Truck Camper Mods

10X10 Mod Tournament 9: Mini-Mods

Step-up the dinette, reach the vent, tension those towels, extend the awnings, hold the hats, stick the Airtabs, velcro the screens, and more!  The mini mods make another huge 10X10 impact.  Pick three and vote now.

Mini Mods October 2018

Welcome to the ninth 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.

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

1. David Fradkin, Effort, Pennsylvania
Dinette Step Up
2017 GMC 3500
2017 Lance 975

My wife and I found it difficult to step up into the dinette slide inside our Lance 975. Our old Lance 1161 had a ledge that was very helpful to step up into its dinette. The Lance 975 does not feature this helpful step.

Dinette Step Up Lance 975

I created a step for our Lance 975 with a piece of 2×8-foot wood on hinges and some spare plastic fence post material as support. I stained the wood with deck stain I had laying around.

When we travel, I fold the wood down and stow the supports under the dinette. Then I close the slide. When we open the slide we lift up the wood and place the supports under it.

Dinette Step Up

I cut an angle into the step to make more room when walking past it. I banged my shins a few times before thinking of this. I also applied felt padding to the angle to cushion a blow – just in case.

This mod has worked out wonderfully. We no longer have to grab on to the table to pull ourselves up while swiveling to get our butts into the dinette seats.

The modification took me one hour, not including waiting for stain to dry. It cost me $20 because I found the hinges on the clearance rack at Lowes.  In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is easy.

2. Craig and Karen Grisham, Mukwonago, Wisconsin
Stove Vent Cover Tool
2005 Dodge Ram 2500
2005 Northland Koala 850

When the camper was loaded on the truck, I could not reach the stove vent cover to latch or unlatch it. I made this tool to reach the stove vent cover when the camper is on the truck.

Stove Vent Cover Tool Reach

I use a cleaning kit for a gun to clean out the fresh water drain tubing on the camper. I thought it would be ideal for adapting this same tool to open and close the latches on the stove vent cover.

Stove Vent Cover Tools

The tool has multiple sections I can use to extend the reach. All I had to do was attach something that would grip the latch. Then I could open and close the latch without pulling out a ladder or step stool. I cut a pencil eraser and adapted it with a pistol cleaning piece.

Now I pull to open, and push to close. It works very well.

Stove Vent Cover Tool Open

This gadget is very lightweight, separates for easy storage, and can be used for multiple purposes. It took me ten minutes to complete this modification and cost me $10 for the cleaning kit.  In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is very easy.

3. Mike Borrego, Pine, Colorado
Paper Towel Holder Tensioner
2005 Ram 3500
2008 Host Yellowstone

After a day of driving, I would find an entire roll of paper towels on the floor.

Paper Towel Holder For Camper

The paper towel holder is a plastic wall-mount holder designed for RVs. It can be removed by sliding it off the base that is screwed to the wall.

Bungee Paper Towel Roll

To fix the problem, I drilled a small hole on the center of each end of the holder. This hole corresponds to where the power towel tube sets. The I took a small bungee cord and bent the hooks on each end at a 90-degree angle.

Paper Towel Roll Secured

I thread the bungee cord through the paper towel’s cardboard tube and hook the bungee to the holes drilled in each end. This puts tension on the sides of the paper towel roll so that it won’t unroll while driving.

Paper Towel Organization

The length of the bungee can be adjusted for the proper amount of tension so the roll will still turn when pulling on the roll to tear off a towel. It also prevents the entire roll from being on the floor when you arrive at your campsite.

The mod has work great! Since I completed this mod, a paper towel roll has never unrolled or hit the floor while traveling.

It took me one hour to complete this modification and cost me $2.00.  In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is easy.

4. Steve and Gloria Lymer, Toronto, Ontario
Awning Extension
2011 Ford F350
2013 Arctic Fox 811S

We wanted to get a little more area out of our rear power awning to be covered, but still have the breezy option available.

Awning Extension Out

We had a custom zippered tarp made that slides into the extra slot in the awning roller tube.

Awning Extension Bar

The slot is identical to the type that is typically used for the outside wall of an RV add-a-room.

Awning Extension Zippered Piece

One half of the zipper is very low profile and stays on when the awning is rolled in. This zipper makes it extremely easy to set the tarp up and very quick to bring down when the winds pick up enough that the awning must be brought in.

Awning Extension Zippered Together

The extension provides a little more shelter against, rain, sun and wind. The outside panel rolls up when you do want the breeze.

Awning Extension Screen

It has worked out very well and stores easily. I am very happy with it.

Awning Extension Tarp

It took me 20 minutes to measure my tarp for the order. The custom zippered tarp was $230 Canadian.  In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is hard, unless you are a tarp maker. If you get the tarp made as we did, it is easy.

5. Ronald Reimer, Lexington, Kentucky
Airtabs Added To Camper
2014 Chevrolet 1500
2017 Lance 650

Airtabs have been used on larger vehicles with some modest, but discernible benefits.

Airtab Installation Lance 650

To start the installation, I washed my camper. Then, I used a ruler to mark Airtab placement lines. After that it was peel and stick for each tab around the rear edges of the camper.

Airtabs on Lance 650

I am just back from a 8,200 mile and 45-day trip. The buffeting from semis and wind gusts are almost eliminated. I gained approximately a half-mile per gallon. The rear view mirror visibility in rain is improved. There is no noticeable mist. It is worth it just for the buffeting.

It took me two hours to complete this modification and cost me $161.  In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is easy.

6. Kevin Mooney, Nimpo Lake, British Columbia
Shower Head Relocation
2014 Ford F350
2006 Okanagan 106UDB

The shower stall in our dry bath camper is a decent size by RV standards. I stand 6’2” tall, so it still felt small to me.

