Vanguard Dreamweaver

Follow your Dream

This compact touring van from Vanguard Caravans is designed for couples who want it all in a compact design.

It often seems that now everyone buying a van wants everything built-in including the ensuite sink. Much of this is about independent camping but it’s also about the convenience of your own convenience.

But not everyone wants or is able to tow a big van due to personal preferences or the limitations of their tow vehicle. So being able to provide a full kit-out in a limited space is a challenge and one that that has transformed the caravan scene in recent times.

In an industry that often seems populated by backyard builders and an unregulated environment, Vanguard caravan stands out. Owner John Kyriakidis (Johnny K), is one of the most knowledgeable and distinguished caravan builders in the industry.

His background includes years in the automotive industry and a diploma in engineering. He is fulsome in his description of processes but everything he says is backed by years of experience. And to back it up he welcomes prospective buyers to his factory to see his vans being built and the care and detail to which he goes to make sure they’re finished properly.

Each van leaves the factory with the certificate for gas and electrical fitting as well as its own weighbridge certificate and while many caravan manufacturers give some of these it’s quite uncommon to get the lot.

On top of that the factory has Global Quality ISO Certification that involves three independent audits of manufacturing process each year to ensure quality and structural integrity of all vans. Each van is also fully documented so that down the track if a spare part is needed it’s easy to find.

For many years Vanguard built caravans for other caravan sellers under their own brand but in recent times they are pushing the premium quality that they offer and they now have a network of dealers throughout the country selling the Vanguard brand.

The Vanguard Dreamweaver is one of the smaller vans in the range at 17’6” on the single axle. But it doesn’t lack for features and includes a full-width ensuite, a very well equipped kitchen and an on-board battery system to give you the opportunity for self-contained camping. Twin batteries and two 95L water tanks will keep you going for a few days off the grid but you might like to add a solar panel for extended stays.

The rear side door entry van is finished in gloss white with black and charcoal features on raised profile aluminium cladding with a narrow 140mm aluminium checkerplate cover at the base for an understated and streamlined impression. I’m told the 42mm x 19mm meranti timber frame is screwed and glued with joists set at closer 260mm spaces than most vans and all voids are filled with superior insulation material.

Road going 235×75 tyres on 15-inch alloy wheels and a standard height ground clearance mean it is essentially a black top tourer but a semi off-road version is available as an option.

One of the features of a Vanguard caravan is that nearly all components are made in-factory including the 3.5mm Supergal box-profile 4” chassis connected to a 4” frame. Suspension is a quality American made Dexter independent rubber system rated to 2700 kg connected to 12-inch Dexter electrically operated drum brakes.

Into the tow vehicle is through a simple 50mm ball and the A-frame houses twin 9kg gas bottles and an underslung aluminium tray as well as tap with a stone guard.

There’s a soft cover over the front window but I noticed there is no front boot.

According to Johnny K it’s much better to install a through boot because it’s very difficult to keep any opening at the front of the van waterproof given the wind pressure when moving. Included here as well as the long storage space are mounting points for a lifting jack and a wheel brace and there’s an LED light for finding things at night.

Outside features include television 240v power points, annex and BBQ lights, picnic table and a grab handle with light at the door. A jerry can and a spare wheel are mounted on a sturdy bracket at the back of the van and there’s a reversing camera wired in to a monitor for the tow vehicle.

A fold-down step and grab handle assist entry to the open plan van with light coloured furnishings adding to a very modern appeal. With the ensuite at the back of the van and behind the entrance, first impressions are of an open space with light streaming in from big double glazed Dometic windows and large overhead hatches.

The kitchen runs along the driver side with a long L-shaped lounge opposite and the double bed up the front. CNC cut gloss finish and flush mounted cupboards overhead at the kitchen and bed are finished in cream with the lower cabinets all white.

Benches and the splashback are covered in a light toned, stone-look laminate, which matches well with the understated colour theme. The Swift 500 Series cooker has four burners and grill as well as a Swift stainless steel rangehood and both the stove and stainless steel sink have covers to increase bench space.

It might be a small thing but I think the lift up flap that extends bench space at the forward end of the kitchen bench is a great idea. It takes advantage of the void between bench and bed and can be easily dropped out of the way for access to the bedroom.

Towards the rear of the kitchen is a Thetford three-way 164L Fridge set into a cabinet, which also includes a 20L Daewoo microwave overhead.

Despite the van being less than 18’ there is a surprising amount of room at the kitchen table. It’s a relatively long L-shaped affair with plush dark brown material with a scenic window to take in the view.

The extendable bolster bed will impress taller folk, which folds out from the head to increase length an extra 4” to 6’2”. Here too, big windows allow light and views but can be easily blocked out for privacy with built in screens.

Nothing has been compromised when including the full ensuite in this compact van. You get a full sized shower cubicle, Thetford toilet and a usable vanity with a floating designer vanity, designer mixer and large mirror. Without inhibiting movement, all available space is taken up with storage cupboards and drawers.

The van towed true behind our Isuzu Ute and without any sway or wallowing on the highway and it was easy to back up and move around over the off road sections for photography. Its ATM of 2500kg puts it in the range of Prado and smaller capacity four wheel drives.

Pricing as tested is a very keen $52,000 ex Melbourne plus on-road costs and includes Ibis air conditioning, Suburban water heater, music system and a 24” television with Winegard aerial. The Dreamweaver can be configured in a mid entry unit and can be fitted out as a semi off road version for around $57,000 depending on options.


Manufacturer: Vanguard Caravan Sales

Model: Dreamweaver 17’6”

Overall length: 7.0m approx.

Width: 2.3m approx.

Travel height: 3.0m approx.

Tare weight: 1800kg

Gross weight: 2320kg

ATM: 2500kg

Ball weight: 180kg

Price as reviewed: $52,000 (plus on-road costs)

Find Out More

Vanguard Caravans

2-4 Devon Ct. Epping Vic 3076

03 9401 4995

Back to blog