Family-friendly and value-packed, more families are choosing RV vacations than ever before, but choosing the right RV for the adventure can be much more of a challenge as getting everyone to agree on the dinner destination.
In recent years the RV industry has responded to the popularity of family RV travel by increasing the sleeping capacity of many of models, according to an article in Consumer Digest. Today, RV shoppers can look over models with bunks and “bunkhouse models” that can sleep up to 10 comfortably or offer private sleeping quarters.
To decide if a bunk bed model RV or a bunkhouse floor plan is right for you, consider how often you travel with a crowd and what features are most important for your life on the road. The capacity of your towing vehicle will also factor in to the purchasing decision.
While there are no official standards that draw a line between a bunk model RV and a bunkhouse RV, in general a bunkhouse will have a dedicated private or semi-private sleeping area that may even have its own entertainment and bath areas, while a large capacity model with bunks may have bunk beds as well as many multi-function areas that convert living space into night time sleeping space.
According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, manufacturers are responding to the changing demographics of RV ownership with models that can accommodate more guests without sacrificing the residential comforts RVers have come to expect. Recent data shows that 39 percent of RV owners have children under 18 living at home and the largest growth segment in RV ownership is among family-aged adults 35 to 54, according to the RVIA.
In 2012, the top sleeping capacity of most family-friendly models was eight; by 2016, more models could sleep up to 10, with one model offering a capacity of 15, according to an article in Consumer Digest. Bulking up the sleeping capacity has sent manufacturers back to traditional bunk and newer bunkhouse models.
Decide what’s right for you – a flexible bunk bed model that can bed down a crowd, or a bunkhouse, that can sleep friends and family while maintaining some privacy.
RV with Bunks
If you’re traveling with the team, or a couple planning a couple of trips a year with the grand-kids, consider an RV that offers the flexibility of bunks, some that may tuck out of the way or convert to living spaces during the day.
By tucking a couple of twin bunks in the rear or slide out, adding a bunk above the cockpit or combining a jackknife sofa with a pull town bunk, you can have sleeping space for occasional travelers, but functional living space while you’re on your own.
Using all the available spaces, from dinettes to sofas to the space over the cockpit, maximizes the sleeping capacity of your unit, so it can go from a couples’ retreat to a rolling motel that can sleep 10 or more.
Manufacturers are adding more bunkhouse floor plans, so there are plenty of options for families that make for restful vacations, seasonal camping and year-rounding all possible, even with a large family.
Bunkhouse RVs may be distinguished by a “BH” or “B” somewhere in the model designation. Once inside, find a master bedroom — usually at the front or rear — as well as a private or semi-private bunk room often on the other end of the unit.
Bunkhouses can be as simple as four bunks and a sliding door, or include bunks, a sleeper sofa with a bunk over, an entertainment center and even a second bathroom. Bunkhouses answer the call for families who work and live on the road, those who like relaxing vacations, and full-timers who live and learn on the road, by providing privacy, work and play areas, all while retaining a living and cooking area for gathering.
The sleeping capacity of a bunkhouse will vary widely by model, but bunkhouses are available in tiny 19-ft travel trailers, as well as land yachts and fifth wheels.
Bunk and Bunkhouses Downside
No matter how smart the design, adding bunk beds and bunkhouse rooms to RVs, means something must give – and that’s usually the living, cooking and bathroom areas as well as storage locations. When shopping for a bunk or bunkhouse RV, make sure there’s enough room in the kitchen to cook for a crowd, enough storage to stow everyone’s gear, and enough space for all the kids to hang out on rainy days.
With so many bunk and bunkhouse plans available, smart families will be able to find a model and floor plan that has enough room to sleep – and live in style.