The factory location of the shower head was about a foot in front of my face. That was most annoying because I do not like holding the shower head while showering.

Shower Head Original Place

Based on reviews and the reported 30-percent water savings, I bought an Oxygenics Shower head. It was an easy installation. All you do is unscrew the old shower head and screw on the new one.

Even with the Oxygenics, I was still literally faced with a shower head blasting water a foot away from me. I got looking at the spare 60-inch hose and mounting bracket that I didn’t use – and it suddenly came to me.

Shower Head Relocation Spot

Why not run the extra hose down the shower rod and mount the shower head on the opposite wall? This puts the shower head about two to three feet away.

There is still an on/off button on the shower head so, once you have your temperature set, it doesn’t matter where your shower head is mounted.

The only extra part needed was a 1/2-inch threaded nipple to join the two hoses together. I put up the new shower mount with the included sticky pads and paradise was found.

Shower Head With Soaps

The new shower head location is infinitely better now. The shower stall isn’t any bigger physically, but it sure feels bigger, which makes for a much more enjoyable shower experience. It’s well worth the time and money.

My wife even gives it two thumbs up, though she prefers baths. A clawfoot tub would be a most interesting camper mod.

It took me a half hour to complete this modification and cost me $50, including the shower head.  In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is easy.

7. Roger Odahl, Vancouver, Washington
Velcro Screen over Escape Hatch Window
2008 Dodge Ram 3500
2004 Eagle Cap 950

We wanted to improve air circulation in the cabover of our Eagle Cap 950. When we opened the driver’s side window and the overhead vent, we were still lacking good cross flow air.

Emergency Exit Screen Latch

The passenger’s side window in the cabover is the escape hatch. It has two red latches to open this window, but there’s no screen. Once opened, it’s a magnet for letting in bugs, especially at night when you have reading lights turned on.

Emergency Exit Screen In Eagle Cap

I knew a screen over the window was the obvious answer. Naturally, a screen is not difficult to push or kick out of the way in case an emergency exit is necessary. For added peace of mind, I would use velcro.

I had to figure a way to keep the window pushed open. I used a 1-inch wide by 1/8-inch thick piece of aluminum about 7-inches long. Then I drilled a 5/8-inch hole and used a square file to make a square hole to fit over either one of the red latches that presses against the window frame.

Emergency Exit Screen

At Home Depot I purchased a 36-inch screen kit along with a screen and a roller to fit the screen to the frame. I cut the framing to 30-inch wide by 22-inch tall and installed 5-pound strength velcro strips. They are about an inch long on both the left and right side. I applied them top and bottom. The top frame didn’t need the velcro.

Emergency Exit Screen In Place

This mod has worked exceptionally well to create a much needed cross flow of air. I pull the screen from the frame, slide it to the right, open both latches, slide the aluminum piece over the latch and reattach the screen to the velcro in under a minute.

It took me about two hours to complete this modification and cost me under $25.  In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is the skill level for this mod is easy.

8. Chuck and Jodie Ramsey, Madison, South Dakota
Hat Holder
2012 Chevy Silverado 3500
2014 Adventurer 116DS

Too Many Hats In Camper

We travel with lots of hats; baseball caps, cowboy hats, rain hats, and even anti-bug hats. With the number of hats we own we needed an easy way to store them. So, we made hat racks.

I went to Home Depot and bought two coat/hat hooks; one for each of us. Before I installed them, I changed the direction of the curve of the top prong on the hooks. I bent them down slightly. This modification to the hook was done so the crown of the hat would rest on more surface area. It will also not leave a dimple in our hats from the top of the hook.

Hat Holder Hook Into Valance

We first considered attaching the hooks to the side walls using removable sticky tape to the coat/hat hooks. The wallpaper started to pull from the weight of the hooks, so we scraped that plan.

Knowing we would need a more secure attachment point, I screwed the hooks into the valance over our dinette window. I installed one hook on each side.

We hang our baseball caps from the lower prong of the hook and then layer our full brim hats on the top hook.

Hat Organization In Camper

The hat rack has worked out very well. The hats are far enough out of the way for when we’re sitting at the table, but are in easy reach when we want to wear one.

It took me less than an hour to complete this mod and cost under $10 for two hooks and the screws.  In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is easy.

9. Ray and Brenda Fair
Fresh Water Inside and Outside
2016 Silverado 3500
2015 Eagle Cap 850

When we’re truck camping, we try to do as much as possible outside. That includes cooking and washing dishes. Rather than carry water from inside the camper or use the outside shower head, we get water from the camp faucet without disconnecting the truck camper’s water hose.

Brass Y Water Fitting

When setting up camp, a brass “Y” water fitting is installed on the water post. One side of the “Y” is connected to the camper’s water hose. The other side of the “Y” is connected to an unused (never used for its intended purpose) black tank cleaning nozzle. When water is needed for any reason, we just turn the black knob.

It took me less than an hour to complete and cost me about $11 for the cleaning nozzle and brass “Y”. In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is the skill level for this mod is easy.

10. Kathy Dresbach, White, Georgia
Motion Lights in Closets
2015 Ram 3500
2016 Eagle Cap 1165

Motion Light In Closet

I wanted light in the closets throughout my camper. I purchased motion sensor and puck lights from Amazon. I pulled off the glue strip off the back and stuck them up. It was easy!

Motion Light Back Plate

The motion sensor lights have been great! We’ve had to replace the batteries every few months, but that’s it.

Motion Puck Light In Closet

It took me a few minutes to complete this modification and cost me the price of the lights.  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!

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

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