In part one of this three series blog, we looked at the different types of motorhomes available on the market when considering buying a motorhome or campervan for the very first time. With large differences in proportion, weight and layout and each offer varying degrees of living space, comfort and luxury choosing the right layout can be a daunting decision.
This is due to the very fact there is so much to consider such as the number of people travelling, storage, hobbies, interests, pets and the eternal debate whether fixed beds or living space is more important. With such as vast number of floorplans to consider we have picked 6 of the most popular layouts to help you make an informed decision.
First it’s important to note that the different motorhome classes from A Class to compact models can have similar internal layouts with the key differences being size and number of sleeping positions. For example, you can have a motorhome with a high rear bed and storage underneath for both a compact motorhome, a low profile and an A Class. The difference will be the amount of elbow room and number of berths. For example, an A Class will have more berths with a pull down bed as standard above the cab, while a low profile may have the option to convert the lounge to a bed at night where it's less likely for a compact model to have the additional beds for sleeping.
1. Low Fixed Bed Layouts
Very popular among experienced motorhome owners, fixed beds offer a comfortable made up bed, which for many is a welcome retreat after a long day of exploring. Fixed bed layouts can consist of a low corner bed (French Bed), an island bed, or twin beds to the rear and usually have adequate storage underneath which is accessible internally and/or externally depending on the make and model. The main advantage of having a low fixed bed, is the ease of accessibility which also allows for plenty of headroom. Fixed beds are usually fitted with a good quality full thickness mattress to ensure a comfortable night’s sleep.
2. High Fixed Bed Layouts
High fixed beds layouts can consist of a transverse double stretching across the full rear width of the motorhome, usually accessible via step ladder or steps or alternatively as twin beds accessible via a stepped platform. Again these layouts offer a comfortable made up bed at night with adequate headroom and the added advantage of a garage underneath where you can store large bulky items such as bikes, tables, golf equipment and surfboards. Storage is generally accessible via external garage doors, some models will have partial internal compartments for convenient indoor storage for smaller items. High fixed beds are normally accessed via steps or miniature ladders.
3. Bunk Bed Layouts
Bunk beds are a versatile take on the fixed bed layout and are geared primarily to facilitate families. Bunk layouts are normally flexible with the base of the bottom bunk engineered to lift at a 90 degree angle or elevate electrically at the touch of a button. This facilitates on the road storage for large items such as bikes while in transit. There are various options to choose from including double bed bunks, double beds with a single bunk and the more traditional single bunk beds. Children love the novelty of sleeping in a bunk and it’s also a good option if the grown-ups want to experience some down time in the main living space.
4. U-Lounge Layouts
A popular choice among families and those who like a large area to retreat and relax. The U Lounge layout has a wraparound lounge to the rear and provides a social space for the family during the day, whether it’s used for dining, playing games, reading or simply taking in the view. This area normally has central table which converts as a base for a large double bed at night. The lounges usually have storage underneath and are accessible from the inside. This adaptable layout emulates a lot of mobile home designs; the living space is an attractive option for those who like a lot of living space with a cosy homelike feel. Making up the bed at night can be a bit of a struggle especially if you’ve had a long active day, as sectional cushions piece together to form a base, it won’t be as comfortable as a solid mattress but nowadays there are some models that have a u-lounge to the rear with a pulldown bed overhead that sits flush with the ceiling so you don't even know it's their.
For example, the U lounge layout below only has 2 seatbelts
The U lounge layout below is more suited to a family with 6 seatbelts
5. Rear Kitchen Layouts
For those who love to see every corner of living space fully utilized the rear kitchen layout is ideal. Kitchens are generally situated toward the rear of the motorhome with a washroom nearby and the entire floor space devoted to daily habitation space. Low profile rear kitchen layouts will have a lounge up front that converts into a double bed or two singles, while overcabs will generally have a double bed over the driver cab. More recent models classified as semi integrated are fitted with dropdown mechanical ceiling beds which lower to your preferred height at the touch of a button. Some also have convertible lounges so you can sleep up to 4 people.
6. Double Dinette Layouts
This layout is a ideal for families who need to travel with up to six people. Double dinette layouts consist of two double lounges facing each other, one rear facing and the other forward facing. In most cases a double dinette will have four seat belts, so please be sure to check the seatbelt status before buying. We would like to stress that factory fitted seatbelts are an absolute must for all passengers for both legal and safety reasons when passengers are travelling. It’s worth a mention that the double dinettes in most instances convert to a bed at night where the table top is usually used to complete the base.
We hope you found this guide useful, check out blog 3 of 3 where we address the main factors you should consider when purchasing a motorhome for the first time. If you still feel a little overwhelmed with the range of choices and options, feel free to call us on 061 379903 or drop into our showrooms in Shannonside business Park, Birdhill, Co. Tipperary for some expert advice.