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Discussion Starter #1
Long term lurker, first time poster.
I feel indebted to some of the knowledge gleaned from your input over the years and we've finally got a base vehicle (lwb t5). Thanks to these forums and a few blogs we're pretty clear on what we want. It's going in for a first fit - insulation, carpet, floor leisure battery and pop top on 19th April, with a follow up to stick in the rib and maybe a pod. High mounted Storage and solar panel when cash or time permits, maybe some under seat roller boxes. I can't do too much myself right now with a full on job kids and dogs and we're keen to use this summer. Diesel heater in the autumn is planned.

We're pretty comfort oriented and with two young children, are bracing ourselves for the inevitable 4 in a bed morning frolicking over tea/milk before breakfast. So, we are 99% set on a full width bed.

Aside from less storage and less resale value in a few years, has anyone found any limitations of a full width bed? Or to put another way, is there a crucial value to side storage apart from simply more storage space, that we're missing.

I should add that we're fitting a strengthened skyline, suitable for a roofbox if need be.
 

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Aside from less storage
Do you have long term previous experience of two adults and two kids in a small camper van? Perhaps you have, but it doesn't sound like it from that casual reference to less storage. Unless you are very, very self-organised and take very little junk away with you, "less storage" is going to drive you crazy. You will constantly be moving boxes of stuff around! A roofbox is no substitute for cupboards inside the van, because you won't want to rely on it in the middle of the night or when it's p155ing down with rain.

If you haven't tried camping with too little storage space, have a go at simulating it first and work out what you will need and where you will put it (or not, if you have a full width bed).

To my mind, a far better solution would be a narrower bed, and then roof and cross-cab beds for the kids. If the main bed is too narrow for them to get in - tough!
 

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Do you have long term previous experience of two adults and two kids in a small camper van?

I'll echo this too.. We've got a SWB T5 with a Skyline roof and shed loads of storage inside.. We go away with our 4 month old and even that can start to feel a bit cramped (I sleep in the roof to escape Rasp: )
 

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Bit of input from me.
We currently have a traditional camper layout. Full run of units, hob, sink, fridge etc with a 3/4 bed and a pop top. Its fantastic.

But if I was doing it all over again, I'd be really tempted to go for a pop-top, pod, full width bed on rails you can slide forward for travelling and giving a MASSIVE bootspace. Basically like what the California Beach is.

For short 1/2/3 nights that should be fine. Any longer and we'd use the big awning for storage etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
We talked it through and through. Again.
We're still erring towards a full width bed.

My camping background is as a means to an end. I'm happy bivying at the crag, responsibly wild camping, dig my own toilet kind of thing. My wife is a bit more, well, a lot more tuned to comfort frequencies. Our roof box is 580 litres in volume and before the kids we spent some time in confined environments. We sort of met in the middle with our comfort polarities without falling out. I think we realise how much paraphernalia is necessary and how much is not. The two dogs have forced us to turn into efficient packers when travelling.

I totally understand how a simple cupboard can revolutionise a sense of order whilst my wife, when push came to shove, valued spacious sleeping arrangements over almost everything else. The balance of necessary and desirable can be rigged with compromise at every twitch, but we feel pretty together on this. Big decision yes, but it won't be the end of the world if we get it wrong this time.

Full-width it is.

Like he said, we'd probably take an awning to Europe.
 

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Hi,
We have a full width RnR and a kitchen pod but there's only the two of us.
To be honest, with the awning set up, storage is no problem when the bed is made. It's more of a struggle if we do a one nighter as we use a canopy normally. We do end up with mountains of stuff on top of the kitchen pod.
We don't mind as if beats previous efforts with a car and tent T:
I think if we all packed a bag like a backpacker, there would be plenty of space.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Quite right. As my wife once said, who wants to pack like that?
I think that comfort starts with a solid sleep. Normally that means more kit, more down in your sleeping bag, more prep and levelling work on your sleeping footprint, earplugs, best jimjams, cuddly toy. This time, I'm gambling that better sleep comes from less cupboards. With waterproof stuff sacks and plastic boxes, I reckon we'll be alright.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Palatial.
I ordered the rib today, on a slider with isofix points in red, to kind of match the red canvas in pop top and blood red floor. I may, at least, live to regret not attempting to talk my wife out of that.
 

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This is an interesting thread. I'm currently researching and trying to formulate a plan for my needs. Currently, I'm contemplating a full width RIB bed. The main reason being that I probably wasn't going to fork out for a pop top. Although, if needs must, then I might. I have a wife and 2 children, so was thinking, in the absence of a pop top, 2 kids and an adult can sleep in the full width bed, then the other adult in an awning. The kids are currently 7 and 3 so those sleeping arrangements could change as the get older.

@DubDubDeBerniere howold were your kids at the time of this thread? How old are they now? Do you have any feedback on your decision?

@triffic I'd be interested in your advice here, given your reply to the OP. I was thinking of going this way for the EXTRA storage not the lack of. This may sound daft, but I've looked in a few standard design T5 campers and I still for the life of me don't know where all the gear goes. Where do your camping seats and tables go? Where do your bags with clothes go? In the setup I'm pondering, I think I'd be creating one massive boot behind the full width bed/seats so ample room (I hope anyway) for storage and an awning whilst travelling.
 

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No-one else considered a hybrid option? - go for a normal 2/3 width bed but have low down storage built at the same height as the bed when it's made up with cushions on top - check out the UberBus Beach layout.
It gives you storage options but also a full-width bed if maximum sprawl space is key!
If I had a pop-top I'd go with kitchen units as you get the extra bed space up top. Without one it's good to have space to stash stuff - especially out of sight.
 

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No-one else considered a hybrid option? - go for a normal 2/3 width bed but have low down storage built at the same height as the bed when it's made up with cushions on top - check out the UberBus Beach layout.
It gives you storage options but also a full-width bed if maximum sprawl space is key!
If I had a pop-top I'd go with kitchen units as you get the extra bed space up top. Without one it's good to have space to stash stuff - especially out of sight.
This appears to be a decent option. Slidepods do a conversion called Them Dart’ which is similar with the added bonus of their Slidepod product.
I also stumbled across a setup of single seat RIBS on each side with a gap in between. I think they utilise the driver and passenger seat when in the bed position. There was then cupboards and a kitchen unit in the back of the van.
 
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