Just Browsing Young family van advice/ recommended models

Kateandco

New Member
May 14, 2018
2
0
1
Dee Why
#1
Hi there,

I’m looking for our first caravan for my family of 4 (3yo and 1yo kids). Our ideal layout would include the following:

Full ensuite/washing machine option
L shape or U shape/Cafe Lounge
QB + Double bunks
Room divider
Large fridge
Outback model to allow for free camping.

We don’t want anything too huge so we were originally attracted to the expander models, but wanted something without a pop top and where the kids beds were at least fixed in case we had to set up late at night.

So far we like the Expanda OB 20.63-1 particularly for the large cafe dining area, fixed kids beds and the extra room you get from popping out the queen bed (one side only)

Alternatively, we like the Starcraft OB 22.68-1 as it’s all set up but are worried about the length for towing/manoeuvring.

Are there any other models you think we should consider? New or second hand (2011+)?

Any additional advice regarding set up/ layout with little kiddies?

Or If you are selling something like the above please also feel free to PM me.

TIA
Kate

Tow Rig - Jeep Grand Cherokee
 
Jan 21, 2018
31
55
18
Shailer park
#2
Both are big vans, we tow an 18.57-5 with grand cherokee with ease. So your tow vehicle will be more than adequate for either of these 2 vans.

2 foot doesn't sound like much but it can be when going into smallish sites or tight swing ins. I recon 20 ft and under is about right so go the expander, I might just be bias :)

We find the 19ft van we have just right for size and can get it into a lot of coastal parks, but our mate has a 24 footer and he gets into nearly all the same sites , we are both experienced vanners the last 15 years so it will come down to confidence and experience with the bigger vans, although some parks will tell you if you say you got a bigger than 20 footer then they will request you onto a bigger site which in peak periods could mean no sites left. Our mate had this issue once , we didn't . So we both went somewhere else, no biggy.
No biggy if your free camping, just something to consider. The star craft has advantage of been beds all set up and solid walls. But I find the drop down beds on our expander take like 1 minute to do, so no biggy. And with the double fold out we have more internal room than the star craft and we are not lying when the receptionist ask how longs my van and I say 18.5 ft lol.

Diff vans for diff purposes , but for bigger units I'd be inclined to either be experienced with previous van first or go to big sites and free camps for at least several trips to get the feel of a longer van.

Cheers
 

NoWorries

Well-Known Member
Sep 28, 2015
805
1,341
93
Perth
www.expandasdownunder.com
#4
Hi Kate,
I agree with Coldspace about the size issues
I also have a 18-57-5 and my kids have been fine sleeping in the same bed until the last trip we went on (12 and 10 yr old boy and girl)
we are now looking at a 19.61-3 Journey (previously Starcraft) with bunks.
 
Feb 1, 2016
47
72
18
Lysterfield
#6
Starcraft or Journey 19.61-3

We are picking ours up on Tuesday.

We had an expanda but wanted a permanent bed and a full ensuite.

Check them out. Good mix of size and features.
 

Jalos5

New Member
May 8, 2018
5
2
3
Adelaide SA
#7
Hi Guys,
I would not dismiss a pop top, due to concerns about set up time.
ie. Once around the outside to flick off the 4 Clamps, Annex to “Open”,
then inside to lift. Done.
Couldn’t take longer than 2 minutes.
Advantage of a pop top is better fuel economy when towing & more likely to fit in your garage / shed at home.
Good luck anyway, we’ve had so many great, affordable caravanning holidays with our 3 kids, I’m sure you will too
 
Likes: Duncanblake36

Smergen

Well-Known Member
Jun 8, 2014
2,257
4,576
113
Bacchus Marsh
#8
No, open to recommendations
Well, I would recommend checking out the 18ft New Age Gecko...

https://newagecaravans.com.au/caravan/18ft-gecko-bunk-ensuite/

Full ensuite/washing machine option - check.
L shape or U shape/Cafe Lounge - check
QB + Double bunks - Fold out bed isn't QB but I've found it bigger than our previous Expanda bed
Room divider - check
Large fridge - check
Outback model to allow for free camping - Does an Enduro pack similar to "Outback". Having said that, we simply raised ours 2", chucked some panels on the top, bigger tyres and never met a problem travelling around the country. And ours is the 19ft version.

Just a thought as it seemed to meet all that you were asking for...
 

DRW

Well-Known Member
May 29, 2013
1,863
2,953
113
63
Beautiful Burrum Heads QLD
#9
If buying new I would look at the new Journey range, particular the 19 foot range, remember they all have fibreglass sides, aluminium frame and the OB's have independent suspension. We went from an expander (no kids) to a pop top Sterling, after looking at the full size vans there is so much more room and storage than the pop tops, also Jayco now have 2/5 year warranty. We will probably end up with a 18 footer sooner than later, we also tow with a Jeep.
 

JT76

Well-Known Member
Jan 24, 2016
292
492
63
41
Central Coast
#11
I would agree with the Jayco 19.61-3 being a good option. We ended up ordering a New Age 19ft Road Owl in the Adventure pack. Basically identical layout to the Jayco 19.63-1 but we preferred the New Age version of this layout.
 

Duncanblake36

Active Member
Nov 17, 2016
87
140
33
Doreen
#13
I always travel with an Engle. That with the fridge in the van is ample. If we need more we take an Eski for beers / fruit / veg depending on how long we are going for. Always come home with food so it’s a hard one to judge. We have a 17-56-2 expanda poptop outback for a family of 5. Is plenty of space. Clothes storage may be an issue when the kids get bigger but it’s fine now. The toilet is great for bush camping and for young kids and the wife!
 

