Bunk bed layouts are one of the most popular types of RV floorplans. If you have a large family, they’re a must if you don’t want to set up and break down other sleeping options like a sofa bed or dinette. Also, kids love to have their own space, so a floor plan where kid have their own bunks is the best option.
Benefits of RV Bunk Beds
There are several benefits of bunk beds. RV’s with built-in bunks significantly increases the living area in your vehicle. Regular-sized RV beds can take up a lot of room, so the extra space afforded by a bunk model tends to keep everyone happy. They don’t take up too much floor space, even in a small camper. Bunk beds will also keep the rest of your RV uncluttered. When kids have their own bed, they won’t turn the living room into a bedroom.
If you have the space, a bunk room, which provides a separate room for the kids, is an even better option. Bunk rooms will come in various configurations, including double bunk beds, triple bunks, or regular beds on the bottom and single bunk on top. Many will also have space for an entertainment center for kids who play video games or want a place to watch a movie. They also provide kid-friendly storage space to keep your small home on wheels tidy. Bunk rooms are popular in both travel trailers and fifth wheel RVs.
You can seemingly buy any accessory for your RV with a few clicks online or at your local camping store. However, it can seem nearly impossible to find sheets designed to fit RV bunk beds for some odd reason. If you have bunks in your RV, you know what I mean. I have a five-year-old daughter who seems to come up with new creative ways of dirtying her RV bunk bed sheets regularly- the latest being chocolate pudding.
RV bunk beds shipped with your camper are commonly made by Lippert with the signature Teddy Bear logo and come in nonstandard sizes. To boot, they’re much thinner than a regular mattresses. Fitted twin sheets just don’t fit an RV bunk bed and leave a lot of extra fabric that you need to tuck and secure under the mattress. Because of their lightweight design, regular sheets for bunk beds are always coming loose and creating headaches for parents in campgrounds around the world.
They’re also not very comfortable. This element is easy to overlook since adults don’t sleep on them too often. While you may not hear many complaints from smaller kids, I can only imagine that this starts to become more of a concern as they get older.
However, have no fear, parents. There are some great options for both finding RV bunk bed sheets that fit and improving the comfort of the mattress for your kiddos.
Making Bunk Beds Safe for Small Children
If you purchased an RV with kids in mind, the chances are that you opted for a bunk bed. Bunk RV floorplans are widely popular for family campers. However, the one thing nobody ever tells you about bunk beds is how to prevent your small children from rolling out of them. This can be one of the biggest challenges you face with a new RV and young kids.
It seems like some RV manufacturers go out of their way to make finding a solution to this concern near impossible. Luckily, some ingenious RV owners have crafted some great solutions to help you solve this problem.
Before we get into the solutions, I’ll share one pro tip: reserve the bottom bunk for the youngest kid and the top for the older, more sound sleeper. While you can craft top bunk solutions for toddlers, it’s much easier to reduce the risk of injury by confining them to the lower bunk. Here are some solutions:
Baby Gate Option
If you’re lucky enough to have two solid sides marking the entrance to the bunk bed, a really easy solution is to bring along your traditional baby gate (or purchase one for the RV) and secure it in the bunk bed opening when you put your kid to bed. Baby gates are probably the easiest solution if you have the right bunk setup.
However, many RVers have a challenging corner bunk setup. The problem is that the opening is at an angle, and it’s almost impossible to secure a tension-style baby gate. However, you can get a little creative by flipping the baby gate 90 degrees and installing it with the tension ends on the top and bottom of the bunk. Voilà! You now have a secure barrier between the bunk bed and a drop to the floor.
Retractable gate solution
Like the baby gate, you can use a retractable gate to keep your little one secured in the bunk. These gates get mounted to the wall with screws, but they make opening and closing the barrier super easy and provide quick access to the bunk area. They’re also usually made from mesh, so the bunk bed won’t look and feel like a mini jail. They’re a great solution for a corner bunk setup since you can usually mount these on the flat wall on the interior of the bunk. Even though the opening may be at an angle, it shouldn’t be a problem because the gate is flexible.
Another popular solution is to install regular bed guard safety rails. With some bunk setups, you may find that the guard is too long for your opening. Be sure to measure the opening and guard. You may also be able to purchase a wooden guard, and you can cut it down to size to accommodate the opening to the bunk bed.
I’ve also seen setups with people using a safety net to keep kids in bed. However, if you have very young children, a solid barrier is usually best, so your little one doesn’t get tangled in it.
Portable Toddler Beds
Another good solution for small kids is to place a portable toddler bed on the bunk. The higher sides of the bed will keep small children from rolling around and keep them in the bunk, helping you have worry-free sleep. This may be the best way to solve a safety issue if you need a short-term solution. Kids will get used to the bed over time, so it’s usually not necessary to remodel a bunk for a short timeframe. Portable beds come in different sizes, so make sure you measure first to find the right size for your setup.
This pillow is an easy solution and one that may work well if your main concern is your little one rolling out of bed while they sleep. You may even have a big, curved pregnancy pillow at home. These pillows make great barriers, preventing your child from rolling out of bed. They’re curved, so you can easily get them to block the bunk opening while still secure enough to prevent your child from pushing it out while they sleep. We used this solution for my daughter, and it worked great.
