The story goes that when the founders of My Dream RV — Matthew John and Don Rafiq — met at a local junior soccer game where the two dads watched on as the children kicked the ball around the field, they started yarning, as dads do. One was a multinational industrialist and the other had near on 20 years’ experience building caravans in Melbourne. By the end of the match, they had settled on a plan to start a new caravan company and the dream has now become a reality.
John used his wide network of supply chain partners to set up a dedicated new factory and Rafiq assembled a team of experienced caravan builders. They then set about commissioning designs and chose a line of models suited to the Australian market. Production commenced in mid-2022 and the fledgling My Dream RV brand teamed up with Caravan HQ to distribute the vans exclusively across a growing network of dealerships. Currently production is six vans a week with capacity gearing up to 10.
So far, they have introduced five vans across a Dream Catcher range of couples and family offroaders between 17ft 6in and 23ft. The model we introduce here is a 19ft 6in couple’s version and it’s a stunning looker in its bright yellow end panels. A 19ft 6in van has perennially been the most popular size for couples and this one also boasts the rear door/front bed layout that seems to work effectively for most owners.
As a van destined for rugged travel, the Dream Catcher is built on a zinc painted 150mm x 50mm DuraGal chassis from Proline. The body sits on a 100mm x 50mm riser that’s stitch-welded to the main chassis rail to form a robust structure. The A-frame runs to the spring hangers and is also 150mm x 50mm DuraGal. Suspension is a tandem TuffRide trailing arm setup rated to 3.5T and with twin EFS shock absorbers. Brakes are 12in drums and the 16in alloy wheels run Westlake 265 x 16 All-Terrain tyres. The tow connection is Cruisemaster’s DO35 hitch which offers safe articulation over rugged terrain and BMPRO Electronic Stabiliser Control (ESC) is standard.
Rafiq leads the production team, and his experience convinced him that properly built and insulated timber frame construction is the way to go. We are assured that the company takes extra care in cutting the sections of meranti for a close fit and any notches for electrical wiring are routed rather than roughly chiselled as sometimes seen in other manufactures’ build process. For added weather protection, the lower sections of the frame are sealed against water damage. Close fitting insulation fills the voids in the frame and Dibond composite aluminium sheets cover the outside.
Up top, for maximum weather protection, a single sheet of fibreglass covers the entire roof to meet the Dibond cladding at each end. Two 95L water tanks and a 95L grey tank sit under the van and the associated pipes are very neatly assembled.
The lightweight ply cabinetry inside is contracted to a local joinery where it is formed on CNC machinery. I noticed better than average catches, hinges and struts in the cupboards and sturdy runners for the drawers. All the plumbing and electrical leads under the van are neatly aligned and mostly well out of the way of flying rocks. Importantly, the water outlets have metal shrouds behind the wheels to stop them being pummelled by flying stones.
The new team at My Dream RV was on a mission to deliver something different to the local market. Its stated aim was to be a disrupter, an innovator and a leader. In its efforts to stand out from the pack it needed a fresh look and they found it in a surprisingly easy format. Well, maybe calling it easy isn’t my call because achieving the smooth rounded lines of the front entry might look simple but if that’s the case then why hasn’t it been done before?
Rounded front ends have a stylish appeal that were popular in the 60s and while some builders in the modern era have tried to emulate the shape, not many have turned out well. The Dream team has succeeded admirably. The shape suits the rest of the van and works well with the addition of the custom toolbox that’s wedded into the lower edge. The box helps soften the look and the close-fitting contour adds some extra storage. BMPRO sway control and a work light are standard and two jerrycan holders sit aside the twin 9kg gas bottles. The water tap gets a guard, but I would have liked a stone guard for some added protection to the gas system on a designated offroader.
Overall, the van looks well balanced and modern. The sides have a lower section of black checkerplate and swirl patterns in tones of grey for a conservative finish. The body rides high on its chassis so it looks true to its offroad intention but without too much agro.
Heading back along the passenger side is a full width tunnel boot that’s sealed and lined with galvanised sheet. The mid-section has a picnic table, overhead lights, external speakers and points for TV and power, while further back is a second hatch, handy for chairs and mats. The rear has a single spare on a three-arm bar with a work light and rear-view camera up high.
It’s two steps up to the high-riding body of the Dream Catcher where the interior gets a modern and inviting treatment. The door is an Aussie Traveller security three-way with both a fine insect screen and security mesh. Windows are large Eurovision Aussie Traveller brand, so, as well as Halo hatches overhead, there’s a good flow of light and ventilation. The layout is the standard rear door design with a couple of design improvements. The bed pushes forward into the concave of the shape, affording a bit more room between the end and lounge and the extra space up front allows a handy storage shelf at the bedhead.
