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Old 12-19-2015, 10:34 AM   #1
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Bunk Bed in 5.0TA

Has anyone added a bunk bed to a 5.0TA?

Margaret and I are finalizing our build sheet (due in 4 days!) and we would like to equip our unit so that we can install a bunk bed over the dinette in the future. (We are waiting for our children do the right thing and present us with grandkids!)

I've discussed this with the folks at ETI. They don't offer a bunk over the dinette for the 5.0TA because it would block access to an emergency escape window. However, they are willing to consider adding blocking/reinforcements that would enable an owner to add a bunk.

I've searched the forum, and I see that bcescape has some good ideas (although not specifically for a 5.0TA) in a thread he started 6/14/09. Other than that, I've not found any prior work.

If you've done this mod or have ideas on how-to, please share.
As a starter, here is a concept to chew on.

GO TIGERS! (shameless plug for Clemson and Clemson football!)
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Old 12-19-2015, 10:39 AM   #2
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Somehow blocking the rear egress window does not seem like the smartest idea, especially with grandkids back there. Just saying.

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Old 12-19-2015, 11:53 AM   #3
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Thank you, Doug. We may feel that way when we actually have grandkids, but I don't think so. For now, I'm trying to provide for the option to sleep an extra couple kids in the future.
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Old 12-19-2015, 12:08 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by PGDriver View Post
Somehow blocking the rear egress window does not seem like the smartest idea, especially with grandkids back there. Just saying.

Doug
I'd have to agree with this comment. Since the grandkids aren't even a twinkle in your kids' eye yet (but they are in yours), I wouldn't worry about it too much. Heck, they might not even arrive! (My mom never got that twinkle for me and she was correct not to.)

If something bad happens, I would not want to risk the lives of those twinkles on not being about to get out of the trailer. Nor would I want to use a trailer for years with supports in the corner of the dinette area where you could bonk into them all the time (I know I would!), even if they're against the wall. If you have to sell the trailer down the road, that might put someone off on buying it.

I'd just figure on having the kids and grandkids camp in a tent or shove them all on the dinette bed or parcel them out between the dinette bed and the loft bed. Or shove 'em in the towing vehicle (heck I did that as a teenager due to my stepfather's snoring!).
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Old 12-19-2015, 12:28 PM   #5
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I'm not seeing the problem here. The emergency window could still be opened. If the kids are small, they can get through it. (And if they're really little, an adult would have to help them anyway, so the adult would open the window and drop the bunk in a flash.) If they're big, then they're big enough to dismantle the bunk to open the window wider.
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Old 12-19-2015, 12:36 PM   #6
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Indeed, there are many, many "ifs" between now and when we may actually have grandkids sleeping in our trailer. I hadn't thought of snoring as one, but who knows?!

Resale is a consideration for sure. No details of this concept have been worked out. Removable brackets? The details would have to allow a clean look when dismantled.
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Old 12-19-2015, 12:56 PM   #7
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We've got two granddaughters who are cousins and very close. They have sleepovers all the time and always sleep in the same bed. We plan to take them camping often and have them sleep in the dinette. The older one is 11 yrs. old and still very comfortable with her little cuz.

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Old 12-19-2015, 01:09 PM   #8
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The bunk bed in the 19 is window level, perhaps if you can make your supports below the window to allow opening by the occupant then that issue is moot. You can skip the glassed in supports and build a free standing frame over the dinette that would sit on the dinette subframe, just make an allowance with the cushions. Another option is an "U" dinette that can be made into two twin beds.
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Old 12-19-2015, 01:26 PM   #9
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Has anyone considered the practicality of the escape window/hatch on a small trailer?
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Old 12-19-2015, 02:40 PM   #10
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By the time grandchildren are camping, you may be onto another trailer or RV. As for bunks and being able to use the emergency exit, adults have to get out of that window. Seconds count in a fire. You would likely be fooling around with the bunks or the stuff on them. There are also other possibilities besides a fire.
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Old 12-19-2015, 02:40 PM   #11
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No, but living in such a nanny state as CA I have long ago stopped complaining about the absurd; nothing surprises me when it comes to something that might involve some sort of liability
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Old 12-19-2015, 02:45 PM   #12
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Has anyone considered the practicality of the escape window/hatch on a small trailer?
Even 13' Scamps have them....
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Old 12-19-2015, 02:48 PM   #13
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Tornado, landslide, collision. There are all sorts of reasons a trailer might end up on its side, with the entry facing the ground.
All good reasons for a secondary exit.

