5. Next, we brought our comfortable office chairs into the camper. We are both tall people with long legs, so the placement of the chairs was all planned out beforehand to make sure we had leg room.
The spacing is just right to be able to sit facing the window to work, with the desk pulled forward about eight inches as shown in the photo above. We can also push the desk back against the wall and swivel the chairs to face the camper’s interior for relaxing or reading. With the desk against the wall and the back of the seat in the corner, I am able to recline as much as I would want to.
6. As you can see from the photo above, we have just enough room on the slide for the chairs. It would not have been possible to leave our outside storage intact without having the extra slide depth from the deep U-shape dinette slide.
Next, we needed a way to keep the chairs from moving around and possibly falling off the slide floor while traveling or sitting in them. We took the two table supports from the center of the slide floor and mounted one under each chair using the original hardware.
Like most office chairs, our office chairs have a center shaft that extends down from the bottom. We positioned the table mounts directly beneath the center shafts.
To keep the chairs from jumping out of their holders, we replaced two of the screws on each table mount with I-bolts that go through the floor of the slide with a fender washer and locknut. The I-bolts allow the chairs to be solidly strapped down.
We do not move the chairs, and they’re in exactly the right position for either working or lounging. When we travel, the chairs are turned back-to-back with a stretch cord between them. The photo above also shows the wiring for the slide, in the background. We repositioned this wiring simply by moving the clips that held it in place.
If we want to eat facing each other, it is a little tight, but it works. We normally bring a folding table with us. Usually, we’re in a campground that has an outdoor table and we prefer that anyway, but this is a good option to have.
Before embarking on this mod, we spent a lot of time thinking about our priorities, and we had decided that comfort for working and relaxing was more important than being able to have an indoor table where we could sit facing each other.
7. We painted the exposed edges of the wood seat-back panels brown and filled in the screw-holes with wood filler.
Obviously, this mod would be nicer without the dinette seat’s back panels, and we realized that removing them would make getting in and out of the bed with the slide in very easy when stealth camping. But, because the storage box is built to fit between those two seat-back panels, removing them would have meant making spacers to put between the ends of the storage box and walls. We decided to start here and try it out.
We can remove these panels down the road, or we can put it back to a dinette very easily. All we would be out is some time and the $35 we spent on the door and stain. None of the new screw-holes we made will be visible when the camper is returned to its original U-shape dinette.
The door weighs about 15-pounds and the chairs average about 40-pounds each. With the removal of the bunk bed and dinette, we think the slide is no heavier now than originally configured.
We just completed a four week trip throughout Montana and Idaho. We found it best to take turns getting in and out of our chairs.
We also discovered that accessing the storage boxes requires that you be smarter than the box (and by the way, the box lids are an unnecessary complication). Those were our only learning curves. Overall, we were amazed at how well it worked, and how nice it was to have a comfortable place to sit for working, lounging, or eating.
It took me 100 hours of thinking and about five hours of doing to complete this modification. It cost me $29 for the door and $6 for some stain. We already had the polyurethane, office chairs, and fasteners. In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is easy.
2. Charles Coushaine, Punta Gorda, Florida
Safer Steps For Side Entry Camper
2001 Ford F350
2012 Chalet DS116RB
My truck camper is in one of two elevations when in use; high when mounted on the truck, and low when it is off the truck and lowered down.