If you’ve decided to embark on the project of a lifetime and completely renovate or rebuild a van like we did, you’ll quickly figure out that Dometic is going to be your best friend.
Dedicated to making vanlife and mobile living easy, Dometic offer heaps of products and solutions for your van, creating all the big things you might need, from fridges, toilets and air-conditioners, right down to the tiny details like portable batteries, cook-tops and fans. They just have everything!
We were extremely proud and excited to partner with Dometic for our van build, and to share with everyone just how much Dometic products can enhance your life on the road. They certainly set the standard when it comes to products for a van fit out and they have made our van feel more like a tiny little house than a caravan! Our van is more luxurious than we ever thought it could be, and we are equipped with any condition Australia throws at us!
We’ve been on the road for almost two months now, so we’re happy to be able to give you an honest review of each of these products that we have been using flat out and have been making our lives so much easier on the road.
Here are our recommendations for 8 Dometic products you need for your van:
1. Small Slide Out Kitchen
We have always hoped for a year of sunny days and summer weather for our trip, chasing the dry season as we roll around Australia. So outdoor cooking has been happening much more than indoor cooking!
The slide out kitchen allows for us to have a full kitchen outside! It’s equipped with a cook top, sink, bench and drying area and honestly, it’s all you would need for your cooking requirements! This way, we don’t have to set up an outdoor BBQ or cooking station every time we stop, we can simply pull out our kitchen whenever we feel like it.
Why we chose it: It’s light and compact, which means it takes up little room in the van and can be ready to use at a moments notice. There’s no set up or pack up, it’s always good to go and we can be cooking outdoors each evening in just a couple of minutes!
Thoughts so far: We absolutely love the outdoor kitchen, we have been using it flat out and it’s honestly all we need to cook our dinner. In fact, we have only used our inside kitchen once so far and that was because it was just so windy outside we didn’t want to stand out there! It’s amazing for everything from cooking steaks to just boiling up some hot water for a cup of tea.
2. Ibis 4 Air Conditioner
It’s simple, this year we are expecting to be HOT. The Outback in particular can throw some harsh desert conditions at you, so we were always planning for lots of hot days when this air-conditioner is probably going to save our spirits and our bodies.
Why we chose it: Newly built as one of the lightest rooftop air-conditioners on the market, the IBIS 4 absolutely sets the standard for van air-conditioners. The unit includes a new-generation compressor with inverter technology that ensures minimal vibrations to your van and a quieter unit all together.
Quiet simply, we didn’t want to add too much extra weight to the roof of our van, so choosing the lightest unit we could was very important to us. Plus, the roof vents on the inside of the van are super neat and slimline, which means you don’t even notice it when you’re in the van.
Thoughts so far: Quite honestly, this air-conditioner is a God send. It keeps us so cool, and on more than one occasion has saved us from extreme humidity. This is the only appliance that doesn’t run off our battery and solar system, so we need to be either plugged in or running the generator to have the air-conditioner going, but this is easy to plan ahead for and make sure that we’re able to use it on heatwave days.
Find out more: Dometic Ibis 4 Air Conditioner
3. Dust Reduction System
One of Dometic’s newest products, the Dust Reduction System (DRS)was only released in October last year and we were quick to get this baby bolted down to our van ASAP. The DRS works to minimise the amount of dust, as well as harmful airborne particles and pollens that enter your caravan. It’s also been developed with no motor or electrical parts, which means you don’t even need any power to keep it working.
Why we chose it: With such an old caravan we were always worried about the dust getting in through any potentially unsealed place that it could. Putting a system onto the van that helped minimise or stop the dust was always a huge priority, because we definitely planned to take it on some dusty roads.
Thoughts so far: OMG, this little system might honestly be the best thing we have ever added to our van. We just finished driving along the Oodnadatta track, and while some dust still got into the van from crappy seals on our door and windows, the dust was only around the gaps where it had gotten in. There was so little dust throughout the whole van, it was absolutely amazing. In fact, if we’re not travelling on dirt roads there is literally no dust in the van AT ALL. We would hate to think what our van would have looked like without this system driving through Outback South Australia.
Find out more: Dometic Dust Reduction System
4. RUC 6408X Compressor Fridge/Freezer
The perfect fridge choice for all conditions, the Dometic RUC 6408X has separate fridge and freezer compartments, providing the perfect temperatures for your foods in all conditions. It has an easy to use, built in control panel, allowing you to select a temperature range and whatever mode you need. It can run fully on a battery and solar system, which means it doesn’t need to be plugged in to keep the perfect temperature.
Why we chose it: We always wanted to install a full size fridge and freezer in our caravan. We didn’t want the pressure of having to visit the supermarket every couple of days for supplies, and wanted to be able to store about a week’s worth of food if we were travelling into remote locations.
