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Truck Camper Mods

10X10 Mod Tournament 6: Mini-Mods

Get ready for mini mods with major impact including basement thermometers, iPad pockets, boot trays, window treatments, bed makers, jack adapters, and something called a fiddle rail.  Don’t miss 3M Command Hooks gone wild!

10x10 July Mini Mods

Welcome to the sixth 10X10 Mod Tournament.  Please review the following ten mini-mods and vote for your favorite.

We will announce the winner next week.  Click here for more information about the 10X10 Mod Tournament, including how to enter.

Click here to vote for your favorite 3 mods from this month’s contest.

1. Bill Harr, Stockton, California
Quick On and Off Jack Solution
2005 Toyota Tundra
2013 Four Wheel Camper Hawk

I have a Four Wheel Camper pop-up on a half-ton truck. I do not drive around with the camper jacks on and wanted a faster way to put the jacks on and off.

Quick Disconnect camper jacks Davies Thermoplastic Four Arm knob

I purchased a Davies Thermoplastic Four Arm knob (pack of 10) on Amazon for $14.90.  I also bought eight 2.5-inch, 3/8-bolts and eight flange nuts from Ace Hardware $4.98.

I replaced the stock camper jack bolts with the longer 2.5-inch bolts.  I used the flange nut upside down so the flange went against the jack bracket on the camper (see pictures).  I tightened the flange nuts so that they stay in position when the camper is not on the truck.

Quick Disconnect Camper Jacks

My Four Wheel Camper is light weight and cannot be entered unless the floor is supported in a truck bed.  When I demount the camper, I only lift the camper enough to drive the truck away and then lower the camper onto a dolly.  I only use two bolts on each corner.  If your camper is heavier, you could do three on each corner and use Grade 8 bolts.

Quick Disconnect Camper Jacks connected

This modification has been a great improvement.  It saves me at least 20-minutes when putting the jacks on.  The total cost was less than $20, and the modification took less than an hour to do.

In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is easy.  Anyone who can turn a wrench can do it.

2. Dominick Trentacosti, Fort Wayne, Indiana
Monitor Basement Temperature With Digital Thermometer
2016 Ram 3500
Arctic Fox 811

Temperature Gauge Readout

I wanted to know what temperature the basement tank area was when we’re camping.  To accomplish this task, I installed a Qooltek Digital LCD Thermometer with a three foot cord.  I routed the thermometer to the furthest place from the heat source for the basement tank area.  If that location is warm, the entire basement should be warm.

Temperature Gauge On Tanks

The Qooltek Digital LCD Thermometer works beautifully.  It gives me a very accurate temperature reading, and peace of mind that the tanks are not going to freeze.

It took me a half hour to complete this modification and cost $9.58.  In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is easy.

3. Tracy and Steve Schuster, Superior, Colorado
Hanging iPad Storage
2015 GMC 3500
2012 Lance 992

I got tired of moving my iPad and my husband’s iPad around.  I wanted to keep them out of the way when not in use, but easily accessible when we wanted them.  I also hated putting them in a drawer or somewhere where something could be set on them and potentially damage them.

IPad Pocket Back Of Dinette Seat

I bought some fabric and some Flex-Foam from Walmart’s fabric section.  After some measuring, I found that a piece of fabric that was 25-inches long and 19 1/2-inches wide was needed.  I also needed a piece of Flex-Foam that was 9-inches by 15 1/2 inches.

IPad Pocket Design

I sewed the fabric around the Flex-Foam and created a pocket slightly shorter than the iPad with a long (not foam lined) tongue at the top.

IPad Pocket Hangs Back Of Dinette Seat

The tongue serves a dual purpose.  First, it’s folded over and behind the seat back and cushion to hold the iPad pocket in place in the camper.

IPad Pocket Tucks Into Dinette Seat

Second, it folds over the top of the pocket for protection while carrying the iPad outside of the camper.

IPad Pocket Folded

Now the iPads are out of the way, but right where we need them.  The portable protection was an unforeseen bonus.  I actually did not set out to make this mod (I was altering a new purse to have an iPad place) but I should have done it long ago.

