I’m not just referring to the size or shape of modern caravans. Nor am I just referring to building techniques that are, in some cases, leading to rigs of lighter weight, important as these things are.
Instead, I’m talking about the comforts, conveniences and modern technology that is being so widely embraced across the industry. And even if you’re the type who likes to keep things simple – an old Viscount with two-burner cooktop and not much else, for example – you’d have to applaud the creativity, workmanship and general give-it-a-go attitude of Australia’s RV manufacturers.
Witness Van Cruiser’s endeavours. Not content to just build rigs of bright green and orange – the colours alone make them the talk of the caravan park – this company has gone a step or five further. Yep, it’s put a spa bath in a new model that’s about to hit the market. We suspect it’s an Australian first.
Now, some might see this as downright impractical. Others will yelp in glee at the prospect of a restorative spa after a long day on the road. This is the same company that built a van (the Resort) which utilised the roof for a double bed, so we shouldn’t be surprised by such out-of-the-box thinking.
But somehow we are.
And then there’s the latest energy solution for the RV market: lithium power. Sure, lithium has been around for some time, but it’s only relatively recently that it’s become sufficiently developed for the needs of modern vanners.
While it probably won’t replace the traditional battery, the applications are enormous. Be sure to check out the video on our website. For demonstration purposes, from lithium we were able to run all manner of appliances simultaneously, including a washing machine, hair dryer, coffee machine and a toaster. Try doing that off a conventional deep-cycle battery!
It leaves us to wonder: what’s the next big surprise that the industry will throw at us? Where else is there to go after spa baths and lithium power? A lap pool and a portable nuclear reactor? Whatever it is, it will be further proof that innovation and plain old manufacturing daring-do are alive and well in this country. The car builders might’ve packed up shop, but RV manufacturers are going gang busters.
Speaking of cars, this is the first issue that has not featured a tow test in eight or nine years. It’s hard to believe, but that’s how long Phil Lord has been testing tow vehicles for CW, and this month he is taking a well-deserved break. Fear not: we’ll have one next issue and every one after for another nine years.
The full feature appeared in Caravan World #541 September 2015.