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Camper Cabinets
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    Sue and I ordered our FourWheel Grandby shell camper with few options, figuring that we could build the interior to suit our peculiar camping needs - few amenities, specialized storage for camping gear, strong bins attached securely to the camper for off-road maneuvers, and no wasted space. After using the camper for a year, we felt we were ready to begin building our cabinets, and after seeing Rick Dusch's Fourwheel camper and the storage he built, we knew what we wanted to do with ours.

original interior The camper interior had a seat facing the window, a backless seat in the front, and a small shelf unit with sliding doors on each side of the camper. The seats fold to make a bed that will sleep two friendly people.

    First, we did not want to move the couch to the passenger side because we enjoy looking out the window. This compromised the space available for storage bins, and places most of the camper storage on the driver side of the truck. Careful packing in the utility bed will be needed to prevent load imbalance.
    Second, additional insulation was needed for cold weather camping with no heat source. 1/2" double foil faced polyisocyanurate house sheathing was attached to the walls behind the storage. This insulation will reduce condensation inside the storage areas, and retain heat in the camper.
    Third, we needed to add wiring for lights and radio equipment. This wiring could easily be installed in plastic wiremold behind the cabinets.

    I had a collection of scrap 1/4" and 3/4" birch plywood left from several kitchen cabinet projects. It would not match the oak trim in the camper, but the price was right and the finished birch would not absorb as much light as the darker oak. The back and some sides were made from 1/4" stock, the front, shelves, doors, and some sides were built from the 3/4" stock. Toward the front of the camper, the cabinets could not be taller than the bed slide rail, so they were shorter. Behind the couch, the cabinets could extend to the ceiling, but they had to be notched to clear the couch back. The bins behind the couch use the seat back for a cabinet door.

1/2" insulation behind cabinets wiring runs The original shelf on the driver side was removed. Then 1/2" Foil faced house sheathing foam was installed on the walls. Plastic wiremold was installed along the edges of the insulation for the light and power wiring.
two sections The cabinets were built in sections - glued and screwed for strength. The foam insulation provides a buffer to allow movement and flex between the cabinets and camper walls.
first piece installed applying polyurethane varnish Polyurethane varnish protects the birch plywood and maple trim. After drying, the individual sections are installed in the camper and then tied together. The cabinet structure is very strong and each section is screwed into the camper frame.
under construction seat up looking in the door with the seat removed view from the over-cab bed loaded and ready to go  
gear net The standard Ram behind-the-seat storage net makes an excellent gear retainer. After borrowing the net from behind our seat, we liked the results so much that we ordered a second net from the dealer to cover the other half of this bin.
book case in corner The original shelf on the passenger side was moved forward to provide space for a book cabinet in the rear corner.


Last Update: May 7, 2001