Grab a handle. Pull a pulley. Hear an alarm. Feel the airflow. Step on steps. Find your glasses. Open the hanger. One by one, these Mini Mods make a 10X10 impact.
Welcome to the fourth 10X10 Mod Tournament. Please review the following ten mini-mods and vote for your favorite.
We will announce the winner next week. For more information about the 10X10 Mod Tournament, including how to enter, click here.
1. Bill Billyard, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Roof Grab Handle For Ladder Safety
2000 Dodge Ram 3500
2008 Palomino Winter Creek 115RS
Our new to us 2008 Palomino Winter Creek 115RS came with a rear awning. Unfortunately that meant the rear ladder did not go all the way up to the roof. When making the transition from the ladder to the camper roof, there was nothing on the roof to grab and hold on to for safety.
We determined that a shower handle, designed for folks who are unsteady on their feet in the shower, would do the trick as a ladder-to-roof grab handle.
We bought an 18-inch stainless steel shower handle from our local home improvement supply company for less than $20. Then we screwed it onto the roof directly above the ladder.
The shower handle gave us something to hold onto as we transitioned from the ladder onto the roof. It has worked out very well for us and makes it much safer to get onto the roof.
It took about 15 minutes to complete this mod and cost me less than $20. In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is easy.
2. Steve and Tracy Schuster, Superior, Colorado
Bed Making Pulley System
2015 GMC 3500
2012 Lance 992
From the first day in a truck camper, I have looked for a way to make the bed without having to crawl up and scramble around to try and get the sheets and blankets to look nice once the bed is made.
I made a bed-making system by adding a pulley to each side of the headboard and then ran a cord through it that is twice as long as the overhead bed space.
I then sewed small fabric hoops on the sheet, blanket, and comforter. They are about 2-inches down on the underside of each, approximately where they hit the edge of the mattress.
Next I tied a S-shaped carabiner to one end of the cord. To make the bed, you hook the fabric hoops of the bedding on the carabiner when the sheets are at the end of the bed. Then pull both cords together to raise the sheets up and make the bed. I made a video to show how it works in action.
We used the new bed making system for the first time during our last trip. It works well most times. Sometimes the comforter and sheets, which are really a bit too long on the sides, end up staying on the edge of the mattress and looking a bit sloppy. When it does work, it’s great.
It’s not an instant, push-button solution (which would be even better) but it does keep me from having to get up and down off the bed (and all of the contortions it takes to spread the bedding nicely) to make it each day.
One note is that we use polar fleece sheets which likely makes the system harder to use. If you have cotton or linen sheets, this would work even better for you!
After I figured it out, it took only about one hour of actual work and cost me less than $15 for the pulleys and appropriate hardware to install them. In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is easy. If you can sew, use a screwdriver to remove the headboard, and add the pulleys, it’s an easy mod.
3. Bill Haynes, Denver, Colorado
Porta-Potty As Auxiliary Tank
2006 GMC 3500HD
2018 Wolf Creek
This is not a mod per say, but rather a way for RV flush toilet and holding tank systems to gain the dump anywhere convenience of cassette toilets.
Boondocking and truck camping go hand-in-hand. Having the convenience of a cassette toilet means you can stay out longer by easily dumping black and grey water into National Forest or BLM pit toilets, or just stopping at any public bathrooms to dump. With a RV flush toilet and holding tanks, you are forced to find dump stations.
I found a way to add cassette toilet dumping convenience by carrying the 2.6 gallon tank from a Dometic 970 porta-potty. The 2.6 gallon tank is very compact and fits into the outside generator compartment on my camper. There is also a 5 gallon tank that would work equally well.
I used a Camco Hose Coupler (model 39163) on the end of a standard sewer hose. The Camco Hose Coupler is tapered and it happens to fit perfectly into the opening of the porta potty tank. That means no splashing or spilling.
The front of the tank has a window to see when it is full so there is less of a chance of overfilling. The tank has a carry handle and a swivel tube to direct the flow, and cap to seal it up.
There are of course waste tanks you can purchase for just this purpose but they are large, cumbersome, and usually need to be tied to the outside of the camper.
