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Fixed Bed As Family Friendly Layout?


sunshinetours
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OK have been to see a Coachman Amara 550/5 as a possible family friendly swap for our current triple fixed bunk Adria (not my idea I would add!). Idea being that as kids are getting taller they are outgrowing headroom in the bunks to use as anything other than sleeping area and OH wants to have option of leaving a bed permanently made up for us whilst away but still have lounge seating (hence twin diner)

 

Whilst viewing last weekend we ended up also seeing a Amara 530 fixed bed model (by accident really) and it set us thinking once we had spent 10 minutes inside or so. long enough front benches to sleep as kids single with Duvalay or sleeping bags for easy set up and put away and a comfy fixed bed with room divider, lots of storage lockers and cupboards plus under bed storage, decent size kitchen with pop down area of work surface aswell, walk through shower area with folding screen is compromise but better than we have currently that only has curtain (and does give decent square shower are as opposed to newer curved models), divider at back gives privacy for changing as kids get older (nearly 11 and 9 now)

 

Can any families who have been through this stage explain why this might not be a great idea and we end up with fixed bed earlier than anticipated?!

 

Sadly the 530/4 isn't made past 2009 and the 535/4 doesn't have same storage or bathroom. Lots of other fixed beds just don;t have the same size front lounge either or storage options

 

Come on tell me why we should be keeping our Adria please :)

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I'm a bit confused.

 

The 550/5 is a 5 berth with twin dinette (bunk as well on the back one). Does this mean you are thinking of leaving the double at back made up and having a side bathroom?

 

My brother used to do this, but they are usually just a couple (plus dog). It worked great for them but when they took two nieces with them (8 & 11) they had to give up the rear double unless they wanted a very early night!

 

Would something like this be a better compromise? You could keep the middle lounge as a fixed double during the summer months if you sit outside etc, but it makes a very comfy lounge if the kids do go to bed before you. You also get a better bathroom.

 

http://www. caravanfinder. co. uk/touring-caravans-for-sale/layouts-caravans/swift-charisma-545-used-caravan-2011-nottinghamshire-tk01b85a2

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Thanks AE

 

Sorry yes a bit confusing! initial thought was twin diner would indeed give us option of leaving up rear double some days whilst leaving lounge free.

 

But having seen space in that Coachman with fixed bed seriously wondering especially as kids generally don't go to bed really early when we are away now anyway, and we don't generally sit up and watch TV whilst away, AND our main longer hols are in Europe and normally warmer so sit outside most evenings for extended holidays. .......... if that could then work for us

 

Appreciate the view point but that option you linked to definitely wouldn't work for us - personally don't want the huge bathroom as too much usable space lost for our wants (we are all different I know). Your wording hist the nail on the head its what compromise we are prepared to accept. OH doesn't want to be making up beds and wants a lined useable shower and that is a therefore a key factor in us looking to change regardless of my own thoughts!

 

At this stage I can't see many downsides apart from having to buy an older caravan to get this model

Edited by sunshinetours
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Which Coachman fixed bed is it? My brother now has a Pastiche 535 (I think).

 

If you are still considering twin dinettes, we thought about the Lunar Quasar 556. It has a bigger rear dinette than most so you get two single beds with optional bunks above (6 berth). Might give you more options as you could choose to leave either the kids bed or you beds made up and still have a lounge.

 

http://caravans. autotrader. co. uk/used-caravans/lunar/quasar/2010-lunar-quasar-556-6-berth-poole-cfpa-2c929a7950d22d2b0150d2937fc166d6/makemodel/make/lunar/model/quasar?featuredListing=true

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Which Coachman fixed bed is it? My brother now has a Pastiche 535 (I think).

 

If you are still considering twin dinettes, we thought about the Lunar Quasar 556. It has a bigger rear dinette than most so you get two single beds with optional bunks above (6 berth). Might give you more options as you could choose to leave either the kids bed or you beds made up and still have a lounge.

 

http://caravans. autotrader. co. uk/used-caravans/lunar/quasar/2010-lunar-quasar-556-6-berth-poole-cfpa-2c929a7950d22d2b0150d2937fc166d6/makemodel/make/lunar/model/quasar?featuredListing=true

 

It was a 530/4. Front benches are about 5ft 8 long and just under 2ft 6 wide so kids wouldn't outgrow them unlike many single bench seats on single axles plus that then gives good space for lounge with seating for 6 easily.

If they wanted to bring friends then probably would look at awning annex anyway going forward as they get older

 

The Lunar does look a good family layout and i remember seeing one these when we first started looking at our Adria but I just don't like the central bathrooms and the way they lose that feeling of space. We have been spoilt by our Adria I think as is very light and airy in daytime and that is a priority and the Amara 530/4 felt similar in that it felt wide and spacious as you walked in.

 

i appreciate the suggestions and certainly stuff to think about

Edited by sunshinetours
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That's the same layout as our current van, though 60cm longer internally which should make the front beds more useable as singles. I'm not tall, but ours wouldn't work.

