By Russ and Tiña De Maris
We previously wrote a piece about keeping your head safe from bumps and bruises when accessing your RV’s “under-bed” storage. We noted that sometimes the gas struts that are used to hold the bed up aren’t just skookum enough to hold up the weight of the mattress and the bedding. We suggested an add-on support rod that will definitely hold the mattress up, as follows: Buy a length of 3/4″ PVC pipe from the hardware store. Visualize the pipe as a rod near the open end of the mattress box (opposite the hinges). Using this pipe as a “prop,” you can hold the bed box open easily and safely. But what’s to keep your prop from slipping out? A set of closet rod flanges — one installed on the inside lid of the bed box, the other screwed to the floor — will serve to hold both ends of your new prop rod and keep it from slipping out at the wrong time. Best to find a closet rod flange set where both pieces are completely closed rather than the type with the opening to slide the closet rod down into. It’s a cheap, quick and easy fix.
Reader Terry Weymouth chimed in on the idea. Writes Terry: “Storage space under the bed is a great idea … until you need to get something in the dark of night. It is dark, the ceiling lights don’t shine under there and a flashlight requires one hand to hold it (unless you hold it in your teeth).”
Our immediate reaction to this situation would have been one or two of those “stick-on” battery-operated LED lights so popular in Walmart stores. But Terry aptly points out, ” I have found them to be generally unsatisfactory because they illuminate a small area and are not very bright.” We’ll second the motion. We must now have a half-dozen of these little LED “hockey pucks” floating around in various cabinets, and they’re hardly ever used since they just don’t put out the lumens required. So what’s to do? Here’s Terry’s illuminating suggestion:
“I fastened a low-profile fluorescent light fixture to the underside of the mattress board and permanently wired it with an extension cord that was long enough to reach to a nearby wall outlet. Now when I lift the mattress I simply plug in the extension cord and have plenty of hands-free light. It helps during the daytime, too.”
Great idea! Now for the boondocking set who don’t want to fiddle with firing up a generator or running about to turn on the inverter to get “shore power” to the power outlet, we can conceive of installing a 12-volt fluorescent fixture under the bed, and plumbing 12-volt DC to supply it. Not as convenient but a winner, nonetheless.