mars Vanguard Hard Floor is a no-frills camper with all the basics for a single, couple or family and erects for an overnight stay in the blink of an eye. A few nice surprises include the good slide-out kitchen, plenty of storage, a raised alloy checkerplate floor, good towing performance and reasonable offroad credentials. The canvas work sports midge-proof flyscreens and zippered window awnings, and encompasses a full-length annex with detachable side walls and PVC floor.

Design & Construction

Mars Vanguard ticks all of the boxes for a basic camper trailer. It has a full-steel chassis with strong 100x50x3mm A-frame drawbar and a solid box construction displaying good welding technique and finish. The entire steel body is hot-dip galvanised and painted with Hammertone inside and out.

The hard floor makes the camper quick and easy to assemble and just as simple to pack up. The raised floors keep you up and out of the elements and they are comfortable when camping on uneven ground. Plus, the checkerplate alloy offers a non-skid solid surface that feels clean and secure.

Exterior

The Vanguard HF14 rides on 15in all-terrain tyres with powder-coated steel Sunraysia-style mags. It has a 50mm solid round axle with seven leaf eye-to-eye springs and a pair of shock absorbers to dampen the ride. All of the components are available locally if you like to carry a few spares.

Out in front, a two tonne polyblock coupling leads the drawbar, which continues onto a full square sectioned chassis under the tub. It has a handbrake as standard, overriding the heavy duty 10in electric brakes.

Other features on the outer trailer include a gas bottle and jerry can mount on the sides of the toolbox, recessed and waterproof LED trailer lighting, secure pack rack tie-down points on top of the trailer, mudflaps and, underneath, a pair of swinging/wind-down trailer supports.

Interior

The camper features a full-length detachable 4550x2300mm annex, complete with removable side walls and a full PVC floor. This all assembles to a complete living space of 4400x4100mm, making for comfortable camping that can be fully enclosed. The annex walls also have midge-proof flyscreen in the ample window space as well as an individual doorway.

Storage

The tub’s internal dimensions are 2200x1700mm and storage is accessible from either the rear drop tailgate when packed to travel, or from a gas-strutted lift-up panel under the queen size foam mattress. While there are no dedicated drawers as such, there is plenty of storage in the carpet-lined tub suitable for storing clear 20L accessory containers.

Kitchen

To operate the cooker, simply open a hatch on the kerb side of the front of the trailer and you have immediate access to a basic kitchen, complete with stainless steel sink, draining board and pressurised cold water (powered by an optional battery), a fold-out stainless steel preparation bench, an optional recessed four-burner gas stove and a utensils drawer on slides.

The sink is closest to the trailer, keeping the cooker at a maximum distance from the canvas walls for safety. It’s made of folded, galvanised steel construction with a Hammertone paint finish. The 70L stainless steel water tank is certainly adequate for this style of camper trailer, but there’s not much in the way of electronics as standard.

The Wrap Up

The folks from Mars have done a sterling job of presenting a great product at a most economical price. The company backs it up with service and a 12-month warranty, and has just opened a large, 600 square metre facility in Brisbane, in addition to its home stables in Springvale, Victoria.

Hits & Misses

I liked…

  • Hardfloor versatility
  • Manufacturing quality
  • Combination of features
    Galvanised and Hammertone paint
  • Strong chassis

I would have liked…

  • Battery

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Check out the full feature in issue #86 March 2015 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.