Updated: Aug 23
First establish how many berths are needed. This is fairly straightforward. Simply decide how many people you’re likely to take on holiday with you. Not just how many children you may have, but perhaps you’ll want to take relatives or friends along in the future.
Remember that you could sleep adults or children under an awning, so avoiding the need for a larger caravan and possibly a bigger tow vehicle.
Of course, it is all very simple if you’re a couple who will always be touring on your own. You simply need to decide if you prefer a double or two single beds. In the world of caravanning, one of the options is to have beds that double as seating during the day.
While seat-beds are still popular, there’s a move towards fixed beds these days to avoid having to make beds up. Some people think permanent beds are a waste of living space, but it can allow for a better quality of mattress as there’s no mechanism to accommodate.
Bunk beds are great for the kids; they love them! They are a common sight in larger caravans and an option well worth considering.
Make sure there’s enough wardrobe space for you all, too! A popular choice, available in newer caravans, is a fixed double bed, often right at the back of the tourer, and a dining area at the front which you can convert into sleeping quarters when needed. This arrangement would suit a couple, who might have occasional guests, or a family of four, equally well.
Use a tape measure to be certain each berth is long enough for your requirements as some berths will not be long enough for adults. Cushion depth in seating, when used as a mattress, is important if you want a good night’s sleep. The way that the pieces fit together can make or mar a night’s rest so don’t be afraid to test any bed for length or comfort.
Two dinettes in a 4 berth is ideal if you have children. A dinette has facing seats, with a table between which lowers to make a bed base. This creates both eating and play areas. At night, screened off, one dinette becomes the children’s bedroom. This layout results in a centre kitchen, which is good for balance on the road as most of the weight, fixed and portable, is carried over or near the axle.
If there isn’t a double dinette, consider children reaching the toilet room from their berths at night, and the possibility of lights shining on their faces when asleep.