When we, the Harbuck family, started RVing a year ago, I really had no idea what features to even consider when choosing a rig for our large family. Frankly, I didn’t even know what was available! It turns out there are several features that make an RV particularly suitable for large families. Here are some important things to consider when choosing an RV for a large family.
Seats & Seat Belts
The very most important thing to consider when choosing an RV (in this case, a motorhome) for a large family is the number of seats and seat belts. You want to make sure that everyone can sit safely and securely, and that everything complies with local and state traffic safety laws.
Especially if you’re traveling with little ones, there are special considerations when buckling in car seats. You’ll want to make sure that your car seats can be safely buckled into your rig, and also that you have the proper seat belts to secure them. There are only certain seats that can accommodate certain child safety seats, and this is often affected by height, weight, and make of the rig. Some child harnesses can’t go in most standard RVs at all, including booster seats (unless you have a lap and shoulder belt available in the rig). Here is some more info on safety considerations when using car seats in RVs.
After figuring out the safety situation, you’ll want to make sure you have enough bed space for everyone! If no one is sleeping well, it’s bound to not be a very fun trip. Sleep keeps everyone happy and healthy so you want to make sure that everyone is comfortable.
Be sure to look to see that there’s enough bed space for everyone to stretch out, or that any bed-sharing is comfortable for both parties. If you have tiny ones, figure out if you have room for a bassinet or pack n play somewhere inside, or decide if you’d like to bed share with your baby or toddler. Make sure that any bunks are safe and that any kids sleeping in them won’t be able to roll off.
Finally, make sure the mattresses are comfortable enough for everyone to rest well!
Bathroom Set Up
RVs tend to have two primary bathroom setups – a wet bath and a dry bath. A wet bath has the shower in the same room as the toilet, while a dry bath has them separate.
When choosing an RV for a large family, I prefer dry baths. While they take up slightly more room since the shower isn’t just over the toilet, it also means that both appliances can be used simultaneously. I can’t count how many times we’ve had one child using the bathroom or brushing their teeth while another child was taking a bath. It’s an absolute lifesaver having a dry bath where multiple people can use the facilities at the same time. This would be impossible to do in a wet bath – there’s no way someone could use the toilet when someone is showering right over it, and it would get the whole hallway wet if the door opened during that shower!
Moreover, this means that the entire toilet and sink area doesn’t get totally wet anytime someone showers. This also means that the entire RV doesn’t get soaked every time because heaven knows the water would get tracked everywhere!!
A large family can often mean a lot of devices. Especially when we’re homeschooling and working on the road, we need to be able to charge devices, access the Internet, and more. We’ve set up our rig with a big external battery that charges off solar power, that can then power our devices through the night (and also the microwave for any late-night popcorn needs. We also have an Internet booster installed on top of our RV that helps us access a better signal when we need to check-in for calls and research things for school.
This allows us to have our whole family in there without sacrificing academics or work. It makes it feel a lot more sustainable for us, especially on long family road trips. This is definitely an important thing to look into when purchasing or renting an RV for large families, especially if you’ll need to do school or work while out. Is it something that’s already included? Or will you need to find your own solution?
A large family means a larger amount of stuff. While some things have economies of scale (we don’t need more pots and pans for more people necessarily), other things just are more numerous with more people. We each need to bring our clothes and toiletries, we each have bedding, and we need enough food for everyone. So it’s super important to have sufficient storage for all the stuff! Cooking for large families in an RV can be tricky, but I’ve compiled some helpful tips for you to work efficiently in a small space.
With a lot of people, things can start to feel untidy quickly when they’re not put away in a proper place. And in a small space, a bit of untidiness can feel really overwhelming! It’s so much better when everything has a home and can be easily put away.
It’s so helpful to look for an RV with lots of smart storage space. This includes not just cabinets for food and supplies, but also for things like brooms and dustpans, towels, coats, and more.
Where storage isn’t available, it’s great to create some with easy solutions. We’ve added simple hacks like hooks on the wall to hang different-colored bath towels, or compartments in cabinets to separate levels of food. We also added clothes drying line that stretches across, as well as magnetic plates to keep phones in place. Keeping everything tidy and having the storage space to be able to keep everything organized is so important for an RV for a large family!
What else do you think? If you’re a large family that has chosen an RV to rent or purchase before, what was something important that you either looked for beforehand or wish you had?