Monday, July 23, 2012

That Ain't Stock #1: Misc Mods


2010 Rockwood Freedom 1960 LTD

We bought our 'Pup in February and almost immediately started camping and stocking it with all those amenities that every camper needs (15 marshmallow roasting sticks? Check!)  As we went along we realized that it's not just the stuff you put in the camper that matters, but also how you make it your own over time.  So, I thought I'd take an opportunity here to list out some of the 'mods' we've done to make our little home-away-from-home a little, well, homier.

A whole new meaning to "bed roll"
One of the first things we did after our first few trips was to 'upgrade' the standard mattress.  Sure, it's fine if you're only out for a night and you don't mind sore shoulders in the morning, but RDB and I have a Tempurpedic at home, and nothing even comes close to that!  We bought a 4" memory foam queen mattress at Wally World on one of our trips and RDB took very careful measurements, then cut it to fit.  We kept the original camper mattress and lay it out on top when we set up camp - when we strike, it gets rolled up (like wrestling an alligator!) and stored on the floor for travel.  Overall, it's probably the second best thing we've done for ourselves comfort-wise.


Silver reflectors on bunkends = one cool camper!
The first best thing we did for our camping comfort was install our Gizmos. (Get them here)   These are radiant barrier/reflective coverings that fits perfectly over the bunkends.  You can see in the photo (right) how they lay over the top and have straps to secure them under the bunks (ours are the Super High Wind kind - thus the straps).  In the photo above, you can see from inside the bunk how they provide an immense amount of shade.  It probably knocks the temperature inside down a good 10-15*, which means the A/C doesn't have to work as hard to maintain a comfortable temperature.


Baby, it's cold outside... yeah right.



So, you ask, just how do I know it's 10-15* cooler with the Gizmos? Because this little Coleman thermometer key chain somehow jumped into my basket on my first trip to Outdoor World.  It stays affixed to the shepherd pole on the spare bunk and gives us a quick reference to what the inside temp is.  And no, I don't have one for outside - cause I just don't wanna know!


And, talking about keeping things cool - what's up with the stock "ice box" in the place where a fridge really should be?! Our very first mod was to remove the wanna-be fridge and replace it with an old dorm fridge that we weren't using at the time.  RDB had to cut out the opening just a bit wider to make room for it, but for the most part it was a perfect fit.  We don't have it permanently mounted (not sure why not) so when we strike camp, it gets pushed back in to the cubby that surrounds it and held closed with bungee cords.  Held partially closed, I should say - as we noticed after the first go-around, if you shut it completely and moisture is trapped inside with no place to evaporate to, and then store your 'pup in the nice and warm garage, you create a wonderful environment for growing the cure for cancer.  So, when we close up shop we rig the door partially open using a fly swatter.  I also store our only glass camping items in the fridge when we travel - the coffee pot and two coffee mugs.


No, Diesel Dog Doberman is not a 'mod' to our camper... but he sure is a great tag-a-long!  What he's modeling for us is the indoor-outdoor carpet that now replaces the mattress in the second bunk.  Less than $20 at Home D-P-Oh for a piece larger than I needed and cut to fit.  A few staples at the corners and around the edges keep it in place.  Right now, with just the 3 of us camping, we only use the extra bunk for storage, and the carpet just gives it a nicely finished look.  (Also, the 'tent crate' you see Diesel in is collapsible and stays on the bunk when we strike camp.  I'm afraid he'll probably have outgrown it by the next time we camp, though.)


Guys, we know, when you're camping, you're not supposed to care about how you look.  But, Guys, you gotta know, we need that mirror.  That quick glance just to make sure we don't have marshmallow goo on our noses.  My remedy was a sticky backed non-glass mirror (car parts store). Attaching it to the door panel was the best spot, as it doesn't interfere with putting the door up for storage, or the panel down for a breeze, and its just the right height for a quick glance.  One other quickie with my door mod - I got really tired, really quick of always grabbing the window panel to shut the door (ours is a 2 piece door, so the handle is about knee height when you're inside).  Velcro and a bathroom handle fixed that.  It's not the strongest fix, so it may get re-worked, but for now, it's a back saver from crouching over to close the door!

One project always leads to another: That Ain't Stock #2: Removing Jump Seats

19 comments:

  1. What a brilliant series you've created here. Hope you get lots of exposure. I'm not camping and I so enjoy your wit and insight ( course I am your mom).

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  2. Very nice mods! Gotta love camping -- Worse day camping is better than the best day at work. Hope you all enjoy the pup!!!

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  3. Nice page! (bookmarked!)

    Love the Dobie (had a big dobie growing up- great dogs!).
    Looking forward to hearing more about TX campgrounds (we're near New Orleans).

    LouisianaCamper




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    1. We sure do love out Pup, and our Puppy! Check out the blog every Friday, I post Park (P)reviews every week!

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  4. Love the mirror on the door! We have a little dollar store mirror with a handle that doubles as a stand, but it is difficult at best to use for contacts! I will be stalking our auto parts store for something similiar! Thanks for sharing

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    1. I'm thinking it may have been at my Wally World that we got the mirror, so check the auto parts section there, too!

