Review: Jayco Journey 22.68-3

By: Bill Savidan, Photography by: Bill Savidan


Bill Savidan steps inside the latest Jayco Journey caravan and comes away feeling completely at home

Jayco’s Journey range of caravans continues to evolve. The 2019 Journey 22.68-3 introduces a new Eurostyle interior, a J-Control management system and an app that allows the system to be operated remotely within Bluetooth range. And, as I discovered, there is more.

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Did someone mention steak knives? By sticking with a familiar build formula – hot-dipped galvanised steel chassis; axle with leaf suspension; hail- and dent-resistant; vacuum bonded, insulated fibreglass walls and roof – Jayco has become Australia’s biggest caravan manufacturer.

Perfected over the years, Jayco has delivered a reliable, economical and durable method of manufacture. Its new control and monitor panel, aptly named the J-Control, provides single-screen management of the lights and monitoring of battery ‘estimated discharge time’ and water-tank levels.

Add in the smartphone app that gives the owner all those things, as well as remote control over the electric awning, and you have a pretty useful tool to run the caravan systems. An AL-KO Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system is fitted to help the driver keep the rig on the road in emergencies.

Exterior

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A neat fibreglass cover protects the 2 x 9kg LPG bottles

Mounted on the A-frame under a rounded fibreglass cover are two 9kg LPG bottles. Behind them is a tunnel boot with access doors both sides. Above, under a fibreglass travel cover, is the front window. Kerbside is a full-length awning plus a picnic table mounted on the side.

On the driver’s side is the toilet cassette hatch amidships and, at the rear, an external shower fitting and a storage hatch. The spare wheel is mounted on the rear wall, and it too has a protective cover. All in all, a typical, clean, functional, Jayco presentation.

Boarding

Like the majority of caravans, the Journey doesn’t have a foldout step, and on level ground, it isn’t needed. Anyway, most caravanners prefer portable steps, as they cope better with variations in terrain.

The triple-lock, two-piece entry door is robustly constructed with a solid exterior section for security that opens out to reveal a separate lockable screen door for ventilation. The layout has the lounge at the back and kitchen amidships, with the washroom separating the kitchen from the bedroom at the front.

Lounge

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The "Kiwi" lounge is an ideal space to while away an evening with a couple of mates

In a smart move, Jayco offers this Journey model with the U-shaped rear lounge so revered by older Kiwi caravanners. Fitted with firm seat cushions contoured for thigh support and with distinctively shaped backrests, neatly curved around the corners, it should prove popular with buyers of all ages.

It appeals to me as a nice place to while away the evening hours with a couple of mates. It is a multi-task lounge that also serves as the dinette and as an extra bed. When used for dining, the table adjusts in all directions to suit the diners.

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When converting the dinette to a bed, the table lowers to form the bed base

At bedtime, it lowers to form the bed base when topped with its purpose-made cushion. Made up, the bed is near enough to queen size, ideal for occasional guests. Three windows, one on each wall, provide a good view of ‘goings-on’ outside.

Like all the windows in the caravan, these are double-glazed and have cassette-style fittings containing built-in insect screens and blinds. Each window has a pair of curtains for privacy when you don’t want to close the blinds.

Eurostyle interior cabinetry and aluminium seat frames and corners feature in the 2019 model Journey. Six lockers over the dinette, with chic white lacquered doors, provide heaps of storage. Care has been taken finishing these lockers to the same high standard both inside and outside.

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The front boot tunnel locker is long enough for awning poles and fishing rods

Bigger is better

In an RV world where kitchens are getting smaller and smaller, Jayco has struck a high note for lovers of large kitchens by making the Journey’s kitchen bigger. Even though the sink/drainer unit and cooktop are built into the 1700mm-long benchtop, there is still plenty of room for meal prep and serving.

And there’s even more workspace on a second benchtop opposite. Smaller details are attended to as well, e.g. the multi-purpose sink cover has a chopping board on one side and a serving platter on the other. 

