A motorhome or campervan is a perfect way to explore Australia, so it's no wonder campervan road trips are becoming the go-to option for domestic travel. With such vast sweeping landscapes, a road trip is one of the best ways to see Australian attractions tucked away in remote parts of the country. For those looking to travel to Australia, the choice to buy a motorhome is simple. Choosing the right motorhome and layout for your style of travel? That’s where it can get tricky.
When buying an RV there are numerous factors to consider such as how much storage you need, what campervan bed configuration you want, where you want your campervan kitchen and campervan shower placed and more. That is why we have created this guide of the six most important things to think about when it comes to choosing your van conversion layout.
To optimise your motorhome's functionality and liveability it is important to think about how you will use the space. Consider:
Taking the time to consider these aspects when you decide on your layout will help ensure you choose the best motorhome for you and your Australian road trip adventures.
In this guide:
Motorhomes come in a range of different layouts depending on the size and features of the campervan. This can be anything and everything from a motorhome with an over-the-cab area, a long wheelbase campervan or a pop-top campervan. No matter which campervan size you choose, there will be a few overlapping features to consider when deciding what layout will best suit your style of travel.
The main features to consider include bed positions, kitchen and bathroom positions, and dining room positions. There are advantages and disadvantages to each, so most choices come down to your own personal preference.
A very popular campervan bed layout is a convertible bed. These are typically beds made up of cushions that then separate to become the benches in the dining space. This layout is sometimes known as a club lounge. The benefit of this layout is that you can save living space by packing the bed away and converting it into a dining space. This is a great way to separate your ‘living’ area from your ‘bedroom’ area while travelling in a compact space.
The disadvantage of this style of bed layout is that you have to pack it up and set it up every day. As such, this would be ideal for someone who wants to optimise the living space or for a larger family, who don’t mind the daily routine of setting up and packing away the bed.
The other bed layout typically found in motorhomes is the ‘fixed’ bed with a full-sized foam or spring mattress. The benefit of this is that you don’t have to pack it away every day, and can enjoy additional storage below the mattress The downside is that this full-sized bed can take up a lot of room in an already compact living space.
This is a convenient option if you have busy days filled with adventuring and you love the simplicity of being able to pull up and crawl straight into bed. It could also be a great option for those with children or family members who would make use of the bed during the day for naps.
On some models, KEA gives the option to have the bed layout of your choice at the time of buying. This can include having the option to modify the bed configuration from one large into two smalls which could be a great option for weekend motorhome getaways with family and friends.
As with the bed variation, a popular campervan layout is a dining room that folds away. This is typically used in layouts where the dining area converts into a bed. Again, this is a great option if you have more time flexibility or just enjoy having the ability to create distinct spaces. On the other hand, a fixed dining room is a great option if you have a pop-top campervan or motorhome with a loft area above the cab.
Once you have decided the type of dining room you want, it is important to consider the placement of this area. Some models have the dining room in the centre, while others have it at the rear.
A central dining room layout can be great if you want your kitchen to be accessible from the back of the motorhome or want to have a fixed bed at the back of the van (this can work well for pop-top campervans and 2 berth campervans). Alternatively, a dining room at the back can be well suited for a convertible dining/bed area to help optimise space.
The layout and placement of the bed, dining, and bathroom setup you choose will have an impact on the amount of storage space you have.
Some campervans, such as those with convertible dining areas, offer storage up high. This can be a great option for weekend trips and shorter holidays as a place to fit clothes and other smaller items. Other models offer low storage which can be great for those who require easy-to-access storage and may allow for more external storage (e.g. helpful for family and kids and small/compact sporting equipment).
Campervan kitchens will vary in size depending on the model you choose, but this can also vary depending on how you intend on using the space. For example, some kitchen layouts offer more bench space to allow for a more open-plan living style, while others have more room for appliances for convenience and ease.
The other consideration is whether you want to have your kitchen in the front or towards the centre of the motorhome. Having a kitchen in the front is often used in layouts where the cab is closed off and can be a good use of space in a more compact living space. This can also be beneficial as this puts more space between your sleeping and cooking zones.
The most common layout is a central kitchen. This is a popular choice because it is a way to optimise the space while still being able to access the cab. The one downside to this is that it does limit the space to move around and is better suited for smaller families or those who will have less foot traffic through the kitchen while cooking.
Bathrooms are one of the more luxurious features when it comes to motorhome facilities and is a necessity if you want a self-contained vehicle. This is also the area that can vary the most depending on the size of the motorhome. In larger models, you have the option to separate the toilet and shower with a door and can choose the placements of the sinks depending on your needs. This is a great option for families, as it can help to relieve the congestion that can occur with a shower/toilet combo.
On the other hand, those with smaller motorhomes, or those prioritising space elsewhere, can choose to have a more compact bathroom where the toilet and shower are all in the same area. This is a great option to increase the amount of livable space elsewhere such as more bench space, dining room space, or to create space for storage.
Some campervans have access to the cab from the front while in other models you would need to get out of the cab and walk around.
Having access to the cab can be great if you’re planning on free camping and want that added safety feature of not having to leave the vehicle. This can also be a huge benefit on rainy days where you don’t have to go outside to enter the back and can stay cosy in your dry motorhome. While this is a great option, some do prefer the blocked off cab area. Having that separation between your living space and driving space can make it feel like a mini home.
If you’re ready to upgrade your current motorhome or are still searching for the perfect motorhome for your adventures, check out the KEA website to see the range of campervans for sale including new and ex-rental campervans. If you’re still trying to decide the best layout for your adventures, why not try before you buy and see first-hand what the different layouts are really like when you’re out on the open road.
You can also stop by a branch or one of our certified RV dealerships to chat with one of our RV experts. They are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to buying a campervan, and will happily answer any questions you may have regarding motorhome ownership, RV buying tips, RV maintenance, price of campervans, as well as give you a walk-through of the motorhomes for sale and the different campervan conversions on site.