Kimberley Kampers USA

Tucson T4R

Expedition Leader
I assume that the same would be true for added stability in windy conditions for the Karavan awning (re Bedowin extension being a useful addition to have for appropriate weather?). Or do the arms/supports on the standard Karavan awning add enough support to make the 2 awnings different beasts?

@Tucson T4R you seem to have a different awning on your (previous) Karavan. Definitely had more coverage along the length of the Karavan and looked to be a beefier structure, at least from pics. I believe you have camped and spent time with other Karavans, any comments on your Karavan awning vs the current or standard Karavan awning for someone spec-ing out a new Karavan?

And for all Karavan owners. Any comments on how you spec-ed or use the awning and reasonable time it takes to set up and pack it down once you have a good routine established with your Karavan? Guessing with 2 people it has the ability to become a fairly quick up/down once you've done it a few times? Also, the double door....how is it dealing with the double door for the few times you're back inside/outside over a short period? And any good workarounds for buggy days/nights with a full screen panel of any kind? Hard to tell whether the KK option of the velcro-ed screen upper panel is pretty functional, or something that doesn't really get used. We do like our mosquitos up here in the northeast! ;)
The older awning ( I think they called it the extended awning) was bullet proof once fully set up and staked down. It was lots of work though so i only set it up if I was staying a few days or knew storms were coming in. The Fiamma is always mounted and ready to role out so it's set up is much simpler. For high wind stability, you just need the Bedowin awning option. Yes, it uses a sail track on the Fiamma to slide the two together and you only have four stakes to stake in down. Once that combo is set up you are good to go for storms.

My Kruiser also has the short baged awning on the back side to add sun and rain protection to the windows. It only coes out a few feet but blocks the sun and allows you to open the windows in the rain which is nice.

The top half skitter netting on the karavan always worked well for me. I would just duck under it when going in or out.

Better yet is the full magnetic skitter net door on the Kruiser. It's always installed (can be taken off too) and has magnets holding the center togther. you just push through and it snaps closed behind you.
 
Thanks all. Sounds like each awning has it's pros/cons based on how you're camping (days at each site and weather). Also sounds like all are fairly easily interchangeable based on the sail track? Takes some stress out of overthinking what Karavan use might be X years into the future knowing that you aren't committed to one single bolt on system you have to choose at purchase. For camping in weather with a fair amount of dew each night/morning, the smaller awning you can more easily put up at each site might work better in the northeast.

Didn't think about ducking under the top door netting. I could live with that solution for a night of bug free sleep! The Kruiser full screen door is a definitely a solution I prefer however. Any reason a solution like that wouldn't work on the Karavan? Guessing the offset between upper and lower wall panels might make it a bit more difficult than for the Kruiser?
 

Tucson T4R

Expedition Leader
Thanks all. Sounds like each awning has it's pros/cons based on how you're camping (days at each site and weather). Also sounds like all are fairly easily interchangeable based on the sail track? Takes some stress out of overthinking what Karavan use might be X years into the future knowing that you aren't committed to one single bolt on system you have to choose at purchase. For camping in weather with a fair amount of dew each night/morning, the smaller awning you can more easily put up at each site might work better in the northeast.

Didn't think about ducking under the top door netting. I could live with that solution for a night of bug free sleep! The Kruiser full screen door is a definitely a solution I prefer however. Any reason a solution like that wouldn't work on the Karavan? Guessing the offset between upper and lower wall panels might make it a bit more difficult than for the Kruiser?
The full size screen is just held on with velcro so I think it would handle the offset between the upper and lower sections. Not sure on the demensions though. Ask Dave Bates if it's an option. Obviously you would have to removed it everytime before closing up the Karavan for travel.
 
If we had kids using the shower I would have left it installed. The shower can be hand held so we just point it away from us as we adjust the temp, then re-hang it on the shower wall. As long as you understand the risk, it can be managed.
If KK added a thermostatic mixing valve, their marketing department might consider adding "Safety" to their existing feature categories (Lightweight, Smart Energy, Hi Tech Comfort, Superior Suspension, Valuable Water). With induction cooking and diesel heating, they can (perhaps) already boast that there are no propane lines inside the cabin. I imagine they can already boast that their brakes and tires are superior to virtually all North American brands. Perhaps they can claim better towing dynamics too. And better electrical system quality, reducing fire risk.

My point is that the marketing concept of safety has worked well for premium automobile brands. Before airbags were mandated, they were an attractive feature of high-end car brands. Same for anti-lock brakes.

It's also a marvelous luxury to have hot water that is always a comfortable temperature---a luxury well worth the low cost for the thermostatic mixing valve.
 
Between all of the Kimberley posts on this forum over the last years, and the answers to my questions, you all have done a horrible job of talking me out of buying a Karavan or a Kruiser!! Had a great talk with David Bates, and will be putting a deposit down on a Karavan. Appreciate everyone chiming in with their posts over the years on their experiences. It really makes a great resource for potential buyers (of any camper or RV).

Couple last questions on options if anyone is willing to offer up their opinion.