Also, if your little one isn’t ready for a bed, a pack-and-play makes a great temporary bed for your toddler. If a pack-and-play is just too big, there are smaller solutions that you can purchase online, such as portable cribs, inflatable mattresses, etc. Below are a few good examples.
RV Bunk Bed Sheets
Depending on the size of your RV, your RV bunk beds will have a nonstandard size. Many will be 34″ long with varying widths of 28″, 32″, or even 50″ for a full(er) size bunk. If you have the Teddy Bear style RV bunk bed mattress by Lippert, it will come with a furry cover, which may or may not be removable. You can take this off and wash it, although it’s not very convenient to do this.
However, if you have corner RV bunk beds, you may also have the added challenge of an odd-shaped mattress instead of your standard twin mattress shape. The corner opening is a longer edge of the bed, making it even more challenging to use a fitted sheet. Also, for many of these mattresses, the covers aren’t removable.
Bunk beds also will come in various thicknesses. Typically, the Lippert Teddy Bear RV bunk bed brand will come in a 3″ thickness. You may also have a 4″ or 5″ rv bunk mattress. Using a traditional twin bedsheet, even with a thicker mattress, may not help with the extra fabric.
So, how do you solve this RV bunk bed sheet problem? Luckily there are different ways to address it. Here are a few of them:
If you want to save money and use traditional twin sheets for your RV bunk bed, a great option is to invest in an inexpensive set of bed sheet clips. These clips, which you can find on Amazon for under $10, are adjustable and secure to the edges of the sheets. You can fold over the excess fabric and pull the sheet taut with the adjustable elastic bands. It’s not perfect, but it works to keep the sheet in place and prevent bunching after use.
Adjustable bed sheet
I didn’t even know these were a thing until dealing with an RV bunk mattress. Adjustable RV bunk bed sheets are just like fitted sheets, but instead of the elastic corners, they have a drawstring that allows you to tighten up the sheet to fit your mattress size. They’re available on Amazon and at some RV and camping stores. You can also purchase them directly from Lippert for various mattress sizes, not just RV bunk beds.
Custom RV bunk bed sheets
One of the great things about the internet is the ability for almost anyone to come up with creative solutions to common problems. Etsy is a great place to find these solutions. For example, several stores on Etsy will make you custom RV bunk bed sheets. The great thing about this is that you can choose from many kid-friendly designs and colors, which is lacking in the adjustable sheet market. Another site that I like is Bunkbedsbunker.com. This small business caters to campers looking for RV bunk bed sheet solutions.
The custom RV bunk bed sheets are surprisingly affordable too. When comparing prices to other options, you may be able to get the exact look you’re going for at a reasonable price. Also, if you make some alterations to the mattress thickness, as described below, you can get RV bunk bed sheets that will fit your exact need.
Making Bunk Bed Mattresses More Comfortable
If you sleep for one night on a traditional RV bunk bed mattress, the following morning, you’ll be looking for a new one. Depending on your mattress size, you can purchase thicker RV bunk bed mattresses made from a variety of materials. One of the most common is foam mattresses. Amazon has a few good options up to 6″ thick.
However, if you’re looking for a more affordable option, you have a few DYI modifications that you can make. An affordable option is to take a few pieces of the foam interlocking flooring that you use in playrooms and install them under the RV bunk bed mattress. This small addition will help add some comfort to the sleeping area and will also help to keep the bed warmer in colder months. This is also a great product to use on the floor of your bunk room.
Another great option is to install a memory foam mattress topper on the RV bunk bed. You can get these in different thicknesses ranging from 1″ to 4″. If you do this, be sure to find one that is just the foam, not sealed in a sheet or covering, as you will likely need to cut it to size. If it comes with a zippered case and it’s for a twin mattress, you should be able to reuse the case. However, if you’re adding this to both RV bunk mattresses, simply order a queen size since you can get two 30″ RV bunk toppers from one.
Finally, instead of using comforters for the RV bunk beds, as you would do with a twin, I find that a nice comfy throw blanket works great. You can easily fold and store them on the bed. I like to have a thicker one for the colder months and a light one for the summer. They’re also easy to wash.
RV bunk beds are a great option for large families camping with small kids. They’re a great way to increase living space while also ensuring everyone has their own sleeping space. If you have a larger family, A bunk bed setup in addition to a master bedroom provides the best sleeping arrangements for everyone. A twin bunk bed floorplan won’t take up much room in an RV. It’s also much more convenient than converting a sleeper sofa every night.
RV bunk beds come in a variety of sizes, and many of them are non-standard shapes. This can make it difficult to fit with sheets, add bed rails for small children, or make it more comfortable. However, with a little creativity, there are solutions to all of these problems. Creative RV parents came up with some great ideas for addressing the limitations of the beds. Many of these options are affordable too. For example, you can significantly improve the comfort of a bunk bed mattress with a foam mattress pad. You don’t need to invest in special sheets with the use of inexpensive bed straps. And you safety gate that you use at home can also double as a guard to keep your little safe in their bunk.
RVing as a family is a great way to make memories. A comfortable bunk bed model will make everyone happy. However, it’s a good idea to do a little planning to make the bedroom setup safe and comfortable for everyone. You and your kids will be happy the next time you hit the open road for a camping adventure.