Crusty181

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2010
4,684
10,387
113
Mentone, VIC
#15
Hi there,

I’m looking for our first caravan for my family of 4 (3yo and 1yo kids). Our ideal layout would include the following:

Full ensuite/washing machine option
L shape or U shape/Cafe Lounge
QB + Double bunks
Room divider
Large fridge
Outback model to allow for free camping.

We don’t want anything too huge so we were originally attracted to the expander models, but wanted something without a pop top and where the kids beds were at least fixed in case we had to set up late at night.

So far we like the Expanda OB 20.63-1 particularly for the large cafe dining area, fixed kids beds and the extra room you get from popping out the queen bed (one side only)

Alternatively, we like the Starcraft OB 22.68-1 as it’s all set up but are worried about the length for towing/manoeuvring.

Are there any other models you think we should consider? New or second hand (2011+)?

Any additional advice regarding set up/ layout with little kiddies?

Or If you are selling something like the above please also feel free to PM me.

TIA
Kate

Tow Rig - Jeep Grand Cherokee
Welcome to the forum @Kateandco, exciting times indeed ahead for you guys. Caravaning is a awesome way to get about, and caravan parks are the best places in the cosmos for kids.

We have a 20.63.1OB and it suits us very very well. Its a big roomy comfortable van, which is 3 or 4 foot shorter than the equivalent hard walled van.

Make no mistake, our van is a big heavy van and I can certainly feel it behind the car. Aside from maybe a Dodge Ram or an F truck youll most certainly feel a 3 ton van on any vehicle you put in on. I dont think at 20ft ours is particularly difficult due to length. As for reversing, bigger is generally easier. A 6x4 box trailer is harder to reverse than a 20ft van, and unfortunately if you cant reverse only practise will solve that ..... maybe. An extended drawer bar is very helpful with any van.

As for setting up late at night, in 20 years of vanning Ive set up in the dark only a handful of times. Its very very easy to not need to set up in the dark. After a few outings youll be able to set up your van with your eyes closed. Its the same every time, so lack of sun light wont make a stopover camp any harder in the dark. If your van is set up to free camp then youll never "need' to pitch camp after dark anyway

We prefer the Expanda because we love the open air feeling of the tent end, particularly because we head up north a lot. At this point I have no intention of getting a hard walled van. If that day ever come, something like the new 19.63.1 with the E/W bed would be the only mild temptation because I see traditional N/S caravan bed set ups as such a huge waste of space.

The tent end has bugger all thermal resistance so it will be noticeably cooler in winter, and noticeably warmer in summer; but on the warmest nights, and with the mildest breeze we never need the aircon particularly at night. On warm days and nights our bed is always significantly cooler than the bunk end of the van which is always humid and stuffy in comparison, but our bed is also cooler in winter but storm covers make a significant difference by providing a thermal buffer, but storm covers can be a bit annoying to have to put on and off. But, but, but. Caravanning is the world of compromise

Set up time is a very "laboratory" or subjective argument. A poptop literally takes under a minute, and an Expanda tent end much the same. Full height non expanding caravan maybe in perfect laboratory conditions with crash test dummies, and without any accessories or outside influence be faster and easier to pitch camp than poptops or Expandas tent ends. But out here in the real world there is precious little genuine set up difference. Ive had both, and 30min or 31min wont ruin your holiday, and dont assume the 31min is the poptop Expanda. Considering individual speed and efficiency, and how many people are involved In my opinion a poptop, and or tent ends van is a minor consideration and shouldnt weigh too heavily on your choice if setup time is the criteria. Layout and function are much more important. If you park a full height height van and poptop Expanda at the caravan park gate and fire the starting pistol, drive to the site, assess the site, reverse in, have an argument, chat to the neighbours, check the position, get the ramps, unhitch, awning, hose, power, bikes, annex, kids, lunch, coffee, waste hose, antenna, guy ropes, matting, chairs, table and the list goes on .... there will no clear time winners here and Ive seen tents set up faster than some vans.

I/we could live with a combo shower/toilet but the Princess wanted the bathroom, so the bathroom we have. It is pretty good to be able to access the basin and toilet whilst the shower is occupied. Washing machine is truly awesome, and public machines creep me out anyway; picture half washed nappies, flee filled dog blankets, and muddy hike boots etc. The club lounge style is great; the picnic table type setup I see is good for eating but crap for lounging around. We opted for a 150ltr single door Domestic because we had that exact fridge in the last van and it performed flawlessly, so it was a matter of sticking with what I knew worked and had confidence in. We have a 40ltr Engel in the car anyway and the Engel with the 150ltr in the van is a capacity that is ample and works well for us, although the Princess thinks she would like a little bigger freezer.

For a food comparison we have me, the Princess and the 12yo Crustkett (who eats like 5 people). We spend upto 10days off the grid and have not needed more fridge space than what we have. We travelled around Oz for 14 months free camping extensively manage fresh milk 100% of the time. We use around a litre per day. We didnt not use a single drop of UHT ... yuk. We carried 3; 1 eventually started to leak, and the other two expired.

3 bunk setups are incredibly claustrophobic, two is much a much better. The top bunks get very very warm and humid in hotter weather, and the triple more so because its higher again. The small bunk windows don't provide much relief particularly if the windows are under the awning side

Good luck
 
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