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The Expert’s Complete Guide to Campers with Murphy Beds.

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Introduction to Campers with Murphy Beds

Murphy beds are folding beds that can be stowed away to save space when not in use. They are the perfect solution for adding a comfortable sleeping area inside small campers and RVs. Murphy beds maximize your living area during the day, then quickly convert into a bed at night.

What is a Murphy Bed and How Do They Work?

A Murphy bed is a folding bed mounted vertically on a wall or cabinet that can be pulled down to a horizontal position to use. The name “Murphy bed” actually comes from William L. Murphy who patented his horizontal folding bed mechanism in 1900.

  • The key benefit of a Murphy bed is it can quickly convert unused space into a sleeping area. During the day, the bed folds vertically up against the wall taking up minimal area. At night, just lower it down to provide a comfortable mattress without having to set up a separate sleeping pad or convertible dinette.

Murphy beds use special metal fixtures and reinforced cabinetry to ensure the bed can safely handle regular opening and closing. Most models have easy lower and raise mechanisms operated by lifting on a handle or sliding into an open position.

Various springs, sliding rails, hinges, and hydraulic arms are employed for smooth adjustments between the vertical stored and horizontal sleeping positions. Quality models are extensively performance-tested with weight loads to guarantee years of reliable use.

When folded up, Murphy beds are designed to seamlessly integrate into existing cabinetry for a built-in customized look.

For campers and RVs, a key advantage of Murphy beds is the space-saving versatility they provide. You can quickly transform lounging areas into a sleeping space at night and then back to multipurpose living areas during the day.

What Types of Campers Have Murphy Beds?

Murphy beds are found across nearly all types of recreational vehicles. The most popular camper categories featuring Murphy bed options include:

  • Class B Camper Vans – The smaller dimensions make a Murphy bed a smart space saver. Beds often fold down from the rear wall.
  • Class C Motorhomes – Queen or full-size Murphy beds are typically mounted over the driving cab area.
  • Travel Trailers – Rear lounge Murphy beds are common in smaller trailers. Some have cab-over beds too.
  • Truck Campers – Compact Murphy bed kits allow truck beds to convert into a comfortable sleeping space.

Many leading manufacturers now offer camper models with Murphy bed options from Winnebago, Airstream, Jayco, Winnebago, and more.

Specific camper models featuring Murphy beds include:

  • Winnebago Travato 59G Class B
  • Airstream Interstate 24X Touring Coach
  • Jayco Melbourne 24M Class C
  • Coachmen Orion 24TB Travel Trailer Bunk Model
  • Northwood Mfg Arctic Fox Truck Camper

As you can see, Murphy beds are becoming very popular factory-installed options to maximize space across nearly all types of campers.

Where are Murphy Beds Located in Campers?

The location of Murphy beds inside campers and RVs depends on the floor plan layout and overall vehicle dimensions. But there are two most common placement spots:

  • Overdriving cab area – For Class B and Class C motorhomes, a Murphy bed is frequently mounted on the wall over the cab area behind the front seats. This open space over the driver and passenger seats often only gets used for storage. A Murphy bed allows converting it into usable sleeping accommodation able to fit 1-2 people.
  • Rear lounge – In travel trailers, truck campers, and some Class B vans, the Murphy bed is installed vertically on the back wall in the lounge zone. Most camping trailers have U-shaped or L-shaped dinettes in the rear with seating that converts into a bed. A Murphy bed lets you keep the multifunctional couch and table space of a dinette separate from the dedicated sleeping area.

Positioning the Murphy bed vertically on the wall, rather than horizontally in the middle of the room, keeps passageways open during the day. The centrally located lounge space stays free for social gatherings. At night, just lower the Murphy bed down with ease.

By installing Murphy beds in over cab and rear wall locations, campers can maximize both living and sleeping zones within compact dimensions.

Do Camper Murphy Beds Differ from Home Murphy Beds?

Yes, there are some key differences between Murphy bed systems designed for residential homes versus RVs and campers:

  • Safety – With campers often traveling over uneven terrain and bumpy roads, Murphy beds installed need enhanced stability and shock absorption. RV Murphy beds feature steel cables or hydraulic lifts tested to handle shaking and vibration better. Sturdier cabinet materials securely anchor the bed.
  • Specialized hardware – The moving parts allowing smooth vertical and horizontal motions must withstand years of frequent use. Hinges, slides, springs, and pistons use heavy-duty construction to avoid wear, malfunctions, or breakage.
  • Mattresses – Beds in campers can’t take traditional thick mattresses which would be too heavy and unwieldy. Special flexible foam and hybrid mattresses a few inches thick offer cushioning along with low weight.

So when installing an aftermarket Murphy bed or buying a camper model with one standard, be sure it meets RV-specific requirements.

What to Look for When Buying a Camper with Murphy Bed

If you are shopping for a camper or RV with an integrated Murphy bed option, here are some key features to evaluate:

Bed Size

  • Make sure the bed dimensions when folded down suit your comfort needs. Average size is 60-75 inches long by 75-80 inches wide (twin to queen).

