Back to the Future
Holy hyperbolic asteroids! Galloping rings of Saturn! Those wonderful men from Mars have released their new cosmic Comet into our intergalactic solar system – Mars Comet Camper that is! The all new Comet teardrop camper is certainly the cutie-pie of the range with an appeal set to boldly go where no camping machine has gone before.
On a more serious note the all-new Comet opens up opportunities for those who like to travel in comfort and style, but in smaller or suburban vehicles. Whilst the Comet is more at home running down the black top, it is still very capable of getting you in and out of most well-established camping opportunities with ease. It is far more than just a comfortable bed enclosed in a hardy cocoon – in fact the Comet is a very complete mobile home with far more creature comforts than any lunar landing module.
The idea of teardrop campers is far from new. I clearly remember some beautiful plywood creations being towed behind old EK and FB Holdens in my childhood, and that’s a long time ago. Yet the idea has experienced a resurgence in recent years, with many people looking for smaller self-contained accommodation suitable for easy travel and compact storage.
Hey hey good lookin'...
Heads turned everywhere as we headed down to the beach with the Comet in tow. It almost felt like a scene from an old Gidget or Elvis movie as we pulled onto the sand in front of the colourful bathing boxes. I could picture the multi-coloured Malibus perched nose first in the sand, with the boys in their okanuis and the surfie chicks in their early bikinis and cardigans. The Beach Boys or Jan and Dean belting out the vibes as the kids did the twist or the stomp around a beach fire pit. There goes my bloody imagination again, but the Comet really does have a certain nostalgic feel, but with all the mod cons.
Make no mistake, the Comet is not manufactured nor marketed as a brawny herculean offroader. It is a far more sedate freedom machine that will appeal to a large portion of the community who, up until now, have been restricted by capacity. It's ideal for those who may only have a have mid-range two-wheel-drive towing vehicle, with capacity up to 1200kg.
Form AND function
The Comet features a neat composite shell on a hot-dipped galvanised trailer with a host of surprising features in its compact dimensions. Out in front is a standard 50mm ball coupling (80kg ball weight) with a swing down jockey wheel, Anderson Plug connection and a hand break for the 10in electric brakes allowing a 1200kg ATM and 760kg tare. I hooked it up to my HiLux and felt like I could travel past the first star on the right and then straight on until morning with the ease of around half the towing weight of most popular forward fold alternatives.
She tracked beautifully down the road on independent rubberised suspension and 13in wheels. I must say I was a little surprised by the 13in tyres as they are less than mainstream today, yet totally suitable. The spare wheel sits up high in the chassis, underneath where you will also find four wind-down stabilising legs. Out in front on the 70x50x3mm A-frame drawbar is a jerrycan and 9kg gas bottle holder either side, plus a lockable utility box for tools and general storage. I guess these double up as a bit of a stone and impact guard for the fibreglass composite construction of the main teardrop shell.
Unlock the side door and you are in for a real treat! The interior really is quite homey – luxurious and very inviting with rich textures, upholstery and laminate trims that enhance the overall appeal. If you have difficulty getting your partner out camping, then maybe you should take a look at the Comet – life may change.
Bigger on the inside
Inside the camper is a very comfortable yet compact U-shaped seating unit with a drop down table that could host quite a little party. The table can be removed for external use, or depressed to form the insert for the queen bed. There’s a surprising amount of head room, not to mention LED mood lighting options, a remote 21in TV recessed into the rear wall, a heater/air conditioner and even a groovy sound system. There’s a bit of cupboard storage, but not heaps. However we aren’t finished yet.
I really liked the layout of the interior, especially with the placement of the bedside cabinet, which gives you a flat surface for all of those bedside items like a bottle of water, glasses, book or even a place to charge your phone, with USB and HDMI ports available. The control centre has a neat switch panel for the lights, overhead fan and radio/TV as well as analogue gauges for battery power and water tank level, plus climate controls, solar regulator and 240V outlets.
Under the bunks you will find a 45L poly water tank with pump, a 100AH battery and AC charger. I guess I need to mention the main electrical circuit board, which to me is a bit exposed. I would like to see a simple cover over it to eliminate any possibility of short outs with people loading their goods on top.
I thought I may find the Comet a little claustrophobic, but in reality it was quite the opposite – more like warm and cosy! There are opening windows to the front and the roadside for light and ventilation, and both have sliding awnings and fly-screens. The lockable doorway is perhaps a little small for we big fellas, but then again, most are! You will need to carry a portable step to make entry/exit a little easier. Up on top is a skylight with inbuilt fan that will help to reduce any condensation in the cold and remove the hot air in the heat. On the shell’s roof is a solar charger to keep your 12V systems topped up and serviceable.
… whatcha got cookin'?
Then comes the pièce de résistance: the whole rear flap tilts skyward on well-weighted gas struts forming a small roof overhead, and reveals a great little kitchen and pantry at the tail end of the unit. In fact it’s quite a little chuck wagon – or should I say interstellar galley?
There’s a pull-out two-burner gas stove (optionally plumbed), a sink with pressurised cold water, a nice little benchtop with Italian marble laminate and a 45L 12V fridge, giving quite a satisfying array of appliances. The kitchen is set in a rich timber-look laminate, with a small pantry and storage, plus a handy little set of two-way cabinets where you can hand the lazybones who's still in bed his/her early morning cuppa.
Externally our little space invader simply looks terrific. The teardrop shape is accentuated by the grey edging against the smooth white panels, while a few small, tasteful decals modernise the timeless shell. The custom moulded external handles and trim plus the wheel arch flares all adds a touch of class, and the strip LED lights in a semi-circle over the doorway give the Comet an almost fairy-tale demeanour.
You know what? I get it! I can see huge potential for the appeal of the little Mars Comet for a very large segment of the general community. With a starting price of only $16,990 you can add and subtract all the options you want for your little turtle shell on wheels. Our demonstration unit was opted right up but the combination of accessories made total sense, bringing the kit price up to $21,999. Maybe add a cheap shower tent and the optional portable hot water system, and I would be happy to travel the galaxy with this little Comet. There are added awnings available that were not fitted to the unit we tested, so you will have to trek on down to see the friendly men (and women) from Mars to check it out fully.
Step back to the future with the wonderful little Mars Comet teardrop camper and open up a whole solar system of opportunity from this homely little control module. Nanu Nanu Earthpersons!
- Overall image and appeal
- Price – value for money
- List of inclusions and accessories
- Towing weight
- Neutron destabiliser and laser shields
- Cover plate over the electricals
- USB or 12 volt plugs
Suspension Independent rubberised suspension
Brakes 10" electric
Coupling 50mm ball
Chassis 70 x 50 x 3mm galvanised
Drawbar 70 x 50 x 3mm galvanised RHS A Frame
Body Fibregalss sandwich panel
Wheels/tyres 13" road tyres
Style Alloy — 4 stud
Body size 3.70m x 2.07m
Length 4400mm (hitch to tail lights)
Tent size 3.7 x 3 x 2.07m — rear awning 2 x 2 x 2m
Gas cylinder 1 x 9kg holder only (std)
Jerrycan holder 1 x 20L (std)
Water 45 litre poly with analogue gauge
Cooktop Two-burner gas
Kitchen cold water pressurised sink, laminate bench top, LED lights, 45L Primus fridge
Battery 1 x 100 AMP AGM
PRICE AS TESTED
Factory 7 1695 Centre Road
Springvale, Vic, 3171
Ph 1300 667 868