WARNING!! An Extremely Contagious Camper’s Disease is on the Increase.

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January 22, 2011

After many years of RV camping experience, one thing that I have learned is that many fellow campers and I share a common psychological disorder.  In fact, it is so severe many Psychologists  consider it a disease.

A disease so severe that it is easily transmitted from one camper to another any time they gather together.

I have a name for this disease.  You won’t find it in a medical dictionary or any psychology textbooks that I am aware of.  In fact, I am not even sure it has been officially identified.

I call the disease (or disorder), Tinkeritus.  I  define this as, “The inability to leave things as they are or, more specifically, to leave things alone.”

Every RV we have owned has suffered the effects of at least one of its owners having this disease.  You see, it really doesn’t make any difference how the RV is designed or equipped at the factory.  I simply must make it different – or, as I see it, more efficient and better.

Nancy has caught me on numerous occasions just sitting and staring at something in or on the RV.  She has learned that when I adopt this stance and become quiet that something is going to be built or get changed.  Shucks, it is all part of the fun of owning a camper – making it personal.

The following are only some of the “adaptations” or changes I have made to RVs we have owned over the past decade.  Maybe they are changes or modifications that you can implement?  Or, perhaps they will give you an idea that will lead to yet another different modification?

Anyway – here are some of the results of my Tinkeritus:

One of our recent RVs came with extremely deep drawers in the kitchen area.   You can put a lot of “stuff” in a deep drawer, but when it comes time to find something it all turns into a chaotic mess as you frantically search for that needed item.

I decided that the drawers could be put to much better use by making them “double-decker”.  This involved building a lift-out upper section for the drawer that would sit on strips of wood attached inside the original drawer.  As you can see from the photos, it was something simple to build that gave us a lot more organization and access to our kitchen tools.

My chair sat next to the entry door.  Unfortunately, there was not enough room for a side table to set my coffee or drink on when I was in my chair.

Well, one day while strolling through our local home store I spied a bathroom cabinet that had solid doors and a oak finish that matched our camper trim.  The cabinet was originally designed to hang on a wall with the long opening at the bottom.  I turned the cabinet upside down, flipped the doors so the knobs were at the top and added a piece of solid Oak for a top.  To finish things off, I screwed in some gingerbread trim to keep things from sliding out of the space that was now the upper shelf.  It not only worked as a small chair-side table but made an excellent cabinet to store our DVD’s.

The bedroom was in the back of the trailer and with a queen bed in the small space there was not enough room for a make-up table for Nancy.  She wanted something that was near the window so that she could use the natural light when applying her makeup.  But, with no room for a permanent table another approach was needed.  Once more a few pieces of solid Oak were purchased from the home store and glued together to form a 24″ x 15″ table top.  I used the fold down supports identical to the ones on the TV shelf that came with the camper.  Nancy could flip up the table, arrange her cosmetics, take advantage of the sunlight and still have more than enough room to slide in and out of the bed.  When we broke camp she put her cosmetics in an adjacent cabinet and we folded the table down against the wall.

We needed storage space in the living room area for extra sheets, blankets and pillows used on the couch-bed and the dinette when we had guest in the camper.  To solve this problem we bought a wicker style clothes hamper.  It was actually pretty ugly and the padded top just didn’t get it.  So, Nancy use a can of spray paint to give the hamper a nice matching color and I made yet another Oak top to replace the flimsy plastic padded one that came with the hamper.  The bonus was we also gained a very nice table that could be placed against the slide wall or next to the sofa.  It looked great and provided storage for all of our guest linens.

I always worried about leaving cash and valuables in the camper when we were gone.  Friends had shared stories about thieves breaking into their camper and stealing their wallets, cash, jewelry or whatever when the occupants were off to the pool or beach.   After evaluating all of the usual hiding places in the camper I decided any place I came up with could also be imagined by determined thieves.  My solution was a locked metal box bolted to the floor.  The lock on this particular box was extremely strong, the hinges were welded and the box itself was double wall with a fireproof liner.  I am sure if someone spent enough time and exerted enough effort with something like a pry bar that they could eventually get it open.  But that would make noise, take time and attract attention – something thieves do not usually want.

This next mod occurred in one of those intense moments of Tinkeritus.   We had stopped to look through a roadside yard sale when I spied what looked like a brand new Kitchen-Aid garbage disposal.  The price was $10 and all of the parts were there.  I bought it without knowing exactly what I was going to do with it, but that made no difference because it was such a bargain.   A few days later I decided to install it in the camper.  Now, I have never seen a camper with an in-sink electric garbage disposal.  But, it seemed like a good idea, so I wrestled with some pipes and wires, put a switch on the front of the counter and we had a garbage disposal.  As it turned out, it was one of the best kitchen accessories you could ask for.  We didn’t use it to grind up all of our garbage, but disposal of residue from dirty pots and pans or peeled potatoes was greatly simplified.  Problems with the gray tank?   None!

The remaining mods I want to share are pretty self explanatory and should not need my lon winded description.  They all turned out to be valuable additions to our camper and made life on the road much more enjoyable.  Completing them also gave me something to do that was related to the camper during the long, cold winter when we could not get out.

The camper where these mods were made is gone.  Two trailers later I am still dreaming up mods.  In fact, there is one in my workshop right now that I need to get back too.

Happy Camping Trails to All!

Shelves added to overhead cabinet for stacking dishes.

Shower soap holders used to organize remote controls.

Wireless thermometer (about $10) used to monitor refrigerator temperature.

“Key” between wooden wheel elevation blocks to keep them from sliding.


Coffee Maker installed INSIDE a cabinet to save counter space.

Leave a Reply


  1. Great article with lots of great ideas. I especially like the ideas of the bathroom cabinet and turning it upside down for a side table and the make up table.

  2. Mike Kieber

    Leave it to the Professor to come up with a newly named disease…..I know both Randy & Lee, and yes, they both have this disease….Randy has SO many mods to his trailer. It IS awesome! So is his truck!!!!

  3. Lee Pravitz

    I share that disease with Randy, just not to his extent. I’ve seen his RV. AWESOME

  4. Patti

    Hi! My husband shares this same disease. We just didn’t have a name for it, and now we do! I love the photos…what creative, great ideas for the rest of us. Thanks for sharing them, and this is one disease I hope they never find a cure for!

    Happy Tales, Patti

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