For decades, the best option for hardcore, adventurous campers was a classic teardrop trailer. The 21st century opened things up, bringing a slew of ingenious new manufacturers, all building capable, lightweight, rugged travel trailers ready to go anywhere. New for 2019, Taxa Outdoors — one of our favorite towable brands — returns with a redesigned flagship model.
The most noticeable thing about the refreshed Mantis is its size or, more specifically, lack thereof. While the model gets a 12-inch bump in length up to 19 feet, it’s still incredibly compact with a footprint that can be stored in most 7-foot garages. At roughly 3,000 pounds, it’s towable by even moderately equipped trucks and SUVs. It all rides on 15-inch steel wheel all-terrain tires for a comfortable ride that’s capable of venturing off-road when necessary.
Inside is a surprising amount of elbow room. The pop-up roof guarantees plenty of headroom with comfortable seating for six. After dark, the Mantis will sleep four with a comfortable full-size bed/couch at the rear and bunk beds at the front. The rugged, military-inspired exterior belies a premium cabin. The long list of features includes a birch plywood kitchen with a Dometic Combo 2-burner sink and stove, plus ample storage. A 6,000-BTU air conditioner, oversized fresh and gray water tanks, exterior hot/cold shower, 8-foot patio awning, and 12-volt USB outlets throughout are all standard. Buyers can even upgrade to a 78-liter refrigerator/freezer and a wet bath with a shower and cassette toilet, making the Mantis a real off-grid camping solution.
Taxa Outdoors first made industry waves with the pared-down Cricket. The mid-range travel trailer was instantly recognizable for its quirky, asymmetrical shell. It was a love-it-or-hate-it design. For us, it was love at first sight, which is why we still rank it among the best ultra-light travel trailers. That Taxa managed to engineer a boatload of storage, features, and usability into the Cricket’s 15-foot shell proved the company knew how to build a legit towable for the avid outdoorsman. The redesigned Mantis builds on their years of research and development, making their already great flagship product even better.
The 2019 Taxa Outdoors Mantis is available with a starting price of around $37,500, but a fully loaded model pushes closer to $40,000. That might seem steep, but for a durable, well-designed adventure trailer, it doesn’t get much better.
Not sure which model — teardrop, ultra-light, or full-featured Airstream — is right for you? Kick the tires with a multi-day RV or travel trailer rental to narrow your search.
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