Welcome to the fifth entry in October’s Medium Mod Contest. One Medium Mod will be published in every Email Alert in October At the end of the month, we’ll hold a reader vote to determine October’s winner. Click here for information about the 2021 Mod Contest, including how to enter.
Ben Hutchings, Salt Lake City, Utah
Pet Steps To The Cabover
2020 Chevrolet 3500HD
2017 Wolf Creek 850
Our smaller dogs have a hard time getting into the cabover bed from the camper’s floor. I built these steps to give them a safe way to get up and down without potentially hurting themselves. It’s sturdy enough that my shorter wife can also use it to get up to the bed.
For the project, I started with a piece of cardboard to plan the layout. Once I had settled on a design, it was simply a matter of cutting the boards to length and drilling the pocket holes.
After that was all done, I assembled the frame and added the steps. After a dry fit to make sure that I measured and assembled everything correctly, I added a dowel to the top step. The dowel will fit into the hole for the countertop extension, which we’ve never used. The dowel helps to hold the stairs in place and provides extra stability.
At that point, I used my sander to round over each edge and corner for safety and comfort. Then, using double-sided carpet tape, I attached pieces of a doormat to the tops of the steps.
Finally, I trimmed them to size. I got carried away and took a chunk out of the lower step – oops!
The final step was to install it in the camper and have the small dogs give it a test run.
After the first couple of times, the dogs have had no issues using the steps to get up and down from the cabover bed. This is a much safer option for them and reduces the stress on their legs and joints from jumping off such a height.
My wife and I can also use it since the majority of the weight is transferred down to the access step, and it doesn’t rely on the support for the countertop extension, except for lateral stabilization.
The carpet/mat provides a limited-slip surface for dog paws which also increases their comfort and safety while using it. The best part is that it’s easily removable to access the water pump and electrical systems under the step or to access the pass-through window. It just lifts out of the way.
The materials were all purchased at Home Depot; 1-inch by 3-inch, and 1-inch by 6-inch common pine boards, pocket hole screws, double-sided carpet tape, durable doormat, 5/8-inch dowel, and wood glue. The tools I used were a saw to cut boards to length, pocket hole jig, utility knife and a sander.
It took me four hours to complete this modification and cost me about $50. In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is easy to medium due to pocket holes, which are not necessarily common.
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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