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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have 8 and 6 year old boys who squirm a lot in bed. Seems the camper manufacturers don't worry about bed rails and even ladders to make it easy to get in and out of bed at night. Anyone here created one? I made a bed rail for my Kiwi, but I'm not sure how I'm going to make them for the Outback yet.
 

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Hey everybody,
We thought, because our daughter( who was 6 at the time) had never fallen out of bed in her life, that she would be ok on the top bunk. After the very first night in our Outback, at about 630 am, I heard my little girl hit the floor hard. I instantly knew what the sound was and flew out of bed, calling her name as I approached her. She was face down on the floor and did not respond immediately. My heart dropped. I was certain she was injured badly. She finally rolled over with a startled look and began to cry as she reached for me. I carefully picked her up and carried her to the couch and laid her there to ckeck her out. All this in a matter of about 15 seconds that felt like 15 minutes. She didn't cry much at all. Her spirits were good, she was OK. She only had a very small scrape on one knee from landing on the heater vent when she hit the floor. She wasn't ready to get up yet so she went back to sleep on the couch for another couple of hours only after I was comfortable that she was truely OK. I was an absolute wreck. I went outside and walked around the campground for a while with shaky knees. I asked her later in the day if she could tell me why she didn't answer me right away when she fell and I was calling to her. She said that she was trying to figure out what happened. Thank GOD she was not hurt.

The morral of the story is,, make sure you put rails up. Do not think "oh one night will be ok". It only takes once. I know. Ladders may be somewhat opptional, but the bunk rails ARE NOT. I'm a little missty just posting this. I'll never forget the sound of her hitting the floor that morning. Please keep your little ones safe.
 

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Excellent advice from KellerJames!
I'm glad she was ok.

~Safe camping everyone!~

I don't understand why bunk safety rails are not an options in most trailers?

 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
KellerJames wow I'm glad she's okay, that would freak me out too.

I swung by Lowe's today and picked up some hardwood 1"x2" to work with, still not sure exactly how I'm going to create the rails and ladder, but I'll keep folks posted.
 

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Y-Guy,
It was a scary moment.

As for the rails, I thought about getting some small metal brackets with a "U" shaped channel or groove cut in them and screw holes for mounting. The groove is the same size as the shank portion of whatever size bolt or pan head screw would be required while the head on the bolt or pan head scr' could not pass through the groove. Make my rails the size needed and mount these grooved brackets where needed on the walls and the bolts or pan head scr's where needed on the bed rails. Position the rails and slide the panheads down into the brackets and it's secured for protection and could be easily be removed when need be. I hope I've explained this in an understandable manner. A good hardware store with a "specialty hardware" isle should have the brackets. Since my little sweetheart
no longer wishes to sleep on the top bunk (for obvious reasons) I've put this mod' on the back burner for now. Though I do need to get it done for when one of her friends goes with us this summer. Hope this helped and good luck.
 

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Bunk Bed Rails & Ladder Design

I started on the bunk rail & ladder this afternoon, using 1"x2" Poplar I've cut the steps, main post and rail and the end support. I'm routing the pieces now so they fit together. I also plan on using liquid nails and probably some type of bolt washer and nut combination. Need to go to my toy store, Lowe's and look to see what would work best.

I positioned the main post so the cabinet door won't hit it. Steps are 10" and 20" above the carpeted section. I need to round off the corners still and do some more tweaking, but so far its coming together pretty good. I think I'm going to stain the wood to match the counter rather than paint it. I think with little hands and feet going up and down it will last longer and stay looking good.

Here is an image of my plan, I can't manage to hold the pieces and snap a photo yet, but this gives an idea.

Any suggestions or thoughts are more than welcome... and appreciated.
 

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My daughter also fell out of the top bunk. We just don't have them use the top one anymore, and we use it for storage. They prefer sleeping on the couch anyway. Rails would be a good idea
 

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Y-Guy
Looks good to me. I 'd definately like to see the finished product. We are still considering the 26 RS. I don't know how much the partially protected bunks on the 28 BHS (the other considered model). I will have to make that determination when the time comes.

Tim
 

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I bought a metal ladder from camping world. I cut 3" off the bottom and re-applied the plastic bottoms and walla....bunk ladders for the bunkhouse. The ladder is also removable; it has two hooks on the backside that fit into the brackets that are mounted to the molding on the top bunk.
 

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Y-Guy,

Well, since my last post to this thead, I purchased the 26 RS, and was looking at the bunk thinking about your predicament, and how I share the same problem, as my 2 1/2 yo daughter couldn't get enough of the top bunk. Are you planning on replacing the trim piece that forms the edge of the bunk?

I was thinking that maybe if that trim strip was replaced with a piece of 1x4 or 1x6, with a entry way routed into it, might provide the same coverage. Of course I still need to think about the ladder problem. Let me know how yours turns out.

