It's me, RDB and our Diesel-dog out exploring the world - or at least, the world of Southern Texas. We started our adventures in a pop-up camper and recently up-graded to a travel trailer named Honey. Camping, geocaching, mountain biking, and always looking for the next great adventure!
Monday, July 23, 2012
That Ain't Stock #1: Misc Mods
2010 Rockwood Freedom 1960 LTD
We bought our 'Pup in February and almost immediately started camping and stocking it with all those amenities that every camper needs (15 marshmallow roasting sticks? Check!) As we went along we realized that it's not just the stuff you put in the camper that matters, but also how you make it your own over time. So, I thought I'd take an opportunity here to list out some of the 'mods' we've done to make our little home-away-from-home a little, well, homier.
A whole new meaning to "bed roll"
One of the first things we did after our first few trips was to 'upgrade' the standard mattress. Sure, it's fine if you're only out for a night and you don't mind sore shoulders in the morning, but RDB and I have a Tempurpedic at home, and nothing even comes close to that! We bought a 4" memory foam queen mattress at Wally World on one of our trips and RDB took very careful measurements, then cut it to fit. We kept the original camper mattress and lay it out on top when we set up camp - when we strike, it gets rolled up (like wrestling an alligator!) and stored on the floor for travel. Overall, it's probably the second best thing we've done for ourselves comfort-wise.
Silver reflectors on bunkends = one cool camper!
The first best thing we did for our camping comfort was install our Gizmos. (Get them here) These are radiant barrier/reflective coverings that fits perfectly over the bunkends. You can see in the photo (right) how they lay over the top and have straps to secure them under the bunks (ours are the Super High Wind kind - thus the straps). In the photo above, you can see from inside the bunk how they provide an immense amount of shade. It probably knocks the temperature inside down a good 10-15*, which means the A/C doesn't have to work as hard to maintain a comfortable temperature.
Baby, it's cold outside... yeah right.
So, you ask, just how do I know it's 10-15* cooler with the Gizmos? Because this little Coleman thermometer key chain somehow jumped into my basket on my first trip to Outdoor World. It stays affixed to the shepherd pole on the spare bunk and gives us a quick reference to what the inside temp is. And no, I don't have one for outside - cause I just don't wanna know!
And, talking about keeping things cool - what's up with the stock "ice box" in the place where a fridge really should be?! Our very first mod was to remove the wanna-be fridge and replace it with an old dorm fridge that we weren't using at the time. RDB had to cut out the opening just a bit wider to make room for it, but for the most part it was a perfect fit. We don't have it permanently mounted (not sure why not) so when we strike camp, it gets pushed back in to the cubby that surrounds it and held closed with bungee cords. Held partially closed, I should say - as we noticed after the first go-around, if you shut it completely and moisture is trapped inside with no place to evaporate to, and then store your 'pup in the nice and warm garage, you create a wonderful environment for growing the cure for cancer. So, when we close up shop we rig the door partially open using a fly swatter. I also store our only glass camping items in the fridge when we travel - the coffee pot and two coffee mugs.
No, Diesel Dog Doberman is not a 'mod' to our camper... but he sure is a great tag-a-long! What he's modeling for us is the indoor-outdoor carpet that now replaces the mattress in the second bunk. Less than $20 at Home D-P-Oh for a piece larger than I needed and cut to fit. A few staples at the corners and around the edges keep it in place. Right now, with just the 3 of us camping, we only use the extra bunk for storage, and the carpet just gives it a nicely finished look. (Also, the 'tent crate' you see Diesel in is collapsible and stays on the bunk when we strike camp. I'm afraid he'll probably have outgrown it by the next time we camp, though.)
Guys, we know, when you're camping, you're not supposed to care about how you look. But, Guys, you gotta know, we need that mirror. That quick glance just to make sure we don't have marshmallow goo on our noses. My remedy was a sticky backed non-glass mirror (car parts store). Attaching it to the door panel was the best spot, as it doesn't interfere with putting the door up for storage, or the panel down for a breeze, and its just the right height for a quick glance. One other quickie with my door mod - I got really tired, really quick of always grabbing the window panel to shut the door (ours is a 2 piece door, so the handle is about knee height when you're inside). Velcro and a bathroom handle fixed that. It's not the strongest fix, so it may get re-worked, but for now, it's a back saver from crouching over to close the door!