Changes and new innovative ideas are showing up in floor plans each year in all types and sizes of recreational vehicles. One of these newer floor plans, that started showing up, in the larger class “A” coaches several years ago, was the bath and a half. This design incorporates a mid ship two piece and a full rear three piece. This particular set up has become increasingly popular within the last couple of model years and is now offered on many models and makes of 40′ and up coaches. The increase in headroom on many coaches helped make this possible as the engine is beneath the rear bathroom floor and required a higher floor in a large portion of the room. Most, if not all, are found in vehicles equipped with a tag axle. This is due to the additional rear overhung weight.
The surprising thing you first notice when entering a bath and a half is that this extra full width dedicated bathroom does not seem to infringe on the size of any other room or area. That’s because the bedroom and living area depth may in fact only be several inches shorter. But how is that possible? There must be something missing, a trade off of sorts. But, as you walk through it at an RV show, there seems to be no question, there is nothing missing. A quick walk through a non-bath and a half of the same make and model confirms the same thing. The bedroom and living/kitchen area appear only marginally deeper, perhaps less than a foot or so at most. Certainly not enough to make up for a rear bathroom, that is somewhere around five or six feet deep.
So let’s look closer and see where they get this extra space.
Looking at the conventional single bathroom style, it is apparent that the depth of the entire area is perhaps 3 ½’ more than a water closet only. So, there is a possible 4’+ gain when combined with the saved inches in both the living/kitchen and bedroom areas earlier mentioned. Now, here’s the one you don’t think of, the rear closet. Mine, in my 45′ coach, is just over 2′ deep. On most 42/43′ coaches, it would appear very little closet space is available in this area and often is made up by offering space directly adjacent the mid ship one piece. This mid ship section may also require a trade off, as a combination washer and dryer may be an additional use choice. You should also check the option sheet on the model you may be considering. Not all model floor plans allow the space for such options as separate stacked washer/dryer, dish washer, and like appliances or accessories. Bath and a half models are subject to the possibility of such limitations.
When my wife and I selected a floor plan for the coach we now have, we gave serious consideration to the bath and a half. Newmar, being one of the coach manufacturers that will make fairly major interior changes if requested, offered design a mid ship closet/storage/pantry area to replace the two piece bath. This sounded quite workable until we thought about it. If you stopped during travel for a comfort break, it would require climbing over the bed to access the head, as the slides would be retracted. Additionally, on those rare times that someone, usually the grandson, sleeps over in the salon, access to the only head could only be reach by coming through the bedroom. So, we decided to take a pass on it and opted for a conventional single mid ship three piece bathroom.
So, by now you are wondering why it is as popular as it seems to be. Most, if not all, of the people I have talked to, or heard of, that have one, love it and claim they wouldn’t buy one without the bath and a half now. They like the private bathroom space and don’t have to share it with anybody as guests use the mid ship head. They find it more residential like as it is all in the form of one room with one entrance. This also allows for more counter room as you are surrounded by walls, excluding the doorway. It also seems more convenient with easier access from the bedroom. Surprisingly enough, very few owners ever complain about lack of hanging storage. Perhaps some of us tend to over think such things.
The bath and a half design, certainly is an eye catching floor plan and a strong seller. Will there be more innovative design changes that may enhance this popular model? Only time will tell, but you can bet, given the current state of the economy and industry, they will be trying to offer even better features to what is already a top selling model in the larger diesel pusher market place.
Just Putting Two Heads Together Lug_Nut Peter Mercer