Tim
 

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OK I better check in on this one too as we had an experience just this weekend.

Our 28BHS has almost 2/3 of the bunks enclosed as they are in the back and cornered in by the bathroom. So we have the girls sleep head first and they can't roll out. HOWEVER.....I thought I had the perfect ladder solution when I found a nice aluminum one at camping world that had square U shaped hooks on the top that simply latched on over the top bunk rail.

The ladder was too long, but being lightweight aluminum it was easy to cut 10" off the bottom to make it the perfect length. I was really proud of myself and thought I had it licked. Even my 2 year old could go up and down with ease, although she sleeps in the bottom bunk only.

On Saturday the kids (4 and 2 year old girls) were playing in the trailer and got up on the top bunk. They had been up and down the ladder many times while I carefully supervised and was convinced they were quite good at it. And they were! But without warning while they were being ruff up there in the top bunk the ladder clip came off the bunk and was just leaning against it. Naturally it was at that moment that my 2 year old decided to get down. When she put her weight on the ladder it slid to the side and she fell to the floor flat on her right cheek. Fortunately she was fine, but I stopped breathing for about a minute it seemed.

Since then we have instituted a no top bunk policy except for bedtime, and only my 4yr old can sleep there. During the day we put the ladder up in the top bunk to keep them out.

I do have a fix for the ladder slipping problem too. I used my Dremmel tool and a spiral cutting bit to gouge out 2 slots in the bunk underlayment that the ladder bracket can slip into. Now it doesnt move at all. However, the slots I cut were only about 1/4" deep as I hit the aluminum frame under the plywood and didn't want to cut it as well. To resolve this and make it even stronger I am going to cut two 1x1.5" squares of 5/8" plywood, slot them as well, then glue them over the existing slots to make the overall ladder slot much deeper. The result will be a very secure ladder that can be easily removed when needed.



Also, as to bedrails. We have one for home use that should work fine for your full length bunks. $25 at toys R us.

Sorry to be so long winded.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well I am making progress. I picked up some brass screws and brass bolts, washers and nuts at Lowe's today. I need to still figure out the best way to mount all the pieces together with a minimum of things intruding into the lower bunk area.

I temporarily hooked things together on one of the bunks to see how it looked. After checking it out I may add another cross rail and verticle post along the railing to make sure heads couldn't get stuck between the mattress and rail. Though my boys are beyond that stage i would rather be safe than sorry.

Pics are up on my Modification Page at the bottom

Any wood workers here have any thoughts? Is Poplar a good hard wood to work with?
 

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ctsoberq,
Cal'Jim,
Happy to here your little ones were ok as well. It is kind of a heart stopper at the moment. I'm also in the proccess of the same mod'.
 

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Happy to hear everyone is ok CalJim.

Y-Guy,
Poplar should be ok, as they make beds out of it. I would wonder though, what dimensions of poplar are you using. from the pic's on your web site, I'd guess 1x2. That should be strong enough for the little ones, but I don't think you would want to use it too much.

Everything looks good so far, and I think I will plan on doing something similar when we pick ours up.

How do you plan on joining the ladder rungs to the beams?

Tim
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Tim thanks for the feed back. Yes I was using 1x2, since only the kids will be going up and down the ladder and once the oldest gets a bit bigger he should be able to go up without it.

Right now I've notched the main post about 3/8" and the same from the ladder rung. Then I thought I would use liquid nails and either a brass wood screw or brass bolt and rounded head nut. Does that sound like enough? I was keeping the ladder runs vertical for strength, going to smooth them out, and if needed add a horizontal topper.

Its been a while since I've had the chance to do work like this. Dad gave me a hardly used Makita Router and that sure was sweet to create the notches with.
 

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The wood screws or bolts sound like a good idea. I don't know about the liquid nails. I personally think a good strong carpenter's glue would probably do the trick, with less mess. You might also think about using that router to make some half lap joints were the rungs meet the beams. This will make a stronger joint, though it is a bit more work.

Are you going to paint the poplar? It is usually a wood that is used for painted projects. I have never tried staining it before.

I was thinking about using some hard maple, or oak for my ladders, and staining to match the trim in the bunkroom. Let me know what you decide.

Tim
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Tim thanks for the feedback once again. I have notched the wood, or as you called it "half lap joints" as you can tell I'm not an expert woodworker... but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express once!
I was leaning to staining the wood too, but if its not a good stain wood I may swap out the rungs, stain those and paint the support portions. I want to keep things light in the bunkhouse since it seems a bit dark unless all 6 lights are on (can somebody say over kill)
 

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Just try the stain on a scrap first to see how it takes, and go from there. Good Luck.

Tim
 
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