First motorhome purchase - Fixed beds or not?

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by thearchitect, Oct 12, 2012.

  1. thearchitect

    thearchitect Read Only Funster

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    There are just the two of us and having sorted out most of the main priorities for our first motorhome purchase, there is only one real decision left and this is one which seems to divide opinion and even nations, i.e., FIXED BEDS OR NOT.

    As far as we can see MH's come in three sizes, small, medium and large. For a variety of reasons we have selected medium and by this I mean about 6 metres long, plus or minus 10% and not too high.

    We don't mind whether it's a van conversion or a low profile coachbuilt, but it must have a toilet, shower, kitchen and somewhere to eat and relax. Build quality looks fairly consistent across the various makes on a sliding scale based on cost, with after sales service determined by the competence of the dealer.

    Beyond that everything else imaginable, it seems, can be provided now or later, in a variety of different ways dependent on budget, but only one thing seems to determine 'lifestyle' and that is the 'fixed bed or not' decision.

    It's not like we can borrow a van of each configuration to try in a number of different scenarios before we buy. I'm not sure this would help anyway because each layout is suited to a different way of living, the duration of travel and where it is used. Will we get fed up making the bed every day, but enjoy the extra relaxation space this inconvenience provides, or do we want a ready made bed and be willing to spend more time outside the van? We know there are variations on a theme, with fixed beds coming down from the ceiling, etc, but to us these seem better suited to spare beds.

    At the moment we can see advantages and disadvantages in both options, but it really would be helpful to have some feedback from experienced MH users on the pros and cons, before we finally commit.
     
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  2. chatter

    chatter Read Only Funster

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    One with a decent U shaped lounge can be used either as 2 singles or made into a double. Personally if buying for the 2 of us only, i would go for a min of a 4 berth anyway. As for fixed or make up beds, The models i have seen with fixed beds do not have any other place to lounge/sprawl (put your feet up in the day) on those wet days other than lie on the bed. They only seem to have a dinette area for day seating
     
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  3. ShiftZZ

    ShiftZZ Funster Life Member

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    On van number three, we decided to go for a fixed bed, but, we have the ability for anotehr double...

    Its ever so nice to get up in the morning and have a cup of tea without having to make up the beds, it also allows the other 1/2 to stay in bed.

    When were were coming home from France, we both felt a little tired, stop off at Motorway services 40 winks, job done...
     
  4. Pikey Pete

    Pikey Pete Read Only Funster

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    An 'A' Class will provide you with the fixed bed and a decent lounge area.

    Pete:Cool:
     
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  5. DP_JAY

    DP_JAY Funster Life Member

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    Fixed bed, We find it's a pain if you use the van a lot & the bed has to be made up from the seating. Also the fixed beds are much more comfy & the last thing I want to do after after a few glasses of grape juice is start making the bed.
     
  6. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    Strange comment Maggie, I thought you had been in my van ?

    here's a refresher

    http://www.amcmotorhomes.co.uk/used-motorhome-bessacarr-e765-p-motorhome-115.htm

    To the OP, a fixed bed all the way for me, provided that you have enough storage which is as important. :thumb:
     
  7. acting_strange

    acting_strange

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    When we were looking we tried many fixed beds but in the end went for the flexiblility of an end lounge with two single/one double to make up.

    We now use it as two singles and as far as bed making is concerned how long does it take to put a sleeping bag down...
     
  8. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    A fixed bed is an absolute MUST.

    This is not an opinion by the way it is FACT... :)Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1:)

    And those who say they take up to much room don't have a drop down bed.

    A list of why my 1987 Hymer 660S has the most suitable layout for all the situations I come across in my motorhoming life.

    Two swivel around front seats. A four person dinette which rock and rolls into a double. A kitchen (only bare minimum). A shower, loo and wash basin opposite a huge wardrobe with superb heater below and then a rear lounge with all sorts of layout possibilities, you can have a table up in the middle of a U shaped sofa thingy or the table up and a small single bed or take away the table and have a big double bed. The shower/loo door hinges open and blocks off the rear third of the van making an "ensuite" bathroom area. And of course the drop down bed in the cab area.

    If I am parked on a public road or in a populated carpark/layby (say a service station area) I can leave all the curtains, screens etc open in the front area of the van and sleep/shower/wash/change in the ensuite area in the rear. Anyone walking by can see a camper van parked but with no actual sign anyone is in it.

    If I am parked in an out of the way, scenic place (a beach or lake side) I can choose to sleep in the drop down bed. With the front cab and side window curtains closed and the curtains drawn behind the cab seats I am in a snug, cosy, warm area and in the morning I can draw open the front (windscreen) curtains and have a panoramic view of my chosen spot from my bed. Brilliant.

    If on a campsite (heaven forbid) or parked up on my little orchard in Portugal I can draw all the curtains, swivel the seat(s) and use the full floor space and spread out a bit.

    I suggest considering buying an old, former top of the range, motorhome to start with. It will be highly affordable compared to newer models and built to a totally different, much higher spec. than they do these days. If you have to change it you won't lose very much money in moving on.

