We have a lot of storage space in our pop up. In fact, you might remember I did a post here about how we added doors to our dinette storage area so we could access the space easily. How could we possibly need MORE storage space, right? Well, after our two-week road trip, we realized that a lot of things were getting left in storage totes in the back of the car. We knew we wanted to keep food out of the camper, especially after our close encounter with a grizzly in Yellowstone, but there were other things that didn’t necessarily need to stay in the car. We just didn’t have a good place inside the pop up to keep them. I’d seen how a lot of campers had modified a couple of tension shower curtain rods and wire shelves to make a pretty neat shelving unit for their pop ups, and I thought that just might be the solution for us, so we decided to give it a go. Here’s how we did it…
- 1 – 6 ft length of 12″ wide wire shelving (or two smaller pre-cut shelves)
- 2 lengths of slotted upright brackets (we used 30″ uprights)
- 4 – 12″ locking shelving support brackets
- 2 hose clamps
- 2 packages of closet pole sockets
- Rubber end caps
- 2 self tapping screws (We used 1 1/4″ length)
- 2 – 48-60″ tension shower curtain rods
- Plastic epoxy (or double sided automotive tape)
First, you’ll want to make sure your camper is set up and level. You need to install these shelves when the camper is perfectly level all the way around.
Then we decided where we wanted to put the shelving unit. Since our shelving unit was going to be primarily used for toiletries and shower bags, we wanted the shelves to be close to the sink. It worked out best for us to place our shelves over the cassette toilet. We decided to place the first shelf high enough that the toilet could still be used in an emergency without removing the whole unit. Once we decided where we were putting the shelves, Mr. TypeTwoFun stretched both of the shower curtain rods to the highest position the roof could accommodate. He put the sockets on both ends, and he used his level to make sure everything was level.
Then he traced around the outsides of the sockets so he could place them correctly. To place the lower sockets, we simply screwed them into the wooden counter piece. The top sockets were a little trickier. We have an ABS roof, and we weren’t sure we wanted to drill into that. If you don’t have an ABS roof, you could most likely just screw in the top sockets as well.
But because we didn’t want to use screws on the ceiling, we decided to use epoxy instead. To attach the top socket, Mr. TypeTwoFun first traced around the outside of it. Then he used a very small amount of MEK on a cotton swab and cleaned the area inside the pencil line. If you get MEK anywhere on the roof, it will whiten it, so be very cautious. Once the MEK was dry, we mixed some plastic epoxy up and applied it to the inside of the pencil circle. Then we lined the socket up with the pencil outline, stuck it on the roof, and used the tension rod to apply pressure while the epoxy cured. You could also use double sided automotive tape if you prefer.
While the epoxy was curing, Mr. TypeTwoFun used a grinding wheel to cut our shelves to size. It was cheaper for us to buy one long shelf and cut it to the necessary size. We cut our shelves 26″ long, and then we used the end caps to cover the cut edges. If you don’t have a grinding wheel, bolt cutters should work just fine.
To attach the upright track to the tension rods, you will need to extend the tension rods a bit. You are going to insert a self-tapping screw through the track and into the top of the rod. You want to make sure you are going through the outside pole only, so extend the rod a few inches. Mr. TypeTwoFun lined up the track and drilled a screw through the track and the top of the tension rod.
To attach the bottom of the upright track, Mr. TypeTwoFun used a small hose clamp. You want the bottom pole to move freely, so you won’t use a screw there.
The support brackets have “teeth” on them that feed into the upright track. Make sure that you don’t tighten your top screw and hose clamp too much or you won’t be able to get the teeth into the track. Once you’ve got your track attached to your tension rod, you are ready to install your shelves. We inserted our support brackets into the track before placing the tension rod in the sockets.
When we inserted the tension rod into the top socket, we extended the bottom of the rod until it fit snugly in the bottom socket and twisted the rod to lock it into place. Next we added our shelves and checked to make sure everything was level.
At the last minute, I decided the shelving unit would be a perfect place to hang a roll of paper towels, so we picked up these supports for a hanging bar. They were really cheap, and I just used a leftover piece of 3/4″ wooden dowel painted white to finish the project. Now I don’t have a roll of paper towels floating around the campsite. We know where they are at all times… which is important when you’re camping with kids.
I’m really happy with how the whole project turned out. We plan to use the upper baskets to hold our shower bags, and the middle drawer units for toiletries. Each family member will have a drawer with all of their things inside. It will make getting ready in the morning (and at night) so much easier, especially when we are on the road for awhile.
We were a little concerned about how sturdy the shelves would be, especially with kids taking things off them all day. We tested them a bit and were pretty rough with them, but they stayed in place, nice and tight. Of course, I’ll remind the kids to be gentle with them anyway, but I don’t have any fear of the shelves coming down on the kids while they are brushing their teeth… and that was a concern when we started the project. Yeah, so… I’m a little paranoid when it comes to my kids. 😉
When we are ready to fold up the camper, it takes just a few minutes to take the shelving unit apart. Just pop off the shelves, release the tension on the rods, and remove the rods from their sockets. We store everything on the dinette bed, and it fits quite nicely.
And there you have it! Pretty easy, right? Of course, this isn’t the only way to use the wire shelving mod in your pop up–I’ve seen so many great mods on Pinterest—but this is what worked best in our camper. Have you done this mod, or another shelving mod in your own pop up camper? Post your mod below… or even better! Post a picture on my Facebook page! I love to see how creative everyone is.