The Australians really do RVing differently. Sure, there’s a lot of the same style RVs we get Down Under, but when it comes to heavy-duty, off-road capable RVs, they take the cake. One fine example is the Kimberly Karavan. The Karavan is new to the United States, and RV Magazine was lucky enough to be given full access to the only one, at that time, in the states.
The quality and design of the Karavan is second to none. Everywhere we looked we were amazed. The frame is laser cut, hot dip galvanized and assembled with an interlocking design to maximize strength. All joints are pop-riveted versus bolting to reduce loosening of said bolts due to vibrations. Kimberly says this all but eliminates those squeaks and rattles most RV’s develop over time. Now it is a pop-up type trailer but you will not find any canvas or vinyl windows on this rig.Utilizing a clam shell design allows for a sturdier superstructure, better insulation and in the end makes for a much more comfortable cabin on those rainy, windy days.
The systems on-board are equally impressive. The propane system is small and exclusive to the outside kitchen. This was done for two reasons: By keeping the propane outside Kimberly was able to keep the cabin completely sealed reducing dust and helping with insulation. Also they have found that diesel power is more efficient and easier to fill than propane. The hydronic heating system as well as the stove and BBQ are all powered by diesel. While it sounds odd to cook with diesel, when shooting the Karavan for this review we had a meal prepared with this diesel stove top. There’s no black smoke like you may think and the food tasted great!
After unhooking a few latches, the top is ready to go up. Operated by a winch and cable it
Water is handled by multiple means. There are three ways of getting and storing it. The Karavan has two completely separate tanks for fresh water. One is a 32-gallon tank and the other is a smaller 19 gallon. Both are mounted as low as possible to lower the center of gravity. The idea behind the dual tanks came from the Billabong’s in Australia. These small bodies of water are fairly common and usually contain fairly fresh, rain water. Kimberly added a pump and hose with a small stainless filter to tap into these Aussie lakes. The captured water can then be pumped into either tank (although Kimberly recommends keeping the larger tank for potable water only) or used on-demand for showers, heating purposes or for flushing the toilet.
…and in a few seconds, the top is up.
Next the bed is slid into position and that’s it. All said and done it takes about five mi