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Old 07-06-2009, 05:18 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Sweden
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Our Floor Plan, ..... What Do you think?


Ok, this is our floor Plan. Please post anything that comes to mind. So we can eliminat all misstakes before we buildt it, I know wishfull thinking.

These things are important to us:
- Forward facing Seats for 2 Kids
- Sleeping for 2 + 2 Kids
- Pop Top
- Mobile Kitchen, nothing installed into cabinets (Though everything will have its place for travel)

Thanks Mike
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Old 07-06-2009, 05:33 PM   #2
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Re: Our Floor Plan, ..... What Do you think?

What are the sleeping arrangements? You'll want to make sure you have enough room as the kids grow (13 and 15 were about the limit for my bro and I in the pop-top)

Does the Gaucho fold back in your design?

Why don't you want built in anything?
Why not just a fridge?

Are you having a house battery at all? What about house lights?

Is the table fixed to the wall? Why not a larger mobile table (you can use with front seat, outdoors, etc)

Incidentially the driver chair doesn't turn very well because of the steering wheel. I'm not sure it's possible to, or easy to turn but we never bother and I expected to use that function.

Lastly (as I keep editing), I'd probably take the opportunity to put windows over the rear wheels both for ventilation and since you don't have anything on the walls blocking it. Seeing out both sides would be nice in the "50", and it's good for kids if they can be brought up to the gaucho. Nothing like going "Oh wow, look a that!" only to realize my niece can't see through the van wall.

good to be back
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:47 PM   #3
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Re: Our Floor Plan, ..... What Do you think?

I really don't see a lot of storage. 1) kitchen stuff, food. 2) bedding for four. 3) clothing storage for two kids and two adults.

How do you plan to use the SMB? traveling? camping? If camping who much water will it carry? Have a house battery? Port-a-potty? Privacy for port-a-potty? If you cook out of doors you should consider an awning to cover all weather conditions (except very windy conditions).
Len & Joanne

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Old 07-06-2009, 09:36 PM   #4
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Re: Our Floor Plan, ..... What Do you think?

Long trips with kids... consider TV/dvd needs, power for xbox(or like) and separation of the kids(they tend to fight) and can't sit in the front.

We have the dinette in the middle of our SMB. Both boys can strech out and relax while watching TV or help themselves to the fridge. Seating for 4 back there is handy when riding with their friends too.

Little ones can also sleep across the front 2 seats. Handy to give you some more room when they sleep.
Thanks, Marty

Marty's 'BearsMobile'

1995 Dodge SMB EB-20 + modified for shower in back, PH Microlite Starcool. 130k miles young!
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Old 07-07-2009, 05:35 AM   #5
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Re: Our Floor Plan, ..... What Do you think?

Wow, lots of questions. Ok I will start from the Top.

To jage’s questions

Sleeping is planed as follow: 2 Adults in the Pop Top. The Table will fold down to make a 60” wide bed, sleeping across the van. Cusions from the Backrest will be used to make the Matress.

We want to keep the Kitchen mobile, so that we can use it outside (when the weather permits it). As a Stove we are planing to use a Diesel Cooker, maybe like this one: Ebay
350218862312. The Fridge will be Installed. The plan is to install it in the Bottom of a cabinet, then the whole fridge will slide out (since it opens to the Top). Planing to use this kind it has a fridge/freezer combo, but you can opt to use the whole box to use it for the one or other thing. These come from South Africa and hold the Temps, even with 30-40+ Celis outside.
Our sink will be very low tech, a foldable Bucket.
For Water, we will carry a 20L Canister in the van with a sprout, extra Water will be mounted outside.

House Lights will be LED and maybe (not sure yet) one Neon Light. Still have to do some research on this

House Batteries will be included. Goal is to install 2, which will be charged via Solar and while driving.

The Table on a Pole. This way I can make a extra Floor mount, which is mobile and we can use the Table outside.

Hm, if the driver Chair does not swivel at all. Our plan is to have a 2nd seating group for us Adults, when the weather is not that good and the Kids are sleeping.
In the Vanagons, the driver Seat will swivel (yeah tight), but does work
So does it work or not at all?