Since I already had the portable toilet, this solution saved me money. Of all the probable tanks I’ve seen, none are as compact or have the swivel tube making dumping a breeze. You just have to be very careful not to overfill it or you’ll have a messy problem on your hands – literally!
The downside is, at 2.6 gallons, it will take a few trips to get the job done. When boondocking for extended periods of time, things take more work. If it keeps me out there, it’s worth it.
It took me no time to complete this modification and cost me about $20 for the coupler. I already had the portable toilet. If you need the portable toilet, add another $100. In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is easy.
4. Ray and Brenda Fair, Hopkinton, Massachusetts
Acurite Thermomenter to Monitor Basement Temperatures
2016 Silverado 3500
2015 Eagle Cap 850
I have been a snowbird for the better part of three years. A question that I have asked myself each year before heading north is, “Should we winterize?”.
For my peace of mind, I found a quick remedy by using an Acurite Digital Refrigerator/Freezer Thermometer (model 00986) with wireless dual sensors.
The Acurite system includes a thermometer display unit with two digital readouts and two wireless sensors. The magnetic thermometer display is placed inside the camper and powered by two AAA batteries.
I have placed the two Acurite sensors in the camper basement; sensor one near the water pump and accumulator, and sensor two near the dump valves.
The display on the thermometer display unit provides the current temperature recorded by both sensors, along with the highest and lowest temperature recorded by each sensor since the batteries were installed. A clear button (CLR) is also provided so you can reset the high/low temperatures at any time.
The wireless range is up to 165 feet, so you could theoretically have the digital read out panel in your house if your camper is parked in your driveway.
A programmable alarm (that transmits every 30 seconds) notifies you audibly and visually when the temperature exceeds the minimum/maximum temperature range that you have set. If your basement gets to a certain temperature that you have pre-set, you will know that it is time to turn on the heat or winterize.
The current price of the Acurite is $39. It took me five minutes to read the instructions, and three minutes to install it in the basement. The ease of this mod is a no brainer.
5. Charles Coushaine, Punta Gorda, Florida
Adjustable Silverware Drawers
2001 Ford F350
2012 Chalet DS116RB
The kitchen drawers in our Chalet truck camper are all unique in width and depth. Finding a silverware tray to fit the inside of our non-standard drawers is nearly impossible. Buying one close enough in size assures you that there is precious space that is wasted. I wanted something that was not only adjustable to fit all the different knives and fork sizes, but also utilized 100-percent of the available drawer space.
I decided to custom-fit my drawer divider right into the drawer itself. This started by measuring the depth of the drawer and then cutting two pieces of oak to that size.
Then I added 1/4-inch wide dados spaced along the entire edge. Once finished, I fitted them into the drawer and measured across the opening across the 1/4-inch wide dados, Then I cut some matching aluminum bar stock (this could also be wood if you like) to form the dividers. The aluminum bars hold the wood pieces in place so there was no need to do any gluing or nailing to secure everything in place.
This mod has worked out perfectly. My wife can now decide which dado each aluminum divider goes into based on the size/space each piece of silverware needs. The adjustability is excellent, and assures that the drawers utilize 100-percent of the available space.
It took me two hours to complete this modification and cost me $20. In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is medium.
6. Jodie Ramsey, Madison, South Dakota
Screen For Air Flow In Cabinets
2012 Chevy Silverado 3500
2014 Adventurer 116DS
The clothing in our cabover cabinets were damp to wet in the morning from condensation. I placed some moisture absorber buckets on the shelves as a possible solution, however, I was always worried about the contents spilling as we traveled.
As a child, I remember my father installing soffits under the eaves of our home and thought that might be something to try. Originally I thought of cutting holes in the base of the cabinet and installing the round soffit covers found at hardware stores. With that potential solution, I was concerned that items would be covering those vents which would negate their purpose. I also thought items could catch and tear on the rough edges of either the cut cabinet or vent cover.
My attention then turned towards the front of the cabinetry and how to create airflow there.
Between the cabinet doors were small veneer panels which were easily removed by plying the staples out of the back. Now to find something safe and simple to fill that area.
At the hardware store we looked at floor register covers, chicken wire, and even roof gutter screens. None of these possible solutions were what we wanted. Then I hit upon a brilliant idea – plastic canvas for crafts.