 

I'm not sure what age you are looking at but am surprised you aren't as keen on the 535/4 - they seem like pretty much the same van, but the 535 gets a nicer kitchen (and the toilet is on the off side, which I know some prefer). My brother's does seem very nice wrt to furniture etc. Ironically, my sister has the same van as you, so I have regularly popped from one to the other - very different feel to them.

 

I know what you mean about the central bathroom - it nearly swayed us to ordering the new Ancona over the Major 6TD we have finally gone for. I love the bathroom itself on the Swift (which has a proper shower and room to change) but it does make the van seem less open. For us, having a big separate bedroom for the kids (well just one atm, but the second one is due any time) as well as a nice shower and decent sized front lounge were the main drivers. I suspect our needs may change as they grow!

 

Finally, not sure if you've seen this page, but A Wondering Lancastrian pointed me to it, it's great if you are buying 2nd hand for getting specs.

 

http://www. nationwidecaravanninguk. com/Brochure-Archive?

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That's the same layout as our current van, though 60cm longer internally which should make the front beds more useable as singles. I'm not tall, but ours wouldn't work.

 

I'm not sure what age you are looking at but am surprised you aren't as keen on the 535/4 - they seem like pretty much the same van, but the 535 gets a nicer kitchen (and the toilet is on the off side, which I know some prefer). My brother's does seem very nice wrt to furniture etc. Ironically, my sister has the same van as you, so I have regularly popped from one to the other - very different feel to them.

 

I know what you mean about the central bathroom - it nearly swayed us to ordering the new Ancona over the Major 6TD we have finally gone for. I love the bathroom itself on the Swift (which has a proper shower and room to change) but it does make the van seem less open. For us, having a big separate bedroom for the kids (well just one atm, but the second one is due any time) as well as a nice shower and decent sized front lounge were the main drivers. I suspect our needs may change as they grow!

 

Finally, not sure if you've seen this page, but A Wondering Lancastrian pointed me to it, it's great if you are buying 2nd hand for getting specs.

 

http://www. nationwidecaravanninguk. com/Brochure-Archive?

 

 

Thanks Alfa - yes we all want different things I know! The 535 is nice but storage not as good as no multi-locker space which we love in our current van and the 530 has by the door and that is a big factor fir us on extended breaks with 4 of us - maybe need to go and see one in flesh again - not sure the kitchen has quite as much work surface either although you have the flat space opposite I guess - one to look at

 

The 530/4 would be 2008 so older than we currently have which worries me but its more about layout and condition for me - not too focused on the year designation, and having looked round a number of new and very nearly new vans there isn't much swaying me that direction either if I'm honest. The new gadgets etc really don't sway me at all and I like the simplicity of our Adria for example (and the way its put together) and that to me is a plus as I will add anything I want as we go along

 

The fixed bed for OH would be such a huge plus I think she would dismiss most other issues which is why its good to get others perspective

 

Thanks for that link I haven;t seen that - a very useful now-bookmarked one cheers.

 

The friends we go away with a lot have a special based on the Major 6 with twin bunks and central dinette and they really like it for their circumstances but it is pretty dark inside which is the compromise I guess. A nice van and has quality feel inside

 

Good luck on the pending new Alfa :)

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We have a lunar lexon ds which is the double dinette lay out and it does work for us so much so it will be hard for us to justify changing van. our kid's one is 22 and disabled use the two full size single's at the front and we use the double at back but don't tend to leave it made up (unless we are out for day and know we won't be back until late ) as the rear makes a good space in the day for separate zone with door side shut for them to do there own thing etc. as with all lay outs there is normally some sort of compromise, I did remove the make up bunk at the back as we will never use it so it's in the loft to be put back on if we do ever change van no point in carting weight around we won't use.

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Thanks Kirk - I can still see the benefits of a twin diner as family van and having bathroom in middle makes sense for not disturbing others but I just think we are all in such a confined space anyway compared to say home I just think we adapt, and we have had a good look at how we currently use our caravan and when and where and for us I think having a rear fixed double could really work with good size lounge

 

I now just wish I could get what we want in a later model but they all have full width rear bathrooms which loses the front long benches and some storage space, both of which are absolutely key

Edited by sunshinetours
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The other option we were looking at is twin fixed single beds at back with mid bathroom and normal layout at front like the lunar lexon 590 we seen at a dealer this year was temped by that lay out best of both worlds for us. so some single fixed beds might be worth a look at to see what you think. The trouble with a fixed rear bed at back all the front seating are to small to be a good single bed unless you go to a twin axle van, but not sure on bailey cadiz we seen as well thought that might work but only had a quick look in one.

