The UK's Most Trusted Motorhome Dealer

Most Popular Motorhome Bed Systems Buyer’s Guide

A motorhome can bring plenty of travel into your life, and it is infinitely more comfortable than many other options. The biggest decisions made when choosing a motorhome, however, are almost always centred around the bed. Out of all the amenities in a motorhome, the bed is one that takes up the most space. A good nights sleep every night of your holiday is essential so choosing the right bed layout for all the travellers is vitally important.

As a result, the layout of your motorhome will be heavily dependent on the bed system you choose. Not only that, there are plenty of other considerations that come with choosing a motorhome bed system.

Factors like the number of sleepers, the amount of storage you need, the amount of free floor space you want, or even just how you want your bed to feel can make or break a purchasing decision for a motorhome owner.

Fixed Bed Motorhomes

2 Fixed Single Beds (low)

2 Fixed Single Beds (low)How about motorhomes with 2 fixed single beds?

Fixed single beds are a great way for motorhome owners to add separate sleeping spaces while still getting larger, more comfortable beds that feel more like a bed in house, rather than a temporary sleeping space. These fixed bed motorhomes are popular among families, couples, groups, and single travellers alike, the fixed single beds layout accommodates light sleepers and allows for a more comfortable slumber.

These single beds are balanced with one on each side of the motorhome Quite often the fixed single beds are in a separate sleeping area meaning that other occupants in the motorhome can still carry on with their activities. Like many fixed bed systems, they also offer increased storage as part of their benefit. Under each bed is either a small garage or storage and cabinet area. Depending on preference, these can be a single compartment or an arrangement of drawers, cupboards, and shelving.

Motorhomes with single beds spend quite a bit of floor space on the bed, they consume as much as a U-Shaped lounge but don’t have the same flexibility.

Fixed Twin Beds (rear Singles With Infill)

Fixed Twin bed motorhome layouts are another popular option among motorhome owners, as they offer convenience and practicality. There are different variations of a twin bed motorhome layout, but they all consist of two separate single beds. Nearly any twin bed layout will have the beds positioned opposite each other on the sides of the motorhome. In most twin bed setups, the beds are placed in the rear of the motorhome, much like the french bed layout.

Most twin bed motorhomes have an optional in-fill cushion which converts the two rear single beds into a large double bed. These beds are usually quite high allowing for huge full width garages and additional internal cupboards underneath. The height of these beds does mean users will need to use steps or a ladder to access the bed.

Transverse Fixed Bed

This transverse fixed bed system is a long time favourite for fixed bed options. With this transverse bed motorhome layout, more of the motorhome’s length is made available for living and washroom areas, with the bed positioned transversely against the back wall of the motorhome. Transverse fixed beds comfortably fit at least two sleepers and are almost always sized as a large double bed.

This option is one that provides one of the greatest amounts of sleeping space, as well as some of the most extra storage. Underneath the bed, motorhome owners can take advantage of spacious garages often with interior access to increase their storage capacity. These layouts can usually be separated from the rest of the motorhome which often provides a quiet, en-suite bedroom to the rear.

When the bed is positioned transversely, motorhome owners can get an ample amount of extra leg room, ever for taller people. This arrangement however, does have some of the same drawbacks as other fixed beds systems, especially when sleeping two people. Although the washroom is conveniently located nearby, the person sleeping nearer to the rear wall will have to get over their partner to get out of the bed in the middle of the night. In order to accommodate the large garage and cupboards underneath these rear fixed bed motorhomes tend to have high beds which require a ladder or steps to access.

Island Bed Motorhomes

Currently motorhomes with island beds are the most popular and desirable layout. Island bed layouts tend to be most popular with motorhome owners that have considered a French bed system or have had a French bed previously. Often, they like a larger fixed bed, but want to move around more easily. These island beds also offer the feeling of more space, which many motorhome owners are enjoying. They also offer another attractive feature: massive amounts of storage space.

While the storage space available will depend on bed height (as with any other bed system that allows for storage underneath), they generally offer an ample amount. However, the higher the bed, the greater the storage, and the greater the access issues. For many people, this simply means using a step if they need a large amount of storage.

