Here’s a question: which caravan brand originating in the old Eastern Bloc has been successfully sold in the UK for almost 40 years?
If you were going to say Adria you would be wrong – not because Adria hasn’t been hugely successful, but because Slovenia was never officially in the Eastern Bloc.
No, we’re talking about Freedom Caravans, lightweight budget vans made in Poland and sold in the UK since 1984. We thought it high time to revisit the model that is one of the company’s best-sellers in this country, the Jetstream Twin Sport.
Pitch and set up
The Jetstream comes on an Al-Ko chassis, while the one-piece shell is all GRP, with GRP light clusters and bumpers.
The caravan has a MiRO of just 700kg, so you won’t need a huge tow car, and you probably won’t miss having ATC. It does, however, only have a 50kg payload.
When it comes to setting up, we found the corner steadies easy to reach.
If you want an extension, you have to buy an awning (£875) or a sun canopy (£295) specially made for Freedom by Bradcot.
Our test model included the Flare Package. For £500 you get a silver exterior, alloys, special decals and two extra mains sockets and USBs. It also has a rear-mounted bike rack (£495) and a motor mover (£1049).
Even a lightweight budget van can show some innovation. We liked finding the main light switch by the door at a level where everyone can reach it from the ground. That way you aren’t stepping into a dark caravan at night, fumbling for the lights.
The U-shaped lounge is comfortable. Even with the wardrobe intruding, you could seat five in here, and headroom under the basic overhead lockers will only be a problem for very tall people.
The front window opens, and it has blinds, a fly screen and curtains; the side windows only come with curtains. The large kitchen window also opens.
We were surprised to find no dedicated storage for the foldaway table. You would have to be careful how you stow it en route. Even when it is assembled, it probably only has enough space for three.
You do get spotlights on all three sides. For TV options you can have the relevant sockets and aerial fitted for £395, or go for the full £595 TV Pack, which also gets you an Avtex L168DRS TV and DVD player.
The leisure battery is an extra, starting at £150 depending on average.
Along with ventilation, that large window provides a lot of light for the worktop, although you also have another chunky spotlight to help you. There is a two-burner gas hob, combined oven and grill, a large sink, two mains sockets under the small worktop and two USBs. The 60-litre fridge should be big enough for the food of two. The MaxxAir fan in the ceiling of our test model was a £565 extra.
The corner washroom now looks a little dated, with its abundance of wood-effect veneer, but it is lit by an opaque window. You get a separate showerhead; the shower tray is unobstructed, even though it forms part of the main floor. The foldaway basin is adequate, and the mirror can be tilt4ed. There is a light here, but no roof vent.
The double made up in the lounge is very large, at 1.93 x 1.85m. The foam surface of the walls makes a pleasant headboard.
You put this bed together with slats from a compartment at the front of the van – the table plays no part. These slats are attached to each other, but you do have to lift them in to place; quite a delicate operation. The backrests and base cushions of the settees are single units, so are unusually bulky to put in position. If both of you are under six feet, you might be better off leaving the settees as singles. They are 65cm wide, and having a single base cushion increases the comfort.
Outside, the large front locker can hold much more than just gas bottles. Inside, the wardrobe provides good half-height hanging space. There are six overhead lockers, all fairly small. Both underseat areas have further space, but one holds the battery and the other, the Truma Heater. Because there are no internal access flaps, you have to remove the cushions and lift the slats. The kitchen has three small overhead lockers, and a pan locker under the oven.
Freedom has always been good value, although once you include the extras on this van, the price edges into standard territory. Where they are real winners is in overall weight. This is to all intents and purposes a conventional caravan, and you only need a conventional car to tow it.
We’d prefer to see proper table storage, and you’ll need to watch that payload, but otherwise this is an intriguing option if you’d prefer something less mainstream.
The Freedom Jetstream also impressed our judging panel at the Practical Caravan Awards 2022. The model was shortlisted for best caravan for couples, best 2 berth caravan and best caravan under £20,000.
You can take a look at the models that made our best caravan for 2022 round-up.
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This is to all intents and purposes a conventional caravan, and you only need a conventional car to tow it
|Interior Length||3.10 m|
|Shipping Length||4.26 m|