Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Falling in the Cracks...Bedding down in the U-Haul CT-13 Camper

Uhaul fiberglass CT-13 Camper bed
So just like with a house, there's always a project list with a camper it seems. I have a long list and no time to get it all done. Part of that is just the busy stage of life I'm in with little ones and work. One of the things I typically do when I add something to my list of things to update/fix, is to plan it out in stages. Planning in stages means I can take small steps through small periods of time I can find to work on it and not impact the camper to the point where we can't use it till the project is finished.

The bed is one of those things on my list. (See my other post on the kids bunk beds for our other bed tweaks.) So when we first started we just made it up the way your supposed to. You put the table top down and arrange the cushions on top. Then throw some sheets on it if you like and you're ready to sleep. What we have discovered is that we don't really use the table inside. We have adapted to just being outside the trailer and therefore the bed stays made up all the time. I actually like it that way. Setting up and breaking down the bed/table would drive me crazy I think. And then where do you put the sheets and the pillows while your eating or playing cards or whatever?

I know a lot of folks have kept the back table in bed mode and removed the front bunk to convert it to a 2-seat table. Since we need the front bunks for the little ones, that doesn't work for us. If you only needed a single bed up front instead of bunks, you could remove the back of the bunk and build a table that would drop down with a cushion over it to become a bed.

(Uhaul fiberglass camper) PVC pip under table top to add support for bed.
The first thing I was concerned about was the stability of the table top. So i went and measured and bought a piece of PVC (1.5" diameter) pipe that was the same dimensions as the metal table post. I cut that down to a size that would fit under the table while it's down in the "bed" position. This made me feel more comfortable with the stability of it. I just didn't want to break the table top. My next plan is to replace the tabletop with a piece of plywood and I'll probably put a pole adapter on it so I can still use the PVC pipe for stability. I'll put up a post about that when I get around to it with measurements.

(Uhaul Fiberglass Camper) strapping cushions to table top to prevent holes while sleeping.
The next thing is the comfortable aspect of the bed. My wife ended up adding a featherbed to the top of the cushions and it's a nice addition. Some folks have cut memory foam to fit. Which might still be an option for us in the future. One thing to keep in mind with memory foam is that the colder it is, the harder the foam gets. So if you're going to camp in really cold places, it may not be the best option. We ran into an issue even with the featherbed on top of sinking into the cracks between the cushions during the night. Moving to a solid mattress would eliminate that but in the mean time I needed to find another solution. I settled on a simple man's approach and grabbed one of my cargo tie downs. This has been a great stop gap for the problem. It works well and it doesn't impact sleeping or cargo space under the bed. Simply wrap the tie down around the table top with the 2 cushions on it and cinch it tight. This keeps the two cushions from moving or separating and also keeps the back cushion in place as it's wedged against the wall. This made a big impact. If you're going to keep your table in bed mode the entire time, you could cut a large single piece of foam and cover it to replace the 3 separate cushions.

I'll update as we keep tweaking it to work for us.