Miscellaneous Hardware

I’ve previously found many motorhome-specific fixtures and fittings to be on the flimsy side - more than likely driven by manufacturers’ understandable desire to save weight. Things like coat hooks and tea-towel holders etc are heavily-used items, and though I understand that weight mounts up quickly, I believe that chrome-plastic and other lightweight budget fittings are generally pretty unreliable and will always spontaneously snap or otherwise fail at the very most inconvenient moment. Accordingly, when it’s come to adding in the bits and bobs that make life aboard more convenient; like hooks, hangers, and rails, I’ve used decent quality stainless steel fittings where possible. These have been sourced locally from high street and industrial park retailers and usually at a reasonable cost. We may have added an extra handful of kilos doing it this way but I reckon the solidity and generally improved aesthetics are worth the trade-off.

Storage

During the initial construction we built in many cupboards / lockers / shelves etc and these generally served well. Extra storage space is a nice luxury and makes life on the road a more pleasant experience. We’ve found that knowing where stuff is, and being able to get to it without having to lift piles of other stuff out of the way, is definitely something worth pursuing. It may seem like a small deal to have to move a cushion and lift a locker lid to get to something but when it’s cold, raining and things aren’t going so well, it’s amazing how irritating having to go through the same process for the twentieth time that day can become.

In the quest for enhancing storage facilities: the area surrounding the entrance hatch under the rear bed was always dominated by the LPG bottles and though there was lots of space, it was in awkward places. To resolve how best to claim it was one of those (many) jobs that took lots of idle pondering before the best / simplest solutions slowly emerged. Once they did, and mainly thanks to Alan’s accurate board cutting work, the difficult space of the entrance-way has now been tamed and the storage enhancements are now a full 3D reality.

The built in furniture is not the whole storage story and we have also fully utilised some of the standard LD features such as the external rear storage lockers and the area behind the cab seats etc. To assist in keeping things organised we have made extensive use of Really Useful Boxes and I freely admit I have something of an obsession with these things. They come in loads of sizes, can be used with or without lids, and stacked if desired. As well as being brilliant for storage they are also strong enough to be used to sit / stand on. So useful are they that in constructing some of the furniture, especially around the rear hatch entrance-way area, the furniture dimensions themselves were dictated by the sizes of RUBs we had decided would best suit our purposes. Tail wagging dog!

Another fairly useful storage solution - especially for small items like mobile phones and keys - are elasticated vinyl pouches. These can be bought from the high street and come with a really strong double sided tape mounting system. Accordingly, as long as you have a suitable surface, no screw holes need to be made. We use them in the cab as well as dotted around in the habitation box – they are simple and they work.

Junking HGV Requirement Stuff

Once we had managed to get the truck officially recognised as a motorcaravan there was no longer a legal requirement for sideguards and under-run protector. The sideguards were never particularly in the way but did add extra weight. The rear under-run / entrance step was different though and compromised the truck’s departure angle. Being able to legally remove both opened up some new possibilities for simple innovations. Steve again stepped in with his metal fabrication skills and helped out by making my designs a tangible reality. He fabricated some simple stirrup style steps to enable easy access to the garage area and an altogether more elaborate swing-up style solution for the rear entrance steps. These pivoting steps are particularly pleasing as they perform two useful functions. When they are in the ‘down’ position they are very solid and are perfectly angled to allow an easy entrance / exit from the hatch, and when in the ‘up’ position they provide an effective security grill over the rear hatchway and can even be locked in that position if we deem it necessary. In spite of the effectiveness the design is, once again, reliant on simplicity, is all manually operated and - in the spirit of reducing waste - incorporates some of the bushings / locking pins formerly used in the sideguard kit. An added bonus is that the rear end looks much cleaner and is no longer compromised in ground clearance terms by a low-hanging permanently fitted under-run.

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