During my years at Caravan and Outdoor Life, I have taken a Jurgens Penta on a couple of extended trips, so I was intrigued when I was asked to pick up an interesting new concept from Kempton Caravans in Edenvale.
It’s called the Jurgens Penta KC. If you’re wondering, KC stands for ‘Kitchen Conversion.’
Kempton Caravans manager, Clive van der Vyver, took me on a one-on-one with the Penta KC.
At first it looked like the standard Penta that I had taken on previous trips, but the moment Clive opened the door, I realised that this was a lot more than just a ‘kitchen conversion’!
The guys at Kempton Caravans have taken the standard Penta and turned it into something truly special. As Clive explains, ‘We really do listen carefully to feedback from our clients’.
The KC is a result of one of the prime lessons they have learnt in more than three decades in the caravan business – South Africans like to live outside their caravan, not inside.
The first design change on the Penta KC was the creating of an outside kitchen.
Making space for the kitchen hatch was relatively easy on the Penta, as there is ample floor space. By moving the fridge forward, a large hatch could be fitted and the kitchen created outside.
The microwave and all the crockery have been moved into the outside hatch.
The entrance door is now hinged on the opposite side to that of the standard model, to ensure that the kitchen hatch doesn’t impede opening the door fully.
The basin (with a tap from the 220V hot-water geyser) is enclosed in a neat, small, fibreglass housing which was already on the outside of the caravan.
But the KC has an added lightweight aluminium work surface alongside the basin. This table can either be permanently hinged on the outside of the van, or be made removable and stored inside when travelling.
An extra aluminium table is also supplied and fitted to the left of the entrance door of the caravan, as either a clip-on or a permanent fixture. There is certainly no shortage of workspace outside the caravan.
A canvas storage compartment fits under the fold-out kitchen worktop for those odds and ends like pots and pans.
To carry the possible extra weight, sturdier support legs have been fitted under the dinette. I must say that these new legs make the table much more stable.
A couple of changes have also been made on the inside of the Penta. With the stove, washbasin and tap moved outside, the inside kitchen now has only a large work surface.
Kempton Caravans have fitted slides on some of the lower drawers, so you no longer have to get onto your hands and knees to access them.
In similar vein, it’s often difficult on the Penta to access the storage space under the bunk on the left of the entrance door. It doesn’t have an outside hatch, so the cushions have to be removed before you are able to get to this storage area.
However, in the Penta KC, this area now has a similar sliding drawer system to give simple and easy access.
This feature is especially useful when you have made up the second bed – before, you would have to move the whole made-up bed to access this storage space. But not anymore!
The Penta KC comes standard with a split air-conditioning unit, although clients can opt not to have this installed. Because the cooling unit is now housed in the nose cone (where the spare is housed on the standard Penta), the customer in the KC has the option of mounting the spare wheel on the lockable bracket on the A-frame, or under the chassis at the rear of the caravan.
I found the front-mounted spare easy to swing away – it has a simple, easily removable, lockable pin. I imagine it would be quite a schlep, and require quite a bit of effort, to get the spare from a bracket in the rear.
All in all, I think that the team at Kempton Caravans have taken their popular and well made caravan to another level.
My advice would be to visit the showroom in Edenvale, take a look at the standard Penta, and then take a look at how the KC variant has upped the ante by 100%!