One of the biggest issues I have had with the T@G is the under bed storage compartments. In theory they are a great idea and a big part of why I bought it. In reality, they don’t function very well. I tried using them on my trips but learned they work best for things you don;t need very often or just for long term storage, which is disappointing since there is so little storage anyway in a teardrop trailer. At the Tint Trailer Rally however I learned some simple modifications that have made a world of difference. I do not take credit for any of these, I completely stole all of these ideas ideas from other people.
The first problem is the placement of the boards. They covers just sit down down in the floor and have to be placed exactly on the edges of the 2″ wide boards that the fame is made from. Seems simple enough, except that they never set back down in the right spot. Once you lift them they end of sliding with the mattress or if you put something thick enough that they don’t go down all the way the may end up on top of the other cover. Or the worst is when the sit down too close to the edge and try to lift and slide them back just enough to fall into place without pinching your fingers in the process. This issue had been fixed by most people with T@Gs by adding hinges to the boards.
The key to this is getting really narrow hinges since you have one 2″ wide board in the middle to mount both boards on. The ones I liked best were using thin, long hinges that would provide the best guidance for the boards and also be stronger. I used 2 hinges on each side, 4 total. Most people who had used hinges suggested putting something over them to protect the mattress from them. I decided to take that opportunity to fix another problem.
Although the twin mattress was all around better on the first trip, it did not stay in place well. Since a twin is a few inches shorter than a queen it couldn’t be wedged in place to help it stay. It did not help that a certain little heifer of a dog would lay on her side and push off the wall to give herself more space. So to cover the hinges I decided to use shelf liner that I had left from using in the cabinets in the hope that it might keep it from sliding so easily. I used double sided carpet tape to put it down. I don’t necessarily recommend that, I used it becasue I have an over abundance from a craft project I tried to use it for that did not work.
The hinges helped a lot but I also saw 2 other ideas that would make the storage much more functional. The first was to use lifting straps at the doors. The boards have holes with pull handles but they are centered on the board, which is about 6″ inside the door opening. It is a challenge to reach them, open them and them reach underneath to retrieve anything. When I saw my neighbor had added these, it was such a simple yet brilliant modification.
I made mine using canvas strap and upholstery tacks. The strap I bought in a roll from Amazon and figured I would find other uses for it. I used the tacks because I them and they were the right length to not go all the way through the board and leave a sharp edge. The only note of the strapping is that when you cut it, it will start to fray. You can fix that by carefully running a lighter along the edge. Since it is made of a polymer it will melt, light burn and it leave a secure edge. If you look at the edges of the strap when you get it and see it’s melted.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to play with fire you could use an iron but you would need to make sure you put something between the strap and iron to make sure it doesn’t stick to the iron and ruin it.
This last modification I also stole from my camping neighbor. A way to actually use the storage without crushing your arms, hand, fingers or all of the above. He had used large diameter wood dowels to prop up the board while using it. I had almost an entire piece of PVC left from fixing the visor so I decided to try it first. It works well and fits into the bottom of the pull latch to keep it from sliding and accidentally falling on you. I ended up making them 12 inches long. I started with 16″ but they were too long to lift the boards without having to move the mattress or other stuff on the floor. Since nothing you can put under there can be very tall anyway, it didn’t need to be very high. Holding the board in place with this allows you to reach the back sections much easier and there is also no rush like you have when your shoulder is acting as the prop for the board.