As published on Caravanning with Kids
Grant Cruiser 22ft Family Van by Essential Caravans – This is what we thought!
This was a “Live it, Breathe it” review that we were super excited about. Not only were we going to enjoy some Winter caravanning adventured, but we were heading off in a caravan that we have been eying off for a while. Last October we popped in to say hello to Scott Grant from Ian Grants Caravans while we were filming with What’s Up! Downunder in Traralgon. We had met Scott a few times and they were a big supporter of our Travel Journals when we first launched. He was bursting out of his skin to show us a NEW caravan. Designed and developed by the new Essential Caravans team, led by Scott and his business partner David. This was Scott’s new ‘baby’ and he gave us a thorough tour. I think we were in the van for nearly an hour – mesmerised by Scott’s in depth descriptions of EVERYTHING inside and outside the van. WOW! We were certainly impressed, so when the opportunity arose to take it for a road test, we were now the ones who were bursting with excitement.
We set our alarm early to be able to hit the road and get to Melbourne as they opened the factory doors at Essential Caravans. We were met by David and his team and we took a tour through the factory. Have you done a factory tour where they build caravans? It is fascinating and interesting. Watching these Essential caravans start their life from nothing from the chassis to the fame work, the fit out, the insulation, and finally to finish them off, the decals – Voila, a brand new caravan. Essential Caravans only use the best quality fittings and we spotted some very well-known brand names and their attention to details was impressive. Watching them insulate the walls and cutting the foam pieces to fill all the spots was something we had not witnessed before. There are some that will just pop in a small piece and leave the rest of the hole with no insulation! Impressive!
We hitched up and rolled out of the yard with big smiles on our faces. The 2 hour tow back to our hometown was smooth sailing, it was like we had been towing this rig for years. This 22ft van is very light (Prado Friendly) and not only did it tow well, it looks gorgeous! (yes, that is the technical word for a bloody good looking van!)
You walk into this 22ft van and the first thing I noticed was the grey club lounge and black marble look table and bench tops. Greys and blacks! You are probably thinking YUK! It’s going to be really dark? I would have thought so, but the colours work! Not only do they work, I LOVED them. This is a big call from me, as I have been known to walk out of a van if I see black or dark colours. Combine the white walls, light grey cupboards, mirror below the cupboards above the main bed, light grey splashback and MASSIVE windows that allow the full light to come in, this van is so bright! We instantly felt comfortable.
Would you like to see inside? Check out this video of Ashlee giving you a full tour.
Features we love inside the Essential Caravans Grant Cruiser:
- A separate toilet that is not in the shower is always nice to have. Two vents in the ceiling with fans attached in the bathroom, and two beautiful frosted doors for privacy.
- The bunks have a strong sturdy ladder at the head of the bed, both with power points and a small light enabling the kids to read a book or two before they went to bed. A concertina door separated the bunks from the kitchen and gave the kids some privacy (and us!). This also keep the light out once they went to bed. This enabled us to sit in the roomy club lounge and enjoy a night cap.
- WINDOWS! They were all big and let in an amazing amount of natural light. European style window shutters and screens were the BEST quality of this style we have come across.
- The ceiling lights are all controlled from next to the door. All LED’s, they are super bright when they are turn on, adding to the homely, bright feeling when you’re inside the van.
- Plenty of cupboard space gave us ample room to pack all our things. Essential Caravans really have used every area for a cupboard where they can.
- The drawers on both sides of the bed are deep, with plenty of room. The extra cupboards above the bed head and mirror are all lovely touches that really complement the van.
- The Essential Caravans Grant Cruiser 22ft does not have a front window. Instead, it has some soft vinyl on the wall, which in turn made the master bed much warmer and gave it a ‘luxury’ feel.
- Air Con! We travelled during Winter and experienced minus 4 degrees in Bright. The heat setting on the air con handled it with ease. We were snug as a bug all night!
- A full size fridge always proves a hit when you are travelling with a family.
- The extra bench top that sits on top of the cooker proved to be very handy while preparing dinner.
- Club Lounge – WOW! We loved it. Our own caravan has an L shape dining area and we all felt a lot more comfortable in the club (U) shape. For our family of 4, this was perfect and will be a feature we will add when we next upgrade our own van.
Moving to the outside of the van:
- We loved the full width tunnel boot. Being able to access things from both sides of the van was very handy. This tunnel boot was HUGE. It was very surprising how much we could fit in there.
- The outside side table folds down just beside the outside TV and power points. Perfect for all the footy fans out there. The radio also had speakers outside so you could listen to the radio or a CD of your choice. The toilet cassette was standard and uses its own water storage instead of drawing water from your main tanks. Always a great addition when you are going off the grid for a while.
- At the rear of the Essential Caravans Grant Cruiser, they have welded a toe tongue on the bumper bar. Great to put your bike rack straight on for the kids bikes. Clever & handy.
- At the other end of the caravan I thought was another tunnel boot! Until I looked in it, it was about ¾ the size of the full front boot however it went under the bottom bunk. We put our extension leads, water and waste hoses in there as those services were all on that side of the van. (We got home and the kids slippers had moved and we could not access them from inside the van – no problems, out we went, opened the door, and Kate grabbed them to take them inside. If this was out van to keep (we wish) we would invest in come plastic tubs to keep everything in this boot sorted)
- The A frame holds 2 x 9kg gas bottles, although we found it interesting that this van had a metal shelf welded to the bottom of the A frame, giving you an extra storage place. We have only seen this on older vans, so were very impressed that Essential Caravans had added one.
After seeing Scott Grant last year, we were wondering if the Essential Caravans Grant Cruiser would stack up. It did! This caravan is very well built from the chassis up with exceptional quality fittings and attention to details that were noticeable and very much appreciated. We were very impressed with this van. Every van the Essential Caravans team makes is hand built in Melbourne, going through the production line. For a van that weighs in less than 2300kg, it is Prado friendly. The dual axles make it easy for towing. Priced at under $60,000, this is a real bargain. For this model, you get what you pay for and so much more. Huge TICK from us on value for money.
If you are interested in the Essential Caravans range, please pop in and see a dealer or give Scott or David a call – tell them we sent you over and we are sure they will look after you,
Happy & Safe Travels
Adele, Wayne, Ashlee & Kate