There is no doubt that the pontoon is the epitome of midlake enjoyment, but there’s just one thing about it that might limit the kind of experience it brings - and that’s the lack of any sort of sleeping quarters. No wonder lots of pontoon boat owners have started customizing their vessels, using all sorts of DIY tricks and aftermarket kits to install a sleeping cabin. Or they are looking for an upgrade and getting to know which are the best pontoon boats with cabin for their next purchase.
These days though, there’s really no need to go through all the hassle. Pontoon boats with built-in cabins are sold straight from the manufacturer. And although they might set you back by a few (or a lot) extra, these ultra-sophisticated pontoons push the envelope on comfort and relaxation for an almost resort-like experience.
The Top 4 Pontoon Boats with Cabins
1. Southland Hybrid Recreational Vessel
Southland’s Hybrid Recreational Vessel or simply HRV is the epitome of comfort and midlake luxury. This 34-foot pontoon clocks in a weight of 6,800 lbs and sleeps up to four people comfortably. The interiors are nothing short of sophisticated, featuring everything from a fully equipped kitchen, comfortable sleeping quarters, to a private toilet and bath, and even a convertible dining area that turns into extra sleeping space.
The boat features three different energy sources that bring power to all of the amenities it has inside. These include green power (sourced from solar panels installed directly on the roof), electric, and propane. This makes the pontoon boat completely independent, capable of functioning at full capacity even when you’re right smack in the middle of the lake.
Comfortable and spacious, the Southland HRV is the solution for people who want a waterfront property, but don’t have the funds to invest in that kind of real estate. Of course, the HRV is still significantly more expensive than the average pontoon boat. But if you were to compare the vessel with a lakefront house, you’d spend just a quarter of the cost to secure the recreational vessel.
2. Sun Tracker Party Cruiser 32’
The Sun Tracker Party Cruiser is a 32-foot recreational pontoon that might be a little older than other models, but well-equipped nonetheless. The boat has a seating capacity for up to 15 people, but the sleeping quarters can accommodate four at best. Inside, the boat features a dining area, a kitchen, and a private bathroom.
Complete with a heater and air conditioner, the pontoon boat also comes with a refrigerator, a stand up shower, and an enclosed head that keeps all passengers safe from the sun’s glare wherever they choose to sit. For those who want to experience a little sea and sun though, the boat also touts an outside seating area that’s complete with two spacious couches.
With ample storage and an all aluminum hull, the Sun Tracker Party Cruiser makes it easy to enjoy the great outdoors while having a bit of the comfortable indoors in tow. On the downside though, these boats are pretty hard to come by these days since they’re a little outdated. So it’s not likely that you’ll find one, unless it’s a secondhand model.
3. Daigno L’Equinoxe
The epitome of luxury recreational boating, the Daigno L’Equinoxe features a 32-foot length that accommodate up to four sleepers at a time. This beautiful boat touts a gorgeous wooden plank exterior that gives it a real cozy, cabin-on-the-lake look. The beautiful interiors features a spacious bed for two, but also provides the option for individuals to install two portable single beds to increase sleeping capacity.
Out on the deck, the L’Equinoxe features large couches that provide comfortable seating for lounging about. Inside the cabin, the boat touts a dining area, a toilet and bath, and a fully functional kitchen space that gives you the room and amenities you need to prepare a full course.
But it doesn’t stop there. The Daigno brand knows that every pontoon owner has their own tastes and preferences. So the company lets you choose from a range of add-ons that you can have installed to make your boat feel more like home. These include a bistro table, a mini-bar, a barbeque, and a hammock.
4. Floe Craft
The Floe Craft is a highly modified pontoon boat that features plenty room to move around. The 32-foot pontoon touts an electrically powered window, door, and roof system that you can retract or deploy with the push of a button, making it especially easy to shield yourself from sun and rain without having to go through the hassle of folding out a bimini top.
With room for up to 20 people, this spacious boat doesn’t have the same, full equipped interior that other pontoon boats with sleeping quarters have, but the enclosed cabin space is definitely a comfortable place to lounge about and share food and conversations.
Inside, the spacious area features electric couches that morph the cabin into a comfortable sleeping area that fits up to two. All together, the boat makes a great choice for boaters who want something that adapts to the conditions and circumstances that might arise while you’re out on the water.
What to Consider When Buying a Pontoon Boat with a Cabin
Let’s be real - pontoon boats with living quarters aren’t exactly what you would call cheap. These things come at the cost of a very pretty penny, so it’s imperative that you consider all the angles before you dive headfirst into that major financial decision.
If you’re coming from basic pontoon ownership, then you might think that just any pontoon boat with cabin would be a major upgrade. But there are a ton of factors that make each one different. So it helps to know exactly what you’re getting before you make that final choice.
This is one of those major elements that contributes to the overall experience, but that many boat owners don’t consider off the bat. A pontoon boat that’s tough to maintain might disenchant you over time. What looked like a wonderful new way to experience midlake recreation soon becomes a cumbersome burden that requires loads of TLC.
