Inspiration

Dark Sky Mantis Eclipses Adventure Trailers With Black Treatment

Did you catch that once in a lifetime total solar eclipse? If not, you’ve got a second chance of sorts, in the form of TAXA Outdoors’ The Dark Sky Mantis overlanding trailer. The matte black finish is supposedly inspired by the celestial phenomenon, a claim that seems like a reach amongst the uninitiated until you realize TAXA specializes in NASA-style approach to designing recreational habitats on wheels.

The NASA connection goes beyond a simple “inspired by” narrative. Garrett Finney, CEO of Taxa, was formerly a senior architect with the Habitability Design Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, a department dedicated to engineering a human-focused living space onboard the International Space Station. If there’s anyone who harbors specialized knowledge about small spaces and equipment required for survival, Finney might top the short list of experts.

A black off-road Mantis adventure trailer with TXA branding parked against a dark background.

Interior of a modern Dark Sky Mantis adventure trailer with a convertible bed and dining area.

Interior of a Dark Sky Mantis adventure trailer, featuring the main galley kitchen with sink and range lids open.

Using knowledge once devoted to the highest of stakes of outer space exploration, Finney dedicates his time designing overland campers like the Mantis. Outfitted to accommodate four adults, the 105-square-foot trailer shares some of the same attributes as a spacecraft, with carefully planned storage a priority. Accessorized with an indoor kitchen area, built-in shower, toilet, air conditioner, furnace, and a 180° Batwing awning allowing travelers to extend the interior outdoors.

Interior view of a modern Dark Sky Mantis adventure trailer showcasing storage solutions and built-in amenities.

Taking the spacecraft analogy further, the Dark Sky Mantis also is pre-wired for solar panels and batteries storage, allowing the trailer to operate independently of an electrical hookup.

Interior of a Dark Sky Mantis adventure trailer with a bed and storage compartments set for up to 4 occupants, ready for an adventure.

For the purpose of seeking distant campsites off the beaten path, the special edition receives an Overland Upgrade with axel-less suspension offering an additional 3″ of clearance, rugged all-terrain tires and 16″ alloy wheels, and articulating Lock ‘N’ Roll hitch with 360-degrees of rotation and 3-axis movement.

A pair of solar eclipse glasses with a Dark Sky Mantis adventure trailer reflected on the lens, with TAXA branding on the frame.

But if we’re being honest, the feature that will receive the most attention by curious neighbors whether the trailer is parked at home in the driveway or stationed as a backcountry basecamp is the custom matte wrap Dark Sky colorway. Accessorized with limited edition graphics and matching dark wheels, the special edition Mantis leans into its eclipse theme from front to back, with an enormous graphic of its namesake near the trailer hitch.

Black and gray Dark Sky Mantis adventure trailer with the word "Mantis" and a praying mantis graphic displayed on the front side near the trailer hitch.

Just like the fleeting solar eclipse, the TAXA Outdoors Dark Sky Mantis is a transient special edition offering, available for pre-order for only one week, April 8th-15th, 2024.

Gregory Han is a Senior Editor at Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools, and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at gregoryhan.com.

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