How many times have there been large numbers of deaths in some night club, because the owners thought it was just the nanny state that demanded exit doors not be locked?
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Old 12-19-2015, 02:55 PM   #14
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Yeah, our first RV was a '76 Rockwood Class C hand-me-down. When it was almost new a buck t-boned it and caused significant damage. Guess if he had done that in the door of an Escape while occupied you might just need that escape hatch
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Old 12-19-2015, 03:40 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
The bunk bed in the 19 is window level, perhaps if you can make your supports below the window to allow opening by the occupant then that issue is moot. You can skip the glassed in supports and build a free standing frame over the dinette that would sit on the dinette subframe, just make an allowance with the cushions.
This is helpful, Jim! Good idea!
So, I compared the heights of the side windows of the 5.0TA to the 19. (see pics below along with the 21) The heights look very close to the same from the exterior. If Escape can put a bunk in the 19 and still have an accessible emergency window, then it seems a bunk would fit below the window in the 5.0TA as you suggest.

If anyone ventures into their 5.0TA or 19 anytime soon, please measure for me the vertical distance from top of dinette cushions to bottom of emergency window.

This represents the vertical distance that can be occupied by those sleeping on the dinette and by the DIY bunk.

Also, just curious here - which window is the emergency window? It seems the emergency window would be the REAR window so that when that tornado rolls your trailer on it's side, you can get out regardless of which side.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 19.JPG (31.3 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg 5.0.JPG (46.5 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg 21.JPG (41.6 KB, 10 views)
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Old 12-19-2015, 03:51 PM   #16
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In the 5.0TA the top of the cushion to the bottom of the window is a sliver. In fact you need to be kinda careful if the window is open because the egress handle will stab you in the back.
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Old 12-19-2015, 03:54 PM   #17
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... I compared the heights of the side windows of the 5.0TA to the 19. (see pics below along with the 21) The heights look very close to the same from the exterior.
The rear part of the moulds for the 5.0TA are taken directly from the 21', so they should be identical, other than the roof modification to fit in the slope up to the front loft.

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Originally Posted by ClemsonFan View Post
Also, just curious here - which window is the emergency window? It seems the emergency window would be the REAR window so that when that tornado rolls your trailer on it's side, you can get out regardless of which side.
Details vary by model and by year within a model, and perhaps even with window options... but the escape window in an Escape is normally hinged at the top and latched at the bottom (with red handles) so that the entire area opens for easy exit. A horizontal slider can only be an exit window if either the normally opening part is so big an adult can squeeze out of it, or the whole thing (fixed and sliding parts) hinge out together (sort of a window within a door).

I agree that the rear wall is the most practical location for a useful escape window in the rear part of the trailer.
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Old 12-19-2015, 03:58 PM   #18
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I agree that the rear wall is the most practical location for a useful escape window in the rear part of the trailer.
Rear windows have been fixed in Escape trailers for several years now. No egress window at this location.
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Old 12-19-2015, 04:04 PM   #19
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My Boler has an upper bunk in the back - it's standard feature of most versions of the Boler 1700, and was found in some Bigfoot trailers as well. It's rigid cabinetry (not a suspended cot) over a gaucho (sofa/bed) rather than a dinette, but it poses the same structural challenge. It is supported by cabinetry at the front (as Tatum has proposed) but it has "towers" in the rear corners (as Laura mentioned in post #4) to avoid supporting any of the bed's load on the fiberglass shell. I don't find those towers to be in the way, but they are matched by cabinets down each side so they don't protrude into the bed space - both the Boler 1700 and the Escape 21'/5.0TA have the width to be able to do this, but it does constrain the width of the gaucho/dinette (and length of the bed when in sleeping mode).
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Old 12-19-2015, 04:08 PM   #20
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Rear windows have been fixed in Escape trailers for several years now. No egress window at this location.
Good to know - I've been looking at these things for almost a decade, so it's easy to lose track of the current configuration.

To answer the original poster's question: which one is the egress (escape) window in a 5.0TA? Is it just one of the sliders (squeeze out the open side), or a dual slider/swing-out, or an open-only-for-egress unit that looks like a fixed window? This might vary between dual-pane and single-pane window options. To address trailer-on-its-side situation, it would need to be the street side.
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