Thoughts so far: This fridge has literally been absolutely perfect since the day we installed it into the van. It keeps our food so fresh and can fit way more than you would expect from a caravan fridge. In fact, I’m sure we’ve probably filled it up heaps more than our fridge at home.
The only issue we have had so far is that the bottom frame of the door can sometimes become a little loose and rattle off on corrugations or if you drive along too many dirt roads. However, it does just pop back in and it doesn’t effect any of the food inside or the general effectiveness of the fridge at all.
Installation tips: When you’re installing a fridge into your caravan make sure you have enough ventilation and vents to allow air in and out when it is operating. Often one of the biggest reasons for fridges having issues in caravans is because they do not have enough ventilation when they are installed. For our fridge we have installed a vent on top of the fridge that leads outside, and another underneath, to make sure there’s no chance of it overheating.
Find out more: Dometic RUC 6408X-Compressor Fridge/Freezer
5. Saneo Cassette Toilet
Give yourself the feel of a regular house toilet with the Saneo Cassette Toilet. It has an impressive dual close valve, with ensure maximum safety from accidents or impulse flushes, using a holding value to retain water and the applying pressure to force it into the bowl. Toilets are something most of us don’t want to think too much about, but Dometic make it so easy to have a portable toilet for wherever you might stop.
Why we chose it: We always knew we wanted to install a toilet into our van, so that we could be considered self-sufficient, giving us the opportunity to stay in many more locations around Australia. The Saneo cassette toilet felt like the perfect option for us, to feel like you’re using a regular toilet.
Thoughts so far: It’s super comfortable, easy to use and maintain and just like a regular toilet. In fact, it’s even easier than using a regular toilet. Open up the hatch before you sit down and everything is gone by the time you stand back up. It’s easy to empty, easy to clean and so handy for late night bathroom trips.
Handy tips: Make sure you get a good chemical to put into your toilet. Most of them work as an anti-bacterial waste breaker and sanitiser and help reduce any smells. We’ve been using this one from Bunnings so far, and it’s been fantastic.
Find out more: Dometic Saneo CS – Cassette Toilet
6. Perfect Wall Awning
Offering lengths from 2.6 metres all the way to 5 metres long, the Dometic Perfect Wall Awning can be used on all different vehicles, caravans and vans. It comes with an easy automatic twisting front rail, to quickly slide the awning in and out when you need it, and features an easy lock flipper on the legs to make sure no accidental dropping is possible.
Why we chose it: We needed some shade on the outside of our van, and this awning is one of the easiest to install and use that we came across. It provides the perfect shade on the outside of our van, protecting us from the sun and giving us the perfect spot to chill out during the day.
Thoughts so far: This awning is so handy and easy to use, that you can literally pull it out for just an hour or so of use if you need it. It can be fully installed in just a couple of minutes, is super easy to set up and you can be sitting in the shade within 5 minutes of getting to your destination.
Find out more: Dometic PW1500 Perfect Wall Awning
7. Access Hatches
To make your life so much easier, order Dometic access hatches that all have the same key. It might be a bit of a pain to organise, but once you hit the road it will make your life so much easier.
We have Dometic access hatches for our slide out kitchen, toilet and hot water system. All the hatches were ordered from different places (unfortunately for some reason the Dometic website didn’t have all of the hatches able to purchase), however when we made our order we requested the same number key from each place. Most places are able to help you out and make this happen (especially if you contact them before you place your order) so now, we only have one single key to access all three hatches.
THIS MAKES LIFE SO MUCH EASIER.
Since all the hatch locks are pretty much the same, putting in the work to make them the same number/code make such a huge difference to ease of access and not having to sift through three different keys every time you want to open a hatch. Best life hack we ever thought of, makes travelling so much easier.
8. 2 burner cook top
With a heat-resistant safety glass lid and easy to clean detachable chromed pan supports, this cook top is the perfect addition to your van to be able to cook inside if the weather is being a little temperamental, or if you just want to feel like you’re living in your house again. The best part about this cook top is that when you close the lid you don’t lose any bench space, and can use the space on top of it for anything you may need.
Why we chose it: Whilst we hoped that we would be in perfect summer weather for 365 days of 2020 that’s just not a realistic plan in Australia is it?! We wanted to have a back up plan to be able to cook dinner just in case of rain, extreme winds or total fire bans by having a cook top inside.
Thoughts so far: We have only used our indoor cook top once so far, on a day when it was extremely windy but it that day really made us glad that we had included the cook top in our build. They’re so easy and quick to use, effective and fast cooking and it’s just like cooking in your own house. We just make sure that we push our curtains to the other side of our kitchen and open a few windows to make things even easier.
Find out more: Dometic 2 Burner Stove
As a partner of Dometic some of the products in this post were gifted to us, however they are all products that we were planning to install in our van from the beginning and we couldn’t recommend highly enough from our own experiences. All opinions are, as always, our own.