Leisure Line 5.81 Nomad Review

By: Bill Savidan, Photography by: Bill Savidan

Well-equipped and with space where it matters, this Leisure Line can cater to whatever lifestyle you choose – whether it’s living year-round at the beach or roaming nomad-style. Bill Savidan takes a look

The Nomad 5.81 is a nicely balanced, good-looking caravan
The Nomad 5.81 is a nicely balanced, good-looking caravan

Leisure Line offer a traditionally built New Zealand caravan, and the Nomad 5.81 has a typical New Zealand layout; a ‘U’ lounge at the front, a kitchen opposite the entry, a fridge-freezer opposite the washroom and a north-south island bed at the back.

Country RV in Mt Maunganui offer good old-fashioned service that is appreciated by their customers and their suppliers so they are a good fit with Leisure Line products. So much so that recently Country RV became the sole North Island sales agents for Leisure Line caravans. Christchurch RV Centre are sole agents for the South Island and Leisure Line no longer sell direct to the public from their factory in Hamilton.

leisure line nomad entry
Stepping aboard, the initial impression is how spacious the Nomad is


There is no stepwell on the 5.81 Nomad, so having an external pullout Omnistor step certainly makes entry/exiting easier. As does the Camec Vista two-part 610mm-wide entry door with a regular lockup outer door and an inner security screen door that also serves as an insect screen. Together they should keep most of life’s annoying bugs at bay.

The external handle secures the door when the caravan is unattended and swings out to become a steadying handle when the door is in use.

On the right as you enter is a bench-high cabinet, with the 19-inch RV Media TV above and another cabinet above that. A manual satellite TV aerial ‘angle’ meter is mounted inside the top cabinet and the operating handle is ceiling-mounted alongside.

Leisure Line Nomad lounge
Windows surround the front lounge, so you can keep an eye on proceedings outside


A lot of care has been taken with the settee design. Upholstered in a hard-wearing blue synthetic fabric, the settee cushions o er excellent thigh and lumbar support. You can stretch out full length for a snooze on the rear settee, but the side settees are not so accommodating lengthwise.

Four can dine in comfort at the standalone dining table. e lounge seating converts to a double bed when needed.

Full-length pelmets are tted in both the lounge and bedroom to accommodate curtains for those who prefer them. All side windows are double-glazed acrylic, and each has a cassette housing a blind and an insect screen. e front window is safety glass and is xed into position.

ere are only two ceiling vents tted in this Nomad, a medium sized one in the lounge and a ‘mini’ in the shower stall. Under the front overhead lockers are two reading lights and two speakers from the Fusion entertainment centre that is mounted below.

Storage space under the front settee is shared with the house battery and charger, and other equipment occupies the space under the driver’s side settee. Space under the kerbside settee is accessible from inside and outside.

Leisure Line nomad kitchen
Mounting the fridge 400mm off the floor makes it much more user-friendly


Mounted on the wall opposite the entrance, the kitchen has a straightforward layout. There are two overhead lockers with a decent-sized benchtop below containing a sink, with a three-burner cooktop and oven alongside to the right. The sink has a hinged glass cover and a folding tap. There’s plenty of room on the bench for meal prep and serving.

Four drawers, a locker and a cupboard occupy the neatly made cabinet below the benchtop. All the plumbing in the underbench cabinets is routed to the sides to reduce interference with the storage space. It is well thought out and executed.

There is more storage in the two tall, shelved cupboards beside the washroom door. Overall, there’s generous space for crockery, cutlery, food and beverages.

Equipment supplied includes a large Dometic RUA 6408 188-litre fridge-freezer, a Dometic Triplex stove, and a Camec range hood venting outside.

leisure line nomad bathroom
It’s a tight squeeze, but the washroom contains all the essentials


Trying to fit an island bed into a caravan under 6.5 metres long is tricky. Something has to give, and here it’s the washroom; here it is a compact 850mm x 1080mm.

It has a bench-style C402 Thetford toilet with a corner handbasin opposite that has a single two-way hot-cold tap.

Shaving routines may need a re-think to cope with the lack of shelves to put your bits and pieces on. All the usual ingredients are available for showering, on the other hand; a shower hand-piece on a wall rail and a single plughole to drain the shower tray. The C402 toilet is relatively easy to wipe down when you’ve had your shower.

