Installing a caravan cot for a baby

Like lots of other families out there, we enjoy camping with our two boys. Up until recently, we used two porta cots on the ground of our soft floor camper trailer.

However, since buying a Hybrid Camper we have two bunks, and that’s not great for young kids who can easily roll out of bed and hurt themselves.

One is 3, and sleeps on top of a bunk with a pool noodle and towel to stop him rolling off, and the other is not quite 1, so needed a safe way to be contained and comfortable.

Obviously there is no way to fit a porta cot into the camper, and with a perfectly good bed for Cooper to sleep on all we had to do was come up with a way to keep him safe and contained. Easy, right?

Our new Reconn R2
Our new Hybrid Camper Trailer, with bunks

In a Caravan, there are lots of ways that you can install barriers and cots to keep your precious ones safe. There’s a heap of Caravan Cot ideas online, but being a camper trailer it wasn’t so simple.

For us, we needed something simple, cost effective, light weight and ultimately removable when Cooper gets to a suitable age. His bed is technically our seat during bad weather or late at night too, so a physical barrier that couldn’t be easily removed wasn’t going to work.

Our solution was to talk to a highly recommended Canvas company not far from us, called Original Canvas Works. These guys will make whatever you want out of mesh, and canvas at a decent price and with amazing customer service to back it up.

Access to the Caravan Cot
The new baby bunk bed in our camper

Making the baby cot barrier

I took a number of measurements inside the camper trailer, which became quite technical due to the way it would need to be attached, and sent it off. They came back with a price, some recommendations of how to attach it, and I agreed to their price. 

Essentially this would attach to the top bunk, and then under the seat cushions on two sides of the dinette, and along the middle.

It could be easily unclipped (all press studs) if we wanted to put it out of the way, was super light, breathable (which is important with young ones) and the dimensions were good enough that there was only a small gap on either side (not nearly enough to get through).

Baby Bunk Cot
Enclosing the bottom bunk with breathable mesh

Attempt one was a flop

The first set of mesh that arrived looked awfully small to me, and sure enough after measuring it was not the right height. This was a joint mistake by myself in cropping a tiny bit of the photo I had sent through, and the canvas guys for misreading a dimension, but no matter. 

A quick phone call to them and they agreed not only to make a new one for free, but they’d have it done in a day and sent off so it would be ready for our 4 days down south later that week.

Quality zips
The zips are strong, and robust

Fitting the baby bunk cot

To install the actual mesh material, all you need is some small screws and a drill bit. I started in the corner, then the middle and made sure it was all stretched nicely.

It was a fair bit of mucking around to make sure the press studs went in the right position and took a couple of hours in total, but in the scheme of DIY camping jobs its pretty easy. 

Baby bunk cot
Press studs hold the cot mesh in place

It works great, we just can’t get the bub to sleep!

Since fitting the baby bunk cot cover, we’ve used it on a number of nights. It works fantastically, and does exactly what we want it to.

The only real drama, is that bub will sleep for a few hours and wake, then take ages to go down again and wake not long after. Of course, this is nothing to do with the install or product, and is something that (fingers crossed!) will pass soon!

Camping with a baby
He’ll play well, but hasn’t mastered how to sleep well!

A big thanks to Original Canvas Works; if you are in need of anything (even outside of WA) give them a shout and they’ll make it and send it off.

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