Island beds motorhomes are typically standard double size beds and are a great fixed bed option. Located in the back of the motorhome, these beds are usually placed directly center and against the back wall, some models have the island bed transverse which allows the sleeper near the rear of the motorhome to access past the foot of the bed. Island beds are also similar to French bed systems in that they often connect or open right next to the toilet and shower area. The relationship of these spaces can have a big impact on the convenience of your layout, so it’s a good idea to think practically.

Island bed layouts also make motorhome beds feel more like the bed you’re used to at home. This is especially true when you want to tidy up. While other fixed bed systems can be difficult when you try and make or change the bedding, the island bed leaves plenty of space to move around the bed (and it’s all around much easier).

With the walking space around the bed, a pair sharing the bed won’t have to worry about one of them getting woken when the other needs to get up. The only real negative of an Island bed is the extra floor space they consume. In order to have the bed with a walkway at either side and the foot will always take up more space than a bed which only has access on one side.

French Beds

The French bed motorhome is a time tested staple on the market. The French bed layout consists of a double bed with an angled corner to allow for a more usable layout. One side of the bed is placed up against a back wall of the motorhome, while the other side opens to the hallway areas. The outward facing side typically has the angled portion of the bed abutting the toilet and shower room.

The advantage of this layout is that it comfortably fits two adult sleepers while allowing more room in the common areas due to the cut corner. It also provides a fixed bed type, which many motorhome owners appreciate. French beds often include storage underneath, although the amount of storage provided will depend heavily on the bed height.

While French bed systems are widely considered the most popular motorhome bed system, the most common complaint is that if the bed houses two sleepers, the one next to the wall will have to climb over their partner to get out of bed.

A French bed motorhome is a great alternative to vehicles with an island or fixed twin bed layouts and is probably the most popular layout of all. French beds are often coupled with converting settees or dinette to make a great 4 berth layout.

Fixed Over Cab Beds (high Line)

Fixed over cab beds are an efficient use of space as it is basically an extension of the motorhome which doesn’t add length to the overall vehicle or use any of the existing space in the motorhome. Fixed over cab beds usually accommodate two sleepers comfortably, in most cases they are generous double beds. Most deigns are for transverse sleeping meaning the forward sleeper will need to climb over their sleeping partner if they need to get up in the night.

Over cab bed spaces often feature a skylight and windows allowing light and air in what could otherwise feel like a dark cramped space. Kids especially love over cab beds as they have the opportunity to have their own little nook up there away from the main habitation space and interfering adults. Adults can continue to enjoy the lounge and kitchen area long after the kids have gone to bed without disturbing them.

Over Cab beds are mounted high above the cab seats and will always require a ladder to gain access. Fixed over cab beds can be used as a valuable storage space for bulky lightweight items when you are travelling and during trips when they are not needed as sleeping spaces.

Bunk Bed Layout

With a bunk bed layout, there’s plenty of individual sleeping space. Because they’re stacked, there’s often plenty of extra space to add in more beds and sleeping areas. Among families and traveling groups, motorhome bunk beds are becoming much more common.

Bunk beds are most commonly located in the rear of the motorhome, either against the back wall or a side wall. Due to their position in the motorhome the bottom bunk will often fold up out of the way whilst you are travelling allowing the storage space underneath the bed to be doubled to a full garage. Once you get to your destination and empty some of your equipment out of the garage, the lower bed can be folded back down for sleeping.

Bunk bed motorhomes are a comfortable option for children and adults alike, often without any issues of insufficient bed length.

Motorhomes with bunk beds make efficient use of the floor space providing more sleeping space than any other fixed bed layout per square meter. Bunk beds have very few disadvantages, the only real problem to consider is access to the upper bed will require a ladder.

Motorhomes With Converting Lounges

U-shaped Rear Lounge

Rear U-Shaped lounge motorhomes are a highly sort after layout and offers some great advantages. The main advantages with this layout; if you are travelling in the UK you may spend more time in the motorhome avoiding changeable weather than if you were travelling in a hotter country. This layout provides a large lounge space usually with three large windows which is great for entertaining guests, large families and spreading out on when spending longer periods in the motorhome. Rear U-Shaped lounge layouts usually have the largest bed available in a motorhome and are often super kingsize.