Leisure Line Nomad bathroom
There are cupboards at every turn

A small medicine cabinet above the toilet will accommodate essential toiletries, and an opening window and small ceiling vent will cope with ventilation. I am not sure about the lightweight door. It won’t leave much to the imagination.

Leisure line nomad bedroom
A Country Comfort inner-sprung mattress over a sprung wooden slat base is the recipe for a good night’s sleep


A Country Comfort inner-sprung mattress (1800mm x 1450mm) over a sprung wooden slat base is the recipe for a good night’s sleep in the Nomad. Each side of the bed has the same amenities; a hanging locker, a reading light, and a shelf on top of a bedside cabinet on which to rest the morning ‘cuppa’. Two overhead lockers are available, but you might have to be quick to get one, let alone two. There is no ceiling hatch in the bedroom but the window on each side should be more than enough to keep the air fresh. An upholstered panel replaces the window at the head of the bed, which means no delicate concertina window blind to worry about.


Kerbside, the front hatch gives access to space under the settee. Further along are the habitation door and alloy step alongside the toilet cassette hatch. And looking down from above, there’s the Cvana 4.8-metre awning. Cvana awnings have a very desirable feature; if the wind blows hard, the awning protects itself by retracting. It goes with a bang but at least it lives, intact, to fight another day.


Fitted as standard is a galvanised tubular rear bumper with a bracket holding the spare wheel. This Nomad has a rack for two e-bikes, with a 60kg weight limit.

Driver's Side

Simple stuff this side; fridge-freezer vents, 230-volt power socket, fresh water in with water out below, and the Propex heater exhaust below the Suburban water heater service panel.

Chassis and Running Gear

The Nomad 58.1 is mounted on a Leisure Line hot-dipped galvanised steel single-axle chassis that has a conventional leaf spring suspension with electrically powered brakes. These brakes are wirelessly controlled, with the control box mounted on the chassis. This Leisure Line tried-and-trusted chassis/suspension system has evolved over the years, with the wireless controller being the newest addition.

leisure line nomad locker lpg
A robust separate locker up front houses 2 x9 kg LPG bottles

A traditional cast iron hitch with a locking handle, handbrake and twin safety chains connects the van to the tow-ball. Mounted behind the hitch is the jockey wheel. This rotates clear of the ground while underway. Straddling the A-frame in front of the caravan body is an LPG cabinet for 2 x 9kg bottles. Also fitted is a front panel protection cover, clear vinyl over the window, padded vinyl below. The rig runs on 16-inch alloy wheels.

Freedom Camping

Fresh and grey water tanks are fitted, holding 90 litres each. The single 105 Ah battery is kept charged by a 150-watt solar panel. An LPG Propex 2kW heater keeps ‘Jack Frost’ away. The 188-litre fridge-freezer should hold more than a week’s supply of food. A second 9kg LPG bottle would be a sound investment. If there’s no dump station handy, you may need a second toilet cassette.

Leisure line nomad bike rack
The spare wheel is mounted on the bumper bar alongside a rack for two e-bikes


Leisure Line caravans come in standard layouts, but Leisure Line are happy to consider changes owners would like made to layouts and equipment. So don’t hesitate to ask what is possible and what is not.

While the Nomad can easily qualify for a Certified Self-containment Certificate (CSC) for freedom camping, many owners don’t find the need. They use theirs in traditional ways; taking their families to holiday parks by beaches and rivers at Christmas and Easter. Quite a lot of Leisure Lines stay at the beach all year round. Now there’s a happy thought.


  • The work space and storage space in the kitchen
  • The island bed layout
  • The really large fridge-freezer
  • The safety first Cvana awning


  • Could do with a large roof hatch in the kitchen or the bedroom<


Leisure Line Nomad 5.81 specifications



Road wheels/Suspension

Alloy/ leaf spring

Body length

7.450 metres (shipping length incl. draw bar)

Body height

2.90 metres

Body width

2.50 metres

Tanks: Fresh/grey



1 x 9kg bottle


2200kg (can be upgraded)



Payload 380kg
Tow ball weight 180kg

Price as reviewed: $85,000


Find out more at countryrv.co.nz

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