A Solution to the Sleeping Situation: An Airstream Hammock

So you saw the tour of the trailer we’re traveling in (if you missed it, here’s the tour) which naturally led to the question: where do all the kids sleep?!

Sleeping arrangement was a big factor when choosing what to take on this 4 month trip. It felt important that each of us had a place to allow for some sort of routine and normalcy.

Our trailer is 28′ with a L-shaped sofa that pulls out into a double(ish) sized bed, a dinette that folds down into a double bed and a Queen bed in the back.

We bought the trailer only a few weeks before we left and Ryan and the kids only slept in it once while I was away for the weekend. Basically, we loaded it all up, took off and decided we’d figure out a good sleeping arrangement along the way.

Over those first three weeks, we tried every sleeping option:

  • Two kids on the dinette, two on the couch, Ryan and me on the bed
  • Two kids on the Queen bed, two on the floor on either side of the bed, Ryan and me on the couch
  • Two kids on the dinette, one on the couch, one on the floor, us in the bed
  • One on the dinette, two on the couch, one on the floor, us in the bed.

That last arrangement seemed to work the best, but we weren’t crazy about our youngest son having to sleep on the floor. First, it was hard to move around with him blocking the doorway. Second, it was dirty.

While in Flagstaff, we came upon an REI and decided to go in and see if they had a short and skinny cot that might fit in the small space.

They didn’t have the right sized cot, but we did find another solution:


Yep. A hammock.


That hammock is now a fourth bed that fits our cutie 8 year old (both in size and personality) and gives each of the kids a place of their own.

Honestly, we weren’t even sure if it would work. We bought this hammock and mounting kit and decided to just give it a try. If it failed, we thought, at least we’d have a hammock we could hang outside. We ran through a few different hanging options – from the ceiling? across the dinette? – and ultimately decided on under the overhead, above the couch.

The hammock we went with is the smallest we could find. It is very lightweight, fairly skinny and shorter than most. While still usable for a full-size adult, it is particularly great for a not-yet-full-size kid.

Ryan was super hesitant to drill any holes into the metal (defacing the gorgeous Airstream aluminum? Never!) and also wanted to make sure the hammock would hold our son. He chose the overhead cabinet because it is secured into the structure of the Airstream and it can hold enough weight. We don’t have anything heavy in the cabinet and Mason is a little guy so we felt good about it.

The first step was slightly painful for Ryan … drilling into the cabinet.


Next he screwed in the indoor mounting hardware we picked up with the hammock.



And then clipped the carabiner to the bracket. The hammock comes with carabiners, but Ryan used the ones that came with the kit.


Once installed, the bracket and carabiner are hardly noticeable, which is nice.


Then we hooked in the hammock and stretched it across.


To make it a little shorter and keep it up a little higher, we tied knots in each end of the hammock and clipped the carabiner through each one.

We installed the bed while in a Home Depot parking lot because how many times have you attempted a diy project only to find you’re missing a screw?!

The kids were hanging out in the car watching a movie and Ryan and I decided to just put it up and see if it worked. Once it was hanging and we were pretty certain it would hold, we called in Mason to surprise him with a new just-for-him bed. His reaction was pretty cute.


This kiddo is our happy introvert who needs consistency and some alone time. Both are hard to come by when you’re moving from place to place and living in 200 square feet with five other people. Giving him a bed of his own – and a fun, special one! – was one little way we could make this experience easier on him.

One of the best things about this hammock situation is clean up is super easy. Each morning the kids are tasked with putting away their beds. Mason’s bed is the easiest; he puts away his blanket, clips both carabiners to one side and he’s ready to go.


This hammock has made all the difference in our sleeping arrangement. Now, each kid feels like they have space to stretch out and we’re using the vertical space instead of the floor.

Plus, we had a bit of fun installing it :)


23 Responses to A Solution to the Sleeping Situation: An Airstream Hammock

  1. Eddy December 14, 2017 at 12:45 pm #

    Did the screws on the brackets go through to the inside of the cabinet? How’s it holding up? any creaking? has an adult tried it yet?