IPad Pocket Back Dinette Seat Hanging

It took me about thirty minutes of sewing after an hour of planning and measuring.  The mod was less than $4 for each holder.  In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is easy, if you know how to sew.

4. Ray and Brenda Fair, Hopkinton, Massachusetts
Boot Tray To Keep Mud, Grass, and Leaves Off The Floor
2013 Silverado 3500
2015 Eagle Cap 850

An ongoing battle was keeping our truck camper’s floor clean and free of mud, grass and leaves that were brought in on the bottom of our wet sneakers and boots.

Boot Tray To Keep DIrt Out

This was resolved with the purchase of a $2 large plastic serving tray (23-inches by 18-inches) that was purchased at a local Walmart.

The tray was placed just inside of the door where sneakers and work boots are placed after entering the camper.  The tray helps keep the floor of the camper cleaner.

It took me no time to complete this modification and cost me $10.  In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is easy.

6. Jodie Ramsey, Madison, South Dakota
Window Coverings For Privacy, Temperature, and Light
2012 Chevy Silverado 3500
2014 Adventurer 116DS

During our travels across the United States and Canada, we have experienced climate extremes and various quantities of light – both natural and man made.  We wanted a way to keep the camper interior temperature more comfortable, and better manage the outside light for sleeping.

Window Covering Pieces

The first mod we did was to purchase some windshield screens to use between the glass and privacy panel.

Window Coverings In Action

That helped keep us cooler in warm weather, or warm when we camped in the cold.  We also cut a piece of a windshield screen to fit in the Heki skylight.

Window Coverings With Towel

As we journeyed to Alaska, we encountered daylight throughout the night.  We had some dark colored towels with us on the trip and used snack clips to fasten them to the valance.  That created instant darkness/night in our camper.

Window Coverings for darkness

This has been a wonderful mod.  It helps to keep the camper cool in the hot sun, and dark and comfy for sleeping.  If we want to open a window, we can refold the windshield scree and reposition the clip on the towel.  Everything is temporarily installed.

It took me minutes to complete this modification and cost me almost nothing.  In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is easy.

7. Jim Goodrich, California
Fiddle Rail
2006 Chevy 3500
2009 Lance 1191

Our Lance 1191 has a shelf above the hanging wardrobe closet beside the bed.  Things we store up there inevitably slide off the shelf onto the bed.

Fiddle Rail Without Separator

During our sailing days we had the same problem. Shelves would empty on each tack.  The solution on boats is a simple device called a fiddle rail.

Fiddle rails are usually made of a wooden rod or slat that spans the gap on the shelf.  Fiddle rails can be secured permanently or removable to blocks on either side of the shelf.  When in place, the rail blocks items on the shelf from sliding off.

Fiddle Rail Nook

I made a fiddle rail for my problematic shelf using a piece of 1-inch by 1/4-inch by 48-inch poplar that can be found at Lowes or Home Depot in their lumber section.  To make the end pieces, I cut three 3-inch long sections for each end block.

Using one section, I cut it to make an L that is about 1/4-inch wide at the side and bottom.  Then I sandwiched the L between the other pieces and glued them together.  I added a fourth 3-inch section to give the end piece a little more strength.  The thicker part of the end block will face out.

I used a rough sandpaper (80 or 100-grit) to even up all the layers and to round the upper corner (facing the slat) for aesthetic purposes.  I trimmed a section out to suit my tastes.  See photo of end block (below).

Fiddle Rail Separator

Then, I drilled two holes through the back of the L to secure the block to the wall.  I counter-sinked the holes so the slat doesn’t hit the screw ends.  I cut the slat so that it fit between the L blocks positioned temporarily against each wall.

The slat may be too thick to fit into the block’s slot.  That’s okay because you will sand the end of the slat later to make it thinner.  Don’t force the slat into the block slot.  The final slat length should be about 1/4-inch less than the span between the Ls.

I sanded the last 3-inches of each end of the slat so that the slat easily slides into the L slot in the block.  The sanding should taper from 3-inches from the end to the end.  Next, I finished sanding the blocks and slat (220-grit sandpaper, at a minimum).

We have cherry wood finishes on our camper so I stained the blocks and slats to match the surrounding cabinetry, followed by varnishing with satin-finish spar varnish.  Then, I screwed and glued the blocks into the walls at the sides of the shelf.  To secure items on the shelf, I dropped the slat into place in the blocks.