When the bed is fitted lengthways it requires the vehicle to be a little longer but this orientation features the largest bed, often allows the lounge to be used as two single beds and allows sleepers to leave the bed without disturbing their partner. Transverse sleeping means the bed will be smaller which can reduce the length of the motorhome but the sleeper to the rear will need to exit the bed over their partner.

Although there is a large amount of storage space under the U-Shaped lounge seats these layouts will never feature a garage. If you enjoy two lounge areas or just a single large lounge for relaxing and spending time in the motorhome then this layout will be great for you. If you are more active and spend a lot of time out of the van maybe fixed beds and a garage for storing all your equipment for activities would be better.

L-shaped Rear Lounge

L-Shaped rear lounges are very similar to U-Shaped rear lounges. This motorhome layout still provides a large seating are for large families or guests but also provides a little more floor space for moving around. Your will not get a super kingsize bed in this layout, a good size double with the option to use as a single bed is normal for this layout.

As with other end lounge layouts you will not have space for a garage but you get plenty of storage under the seats. The extra floor space and reduced seating space also means you get a little less storage under the seats.

Converting Settees

Often motorhomes will have L-shaped lounges or two side facing settees towards the front of the motorhome which convert to make either single beds or a double bed. These bed layouts make just as comfy sleeping arrangements as a fixed bed and are capable of taking the weight of two large adults. This type of bed is usually easy to set up and put away, some types take a little practice to learn where the cushions go but the conversion to and from a bed should only take a few minutes. Converting settees are great for making a comfortable bed in a very short 2 berth motorhome whilst allowing a great lounge space for the day.

Motorhomes with converting settees tend to have a larger amount of floor space compare to models with a dinette, motorhome owners with dogs especially appreciate the extra floor space. There is often a nice amount of storage space under the settees which can often be accessed from outside through locker doors. The main downside compared to a dinette is the lack of seatbelts on side facing seats and the only other negative is making the bed, packing it away and finding storage for the bedding during the day whilst the bed area is being used as a lounge.

Converting Dinette

Converting dinettes make a great additional sleeping space in a motorhome, you would normally only use the dinette as the last bed space to be set up. For example, if you have a rear bed and a high line over cab bed then you would only use the dinette bed if you had 5 or 6 sleepers and the last to turn in for the night would use the dinette bed. Dinettes are the best layout for people who need 4 or 6 seat belts in the motorhome as a single dinette tends to have two front facing seats with seat belts and a double dinette has two front facing and two rear facing seats.

Dinette seats take up quite a bit of the motorhome’s width and leave a narrow alley if there is a side facing bench seat on the opposite side of the motorhome. A dinette bed is the most obtrusive when set up, apart from consuming the lounge area whilst in use they are often positioned next to the kitchen meaning it is difficult for other occupants to make a drink or snack without disturbing people sleeping on the dinette.

DIFFERENT BERTHS

You’ll run into a lot of terminology when you’re looking at motorhomes, and as you’re looking through your options, you’ve probably heard ‘berth’ come up. The number of berths is basically the number of adults which can sleep in a motorhome, if some of the travellers are small children you can sometimes exceed the quoted number of berths due to them needing smaller sleeping spaces.

The number of berths doesn’t always relate to the number of people which can travel safely in the motorhome so always check how many seatbelts you need and how many a motorhome has before you buy it. There are a few different berth options available in motorhomes, so you’ll want to know about your options.

2 BERTH MOTORHOMES

2 berth motorhomes for sale in the UK come in all different shapes and sizes, you may be lead into thinking 2 berth motorhomes are small van conversions or coachbuilt but we have sold 7500kg 9 metre luxury motorhomes which are only 2 berth. 2 berth motorhomes have only one sleeping area and often only have the 2 cab seat belts. Smaller motorhomes will often have converting settees as the main bed and lounge to allow the maximum space for other facilities, some will have a fixed bed with dinette and in this case you will often get 4 seat belts and you may be able to sleep a small child on the dinette seat. There are many 2 berth versions of 4 berth motorhomes which give the two travellers a much higher degree of luxury, increased payload and lot’s of storage space. If you are thinking of a larger 2 berth it may be an idea to look at 4 berth motorhomes as well, some great 4 berths which have a fixed bed and converting lounge would make a good 2 berth and may appeal to a larger market when you come to change motorhomes.

