Go-anywhere campers are currently one of the fastest growing sectors of the RV market, with new designs popping up every month. We’ve reported on custom off-road campers that, while tough, also pack in the luxury to the tune of $1 million. But some of the best and most affordable options are from Australia, where camper companies are testing their products on the beaches and in the Outback.
Melbourne-based Mars Campers is known for their smartly-designed and compact floor trailers that use pop-up tents for shelter. But the company has also recently debuted a more traditional loft trailer called the Ares. The lightweight camper uses aluminum composite panels and an aerodynamic design so that it can be pulled by most SUVs.
Rugged tires, shocks, and decent clearance held up to testing in the beach and in rough terrain, and inside the camper features a lofted, pop-up ceiling for additional headspace. On one side sits a counter and storage space that uses exposed timber edges on the wood cabinets and space for a portable electric fridge. While the standard model features open storage, Mars Campers can also provide fold-back covers for existing cabinets or custom cabinetry with swinging drawers.
The other side of the trailer features a large convertible table and dinette area with room for up to six adults. The eating area transitions to a large full-width bed and Mars Campers also plans to offer options for a more compact east-west double bed or even bunk beds for kids.
Each wall contains well-spaced windows with views to the outdoors, and zippered screens on the pop-up roof awning provide natural light and ventilation. An outdoor pull-out kitchen boasts a stainless steel sink, three-burner stove, utensils drawer, and more storage. The Ares 1 also comes fitted with a battery and can accommodate solar panels on the roof, making long-term stays in the backcountry more than feasible.