While its small footprint and basic decor won’t appeal to all families, the adventure-style Taxa Mantis will attract the interest of those seeking a nimble RV that feels like a tent on wheels.
Anyone who complains that all travel trailers look alike hasn’t seen the Mantis from Taxa Outdoors. Taxa prides itself on making “mobile human habitats” that stand out from the pack, and the Mantis certainly stands out in the family-friendly trailer market, both in appearance and functionality.
From the first glance, it is clear that the 19-foot Mantis isn’t like other camping trailers. The slate-colored matte side walls are built from aluminum-composite panels assembled at slight angles, giving the trailer a unique appearance.
Several design elements meet Taxa’s mission of connecting the trailer to the great outdoors, from the large rear hatch that swings wide open (a new feature in 2020) to the pop-up canvas-and-screen roof that adds headroom and cross-ventilation.
Storage decks on the roof (reachable by a recently redesigned built-in ladder) provide ample space to store bikes and gear, and the 15-inch all-terrain tires and 12 inches of ground clearance make it easy to take the 2,882-pound (dry weight) Mantis off the grid.
The Mantis not only goes almost anywhere, it fits in standard-size garages with a door height of 7 feet.
Inspired by NASA design principles, the Mantis is built to be durable and highly functional. Families who play hard won’t feel confined by a fussy interior. Instead, they will find storage and sleeping spaces, as well as room to relax and cook.
Designed for families, the Mantis features an optional pair of bunk beds at the front of the trailer. The bottom bunk flips up to make a couch. A convertible bed is located at the rear. Measuring 80 by 54 inches, the bed has room for two adults and transforms into a couch or dinette.
Underneath, storage cubes make the most of a small space. Shelves and storage cubbies throughout the trailer are formed from sleek birchwood-plywood panels, with milk-crate-style drawers.
It’s easy to overlook the kitchen, but it’s there. A Dometic two-burner-stove-and-sink combo is hidden beneath a flat-top glass lid, and the Dometic cooler/fridge sits under the large serving window. Similarly, the optional wet bath can be tucked away in plain sight, with the shower and cassette toilet concealed in a birchwood box.
While the Mantis has a minimalist appearance, it doesn’t lack the comforts of home. Warming and cooling are made possible by the Truma furnace-and-hot-water system and a 6,000-Btu air conditioner.
Starting retail price for the 2020 Taxa Mantis is $46,000.
2020 Taxa Mantis
Exterior Length: 19′
Exterior Width: 7′ 6″
Interior Height (closed): 4′ 7″
Interior Height (open): 5′ 11″-7′ 10″
Exterior Height (closed): 6′ 10″
Exterior Height (open): 10′
Freshwater Cap.: 20 gal.
Black-Water Cap.: N/A
Gray-Water Cap.: 22 gal.
LP-Gas Cap.: 10 gal.
UVW: 2,882 lbs.
Hitch Weight: 440 lbs.
GVWR: 3,970 lbs.
MSRP, Base: $46,000
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With her small bunkhouse travel trailer in tow, Kerri Cox has traveled near and far with her husband and two teenage sons, documenting their adventures on her blog, Travels with Birdy. When not on the road, she spends her time teaching and writing. Her words and photographs can be found in print and digital publications, including Trailer Life and the Good Sam Club Blog.