At times on the road we need more than a laptop computer – we need an entire office. The need arises to scan something or print something or even just to staple pages. There's no escape from the technology we're used to having at our fingertips. We carried a little photo printer for awhile which was great for creating scrapbooks on the road, but of little use for anything else. There were some other office supplies tucked away here and there, which we often had trouble finding when needed!
Now that we have a few years of travel in our Roadtrek behind us we've figured out what to carry and how to store it. At least in a way that works for us. Our first struggle was where to put the laptop computers? We had them out frequently. So we needed a place computers could be easily tucked away, but within quick reach. We investigated a variety of options before settling on a happy solution.
We built a wooden box that fits between the two front seats. It is plenty sturdy and can be stepped on and sat on, so it does not block access from the front seats to the back. It has no bottom but sits on the carpeted floor. There is a cut out in the front to compensate for the driveline “bump” near the engine doghouse. A standard dog bed fits nicely on top and provides a spot where a dog loves to sleep. It has three compartments. One accessible from the rear where up to 3 laptops can be stacked comfortably with their powers cords on the side. In the middle a removable cover hides the office supply box and in the front is a 4 inch open slot that is perfect for tucking in cameras, GPS, and power cords. We have been most pleased with the box because it takes up no significant space. The computers are now in easy reach from both the front and the back.
The middle compartment holds the office for our Class B. In the plastic box is all the stuff we occasionally need on the road. The box handle allows it to be lifted out easily and taken anywhere. There are a couple of events we attend each year that need the items we now store in our box. We're surprised at how often we get it out on trips where we didn't expect to need a office! There are computer related supplies, drawing supplies, and general office supplies in the box.
Computer Supplies: We have a iP100 Cannon portable color inkjet printer which does a crisp job. Portable printers are expensive compared to basic inkjets, so shop around to find a good price. We carry extra ink cartridges for it and replace them when a spare gets installed. We carry about 1/2″ to 3/4″ stack of letter-size paper. We also have some 4×6″ photo paper. There is a hand scanner which, combined with the printer, gives us copying capability. Additionally our ThinkPad X series laptops (which we love) do not have internal CD/DVD drives, so we carry a very thin LG CD/DVD reader/writer for the rare occasions we need to read a CD or DVD. Notice the color-coded “rubber bands” on the cords – blue for the CD reader, green for the scanner and red for the 3 printer cords. The color coding makes it easy to grab just the right cord. Those are not rubber bands, but girls pony tail bands. They are durable and it makes it easy to keep your cords neat and organized. You can buy enough to last 50 years for a few dollars.
Drawing Supplies. Roger likes to draw cartoons – including Roadtreking cartoons. So there is a set of various thicknesses of ink pens, a big eraser, other assorted pens and some white-out. Missing from the photo is a small set of colored pencils.
General Office Supplies: We have a small pair of scissors, a stapler, a 3-hole punch, a ruler, a template of ovals and some triangles. And of course some scotch tape (duct tape, electrical tape, and rescue tape can't do it all.) Best of all, this stuff just fits into the wooden box between the front seats, out of sight and out of mind until you need it. There are trips when the stuff comes out often, and trips when it never gets used. It is the perfect on-the-road office. Perhaps you can do something similar to fit your needs. Suggestion: Make a cardboard mockup first to check clearances before you cut wood.
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