With the windows, you have a point. Out Vanagon was a ˝ panel, meaning no rear side windows. Which I realy liked the look of it. But the point with the Kids is a good one.

To LensS questions:

Storage will be under the Rear Bench, the larger Cabinet in the middle will be mainly be used for Kitchen Items. Space between that cabinet and and the front Chair will be used to store Fold up Chairs and Table. The smaller cabinet would hold clothing, which have to be easy to reach. The rear will have cabinet all the way across, about 4-5” lower then the Backrest. On Top (both sides) will be small Storage, which open to the middle and are roof heigh.
For long trips we will be using Zarges Boxes for extra storage.
2 can go on Top of the back cabinet (limits the rear view mirror, does not bother me)
1-2 “staked” can go behind the passenger Seat
Of course there will e tie-down points for these boxes
Anything beyond this will go on Top.
Short explanation to the Zarges Boxes. These are Watertight, made from Alumienum and very stable. Can be used as extra seat at the campfire.
Can view them here

We will be using it for weekend Trips as well as long trips. At the beginning we will be doing a lot of Camping in the North (Sweden/Finland) most trips will be for 2-3 Weeks at a time.
Then there is a lot more to see here in Europe, first trip with shipping the Van will be Iceland. After that ???? Australia, China, India who knows. For sure down the road Trips in the USA will be a must. These trips will be of course a longer trips, 6+ Months.

Water, well we will have 20L inside, then a other 20 in the back. I am working (in my mind) on a rear Bumper that can hold some more Water. On the Roof, cab Part there will be a solar shower. For long extreme Trips we can always go with fold up Canisters in the cabin or on top.

House Battery, view further up top. Planning to hang it under the Van if there is room.

Porta Potty, will be for emergencies only. Otherwise use Reststops, Campgrounds and up here they have bathrooms in the middle of no where. )
Sweden LOVE to camp. Even on the 4x4 Trails there are some for the snowmobilers in the Winter, open year round.

Awning will be mounted. I have not yet decieded which one, but leaning to the Shady Boy view here:
Outside Cooking, will only happen when the weather is game. Otherwise we will go in the Van.

To the questions from mmocken

Well out Little ones are 2 ˝ and due in 5 Months. So we do have a little time till the get bigger, though it happens so fast.
We will have at least 1 Laptop on board and maybe 2. So for them To watch DVDs or Play Games there is something to do. Otherwise there are thngs like Gameboy, PSP, … to make there trips shorter.
Are your Kids not facing forward while driving? Or where is your Dinette?
This is a set thing from us and from DMV.
Once they become older ( 15+ we will see who wants to still come), also since Sweden is so large with basicly very little people, a lot of Children go to Schools away from home with 14+.
Sleeping across the front, seen that in a Vanagon (which was way tight). But didn’t even think about it know. Thanks

Seating, well once we are on the road for camping. It will be just our family and for short driving around town (here at home) we do have a other Car.

Ok, I hope that I got them all. I mean the questions, but just keep them coming. All input (Pro & Con) is welcome.
As you can already tell our standard on luxuary is pretty low. We are moving up from a Vanagon, which has far less. Still we enjoyed it and made everything work well.

Thanks a Million

Mike, Nikki & Shawnee
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Old 07-07-2009, 09:14 AM   #6
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Re: Our Floor Plan, ..... What Do you think?

There are only two of us (adults) in our van. Of course when our kids were small and tent camped with us we had more restrictions on space.

But today with our van and penthouse top here are our specs. :

MODEL: 2000 Chevrolet Express Extended cargo van w 10k trailer package
LENGTH: 20 feet van, 22 feet w exterior bike rack
ENGINE: Chevrolet small block 350cc.
FUEL ECONOMY: 16mpg combined for 95,000 miles

SPORTSMOBILE PENTHOUSE TOP white top with tan canvas
RUNNING BOARDS aluminum w black strip
WINDOWS 3 after market widows added to sides
FANTASTIC ROOF VENT 14 speed low amp fan w rain sensor, thermostat, and remote – Model 6600R

