Choosing a van and what to compromise on

Oct 29, 2008
4,359
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West Yorkshire
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4,712
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PVC
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We are on our third motorhome and have made a number of compromises each time we have bought a van. Its impossible not to have a compromise or three, but there are always benefits.

Our first van suited us when the kids were younger as it had 2 rear bunks. The main compromising was having the rear bunks reduced garage space, it had a full dinette as we needed the extra seat belts and it had a smaller fridge than was ideal for us but all the compromising meant we had the benefits that we could travel with 6 people and the kids has their own area each in their bunks.

Our next van a Tag axle Frankia had masses more space, a completely separate shower a giant garage. It had the L shaped lounge we wanted, an oven , grill, fridge freezer, outside shower etc. The compromises we made were that it had separate twin rear beds, was thirsty on fuel was slower on hills, was bigger to drive around in and park up but we did love it.

For our current van we decided to go for a PVC, and after our mahoosive Frankia we listed all our compromises and the benefits, we even found some benefits we didnt realize existed before we used the van. We compromised on living space and went for a 1/2 dinette, the bathroom works but is a real compromise against the frankia. The kitchen has no oven or grill and only has 2 gas burners but we are fine with that. The benefits are that it is so easy to drive, its faster, its easy to get up narrow lanes that a coachbuilt wont get up. We love the massive rear electric bed, the rear opening doors are great in the summer as is the side sliding door. We save time and money on fuel stops as its a lot more economical and has a bigger fuel tank than our last van and being smaller it heats up faster and uses less gas.

There are lots or compromises and benefits when you compare vans, and you may only realize some of them after buying.
 
Aug 26, 2008
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The most difficult compromise with fixed bed PVC design seems to be the bathroom. Ours is tiddly, and only just big enough for compact Funsters. Cat swinging - an impossibility.

Still, it's a giant leap forward to have an onboard facility like this after the VW campervan. :)

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Jan 11, 2018
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There are many answers to the layout question and all of them are correct for different people.
Being in our 60's (and not wanting to have to make up the bed at night) and familiar with small spaces from selling up the sailing boat, we went straight in with a fixed bed coachbuilt. It's 6.9m long so no lightweight and one must accept it's size down narrow roads.
We also wanted a front lounge and the same number of seatbelted seats a berths. So this meant a continental build, more than likely.
Only time will tell....................
 
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william morgan

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Nov 9, 2017
26
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We have just bought our first MH,we did not compromise at all,we, after much research among our MH friends went for the same layout as we had in our tugger, 2 single settees up front, rear bathroom,as we do a lot of off grid weekends we need our own onboard facilities, MH is a Lunar Roadstar 720,myself and SWMBO know we have the right one for us.
 
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Jun 30, 2011
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Durham
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Concorde Concerto
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Since 2007
The main question about compromising is length for us, like to get to places, single track roads, narrow roads, remote areas.
Have to weigh up the space on site with the accessibility, we have just gone for a 6.5 metre A class. We have had a 5.59 PVC and a 8.5 metre 6.4 tonne monster.

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Oct 26, 2014
633
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Adria Coral Supreme 680st
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The main question about compromising is length for us, like to get to places, single track roads, narrow roads, remote areas.
Have to weigh up the space on site with the accessibility, we have just gone for a 6.5 metre A class. We have had a 5.59 PVC and a 8.5 metre 6.4 tonne monster.
Please keep us informed on your new purchase, great looking vans IMHO

Andy
 
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jezport
Oct 29, 2008
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The most difficult compromise with fixed bed PVC design seems to be the bathroom. Ours is tiddly, and only just big enough for compact Funsters. Cat swinging - an impossibility.

Still, it's a giant leap forward to have an onboard facility like this after the VW campervan. :)
Thats why we went for a model with a shower tray that is under the floor and covered when not in use as a shower.
 
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jezport
Oct 29, 2008
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We have just bought our first MH,we did not compromise at all,we, after much research among our MH friends went for the same layout as we had in our tugger, 2 single settees up front, rear bathroom,as we do a lot of off grid weekends we need our own onboard facilities, MH is a Lunar Roadstar 720,myself and SWMBO know we have the right one for us.
The compromise of a rear bathroom is less storage / no garage. Plus you have beds to make up if you dont want to sleep in the overcab bed.

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EX51SSS

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Jul 18, 2015
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Our first venture into motorhoming was a Merc conversation. We had to put the bed up each night but that was OK. However, we weren't actually looking to change but came across our tardis. It's fantastic.
All things in life are a compromise, where you live, where you work, how much you earn.
How many can really say they live in the ideal house in the ideal neighbourhood, drive their ideal car, have ideal wife and kids. Ideal school for the children and ideal community, ideal commute to an ideal job with ideal rewards and ideal work colleagues and bosses?
Now, there may be a few you can tick but not many people can tick them all and the list isn't exhaustive. We all compromise but get as good as we can
 
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funflair

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Dec 11, 2013
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We have just bought our first MH,we did not compromise at all,we, after much research among our MH friends went for the same layout as we had in our tugger, 2 single settees up front, rear bathroom,as we do a lot of off grid weekends we need our own onboard facilities, MH is a Lunar Roadstar 720,myself and SWMBO know we have the right one for us.
Like your confidence (y) now just stay away from shows and dealers and all should be OK.