I cut the plastic canvass to match the size of the veneer I had already removed. To apply it, I used packing tape to hold it in place and stapled it.
The mod looks like it was factory installed. Airflow into the cabinet is improved and we no longer have damp clothes in the morning.
It took me less than one hour to complete this modification and cost me $1. In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is easy.
7. MJ and Keith Pharmer, Scotland, Connecticut
Lots of Northern Lite Storage
2004 GMC Sierra
2014 Northern Lite 10.2
We were preparing for a ten week trip to Alaska. We wanted to maximize our storage, but still have a clean non-cluttered truck camper.
We did some kitchen organization before our trip. Light weight wood was used to make shelves in a large open space over the sink cabinet.
Baskets were added for trash bag and sponge storage under the sink.
Drawer organizers were added to make a two-tiered space in the drawer.
A magnetic knife holder was added to the wall next to the stove.
It took me two hours to complete this modification. It was cheap because I used scrap wood. In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is medium. You need an expert for measuring and shopping for storage solutions.
8. Kathy Dresbach, White, Georgia
Storage For Reading Glasses and Remotes
2015 Ram 3500
2016 Eagle Cap 1165
I wanted a place to put our reading glasses and/or remote controls.
I took a piece of fabric and folded it to look like the template in the picture.
Then I sewed the fabric on the two ends and some in the middle to make a pocket. It stays in the seating area using two T-pins.
The finished mod is perfect. It even fits the tiny DVD player remote.
It took me 20 minutes to complete this modification and cost me nothing because I had scrap materials and the T-pins. In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is easy.
9. Jim Goodrich, California
Coat Hanger Extension For Screen Latch
2006 Chevy 3500
2009 Lance 1191
I got this idea from friend and fellow TCM reader, Maggie Karam.
When stepping down the stairs of our side-entry camper, we need to open the screen door slide panel to open the screen door, which is at ankle level. Awkward!
We used a metal coat hanger (preferably plastic coated) to create an extension to the screen door latch. Drilling a hole through the slide allows you to secure the upper end of the hanger rod and allows you to operate the slide without binding the slide or rod.
The hole through the slide should be about 50-percent larger in diameter than the rod’s diameter. Drill the hole directly above the end of the latch handle when the slide is in the closed position.
On the latch end, drill a hole big enough for the rod end to easily slip through (one drill size larger than the rod diameter). Cut the hanger to a length. That will allow it to reach from the end of the latch handle to the top of the screen door slide with the slide all the way open, plus about 2 1/2-inches.
Make two small 90-degree bends in the lower rod end and slip the rod end through the hole from the inside toward the outside of the screen door. This secures the lower rod end to the latch. It’s easier to assemble if you unscrew the latch handle from the door.
After attaching the lower rod end to the latch handle, you can then slip the upper rod end up through the hole you drilled into the screen door slide. Then reattach the latch to the screen door. Finish the job by screwing a large wire nut on the upper end of the rod. Now, just push down on the wire nut and the screen door latch releases.
This works great. It took about an hour to complete this mod and cost essentially nothing because I already had a coat hanger. In my opinion, the skill level of this mod is easy.
10. Mike and Kathleen Oliver, Sierra Vista, Arizona
Haul Master Step Stool Adaptation
2007 Dodge Ram 3500
2015 Lance 1052
We, along with our Pomeranian dogs, found it a bit difficult to step up into our camper with the factory step alone, especially when using leveling blocks on the rear of the truck. The distance was too high.
I purchased a Haul Master step stool/working platform at Harbor Freight on sale for $19.99. As purchased, the step is over 13-inches tall, so I drilled out each of the rivets holding the rubber feet, removed them, and cut 3-inches off of each leg. I then re-installed the feet, drilled new holes, and riveted them in place.
After the first trip out, we learned that the aluminum surface is rather slippery when wet, so I installed non-slip tape strips.
The resulting step is a knee saver. The dogs have no trouble going in and out of the camper, and I use it to access my higher outside storage areas.
It took me one hour to complete this modification and cost me $25. In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is easy.
Disclaimer: The modifications above are submitted by Truck Camper Magazine readers. It is your responsibility to make sure that any do-it-yourself modification project you undertake is safe, effective, and legal for your situation.
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