Most 2 berth motorhomes are under 3500kg and can be driven on a car license. When looking for a 2 berth motorhome you can get some really nice layouts in van conversions or high tops as we like to call them so have a look at what is available as the smaller vehicles are very versatile and could even be used for every day transport. If you only have to sleep two people in one sleeping space you have the highest level of choice compare to larger groups of travellers who have more essential requirements from the layout they choose.

4 BERTH MOTORHOMES

If you are looking to buy a used 4 berth motorhome, there are a few major options. 4 berth motorhomes almost always contain one fixed bed but high line coachbuilts can have a fixed over cab bed too. The most common combination is a rear fixed bed and a converting dinette or converting settees, the converting dinette will be favourable by most motorhome owners as it will feature 4 travelling seats with seatbelts. There are some more luxury combinations which have a rear fixed bed, an over cab bed and a lounge area, these layouts will be similar to their 6 berth equivalent but the lounge area will not convert into a bed even though it may be suitable to small children. There are plenty of 4 berth combinations which are under 3500kg and still have a decent payload. 4 berth motorhomes which fit under 3500kg tend to be the type which have one fixed bed and a converting lounge to reduce weight and increase payload. You will find 4 and 6 berth motorhomes under 3500kg which feature two fixed beds but these will have tighter payloads and will be made from thinner, lightweight materials which may make it feel lower quality.

Quite a few motorhome owners looking for a 2 berth motorhome may consider a 4 berth which has a fixed rear bed and converting lounge as this layout would provide two people a higher degree of luxury, more space in communal areas and large amounts of storage space and payload. They will then have the option of occasionally taking friends or family with them on camping holidays.

6 BERTH MOTORHOMES

Great for adventures far and wide, long and short. If you are looking for 6 berth motorhomes for sale in the UK I would suggest steering away from America RV’s, although the size, space and luxury can be a strong draw they do have some major flaws when using them in Britain. RVs are designed for the American market and American roads. Parts are difficult to obtain, they are very heavy, have poor low efficiency engines and become a mobile road block on anything other than decent A roads or motorways. British and European manufacturers offer a wide range of practical, civilized, 6 berth motorhomes. Even large Burstner motorhomes such as Elegance or Argos are designed to access mountain skiing villages during the winter months so although their size may seem daunting they can access most places with surprising ease. A 6 berth motorhome will always feature one fixed bed at the rear and usually a fixed over cab bed in a high line coach built or a drop down over cab bed in an A-Class. The 3rd bed area will usually be a converting dinette or converting settees. If you intend for the motorhome to be used by 6 adults then check the 3rd bed area as a lot of 6 berth motorhomes are suitable for 4 adults and two children or 5 adults in comfort, some designs will leave two adults feeling quite restricted in their sleeping area.

Motorhomes to sleep 6 will usually be fitted with 4-6 seatbelts. The habitation seats with seat belts are usually part of a single or double dinette. If you are travelling, eating and sleeping with 6 people you will probably appreciate a double dinette layout which has a bench opposite as this layout gives the required 6 seatbelts along with space for all to dine together. Due to driving license restrictions on vehicles over 3500kg the manufacturers have brought quite a few 6 berth motorhomes to the market which are within the weight limit of 3500kg. There are some great 6 berth motorhomes under 3500kg which are perfectly practical but there are a couple of things to be aware of; you may only have quite a small payload so only expect to be able to take essentials with if you are fully loaded with people. Also, be aware that in order to keep weight down the manufacturer will have used lightweight and thinner materials which may feel flimsy even though perfectly functional. Motorhomes which are registered as 5000kg give ample weight allowance for a sturdy, spacious build with plenty of payload for essentials and loads of equipment for activities such as cycling, surfing, skiing or even carrying motorcycles.