Malcolm Street - Caravan World Field Editor
In addition to the knowledgable design team, one of the partners in the business comes from a mining background with plenty of industrial experience. It was, therefore, with some interest that I looked over the Dream Catcher caravan. One of the first things to catch the eye is the aerodynamic look of the curved front. The second, in this case, was the bright orange colour scheme. The Dream Catcher has an external length of 6.7m (22ft) and a tare mass of 2850kg, so it’s not a particularly small van.
However, that’s good because the Dream Catcher is a family van with an island bed up front and triple bunks down the back. Although our tow test vehicle was a Ford Ranger which coped with the towing, I’d reckon with a family on board the van is more like Toyota LandCruiser towing territory at least.
I’d have expected something different from a new manufacturer, but the Dream Catcher has a meranti timber frame. Instead of opting for a one-piece floor, the manufacturer uses multi-piece hardwood with the joins on top of the chassis rails and cross sections. Built for offroad use, the Dream Catcher has a Cruisemaster DO35 hitch and rides on TuffRide independent suspension with coil springs, dual EFS shock absorbers and trailing arms. The extended drawbar is handy for tight turns.
A look under the van reveals good ground clearance with nothing obvious being where it shouldn't be. The alloy checkerplate protection fitted in front of the PVC grey water tank drain is a notable addition. It looks like an afterthought, but the location is not bad idea for the somewhat vulnerable PVC piping. With front tunnel storage, a drawbar storage box and a mid-nearside wall storage bin, there wasn't an external storage problem. Notable was the SOG toilet ventilation system fitted to the Dometic cassette.
Inside the Dream Catcher, the glossy laminate finish doesn’t quite require sunglasses, but it certainly grabs the attention. As does the extensive use of LED strip lighting. The van is well set up for a family with room to move. There’s plenty of storage space, and the kitchen pantry and rear bedroom cupboard have multiple shelves to ensure easy packing.
Innovation-wise, the party piece of the Dream Catcher is its external profile. Aerodynamically, it looks good, and it would be interesting to do an extended fuel test, but as well, the curve and colour is something of an eye-catcher. In the Australian market, where many caravans look similar, that's not a silly idea!
Tim van Duyl - Caravan World Creative Director
We felt the as-towed weight of the Dream Catcher was probably around 3000kg after taking into account a few props and bits and bobs inside. That's a considerable weight by old standards but actually not too bad for a big, family van like this and it towed brilliantly.
We weren’t using what I would call a great tow vehicle in the 2L diesel Ford Ranger, but its 10-speed gearbox hid the small engine's peaky nature pretty well. I think a good choice would be a large SUV and not necessarily a new one — a 200 Series would be ideal and offers the kids a bit more room in the back than the Ranger too at a similar price.
Under the Dream Catcher was TuffRide suspension crafted by the same folk that make the impressive chassis. Using twin EFS shocks, it soaked up our pothole-ridden tow route with ease. I think it towed exceptionally well.
The team has packed a lot into the Dream Catcher with triple bunks and a north-south main bed. This has meant the lounge is arguably too small for a family of five but to that I say — get outside, kids!
There is a good level of storage in the van, something every parent will appreciate even if you only have 650kg of payload to work with. Under the bed is cavernous, the pantry is full-height and the bathroom area has plenty of cupboards that you can adjust to suit your preferred way.
Once on the road, there is enough power to run the fridge, lights and TV for weeks and enough solar to suggest you’ll probably never run them empty. There is no inverter though, so they won’t have a hard time either. Water capacity is on the low side if you allow the kids in the great shower. Point them at a river and be careful with it and you might eke out a week before you hit a holiday park to power up the washing machine, get the kids clean and restock.
John Ford - Caravan World Editor-At-Large
When reviewing this van earlier this year, I was struck by the Dream Catcher's excellent value. An offroad family van under $100k is unusual in today's market, and the van, as reviewed, sneaks in at $98,990. I rate that as great value, and by the reaction to the van at our showcase, the public agrees.
You get a lot for the price. It's a 22ft family van which gives respectable room for a family to feel comfortable. The quality is high from a new brand out to make a name for itself in the market. Despite being new to the local scene, I'm told that owners have valuable contacts in the supply chain that help keep costs down.
