Securing RV Items during Travel
That Old Rock and Roll !
Going down the road in your motorhome you watch the scenery passing by your window and think about reaching the RV park, ready to relax and enjoy the end of the day – until you feel a little bump, hear a crash within the motorhome and turn around to find that what looks like the sad results of a massive earthquake in the middle of the living room. The same thing happens in trailer, you just don’t know it until you open the door.
Recreational Vehicles are built to survive all that the nations roads can deliver. Road shock, truck ruts, off camber turns, pot holes, frost heaves and the like can take their toll on the RV suspension and chassis, but those shocks, rattles, rolls and heaves are all transmitted to the items carried within the RV which can result in disaster. This is where we can take some positive steps to prevent damage to our traveling possessions with a bit of planing and a quick trip to the hardware or RV store where we will find the materials to secure items in our RV’s from damage.
Glues, Goops and Goo
There are several companies that manufacture compounds designed to secure or prevent slippage of items. These fall into 2 major categories of glues and non-permanent adhesives. Because the glues and double sided foam mounting tape fastenings do not allow for removal of the item being held in place their usage is limited within a RV. The non-permanent adhesives that allow us to remove the item being held and the adhesive itself are preferred by the majority of RV’ers. Examples of this second type are Quake Hold Museum Putty or Tacky Tac adhesive. These are a non-toxic and non-staining putty’s that are designed to hold up to 40 pounds of assorted treasures onto counters or display cabinets. The putty is reusable and can be used for years. For example, if you want to secure a phone to a counter you simply cut or tear off a couple of small pieces of the museum putty and roll it to the diameter of a pencil and place these under the phone. Now press the phone onto them and forget about it flying off the counter during a hard turn. To remove the phone simply twist it and it will lift off easily. Roll the putty into a ball and lift it off of the counter and you are done. If you want a hook on a wall for a picture or a coat that can later be removed without marking the wall the 3M Command series of removable adhesive strips is ideal. Just clean the surface that the hook is to be attached to. Remove the paper backing from the adhesive pad and apply it to the location desired. Press it firmly for 30 seconds and then leave it alone for an hour. It is now ready to be used. To remove the adhesive pull on the removal tab until it extends about 6 inches from the hook. At this point it will release from the wall. They also make replacement adhesive strips so the hooks can be reused.
Straps, Cords and Bungees
Bungee cords have been with RV’ers from day one, with good reason – they work! Bungee cords come as ether a EPDM solid rubber type or rubber bands covered with a loosely woven cloth sheath. Both work on the same principle of an elastic cord with hooks on ether end. Attach one hook and stretch the cord over the item to be secured and attach the hook at the other end to something solid. Because the standard Bungee cord is not adjustable they are generally not used for delicate items. There are adjustable Bungee cords and you can even buy different ends for them other than the standard hook. With a bit of shopping you will find the Create-a-Bungee center in most major hardware stores. These kits allow you to create any single or multiple leg Bungee cord system that you can think of to fit your needs.
An alternative to the Bungee cord is a nylon strap with ether a plastic or metal buckle on one end. These can be used to secure TV sets, stereos and other large items. If you install large eye type lag bolts in the rear of the TV shelf for instance you can run a nylon strap through the eye-bolts and then around the set when traveling. This gives you solid security for the TV and is invisible when loosened up and the extra tucked behind the set. Like the Bungee cord, nylon straps come is as many different sizes and colors as you can imagine so they can be used in any decor.
Another type of strap anchor is the Quake Hold earthquake proof security kits. These are being used by several RV manufactures to secure TVs and stereos in motorhomes and larger trailers. The TV security kit for example consist of 5 nylon buckles with a special glue pad on the back side of each one and 3 each 1-inch wide nylon straps. To mount the kit you first position the TV exactly where you want it. Clean the location where the buckle locks will be installed with the included alcohol prep pads. After the area is completely dry remove the paper backing from the buckle and press it down for 30 seconds. The adhesive will reach 90% of it’s bonding strength after it has been allowed to sit for 24 hours and 100% after 72 hours. The straps are run through the buckles and trimmed to length. One strap on each side of the TV and one in the rear will retrain the set without any problems. Another advantage to this system is that the TV can be quickly removed and replaced for service or cleaning. With smaller TV sets you can even remove the set and take it outside to watch and fasten it to a cargo bay using the same securing system as used in the motorhome. Kits are also available for computers, monitors, VCR’s, bread machines and even fish tanks. If desired, the kits may be removed from the secured object by taking off the straps and twisting the buckle to break loose the glue pads.
Velcro, has only been around for a few years but it is very difficult to think of a time when we didn’t use it. There are several manufactures of hook-and-loop fasteners who produce hundreds of Velcro products designed to do different things such as strapping used to tie-up bundles of hose or extension cords in the house or the basement to small pads that can be put behind clocks or pictures to keep them from swinging as you go down the road. A bit of research will show that these products also come in different weights and pull-strengths which allows the products to be used from light duty applications inside the motorhome to heavy duty work such as holding several hundred pounds of material in place.
Other Unique Stuff
Scoot-Gard is a fabric mesh covered with a soft plastic that almost completely eliminates slippage between whatever surface it is placed upon and what ever is placed on it. Place sheets of Scoot-Gard dish sheets between your dishes and bowls and you eliminate almost all chance of breakage of your tableware. This materiel comes in rolls, sheets and several unique shapes to fit the RV’ers needs. They even have a product called Scoot-Gard Lace that comes in several colors and is cut into a lacy pattern for your table top and place mats.
Not much can cause the excitement of opening the refrigerator after a trip and having the pickle jar fall out onto your foot. To solve this problem you can get Camco restrainer bars that hold items on the shelves. You can also avoid the problem of the refrigerator door suddenly coming open by installing a Velcro strap or a pin type latch on the door.
To hold magazines, spices or other standing items you can install wood or wire racks into unused areas and eliminate the problem. The same applies to using cup racks, plate racks and glassware stacker units. Besides the RV specific products there are stores that specialize in storage units that can be used under the sinks, in the closets or other spaces to provide storage and prevent items from flying around the ol’ RV.
The RV life style is a bit different from normal house-bound living. We have to contend with problems that do not affect the majority of the nation’s population, like when did we fill the propane and when was the last time we dumped our tanks. Living by a check-list and securing the house against earthquake effects is not something the house-bound have to do as a routine; but then the normal house-bound do not have the vistas of the open road, the friendly campground in the morning and the hidden cove in the evening like the RV’er does. It’s worth it.
Later – -
The Old Ranger