Advice/experience of layouts

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by TallBlonde, Oct 14, 2015.

  1. TallBlonde

    TallBlonde

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    Been reading lots of advice where people say 'get the layout that suits you' when buying MH (still in our sights but probate from mum's estate and lack of time to search aren't helping). But how will we know? We 'think' that we would prefer a bit more seating than bed area, but dunno if making up a bed each night will be a ball ache. Don't think we'd need a big garage (but that could be famous last words) and I've quite liked the one or two mohos I've seen that have got rear kitchens. What experiences have you had that have helped you to decide on the right layout for you?
     
  2. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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    We have the rear "u" lounge with front dinette.. Autotrail Apache 700.
    For us it's ideal as we have lots of space in the day/evening. The wife wont use the overcab bed but to make up the lounge into a bed takes us about 90 seconds ( YES !!! Sad but we timed it once)...
    Does not give us any real issues, big bed at night and lots of lounging space at other times. The front dinette is left free for meal times. When just the two of us we have plenty of room.

    Often we take the grandkids and the rear lounge gives somewhere to sit while meals are being sorted down at the front.
    The newer 700's have very big lockers at the rear and so ample storage space..
    http://www.auto-trail.co.uk/model/apache/700

    Others vans have similar layout but the Rear "u" lounge is more of a British van feature.
     
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  3. Munchie

    Munchie Funster Life Member

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    For us sprawl room in the lounge is the most crucial thing.
    Remember, sometimes, especially in the UK it rains for days on end! You need comfort space if you are trapped in!!!
     
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  4. DanielFord

    DanielFord Funster

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    There is no 'one size fits all' solution to motorhome layouts, which is why there are so many. We tried a fixed bed layout (Swift Voyager 685). It was great, but the bed was too small. Also, since we went to Wales in it, and it rained a lot, there wasn't enough lounging area, because of the bed!
    We quickly realised we needed a u-shaped lounge. The bed set up in ours takes seconds, there is a slide out that you pull forwards, turn the cushions upside down, and throw out the sleeping bags - bed made!
    Having the forward dinette as well mean I can get breakfast ready before putting the bed away.
    As for storage, there are a few things that we would like to carry on board, but we have run out of space, so we will be fitting beeny boxes to sort this out!
    Have you had a look around any vans?
     
  5. Eeyore

    Eeyore Read Only Funster

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    We have a compromise: two long seats forming a corridor. We simply unroll a home made Duvalay over each and that's it, two comfy 6.5 ft by 2.4 ft beds which, if we want, can be made up to a vast double very quickly. Lounge with feet up in the day and bed ready in no time at night.

    There is an end kitchen and shower room and the cab seats swivel. The van is a Autosleeper Broadway but it is a common layout.

    Our first two vans had a luton over the cab and a rear lounge. The cab always finished up as a cold and dark storage area and visibilty from the driving seast was poor because the shower room was directly behind it.This way the cab is a full part of the lounge area.
     
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  6. Mikeco

    Mikeco Funster

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    It is almost certain that you will get it wrong first time around. Some people like a big rear lounge some prefer to have a fixed bed and so on. Having had around 6 vans of all sizes we have finally ended up with a self build panel van conversion with a fixed bed. The fixed bed is because we spend at least 6 months of the year living in it including a 5 month spell in Spain which starts in two weeks time.
     
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  7. Minxy Girl

    Minxy Girl Funster Life Member

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    First think of the outside - how big do you want it to be, length, height and width can make quite a difference as to where you can realistically take it. How you intend to use it - staying in one spot for a week or so at a time, or seeing things as you travel so only stopping for a couple of nights; using campsites her and abroad, or aires/wild camping? Do you have any hobbies that you want to enjoy whilst away - can you store any equipment you will need? Do you need to take passengers - if so you'll need rear travel seats.

    Do you need a large washroom or a big lounge or a fixed bed ... there's a lot to consider before you even contemplate putting down your dosh for one. It's tempting to buy the first one that you think will meet your needs but unless you've thought it through thoroughly and made notes which you can refer to (eg a tick list) to avoid forgetting something important (very easily done!) it is very, very easy to make a mistake. Then you need to think about what type of heating/insulation level you need - a MH used in winter in the mountains when skiing needs to be well insulated and have a very good heating system whereas one which you will use mainly in Spring/Summer/Autumn won't need to be quite as good. These are just a few of the things to consider.

    When you get to the point of knowing what will work for you then you can narrow your search to those MHs that suit you and hopefully get it right first time.
     
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  8. magicsurfbus

    magicsurfbus Funster

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    Having paid our dues in a classic VW Kombi we got heartily sick of turning beds into tables into beds ad infintum, so when we bought a proper MH we opted for an overcab double bed and two rear permanent bunks. The lower of the two bunks can be hinged upwards to double the garage height but we've never needed to. It's technically a 6 berth, but we rarely if ever make the dinette into a bed.

    [​IMG]

    The big advantage of our chosen layout is if there's more than two of us and the weather turns bad or we want a bit of personal space in the evening we can all park ourselves at different points around the MH without getting in each others' way, even though it's only medium-sized. Having at least one bed out also means you can have a nap at a service area on a long journey.

    If I was going to buy another MH I'd probably go for one with swivelling front seats, as that space is largely wasted when we're parked up.

    The only other layout issue for me would be that I don't like having the TV mounted high up as it puts a crick in my neck.
     
