Last month, we introduced you to the Rugged Extreme by iDeal RV, an offroader in this manufacturer’s line-up of new caravans.
iDeal RV might be relatively new to the caravan manufacturing scene; however, the people behind the brand have a long history in the caravan industry. The vans are built for iDeal by Latitude RV, with both companies situated in Campbellfield, Vic.
iDeal RV has a number of vans in its range, from the 16ft 6in semi-offroad Oasis to the offroad 22ft Opulence.
We were intrigued by the mid-level Family Getaway 21.5 Black Series. This semi-offroad rig comes with two bunks, a centre door, tandem axles, and it is intended for short or long trips around Australia.
So on one rainy Melbourne day, we arrived at iDeal’s HQ, dropped the van onto the DO35 pin on our Isuzu D-Max, and hit the road.
SUBSTANTIAL FAMILY LAYOUT
This caravan’s internal layout certainly appears designed for family touring. With a separate rear bedroom for the kids complete with bunks, a wardrobe across the rear wall, and a nearside-rear bathroom, not to mention a forward bed for the parents and an amidships kitchen and dinette, it’s easy to imagine a family of four being quite comfortable here.
This layout does a couple of things differently to comparable caravans. First, the angled kitchen bench creates a spacious walk-through to the rear bedroom. Now, the bench space here is minimal; however, iDeal RV provides a hinged section over the recessed four-burner cooktop (which is complete with a griller and oven). I think it’s inevitable, however, that the dinette table will be used for meal prep as well.
The overhead locker doors throughout the van are finished with a ‘fingerprint-less’ laminate. Unlike some glossy finishes, they don’t show the oils from your fingers. A Sphere microwave is set neatly into the furniture above the deep, black sink, which itself comes with stylish black tapware.
I personally did not like the splashback treatment on our review van – the ‘Modern Brick’ look is not my preference; however, customers from a range of different looks, given that iDeal vans are custom built.
iDeal RV has thought to provide one 12V point in the leg well of the L-shaped dinette, allowing owners to charge a device as they work or peruse from the comfort of the faux leather lounge. There are three lockers above the dinette; however, one is home to the supplied BMPRO Genius 30-35 battery management system, water-level monitor, water pump and water heater switches, and the solar panel regulator.
Up front, there’s a queen-size bed surrounded by overhead lockers and wardrobes. iDeal has sensibly fitted niches to each wardrobe, complete with powerpoint. A large window is fitted to the offside, a smaller one to the nearside, and there’s a skylight above the bed. The result is a bedroom flooded with natural light.
Now, much of the underbed storage space is occupied by the housing for the external tunnel boot. The bed base lifts on gas struts to reveal a reasonable storage area; however, particularly bulky items such as a portable solar panel would need to be stored elsewhere during transit.
The rear kids’ bedroom appears nicely finished off, with a built-in ladder to the top bunk, spacious wardrobe and drawers. I particularly liked the separate bathroom – this space is well fitted out and incorporates a stylish vanity unit, a cassette toilet, and a moulded-fibreglass shower cubicle. The only join is at the top of the shower, so the potential for leaks is, well, non-existent.
Among its internal features, the iDeal RV Family Getaway 21.5 Black Series also provides a Dometic Ibis 4 reverse-cycle air-conditioner, a 20in LED TV, a stereo system, a rangehood, and I liked that the company has fitted piano hinges to each locker door. It might sound like a small point, but I’ve had locker doors rattle off before. To this day, I think piano hinges are the best mounting system.
iDEAL RV FAMILY GETAWAY: EXTERNAL FEATURES
The Family Getaway is built on 6in DuraGal chassis with a 6in A-frame that runs back to the 3.2-tonne rated ARV independent trailing arm suspension. It’s the sort of proven chassis construction found on tens of thousands of caravans touring Australia’s highways.
The van does well in terms of external storage. The aforementioned tunnel boot should store most items; however, there’s also a box on the A-frame, behind the dual 9kg gas cylinders, fabricated of black checkerplate. This box is fitted with two slide-out trays. The nearside tray would suit a BYO barbecue, with a gas bayonet mounted to the chassis nearby, allowing you to connect to the van’s gas supply. Meanwhile, the offside tray could be used for a small generator or just as general storage.
I loved the fact that iDeal RV has fitted a bike rack to the front of the van. This is a family caravan, after all. However, with all of this potential weight added to the nose of the van – barbecue, bikes, generator, etc. – it would pay to keep an eye on the ball weight. The unladen ball weight is 180kg, and that would quite easily creep up to 300kg-plus once the van is loaded.
Having said that, given the van’s ATM of 3300kg, it seems likely that the tow vehicle would be a 3500kg-capable wagon, such as a Land Cruiser, which has a maximum ball weight of 350kg.
Dual 100Ah batteries are fitted to the offside chassis rail within protective steel boxes. Twin 170W solar panels on the roof are standard too, so it’s a decent 12V system that should adequately meet the needs of a family.
The same could be said of the water capacity. Two 95L water tanks are standard; however, a grey water tank isn’t included as part of the package.
Two parents and two kids should be quite comfortable in the iDeal RV Family Getaway 2.5 Black Series. Its Tare of 2480kg seems reasonable given the size of the van. It also offers an adequate payload capacity of 720kg.
As mentioned, to make the most of that capacity will require a substantial tow vehicle, but that’s all part of it when you’re doing the lap with a substantial family caravan.
FIT AND FINISH –
HITS & MISSES
Overall length: 9m
External body width: 2.5
Internal height: 1.98m
Travel height: 3.3m
Axle group capacity: 3200kg
Unladen ball weight: 180kg
Frame: Meranti timber
Cladding: Composite aluminium
Coupling: Cruisemaster D035
Chassis: 6in DuraGal RHS
Suspension: 3.2-tonne-rated ARV independent trailing arm
Brakes: 12in electric
Wheels: 15in alloy
Fresh water: 2x95L
Grey water: No
Battery: 2x100Ah deep-cycle with BMPRO Genius battery management system
Air-conditioner: Dometic Ibis 4 reverse-cycle
Sway control: No
Cooking: Swift four-burner cooktop, griller and oven
Refrigeration: 184L Thetford three-way
Shower: Separate intern cubicle; external shower also included
Washing machine: No
Lighting: 12V LED
Hot water: Swift 27L gas-electric