Interior heat. Will be getting the ducted diesel heat since it's needed in the northeast. Was planning on deleting/not getting the bed step heat off the hot water system. Any reason that both are good to have or that they solve different problems?

Exterior kitchen cooking. Have a portable weber that will be stored in the truck. Between the 2 burner stove/griller or the 2x WOK burners. Preferences to one over the other or noticeable benefit to the higher BTU of the WOK burners? Other cooking options?

Cargo carrier option over the multibox. Planning to get the carrier since it seems pretty functional. Wondered if there were different options that folks have mounted there, or wish they had gotten instead of the carrier (after living with it)?

Tire Size. Separate from whether I decide to match the tire size closer to my truck tire, is there a size that folks have found to be an optimal size for the Karavan itself? I believe the standard size is 265-75r16. Does anyone have any pros or cons on how the Karavan tows and performs on that size vs a taller tire? Not planning on going to a wider tire, but interested in any comments on that too.

The 2x fantastic fans in the front seems like a good way to move air, especially if windows toward the rear are open. Anyone find that lacking in any way or have a better solution? And the optional Sirocco fans....am a big fan of those fans but my plan for pulling air into the Karavan from the rear windows would seem to have any optional Sirocco fans blowing against that air flow. Have folks had the fans installed and find they are useful mounted up on the ceiling? Or not used as much as originally expected?

The double step mount vs the triple step mount. Don't think I need 3 steps but would appreciate any thoughts from folks that have actually lived with either the 2x or 3x steps.

Any other specific needs or "wish I'd gotten when I ordered it" items for the Karavan?

Thanks everyone. Much appreciated!
 

Ross310

New member
Between all of the Kimberley posts on this forum over the last years, and the answers to my questions, you all have done a horrible job of talking me out of buying a Karavan or a Kruiser!! Had a great talk with David Bates, and will be putting a deposit down on a Karavan. Appreciate everyone chiming in with their posts over the years on their experiences. It really makes a great resource for potential buyers (of any camper or RV).

Couple last questions on options if anyone is willing to offer up their opinion.

Interior heat. Will be getting the ducted diesel heat since it's needed in the northeast. Was planning on deleting/not getting the bed step heat off the hot water system. Any reason that both are good to have or that they solve different problems?

Exterior kitchen cooking. Have a portable weber that will be stored in the truck. Between the 2 burner stove/griller or the 2x WOK burners. Preferences to one over the other or noticeable benefit to the higher BTU of the WOK burners? Other cooking options?

Cargo carrier option over the multibox. Planning to get the carrier since it seems pretty functional. Wondered if there were different options that folks have mounted there, or wish they had gotten instead of the carrier (after living with it)?

Tire Size. Separate from whether I decide to match the tire size closer to my truck tire, is there a size that folks have found to be an optimal size for the Karavan itself? I believe the standard size is 265-75r16. Does anyone have any pros or cons on how the Karavan tows and performs on that size vs a taller tire? Not planning on going to a wider tire, but interested in any comments on that too.

The 2x fantastic fans in the front seems like a good way to move air, especially if windows toward the rear are open. Anyone find that lacking in any way or have a better solution? And the optional Sirocco fans....am a big fan of those fans but my plan for pulling air into the Karavan from the rear windows would seem to have any optional Sirocco fans blowing against that air flow. Have folks had the fans installed and find they are useful mounted up on the ceiling? Or not used as much as originally expected?

The double step mount vs the triple step mount. Don't think I need 3 steps but would appreciate any thoughts from folks that have actually lived with either the 2x or 3x steps.

Any other specific needs or "wish I'd gotten when I ordered it" items for the Karavan?

Thanks everyone. Much appreciated!
We have a T3 Kruiser on order and were originally planning to use a smaller Blackstone Grill in the outdoor kitchen but Dave recommended this Australian Marine BBQ that can also used as an oven. Here is a link to it.


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cmo5

Member
Will give my thoughts on each point...

Interior heat--we use the ducted heat primarily when it is cold enough to need heating. The hot water based heater fan is nice for a little extra heat if you are making hot water anyway and it's not cold enough to need the ducted system. You could live without it, but the amount of storage you gain by deleting it is fairly minimal.

Exterior kitchen--we got the Marine Stainless BBQ option and are very happy with it. It is basically like a Blackstone. You can also do some simple baking in it (i.e. biscuits for breakfast). We do also use the single outside portable wok burner quite a bit as well.

Cargo carrier--we got the cargo carrier and put a waterproof rooftop type storage bag strapped into it where we carry our camp chairs (you can see it in the pic below) which has worked out great.

Tires--we have stock from Kimberley K02's and wouldn't change them. The trailer tows great, and although they a bit smaller than the 35's on our Tremor I still think they look great.

Fans--we didn't get the Sirocco's and don't miss having them at all. With the 2 Fantastics exhausting there is a great breeze with the bed windows opened as you mentioned and that's exactly what we do.

