Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Blinded In My Own Camper

The wheels on the fiver are about to move, once again.  Folks, we're ready again to head out on some new adventures. Readier than ready, actually.  Anxious to have those last few days of work under our belts, so we can roll on down the road.

The husband/lover/driver has been preparing the exterior of the camper. Several days ago, he did the yearly roof cleaning and maintenance.  It was a beautiful sunny Fall day, and it seemed a good time to get that chore out of the way.

 I've been making menus, loading food, books, and DVD's, and staying busy making sure the interior is ready to roll.  After some last minute food purchases and installations, I'll be ready to kick back and enjoy the scenery.

Son Caleb and his vicious guard dog, Sheila, will be staying home and carefully supervising the homestead security team.

Yes, the wheels on the bus are ready to roll.

In any of our past camping trips, I've always tried to make a mental note to "do something about that blinding issue."  Until now, I've forgotten.  We have a vent in the ceiling of the fifth wheel bedroom that lets the sun in as soon as it shines, and some mornings it's as if you've experienced an instantaneous blinding that first time you crack open your eyes.

I've read blog posts from other campers having the same complaint.  Some of those folks have purchased a vent cushion especially designed to stuff up in there and keep the heat in (or out as the case may be), along with keeping the bedroom dark.  However, one blog writer claimed she experienced a near heart attack during the night when that pillow slipped down out of the vent and plopped hard onto her as she slept.

So, I decided to be a cheapskate  resourceful and make my own light blocker.  It cost me virtually nothing, as I just used whatever I had on hand at home.

First I measured the distance across the vent, from the outside of the frame to the other outside and found it to be 15 7/8 inches square.  I measured a piece of foam board to that size and cut it with a utility knife.  Then I cut a piece of dark purple felt a bit larger all around, just because I didn't want light seeping through that light colored foam board.

The colors of my fifth wheel bedroom are in the browns and beiges theme, and I just happened to have a piece of travel themed fabric in those colors, so I decided I'd make this vent cover fancy and cover the works with it.

Next I cut a piece of this fabric bigger all around than the foam board and the felt.

Since this is not rocket science, but more like I'm-just-trying-something-but-I'm-hoping-it'll-work, I decided to simply go with using duct tape.  No sewing, no gluing.  Even a nincompoop can figure this out.

I started with small pieces of duct tape, just to hold the edges over the foam board, but quickly graduated to the "big guns."  I want this to stay together.  Maybe because my roll of tape was ancient and very sticky, maybe not, but it seemed to me as if it was holding the fabric quite nicely to the foam board.  Maybe it's more like I simply taped the heck out of it.

I often use Command Picture Hanging Strips because they are easy to remove from surfaces without damaging them.  They come in various sizes to use depending on the weight of the object being hung. Although this vent cover weighs virtually nothing, I had size medium strips available, so that's what I used.

I applied them on two sides of the vent cover, and on two sides of the vent.

Then, at 11:00 last evening, so proud of my creation, I went out and hung this fancy shmancy vent cover in the camper.  With the lights turned on, about all I could tell is that I had made it to the right size.

This afternoon, then, in the middle of a very bright sunny warm day, I went out to see how it was working.  I am happy to report that it is quite dark in the bedroom, and the vent cover is a success.

It's so dark in there now, in fact, that I could imagine myself enjoying a mid-day nap in there.



  1. Boy - yours is a lot fancier than ours. We just used some Styrofoam and duck tape.

  2. You did a great job and it looks real good, too. And to think, you even got a clean roof. We just had our RV's roof re-seamed and re-caulked. That needs to be done every so many years as routine maintenance. Ours doesn't have a vent in the bedroom, just two power vents with fans, one in the bathroom and one in the kitchen.