First impressions are positive. There’s a useful amount of space for a couple to get comfortable and the cabinetry is neatly presented with a mix of popular conservative colours. The layout has the kitchen at the passenger side, so it’s positioned for serving to the outside and has the cook facing the entryway. On-trend black taps and sink slot into the granite grey benchtop and there’s a Thetford Mini Grill with a rangehood overhead. Opposite is a handy size 180L three-way Dometic fridge freezer and (finally) there are built-in double locks to stop everything spewing out on corrugated roads. The fridge is a three-way model which a lot of travellers like for the option of gas when camped off-grid. A microwave sits on top of the fridge for cooking when hooked to power and while we aren’t fans of high microwaves, the industry seems to have accepted the risk.
A couple of little details impressed me. Firstly, the light switches are labelled and while that might sound inconsequential, it’s a feature that’s generally missed in most vans and it can be annoying trying to find the right switch. The second was the rounded corners at the benchtops. Modern design seems to dictate sharp edges, and to my mind they are accidents waiting to happen so it’s good to see a more pragmatic approach. And finally, I like the two-level drawer system that adds to space for all the little kitchen items we seem to accumulate.
The cafe dinette microfibre upholstery has a good grip and well contoured shape around the tri-fold table. Pop-up seat extensions and backrests against the wall will be ideal for reading or watching the 24in NCE smart television. Reading lights each side have USB chargers and you will find some compact storage options under the lounges.
The curved bedhead adds a cosy feeling, and you can take advantage at last of all those extra cushions we seem to collect when sitting up in bed. Extra-large overhead cupboards and space under the bed add to storage options.
The ensuite down the back has a one-piece moulded shower and an ‘Endless’ instant hot water supply which will be nice when hooked up to tap water in a caravan park, so you don’t have to mix with the masses. Your bathroom has all the necessities including a full-length door mirror, designer black sink and tap, swivel Dometic toilet and a Camec wall-mounted washer.
Two 200W solar panels feed lithium batteries mounted on the driver side chassis rail, so the van already meets new electrics regulations around battery storage. A BMPROPlus35-II-HA takes care of charging and there’s a display near the door to keep an eye on the system. With a three-way fridge and a gas cooker, 200Ah of battery power is plenty to take care of water heating, lights and TV, so the limiting factor when camped off-grid will be water. Still, there’s a sensible amount of power to suit most couples wanting to enjoy a mix of bush and town travels.
The fridge is a three-way model which a lot of travellers like for the option of gas when camped off grid. It means not having to put all your power eggs in one basket, and while it costs to buy gas, there’s less investment up front in a larger solar power and battery system.
For a 19ft 6in van it’s relatively weighty at 2750kg empty. ATM is 3500kg, so you get a 680kg payload meaning you will need a decent tow vehicle. We towed with a 2L Ford Ranger, and it had heaps of power to pull the van without any issues of sway or rough travel. But for a long-term prospect you might consider something like a LandCruiser or Patrol for their extra bulk and balance.
Warranty is five years on the chassis and suspension and three years on the body and furniture. Caravan HQ is developing a network of service centres and has a 24/7 tech support line to sort any problems.
The bottom line
I think My Dream RV is on a winner with the new range of vans. They are different enough to attract attention in the market and they have all the right equipment for travel and time in the bush. The 19ft 6in version is a good mix of amenity and size for couples to enjoy. At $94,990 it’s safely under the $100k barrier and at this price it’s likely to attract a lot of attention as the market relaxes over the next few months.
HITS AND MISSES
- Great value for this size offroader
- All the right brand appliances and electronics
- Well balanced and smooth to tow
- Could use a stone guard as standard
MY DREAM RV DREAM CATCHER RATINGS
VALUE FOR MONEY
There’s not much in the offroad market that can beat it for value
With an ATM of 3500kg you need a capable vehicle. It towed smoothly and without any vices on our review
SUITABILITY FOR INTENDED TOURING
A sensible size for long distance travel
A new company out to impress and the build looks well completed
Roomy and comfortable for a couple to enjoy
Most couples will find the 200Ah of battery power matched to a gas fridge will be enough for most situations
A new company keen to impress. They should look after you
Back to the future with the rounded front end
I like the understated look that will get you into some out of the way places
MY DREAM RV DREAM CATCHER SPECS
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
|Body length||5.95m (19ft 6in)|
|Overall length||8.9m (29ft 1in)|
|Height||3.1m (10ft 2in)|
|Chassis||50 x 150 DuraGal with 100 x 50 riser|
|Suspension||Tandem independent trailing arm with twin shock absorbers|
|Water||2 x 95L and 95L grey|
|Battery||2 x 135Ah lithium|
|Solar||2 x 200W|
|Gas||2 x 9kg|
|Sway control||BMPRO ESC|
|Fridge||180L Dometic three-way|
My Dream RV Dream Catcher price from $94,990.00
THE NEXT STEP
The sellers will be happy to help and answer any inquiries you may have about the products advertised for sale.