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Old 06-02-2018, 09:19 AM   #1
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Smile Bus selection advice for a newbie with a large family

HI All, Great resource. I have been enjoying reading and I thought I should introduce myself and ask a few question to get going.

I am a father of 4 that runs a small family manufacturing business My kids are between 8 and 15. We live In Nova Scotia on the east coast of Canada and my wife's family is all in BC on the west coast. We have done many trans-Canada road trips to go and visit but as the kids get bigger it feels more and more uncomfortable to invade our relatives houses with the number of people that we are. We usually like to stay for a decent amount of time as it is a big deal for us to get out there. We have considered buying a house/cabin etc out there that we could Air bnb when we are not there but so far have not found anything that makes sense and because her family is all over the province would be of limited usefulness anyway. The obvious solution? A skoolie!

We imagine leaving the bus in BC, travelling out by plane and spending 2-5 months in a number of different family members locations in the bus.

I would still have to work remotely and we would not be doing a lot of driving, we'd often have access to kitchens and showers.

Our priorities for a bus would be a somewhat segregated office space, bunks for 4 boys and a king sized bed for my wife and I, lots of storage space and and nice lounge/eating area.

I am pretty certain that we do not want a shower (or maybe an outdoor shower) and would consider going without a bathroom but might also look into a composting toilet with a small sink.

I am attracted to the concept of an outdoor kitchen and I am interested in hearing people who have gone that way exclusively, design ideas or from anybody with strong opinions on kitchens in general. The attraction for me is to keep the smells and mess outside of the bus, to spend more time outdoors, to maximize the comfort of the interior of the bus. Obviously the down side of this is when dealing with bad weather. Another reason for the outdoor kitchen is that i am 6'8" and standing in a bus will be a pain for me.

For comfort in hot and cold weather I would like to insulate the bus well and am very interested in solar panels so we are fairly energy independent.

Any thoughts on the following would be appreciated.
1. Doing office work in a bus
2. Being tall in a bus
3. Having a limited/no bathroom
4. Lots of kids on a bus
5. Outdoor kitchens
6. Home schooling on a bus
7. Teenagers on a bus
8. Anything else!

Thanks
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Old 06-02-2018, 09:56 AM   #2
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1- if you have a bus full of kids office work may be a bit aggravating.
2- Being tall in a bus is ok, you can find a high headroom bus. If you're a 7 footer you're probably going to need a roof raise though.
3- For comfort, convenience, and health- I'd heartily recommend having a restroom. Its a bus, you can find somewhere to put one. I've got an emergency "toilet" in my van!
4- I can't really help you with this one. I don't have kids and the thought of having a bunch on a long bus ride doesn't sound like my cup of tea. But it would be preferable to having a bunch of kids in a CAR lol.
5- Outdoor kitchen is cool unless its raining, or cold, or there are lots of bugs. Or if you're not at a campsite and just want to cook a quick meal on the go then maybe consider a mobile kitchen setup that could be used on a counter space somewhere inside, and also have an outside kitchen when you park. Like a camping stove or something.
6- Home schooling is probably pretty good on a bus. You've got em in a confined space. Nowhere to go and hide with a cell phone! Just make sure you get them involved with something that lets them develop social skills. Kids need to be around other kids to do that. Just MY opinion. Only because you asked! I grew up in private schooling and knew a lot of super religious families that home-schooled their kids. All the kids were smart enough but many of them were completely lost when it came to social skills. Church and their parents was about all they got. Man that would suck.
7- teenagers don't really seem to mind whats going on as long as they have a wireless device and access to social media. A bus, a boat, a basement, no worries. As someone who was once a teenager I'd probably be ok with long trips. But I'd also really want access to GIRLS. That's the age I was having a lot of fun chasing them. We didn't have smartphones though.
8- Anything else??? Hmmmm- Buy a bus that isn't too new. 2004 and older, roughly. Emissions and lower quality of manufacturing have made late model buses something of a foolhardy endeavor.
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Old 06-02-2018, 11:38 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by August View Post
HI All, Great resource. I have been enjoying reading and I thought I should introduce myself and ask a few question to get going.

I am a father of 4 that runs a small family manufacturing business My kids are between 8 and 15. We live In Nova Scotia on the east coast of Canada and my wife's family is all in BC on the west coast. We have done many trans-Canada road trips to go and visit but as the kids get bigger it feels more and more uncomfortable to invade our relatives houses with the number of people that we are. We usually like to stay for a decent amount of time as it is a big deal for us to get out there. We have considered buying a house/cabin etc out there that we could Air bnb when we are not there but so far have not found anything that makes sense and because her family is all over the province would be of limited usefulness anyway. The obvious solution? A skoolie!

We imagine leaving the bus in BC, travelling out by plane and spending 2-5 months in a number of different family members locations in the bus.

I would still have to work remotely and we would not be doing a lot of driving, we'd often have access to kitchens and showers.

Our priorities for a bus would be a somewhat segregated office space, bunks for 4 boys and a king sized bed for my wife and I, lots of storage space and and nice lounge/eating area.

I am pretty certain that we do not want a shower (or maybe an outdoor shower) and would consider going without a bathroom but might also look into a composting toilet with a small sink.

I am attracted to the concept of an outdoor kitchen and I am interested in hearing people who have gone that way exclusively, design ideas or from anybody with strong opinions on kitchens in general. The attraction for me is to keep the smells and mess outside of the bus, to spend more time outdoors, to maximize the comfort of the interior of the bus. Obviously the down side of this is when dealing with bad weather. Another reason for the outdoor kitchen is that i am 6'8" and standing in a bus will be a pain for me.

For comfort in hot and cold weather I would like to insulate the bus well and am very interested in solar panels so we are fairly energy independent.

Any thoughts on the following would be appreciated.
1. Doing office work in a bus Not uncommon, but i would want room away from any other distractions (big bus)
2. Being tall in a bus Roof raise is definitely in the plans, 18" would give you about 12" headroom
3. Having a limited/no bathroom 2 adults, 4 kids, no toilet =Big mistake (need big bus)
4. Lots of kids on a bus Need a big bus
5. Outdoor kitchens Decent idea, but the bad weather issue needs addressing
6. Home schooling on a bus I home schooled my daughter at home. As long as they concentrate on the computer in front of them being on the bus shouldn't be a concern. They can school while you travel.
7. Teenagers on a bus You need a big bus
8. Anything else! All the bikes and outdoor entertainment for 4 kids, need a big bus.

I would recommend a 40'er, you'd eat up 12' in the length of the 2 sets of beds. I don't have the experience with a large group in a bus. But I imagine that bus will get smaller and smaller as time goes by with 6 people around that tight space 24/7.

Thanks

...............
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Old 06-02-2018, 08:15 PM   #4
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Ok, big bus makes sense. A toilet makes sense.

Any clever threads about outdoor kitchens people can point me in the direction of? At some point I was looking into these Australian made 5th wheels that had incredible slide out outdoor kitchens https://youtu.be/jnsynS_n7pU (1:29). But I haven't seen a place to buy something like this. Would a rear engine bus accommodate this type of add-on best?
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