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  9. dave met

    dave met Funster Life Member

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    You can allways hire a motorhome for a long weekend with the layout that you have in mind,will also be a lot cheaper to hire one this time of year than in the summer,hopefully then it will give you some idea of what you may consider buying
     
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  10. funflair

    funflair Funster Life Member

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    When we had the caravan we had to make up beds every night and Jen said it was no hardship and we did not need a fixed bed, well I/we decide we needed a garage so we got the fixed bed by default, she now loves the fact that we have the fixed bed and she can have a lay in and certainly would not go back to making up beds.

    Really there is very little we would change other than trying to fit it all into a slightly shorter box, 8 metres would be good.

    Everybody is different though.

    Martin
     
  11. NickNic

    NickNic Funster Life Member

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    Nobody can give you a "right" answer to this question. It's totally subjective so the only person that can find the right answer for you is you. For us a fixed bed and a rear bedroom with a proper door to separate it from the front is non negotiable but that's just us, I wouldn't dream of suggesting that layout as ideal for anyone else.

    As to how you go about finding it. Sit in and if possible use as many motorhomes as you possibly can before you buy one. Hiring for weekends is always a good way of checking out a layout you think may work.

    Take your time, don't buy the first one you find and always remember that the accepted wisdom is that the third motorhome you buy will be the right one.

    I can see you're somewhere near us. You're welcome to have a nosey in ours if you want.
     
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  12. TallBlonde

    TallBlonde

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    Thanks all, with no experience at all and impracticalities of hiring every type of layout, any personal experiences are really helpful. Of course, they are just that, personal, and one man's meat etc, but it's been very useful to read about your options and experiences. As I read each of them I get a mental 'oh yes' or 'nah, not us' response, so it's been helpful to hear from you. As it's most likely there'll only ever be two of using it, maybe the odd godchild or bro in law, certain things don't apply. But I think the point about having room to sprawl rather than a fixed bed is one that sounds good to us, as we like a bit of room around us, are night owls and therefore more likely to sit up late with a bottle of wine/cup of coffee than retire early with a book.

    Whilst we're skiers I think you'd have to work hard to persuade me that going back to a moho rather than a cosy hotel is the way forward - but then I guess I could be proved wrong (never say never) though at the moment not a priority. Our hobbies are low-maintenance and exploring out of the way places, a good walk, cycle, eating, drinking and sitting in the sun are our ideas of fun.

    Thanks for the offer of a nosy @NickNic - she time allows I might take you up on that. I've also got to change my car, and that is probably going to have to take priority on the 'weekend search' front (not nearly as interesting or as much fun though).
     
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  13. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    I think something to keep in mind if you go to an exhibition or big dealer and climb in and out of lots of different MHs is coming to the decision the biggest one is best.

    It might be the best for you but for us we find a 6m PVC has all we need and it is a lot easier to drive and park than something longer with a long tail-dragging overhang. The bed makes up in less than a minute.

    You could certainly take a larger MH onto this beach.

    P5190829.JPG

    But this track started crossing stream beds a little after this shot was taken. My fault entirely of course, anyone with any sense would have turned round and in a larger MH you wouldn't have had any other option due to the overhang at the rear on most of them, but for us it was a little adventure. :)

    P5090718.JPG
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2015
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  14. TallBlonde

    TallBlonde

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    Oh wow. Just wow. Where are the pics taken?
     
  15. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    Both Spain, the top one is the coast a short distance north of Aguilas, which is south of Murcia. It is a recognised aire in the CamperContact app. The bottom one is after we left the Cazorla forest and is about a hundred kilometre inland from Almeria. The write up is in our Blog - which you can access by clicking the B by the teddy's head. :)
     
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  16. Ralph-n-Bev

    Ralph-n-Bev Funster

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    Agreed.
    We have found in our PVC that we can get to a lot more out of the way places than with our old big MH.
     
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  17. magicsurfbus

    magicsurfbus Funster

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    We're not skiers but we've stopped a few times on the large hard-surfaced aire at Montgenevre which is clearly intended for skiers, including a fully winterised service point. Not sure I'd want to try driving to it with even the slightest amount of ice on the roads though - lots of hairpin bends. You're probably right about the hotel.
     
  18. HymerB544

    HymerB544 Funster

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    You say it's likely to be just the two of you so here was our experience. We bought the first, overcab, four berth van thinking we would have friends or family along but they hardly ever did. It had two big beds, a huge garage, a good payload, but a tiny kitchen area, tiny lounge and tiny bathroom. Swapped after 3 years for another new van with a rear large bathroom ahead of twin single beds, a larger lounge and a larger kitchen....but a poor payload! No good for long tours. So we swapped that for an A class (but second hand this time) with a very large lounge (can seat 10) a drop down bed hidden during the day, a good sized kitchen and bathroom, excellent payload and very good storage. Also fully winterised with a double floor.
    So I would go for payload, lounging space, year-round ability, and reasonably large kitchen and bathroom. You can get close to perfect but never 100% unless you can afford more tha. One van! Happy hunting. Gary
     
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  19. TallBlonde

    TallBlonde

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    Is a drop down bed warm in the cooler climes? Everything you describe sounds like things that could be important for us - though no idea about the payload.
     
  20. TallBlonde

    TallBlonde

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    We've stopped a few times there on package ski holidays on our way back from Serre Chevalier! Great ski area (Serre Che) and very pretty (Montgenevre skiing).
     
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