Caravan review: Snowy River Caravans SRC-17

Caravan review: Snowy River Caravans SRC-17 - Caravan World Australia

Since it began production in 2015 Snowy River Caravans has grown into a major company with its hybrid import/manufacturing process. 

For this review, I travelled to Gippsland in eastern Victoria, where Snowy River has established a company dealership just south of Traralgon. My mission for the day was to review the latest SRC-17, a compact single-axle caravan from the touring range of 14 versions between 14ft and 23ft. The Snowy River offering just keeps on expanding, and as well as the touring models, there are now also four dual-axle multi-terrain models.

The company

It’s been a while since we reviewed a Snowy River, so it’s worth a short recap about the company. When the giant Chinese auto company Daide Longtree bought the well-respected Regent Caravans brand in 2015, it undertook a major restructure of the business, employing key staff from Regent to guide the project. Its aim was to launch the new Snowy River brand using the expertise of the Australian team with the technology and work strength of Longtree. 

Many months of research and development and millions of dollars resulted in a limited range debuting onto the local market. Since then, growth has been swift, with the local workforce and factory space outgrowing demand every year.

The build

At the heart of Snowy River’s success is the composite body construction. An aluminium frame adds strength and mounting points for doors and windows inside a high-strength foam panel encased with special glue under heat and pressure between two fibreglass laminates. The body mounts on a DuraGal frame where rubber torsion suspension softens the ride. Then the team installs internal cabinetry before shipping the shell to the Regent assembly plant in Melbourne’s northwest. 

The local team now has more than 240 staff members, and output is more than 3500 vans annually, making Snowy River one of our most significant caravan builders.

The van

A couple of years ago, Snowy River standardised how it named its different models to reflect the external body length. So, at 17ft (5.1m), our review van is the SRC-17 Snowy River caravan model with an internal length of around 16ft, positioning it among a group of compacts in the Snowy range and other single axle competitors.

In the current market, smaller vans are sometimes overlooked. Large vans can look more impressive, and while they have extra space inside, there are benefits of something well-built and smaller. Price is a significant driver to smaller vans, including the initial outlay and significantly lower fuel costs when travelling long distances. Those new to caravanning will also find that a smaller van is less intimidating to tow and more manageable to park and manoeuvre into tight spots.

Changes to the latest models include a new square shape to the lower 50cm of the front wall to add storage options to the drawbar without losing internal volume. The rear lights have a new ABS surround that blend into the design nicely.

The layout of a van this size with an ensuite is predetermined by weight distribution, bed layout and best use of space. If you want a north-south bed, the door needs to be centrally located to make use of the void at the foot of the bed. A door at the back in a compact van would take away from the kitchen bench or dining table. The resultant lack of privacy at the bed in the 17-footer is a deal breaker for some so the SRC-19, which is a bit longer, has a rear entry door as an option in a single-axle van.

Our review van came with a light grey body colour, a darker grey checkerplate and grey graphics. The sales team showed me the Snowy River website, where customers can build their virtual van and option and price it to their budget. You can select from four exterior colours, various trim packages and dozens of different inclusions, including more powerful electronics, suspension packages and appliances.

The van’s exterior is elegant with the modern smooth walls of fibreglass and low panels of checkerplate, despite the mainly on-road personality. The A-frame has two 9kg gas bottles sitting naked behind a 50mm ball hitch. Higher up on the front wall is a redesigned fibreglass cover that is stronger and protects the front window when travelling. It also provides some shade when camped. 

Storage on smaller vans is limited, so the through tunnel boot at the front of the van body is welcome and will accommodate a fair load. Further back, we see a fold-down picnic table, twin speakers, electrical and TV outlets and a high LED light, all covered by a manual awning.


The latest colour choices add to the bright, airy feeling, and the new timber benchtops lend a homely, retro atmosphere. The designers have maximised window sizes, which combine with a large hatch over the bed and glossy white walls and cupboards to bounce light around the cabin. 

The internal joinery is nicely finished, with curved overhead cupboard doors ramping up the quality impression. New handles are large enough for older customers to grab quickly, but they move away somewhat from the current trend to a minimalist design.

You need innovative thinking in a van of this size to make it work properly, and the design team has done well fitting in all the essentials without compromising easy movement. It only takes a bench that’s too wide to make things unworkable for a couple, and the Snowy River has no such compromises.

Access to the front island bed is straightforward, and there are the usual hanging and overhead cupboards for clothes. Seeing a window at the bed end isn’t common these days, but it adds to the bright interior and gives more options for views when camped. Built-in blockouts offer privacy when needed.

