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Old 06-21-2013, 11:10 AM   #1
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flying cloud sofa vs. bunkhouse??

I wanted to ask this question to folks with kids, or who have already raised their kids and had their kids in their airsteams...

But what is your take on say a 30' sofa model vs. a 30' bunkhouse model.

I will be going to look at these, sit in them for a while and decide...but...I wanted to hear from parents and get perspectives on the compromises of giving up the sofa living room area for a bed...well actually, the new bunk model has the mast bed in front...bunkhouse in the back...but anyway...

We have a nearly 3 year old, and a nearly 6 month old (boy/girl respectively). We also would enjoy perhaps from time to time inviting my brother and his wife for a weekend trip...they have a 2 year old son.

We also plan on, besides using it for frequent camping outings, trips around the US, and beach trips...but for a hot summer lake property get away later...5 years we may look at a lake property...put a dock on it...my fishing boat...and the airstream to sleep in....(although this lake property point is rather less important in the considerations as most AS use will be for travel).

It occurred to me off the bat, that giving up the sofa may kina be a bit limiting....and the sofa can in fact be a bed...but perhaps having the bed, and the bunk...but still having that small bench sofa and the large dinette in the bunk model will suffice...

I am sure both would be great, but I kinda wanted to hear some opinions from experienced parents.

Thanks.
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Old 06-21-2013, 07:34 PM   #2
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Well, FWIW, we have a 27FB and a 6yo and 10yo. We're very seriously considering a 30' bunk model because our kids really, really want some space to call their own. We dislike the whole bed disassembly process every morning, and it often feels like the kids have nowhere to go to not be underfoot while we're cleaning up from dinner and whatnot. They'd like a place to put their things and have them easily accessible, and to not feel like they're in the middle of things whenever they want to relax in the trailer. Given that there is still a full dinette and sofa in the 30' bunk model, I'd absolutely pick that over the sofa model if you think you'll have this trailer for awhile. I know it is hard to imagine your 6 month old wanting that top bunk someday, but that's exactly where we're at now.
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Old 06-21-2013, 08:15 PM   #3
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We don't have kids but we have friends we camp with who do. They love their bunkhouse trailers. (They are SOBs, but they work) Kids have their space and parents have theirs and if the kids need/want a nap you don't have to use the sofa or dinette. YMMV
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Old 06-21-2013, 09:48 PM   #4
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We looked at the bunkhouse long and hard, but when the 34' International came up, we jumped ship pretty much immediately.

Our three boys will have the bedroom as a kid's room. There'll be custom built bunk beds, there's space for toys and building a blanket fort on a rainy day.

We're currently trying to figure out what configuration would work best for my wife and myself. We're exploring all options, from a custom built slide out bed to a simple IKEA hack.

I like the idea of the bunk, but I missed the big expanse of windows. It felt a bit dark and dingy to me.
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Old 06-21-2013, 10:04 PM   #5
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We had an Airstream with the living space in the middle and didn't like it. Claustrophobic. Need a bed on one end and living space on the other.

A note of caution on using it on lake property. We have a covenant on our lake property that prevents bringing in a trailer to live in. The county also has a law that limits living in an RV on lake property to 22 days a year. They had a law that even prevented even storing an RV on lake property, and many counties still have it.

Point is, check the local laws on lakeshore use beforehand.

doug k
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Old 06-21-2013, 10:12 PM   #6
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Mine are raised and gone......but we traveled EXTENSIVELY all over the US and some in Canada over the last 25 years in an SOB. We couldn't have afforded an AS back then, but when I examined a Bunkhouse this spring at the Mother Ship my immediate thought was, "this is the PERFECT AS for a family with kids". No question in my mind....if I were you...it would be the bunkhouse.
That said, in our current station in life the 30' Classic is the perfect one for us.
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Old 06-22-2013, 05:24 AM   #7
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Discussed this topic further with wide and close friends last night - I think for the long haul bunkhouse may be it...

Kids will love it more as they get older

Thanks for your opinions - there are bunkhouse models on a number of lots so this will allow me latitude in negotiation
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Old 06-22-2013, 05:28 AM   #8
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Giving up the open airy feel of the living space is a compromise....one needs to decide if it is worth it

That 34' sounds like a real winner - you have pics????
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Old 06-22-2013, 05:29 AM   #9
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Noted about lake lot regs! No worries about that though for a while thankfully
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Old 06-22-2013, 05:48 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by PharmGeek View Post
Discussed this topic further with wide and close friends last night - I think for the long haul bunkhouse may be it...

Kids will love it more as they get older

Thanks for your opinions - there are bunkhouse models on a number of lots so this will allow me latitude in negotiation
I haven't looked a whole lot, but I know at least one BH floorplan has a couch, along with the dinette.
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Old 06-22-2013, 05:58 AM   #11
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They do - its a small sofa along the street side wall middle of the AS and a large dinnette
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Old 06-22-2013, 05:05 PM   #12
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Look under the dinette. If there's a wheel well under there, the seats closest to the wall will only be comfortable for small children.
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Old 06-22-2013, 06:23 PM   #13
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Giving up the open airy feel of the living space is a compromise....one needs to decide if it is worth it

That 34' sounds like a real winner - you have pics????
Will post them as soon as the latest work is done. New flooring is currently going in. I'll take some pictures Tuesday, when I am up there.


The 34' was more trailer than we thought we'd need when we first looked at it, but the more we thought about it, the better we liked it. A spacious dinette, a bedroom for the kids, room for sleepover guests, a ton of light...it all added up.
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Old 06-22-2013, 07:01 PM   #14
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It looks like you are on your way to selecting the bunkhouse. For us (two kids 10/12) this is the only choice. I was not even looking at Airstreams until we discovered the small numbers of bunkhouses that were build in 2005/2006. We were then able to find a used unit close to our home for inspection and ultimate purchase.

The whole family loves the airstream (the shiny beast as it has been named).

The big advantage of the bedroom + 2 bunks for the kids is no shared / no convertible sleeping spaces. The kids can get up when they want and go to sleep when they want. When you have convertible sleeping spaces, it forces people into more of a unified schedule - which might not work for your family. Especially on rainy days when you are quite happy to let folks sleep while you go about making coffee/breakfast, etc.

Everybody has a space to call their own, with their own favorite sleep items (blankets, stuffed toys, etc.) I feel that this separate space will become even more critical as the kids get older. We'd like them to want to still come on trips as they get into their teen years. Hopefully this separate space will still make it acceptable to spend time with the parents.
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