    • emily December 15, 2017 at 10:11 am #

      We never put an adult in it for fear it would not hold :)

  2. Taylor June 27, 2016 at 8:33 pm #

    I’m still confused! One kid on the hammock, one on the dinette, one on the couch … Where is the fourth? Or by “a space of their own” do you mean “enough space” i.e. Two on the couch?

    • emily June 28, 2016 at 6:36 pm #

      Yes – two on the couch. Perpendicular to one another.

  3. Davonne @ The Tidy Mom June 17, 2016 at 6:32 pm #

    The hammock was a great idea! We use them for camping and they are so incredibly comfortable that my kiddos asked if we can hang them in our house :)

    I love these airstream posts – my husband and I want to do a homeschool year of US history where we actually travel the US so I’m particularly interested in the logistics of how you make it all work.

  4. Aja June 6, 2016 at 6:15 am #

    Our RV is set up like your except our cabinet can fold down and be a bed too. Basically like your hammock fix. Is he comfortable? I see hammocks like that and I feel like I would be freaked out by the tightness of it.

  5. Marie-Maguelone June 4, 2016 at 9:48 am #

    Super idea of the hammock !
    But how do you unfold the other beds ? Can t you see? I ‘ve never traveled in caravans and even less Airstream ! But I dream to do it one day to cross the USA with the family! Because I think it’s a great experience ! I blog and I talk about our road trips but always at the hotel or homestay ! http://mariemaguelonecreations.com
    Have a good travel with your family !

  6. Walt June 3, 2016 at 7:09 pm #

    Love the hammock idea. I hope Victoria doesn’t think we should do the same – our little trailer would probably collapse.

  7. Christi June 3, 2016 at 6:59 pm #

    Great idea! Growing up we lived in our pop-up camper for weeks at a time, camping all over the country. As we got older, it became a little too cramped for 4 kids so my parents bought a couple of small easy to set up 2 person tents that we could chose to set up if we wanted too and sleep there instead. The introverts among us usually chose this option.

  8. Patty Mc Clintock June 3, 2016 at 3:23 pm #

    Super Stylish ! Go For It Ryan! Lol

  9. Cindy Thomas June 3, 2016 at 11:53 am #

    I love that you found such a great solution, made your son feel special, AND that it looks like a happy face in the space! Perfect in every way!

  10. lindsey cheney June 3, 2016 at 11:24 am #

    great idea! and ryan is hilarious in those pics at the end! also, the hammock looks like a big old smiley face in the trailer! happy trails! xo

  11. Suzanne (Princapecos) June 3, 2016 at 10:50 am #

    Did Ryan actually pack a drill? If so, I’m quite impressed!

    And there’s an REI in Flag? Had no idea!

  12. suzanne June 3, 2016 at 9:44 am #

    love it! (especially ryan’s sexy model pose in the middle. hilarious!) my kids love reading in their enos. this is a great reading nook for mason. i’m like him, i need my alone time so i can enjoy my together time more. ❥

  13. Robin Ann Apicella June 3, 2016 at 8:44 am #

    In the last frame of the collage with Ryan, the hammock looks like a smile and the cabinet looks like eyes! The airstream loves you upgrades! haha!

    • Robin Ann Apicella June 3, 2016 at 8:45 am #

      *YOUR upgrades. sheesh!

    • Stephanie June 4, 2016 at 4:07 pm #

      I was just about to say that! A happy kind of bed ?

  14. Kelly June 3, 2016 at 8:34 am #

    How clever! And then when you’re camping it can be hooked to a couple of trees for the whole family to enjoy. I love the comment about the airstream smiling. :)

  15. Heather June 3, 2016 at 8:04 am #

    What a great idea! I love following your trip and am living vicariously through you and your family! What fun!

  16. Angel June 2, 2016 at 12:16 pm #

    It looks like the Airstream is happy too. ?? The hammock makes it smile…

    How fun and clever.

  17. Lettie June 2, 2016 at 7:07 am #

    Love it! My kids would be thrilled to sleep in a hammock.

  18. Catherine M. June 2, 2016 at 6:08 am #

    What a great solution! I really (really, really, really) love that you take into consideration your son’s personality and are sensitive to his needs as an introvert. Job well done!

  19. Jennifer June 2, 2016 at 6:08 am #

    My husband is a hammock enthusiast, he will love this :)

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