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Old 06-01-2010, 01:01 PM   #1
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new here - help on seating and sleeping 5

Hello - long story - short (maybe)… I changed jobs about a year ago, not by choice but things worked out. I delayed starting the new job by 3 weeks so we could do a road trip. Three kids, boy-girl-boy now aged 12, 10 and 7 my wife and myself. We did 3700 miles through 15 states in a Pontiac Montana with a roof top carrier. Of the 20 nights we tented 10, cheap hotel 3 and 7 with friends and family. It was a great trip. This April break we did 1200 miles around Arizona. We’ve all got the bug to keep doing them.

So I’ve been looking. My wife and I really like the idea of a “stealth camper” We don’t want to be restricted to RV campgrounds. I also do not want to trailer anything. So we’re settled on a van.

I’ve searched the site and read a lot. Some helpful threads were: Large Family Sportsmobile viewtopic.php?f=15&t=4003 and Adventuring with Kids viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3367

Wish list:

1. Forward facing seating for 5 – thinking a 2nd row bench seat
2. Inclement weather sleeping for 5 – penthouse top and bed for 2 boys, 54” wide dinette for wife and me and some type of platform bed arrangement between the bench seat and the front buckets for the girl. In nice weather the kids go in a tent.
3. Refrigerator and Microwave – 110 hookup, but batteries and inverter with solar on roof
4. Standard fresh water tank / grey water tank. Porta-potti storage.
5. Hot water – external shower?
6. No propane. Camp stove and campfire cooking.
7. Roof rack - some type of Thule for storage
8. Portable or on-board air compressor

I’ve been playing around with the “design your own” studio and came up with the attached for a Ford E350 EB. The 2nd row captain chairs need to really be a bench with 3 seat belts. Is there enough room to get into the rear if no cabinetry is forward of the pillar?

Anyone have direct experience with sleeping 5?

I would appreciate any comments on the layout.

Thanks - Matt

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Old 06-01-2010, 01:11 PM   #2
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Re: new here - help on seating and sleeping 5

Matt,

We take delivery of the "Large Family Sportsmobile" this month. Pictures to follow. Then, once we get a chance to hit the road, I'll post what works for us and what doesn't.

Ours isn't an RV, but has several of your wish-list items incorporated.
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Old 06-01-2010, 01:42 PM   #3
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Re: new here - help on seating and sleeping 5

Nice custom layout.

I'm pretty sure you can do a bench seat for 3 immediately behind the front 2 captain's chairs. And even if you can't we have the EB-51 layout and sit 3 across (usually 2 kids and one adult) on the bench seat all the time. A bit cramped, but easily doable.

As for sleeping 5 inside, also very doable but obviously crowded. If you've done mega family road trips with a roof top tent, then you know the trade offs and should be fine with the SMB. Our kids are 12, 8 and 6 and we've slept 4-5 inside many times. Optimal is two up top and three outside in a tent, but sometimes you gotta all fit inside.

Good luck.
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Old 06-01-2010, 04:38 PM   #4
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Re: new here - help on seating and sleeping 5

Don't overlook the Sprinter as a platform.

Also you can put a 3rd captains chair in an EB50 and have essentially forward seating for 6, although two on the bench is better then three.
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Old 06-01-2010, 06:40 PM   #5
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Re: new here - help on seating and sleeping 5

Quote:
Originally Posted by jage
Don't overlook the Sprinter as a platform.

Also you can put a 3rd captains chair in an EB50 and have essentially forward seating for 6, although two on the bench is better then three.

... because, after all, we all know that the "50" is the best layout, right Jage?

All kidding aside, that's a pretty good idea. Instead of cramming three kids on the bench, they would have more space. And the girl could sleep on the floor down the middle of the van.
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Old 06-01-2010, 07:26 PM   #6
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Re: new here - help on seating and sleeping 5

There was another great SMB like that when I was buying used- had the 3rd C.Chair and dual 3cf fridges... pretty unique build. I always wonder who bought that one...
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