If you're the director of a camp or any other kind of overnight housing facility, chances are you'll be purchasing furniture and bunk beds at some point.
When that time comes, you'll need to make a decision between metal and wood. In order to make an educated buying decision, it's worth taking a look at the way each material can work in different ways for your camp.
We've made that education process very easy by providing a collection of what we think the biggest pros and cons are for wood and metal furniture.
Pros for Wood Bunk Beds and Furniture
Wood furniture has a warm, rustic appeal that's perfect for camp settings. The traditional aesthetic of beautiful wooden bunk beds provides an immersive camp experience that both kids and adults love.
Wood bunk beds aren't just pretty; they're also incredibly sturdy. They're heavier than metal beds, which means there's less of a chance that unattended campers might decide to have some fun and move the beds when nobody's looking. (Hey, it happens.)
It may not seem like much more than an inconvenience for campers to rearrange the beds and build a fort or a maze, but if they ended up blocking the entrance or exit to the cabin, this could quickly turn into a dangerous situation that would leave your camp liable.
In that situation, heavier, sturdier beds are a major benefit.
What about the cons?
As lovely as wood furniture is in a camp cabin, it's not all marshmallows and fireflies — it has its cons. One of those cons is that wood furniture is easier to vandalize. We've all seen camp bunk beds marked up and carved with notes like "Kate + Joe" or "Tyler was here" or "Sydney is AWESOME!" Wood is easy to color and carve, and once it's been vandalized, it takes a lot of sanding and painting to return it to its original beauty.
Another potential con of wooden bunk beds and furniture is that they have a much larger footprint than metal furniture does. This is only a disadvantage if you have limited space. With wood furniture, plan to squeeze fewer beds into each cabin.
Pros for Metal Bunk Beds and Furniture
Metal bunk beds are bed bug proof. They offer no place for bed bugs to hide and nest. This is a huge relief for camp directors who don't want to risk an infestation that could end with them sending campers home at the end of the week with bed bug bites — not to mention the major task of getting rid of the bed bugs that are crawling in those bunk beds.
The powder-coat finish on metal bunk beds makes them considerably more resistant to scratching and chipping than wood bunk beds are. Campers will have a much more difficult time carving their initials into a Platinum Metal Bunk Bed than they would into a bunk bed from the Hampton Collection.
In addition, UV rays don't discolor metal bunk beds and furniture. (That's another point for the durability and resistance of metal!)
If you're planning to move your beds and furniture around at all, you may appreciate that they're lighter than wood. Assembling, arranging, and moving metal bunk beds is much easier than working with wooden beds. Even cleaning can be considerably less challenging if you're moving beds around the room in order to wipe the floors beneath them and scrub the walls around them.
What about the cons?
The main advantage of wood beds is also the main disadvantage of metal beds. While wood bunk beds look cozy and inviting, metal beds can look militant or institutional. However, keep in mind that once your campers arrive with their colorful sleeping bags and pillows, this institutional look will quickly disappear. You can also easily set it off by outfitting each bed with blankets, pillows, and other bedding accessories.
So, what’s the verdict?
I know what you are asking: In the end, what does it all mean? Should I get wood or metal bunk beds for my camp? It depends on exactly what you need! If you are looking for something easy to move and clean, that’s resistant to bed bugs and difficult to damage, then you want the durability of metal bunks for your camp. But if you prefer a more cozy, inviting look and a sturdier, heavier build then you want to hardy, traditional wooden bunks. Luckily for you, we have both and can help you either way!
Want to know more?
There's a lot more to know about camp furniture, bunk beds, and mattresses than we can compile into a single blog article. If you're not sure where to go from here, we want to help. Here's what we've found other camps across the country like to buy:
Editor's Note: This blog was originally published on 10/11/17 & has been updated to include more recent information.