At first glance, it may seem like family caravans are few and far between in the full-size van market, as opposed to the more popular rising-roof and fold-out models. But family caravans are out there and, like anything worthwhile, you just have to know where to look.
Brisbane-based Adventure Caravans’ Diamond Radiant 23ft is a good example. It’s a tandem-axle caravan with an entry door forward of the axles. This allows for a fairly conventional layout in the forward half, consisting of an island bed, offside kitchen and nearside dinette. In the rear, though, things are a bit different. Two bunk beds take up the offside wall, with a bathroom opposite.
A rear bedroom with bunks makes all the difference to this van. The bunk beds measure 1.93x0.65m (6ft 4in x 2ft 2in) which, oddly enough, makes them longer than the main bed. They are well-appointed for the junior members of the family, with 240V and 12V sockets, as well as reading lights.
And the windows in this area are quite large compared to the diminutive ones often found near bunks. About the only thing missing is a bedside shelf or recessed compartment. Although I wasn’t the right size to test it, I thought the bunks’ timber ‘ladder’ would be awkward to use, especially as there’s no step.
The front-loading washing machine snugly fitted between the beds and the bathroom is a bit of a surprise: the space above has been filled with a wardrobe with hanging space, and a drawer. Apart from this, the only other storage in this area is under the bottom bunk, which is accessed by two floor-level lockers.
The bathroom runs along the nearside length of the van, so it’s slightly smaller than a full-width design. But there is still enough room for a separate shower cubicle, corner cassette toilet and a vanity.
The rear bedroom wall is a very large (family size) 184L Thetford three-way fridge, leaving the rest of the kitchen for storage, including overhead lockers, under-bench cupboards, drawers and microwave. Three overhead lockers make effective use of the space above the dinette.
Chassis and Suspension
Underpinning the Diamond Radiant caravan is a SupaGal chassis with 150mm (6in) rails. A second sub-frame, which is part of the drawbar, runs back to the front suspension mounts. I tend to think, however, that 150mm rails is overkill for this sort of van. Both the 90L water tanks are gal-sheet-protected and mounted behind the axles. The suspension is a decent load-sharing, leaf-spring setup.
The van’s body structure comprises aluminium framing, insulation and aluminium cladding. Large, tinted acrylic hopper windows are used throughout the van. In a slight quirk, the front nearside window can only be partially opened if the Camec security door is latched open.
The Bottom Line
So how does the Diamond Radiant 23ft family caravan stack up? Quite well, I reckon! There have certainly been a couple of compromises in order to fit in all the necessary items, but essential features such as two separate bedroom areas, a bathroom of reasonably size, and a bit of room to move, have been achieved without too much fuss.
- Family-friendly layout
- Bunks and bathroom in rear
- Reasonable external storage
I would have liked...
- Power socket near the dinette
- Few more drawers in kitchen bench
- Great load-carrying capacity