A new caravan range built in the United States offers size, practicality, and comfort, says NZMCD writer Malcolm Street
In an industry dominated by local, European and Australian RVs, rigs built in North America are comparatively rare in New Zealand. It’s a niche that David Sharp from Select Caravans has decided to move into by importing a range of Alpha Wolf caravans.
Alpha Wolf, a brand from Cherokee, is part of the Forest River conglomerate, which produces a wide range of travel trailers (caravans to you and me), camping trailers, fifth-wheelers and motorhomes of all sizes. Alpha Wolf manufactures a selection of vehicles from 8400mm to 11200mm in length - quite long by New Zealand standards and all of them have a slide-out, something not so familiar here.
My review van, an Alpha Wolf 27RK, has an external length of 10210mm and, being a US-orientated model, has a nearside slide-out and a mid-offside wall entry door. RVs imported from overseas have to be compliant with local regulations, particularly electrics and LPG.
When I asked David Sharp about that, he advised me that all regulatory work is done here in New Zealand by independent re-fitters and certifiers. The cabling is fitted on the production line in the US as per New Zealand specifications (AS/NZS 3000 wiring rules), but finishing, power points and appliances are done here using New Zealand-sourced fittings and supported by New Zealand warranties.
Unlike RVs imported from Europe, which uses similar mains supply voltage to New Zealand, the US standard voltage is 110V AC. Hence it has been completely upgraded to 230V. All the gas pipework is replaced here in New Zealand under AS/NZS 5601 (gas installations), and a new oven is fitted.