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Old 09-17-2014, 02:36 PM   #21
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Re: Family with 3 little kiddos in Sportsmobile?

Quote:
Originally Posted by canoe4me
Diono is the brand that makes narrow car seats.
We had a Britax booster that was fine, worked up until they were 11 or 12. A TON narrower than the picture above, that thing is HUGE!

eg
http://www.britaxusa.com/car-seats/parkway-sg
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Old 09-17-2014, 03:34 PM   #22
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Re: Family with 3 little kiddos in Sportsmobile?

I guess it depends on the type of booster. The ones with bolsters and their own harnesses are usually around 20" wide. That Diono one with no armrests is the narrowest we could find at 17". Good luck getting your hands in there to install the last one...

If they're all in different stages of seat, you can probably get three of them across.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TBUNCH
Seat belts - there is system we can by to bypass the problem.
Keep in mind that the LATCH lower anchors are only supposed to be used until the combined weight of kid and seat is less than 65lbs. After that, the booster is supposed to be retained with a seatbelt.

There was a thread a few years ago about some kind of body harness alternative to full-on carseats that's popular with the Westy crowd.

Also, if it's not obvious, I only have experience with the Ford '50 layout. I have no idea how anything would fit in a Sprinter.

More also, In no way am I trying to talk you out of your plan. But fitting carseats has been a lot of my recent van activity
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Old 09-17-2014, 03:57 PM   #23
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Re: Family with 3 little kiddos in Sportsmobile?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BogusBlake

There was a thread a few years ago about some kind of body harness alternative to full-on carseats that's popular with the Westy crowd.

:
Here it is: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=5036&hilit=child+harness

I don't know if the no-headrest issue was ever resolved.
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Old 09-17-2014, 05:41 PM   #24
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Re: Family with 3 little kiddos in Sportsmobile?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TBUNCH
I think I have been successfully talked into the OUTSIDE SHOWER.
Some people think that how much water you haul is the limiting factor for a shower.
I have an 18 gallon tank tank and can get about 8 showers but it takes wetting
down, soaping up and a very quick rinse. Big hair = using lots of water. You can carry
extra water but it all takes up space. I do carry separate drinking water as a rule.
SMB has installed filtration systems in the Fuso vehicles so you can fill up while in the
field if there is a stream nearby. There are also portable filtration pumps as well out there.
In a nut shell while heating the water, propane systems do take up space but I prefer a
flat plate provided you take effort to protect it from cold. I have a diesel water heater.
The problem I've found with "out the back door" shower wands is the amount of water
you waste waiting for the hot water.
A tempering valve is necessary but if the wand plug-in is close to the
water heater and pump, lag time is reduced. SMB has outside ports and those should
have ways to drain them for freezing weather. Mine freezes quicker than the inside wands
that normally mount just inside the back doors.

Then you have the truly portable units but they are something extra to haul and you
still need water. Those work for many. Then there is the roof mounted water tanks that
are interesting.
good luck on your choice.
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Old 09-18-2014, 12:42 AM   #25
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Re: Family with 3 little kiddos in Sportsmobile?

Based on the info you have provided, I would recommend you focus on a Sprinter crew van, long wheel base, high roof, rooftop a/c and vent fan.

That gets you outstanding, safe seating for your entire family plus plenting of space for whatever else. Rear a/c is key as the fron a/c is great if you are sitting in the front. But in both the Ford and Sprinter is completely inadequate for rear passengers if you go somewhere hot.

Then, I would look at doing a bed for "upstairs" that can be folded up when not in use to take advantage of the standing height.

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Old 09-18-2014, 07:58 AM   #26
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Re: Family with 3 little kiddos in Sportsmobile?

When we bought our SMB, the kids were 2, 4 and 7.

9 years and more than 100k miles later, we still hit the road often.

But IMHO, with (growing) kids, you can either have safe/comfortable seating or an effective camping setup, but not both.

We decided pretty quickly that sleeping with 3 kids inside of the SMB was a joke. Way too crowded. So our normal setup is for 2 to sleep in the penthouse and 3 to be outside in tents. For us, the big camping assets offered with the SMB are cargo capacity, a large fridge/freezer and the porta potti.

After 5 years I also opted for 5 captain's chairs. Much more comfortable for road trips and much improved safety versus bench seats with no shoulder belts (as is normal with many typical SMB layouts).

The SMB is a great family vehicle, but it does force some major tradeoffs.

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Old 09-18-2014, 12:02 PM   #27
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Family with 3 little kiddos in Sportsmobile?

U and 3 kids or u and another adult and 3 kids ? If the latter it's pretty stuffy and tight. If you make lots of stops fixed top would be more convenient to easily enjoy the interior of the van at the stops. Also, having seats facing forward, ie 50 plan is safer and more pleasurable for the rear passengers
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Old 09-19-2014, 06:15 AM   #28
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Re: Family with 3 little kiddos in Sportsmobile?

I know this is a SMB sight, but... I currently own a Roadtrek RS Adventurous. 4 captains chairs and a bench in the back. We added a lap belt easily into the same bolts as the other lap belt and easily seat four kids on the bench seat in the back (two shoulder, two lap). We have a 10, 8 and 4 yr old. We've had it for 2 yrs (25,000) miles. Its a high roof and 21' long (but not the ext 24' long, which a lot are using now. The ext gives very valuable space behind the bench. Its like having a cargo basket inside!)

Last year we drove from PA to Yellowstone with our three and three cousins, so 6 kids and two adults. We pulled a trailer, so sleeping was a breeze; kids stayed in the trailer and my wife and I in the sprinter. A tent would work as well. The trailer was nice as we could leave it at camp and go explore.

We averaged about 15 mpg.

Having the bathroom on board in my opinion with kids is a must. Seems every half hour one of them had to go. Showers are another thing. My wife and I seem to be able to get 3 days of really quick showers for just the two of us before running out of the 33 fresh/21grey/10black. Most of the time the youngest would shower in the RV as well. The kids would either use the campground, the trailer or go swimming. ;-)

I couldn't imagine a class A... or an f350/250 even ext van. The sprinter is key. Big enough (still tight) yet not impossibly big (or small).

If the kids were out of the house I'd still think sprinter. Its a great size for two and is very drivable as compared to a class A.

However, it can NOT get you anywhere close to where a SMB can. Soooooo, we are considering an Advanced RV (out of Willoughby, OH). They will be building custom RVs based on the new 4x4 sprinter due to arrive in North America this fall. Been out in Europe for some time I believe. We're looking at a 3500 ext model.

This will accomplish two things no other class B out there does (maybe one or two try). It will allow 4 season camping and the 4x4 will get us through snow and fireroads well enough. Not hardcore off road.

Having a custom build will allow us to keep all the waterlines inside and all the tanks heated. SMB, I believe can do this as well. We will also be requesting NO propane and use diesel and solar to the max extent. Maximum size fresh and grey tanks as we've learned our 33/22 is just a bit shy of what we'd like. A 40/30 fresh/grey would be perfect for a four day weekend. Lastly, the 4x4 model for us here in PA, would extend our camping season hopefully to year round. Its a sad day when we have to winterize and put the cover on each year. I'm guessing others (SMB, Roadtrek, Pleasure Way, Airstream) will follow suit with the 4x4 model. Can't wait to see what they offer. In the meantime we'll be putting our Roadtrek up for sale and looking to build that Advanced RV... at least that's the plan.
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