Creating childhood memories is a great thing, and the Kinsman On-Road Family Van is the perfect choice for young families. With three bunk beds, ample storage and a large fridge, this medium-sized caravan manufactured by Highline Caravans in Campbellfield, Victoria, looks the goods. But does it provide enough space for families to enjoy a holiday road trip?
SLEEK EXTERNAL LOOKS
From the outside, the Kinsman is well specced for an on-road model constructed using the traditional meranti timber frame with insulation and aluminium composite walls. Protecting the frame from moisture is an insulated single sheet fibreglass roof and composite sheets sealed at the corners. Further protection is provided by black checkerplate that wraps around the entire body.
The steel used in the Roadrunner chassis and A-frame is a 6in DuraGal RHS box section 150mm x 50mm thick and hot-dipped galvanised for added strength. The suspension is rocker roller seven leaf from AL-KO with 12in disc brakes and 15in alloy MPC rims matched with a set of MPC 235/75R15 mud-terrain tyres. A single spare is mounted on the black Gal rear bar.
On the A-frame is a 40L checkerplate toolbox, perfect for storing hoses, leads and tools. In front are two 8.5kg LPG bottles and mounted regulator, Breaksafe breakaway switch and 8in AL-KO jockey wheel. At the pointy end is the AL-KO 50mm ball hitch, perfect for on-road adventures.
You’ll also find a tap mounted on the A-frame plumbed to two 95L fresh water tanks that sit between the chassis rails — there’s also a 95L grey water tank all protected by gal sheeting. The water tanks are topped up using two filler points located on the driver’s side of the caravan.
A Dometic awning runs the full length of the caravan body and provides ample weather protection and, by simply pressing the switch inside the doorway, the awning opens and retracts with ease. External lighting is taken care of with two white LED strip lights, LED door light and LED strip lights above the boot doors on both sides of the caravan. There are two large front boots for storage, with one accessible from both sides. In two lockable checkerplate boxes attached to the chassis rail are the Razorback 100Ah AGM batteries.
Outside entertainment is covered with two external speakers that connect to the CD DVD/MP3/Bluetooth sound system that fits nicely above the dinette. There is also a good-sized fold-down picnic table with an external 240V powerpoint and DC charging socket nearby. You can even enjoy watching your favourite sport by moving the 24in LED TV to the picnic table as there is an aerial point connected to the roof-mounted Wingard antenna.
One of the first things noticed upon entering through the Camec tri-lock entry door, was the minimalist look and quality feel. Plenty of light filtered through the Euro-style double glazed Perspex windows that also provided great airflow when opened. Skylight hatches located in the main living and kids bunk section added to the natural light and airflow.
Usually, adding bunks extends the length of a caravan, but, at 5.9m (19ft 6in), the internal layout has been compacted to fit the space, making it feel a little cramped for a family option. While the east-west queen bed with pillowtop mattress added space to the layout, the dinette lost an end seat, making it more of a four-seater than a five. If a highchair were needed, it would be a tight fit.
Overhead lockers above the bed provide good storage options as do two of the three overheads above the dinette. The third contains a 40A DCDC charger that keeps the batteries topped up when on the move and the LDSolar MPPT solar manager that helps manage the charge coming from two 170W solar panels that reside on the roof.
Two water monitors keep a tab on how much water is left in the tanks, but neither show the level of the grey water tank. There are switches for the 12V water pump and two for the Swift 28L stainless steel hot water service (LPG or 240W), a 12V fuse panel and a 240V circuit breaker.
A lounge-style vinyl dinette with adjustable table sits opposite the kitchen and underneath is more storage, although some space is taken up by the Flojet water pump, filler hoses and breathers for the water tanks and five-stage battery charger that kicks in when connected to 240V. There is a hatch under the master bed that accesses one of the front boots and also provides access to the hot water service.
Within easy reach is the Thetford 184L three-way fridge/freezer that fits nicely into the space. The temperature within the internals can be adjusted thanks to the Gree reverse cycle air-conditioner that has Wi-Fi capability so you can activate the heating or cooling at the restaurant so the interior is just right by the time you get home. The unit requires operation via 240V though, so this feature won’t work if you’re camping off-grid.
At the rear are the three bunks with built-in ladders and beside them is a half-height wardrobe with three drawers below. The full ensuite houses the Thetford cassette toilet, floating ceramic vanity basin fibreglass shower, a small cabinet above the sink and single cupboard and half drawer under it. There doesn’t appear to be enough storage for a family van and I’m not sure where the optional washing machine would fit.
In the kitchen, bench space is limited, especially when the Swift four-burner (3 x gas and 1 x electric) oven and mini grill is in use, as the bench lifts up to become the splashback — when not in use, the cover/splashback integrates into the bench. The NCE microwave rounds out the cooking features and is positioned at a safe level above the bench. The stainless steel sink with flick master tap provides plumbed hot water while a separate water tap provides fresh purified and filtered drinking water.
The cabinetry is a poplar ply, glued and screwed together before being covered in laminate. The drawers have solid locking mechanisms and a pull-out pantry provides ample space to keep all your herbs, spices and sauces. The contrasting dark laminate against white marble effect benchtops is an eye-catching modern design that Highline is renowned for.
The Kinsman certainly offers plenty of lighting with LED lights placed strategically within the roof space and LED reading lights over the master bed and also every bunk bed, with each containing a single USB charging port, too.
The Highline Caravans story began in 2013 when its owners decided to head out on their own having worked in the caravan industry for many years. Their passion for an innovative custom design with quality-built caravans delivers results and they pride themselves on the valuable relationships that are built with customers during the design, construction and post-sales periods. A wide dealer network in regional Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales helps in spreading the Highline brand with the same professionalism as the team at Head Office.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Being able to have input in the design of your caravan is a bonus, and the Highline team pride themselves on this. The quality of the build was great, however there are concerns about the space available in a caravan built for five people. This is by no means a unique problem to Highline and they have created the best layout possible for a young family.
The Kinsman is also well set up for off-grid living, with ample battery power topped up by 340W of solar energy, plenty of water and a grey water tank that allows self-reliant camping. At $65,000 this is great value for a family looking for their first caravan.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
Body length 5.9m (19ft 6in)
Overall length 9m (29ft 6in)
Width 2.43m (8ft in)
Height 3m (10ft)
Payload 950kg (calculated)
Ball weight 160kg (tare mass)
Frame 6in Duragal Roadrunner
Chassis 6in Duragal Roadrunner
Suspension On-Road Rocker Roller leaf springs
Coupling AL-KO 50mm ball hitch
Brakes 12in disc brakes
Wheels 15in MPC 235/75 Mud Terrains and alloys
Water 2 x 95L plastic tanks, 1 x 95L grey water plastic tank
Battery 2 x 100Ah AGM batteries mounted on the chassis
Solar 2 x 170W with LDSolar Sky Dream controller
Air-conditioner Gree Split System with wifi controls via phone app
Gas 2 x 9kg
Sway control No
Break Away RV Electronics Breaksafe 6000
Cooking Swift four-burner (three gas, one electric), oven and grill
Fridge Thetford 184L three-way fridge freezer
Bathroom Full ensuite with separate shower, Thetford ceramic toilet, vanity and sink
Hot water 28L Swift gas/electric
PRICE AS SHOWN
To enquire about this caravan, please visit highlinecaravans.com.au or phone (03) 9357 9092