8. Pete Ward, Hernando, Florida
Quick Bed Making Solution
Ford F350
2009 Arctic Fox 811

Making the bed in our Arctic Fox means that we have climb over the bed with each sheet pulling them ahead of us.  We wanted a better solution.

I installed two small closed-loop hooks at each corner of the headboard and put small alligator clips on a light bradded line.  I ran the line through the eyelets and doubled the leading of line needed to reach the head of the bed from the bottom.  I added plastic blind pulls as a stopper to the other end of line.

Then, I tucked the sheets in at the bottom and clipped the front corners of the sheets with the alligator clips.  I pulled the sheets to their respective corners.  With a little practice you can do both the bottom sheet and cover sheet at the same time.  Now I just tuck in the bottom sheet and the bed is made!

We have used this modification on our last two trips and it has made it much easier to make the bed.  You only have to climb on the bed once.  The strings lay alongside the mattress.

It took me less than an hour to complete this modification and cost me $5.  In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is very easy.

9. Drew Milwrick, Greenbush, Michigan
Adapter For Manual Jacks
2008 Chevrolet Silverado
1997 Sunlite Eagle WT

I have manual jacks to lift and lower my camper.  I made an adapter so I could use a power tool instead of a hand crank.

Jack Adapter Piece

On my jacks, I found a 22mm, deep well, 6-point, 1/2-inch drive socket fit close to the diameter of the crank shaft coming out of the jack.  I then cut a slot in the socket 3/16-inch wide and 1/4-inch deep so that it would fit around the pin on the crank shaft.  If desired, more than one slot could be used.

Jack Adapter Connection

Now I can use my 1/2-inch drive battery impact wrench or an adapter for my corded or cordless drill.  The mod works well to raise and lower my camper.  I use it mostly at home for loading and unloading camper.

Jack Adapter Mechanical

It took me less than one hour to complete this modification and cost me less than $5.  In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is easy.

10. David Fradkin, Effort, Pennsylvania
3M Command Hooks Everywhere
2017 GMC Sierra 3500
2017 Lance 975

We are taking our Lance 975 on a four-week trip out west.  We’ve never taken a trip of more than four or five days before.  While planning our adventure, we realized we wanted more storage space and the ability to have things stay in place while we drive without taking up cabinet space.  We also wanted easier access to the slide-out dinette.

Command Hook Shoes

To accomplish this goal, we used 3M Command Velcro Strips to attach elastic netting to open wall space.  We attached lunch bags to 3M Command Hooks near the entry to hold shoes, small umbrellas and other outdoor gear.  These bags are not in the way of the slide when it is retracted.

Command Hook Bathroom

We also installed a net for bathroom supplies that don’t fit into the built in closet.  Below that is a wooden tray attached to the countertop to hold daily bathroom items.  I used 3M Velcro Strips to hold this, allowing easy removal when needed.

Hold Items Behind Dinette

Cargo nets were attached with more 3M velcro command products to the wall of the dinette near the USB outlet.  These hold our phones and tablets when they charge.  Again, they are secure while we move.

Command Hook Netting

In the bedroom we have a hanging three partition cargo net to hold socks, tee shirts, shorts and bathing suits.  It hangs from – you guessed it – 3M Command Hooks.

Cell Phone Holders At Night

I also have cell phone netting that is usually seen in automobiles.  That is to hold our remote for the television and stereo and my cell phone.

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I highly recommend 3M Command products.  I use them for everything that needs attaching, and without concern about later removal.  They make hooks of different sizes and weight rating.  There are also velcro strips with peel and stick tape; again of different sizes and weight ratings.

Kitchen Storage Area Hooks

The 3M Command mods are working out great.  We’ve been able to load much more stuff than ever before.  Everything we need is at our fingertips and we have more room to move around in the camper.

It took me four hours to complete these modifications and it cost me less than $100.   In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is easy.

Click here to vote for your favorite 3 mods from this month’s contest.

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.

Enter Your Mods Now!

Click here if you’d like to enter a modification you’ve done on your truck camper.  You can enter as many mods as you want, at any time.  Good luck mod makers!

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