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Old 01-20-2020, 06:34 PM   #1
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Sleeping Arrangement Question

I hope I haven't missed it, but I've done a bit of searching this forum and haven't found what I'm looking for...

We recently had CCV install their hightop penthouse top and are now at the point where we are playing around with the layout of the interior of the van. So far, it is just insulated and carpeted.

We are trying to decide if it will be worth the use of space to put an additional bed of some sort in the lower portion of the van. Especially since it will be just the two of us 99% of the time.

I'm curious how may of you that have a penthouse also have a bed of some sort in the lower portion and how often do you use it? I can think of a few reasons to have a lower bed; stealth camping, high winds, someone else does happen to join us, I'm in the dog house, or snoring too loud.

At least for right now, we don't have any physical limitations that would prevent us from using the penthouse all the time.

Thoughts / experiences / suggestions / Etc.. greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-20-2020, 07:06 PM   #2
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We have a high top now, but with our pop top we used both beds (upper and lower) equally. We always preferred the upper bunk, but stealth, super cold, dog house and grandkids kept one or both of us in the lower. We liked the flexibility.
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Old 01-20-2020, 07:21 PM   #3
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I enjoy utilizing the penthouse bed, wife prefers the gaucho behind the drivers seat because its not convenient for her to climb up.
Occasionally, when we're in a situation in which we've decided to keep the top down, a lower bunk comes in real handy. Having some sort of couch is also comfortable to just stretch out on during the day. Would also bring attention to the fact that having the upper bunk platform(s) attached to the roof during the day provides a lot of space to freely move around in - If you decide to read or take a nap those platforms would have to be down and everyone else is forced to move around hunched over.
Obviously not familiar with you're current situation, but if plans are to keep the Van another 10 years, put consideration in possible physical limitations you may inherit between now and then - downstairs bed comes in very handy.
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Old 01-20-2020, 07:34 PM   #4
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Hi Glen,

I like sleeping up top, because it's kinda like a tent, but better. SWMBO likes sleeping downstairs because she's not really into climbing up and down, especially in the middle of the night.

Plus, our SMB upper bed is pretty narrow for 2, narrower than your CCV. Heck, our downstairs bed is pretty narrow for 2, just a little under a full-size when we're used to a king at home. This can be alleviated if you don't have cabinets all down the driver's side. Then you could fit about a queen-ish, I think, from wall to wall.

So, we like having both. If it's really windy, rainy, cold, etc. we can leave the top down and both sleep downstairs.

(Another upside is our grandson LOVES the upper, it's like his own little fort. Of course, that means when he's with us, I have to sleep downstairs...)

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Old 01-20-2020, 08:30 PM   #5
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We have an older CCV top on our EB. X2 on what others have said. Two beds add flexibility, stealth, comfort, and two easy place to lounge around and stretch out. We put in a rear dinette that converts to a bed. Dual use facilities are critical in these rigs. Sleeping with the top down means there is a lots less space to heat and keep warm in the winter.
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Old 01-20-2020, 09:03 PM   #6
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Carry a two-man tent and offer to pitch (and occupy) it when required. Takes up almost no space and might come in handy.

That way you can do the buildout to maximize the setup in the way you are most likely to use it and still have the flexibility to accommodate additional roomies if, as, and when.
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Old 01-20-2020, 09:37 PM   #7
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We like our dinette setup downstairs. Great for hanging out, eating, and all that, but the two benches fold down into a nice-sized double bed.
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Old 01-20-2020, 09:52 PM   #8
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Iím all for the flexibility of an additional bed downstairs. You hit on the situations where it could come in handy and there are others, as several have indicated. The important ones for me are when itís too windy (beach) or too cold (winter in the mountains) to pop the top.

For my build - and perhaps for yours - the removable platform at the rear of the van is sweet. You can use it for stacking lots of gear when traveling or remove it altogether when hauling. If youíre taller than a width-wise bed would accommodate, you can always design the downstairs bed to run lengthwise and make it foldable, removable, or whatever suits you (gaucho?)
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Old 01-21-2020, 10:34 AM   #9
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Great insight!!!

We're hoping/planning on being able to get up the ladder without too much trouble for another 10-15 years, but who knows... We were surprised at the number of people we talked to at Overland Expo a couple of years ago that, for various reasons, no longer sleep up top.

Unfortunately, I'm limited to sleeping "longways" due to my height, so even though I like the layout of the bed/dinette in the back, we're most likely going to have to go with the gaucho type layout.

My wife likes the idea of the couch/bed behind the driver's seat and I like that area for the fridge/sink/stove. I'd tell her to get her own van, but I'd end up in the 2-man tent...

I've got to figure out if there's a couch/bed that will accommodate me or if I'll have to build something. Once I've got that figured out & where it will end up, then I can start working on the rest of the layout.

Thanks for the input.
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Old 01-21-2020, 10:56 AM   #10
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One thing to consider is the amount of room you take up to sleep. With the gaucho you get right at 48" width which is tight for 2 people. With the RB50 pull out couch setup you get 54" and it sure does make a difference.
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