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  5. Great ideas....Thanks. I am amazed at what inventions and rig-ups my camping Daddy used to create that are now in stores! Campers are so ingenious!!!!

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  6. so does the memory foam go over the camper mattress or under? are you rolling up the regular camper mattress?

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    1. We put the foam down first (so it's underneath) and then roll the regular matteress. The foam is too wobbly to try to roll up every time.

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  7. Your articles make whole sense of every topic. www.findmeatent.com

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  8. I have the same Rockwood pup. I pull it with a Honda Element. Am in the process of "customizing" it. Took out the bench next to the queen bed and put in an rv toilet and used a hospital curtain track on the ceiling for a privacy curtain (for during the day when everything is open)....also took out the refrigerator and put in two shelves with baskets for storage on the inside and added a door to the outside rear for outside storage. Don't know how to add pictures. I am making this an all electric camper. I tell that this is a one bedroom suite.

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  9. Old camping trick for keeping the cancer cure at bay is to crumple up newspaper, not the glossy adverts, and put the crumpled up newspaper in the fridge. It will absorb the moisture and keep the mold out!

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  10. I would move the sink / refrigerator next / under to the cooktop and fit a wet cell / shower, Porto potty in instead. The dinette could fold flat down into another bed if needed - otherwise a likable concept for no frills go camping idea. - cheers !

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  11. Such easy great ideas! Love the carpet idea and the bed roll. We are going on our maiden voyage this weekend in our newly purchased 1998 palamino. Can't wait. Did some minor renos and she is in excellent shape . Wish us luck and thanks

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  12. I want more and more articles and blogs please post soon such informative information.

    Big Dawg Tactical

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  13. love all your tricks and tips..we downsized from a travel trailer 14' all electric , now have an 8' Coleman Taos (very basic), We have lots of pets, no sitter and ours are too numerous and loud to be campground friendly. We will be mostly camping at a little community park/fishing pond area about 10 miles from our house. This allows us to come home 1x daily to feed/check on the zoo. Unfortunately, we purchased pop up without seeing inside, previous owner had lost keys, pushed to edge of big yard (next to woods). Probably you can guess what we found after 2 yrs. of not being opened. After ordering keys and opening our new prize, I have dubbed it the "Mouse Palace". 3 live mice with nests in both beds, canvas was totally destroyed and pee/feces odor, too intense to even save canvas for a pattern. Only about a sq foot here and there that did not look like swiss cheese. Not in budget for a new canvas, toying with idea of converting to hard side after we remove bed slides. Anyone with experience in this? ALL input appreciated...even if you tell us we are CRAZY..lol Thanks

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    1. I have an 74 Apache hard side pop-up, and a we got a Viking ,The canvas was bad, so I removed top and canvas . After some research, I framed sort of a super teardrop/casita hybrid that the door actually angled on the lost space of the tongue. The street side of tongue I built like a lazy Susan for camp stove and sink as well as external shower hose and at bottom was my shore hook up for electrical, my inverter and charge controller so all that stayed locked when I and dogs picked . With care for tongue weight, the fridge and solar battery went over axels. Like a teardrop, the rear had a big pullout drawer at bottom, next the couch and sla top that the bed that rolled out with a tent end or if need, a 3 PC. Hard cover. I took it to a hurricane zone in Florida, and two hut soon after the first si dogs and I were very busy. We spent some 6 months in it despite its light weight, it was comfortable for its simplicity .I had several offers for it well before we left and it found a new home with another first responder . I've since tweaked the basic first one a little, and as time permits I build usually one a year . They sell before I'm finished! My advice is to have some fun, and not complicate the rediscovery of your camper. Go a little slower so you don't later wish you'd done things differently . My house is not even 300 sq ft, so my needs for camping are surely different than yours ! I suggest you consider what you miss, or what makes staying at a in- laws house better and put that in your design. My little Pop up redo has become a great pleasure to see someone else seeing 100 amps, and all the complicated set up of modern you haulers takes from the whole Idea of "getting away". My little "Packy-Dorms are each a exploration of space, simplicity and form following function . They are few, but if one shows up at a disaster, I get a flood (punny word choice right?) Of calls.One recently went to Puerto R so I'm going to get feedback on what works on that one, and what can be improved .Heavens to Betsy if one, as few as I have built, shows up at a disaster the dogs and I are at, everyone will be talking until dawn when we should be resting .but it's an awesome way to keep respect for old school but still have instant friends that help me figure out what's going to happen in the next one! Have fun, and hope to see what your heart dreams up,and meet you where people wear deet, not the latest celebrity perfume,and the 3 second rule still stands unless my dogs best me too it! I'll be at the "Rocklahoma" this year so get your dreams rolling and meet us there .thanks, Free Range Possum!

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  14. We added memory foam to our bunks as well but we don't roll them or the the mattress. There is likely plenty of space to leave in place. Try the tissue box test.

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