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Old 03-06-2016, 01:03 PM   #1
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2007 20' Safari SE
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Temporary Bunk over Dinette?

Hi! I'm new here and have a question about squeezing more people into a small trailer. I see variations on this question have been asked in the past, but hopefully my variation is specific enough that I'm not overstepping bounds and over-posting (especially on my first real question on the forum!).

So, in a nutshell: I'm wondering if it's possible to non-destructively suspend a cot over a dinette? Any experience, ideas, or tell me it's not possible!

Background: we are a family of 4 (2 adults and two large-for-their-age kids age 11 & 8). My amazing in-laws have generously offered the use of their Airstream for a 6-week road trip around the west this summer. Wow! I can't believe how lucky we are. Except, the beloved Airstream is a 2007 20' Safari SE, and I can't quite see how four of us could sleep comfortably in it. (for reference, this floorplan has a front full bed and a side dinette).

I've struck upon the idea of suspending a cot over the dinette, and I'm starting to envision ideas for how to make that work without making any permanent changes to the trailer (my in-laws are awesome, but I can't imagine they would be thrilled if I fastened things to the walls of their trailer!). Mostly in my mind, I'm imagining building a frame of some sort that would sit on top of the seat backs - but are those seat backs really that strong?

In two weeks we will have a chance to spend the weekend in the actual trailer, but until then I won't have access to see if this idea is really unrealistic (or to actually take good measurements).

Alternatively, is it unrealistic to think that a large 8-year old could sleep on the floor for 6 weeks? Is the aisle wide enough to fit a thermarest?

And, for the record, we have considered setting up a tent as well, and we might do that some of the time, but I'm most interested in knowing that we can all sleep in the trailer if we need to (and, knowing my kids, I suspect we will all end up wanting to be in the same "room", whether that's the tent or the trailer).

Ah! This has been way long, especially for a newbie. Thanks for listening and any thoughts/advice welcome! So excited to join the community!
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Old 03-06-2016, 02:13 PM   #2
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I'll give this a whirl, installing a bunk over the dinette is not a great idea. As it would involve major work and the folks that lent you the trailer would not be happy.

But having slept on a thermarest while backpacking the backcountry of Idaho and Wyoming I would wholeheartedly endorse that idea and yes your thermarest will fit on the floor. Another thought would be to carry a small tent for the kids but that probably would not work for ones so young.


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Old 03-06-2016, 02:18 PM   #3
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My kids slept on the floor of our trailer for many years. Don't forget....they're kids & have young backs! I never wanted them outside where I couldn't hear what was going on....it freaked me out too much. They're all adults now & I've never heard a complaint about how they "had to sleep on the floor". Just good memories of packing them in!
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Old 03-06-2016, 02:30 PM   #4
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thanks for the reply! yes, I don't want to do major work. And probably we'll just go with the thermarest on the floor.

I'm curious though, if there isn't a way to install a bunk without major work? Like, could we rest something like a half of a Disc-O-Bed on the seat frames, and of course remove it during transport? I'm honestly curious - I can tell the folks on this forum have thought a lot about how things in the trailer work, and I'm genuinely new to this so I don't even know what the issues would be!

Is it that the seat back frames wouldn't support the weight of the cot + child? (I don't even know what those are made of) Is it that there's a risk of the cot shifting with the kid in it?

We'll have a chance in two weeks to really try it all out, and I'm a pretty cautious parent, so I won't push anything. But it is helpful for me to know what the issues are that I need to look out for!
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Old 03-06-2016, 02:31 PM   #5
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Becky B - thanks for the reminder and perspective! Sometimes we get so caught up in things that we forget they are resilient kids!
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Old 03-06-2016, 09:34 PM   #6
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Does the dinette have 2 bench seats with a table between them? When the table is lowered and the cushions are spread flat over everything, sometimes this set-up becomes a full-size bed. If so, perhaps it would be easier to have the kids share the bed. Depending on where a child would be sleeping on the floor, would it make a midnight visit to the bathroom a bit difficult?
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Old 03-06-2016, 10:41 PM   #7
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Hi Starstream - yes, the dinette does turn into a bed, but I think it's only 38" wide. :/
I do think a kid on the floor might make night bathroom visits tough, but we have spent a lot of time as a family tent camping and are able to climb over the kids to get out at night if necessary. Hopefully that will be the case with floor sleeping! We'll try it out in two weeks and see.
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Old 03-07-2016, 07:03 AM   #8
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38" wide would be a bit cozy. Probably better to separate the kiddos or you'll be hearing "I'm being kicked!" all night long.

