Mars adventure caravan brings expandable comfort to the bush
Since we last looked in on Mars Campers, the company has sent another ultra-rugged caravan or two rolling out into the wild. Its impressive Saturn 13 rides compact but capable to camp, growing once there with a pop-up roof and fold-out expansion. It offers a spacious place to spend a night, week or more out in the backcountry, complete with indoor bathroom and entertainment center.
Hybrid caravans are all the rage right now in Australia, and why not? An Australian hybrid is a towable that combines the robust, maneuverable off-road construction simpler Aussie camper trailers are famous for with the comfort and luxuries of a hard-sided caravan (a different definition from the hard/soft-sided American hybrid trailer). That sure sounds an irresistible recipe to entice those who want to travel to rough, remote places but prefer not to actually “rough it” much.
The 18.4-foot-long (5.6-m) Saturn 13 was one of the hybrids that caught our eye at the Melbourne 4x4 show earlier this month. It’s a double-expander, popping straight up at the roof and expanding out at the rear via an upper module that folds out after the dual-spare tire holder drops down. The extra space allotted by this expansion allows the Saturn to offer indoor amenities where more compact, non-expanding trailers might rely on outdoor annexes, or go without.
The fold-out extension serves in part to house the queen-size bed, providing the foundation of a comfortable two-sleeper cabin. The main cabin also includes a bench seat, swiveling dining table and entertainment system with TV and DVD player.
Rather than just an outdoor shower with deployable tent (which also comes standard), the Saturn 13 has a dedicated wet bathroom with indoor shower and toilet. A separate vanity outside the bathroom keeps a sink at the ready, even when the bathroom itself is occupied.
The Saturn 13 cooks meals outdoors, its main slide-out kitchen area holding together a four-burner stove, sink and storage drawers. A second slide on the other side of the entry door provides space for the fridge/freezer. The power awning puts some shade and shelter overhead.
The Saturn smoothens out the roughest trips to camp with an independent trailing arm suspension and stout hot dipped galvanized chassis. The body is built from composite aluminum panels.
Mars wires the Saturn 13 up with three 100-Ah batteries, a 1,000-W inverter, a power control panel, and 12V and 240V outlets. Touch-activated LED lighting makes getting some light in a pitch-dark cabin a cinch. The plumbing system combines 200 liters of fresh water storage with a Truma gas/electric water heater.
The 4,400-lb (2,000-kg) Saturn 13 starts at AU$36,990 (approx. US$24,925), as currently listed on Mars’ website. Options include an air conditioner and awning walls.
Source: Mars Campers