Explore America's Campgrounds
Exploring the country in an RV can involve feeling a little cramped if outdoor biting bugs keep you huddled in your rig whenever the wheels aren't rolling. Adding an easy-to-set-up screen house to the exterior of your RV when you're in camp lets you spread out and enjoy the outdoors while keeping little critters away. From prefabricated add-ons to do-it-yourself structures, there are several ways to accomplish the task.
Awning Screen Rooms
If you already have an RV awning, it's simple to buy screen room panels that easily attach to it in roughly five minutes. Attachment panels slide into the roller tube opening, allowing you to zip on screen panels. Side panels attach with an elastic band around the roller tube and rail clip and clamp onto the awning itself. Velcro panels hold the edges straight along the sides of your RV, and tent stakes hold your screen room secure. A skirt that attaches to your RV with pre-installed mounting hooks provides a layer of protection from things that can come in underneath.
There are two styles of screen room that attach to your awning. Basic rooms keep away pests and let you enjoy the outdoors. Add-a-room models give you more living space with large screened windows that you can zip closed for privacy.
Free-Standing Screen Rooms
If your RV doesn't have an awning, a free-standing screen room can provide both shade and freedom from bugs. The screen room fits over an aluminum accordion frame that is easy to unfold and set up if you have one or more helpers. Slip the screen room fabric over the unfolded frame and raise the poles in the corner to fully assemble the room. Zippered doors located around the screen room let you move back and forth into your RV or outside. The screen room stakes down to the ground and attaches to your RV.
Do-It-Yourself Screen Rooms
If you don't feel like shelling out $500 to $1,700 for a prefabricated screen room, you can build one yourself for less. Create the frame from PVC pipe, which is lightweight and easy to set up and take down with corner connectors. Use at least 1-inch pipe or, for a sturdier structure, 2-inch or 3-inch pipe.
Decide How Big Your Structure Will Be
Size the Pipe
Build the Frame
Attach the Screen
Add a Topper
Part of this will depend on the size of screen roll available in your area. A standard 96-inch by 50-foot roll of screen is enough to make a structure that is 8 feet tall and 10 feet by 10 feet square.
Instead of trying to figure out storage space for 10-foot poles, cut each length in half or thirds and use extension fittings to join them again when you set up your structure. To construct a basic cube structure, you'll start with 12 pipes to be sized and rejoined with fittings.
Construct a basic cube using eight three-way corner fittings. You can add a pole or two to the top for roof support by using two to four T-connectors opposite each other along the top rails.
Use clamps to attach the screen to one pole. Wind it all the way around the exterior of the frame until it overlaps, then clamp. Add pieces of hook and loop tape along the frame top, bottom and support poles to keep the screen secure. Cut off any excess length, and cut slits in the screen where you'll want doors for going in and out of your RV. Add hook and loop closures or magnetic strips along the edges of the cut to easily close the doors and keep bugs out.
Place a tarp that is slightly larger than the measurements of your screen room's footprint over the top. You can clamp the tarp to the poles or attach guy wires through the tarp's grommets and secure to the RV and tent stakes for extra support.
Indulging her passion for wide open spaces and outdoor fitness through the written word on a full-time basis since 2010, author Jodi Thornton-O'Connell takes the mystery out of outdoor skills and guides readers to discover fun ways to physically connect to natural surroundings.