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Old 12-20-2016, 01:28 PM   #1
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Kitchen pantry space

Looking at all the MH's and my DW noticed that there us usually very limited cabinets that have good size pantry's. For all you full timers out there is this a real problem?
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Old 12-20-2016, 03:45 PM   #2
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No wrong answer

While we are full-time only for 6 months at a stretch so far, we have not had any problem with cabinet space in a 40 ft Tiffin Bus. All my earlier motorhomes had severely limited cabinet space as do many of the current models, but we managed even in those. In researching this issue, I discovered the problem is the Cargo Carrying Capacity of the chassis used under the motorhome. Motorhomes built on truck chassis are frequently limited in carrying capacity therefore, they have limited cabinets to both lower the initial weight of the coach and lower the amount of stuff the owner can pile into the cabinets after construction.

When you move up to a purpose built chassis like the Freightliner, Spartan, Roadmaster, and others, you get a much higher cargo carrying capacity so these motorhomes have more cabinets and the cabinets are larger.

Tiffin began business building cabinets for other motorhome manufacturers then moved into building their own motorhomes. They have kept their cabinets at the top of their planning as they made larger and larger units. I am not saying this to disparage any other manufacturer because there are several great lines of motorhomes on the market and each has its advocates. I happen to like Tiffin, but that is a personal preference.

As for the tradeoff between pantries/closets, cabinets, that is a personal preference. The space in a motorhome is limited by the legal width, length and practical height. Inside this box you must choose appliances, storage, furniture, tables, and living space. The arrangement of things is different for each manufacturer. Some like more open space, and smaller cabinets while others build many cubby holes and few large storage spaces. The main requirement is there is some way to contain each and every item you carry. You do not want a quick stop or swerve to launch the peanut butter across the coach. This means every cabinet needs a latching door and each item needs its own space. Glass items need to be protected from bouncing against one another and the wall.

Our experience is that:

1 - You need much less storage than you expect when full timing because you will discover you do not really need all the stuff you start out with. In this regard, the first trip you will try to take everything you have in your regular house so the coach is loaded to the max. After the first trip, you will remove everything you did not use and you will find there is more than ample space no matter the cabinet arrangement.

2 - As time goes on your stuff will change to fit the space you have. If you have a tall space you will buy tall bottles and conversely. This will happen gradually as you use things up and get new ones.

3 - No matter what shape space the manufacturer provides, it is always wrong for your stuff. For this reason you need to learn how to make dividers. Being a woodworker among other talents, my wife had me add slide outs for the cabinets where she could not reach the back with automatic lights in some. I added new shelves in some of the cabinets because the spaces were too tall for her stuff. Then I made light weight plastic boxes to fit the overhead bins to make it easy to take the contents out and see what is in the cabinet. She made cloth hangers for shoes in the closet and plastic storage dividers for the glassware. If you are handy, this is easy to do and will make the space fit your stuff, if not there are companies that will be glad to make it for you and plenty of ready made accessories.

4 - Not everything you need has to be inside the coach. There is storage in outside compartments and in the towed vehicles where many things (A multi month allotment of vitamins for example) can be stored instead of in prime space since you only need it once every two weeks to refill you daily use container. This is true for cleaning products, and many other infrequently used items.

I hope this helps. In truth, there is no wrong answer. Pick one and we will look to forward to your sharing your happy stories.
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My wife and I would travel full time, but we have to sleep occasionally.
2001 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40 ft DP named the Wild Eagle
Followed by the Eaglet - A 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
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Old 12-20-2016, 10:05 PM   #3
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I don't think I could have said it any better.

We lived in a 36 foot Southwind for 8 years and seemed to have just enough space for everything. When we were moving into our Phaeton, also 36 feet, I found my wife sitting on the floor nearly in tears saying she couldn't make everything fit. The washer/dryer would have to go! I knew we had far more storage space in the Phaeton it just was organized differently.

That was 4 years ago. We still have the stacked washer/dryer and she would not be happy without them. If anything we have mores"stuff" on board, but there is plenty of empty storage space if we needed to carry more. The pantry space is more than adequate, but then we are not stocked up to last a month, we never have been. We plan to shop at least weekly so we have a couple weeks supply of staples and and a weeks worth of fresh produce and meats (for me). If you need to travel with 6 months supply of staples it could be a problem, but we know people who carry far more than we do.
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Old 12-21-2016, 08:25 AM   #4
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When we switched up from our 24 Forest River Class C to our 34' Tiffin we found we could carry more but then you have to remember where everything is. Not all cabinets are designed for alot of weight like canned goods. We now have a 40' Tiffin and found less is better. When we leave the house for a trip we take with us all perishables and condiments that would go bad by the time we get back. We usually replace them as needed along the trip and once we get back home we unload the coach and therefore dont have alot of doules in the fridge. An organized coach makes for easy traveling.
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