Bump Stop - RV Enthusiast Magazine

Bump Stop

by | Jul 29, 2022 | Pro Tip, RVEXPERT

Swim noodles offer a perfect buffer between the sharp slideout corners and your head. They also have other applications around an RV, including their intended use as flotation devices.

We all love our slideouts, but those corners can be troublesome for people who are too tall or when the room is too low to the ground. I hate to think we need to don hardhats, but I have managed to open my skull twice from crashing into slideout corners, which always win the battle. My altercations were with neighbors’ slideouts and each time the bill of my baseball cap prevented adequate vision to the offending impact point. After the second incident, I went to the Dollar Tree — which, by the way, are no longer stocked with $1 items, courtesy of inflation that’s pushed things to $1.25 — and purchased swim noodles to help my friend cover the corners.

While swim noodles are fun to wrap round your body when floating in the pool, many RVers know they are also one of the most versatile items you can have around the RV. The most popular use for swim noodles is to attach them temporarily to the edges of the slideout corners. All you do is cut a noodle to length and slice it down the middle with a razor knife. Sections are then notched to allow the swim noodle to bend around the corner (which is really easy) — just make sure your hand is not in the way of the cut pathways; razor knives are not forgiving. Once the cuts are made, the swim noodle is pushed over the edges and friction will keep them in place unless it gets too windy, then your neighbors get the swim noodle(s) and you can retrieve it from them.

Person holding a swim noodle while standing near an RV

Swim noodles come in 46-inch lengths (depending on manufacturer) in various colors. Choose a bright color that provides additional safety while serving as a reminder to remove them for travel.

marking swim noodle for the desired measure

Hold the swim noodle along the edges of the slideout to be covered. Length is not critical, so you can eyeball the size.

Front living-room slideouts are the worst offenders since they impede headroom. Even though I know the front slideout in my fifth wheel will clear the top of my head, impacts are still possible when parked on undulating terrain — so I always test the clearance first.

The swim noodle really comes in handy around the sharp corner of the slideout closest to the entryway. When our dog descends the entry steps, this corner barely misses her side, which created too many near misses and possible serious injury. To cushion a possible impact, a section of swim noodle was cut and attached to the top and bottom junction of the corner and secured with hook-and-loop straps. It works great; just remember to remove it before the slideout is retracted to prevent damaging the metal skirting.

cutting swim noodle to measure
cutting swim noodle vertically

After the swim noodle is cut to size, use the razor knife to make a slit in the foam the entire length needed to cover the intended edges. Notch out the locations where the swim noodle will bend around the corner.

applying a cut swim noodle to a corner on an RV

The swim noodle is simply pushed over the edges and will stay in place via friction. Strong winds may unseat and blow one or more of the swim noodle sections into your neighbor’s site. After you chase the swim noodles a few times, you’ll remember to remove them during a windstorm

a swim noodle applied as a bumper to the bottom corner of an RV

Covering the sharp corner of the slideout closest to the entryway provided a buffer against injury when our dog descended the steps.

Swim noodles have several other purposes around RVs. They make perfect packing material to stabilize stored items in cabinets and can be used to prevent scuffing when wrapped around dining table chair legs that are strapped for travel. To restrict movement when on the road, I stuff a short length of swim noodle between the counter and top of the wine cooler and cover the metal buckle for the strap that immobilizes the glass door.

Always keep a few lengths of swim noodle in your storage cabinet. They don’t take up much room, are feather-light and come in a bunch of different colors. And, if nothing else, they are great to hang on to when floating in the pool.

a swim noodle applied as bumper to a chair
swim noodle applied to furmiture as a bumper

Swim noodles can be used for many other purposes, like protecting dining table chair legs from scuffing when strapped for travel. I also use a piece of a noodle to stabilize my wine cooler from unwanted movement while on the road. The swim noodle is simply stuffed between the bottom of the island counter and top of the cooler. A small section of foam protects the metal buckle from hitting the glass door when strapped for travel.

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