    Of course what you don't get is all the push button, light up warning lights and circuit board controlled appliances to drive you mad. Nor do you get any "status" (except from those who "know") and you can't charge around like a white van man.

    Sorry for going on a bit... still waiting for the go ahead to start on the next section of my current project.

    JJ :Cool:Wink:
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
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  9. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    In our first van (Elddis Autoquest 100) the bed had to be made up/taken down each day. That was fine for a while but it got to be a pain so in our second (current) van a fixed bed was a must.
     
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  10. yodeli

    yodeli Funster Life Member

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    Errr excuse me my dear Prince JJ but isn't à fixed bed à bed you can't change into a lounge/dinette?
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
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  11. yodeli

    yodeli Funster Life Member

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    Yukk look at my post my fingers are too big for the smartphone keyboard .
     
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  12. sampain

    sampain Read Only Funster

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    We are looking to buy our first MH and because we want a fixed bed we have been looking at the low profile ones with the drop down bed (electrical or otherwise).
    We like the look of the Chausson Flash 10 (Practical Motorhome motorhome of the year) and the Flash 49 (bigger with a fixed bed and a drop down).
    We are going to the NEC next week to look at these and others.
    Our plan is to travel Europe for 12 months when we retire, so whilst we were thinking "small" to fit down rubbishy roads, we are now thinking "medium" in order to have a level of comfort whilst we are, in effect, fulltiming.
    Let us know what you choose.
     
  13. thearchitect

    thearchitect Read Only Funster

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    JJ says - A fixed bed is an absolute MUST....etc

    There seems to be a balance in favour of fixed beds so far, but do these tend to be in the longer vans (i.e., 7 metres +), I was hoping for something in the region of 6metres. In JJ's case how much is your opinion governed by the fact that you full time in a warm and beautiful part of the world (AVB land), or do you tour widely as well?

    I also wonder if the fixed bed option, which can allow a garage below the bed, in which you can store a scooter or similar, makes it a good option for touring as well, when you can then get out and about without the van?
     
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  14. peter marshall

    peter marshall

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    We are on our third MH, first one over cab ready made up and comfortable, until I fell out and broke my heel not drunk just the alarm going off for nothing, Second one fixed bed to the side very good and comfy, but you have to bring all your storage in through the hab door , Third and present one Transvers bed over a very large garage so much easier to pack up, Having put all that its what suits you best in the end. Pete :thumb::thumb:
     
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  15. journeyman

    journeyman Read Only Funster

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    There's quite a few van conversions with fixed beds, under 6m's. Another option is something like an Autotrail Tracker, which has a front lounge, with two long side benches, which offer 2 x singles or a double. It appears to me to be a very comfortable well fitted coach built, with external shower point/BBQ etc. Again under 6m's. As someone else mentioned....it takes 10 secs to roll out a sleeping bag on a single bed.

    Good Luck
     
  16. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    Our Burstner is 22 feet (6.7 metres) against the 18 feet of the Autoquest but because the Burstner has swivelling front seats we have a lot more than an extra 4 feet of usable space.

    We have a French bed with a locker underneath - which takes plenty of stuff but not a scooter. Most (all?) vans with garages have transverse beds which aren't as easy to get into/out of.

    It's all something of a compromise in the end. For our second purchase we drew up a list of essential and desirable points and scored each van we saw using it.
     
  17. Carol

    Carol Funster Life Member

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    Have you dismissed the drop down bed for a reason, we love ours, it will take two 20 stone people, I can sit up in ours, they are really comfortable one piece mattress, and just a push up and you have loads of floor space.

    Our Hymer 584 has 2 captains chairs a long settee, a table with no leg so nothing to get in the way, separate shower toilet, good wardrobe and plenty of storage, and all at 6 meters, worth a look.
     
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  18. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    My Hymer is only 60 cms longer than 6 metres.

    I have toured extensively before but actually the Hymer stays mostly in AVB land or Spain (once or twice) but the heating system is superb. When I take my "scooter" is the Velo-Solex I use the built in, pull out scooter rack.

    JJ :Cool:
     
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  19. thearchitect

    thearchitect Read Only Funster

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    Wow thats twice an older Hymer with fixed beds has come up as highly recommended and around the 6metre mark. It should tell me something I think.

    I'm beginning to get the hang of this now. Your list should first eliminate the unacceptable, which must, ergo, only leave the acceptable. You then buy a MH which has most of the acceptable items. You do this three times and then you are happy.

    JJ - is your scooter the old French motorised bike?
     
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  20. JOHNSTEY

    JOHNSTEY Read Only Funster

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    We started with a small van and making up beds and soon tired of it.We definately prefer the fixed bed we now have and would not go back.At 6.86m we are slightly over the 10% up on 6m but do not find it stops us getting anywhere.I also like the lounging option of swinging the front seats around and putting your feet up on the dinette seats.Works OK for us:thumb:We do have a very flexible telly being a Knaus which means lots of viewing options depending say if one wants to go to bed and the other wants to stay up watching football for instance...no problem!:RollEyes:
     
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