All appliances are within easy reach, and the upgraded Thetford 175L compressor fridge offers ample cold storage for extended travel. And while bench space is limited, there are workarounds with the cover over the Mobicool cooktop/grill and the dining table close by. The circular sink has a high chrome mixer, and I saw upgrades in the options list to a black pack for all plumbing and electrical items. A microwave is a standard over the fridge and will be handy when hooked up to 240V power, but as always, we caution using such a high-mount appliance with hot items.

I found the L-shaped lounge comfortable and roomy enough for two people, with high backs that should let you relax at night and pleated upholstery that gives the lounge a quality feel. The table moves for better accessibility, and 240V and USB outlets are handy. 

A large ensuite is essential to many couples, and the little 17ft van might surprise you with its spacious layout. A large mirror sits over the broad vanity, and there are helpful storage shelves and cupboards, but I would have liked to see an extractor fan as standard.

The moulded three-piece shower is neatly sealed and has an overhead fan, a soap nook and ample room to move. Hot water is an instant supply, so that should minimise water waste when showering, and with twin 95L tanks, you will need to consider water use. The review van included an optional 100L grey water tank for those wanting to stay in restricted campsites. 


Talking about restricted sites, how is the SRC-17 set up for off-grid camping? Well, the standard features now boast a single chassis-mounted 110Ah lithium battery and two 180W flexible solar panels. But an extra battery box hints that a second battery might be a good idea if you plan longer off-grid excursions. Because you have twin 9kg gas bottles for the stove and water heater, you really only need battery power for the 12V compressor fridge, lights and TV. So, camped in one spot, you could expect two or three days of battery power even if it’s cloudy and longer in strong sunlight. Most buyers not confined to caravan parks should opt for the second battery, though, to be sure.


The significant advantage of a smaller van is its lower weight and easy towing, and behind the Traralgon dealer’s Ford Ranger, the van was little consequence. The touring versions of the brand use AL-KO rubber torsion suspension, and it operated well over our drive. There was no sway or lurching on the simple 50mm ball and the 12in brakes worked smoothly and without fuss.

The bottom line

Warranty for the van covers the chassis and suspension for five years and the body for two years. The warranty document spells out the company’s responsibility under Consumer Law. Appliances are covered by the relevant supplier, but Snowy River says it will oversee any claims.

At $62,690, it’s well set up for shorter-term getaways. I would opt for a second lithium battery for longer-term travel. The SRC-17 is a van that will suit couples or the growing number of solo travellers for its simplicity and easy towing that doesn’t require an oversized tow vehicle. It comes with all the necessities and ample room for getting away in comfort, and the stylish modern interior is a great place to relax at the end of the day. 



  • Compact design is easy to tow
  • Includes a spacious ensuite and north-south bed
  • Well-engineered composite body


  • Could use twin batteries as standard


Priced from $61,990, which is great buying in today’s market

Lightweight and straightforward to tow. Adding ESC would make it even better

A couple’s van for those looking for simplicity and a compact size

A composite body and well-engineered chassis are a competent modern process

Given its size, it’s easy to live with. The north-south bed in a van this size is a winner

The new lithium battery addition improves off-grid living, but you need a second one for longer trips

Five-year chassis and suspension and two-year body warranty is around the industry average

Very innovative construction method when introduced and gradually improved over time

The van from Snowy River is a household word today



Body length 5.16m (16ft 11in)
Overall length 7.07m (23ft)
Width 2.39m (7ft 8in)
Height 3.07m (10ft 1in)
Tare 1903kg
ATM 2500kg
Payload 597kg (calculated)
Ball weight at tare 203kg
Ball to tare ratio 10% (calculated)


Frame Composite
Cladding White fibreglass
Chassis 4 x 2in with 2in riser (100mm x 50mm plus 50mm x 50mm)
Suspension Torsion 2.5T (single)
Coupling 50mm ball
Brakes 12in drum
Wheels 235/75/R15 All Terrain
Water 2 x 95L freshwater (grey water optional)
Battery 1 x 100Ah Lithium
Solar 2 x 180W Flexible panel
Air-conditioner HB3500 Houghton
Gas 2 x 9kg
Sway control Optional


Cooking Dometic MiniGrill gas/electric
Microwave 20L
Fridge 174L Thetford T2175C compressor
Bathroom Full width ensuite along rear wall
Hot water Yes

Snowy River SRC-17 price from $61,990


  • 1 x 100L grey water tank

Snowy River SRC-17 price as shown $62,690


Snowy River Caravans
Warehouse 2/24/32 Stanley Drive Somerton Vic 3062
P: 03 9303 6100


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