Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Baggage Storage Compartments

Baggage Storage Compartments-

One important part of the RV is the quantity of, and size of each, Baggage/Storage compartment accessible from the outside of the RV. It’s amazing how many people will shell out a quarter of a million dollars, or more, for an RV and pay only passing attention to the available storage space and their configuration. Generally speaking, everything that you use outside the RV, needs to be stored outside the RV in these compartments.

Some RV’s will have only 3 or 4 compartments, while others will be lined with compartments down both sides of the RV. Some will have one or more “thru-compartments”, and others will have one or more compartments with “slide-out” drawers. The thing you need to picture is; what you have that needs to be stored outside, and then where will it all fit. You will see that a number of the items you need, are so big that they will only fit in certain compartments, which in turn limits your flexibility in your layout plans.

I use Plastic Totes (see-thru where possible, with tops) in different strategic sizes to combine most of the similar items together, and I use stick-on labels to easily find the ones I need when I go into the compartments. By Strategic I mean that I have sizes of totes that hold specific common items, and are of sizes that fit together in the compartments so that;

1-I make the best use of the available space,

2-I keep the most used items to the front and the least used items to the rear of the compartment for convenience, and

3- When packed for traveling, there is minimal allowed movement of all of the items packed into the compartments. This eliminates those strange bumping sounds when you are driving down the road, as well as the potential damage by poorly packed items to each other.

Campsite Layout: One other thing to remember in your outside compartment planning, is the fact that your campsite and RV are designed with distinct uses for each side of the vehicle and the layout of the campsite.

The standard is that the driver’s side of the vehicle has all of the utility interconnections, and the passenger side has the access door to the RV, and the campsite is laid out with the passenger side containing the patio area, picnic table, fire pit, etc. and the Power connection, Water connection, and Sewage Dumping are always on the Driver's side towards the rear of the site Your storage should reflect the same planning.

In other words, when possible, I recommend that everything you will use in your patio area should be stored on the Patio side, and the other stuff, Electrical Power cord, Water Hoses, toolbox, general storage totes, spare parts, etc should be stored on the Drivers side, as you will be using these items less often.

Baggage Doors-

Then there are the Baggage doors themselves. There are the “Hinge-Up” doors, the “Hinge-Sideways” doors, and single latch and double latch doors, but whichever type of door you have, they all lock. Your baggage doors have locks for two reasons; the obvious one is to keep other people out, but they are also there to keep the items stored there, in the compartments when you are traveling down the highway.

Really….. I had to learn this the hard way. Several Years ago. we stayed at one of our kid’s house in Virginia, and waited until the last minute to head back to South Carolina. I rushed through my “Pull-Out: checklist, and did not check that all of the baggage compartments were locked.

An hour later, we are traveling down the road and a passing Semi went by us blowing his horn and pointing down with his hand. Helen and I did not have a clue what he was trying to tell us until I looked in my driver’s mirror.

And there they were ……. my two new large folding chairs were hanging out of my rear pass-thru compartment, one of them occasionally dragging on the asphalt. Very embarrassed, I started looking and luckily found a safe pull-off just down the road, and corrected the problem. You can believe I now take the time to check that all of the baggage doors are closed properly, and locked.

NOTE: Keep in mind that these compartments/doors have rubber gaskets on them to keep the weather out. If they are rotted, missing, or loose, you should repair/replace them to keep these compartments as water-tight as possible. Water leaks can ruin a lot of good clothes/equipment, if unnoticed for a period of time.