Mattress Comfort and Quality

  • Assess the cushioning level and give of the Murphy bed mattress. Preferably it will use durable foam or an innerspring hybrid design.

Clearance Space Needed

  • When lowered open, check that there is enough clearance space around the bed so you don’t hit your head.

Safety Features

  • Examine the lift supports and hardware to see robust seals, straps, or stabilizer arms. Smooth, uncomplicated motions when lowering and storing the bed.

Installation

  • For aftermarket Murphy beds, ensure professional measurements will properly fit the existing layout without modifications or spacing issues. Factor in needed reinforcement of wall area.

Cabinetry Finish

  • When the Murphy bed is folded closed, you’ll want it to blend seamlessly into elegant cabinetry with integrated handles for an upscale built-in look.

Storage Capacity

  • Closed Murphy beds have storage areas behind or under to maximize functionality. Check if storage depth meets your capacity requirements.

Taking test drives in various RVs will let you directly compare Murphy bed positioning, mattress quality, cabinetry integration, and ease of operation.

Testing Murphy Bed Before Buying Camper

If possible, inspect the operation of a prospective camper or RV’s Murphy bed before finalizing a purchase. Key things to test check:

  • Comfort and Dimensions – Lie down and assess if the mattress offers adequate cushioning and length to sleep comfortably. Measure precise sizing.
  • Operation – Repeatedly lower, rest on, then return the Murphy bed to a vertical position to test ease and smoothness. Check for awkward motions or unstable feelings.
  • Safety – Shake the bed lightly when horizontal to check for stability and lack of looseness. Examine anchor mounts, lift supports, and hardware.
  • Wear or Damage – Visually inspect hinges, wood, fabric and mechanisms for uneven wear, chips, scuff marks or damage.

Testing will help avoid unpleasant surprises down the road regarding difficult murphy bed motions or inadequate sleep comfort.

The Cost of Campers with Murphy Beds

Installing a murphy bed during camper or RV manufacturing typically costs from $1,500 to $5,000 depending on size, materials and integration complexity.

For the consumer, buying a camper or RV equipped with an integrated murphy bed from the factory often ranges from $2000-$10,000 more compared to a base model without one.

Cost is primarily driven by:

  • Hardware and Mechanisms – Specialty hinges, slides, lifts and springs add expense. More robust heavy duty systems cost more.
  • Bedding – Mattress materials, thickness profile, cushioning and dimensions all factor in.
  • Cabinet Materials – Custom woodwork, integrated storage areas, and decorative trims increase price.
  • Installation – Require careful measurement, reinforcement of mounting location, circuit upgrades, and precision assembly. This labor adds to expense.

However, murphy beds can also save money by allowing smaller campers and RVs to be comfortably used. Their space-saving versatility means you can get away with purchasing a more compact, affordable trailer or van rather than bigger motorhome.

Saving Money on Your Murphy Bed Camper

Here are great tips for getting a deal on a camper or RV equipped with a murphy bed:

Buy Off-Season

  • Shop for RVs during the fall and winter months when demand slacks and dealers offer rebates.

Choose a Floor Model

  • Ask to see current floor inventory featuring murphy beds. Dealers discount show models and can’t wait to move them off the lot.

Consider Used RVs

  • Gently used 1-3-year-old RVs with Murphy beds often go for 40%+ less than the original MSRP. Great way to save substantially.

Third Party Installers

  • Going with experienced third party outfitters for murphy bed installation can cost significantly less than factory integration.

Following these tips can help you find a camper featuring a murphy bed at pleasantly affordable pricing.

The Pros and Cons of Camper Murphy Beds

Pros:

Space Saving

  • Stowing vertically when not needed leaves room open for multipurpose use.

Versatile

  • Easily alternate room layout between living space and bedroom.

Affordable Option

  • Provides extra sleeping capacity without needing a bigger RV. Allows buying smaller rigs at cost savings.

Cons:

Lack of Headroom

  • When lowered open for use, murphy bed takes up majority of overhead space.

Installation Challenging

  • Precise measurement and reinforcement of mounting location takes skill.

Mattress Comfort

  • RV mattresses are thinner and need replacement more often.

So in summary, murphy beds make excellent use of limited space. But comfort and installation considerations should not be overlooked.

Conclusion

We’ve covered everything you need to know about campers with murphy beds!

To recap, murphy beds provide space-saving versatility to quickly convertunused living zones into comfortable sleeping accommodation. They take advantage of areas over driving cabs and rear lounges to maximize both living and sleeping capacity.

When shopping for a camper or RV with integrated murphy bed, be sure to assess the bed dimensions, mattress quality, hardware operation, safety and cabinetry finish. While murphy bed installation does add cost, it allows the flexibility of a smaller rig saving you money in the long run.

Weighing the pros and cons, camper murphy beds create functionality to comfortably sleep extra people without always needing to tow bigger trailers. They expand your enjoyment by offering flexible room transformations.

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