Like a studio apartment

Well-equipped, the Journey has an excellent selection of home appliances. An optional Sphere 3.3kg clothes washer is housed under the second benchtop. Alongside, is a full-height pantry. Beside that is a Thetford N3185, 171-litre two-door fridge/freezer and above that again is a Sphere microwave oven.

Below the three-burner plus one electric hob is a Thetford Triplex Plus combination grill/oven. A Sphere twin-fan air extractor is fitted under the locker over the hobs. The fans and the window behind the worktop bench take care of ventilation issues. And just in case, fresh water is filtered before it passes through the tap.

Kitchen Storage

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op At 1700mm long, the benchtop has ample space for food prep and serving

Shelves fitted into two of the three lockers above the bench make them ideal for storing crockery and glasses. Installing a rack into the narrow end locker would make it an ideal place to store bottles.

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Ample storage above and below the benchtop

And there’s more storage still in the four EziGlide drawers that surround the oven, plus the floor space behind the flaps at the bottom of the cabinet. Sink plumbing clutters the large-end cupboard, but useful space remains for bottles and washing-up gear.

Size is important

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The elegant hand basin

Between the kitchen and bedroom is one of the largest washrooms I have come across in a caravan. With the concertina doors closed (one each side), there is a clear floor space, 900mm x 930mm, between the toilet (right) and the shower door (left).

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Solid sliding doors close off the shower

It is also one of the best laid-out bathrooms I’ve encountered. A good-sized shower has a ceiling-mounted exhaust fan, and its 740mm x 630mm tray provides ample room for the gymnastic manoeuvres of showering.

An elegant eggshell-shaped hand-basin graces the vanity top with an equally sleek faucet alongside. Toiletries tuck away in the overhead lockers and cupboards below the basin. In the corner opposite the vanity, the Thetford ceramic bowl toilet has oodles of leg room.

And so to bed

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The queen bed has good access down both sides and across the bottom

Jayco has stayed with its preferred island bed arrangement – a 1500mm-wide, 1800mm-long bed that pulls away from the bedhead allowing a bolster to be inserted to provide 200mm of extra length. This still leaves about 150mm to squeeze past the foot of the bed with the bed extended.

There are always compromises in RVs, and this one works well enough. The mattress is deep inner-sprung with a pillow top. Each side of the bed has a reading light and cubby shelf for cups of tea, books and specs; ideal for that early morning cuppa and lie in with a good book.

There’s lots of storage, too, with a hanging locker, lower cupboard and corner cupboard each side. More space is available under the bed, but this is shared with the house battery and the BMPRO battery-management system. A TV wall mount is fitted with all the necessary wiring connections ready to go.

Large windows on either side of the bed are low enough to see out of when sitting in bed, so you may neglect the TV and look at the view instead. If you need privacy, the blinds pull up from the bottom so you can stop raising the blinds once you are comfortable and leave the top part of the window uncovered.

Conclusion

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Clean- and functional-looking, the Journey 22.68-3 presents well

The Journey 22.68-3 is a well-designed robustly built caravan. Behind the appropriate vehicle, it tows and backs up well, and is easy to unhitch and set up once at its destination. For me, as a former Jayco owner (and reviewer), the build quality, materials, durability, and finish detail make the Journey 22.68-3 the best-presented Jayco yet. Maybe the company has moved on from the US assembly model to something

Pros

  • The build quality is a real notch up.
  • Spacious bathroom.
  • Large, well-equipped kitchen.

Cons

  • It would be useful to have a bottle rack in the narrow kitchen overhead locker.

Jayco Journey 22.68-3 specifications

Berths 4
Body length 7325mm
Interior length 6755mm
Travel length 8255mm
Travel height 2895mm
Interior height 1980mm
Travel width inc. awning 2470mm
Fresh/grey water 82 litres/82 litres
Tare 2235kg approx (depending on extras fitted)
Towball weight (approx.) 205kg

Price as reviewed: $81,350

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