Martin
 
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Feb 18, 2018
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It depends where you start from. We were absolutely going to get a T6 converted because we liked the idea of it doubling as an everyday vehicle ... but decided we couldn't compromise on toilet privacy. Ironically, by upsizing to a Campscout we have had to compromise on the 4th bed and sleeping space for the dog. But there again, for us with a 13 year old, the third bed was non-negotiable. It doesn't arrive until June ... I'll tell you then how far off the mark we were!!

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May 7, 2011
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We are on our third motorhome too.
We bought a cheap Mobilvette first just to see if it was for us.When we found we loved this way to take our holidays we changed to a CI Cipro 55g,which had a fixed bed over e huge garage.It had a dinette opposite a good size sofa.Also it had a separate shower with a good size wash room.The only down side was if my wife wanted to use the loo in the night she had to climb over me,and the bed height was a but much with her too.
So when we saw this tag axle motorhome with an island bed we fell in love with it.It has two huge sofas opposite each other.It has a large wash room and a very good cooking area.
The one compromise we have had to make is the lack of a full garage for our bikes which the last one had.
But your right,motorhome buying is all about compromise!
 
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Apr 9, 2014
1,156
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Coachbuilt
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2012
We are changing to our 3rd van, sometime this summer :rolleyes:. Each change has generally been because our usage of the van has changed, initially we went away weekends only, then longer trips 2/3 weeks and definitely no kids :D2 and now we are contemplating and planning longer trips 2/3 months :D2 and we think a layout change will make it all the more enjoyable and we have no doubt in 5 years our requirements will change again and therefore potentially so may the van (y).

Our compromise currently is a garage, the next compromise will be looks.

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Jan 28, 2008
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walthamstow east london
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1,353
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renault burstner delphin
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7 years campers before that
weve gone from jigsaw bed making in a talbot rambler to tranverse fixed bed in a ducato to a french bed burstner the french bed means no garage but also means no mountaineering i miss the small size of the pvc but we wanted more space
 
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denisejoe

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Aug 6, 2014
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Each van we've had has been the right one at the time. Always gone for a fixed bed and that won't change even jf we need to change again in the future.

Our current van is almost perfect, although would have liked another big fridge/freezer but that wasn't a deal breaker.

The only reason we're likely to change is if, in The future, Joe can't renew his licence then we'll need to look for another 3.5t motorhome.

Denise
 
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Langtoftlad

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Apr 12, 2011
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Yes bathroom in my Wildax is "compact" and yes in an ideal world I'd love to have more spacious facilities but logic & common sense dictates that given the time spent in there, it's the best space to compromise on.
My bathroom is functional & adequate. I'm happy to make that compromise to have a large fixed bed and plenty of lounging too.

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Oct 15, 2007
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Now own a static
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The only thing that we miss in our fabulous Globecar Campscout is a decent sized wardrobe, but you can’t have everything in a Panel van conversion.
Everything else about our Campscout just suits us fine and the massive fixed bed is out of this world.

John.
 
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jezport
Oct 29, 2008
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Yes bathroom in my Wildax is "compact" and yes in an ideal world I'd love to have more spacious facilities but logic & common sense dictates that given the time spent in there, it's the best space to compromise on.
My bathroom is functional & adequate. I'm happy to make that compromise to have a large fixed bed and plenty of lounging too.
Yes we compromised on the bathroom for the same reason, our frankia bathroom was the size of some vans, but how long do you spend in the bathroom compared to other areas of the van.
 
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Mr B

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Feb 1, 2015
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I will never go back to a small fridge :):):);)

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Langtoftlad

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Apr 12, 2011
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I will never go back to a small fridge :):):);)
It's funny, I thought the same. However, after a year in my coachbuilt with a small fridge - I realized that most of the stuff I put in the fridge at the beginning of a trip, I took out again at the end of the trip - apart from beer/wine obviously.
So although I was convinced I wanted a big fridge when I upgraded, actually I didn't so compromise there was fine - as was having just a 2 burner hob.
It's all about how you personally actually will use the van.
 
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motorhomer

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May 17, 2008
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Yes we compromised on the bathroom for the same reason, our frankia bathroom was the size of some vans, but how long do you spend in the bathroom compared to other areas of the van.
Yes we all have different priorities! We also compromised by going to a PVC and have no regrets overall. There are one or two PVC that do have decent sized washrooms, and we did not want to compromise on that as we never use site facilities and my wife likes to get changed in the washroom. So we went for an autosleeper that has a good washroom. Only other PVC I know of that comes close is a lunar, but at 7.1mtrs its way longer than I wanted. IH, Wildax, Vantage etc all excellent vans that we ruled out because of their washrooms.

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