Retreat Caravans Hayman

Malcolm Street — 8 December 2013

CARAVAN NAMES ARE often a subject of happy hour discussion - nothing too serious, but a curiosity all the same. Take the Retreat range of caravans, which are all named after tropical Qld islands.
The interesting thing about these islands is that as far as we know, a caravan has never been sighted on any of them! However, they do conjure up images of exotic holidays, which I am sure Retreat is keen to associate with. Each name represents a layout, which is much easier to remember than model numbers, I have to say.
There is quite a selection in the Retreat range, including the aptly named Daydream family van. Our review van was the Hayman, a mid-range two-person van fitted with a number of luxury items, such as a washing machine, a full-width rear bathroom and two larger-than-usual 95L water tanks.

In many respects, the Hayman is built conventionally. The DuraGal chassis rides on tandem axle leaf-spring suspension and the fully insulated body consists of a timber frame and aluminium cladding. The review model was supplied by 7th Street Caravans, NSW, and was fitted with 15in wheels - an inch larger than the factory standard.
Camec tinted hopper windows are used all round and the security door is the time honoured triple-lock variety. To assist with the external RV lifestyle that we all love, an A&E awning is fitted along with two wall lights and a grab handle light by the door. A peek inside the front boot reveals an almost empty storage space, which has an electrical panel mounted in the offside corner.
Two 9kg gas cylinders sit on the drawbar and the spare wheel is mounted on the looped end bumper bar at the rear. Also at the rear is a towel rail, something we've seen in the past, though they're not so common these days.

Inside, the Hayman has a layout that's become popular of late - a front bedroom, rear bathroom and kitchen. The decor has a contemporary timber look, which is a little hard to get away from if you don't like it. All the windows have upholstered pelmets and both lace and full curtains.
At happy hour gatherings, you'll find assorted opinions on the sizes of caravan bathrooms. Quite a few in the Retreat range, including the review Hayman, are full-sized. These are spacious, even with the top loading washing machine fitted. And even with a roomy shower cubicle, Thetford cassette toilet and wash basin, there is a generous storage area that includes a full-height linen cupboard. While the bathroom comes with a powerpoint, an exhaust fan above the shower and ceiling lighting, I pondered why there wasn't a light in front of the mirror or an exhaust fan above the loo, too.
The catering department has a relatively small bench along the offside, which is fitted with a Swift four-burner cooktop and grill, stainless steel sink avec drainer and a Dometic 121L fridge, located below the microwave. A small bench is the price you pay for having a full-height pantry, a large bathroom and a fridge that's larger than 90L.
The kitchen storage space, however, is relatively generous, with three cupboards, two large drawers and a smaller cutlery drawer, three overhead lockers and a full-height pantry in the corner.
Opposite the kitchen, the L-shaped dinette has contoured cushions and a removable table. There are two LED reading lights, overhead lockers, and underseat storage located here. The latter is partly occupied by the wheel arch and has a drawer away from the door end.

Up front, a bedhead of overhead lockers, side wardrobes and bedside cabinets surround the queen-size bed. Although the bedside shelves are quite small, there is a decent shelf behind the bed plus LED reading lights and a powerpoint on either side.
Lifting the bed reveals a metal-framed timber-slatted bed base and a compartmented storage area that includes one drawer. Additional storage is provided by a full-height diagonal cupboard in the nearside corner at the foot of the bed and a half height cupboard opposite. Above that is a mounting arm for a flatscreen TV, plus powerpoint and TV antenna connections. The main 240V circuit breakers are also found here, while further along the lockers is an AM/FM radio and DVD player.
A reasonable window and forward and rear ceiling hatches provide the Hayman with plenty of natural light, which is augmented by a mixture of ceiling-mounted fluorescents and LEDs. In addition to the hatches and windows, a roof-mounted Dometic air-conditioner delivers the goods when things get too warm.
The Hayman makes a good fist of being completely self-contained, and items such as batteries and solar panels can be added at a later date without affecting the initial purchase price.
In many ways, the Retreat range is aptly named. The facilities offered mean owners can retreat to just about anywhere.

Source: Caravan World Sep 2008.


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Malcolm Street