Suitable layout ?

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Tom A, Jan 25, 2015.

  1. Tom A

    Tom A Funster

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    We are in the process of looking for our first motorhome but are struggling deciding on layout.
    We know we want an A class but apart from that we're stumped.
    Fixed bed across rear garage, french bed or rear lounge?
    We just don't know and to make it more difficult there's not a lot for sale around Lancashire where we live to view. We don't mind travelling to buy but would like to decide on layout without travelling too far.
    There's only the two of us most of the time but would like a 4 berth to take the grandkids.
    What's it like sleeping in the front pull down bed for 2 adults ? Is access easy ?
    Anyone in Lancashire area with an A class they could show us to get some ideas ?
    Any thoughts on this please ?
    It's a minefield.
     
  2. CWH

    CWH Funster Life Member

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    Oh yes!
    It's all so individual, I can only tell you my own experience.
    Once we decided we'd get a MH 'soon', we spent a whole 2 years going around dealers & shows, looking at all sorts of layouts & lengths, sitting in all the seats & chatting, getting into & out of the various bed types. We were able to rule out some things that we realised wouldn't suit us and make a list of 'must haves'. The major 'must have' was an automatic gearbox - we have Comfortmatic which is fabulous.
    I think you have to be prepared to travel to LOOK, not just to buy. We blitzed the motorhome shows to find out what sorts of things were available within our budget. We found it easy to be able to spend a lot of time in a MH at a show without being hassled by salesmen (never saw any saleswomen!) It was a rather mindblowing overload but gave us broad impressions about what would suit us and what we could hope for. Then we planned a UK touring holiday (car & tent/B&B) based around dealers' showsites to look at specific MHs that we were interested in. We actually bought at the first dealers on our schedule! so the holiday was much more relaxed than it might otherwise have been.
    2 years is probably a bit daft (though we were still touring & camping by tent) but we had great fun looking.
     
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  3. treetops1

    treetops1 Funster

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    Hi ,We have a double bed at the rear and a drop down at the front .this works great, in the hot weather its a bed each .as for the double beds we have king size at home so we notice the difference when in the van but it works for us we love it .You need to have a good look round to be sure you know exactly what you want .You could be spending a lotof money don't rule out hiring one to give it a try.lol
     
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  4. Hollyberry

    Hollyberry Funster

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    You need to sit, lie, walk in lots of Motorhomes!

    My suggestion is choose either a show or biggest dealership you can find. Take a camera and notebook.

    It might even be worth a nights B&B nearby to allow you to sleep on what you've seen and go back with questions.

    Sit in each vehicle, it's going to rain non stop for 48 hours ---can you watch TV comfortably? Get to the cooker/fridge while other person is watching a film or reading? Do you always have to sit upright in seats or is their lounging space? Somewhere to hang wet jackets?
    Look at storage.
    Sit on the loo.
    Try out each bed.

    It'll be time consuming but will help you see what you want--and what doesn't work for you.
     
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  5. GWAYGWAY

    GWAYGWAY Funster

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    I bought mine because it was near to my home. It is an excellent MH in most ways but the sleeping arrangement are not for us. It has a double bed at the back over a fantastic garage, BUT it needs a ladder to get up to and it is restricted headroom as there are shelves and cupboards around three side of it and a cliff the other. I am older and need to use the loo a couple of times a night requiring me to climb over the missus to get down or she doing it to me. We now have to split the arrangement I make up the lower bed and sleep there BUT it is lumpy and uncomfortable . NO NO NO, We need a better system, but I have already spent out on this one, so I need to spend some more and hope I can get a decent amount back on this one. I have looked at the drop bed models and they seem to fit the deal, but require a lot more money as they are newer than mine.
    You must make a very careful decision on what it is you NEED not what looks nice or flash , what you NEED. Choose carefully. or you will regret it as soon as you realise. Most vans are changed because of the wrong layout at the first choice.
     
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  6. Milliemobile

    Milliemobile Funster

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    We bought our first last June, a pvc thought we loved it and had made the right choice, realised after a 43 day trip around Spain & Portugal the layout was wrong, we bought from a small independent conversions company and initially thought we wanted a mid lounges/ bed area but we were seduced by the dog friendly front lounge and because there was a demonstrator available we could have within a few weeks instead of waiting months for a build from scratch we bought the front lounge. Anyway on our return to the UK back to the conversion company to discuss moving the layout around, we were lucky they could do what we wanted and we even took advantage and had a few other things done, it cost us a bit more money but was worth it and the conversion company are great and will try to do everything they can to get the design you want.
    In no way was it their fault we picked the wrong one to start it was us wanting something right then. So my advice take your time, try out all the beds going, you might be surprised. Good luck
     
  7. Puddleduck

    Puddleduck Funster

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    We made a list of must haves, nice to have and don't want That cut the list down a lot.....

