Five fellow truck campers turn their wide open wardrobes and front cabover cabinets into efficient storage solutions. Stop stacking stuff and wasting valuable storage space. Here’s how to pack more, and better.
Far too often, truck camper storage area areas are presented as open pits. You open a wardrobe or cabinet and discover a large open space; no shelves, no drawers, no way to fully utilize the void.
Fortunately, we have phenomenal mod makers among us who see opportunity in these wasteful holes. With plans, tools, and materials in hand, these empty chasms are transformed into versatile storage solutions.
Ready to conquer your camper storage caverns? Here are some fantastic ideas.
1. Wardrobe Closet With Drawers
Submitted by: Wanda and Keith Webb, 2007 Chevy 3500, 2009 Lance 981
The entire closet in our cabover was devoted to hanging storage. We don’t carry a lot of hanging clothes, so the closet was being underutilized.
We wanted to use more of this space and free up other areas in the camper. To accomplish this, we came up with a sliding drawer area.
The goal was to take the existing closet and divide it into two areas; one for hanging clothes, and one for shelves that would allow for pull-out baskets. Ideally, the drawers and baskets would be easily accessible.
We determined the dimensions of the closet selves by the dimensions of the baskets we selected. After measuring the length, height, and depth of the available space, we started planning the rest of the project.
I started by removing the mirrored door of the wardrobe to make the area easier to access. You could probably do this modification with the doors in place. We also removed the clothes rod and hardware.
I used 3/8-inch plywood, however, 1/2-inch plywood might have been a better option. I used 1 1/4-inch x 1 1/4-inch, eighth-inch thick aluminum angle.
I cut the aluminum angles and used two at the bottom to fasten the wall to the floor, and two at the top to fasten to the top of the closet. I used another aluminum angle to fasten to the back of the closet.
I then loosely placed all of the aluminum angles so I could fit them all in. I would tighten them after the install was further along. The aluminum angles are for the wire racks to sit on.
I cut the angle aluminum 2-inches shorter than I needed. This left a 1/2-inch gap to allow for the lip of the wire rack. This also keeps the wire rack from moving and makes the drawers easier to remove.
Next, I installed the wire shelving. I cut the wire shelving to the needed width. Home Depot had it in the proper depth already. The wire shelving had plenty of strength and stability.
For this project I used Pop-brand Jack Nut inserts. I used a 016-187 grip range with a 10-24 thread. Jacks Nuts feature a threaded insert that has to be used with a tool to set the Jack Nut, which is close to a Molly bolt in function.
That allows Jack Nuts to be fastened to thin walls. I found them at a fastener company like Fastenal.
I then cut the clothes rod to the new length and reattached it to the new wall using the same attachment piece that I took off.
Before starting the project, I recommend thinking about what you want to designate each shelf for and find the baskets ahead of time for planning. People should also consider the number of shelves they want.
I like the results. I wish the bottom basket was deeper because we keep dirty clothes in it, but it’s been great.
The project took me four hours, including staining the plywood. The materials cost $50. In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is hard. Sitting on the bed and building this in the cabover was tough. If you have issues with tight spaces, then it could be more difficult.
2. Penguin Drawer and Pull Out Shelving Added
Submitted by: Mike and Kellie Nyholm, 2008 GMC 3500, 2015 Host Mammoth
I think, “To gain additional storage” has to be in the top three answers to “where are you going with that tape measure”?
Above: The closet next to the bed before the storage modification
Our first long-range, multiple-state trip challenged the capacities of the single-pole closet on each side of the bed.
This storage modification was a no-brainer. First, I ordered four (two for each side) unfinished raised panel cherry doors to match the existing doors. I found white wire basket bins on glides that barely fit the inside of the cabinet opening.
Then I reversed the swing of the factory mirrored door, modified the valance so the door swings more than ninety degrees, and stained and finished the doors. I matched the hardware and utilized unclaimed areas for a total of three storage areas on each side. The pole is gone!
Above: The closet storage area finished – click to enlarge
I think the factory should consider this option. Kellie loves it. It maximizes storage and minimizes looking for that other shoe.
It took me 16 hours to complete and cost $350. I got the unfinished raised panel doors off the internet. The hardware and baskets came from a local hardware store. The pre-finished cherry cabinet flat panel (used for the shelves and support the glides) came from Home Depot.
In my opinion, the skill level of this mod is hard. It was also stressful because our camper was brand new and we were punching holes in the cabinets.
3. Easy Closet Organizers For Light Items
Submitted by: Peggy Sego, 2005 Dodge 3500, 2011 Lance 992
I did not have enough space for clothing in our camper. There is a small hamper on one side of the bed, and a large hamper on the other that I have to hold open.
I bought two different closet organizers to see which worked best. The one with the drawers I found in the baby department at Walmart, and I like it best. These simply hang on the rod and hold lightweight items.
Above: Left side of the wardrobe; two different closet organizers were used in the wardrobe
Above: Right side of the wardrobe; two different closet organizers were used in the wardrobe
This mod has worked out great as I have more folded than hanging clothing. The hanger space is not missed.
It took me five minutes – including opening the package – to complete, and cost $10 each. In my opinion, the skill level of this mod is easy.
4. Shelves and Lighting For Front Penguins
Submitted by: Ray and Brenda Fair, 2013 Silverado 3500HD, 2015 Eagle Cap 850
The Eagle Cap came with three clothes closets. Two are located on each side of the bed and the third above the radio/DVD. The closets are not convenient for storage of clothes that do not require to be hung like t-shirts, socks, and underwear.
The closet heights are about three feet by two feet, thus shelves were needed. Measuring down twelve inches from the ceiling, I attached two pine boards (1x18x3/4) on the sidewalls and a pine board (1x12x3/4) on the rear wall with industrial adhesive for the top shelf. Then I measured below that point attaching three more pine boards (1x12x3/4 on the side and 1x12x3/4 on the rear wall).
Varying the length of the shelves allowed access to the lower portion of the closet for shoes, sweatshirts, etc. At the local box store, I purchased a white wire rack (8 feet x 3 feet) that had a one-inch lip. The wire rack was cut to match each shelf and then installed with the lip pointing up. Hardware supplied with the wire rack was used to attach the rack to the wooden board. That prevented the rack from moving.
I purchased a lighting system for each closet from American Lighting which contained three puck lights and an accompanying 120-volt transformer with an on/off switch. The first task was to remove and discard the transformer. Next, I mounted each puck with the hardware provided to the sidewall of the cabinet above each shelf. Next, I soldered the on/off switch and mounted it to the top side of the cabinet’s door frame. The lights were wired to the 12-volt light over the bed.
It took me 1.5 hours to complete this modification and cost me about $35. In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is medium.
5. Front Nose Hanging Wire Shelves
Submitted by: Audrey Ruccio, 2008 Ford F450, 2008 Host Everest
Our Host Everest came equipped with a large wardrobe closet across the nose of the camper, in the bedroom. Clothing storage was supplied by three hanger bars that ran up and down the sloping roof.
Not being one who likes to spend time and aggravation hanging T-shirts and jeans on clothes hangers, I devised a simple set of hanging wire shelves for the space. There is room under the shelves for storage bins that easily hold jeans, towels, extra bedding, and more.
The shelves required two pieces of wire shelving cut to length, some small chain, s-hooks, and a few wire ties. This installation can be easily removed by anyone who likes the idea of hanging T-shirts on coat hangers.
Also, be sure to check out Kevin Mooney’s Sliding Mirror Removal and Closet Drawer Installation.
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.