The van presents well with a striking exterior, a well-finished internal layout and all the correct name-brand appliances and fittings to impress. Judging value for money can be subjective at times, but in giving the Dream Catcher a high score, I was influenced by many vans of its style, size and capability being tens of thousands of dollars more expensive. I’m convinced the brand will have longevity, so resale value in a buoyant market should stay high over time.
This is one of the first models from new builder My Dream RV, and it’s not your over-the-top macho offroader. A rounded front end is unusual in current designs, and some I have seen haven't quite got the look right. Instead, the Dream Catcher is a nicely composed design that works with the sculptured toolbox to help with a well-balanced visual effect. Orange panels at the ends bring some zest to the scene, and the bright colours emphasise the size of the van. It's 22ft long; if size matters, this will impress.
For astute buyers, the price will be a significant factor because weighed up against competitors in the family offroad market the van is a standout. There’s also bragging rights in owning a van from the new brand that seems to be doing everything right to earn a place in the market.
Allison Watt - Caravan World Deputy Editor
To ensure it can produce a quality product at an affordable price, My Dream RV has put a fair bit of effort into optimising manufacturing processes and supply chains. A video on its build process is available on the website.
My Dream RV uses a meranti timber frame, sitting atop a Proline 6in heavy-duty chassis with DuraGal zinc coating. A finger-joined multipiece floor is also 12mm meranti timber for stability and strength. The timber work is waterproofed to a certain height to account for any ingress caused by creek crossings and the like. Exterior panels are CNC precision cut Alucobond aluminium composite panels. The roof and walls are insulated.
All furniture and cabinetry are constructed in-house, again using the precision CNC process. There is checkerplate all round on the Dream Catcher, including the front toolbox which custom fits nicely around the curved nose of the van.
The design and curve of the Dream Catcher — as well as its striking orange exterior — sets it apart from other vans in this class. A team of designers came up with the final product to reduce drag, increase fuel economy and provide better stability on the road.
TuffRide IRS suspension, a galvanised tunnel boot, 265/75 R16 A/T and alloy wheels, 12in electric brakes and double-glazed Aussie Traveller windows are standard.
My Dream RV takes customer care seriously. It sells through a network of Caravan HQ dealers in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria and is hoping to branch out into other states soon.
A five-year warranty is offered on the chassis and suspension, three years on the structure and complete replacement on all appliances within three years. There is a handy online form that owners can use to alert My Dream RV to potential warranty issues — photos can be uploaded via this form as well.
The Dream Catcher is a full offroad caravan and comes with two 130Ah lithium batteries and two 195W solar panels with 30A regulator all managed by a BMPRO battery management system. That will enable you to run the compressor fridge, lighting and 12V pump for your water. There is no inverter so running air-conditioning, the washing machine and other 240V appliances is not an option in the model we judged, however, an inverter could probably be available as an optional extra. Gas provides for cooking and hot water.
However, so long as the sun is shining on the solar panels, you will be comfortable off-grid as long as your water holds out. The Dream Catcher has two 95L freshwater tanks and one 95L grey water tank, so not a huge amount of water capacity and if you have a full house of two adults and three kids on board, you’ll have to manage the use of showers and the loo.
MY DREAM RV DREAM CATCHER SPECS
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
|Overall length||9.7m (31ft 9in)|
|External body length||6.7m (22ft)|
|External body width||2.5m (8ft 2in)|
|Travel height||3.2m (10ft 6in)|
|Internal height||2.03m (6ft 6in)|
|Structure||CNC cut meranti timber|
|Cladding||Aluminium cladding and 600mm side checkerplate|
|Chassis||6in Proline chassis|
|Suspension||Independent trailing arm (TuffRide IRS)|
|Brakes||12in electric brakes|
|Wheels||265/75 R16 A/T and alloy wheels|
|Water||2 x 95L freshwater tanks and 1 x 95L grey water tank as standard|
|Battery||BMPRO HA battery management, 2 x 130Ah lithium batteries|
|Solar||2 x 195W solar panels with 30A regulator|
|Gas||2 x 9kg gas bottles|
|Cooking||3 x gas and 1 x electric mini grill|
|Hot water||Instant gas|
My Dream RV Dream Catcher price from $98,990
My Dream RV
P: (03) 7042 1009
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The sellers will be happy to help and answer any inquiries you may have about the products advertised for sale.