    Then we went to a show, a lot of dealers (there is quite a cluster in the Preston area not too far from you?) more shows, more dealers. We actually bought a motorhome we'd seen early on but wasn't for sale at that time. By the time we had seen a lot more we went back and checked it out another 3 times (by then it was for sale) before we bought it. We had a few extras put in (extra power outlets and a reversing camera, grill taken out and grill / microwave combi put in) and love it. However in a few years we will trade it in for a newer model - probably a Chausson 610 which appears to tick all the boxes.
     
  8. Tom A

    Tom A Funster

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    Thanks for the replies so far.
    I've bought Jim's book "Buying a motorhome" and like he says layout is the most important thing.
     
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  9. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    Suitable layabout.....

    Thought 'now there's a job for me. Then I re-read and it said

    'suitable LAYOUT'
     
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  10. Debs

    Debs Funster

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    We have an A class after recently swopping from a caravan where we were having to make beds up. We had previously had a fixed bed and knew for us, that would be wasted space.

    We have a garage with wardrobes over at the rear and a small wetroom affair. Tbh I am still missing the rear bathroom we had on the caravan but we knew there would have to be a compromise somewhere as our mh is only 6.49m (limited for drive space).

    The drop down bed is fab, I absolutely love it as it's so convenient and comfy. One of our dogs doesn't settle at night and I am in and out of bed lots of times but don't have a problem and I have a bad back.

    We changed our minds several times regarding layout - I think you need to view as many as you possibly can. We have several near us that might make it worth your while making a weekend of it somewhere. And yes, take notes and plenty of pics, you'll be surprised how soon they start to merge into one another(y)

    Good luck :)
     
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  11. Ralph-n-Bev

    Ralph-n-Bev Funster

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    Our 2006 mizar is a great layout if your wanting a Great lounge and garage That's also a double bunk area that doesn't eat into the space , for the grand kids. It's for sale soon. Once we get round to having it serviced and a hab check done. 4 brand new this new year Michelin agilis camping tyres., cam belt and a breaks all done for our New Years trip. Spotlessly clean. Loads of extras being sold with it if we get the price we want. Anyone with a 25kOno budget will buy it. Proper for sale pictures will be taken once we advertise it , minus dog and bedding haha. All been professional re foamed an upholstered , to a modern design. Selling due to Ralph doing his own pvc on a brand new van. ( as I type infact !)
     

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  12. Cossieg

    Cossieg Funster

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    Layout is the most important thing so why are you saying you want an A class? Our view is that you need a lounge, a kitchen, a bathroom and a bedroom! The lounge needs to be comfortable & allow access to everything you need like TV etc and needs to be comfortable. The kitchen needs all mod cons and workspace. The shower should be outside the toilet so you can use both and your loo roll doesn't get wet! The bedroom needs to have what you have at home! A bed and easy access all round with somewhere to put your cup of tea in the morning and your book at night. You don't want to have to make up your bed when you want it and you don't want to have to climb over each other! We have an Autotrail Comanche and it does everything we want & we reckon everything anyone could want! Buy for your needs & don't buy it to take others with you!
     
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  13. CWH

    CWH Funster Life Member

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    Our absolutely non-negotiable 'must-haves' were
    1] automatic gearbox (best thing we ever did)
    2] fixed bed (lazy)
    3] fixed table (convenient)
    4] good shower-room (essential)
    5] oven, grill & microwave (though we've never used the oven so that was a waste of space & weight...)
    6] 6m max (we ended up with just over 7 - compromise or weak-willed???)
    What we haven't got, and I'd like, is a window at the back so we'd have a view on all 4 sides.
    Anyway we got our MH so the adventures began!
     