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Thanks Kirk - I can still see the benefits of a twin diner as family van and having bathroom in middle makes sense for not disturbing others but I just think we are all in such a confined space anyway compared to say home I just think we adapt, and we have had a good look at how we currently use our caravan and when and where and for us I think having a rear fixed double could really work with good size lounge

 

I now just wish I could get what we want in a later model but they all have full width rear bathrooms which loses the front long benches and some storage space, both of which are absolutely key

 

What a shame the Sprite Musketeer (up to 2012) doesn't have longer front benches - you could have left the rear dinette as double or converted it to a dinette if needed. It has the space saving corner washroom and it is a very good design overall.

 

We considered it but would have used the rear for the kids and we decided wanted fixed bunks and had the car to tow a larger van.

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We love our Bailey Pageant Provence, which has a twin dinette with a central bathroom. Our two children share the end which has a bi-fold door with a double bed and a single bunk over the top. When they go to bed we close their door and have the front lounge and access to the kitchen and bathroom. Then convert the lounge into our bed. If or when they grow older and sleep in the awning, we may make the double at the back our bed and leave it made up as a bed. The bathroom does include a separate shower cubicle.

I personally think the layout is brilliant and most adaptable, but I know layout is personal.

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The other option we were looking at is twin fixed single beds at back with mid bathroom and normal layout at front like the lunar lexon 590 we seen at a dealer this year was temped by that lay out best of both worlds for us. so some single fixed beds might be worth a look at to see what you think. The trouble with a fixed rear bed at back all the front seating are to small to be a good single bed unless you go to a twin axle van, but not sure on bailey cadiz we seen as well thought that might work but only had a quick look in one.

 

Yes did consider some of the many fixed single vans including Adria's but for us doesn't get round the making bed issues as you could leave the lounge up as double if you want somewhere to sit in day

 

As we said the only fixed bed one on single axle I've seen so far that has long enough benches is this Coachman 530/4, mainly because it doesn't have the more recent full width bathroom that most have in that format now and so you get large lounge and full size double plus reasonable size kitchen and storage, still with a useable bathroom space albeit the shower needs to be walked through for toilet so needs drying after use. For us that would be a compromise we would be happy with

 

i need to look through some more European sec vans to be honest as they have so many more layouts than us, but the kitchen often is more of a compromise space wise in may of them

 

Decisions decisions!

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In our opinion long front seats are an absolute necessity for taking away teenagers in a caravan with a fixed bed. Our Sterling Eccles Onyx has accommodated two teenage boys (son and friend) 6' 3" and 5' 10" tall sleeping individually on the front seats. A made up front double was never mentioned and the space between the seats was conveniently used for their luggage bags. As we were on a site with full facilities the use of the toilet/shower space was not an issue.

 

If we use the shower in our caravan, on say a temporary holiday site, a wipe of the walls with a micro-fibre towel has them dry in seconds.

 

It is interesting that the only caravan we might change ours for is a Hymer which basically has a mirror image layout of our present one and no full width washroom across the rear.

 

John.

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In our opinion long front seats are an absolute necessity for taking away teenagers in a caravan with a fixed bed. Our Sterling Eccles Onyx has accommodated two teenage boys (son and friend) 6' 3" and 5' 10" tall sleeping individually on the front seats. A made up front double was never mentioned and the space between the seats was conveniently used for their luggage bags. As we were on a site with full facilities the use of the toilet/shower space was not an issue.

 

If we use the shower in our caravan, on say a temporary holiday site, a wipe of the walls with a micro-fibre towel has them dry in seconds.

 

It is interesting that the only caravan we might change ours for is a Hymer which basically has a mirror image layout of our present one and no full width washroom across the rear.

 

John.

 

Thanks John - what Hymer are you referring to please - after all options!

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Thanks John - what Hymer are you referring to please - after all options!

 

It would be a lottery win caravan, Hymer Nova GL545.

 

John.

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We use a Valencia fixed double with our four and six year old. They just use the front bench seats and we get the fixed double.

 

Does mean we go to bed a bit earlier than normal but the lack of faff is worth it. In better weather and when in France they get a tent and their own space so the van becomes cavernous. Plus it has a proper bathroom.

 

We went from fixed bunks and find this suits us better.

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It would be a lottery win caravan, Hymer Nova GL545.

 

John.

Very nice - doesn't have the long front benches sadly (and is £25k + of course!)

 

We use a Valencia fixed double with our four and six year old. They just use the front bench seats and we get the fixed double.

 

Does mean we go to bed a bit earlier than normal but the lack of faff is worth it. In better weather and when in France they get a tent and their own space so the van becomes cavernous. Plus it has a proper bathroom.

 

We went from fixed bunks and find this suits us better.

 

Thanks John - what year so I can check front bench lengths as your two are a bit younger than mine? Good to hear the layout works for you though as a family

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It's a Unicorn three 2015.

 

I was a bit dubious as I liked to sit up when the kids are in bed. However we can also put them on the double bed and either move them half asleep or make up,the front double for us.

 

Also means we can keep the caravan forever as the kids won't outgrow bunks etc.

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