My husband and I had a roughing it experience with our own trailer last year, but we didn't have children with us. (They're grown. We traveled with 5 dogs instead.) Our trailer is a renovation we're finishing up, but we needed to take care of some family matters 4 states away. So we towed a mostly empty trailer north and stayed in it for 3 weeks. We discovered we're getting a bit too old to sleep on the floor, even on an air mattress. But we did have working electricity (which allowed a small refrigerator, coffee maker and electric skillet.) We also brought the recliners we had purchased for the trailer. Modern campgrounds helped take care of other needs. (We'll just say it was "tramping" instead of "glamping.) We still enjoyed ourselves and almost hated to come back home.
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Old 03-07-2016, 01:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucioperca View Post
Hi Starstream - yes, the dinette does turn into a bed, but I think it's only 38" wide. :/
I do think a kid on the ...)
We put a kid on the floor perpendicular to the floorway. Legs under the dinette, head in front of the ext. doorway. Easy to step over for the bathroom trip.
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Old 03-07-2016, 01:46 PM   #10
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UNDER THE DINETTE? Some Airstreams have dinettes on legs - CCD's Internationals, and perhaps some SE's. If so you could remove the drawers under the benches, and have a kid sleep UNDER the dinette on the floor. There wouldn't be a load of space, and you'd need a kid who isn't a restless sleeper and can slither out, but it can be done. Also many dinettes are pretty long and the kids could sleep head to toe - but put them each in sleeping bags to keep the kicking, pinching, whining and "whew his feet stink" complaints to a minimum.

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Old 03-07-2016, 03:57 PM   #11
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We sleep 5 (3 kids) in a 25fb with one always on the floor tucked under the folded down dinette table. They usually fight over the floor!


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Old 03-07-2016, 05:10 PM   #12
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We had a similar question for very different reasons. We sometimes travel with a very energetic grandson (now 10 years old 5'0" 105 lbs). Grandma and I are used to having the rear living area available in case one of us awakens at oh-dawn-thirty and wants to sit and read over a cup of coffee. We didn't want to give up the space by having Red Chief sleeping on the dinette bunk or couch. The risk of waking the little rascal was high and the consequences severe. So... I designed and built a bed frame on stilts using furniture grade 1 1/2" PVC tubing and a child sized mattress from IKEA. It spans the foot of the queen size bed in the front of our 25'. There are three pics of that in my gallery here on Airforums. Here is one that gives an idea of the construction. Since this pic was taken I added a 1/2" plywood base and tubing flanges in place of the feet you see here. The frame is glued with PVC cement but the legs are friction fit and are simply pulled out for storage. No holes were made in the trailer. The interior skin is protected by 3" rubber suction cups that are otherwise used to secure roof racks to car roofs.

http://www.airforums.com/photos/show...iginal=1&c=508

I'm not familiar with the layout of your trailer. I can tell you that supporting adults with this material would require posts every couple of feet. A similar arrangement could be made of aluminum tubing or steel... but is more difficult to work and more expensive.
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Old 03-07-2016, 06:06 PM   #13
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If they can't sleep on the floor , leave them at home....
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Old 03-07-2016, 06:16 PM   #14
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This may be unconventional. Have you shown the layout or the AS to your kids and asked them what they think you all should do? They may have an innovative idea.

Tell them they can't make any permanent changes, and can look on the internet or at stores and use anything that costs under $150 (or what budget you set).

Day care cot. Camping cot. Lawn chairs. Blow up mattress on top of lowered dinette supported by some crates or other supports on the open side.

Would be a good way to have a family discussion on problem solving, budgets, research, math, physics.

And if they agree on the solution they will be unlikely to complain about it.
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