Thursday, July 18, 2019


I admit, I have a few faults... probably more than a few... but who's counting!? Some of them (not in any particular order):

1.) I get bored easily
2.) I think I can make things better, faster, stronger (or just more functional)
3.) I frequent the $1.04 clearance wood at HD. 

Known affectionately by my friends as "Ms. MacGyver", I've pretty much perfected the whole "making something outta nothing" thing. Challenge accepted! Some ideas work out better than others, and I've headed back to the drawing board more times than people have questioned Mona Lisa's smile. But when the creative juices get to workin' and the end result is pure genius (even if just to me), it's just so freaking satisfying!

I've always said that campers, as a whole, are the most ingenious, creative, resourceful and clever group of people on the planet. Adapting to changing surroundings whilst subjecting yourself to the wrath of mother nature (and other campers) is a challenge onto itself. Before long, the words "what if we try this?", "do you think this would work?", "I wish there was a solution to that.", "ya know what would work?", "when we get home..." cross every camper's lips. Of course, doing a web search on a product that might aid in the problem at hand would work, if you could come up with the correct keys words to punch in. Unfortunately, its already too late, the monster has been poked.

I want to be able to go camping by myself, without a lot of effort, in a moments notice. I want to feel safe, be portable, be comfortable, and be functional (even better, multi-functional). I want to utilize things I already have, and oh yeah, I don't want to spend any money creating it. TA-DA!

Up for MacGyvering is my PT Cruiser. Standard 4-Door hatchback with folding/removable seats. I bought it used and never noticed those molded plastic things sticking out in the hatch. Seats fold down and also flip forward for cargo space. 

Turns out when purchasing new, there was an option for a plastic hatch cover that fit there. I cut a pieces of 3/4" plywood for shelves. I notched the bottom layer and followed the curve of the hatch when its closed. The bottom layer sits about 7" off the cargo bottom and is the perfect spot for air mattresses, lawn chairs, small tent bags, jumper cables, camp stoves etc. 

By notching the plywood, it also allows the larger shelf to be moved to top and offset to extend outside the hatch to be used for prepping area or daily activity use. Large shelf in lower position is same level height as seats folded down.

Positioning seats forward and using the top shelf across headrest and center console, provides a level space to fit my air mattress. Inflator plugs into my cigarette lighter, so mattress can be blown up while in place. Cooler & backpack fit into front seats for easy access. Battery operated lights can be hung from clothes carrier hooks/handles. Back up to the campfire.

When the fire dies down and its time for bed, I simply pull the hatch down and lock myself in. I bought these neat screens for my windows so I can leave them partially open for air circulation. The shelves are purr-fect when organizing camping supplies when its more than just me who wants to go on an adventure!

I've also done some modifications on our small cargo work trailer. Hotel bills add up when traveling/staying at distant job sites for extended periods. By adding a platform bed area, and removable back flap, we are able to utilize area campgrounds while still using underneath space for storage and tools. Adding a table onto the front hitch frame makes for the perfect cooking/eating/card playing area. A canopy/screen room easily fits around this area too doubling your camping space. It also can be setup on job sites to use as tool/work space. Breaks down and sets up in under a minute, and is plenty sturdy.  
I've done plenty of other modifications to the cargo trailer, but never think to photograph the progress or the before/after. Another nice add was a laptop shelf/tray attached to a swivel and extendable TV wall mount arm. Attached to the right hand wall, it allows using/watching from both outside and inside locations.  Its great for movie watching while in bed. If you have an idea for a modification or a creation, I might suggest to other campers to photograph the steps as they move along.  Post your projects on social media and help out your fellow campers. 

Lots of great creative ideas can be found on our Pinterest Boards.  Follow one or all!


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