Escape Trailer Bunk Bed Rail - Fiberglass RV
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Old 04-20-2006, 09:14 PM   #1
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We have used this bunk bed rail for more than a week and it is working great. The same concept could perhaps be applied to other trailers. The size of the rail was selected to allow for enough room for climbing up and down to the bunk and still provide an appropriate amount of protection for the kids. We only put the rail up at bed time and the kids know to not use it for a hand hold while climbing. Although it is made from copper pipe, it is a pretty stiff assembly.

This is the installed bed rail. Overall height is approx 8 inches. The lower rail is 5 inches from the bottom of the bunk, the top rail is 8 inches from the bottom of the bunk. These dimensions were chosen to keep the spacing between the rails at a safe 2.5 inches, to provide an adequate rail height so the kids wouldn't roll over it, and to keep the applied torque low if the top of the rail is used as a hand hold while climbing.

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This shows the amount of space to the right of the bed rail for climbing. Note that the bed rail is installed approximately 2.5 inches to the right of the bathroom wall.

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This shows the clearance between the bed rail and the open bathroom door. The rail is about 12 inches wide and is positioned to ensure that the bathroom door and door knob do not hit the rail when open.

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The next two pictures show the bed rail assembled and ready for use.

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This shows the bed rail disassembled and ready for storage. The screw-on legs are installed only finger tight, no tools are required. The disassembled rail is small enough to fit in any overhead storage cabinet. The female fitting is installed on the bed rail, not the screw in legs, to provide a smooth bell shaped surface to kids climbing down from the upper bunk, if the male fitting is the rail then there is a potential for minor scrapes. All fittings and tubing is standard 1/2" copper plumbing line. The fittings are all soldered using standard plumbing solder. If you can't solder (I burned my fingers quite a bit) then the fittings could perhaps be crimped into place as a watertight seal is not required.

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The bed rail is inserted into two standard Escape Trailer bunk bed support assemblies that I bought direct from Escape Trailer Industries. For their protection, I want to note that they were not asked to assist this effort and are not responsible in any way for the use of their hardware in this manner. For my protection, I have not done any analysis on this installation and offer no assurance on its safety. If a child uses it like a monkey bar, the installation will fail.

The bunk bed supports are 1" square aluminum tube with 3/4" stainless steel extension bars. The inner width of the extension bars is the perfect dimension to tightly hold the 1/2" inch copper pipe used in the bunk bed rails, it is nearly a perfect fit.

The following picture shows the bottom of the upper bunk, the normal bunk bed support assembly is shown on the left with the extension tube locked into place. The bunk bed rail supports are shown retracted. Although the length of the new rail support tubes could have been reduced, I chose not to do so as that would have resulted in a set of sharp corners near the centerline of the upper bunk. As installed, it would hard to bump your head on the exposed corners at the far end of the support assemblies. I also used pipe insulation foam to cover these supports to cut down on head bumps that will be explained in another link title "Escape Trailer Bunk Bed Pads".

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This shows the bunk bed rail supports extended, the copper bunk bed rail fits snuggly into the open 3/4" extension bars.

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The final picture shows the bed rail in use. The family we went camping with had a midnight mishap when their 6 year old fell out of her upper bunk, my child didn't.

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Old 04-21-2006, 08:08 AM   #2
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Wow! I just read your three posts here, Thane! You are showing great imagination in making a camper truly child friendly!

Well done!
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Old 04-21-2006, 03:41 PM   #3
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Thanks for the feedback, I am really hoping I can get more families into fiberglass.
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Old 04-21-2006, 07:19 PM   #4
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Very nice!

Having a child fall out of a bunk is a very scary thing. With our son it was never a problem but when we took one of his friends along the kid rolled right out of the bunk. How he managed not to crack his head open on the counter I'll never know. The kid slept on the floor for the next couple nights.
1979 Boler B1300 | 1987 Bigfoot 5th Wheel | 1988 Bigfoot 5th Wheel | We officially have a collection!
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