BIRCH WALL PANELS over sprayed in foam Insulated (walls, ceiling, doors)
FLOOR: CARPET AREA: Loop pile, pad, subfloor, BATHROOM & STORAGE AREAS: Rubberized flooring
CURTAINS: cab and rear doors, side windows
TABLE: MOVABLE 22” X 32” Birch Plywood
RESTROOM: Porta Potti, sink, cabinets, and hanging closet
FIRE EXTINGUISHER: behind drivers seat

HEATER: 1000/1500 watt electric heater w modified thermostat and air flow
110V EXTERIOR INLET w 50’ Weatherproof 12 gage cord
GFI Ground fault protection

AUXILIARY BATTERY(S): 230ah DELCO Voyager Deep Cycle
BATTERY ISOLATOR: CP Products 120 amp isolator
12V OUTLET: 1 each bathroom and mid-cabin, 3 front consul
LIGHTS: 2 16 watt florescent, 5 10 to 40 watt halogen (depending on bulbs used)
DETECTOR: Carbon Monoxide & Smoke

FRESH WATER: 18 gallons under bathroom sink w sight glass
GREY WATER: 6 gallons under chassis
WATER PUMPS: 2 12V 1 amp pumps (one bathroom and one side kitchen)
GALLEY: Vehicle exterior at side doors under awning



Here is how our storage is broken down:

STORAGE LOCATIONS............................. CF.....LITERS
SINK TOP CABINET.................................1.9......5 5
SINK BOTTOM CABINET...........................4.7.....133
SINK B.CAB. WATER STORAGE 18 GAL........2.4.......68
HANGING CLOSET..................................16.1.....4 57
DRVR STORARE BOX...............................10.1.....287
PASS STORAGE BOX...............................10.1.....287
KITCHEN BOX..........................................4.9.. ..138
DWR UNIT.............................................1 2.9....364
ELECT/STORAGE BOX.............................. 6.0....170
OVERHEADS (2)......................................0.7...... 20
CENTER CONSOLE...................................3.3..... .93
BOOK RACK............................................0. 7......19
EXT. RR STORAGE BOXES (2)....................6.2.....176
..............................SUB TOTAL:...........80.0....2265

TOWEL - 1............................................ 0.6.....18
TOWEL -2............................................. 0.2.......5
KITCHEN FOLD DOWN SHELF..................... 0.2.......6
PAPER TOWEL HOLDER.............................0.4......12
TEA/COFFEE CABINET..............................0.2.......6
UNDER FRT SEAT STORAGE (2)..................0.9......25
TOOL STORAGE.......................................0.5. ....14
..............................SUB TOTAL:.............3.1......87
Len & Joanne

The Green TARDIS
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:13 PM   #7
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Location: Santa Barbara
Posts: 59
Re: Our Floor Plan, ..... What Do you think?

We got our SMB last November when our twin girls were 2 years old, so I would say our needs and yours are probably pretty similar. Even though not required here in the US, we wanted our kids to be front-facing. We also wanted them to be close to us while driving, so we could attend to them as needed without getting out of our seats, so we opted for four captain's chairs up front.

This is great while driving, but does make for a crowded vehicle while parked and camping: not much free floorspace. We also have a sofa that converts to a bed the stretches across the entire back of the van, which we absolutely love. It is the width of a US queen bed (a little shorter than a regular queen), allows for storage behind/underneath, and we usually end up leaving it down and made up as a bed as much as possible. Having the 4 captain's chairs allows us to do this. So there are obviously trade-offs.

Pics are here, from the prior owner's gallery: gallery/search.php?user_id=139

I recommend a LOT of house battery: it is surprising how much we use when parked for just a couple of days. Two 4D's can be mounted under the vehicle where the spare tire usually resides, though you then give up the underfloor storage. Perhaps others have another location to recommend. Rooftop solar great too, wish we had it but too expensive to put on our '99 van.

Almost every time we park, I swivel the front seats. The passenger seat goes 180 degrees with ease, and the driver's seat goes 90 degrees with ease. 90 degrees is enough for it to serve as a nice seating spot as part of the interior goings-on.

