Bunks vs. fold down sofas or eating unit

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pawsitivelyagility

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Oct 19, 2005
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Hello all!? I am new to this forum and am looking for some help before buying a travel trailer.? We are currently shopping for our first TT.? We are looking at several units between 18 ft and 28 ft.? So far we like the ones with the queen bed always made and are trying to decide between the bunkhouse and having to make beds out of sofas and dining set.? NO slide outs though!? This will be used primarily for my daughter and I to stay in while we do dog agility on the weekends and also for family weekends and vacations.? We have two elementary school age children.

My question........would bunks that stay made all the time and take up room be a better choice or folding down the sofa and dining table each night make more sense.? Just want to hear your experiences and preferences.?

Also would appreciate any referrals to your choice of TT mfgs.

Thanks for any info!
 

Smoky

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When I had a travel trailer it was from Fleetwood and I was very pleased with it.  30 foot Fleetwood Wilderness with no slideouts.  In fact I was so pleased with it that it remains in the family.  I gave it to my son.  He has a family of 6 and camps in it whenever they can.  Cramped, but they just use it for weekend trips and they love it.

In that trailer both the dinette and the sofa can be made into beds.  The dinette is a bit of a chore, but the sofa opens up into a bed in about 2 seconds.

Bunk beds would sacrifice living space for privacy and convenience.

I think your decision is a matter of personal preference.  Enough people like each alternative that plenty of each are made by the manufacturers.  Consider your life style.  Will the whole family be spending evenings together inside, say, gathered around the TV?  Or will you be inviting another couple aboard after the kids go to bed?

On the other hand, most of your family time may be spent outside rather than gathering inside in the evening.

Answers to these issues as they apply to your own family may have the clues for your answer.
 

edjunior

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I can say one other thing about the bunks vs. the table/couch.? The table/couch option is not really very comfortable.? I suppose if you had a little roll-out "egg cushion", it would help, but they are really not very comfortable, especially if you use them a lot.? The bunks would be a much better option in that case.

I don't think I'd rule out a slide-out either, unless you're tallking about for the beds.? Those are actually a rarer option for trailers.? But a slide with the dinette or sofa sliding out will give you a surprisingly lot of room that you wouldn't otherwise have.? And operating/maintaining a slide is really nothing.? It opens and closes with a push of a switch, and just keep things lubed up and it'll last as long as the trailer.

Now if you're talking about the little "tent" pop-outs for the beds, I think I'd probably stay away from them as well, esepcially considering your particular needs.? You can get plenty of room in a 24 - 28 ft trailer without having to settle for the pop-out beds.
 

John From Detroit

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When I had a convert-a-diner/bed I usually left it in bed mode and ate outside.... Less it rained

Now, that I have my choice (not the previous owner's choice) I choose a dining table and chairs... Of course one consideration is neither my wife or myself are what you would call "petite" (I'm 320 lbs)  The table/chair option gives me much more room to sit and get in/out

You need to make a choice,,,, What do you want, More sleeping space, More eating space, easer access, or a convert-a-something with the need to make/unmake every time you wish to convert

I do suggest slideouts... They make for a lot more room
 

rmw1990

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I am also a newby to RVing.  We once had a 74 TT which was basically a tent with AC. ;D. 

I was also afraid of slides simply from the maintenance standpoint.  My step-mother and a good friend talked me into looking at the difference and boy am I glad they did.  We purchased a 2005 JayFeather 25Z in June 2005 and it has a small slide at the sofa.  We also tow with a 1997 4WD Suburban and we were looking for the most room within our towing weight range.  We have 2 boys 14 and 12 and they(of course) haven't complained of being too uncomfortable.  Ours has the sofa/bed and table/bed option and it can be a pain putting the table up and down. We are like John and eat outside mostly;weather permitting.
Amy Howard-Washington, GA
 

Carl L

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My question........would bunks that stay made all the time and take up room be a better choice or folding down the sofa and dining table each night make more sense.  Just want to hear your experiences and preferences. 

Making down beds each night is a pita.  There are plenty of trailers with a queen size main bed and twin bunk beds.  I have seen the combo in trailers as small as 19 foot.  If you carry your critter(s) with you, you will find they like the underside of the dinette table or a sofa as their den for the night.  That way they do not get stepped on.  So you have to leave them their space too.  I think a 26-27 footer with the bed combination I mentioned is a way to go.  Consider a largish bathroom to facilitate changing too.

Take the kids with you when you try out floor plans.  Have them crawl in the beds and look over the bath and seating arrangements.
 

