After travelling in CanaDream's DVC Deluxe Van Camper, we share with you some of the nitty gritty you may not see on the website.
On CanaDream’s website, their smallest RV is described as Stylish and Zippy and, after travelling in one recently, I would say it’s a very apt description. The exterior had a very European look while the interior décor was modern and the RV contained everything we needed for a two week vacation on the road.
Reading the website before I booked, I could see what the vehicle looked like but I still had lots of questions about things not shown in the pictures – how much storage is there and where can I charge my electronic devices were but two of them. The vehicle I rented was a 2020 PleasureWay Plateau van on a Ford Transit F350 Chassis. Whilst on the road, I met up with some friends who had a different version of this CanaDream van, manufactured by US company Coachmen, but it seemed fairly similar to the PleasureWay. My observations though are of the PleasureWay version.
So, let’s get down to the nitty gritty here.
Storage: Just how much stuff can you pack into this little beauty? First up, I’d strongly suggest that you bring only soft collapsible baggage with you. Large, hard-sided suitcases have no place in this RV! Unlike larger motorhomes, there are no exterior storage compartments. Interior storage is limited to a number of overhead cupboards, at least two of which are taken up with the kitchen items we needed on the trip. Packing items into cubes or zipper bags makes sense – you can keep everything organized while stacking the items into the cupboards. The small storage space under the sofa bed (and accessed through the rear doors) is a handy place to store that soft luggage once unpacked, lawn chairs, firewood and dirty boots! We also found some storage under one of the side chairs. This held much of the bedding when the bed became our sofa. A small ‘wardrobe’ beside the fridge allowed us to hang coats etc while a cupboard and drawer under the sink was great for pantry items.
Driving: This RV was a breeze to drive. Outside visibility was amazing and the vehicle had plenty of power wherever we drove. Access from the cab to the coach is convenient making it easy to grab something from the back en route. The backup camera was handy, although using a spotter at the rear is still recommended. Bluetooth meant we could listen to our own music through the RV speakers. At 22 feet long, it was still small enough to take up only one parking space in the towns we stopped in.
Charging electronic devices: Thankfully, this didn’t prove to be a huge issue. In ‘day’ mode, the two USB ports on the end of each of the side chairs meant we each had a place to plug in while working at the table. However, they weren’t easily accessible when the bed was made up. Not to worry – we found another behind the driver seat and one on the driver console. This was more than enough for our needs but we did notice another two 12V plug ins which you could use with a USB adaptor if you had multiple devices you needed to charge together.
The bed: This was one of our compromises. We would have preferred a fixed bed but the size of the RV was more important. Having chosen to travel in the DVC, we accepted we’d need to make the bed each night. It was actually pretty easy. With the touch of a switch, the sofa reclined to a bed and it became a breeze to add the bedding. On a comfort level, we were surprised that we slept so well.
The bathroom: It’s a wet bath but it was great to have the convenience of a toilet in such a small unit. For larger people it’s a tight squeeze but definitely manageable. The holding tanks are fairly small however, so you might find you need to empty your waste tanks at least every couple of days. You can check the tank levels on the monitor panel but these are only approximate. If water doesn’t drain in the shower, it’s probably time to empty the waste tank! Showering? I’m small so managed this easily – hubby preferred the campground showers.
Cooking: We ate in the RV a lot. Most of our cooking was of the stove-top variety but the RV does have a convection microwave which was handy when we had campsite power. Unless we used the generator to power the microwave (extra charge), we weren’t able to use it while dry camping. The electrical outlets and the air conditioning, which we didn’t use on our trip, also need either the generator or shore power to work. The fridge/freezer ran off propane when travelling and switched to electricity if we were plugged into shore power. Lots of room inside the fridge!
Waste and Water: Plan ahead to scope out where you might be able to empty your waste tanks and refill your fresh water tank, especially if you don’t plan to stay at a campground. https://www.sanidumps.com/ is a useful resource although it’s crowd sourced so we found some of the information wasn’t correct.
Overall, we loved this RV. As first-time RVers, we found the DVD instructions and Guest Guide provided us with all the information we needed to operate the RV. The vehicle was perfect for a couple and small enough to go most places. We’d definitely book this one again, although their TCA truck and camper also looks an interesting choice.