Our Airstream travel trailer is pretty small, 21 feet from tongue to rear bumper, and we’re squeezing a family of four into that space. More space would have been nice, but our budget for RV and tow vehicle meant that we needed a smaller, lighter trailer that could be pulled by our 2007 Tahoe. We did not have a desire to spend more money to get into a 2500 version Chevrolet. Our budget meant we kept things small.
Sleeping has been a big challenge for us in the small space, but we definitely got better at it on in the last week in the Everglades.
The first part of the sleeping challenge is simply getting to bed.
Each night after dinner, we have to make our beds. When I say make, I mean make.
By day, our beds are couches, so at night, we have to convert the couches into beds.
It’s not as easy as pulling out a fold our couch.
While Katie manages the kids and other nighttime, I remove the cushions, arrange a bunch of boards into a careful configuration, place the cushions correctly, and then cover the cushions with sheets to finally make the bed.
Here’s a fast motion video of me setting up our bed in the front, after the kids have gone down.
Once everything is set up, we have two full beds, one for the kids and one for parents.
In the morning, it’s the reverse process. Katie keeps the kids in the back room while I turn the bed up front into couches, and then do the same in the back while Katie and the kids come up front to make breakfast.
About 7:00pm, it’s time for Wilson to go to bed. We get his side of the bed against the wall all ready, which means putting a pillow barrier between where he and Jane will sleep.
He goes down first, and we pull a curtain across the companion way between what is the kids’ bedroom and our kitchen. We also turn on the air conditioner or the exhaust fan to create some heavy white noise in the RV.
For the next 30 minutes, we tiptoe around the RV as Wilson settles into sleep. We keep Jane quite with stories.
Once Wilson is down, we sneak behind the curtain with Jane to lay her down on her side of the bed.
Katie and I sleep up front in the trailer on a bed converted from two couches. Only recently did we have a bed in which we could sleep together.
We don’t typically stay up late. We’ve found that sleep isn’t guaranteed as we transition from life in a house to life in an RV. Kids are more restless at night and are up earlier in the morning, so we try to go to sleep just after the kids go to sleep.
Through much of the night, we can feel slightly the tossing and turning of the kids. We can hear most of their whimpers, and they can here most of our words and movements.
It makes sleeping undisturbed really challenging for everyone, and we’re looking for new ways to make sleeping easier.