Steps--we have the stock 2 step, my wife is 5'1" and it's no problem for her

Responding to this from our current campsite--dispersed at over 8000' on Hunter Mesa in Bighorn NF in WY. 😀

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Romer

Adventurer
The hot water heat sucked, so I installed a Espar Diesel heater myself. I dont know anything about what Kimberley installs, I would assume it is equivalent

I would delete the Hot water heat. I used the inside stove for heat before the diesel heater as that did a better job then the Hot water heat

The fans are great

I have the two burners and have never used the big wok burner. I bought a little grill to carry for when I need it

I don't have the cargo carrier. I Bought an 56L aluminum case from Equipt1 and bolted it on

I have no issue with the two step

Get the magnetic curtains as an option. Be a pain to come up with something that works

Get a grey water tank

Get the extended hitch

Get the winterized option.

I have the Hitch-Ezy and got rid of the Tregg hitch it came with. I think they have a McHitch or D035 now. The Hitch-ezy is like the D035 but more robust

Lots of people like the compost toilet and it swings out. It does make the shower easier

I have the electric flush toilet and taking a shower does take some gymnastics. However, I prefer taking a cassette out and dumping it vs the Compost toilet. Personal preference as many in Australia prefer and have swapped to the compost

Standard tires were great with rims size that matched my vehicle

I got the bunk bed option, but have never used it in 6 years. I use a JetTent next to the awning for extra people, but with small kids, the Bunk Bed option might be good if you have them

I did not get the AC. I camp in hot places in spring and fall and in the mountains in the summer. Figured I could add it latter and have never once wished I had AC. It depends on your plans for camping in your part of the country

Wind plays a number on Awnings. Famminas are fast to set up. I understand you can get the Beadowin front for that and that would make it last in strong winds. I have the older Extended awning which takes a few more minutes to setup but covers thee area from the very front to very back.
 

Romer

Adventurer
also not sure if you are getting the limited or not. Hants has air bags which make it easier to level. I use blocks to level which takes a few more minutes. I wanted to avoid a problem with a faulty airbag. Not saying that is prvelant, but something I thought about.

If getting the Classic, make sure they give you a charger that will handle lithium batteries. fortunately mine did and I upgraded to 300 ah of Lithium on my own after 4 years

I did not get the electronic screens. The water tank monitor gives you bars to show how full at the push of a button. I added BT capability to the battery monitor and also got a Victron BT Solar controller. I can check Battery and solar via my phone app
 
@cmo5 awesome pic! Definitely not New England. Since you have a similar use/travel to what I think I'll have...have you found that you use your A/C at all? Like @Romer I am considering adding it later if needed. Have never had A/C when camping so can't seem to get my head around how I'll use it, or not. Considering having KK put a fantastic fan in the exact location they cut the hole for the A/C and to wire for A/C (and make sure solar panels are kept away from where A/C goes) in case I find I need it later. I think both a fan and A/C would be a 14x14 hole but not sure on that. Anyway, would be curious to know if you've used A/C in southern New England on during your current trip.
 
@Romer KK seems to be making some of those decisions simpler. From what I can tell, all Karavans and Kruiser are now air suspensions (choice of onboard air or manual fill), and lithium batteries, Merlin solar panels, and lithium appropriate electrical components are standard. Pretty amazing when you think about what was considered as standard in the industry 20 years ago!
 

cmo5

Member
@goawaymore we've used the AC once on the first night of our current trip when it was like 85 degrees at bedtime in OH and it did work well, but certainly you could live without it. We wanted it so in case we decide to take any trips down south during the warmer months we wouldn't be sweltering.

Skipping it though does get you more geography for solar/3rd fan and does substantially lower the height of the rig which might be relevant depending on your stora
ge plans.

I guess the question is do you mind flexing your travel plans to the seasons and/or can you sleep in really hot or humid conditions.

Also don't forget, the AC is really only practical on shore power or a generator--it will run fine on batteries/inverter but will drain our 600AH bank in like 5 or 6 hours
 

FordGuy1

Adventurer
Any thoughts on the awnings option being power vs. Manuel? its only a $300.00 difference. I ordered Manuel, but keep thinking for $300.00, is it a mistake.
 
Wanted to say thanks to everyone that chimed in with comments and input. Was a huge help in sorting out what to buy. Just finalized an order for a Karavan and really looking forward to heading off to some tucked away spots! And for anyone thinking about ordering any of the KKs, Dave Bates is great to deal with and was willing to spend time going over every questions I had over a number of calls.
A new Karavan is 12-14 months out, so would be great if all you KK owners could keep posting the occasional pic from your trips!
 

Romer

Adventurer
Wanted to say thanks to everyone that chimed in with comments and input. Was a huge help in sorting out what to buy. Just finalized an order for a Karavan and really looking forward to heading off to some tucked away spots! And for anyone thinking about ordering any of the KKs, Dave Bates is great to deal with and was willing to spend time going over every questions I had over a number of calls.
A new Karavan is 12-14 months out, so would be great if all you KK owners could keep posting the occasional pic from your trips!
Congrats. Last week at Echo lake. I will be near Breckenridge next week with it
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