Lowell

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We have a 28 ft TT with table and sofa slide-out, two bunks and a TT queen bed.  This past week end was the first time we had the kids and grandkids so we used the sofa and table for beds.  I didn't think it was a too bad to do the conversion to beds, but don't know that I would want to do it every day.  After looking at the seat construction and the how the bed conversion is made, I decided to do a little reinforcement of the seat support. My son and I are close to 300 lbs so I wanted the seat/bed to be able to handle the loads. It looked like some of the supports were only held together by staples.  I spent about 4 hours cutting out and fitting additional support under the seat.  I think I will also make up a couple of 3/4" plywood  panels to place over the seat and table when used as a bed to distribute the weight.  I think if if cut the panels 20" wide by 72 " long, I can place them in the storage locker until I need them. I also wondered what weight the bunks are rated at.  Guess I will contact the manufacturer and see what they say about the bunks.
Jake
 

wilde

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Oct 18, 2005
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Get the biggest one you can afford as long as you have the right vehicle to pull it. I like Cougars but this is personal pref. There are a lot of nice trailers out there. I would not get the lowest end I would look toward the middle of the road model. I would not pay asking price. I would not buy anything without a slide, you will wish you had. I can vouch the sofas are not real great for sleeping. My husband uses the queen bed in the fifth wheel and I get the floor in the living rm part. I use an aero bed with a featherbed on top. I store everything under the sofa while traveling. We have a lot of storage in our unit.
 

ssttnn

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Have you thought about maybe getting a toy hauler type trailer? There are some that are open in the back with a pull down bed that stores out of the way when not in use. This would also give a storage area for your furry friends as well. Some toy haulers also have walls seperating the living space from the garage with a loft above the garage that is a bed.  Just another option.----

Tim
 

camper1b

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Endicott, NY
We have a bunk model and wouldn't have anything else with kids!  We have, now, a 16 and 8 year old.  They have their own space and can get in at any time.  When one or both are in bed we still have the rest of the camper including dinnette and sofa.  We use sheets and blankets on our queen and the kids use sleeping bags on their bunk beds.  Works great.

We have a Sunnybrook that I would highly recommend.  They are well made and have a loyal customer base.  You can get more info on the sunnybrook owners forum... www.sunnybrooktalk.com

[edit]Activated the link[/edit]
 

beekay

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Conifer, Colorado
you can buy those memory foam toppers and customer fit it to the sofa and dinnette.  I had one that was from my king size home bed that was now "extra" I cut it to shape and it fit both beds.  man what a difference! All the difference in the world. I had slept on it many times while our youngest was still learning to sleep through the night (this summer!).  with was 1000 times better than without and even still better than egg crate style toppers. 
My personal preference is to have a bed for myself and my wife. the kids sleep in the other part of the rig on the sofa and dinnette.

I would look at a slide and a shorter trailer (to accomodate for weight) versus no slide and a longer trailer.  My parents TT was a big pita as it felt like you were in a bowling alley.  the slide makes tons of room and its nice and FAT where the family will hang out. MHO
 

MLCBFarrell

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Hope my 2 cents worth helps in the bunks decision area!
We just bought a 2004 29 foot Wilderness Yukon TT, no slides. It has a front queen for Dad and I, but 2 bunks in the back for the kids. I finally decided on the bunks because I didn't want to be making/taking apart beds 2X/day. Dad and I are early risers, so we can make our coffee and either sit inside or outside and enjoy it without bothering the kids (10 yr old boy and 11.5 yr old girl) too badly. Granted, they only have a curtain for privacy, but it works for us. So far, we've only been able to take it out for short jaunts due to work/school/sports schedules. We also have 2 dogs that go with us. One curls up alongside the queen bed, and the other stretches out in front of the couch. Sometimes they are in the way, especially in bad weather or if we're all inside at the same time. But, we opted to go with no-slides due to the weight thing. We pull with a '98 Ford Expedition, and couldn't go too heavy. If we knew we'd have more time to spend in it (at present time), we would have looked into slides a little more.
As far as the bunks, the kids LOVE them! Our daughter took the bottom bunk, which can be lifted up and accessed through a small "bike door" on the driver's side of the trailer. Our son took the top. They take their toys/books along in canvas tote bags and when they're not playing with them, they stay at the bottom of the bunks, out of the way. Our bunks have a weight limit of 150 lbs., according to the label on them. I have tried the bottom one out, it was quite comfy, and I'm not a small gal!
I didn't bother with bedding for them. I covered them with sheets just to hide the mattress, but bought fleece sleeping bags at LL Bean for $20 each and that's what they used in warm weather. We used it for the last time over Thanksgiving, it was awful cold here in northern VA, and I finally made them up with sheets/blankets/down alternative comforters.
Word to potential bunk buyers: we do have a small condensation problem along the back/sides of the bunks; I assume due to poor air circulation and the fact that they're tucked into the back corner so are in close contact with 2 outside walls of the TT. Our kids' comforters felt slightly damp, but not soaked, and the kids were toasty warm regardless. I just told them to leave the moisture areas? alone (you know kids) and we pulled the comforters back so the air could get in there better during the day. The temps during the night on this last trip got into the 'teens and we had some snow one night, so I won't complain about it because it IS an Ultralite TT! We've only had it since Sept. and we're still in the honeymoon period I guess, but we're extremely happy with it so far!
LuAnn
 

Lowell

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Another nice thing about having the bunks is that they make a great place to store things when only you and your spouse are traveling. When we don't have the grandkids with us, we put our clothes and other items on the bunks, leaving the rest of the TT tidy.  We picked up some inexpensive plastic drawer stow bins at a dollar Store or Big Lots Store that we pack our clothes in.  These sit nicely on the bunks when parked and sit nicely on the floor when on the highway.
 
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