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  14. davejen

    davejen Funster

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    Hi, a few places to try; Todds, Lostock Hall, Marquis, Preston Docklands, Motorlands, Blackpool Rd Lytham and Campbells, Blackpool Rd, Kirkham.
    Hope this helps,
    Cheers, Dave;)
     
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  15. glynis hilling

    glynis hilling Funster

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    We forgot to get air con in the cab in ours.
    Otherwise it's perfect.
    We have an L shaped lounge which I love. It has a long window in the lounge to sit and watch the world go by
    Write a list and take it with you
     
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  16. tonyidle

    tonyidle Funster

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    I don't believe your first van will be right for you. You can do everything that has been suggested above but until you live in it you simply can't be certain. So I would add to your list of requirements the need to buy second-hand and to choose a model that's easy to sell on.
     
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  17. Cal54

    Cal54 Funster Life Member

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    If you are set on an A class then you will not find anything at Todds. Only rarely do they have A class vans. Having said that they are, in my opinion, the best dealers in the north west with great after sales,
    I firmly agree that the most important factor is the layout, but after that a dealer you can trust is so important.
    Campbell's at Kirkham had closed when I was last up that way a few months ago and now has the old Hymer site at Clifton.
    Also consider a trip upto Hartleys at Ings, on the way to Windermere. Not necessarily A class vans but a good selection of layouts as they are Hobby dealers.
     
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  18. funflair

    funflair Funster Life Member

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    Hi Tom A

    The best advice you can take from this thread is that everybody is different and it is good to listen to other peoples views and priorities, indeed make a list of must have and wants is good advice.
    Go to shows and go to dealers, sit in lots of vans, as has been said imagine living in the space on a wet and windy day, imagine cooking the way you do in the kitchen as some people want an oven and others are not bothered.
    Our own list of must haves was A class, Garage, Rear Wheel Drive, and then it came to inside space, workable kitchen with large fridge and freezer, the oven was not that important and we didnt get one and don't miss it but we did put in a microwave which we use quite a lot.
    Once you have got everything you want sorted layout wise you might find the van is bigger than you wanted at the beginning so this is when "compromise" comes into the equation, every van is a "compromise" the trick is to get the balance right for you.
    We used this process for our "first van" three years ago and we still have it and would struggle to replace it with anything better "for us".

    Happy Hunting
     
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  19. sedge

    sedge Funster

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    Well layout is individual so everything that everyone has said is true.

    However - nobody has said this - that 4 berth vans do not usually have 4 belted seats. Our 4 berth had 2 - the driving and front cab passenger seats. We have 5 belted seats now - but that's because it is a 6 berth van ! You can't carry 6 legally belted up. We didn't want any more than 2 belts (but it's useful sometimes) - what we wanted was the space!

    We loved our first van, but the rear bed made up from settee cushion was B. uncomfortable and a ruddy faff to make up whereas the overcab bed was fab to sleep in, really really comfortable.

    But I have to get up several times a night, the ladder hurt my feet, if you leave the ladder attached you can't open the bathroom door, so for convenience we had to leave the bathroom door open all night and let's say you haven't emptied the cassette (or you have but the water wasn't on at that aire so couldn't rinse it out as thoroughly as you normally like to) and you are in the south of France and it's boiling - so it had to go.

    We loved that van. We can pick as many flies as you like with ANY van, if you want us to, as we can with any caravan, any tent any house pub shop lake pond or anything!

    It's up to YOU!
     
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  20. jenny and mitch

    jenny and mitch Funster

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    Also set the length that you would be happy to drive, dependant upon wether you are going to use campsites or be a "free-loading tosser" ((In joke)) and do a lot of off the beaten track wildcamping.. We prefer the mainly the latter and have a 6.39 mtr Autotrail, which is our 3rd van.. It is centre lounge, with a 5ft 6 inch by 6ft 3 inch super bed.. But no garage.. Are you doing mostly abroad, where you will be outside, or UK and Northern Europe, where you will be often inside (lots) A lot of people on here have Also trawled through the dealers forecourts looking at endless vans, but have still NOT got it right at the first go.. We tried two second hand vans until we were certain and then bought our "new" van. (( A new version of our second )) BUT, you do lose a few grand doing it that way..
    If you want to take 2 grandkids with you, then 4 belted seats are needed, (Bailey do one )
    and they tend to love sleeping up in the top bed.. A shower that isn't part of the loo was a must for us, as we use the shower a lot, (due to wild camping).
    We wish you good luck in your quest !!
    It WILL be worth it !!! It is a fabulous way of life !!!
    Mitch.. (y)
     
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