We have a fridge installed, as well as a sink ans fresh water system. Sounds funny, but we have not yet used the fresh water system. We used to camp in a pickup truck, so got used to 5 gal jugs. That said, I do intend to purify that system and use it. Would be nice to have something to cook with built in, but we do not have the space. We use camp stoves outside, and are considering buying a portable microwave oven (

I would ABSOLUTELY put big windows on both sides by your children. We have dark tinted ones that are hard to see into, even when standing right next to them, but allow great views out. Traveling with the kids would be so much worse if they could not see out.

If I were designing one from scratch today for my family, AND I thought my kids would do okay further away from us, I would basically start with an EB50 design, and adjust it by stretching the rear sofa so it goes all the way across the van. This would eliminate the storage units on the driver's side in back. And I would put large tinted windows on both sides. I would keep the galley area in the standard 50 design, and include a microwave. We thought the std fridge would be too small, but it has actually been ok.

Hope this helps!
1999 EB 4x4 7.3l diesel. Custom layout: 4 capt, big bed, PH, fridge & sink. Aluminess all around, bushwhackers, AR wheels, racks and yakima box on top. Our 2-year-olds have for some reason named it "Moose Van".
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:45 PM   #8
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Re: Our Floor Plan, ..... What Do you think?

The Shady boy awning looks unique, very interesting. Do you know the $$. Also have you seen or had experience with them first hand? The "strings" would keep the awning from blowing over the roof but how about down draft winds? Not sure what would keep it off of your head in a down gust. Again though, it is a very clean, neat package.
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Old 07-07-2009, 02:01 PM   #9
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Re: Our Floor Plan, ..... What Do you think?

@ wannaSMB

We have played with the 4 Chairs also. Did not really come to like it.
Since there would be very little Floor-space. While camping we want the extra space, since there will be a rainy Day in the vacation. Then it is very nice that the Kids can lauch there Hot Wheels or whatever.
The other Problem would be, that we are going with the RB and not EB. This would make the Plan very hard to work with. I did have the Idea 4 Chairs and then in the back Storage. But there was 2 Problems:
- Very tight to move from the Font to the back.
- Where to store the boards, that make the bed (for the kids) on the 4 Chairs.
Any Ideas?
We are not set on the plan, just right now it is the one in the Spotlight.
With the Windows, yeah you guys are right, I think we will be adding 2 more Windows.

Batteries, well going to go with at least 2 extra. Solar Panels will be added. Since I am guessing (haven’t done the math yet), about 10 Watts per Hour on the LED, same on the Fridge and the biggest eater will be the Laptop. So a Battery should last about 1 Day without totally emptying the Battery. So with 2 I should have min 2 Days with no Solar or driving. In real use, even if I am parked in a heavy wooded area I should get 3-5 Days out of two Batteries.

@ LenS

I have only seen this Shady Boy in the Net. Not in person.
Just like that it packs up so small, also the weight (~ 11 kg) make a lot of good points.
Price, just googled it. Found one on Ebay Item number: 320354293762 for 435$. (have nothing to do with the sale)
The Set up seems to be very easy. But it will be nothing for moderate or heavy rain. Heh, if it is pooring we are not sitting outside.
For the gust Winds, I am assuming the are using fiberglass Rad (from the large Sails) to get the Awnig to stay in place.

Mike, Nikki & Shawnee
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Old 07-07-2009, 02:48 PM   #10
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Re: Our Floor Plan, ..... What Do you think?

The benefit of 4 captain's chairs is that you don't need to remove the kids' car seats whenever you want to use the couch. I do agree that it limits your floor space, though - someone here mentioned that one of their 2nd row captain's chairs could be easily removed, which seems like a good idea. Of course you'd need a covered space to put it outside.

We ended up designing ours with a dinette, instead of the couch with the bed platform behind it, because of the bad weather you've mentioned a few times - nice to be able to get to everything without having to go outside around the back. We have 4 captain's chairs in an RB, and there's not a lot of floor space, but plenty of couch space for the kids to climb over and (eventually, when I get the time to build it!) a table for them to draw on/run cars on. When it gets too crowded, we throw our 3-year old up top and he has a great time playing in the pop-top

But there are pros and cons to everything, and it's fun to plan your floorspace, and I'm sure you'll enjoy whatever layout you come up with! Congratulations on the upcoming baby


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