Wednesday, February 4, 2015


We are interrupting our  "It Isn't All Peaches and Cream" series for a special first on this site. We are presenting an article written and illustrated by one of our readers - Nancy O'C. We have not turned over a complete article to one of our readers before. We will return to our series with Part 4 in the next article.

Two of our readers - Nancy and Mike O'C. have a great idea for adding storage to their Roadtrek and has agreed to share it with our readers. They have a 2012 Roadtrek 190 Popular (one year newer than ours) and have found a way to create a temporary "shelf". They have called this a "Gear Loft". This will work in a Roadtrek without the front overhead sliding shelf that is an option in some Roadtreks. We have this. It is a shelf with a drop door on the front that is located over the driver and passenger seats in the front of the van.

This shelf slides forward to allow use of the overhead dome lights over the windshield when sitting in the Roadtrek at night. the shelf or perhaps better described as a cabinet adds permanent storage over the front of the Roadtrek. With this shelf we could not use the Gear Loft as described but could use it when the shelf is pushed all the way forward, though this position would cause a problem walking through under it. HOWEVER - without this option in your Roadtrek you will definitely benefit from Nancy and Mike's idea of the Gear Loft!

At this point I turn this article over to Nancy -


The gear loft temporary "shelf" idea comes in handy and takes no room to stash away when you don't need it. You could probably make this work very easily with one large mesh laundry bag and any 4 STURDY bag clips and any 4 SMALL cords.

We used a set of four very small bungee cords - each one maybe about 6-8" long with small black wire hooks on each end of the cords. (We might have found them in a little bag of various sized small bungees near the checkout at Home Depot or Lowes.) They actually stretch a little, so it might be better to just use short pieces of cord to prevent the shelf from sagging too much.

The plastic "bag clips" we used were the kind you find at places like Bed Bath and Beyond. These clips also have a hole in the part of the clip that you squeeze and also there's a rubber surface on the clip end - so it holds onto the Roadtrek's wooden rail without scratching it or slipping off. The hole is handy for attaching the bungee cords to the clips, but if you can't find clips with a hole, you could still do this. You'd just have to attach the cords to the clips some other way.

(NOTE: Even with these sturdy clips that have a strong, flat grip, if you put too much weight on the "shelf" it will sag and can pull the clips off wood rail. The only solution would probably be to find a way to attach the "shelf" to the side rails by using maybe some screw-in hooks that you could loop the cords over.)

Bed Bath and Beyond is also where we had bought a set of three laundry bags (the white mesh kind with a small one and a medium one that you can use to put small washable clothing items in before you throw them in the washing machine and a larger one to store dirty clothes in.) Use the larger mesh bag for the shelf. When you lay it flat, it's a rectangle. It will be two layers thick and maybe about 24-30" long and about 18-24" wide or something like that.

For each corner, I ran the bungee cord through the hole in the clip. Then I ran the wire hook at one end of the cord through both layers of net in one corner of the rectangle.  Be sure to run the wire through both layers of mesh try to include enough of the mesh (and include the seam where it's available) so the mesh is less likely to fray when bearing the weight of whatever you store on it.) Then I used pliers to pinch both wire hooks together - so the cord loop is permanently attached to the net and to the clip.

Just do that for each of the four corners and you're good to go.  You have a double layered net "shelf" with two clips to use on the rails towards the front of the van and two clips to use on the rails towards the back of the van. Just be sure to stretch each corner when you secure them to the side rails so the shelf doesn't sag too much when you start piling stuff on top.

You can fold or roll up the bag with the bungees and clips attached to each corner and store it behind the side rail or in the cabinet above the windshield. When you want to use it again, just stretch the bag lengthwise from left to right and attach the two "front" clips on the wooden rail above the driver's side door and above the passenger side door. Then attach the two "back" clips as far back as you can stretch the "shelf" away from the windshield. You can adjust the position of the clips to make the net nice and taut so it doesn't sag too much.

 We use the smaller zippered mesh bags (that come in the set with the laundry bag) for packing on camping trips or any travel we do. In the Roadtrek, we each use one of the two big upper cabinets above the bed to store our clothes and it was always a hassle to pull out stacks of clothes to try to find what we're looking for. We've got several of the smaller mesh bags (one set for Mike and one set for me) that we use now to keep clean clothes organized - underwear in one bag, rolled up tops in another, jeans and pants rolled up in another. It makes it so easy to stuff more things into the cabinets and pull them out and find what you need. (It's also great to use the mesh bags for packing when traveling with a suitcase. Keeps everything organized on the way and at your destination.)

Hope some of this will be helpful to someone.


Thank you so much, Nancy and Mike!

*The photos that accompany Nancy's text were taken and provided by Nancy and Mike and are used with their permission.


  1. Stayed at hollywood casino parking lot many times in my roadtrek, never an issue. Like the ads say, let it be a van when you need to! Enjoy your articles.. Also have P190.

    1. Thanks for letting me know. They were so definite not to. Perhaps next time...