Pontoon boats you can sleep on feature a range of extra features and spaces that require unique cleaning and maintenance practices. For instance, toilet and shower rooms, kitchens, and dining areas are all prone to moisture damage, mold, and mildew, especially when they’re not thoroughly cleaned.
Consider the extent of the maintenance required to keep your pontoon in tip, top shape. It’s always best to look for models that use flooring and wall panels that resist moisture absorption so you won’t have to worry too much about scrubbing away grime too often.
2. Space Considerations
Most pontoon boats with cabins are designed so that they can accommodate a large number of people during the daytime fun. Many of these boats can carry as many as 20 passengers at a time, but that’s mostly talking about seating area. Numbers are drastically different if you’re thinking of sleeping in your boat.
Even with these spacious areas, most cabins can hold up to four sleepers at best. That’s because these cabins are designed with a single sleeping area and typically a dining area that can be converted into a bed space that can accommodate up to two people.
If you need even more space, you might want to consider buying a top cover for your bow, which isn’t usually included in the enclosed cabin space. A cover can convert the bow area and make it more accommodating for sleepers, but don’t expect to get the same air conditioned comfort as the rest of the cabin.
3. Size and Weight
The added cabin and sizeable silhouette of pontoon boats with living quarters can make them significantly larger and heavier than the average boat. So if you’re the kind of boat owner who likes to haul his vessel here and there, it’s important that you take the time to consider whether or not your trailer can take it.
These boats can easily weigh upwards of 7,000 lbs which could put significant strain on your existing trailer. That said, it’s important that you also switch out your trailer for something that can sustain that weight for long distances. Any trailer that isn’t up to code could cause serious damage and accidents along the way.
4. Energy Source
Here’s another important factor that can significantly change the way you enjoy your boat. Step into a pontoon boat with a cabin and consider all of the different appliances inside. What powers them while you’re under way our out on the lake?
Most pontoon boats with cabins will use electric energy from the pontoon’s main battery to bring life to everything on board, but that can only get you so far. If you want a boat that offers more - including HVAC, television, and heated showers - you might want to consider a model that incorporates solar power.
If you’re interested in cooking on board, some boats can accommodate a propane tank. This also implies that boat owners need to take extra precautions during use, especially since the tank might be enclosed inside the cabin space depending on the boat’s design.
The Pros and Cons of Pontoon Boats with Cabins
No doubt, you might be thinking that if you just had a pontoon boat equipped with a cabin, your entire water recreation experience would be that much better. But we’re here to tell you that it’s not all rainbows and butterflies.
Sure, there are some undeniable high points that just might teeter you over the edge and make you finally say yes to that brand new investment, but there are some equally important downsides that are worth considering as well
Pros of Pontoon Boats with Cabins
1. They're an Investment
A pontoon boat with a cabin will hold on to its value much better than any other kind of pontoon. That’s because these boats aren’t easy to come by, so even on the secondhand market, a pontoon boat with a cabin is more likely to catch a buyer’s attention than a basic pontoon. If you decide to buy a pontoon boat with sleeping quarters, you can assume that you can liquidate that vessel at a similar cost as what you got it for.
2. They're Versatile
There’s a lot more you can do with a pontoon boat with a cabin than your average everyday boat. Because they let you sleep inside, those midlake excursions can extend well beyond the afternoon hours, letting you enjoy the sights and sounds of a peaceful lake well into the night. In many cases, people who own pontoons with cabins use them as something of a mini resort or rest house, enjoying week-long getaways without having to worry about comfort or amenities.
3. They're Cheaper than a Lakefront Property
Many people who turn to pontoon boats with cabins because they’ve always wanted a lakefront property, but never had that kind of money. Fortunately, these recreational vessels provide all of the comforts of home, while bringing you closer to nature and the picturesque views of your favorite lake. In a lot of ways, these boats become the perfect alternative for expensive waterfront rest houses.
The Cons of Pontoon Boats with Cabins
1. They Require Lots of Maintenance
The problem with a pontoon boat with a cabin is that they will require significantly more maintenance than the average boat. When you consider the kitchen area, the dining area, and the often limited indoor floor area, it’s easy to see how grime and oil from food and the cooking process can easily make everything slimy and smelly.
2. They’re Not Cheap
Of course, there’s the added issue of cost. They might be cheaper than a waterfront property, but they’re still pretty expensive all things considered. When you really come to think about it, choosing to DIY a cabin for a cheaper basic pontoon might set you back significantly less, but then again, you would be sacrificing the sophisticated quality of a professionally designed recreational vessel.
3. They’re Big and Heavy
For boat owners who like to take the party to different parts of the country, there’s the issue of size. Pontoon boats with cabins aren’t some lightweight vessel that you can just tug around with ease. Transporting these vessels is a serious logistics problem that will require a heavy duty trailer, careful driving, and lots and lots of patience.
Over to You
A pontoon boat with cabin space might be all you want to finally achieve the midlake party of your dreams. But remember that these boats are a serious investment. Aside from the fact that they’re hard to come by, these vessels require lots of care, thought, and maintenance. However if you find that those are all a small price to pay for the kind of enjoyment they deliver, then you might just be ready to finally take the leap and make that investment.