I was unfamiliar with Pro RV Caravans when I arrived at Caravan Court in Springvale, Vic. Caravan Court is something of an institution in the Victorian caravan industry. This family-run business has been a fixture of the Victorian RV scene for over 60 years. It’s also the company behind the highly-regarded Eco-Tourer.
But Caravan Court, in recent times, has also begun selling Pro RV vans. The line-up includes a wide range of caravans, from the 17ft 2in Stallion to the 22ft Panther. Among the range is the Family Haven, which is available in a 20ft 6in format as well as in a 21ft 6in format.
The 21ft 6in van was hitched to a GU Nissan Patrol when I arrived at Caravan Court. I fitted the Patrol with some tow mirrors and hit the highway, heading towards the Mornington Peninsula, in order to spend some quality time with this rig and find out what sets it apart from other family caravans.
PRO RV CONSTRUCTION
The Pro RV Family Haven sat very well behind the Patrol. At highway speeds, this caravan was a picture of composure. It uses a standard 50mm ball coupling and I did not use any towing aids – straight on the ball, it was a pleasure to tow.
I found a quiet, bushy campsite, where I unhitched and began looking over the van. Externally, it is quite well equipped. There’s a couple of external speakers and LED awning lights, a 12V point near the fold-down picnic table, a fold-down entry step, and a full-length awning.
Instead of a front boot, Pro RV has opted for a tunnel storage system that’s accessible from either side of the van. Instead of lining it with galvanised sheeting, the manufacturer has given the tunnel boot a floor of protective black checkerplate.
The external finish appears to be to a high standard. The windows, for example, have been sealed with silicone, rather than the foam tape that comes with the windows, which plenty of other manufacturers use. The silicone has clearly been finished by a practiced hand – it’s very neat.
The van is built from meranti timber clad with ribbed aluminium on the sides. Composite aluminium is used for the front, rear and roof. Of course, the caravan also sports plenty of black checkerplate.
The body of the van is built on a 4in ARV DuraGal chassis with a 1.4m 4in A-frame and 3in raiser. Now, the Family Haven is not an offroad caravan and, as such, it is equipped with beam-axle leaf-spring suspension rated to 2900kg. There are two 95L water tanks mounted forward of the axle group, each protected by galvanised sheeting.
Pro RV equips the Family Haven with one 100Ah deep-cycle battery, with a 170W solar panel, which is mounted to the roof, to help keep it charged. There is also an Anderson plug for charging the battery from the tow vehicle’s alternator when under tow.
Two 9kg gas cylinders are mounted to the A-frame, too, and Pro RV hasn’t forgotten to include a gas bayonet on the nearside to allow you to plumb your own portable barbecue directly to the van’s gas system.
Overall, the 21ft 6in Family Haven covers the main bases for comfortable outdoor living. It is well set-up for blacktop touring, including a mix of free-camping and holiday-park stays.
Inside, this van is spacious and visually appealing. The layout is sensible and comfortable, too. It features a queen-size bed (1.5×1.85m) in the front of the van, an amidships dinette on the offside, adjacent kitchen, and a particularly large rear kids’ bedroom and bathroom.
The extra foot of length in the 21ft 6in Family Haven, compared to the 20ft 6in version, is given to the rear bedroom and bathroom – a good move, in my opinion. It has allowed Pro RV to fit three bunks that measure 1.9m in length. This means that as the kids grow, there will always be plenty of room for them to be comfortable.
The dinette doesn’t feel cramped, either, and the swivel table should make it fairly easy for everyone to sit down and be comfortable.
There’s also 12V points everywhere you’ll need them: either side of the bed, at the dinette, and one for each bunk.
Storage space is more than adequate, too. There are wardrobes either side of the bed, overhead lockers in all the usual places, and, as you’d expect, the main bed lifts on gas struts to reveal yet more storage space. The kids’ bedroom gets a large wardrobe, too.
One of the overhead lockers above the dinette is used to ‘hide’ the van’s electrical nerve centre: a 30A Projecta smart-charger, the solar regulator, a digital voltmeter, and the 12V fuse panel. Here, you’ll also find a water level indicator for each tank, as well as isolating switching for the fridge, the Swift gas/electric hot water service, the Houghton reverse-cycle air-conditioner, and the water pump. By centralising this equipment in a locker, Pro RV has kept the walls of the van uncluttered.
Bench space in the kitchen, however, is minimal. In truth, meal prep would have to be done on either the draining board, the dinette table, or on the hinged bench section above the Thetford four-burner cooktop and griller.
Along with LED lights throughout, windows with integrated fly screens and block-out blinds, a Winegard antenna, and a couple of skylights, Pro RV has also equipped the van with a 24in TV and a stereo/CD player wired to the external speakers and a couple of internal speakers too.
The 21ft 6in Pro RV Family Haven is a comfortable, thoughtful caravan. On top of everything else, it is not inordinately heavy. It has a Tare of 2200kg and an ATM of 2800kg, allowing it to be towed by most mid-range 4WDs.
If you’re in the market for a genuine family caravan, take a look at the Family Haven. It really does seem to have a lot to offer.
FIT AND FINISH –
HITS & MISSES
Overall length: 8.5m
External body length: 6.6m
External width: 2.44m (including awning)
Internal height: 2m
Travel height: 3m
Unladen ball weight: 100kg
Cladding: Ribbed aluminium (side walls); aluminium composite front and rear; checkerplate protection
Frame: Meranti timber
Coupling: 50mm ball
Chassis: 4in DuraGal with 3in raiser; 4in drawbar
Suspension: 2.9-tonne beam-sale leaf-spring
Wheels: 15in alloy
Fresh water: 2x95L
Grey water: No
Battery: 1x100Ah deep-cycle with 30A Projecta smart-charger
Air-conditioner: Houghton reverse-cycle
Sway control: No
Cooking: Thetford MiniGrill four-burner with griller
Refrigeration: 185L Thetford three-way
Bathroom: Separate shower and toilet
Washing machine: No
Lighting: 12V LED
Hot water: Swift gas/electric
Entertainment: 24in flatscreen TV; CD/stereo player
$58,990 for the 20ft 6in version
^This weekly repayment estimate is provided by Stratton Finance Pty Ltd (Australian Credit Licence No. 364340) (“Stratton”). Stratton is a finance broker. This repayment is calculated with an interest rate from 5.99% p.a. over a term of 84 months and a 10% deposit. The interest rate is indicative of the rates on offer through Stratton’s lending panel. The repayment estimate applies to the price shown. The price shown may not include other additional costs such as stamp duty, government fees and other charges payable in relation to the item. This estimate should be used for information purposes only and is not an offer of finance on particular terms. Credit fees, service fees and charges may apply. Credit to approved applicants only. A quote, details of all fees and charges may be obtained by contacting Stratton via stratton.com.au or calling 1300 955 600