Mars offers a range of camper trailers focussed on the camper lifestyle and suited to fit any budget ,and while the Space X fits that profile, it needs a few tweaks to make it a more competitive camper.
The Space X is aimed directly at a family with teens, and with 14 points of adjustment to the internal tent poles, the teens will come in handy when setting up.
The camper has loads of storage with a 520kg payload and I was impressed with the internal under-seat storage, one of the best seen in a dual fold.
The fully functional slide-out kitchen with a Dometic 3-burner stove and stainless-steel sink also provided a large amount of bench space, handy for prepping and serving family meals. Innerspring mattresses on the beds at either end provide good sleeping options (smaller than a queen but larger than a double), however, the configuration means you have to sleep east-west which isn’t ideal for tall people. The lounge has plenty of room for at least four people, but the seating is low, and the cushion covers ugly micro suede. The awning can be converted to a roomy annexe with the walls and floor included in the package. With two 100Ah AGM batteries and a generous number of 12V/USB ports distributed around the camper, there is plenty of power to keep the smartphones and tablets charged up.
I’ve not seen the batteries mounted under the floor in the centre of the camper in any other fold-out before, but I think it is a brilliant design feature. Doing this created maximum storage space under the lounge, something rarely found and often a real negative about forward/dual fold campers. That said, the Mars Space X is similar to many other imported dual fold campers with its make-up and design, and little in the way of innovative ideas.
TIM VAN DUYL
For a hamburger under $28k, the Space X has a lot to offer by way of capacities for staying off-grid — twin 100L water tanks, 200Ah of AGM battery, an AC charger, 1000W inverter, twin holders for both 9kg gas bottles and 20L jerry cans, a 25L internal wine fridge and an 880mm deep pantry all impress. You’ll need to bring your own fridge and gas bottles though.
The kitchen bench space is unparalleled and the kitchen itself pretty good with a decent sink, commonly-seen household grade four-burner and that massive pantry. The tropical roof is standard so you’ve got a good bit of heat protection but there are some limitations.
There are a couple of things missing though. Firstly the water tanks are not separated by a valve, there is no DC charger or booster at the batteries from the Anderson plug and the awning is a proper effort to set up. There is provision for hot water but none as standard. As the battery management system is pretty basic, solar needs to be regulated, which is not really that big of a deal these days. I still rate it fair to good though as the factory direct price for a camper with so much space even if it lacks a few details is still mighty impressive.
When looking at the overall build quality it’s a similar situation with a decent 150 x 50 x 3mm chassis that is let down by a few weld splatters showing through the hot-dip galvanised. The same was seen on the rear wheel carrier and a poke underneath had us notice some wiring and plumbing could be better protected. The body is smart looking and finished with aluminium panels and thankfully, the stone guard clears the sides of the massive front bin and body, just.
At the end of the day, the Space X is built to a budget for people that need space for a growing and hungry tribe, and I think it serves them well.
When you are considering the purchase of a new camper trailer there are many factors which come into play, from preferred styles of campers, previous experience, the specs of the campers and, most importantly, the price. Budget is significant for everyone, and it will determine what you get.
With the Mars Space X you are in the under $30,000 price bracket ($27,990 to be precise), and you are buying what is probably the most popular form of camper trailer on the market today, the double fold having taken over from the forward fold in the past year or two. Double folds are more suitable for family camping, saving on the need to remake the lounge each night to provide a bed for the kids. As such the price would seem to be quite attractive.
It’s a physically big camper, which generally means room for a family. Mars is a respected name in these campers and their Space X offers even more room than usual in the lounge area by the use of an east-west sleeping mode, which adds plenty of floor space by shortening up the length required for the beds. The issue with east-west sleeping is that somebody in the bed has to climb over (or be the person being climbed over) if there is a need to get out of bed in the night.
The lounge thus becomes the centre of the camping experience, and with the tent side above the kitchen rolled up you can relax in comfort. And while you get no fridge, hot water, gas bottles or jerry cans with the Space X, many users will already have these or can add them as options or purchase them separately.
What is the take-away impression of the Space X? You would have to say it’s the room to live. If forward fold and double fold campers have anything going for them it’s got to be comfort, and the Space X delivers that, especially with that side rolled up and the outside coming into the tent, maybe with the stereo knocking out your favourites, the kids running around outside and the breeze blowing.
The Mars Space aims to get the whole crew off the blacktop at an affordable price point, and it meets this brief competently. Underneath, the chassis is noticeably free of sagging conduit although the water pipes are exposed in parts. The 30-degree departure helps protect the camper’s rear in undulating country. A common feature of this style of camper, the wheels are set far back from the drawbar leaving the forward under-carriage susceptible to strike. So, there is plenty of underbody checkerplate to help compensate.
While the independent suspension and shocks are a generic import, the tough-as-nails McHitch coupling provides added confidence in rough conditions. Like many similar campers, the Mars Space comes standard with M/Ts which can be noisy on the highways, and alloy rims that have less durability than steels.
Outside, a key feature is the bench extension that turns the slide-out kitchen into a massive island bench. There’s plenty of space here to gather the hungry hoards at breakfast and to prepare a slap-up meal at night. Setting up the annexe involves an armful of multi-length poles and may be difficult for some smaller users. But with practice, and a lofty offspring, the task should be achievable without too much fuss.
Inside, the Mars Space offers some unexpected comforts including twin 120mm inner spring queen beds. The drinks fridge is a nice touch too. Accessible to all, it allows kids to grab a drink or snack without rummaging through the main fridge.
The dinette seats are comfortable, although the beige microsuede fabric may lose its lustre once subjected to sticky fingers and dusty luggage. The wind-handle dinette table makes height adjustment simple to accommodate lanky legs. Notably, placement of the batteries in the floor cavity between the axles means they’re easily accessible and frees up space under the dinette seats. The cupboards under the main bed also help to keep the living area clutter free. Usefully, by simply releasing the lid clips, the internal cavity of the Mars Space can be packed while the camper is still in the driveway. Great for quick weekend getaways.
The Mars Space X is an affordable rig that offers a growing family more comfort than many campers in its class. If you want to keep the teens onside and along for the ride, the Mars has definite appeal.
Suspension Dual shock trailing arm
Brakes 12in electric drum
Coupling McHitch 3.5t
Chassis/drawbar Hot dip galvanised 150 x 50 x 3mm
Body Zinc anneal steel
Wheels 16in alloy
Tyres 265/16/75 mud terrain
Style Double fold
Body size 2100mm (W) x 1550mm (H)
Awning size 2400mm x 6000mm
Gas cylinders 2 x 9kg holders
Water 2 x 100L
Cooktop Four-burner gas
Kitchen Slide-out stainless steel
Battery 2 x 100Ah AGM
Options fitted None
PRICE AS TESTED
Phone 1300 667 868 or 0403 892 038