After thinking we know what we wanted from our motorhome our plan changed several times.
Well we kind of knew what we wanted…. we knew we wanted one with a fixed bed (having slept on and experienced having to make beds up in both of our caravans we knew this was one of our must haves). We also wanted to be able to sit up in bed and enjoy our morning coffee (a luxury more than a must have but still still a desirable for us).
What we didn’t realise was how many types of bed there was to choose from. Here’s our quick guide to types:
A transverse bed located at the back of the motorhome normally over large storage areas. This type of bed tends to be very roomy, but the downsides are one person has to climb over the other to get out & they are normally high up as situated above the garage so sometimes require a ladder and dependant on the height you can’t always sit up in bed.
A french bed is a small double which has one corner cut off making it a little on the small size for the length of time we would be away. It also still has the one climbing over the other issue.
Drop down beds do exactly that, they drop down when you need to use them. Whilst normally very roomy as they are up high so a ladder is required for getting in and out and once again the climb over still exists. This type of bed makes the most sense if you want to have a fixed bed but maximise on living space without having to have a huge motorhome. We were tempted by this design however couldn’t find the right one within our price range on the market at the time.
Overcab Bed – As the name suggests these are situated above the cab in the bulk head of the motorhome and do not stow away when not in use like a drop down bed. They offer very little headroom so not sitting in bed with a morning coffee. They also require ladder access.
Island beds are the closest in design to a proper double bed as they have room on both sides to climb in & out. Although most are a similar size width wise to a standard double some are a little shorter in length. The bed does eat into the space inside the motorhome though so some designs will compromise in other areas because of this. We have opted for a motorhome with an island bed as felt it offered us the ultimate sleeping arrangements with little or no compromise.
We also wanted ample lounging around space after all we are going to spend a lot of time in our “new home” and unfortunately won’t be able to spend all of it outdoors. Ideally with a table that wasn’t fixed in place so we could move it if we wanted to.
With the additional benefit of swivel captains chairs (these are ordinarily your driver and passenger seat whilst on the move but swivel to form part of the lounge seating when not in transit). Some of the layouts we viewed were just unworkable for us as the lounge/living space was so cramped if someone was in the kitchen area and the other needed to go to the loo you almost had to climb up high or step outside to let them past.
The most roomy seating areas were always those with a U shaped lounge, although these often only offered the option to make up the bed from the seating which we had already ruled out.
Initially we considerred models with additional seat belts just in case someone came to visit or wanted to join us on our travels whilst still in the UK. Although once we found out how much they weigh and ate into the payload we quickly took a more selfish view and ruled them out all together.
The layout we eventually found worked best for us (more on this when we introduce the new addition to our family to you in one of our future blogs) was the bench seat layout which gives us lots of lazing around space and without the restrictions of a fixed in place table.
Lots of time we looked at motorhomes on the web and thought we had found our perfect companion only to be disappointed when seeing it in real life by the cramped floor space inside. Obviously we quickly realised that we had to make compromises however we had to be realistic about the limited space we could actually live in – after all we are downsizing from a 4 bed detached house with double garage to this!
Another of our wish list items was to have a separate shower cubicle to try and avoid the wet room scenario of having to mop up the bathroom floor after showers. As you will see in future blogs this is one of the areas we compromised on. So far it hasn’t been too painful but we will see whether I’m still feeling the same after a year living with it???
Kitchen: On our kitchen wish list was a cooker inc oven, 3 way fridge with ample space and enough work surface to be able to manage to prepare a meal. Although we ended up with a model with a microwave as well we have already made the decision that it will stay behind in the UK when we go off to Europe as it can only be used on electric hook up, is a weight we don’t need to carry, as we have a full size oven and hob everything that can be done in a microwave can be done on there andI can fill the cupboard that houses it with other stuff. Our requirements for our kitchen were pretty easy to achieve although its worth noting if your currently shopping around that the majority of European manufacturers do not put an oven in as standard!
As we plan to (hopefully) travel for a year in our motorhome this was another area of high importance for us. We needed to be able to take a cut down version of our lives along with us. Although this sounds easy in conjunction with our long list of other criteria it also became a challenge, not so much because of the lack of motorhomes for sale with decent storage the biggest hurdle was finding a model with decent storage and decent payload. It’s no good having an abundance of storage cupboards and a large garage if you only have 135kg payload (believe me we viewed models like this). Often motorhomes utilise the void under the bed for a large garage or storage area – just check how much weight it will take though before committing!