Erecting a Screen Porch – Improvising

Welcome to a short bit on my ongoing trailer follies, and DIY skills….

Despite everything I’ve gone through with it, I do love my Toy Hauler. One thing that would make it better would be to be able to finally drop the back down and pop out the screen tent for added space.  In the whole time I’ve owned this Toy Hauler, the screen tent expansion has been up about 6 days total. That’s because the screen tent is so cheaply made that it cannot endure any weather whatsoever.  Nothing.  Yes it’s still brand new, barely used.

The conditions are perfect here on the lake in North Western Minnesota, to set it up this visit. No rain in the forecast, and sheltered from any potential wind, it’s time to open up the back and set it up.

Or so I thought.

A big challenge parking my rig on this lake property (see Angles Curves and Mounds Part 1) was getting it level. Not only was there a severe slant left to right, but also, a serious downhill pitch front to back.  When I dropped the back of the trailer down, even fully extended, the “legs” were about 16” or more too short!

How do you close over a foot and a half of distance and maintain sturdy stable support?Improvising1

Step 1, find a good, tall “green” stump (or two). As luck would have it, there was a stock pile of oak stumps on the property (yeah, I had a close encounter with one of them on my first visit (see Angles Curves and Mounds Part 2).  I already had to enlist a stump under the back right leveler leg, which has been working out just fine.

An important consideration for leveling is to use objects that will hold and distribute the weight being placed on them safely. After close scrutiny of my choices, I rolled an enormous, solid oak stump across the property over to the left side of the trailer, and stood it upright under the corner. The height was perfect to work with the adjustable deck leg.  I found another stump, even bigger and taller, to roll over to the right corner, where there was even more of a pitch.  Perfect!  But in trying to place the pedestal legs on top of the stumps, there was a serious problem.  The stumps were so big around, they sat at an angle on the ground, forcing the adjustable legs to sit crooked, making them far from sturdy.

Step 2, find an object (or two) to level the downhill side of the stumps, to make them solid and sturdy. Yes, I searched the property high and low, trying to find something just the right size to slide under the downhill side of the stumps to level them out against the hill.  All I could come up with were two, very long, 2 x 4’s.  I slid them under the stumps, checked the level, and presto, my “deck” is now a sturdy, high rise balcony.  Added bonus is that fewer wild critters can reach that high to crawl up there!



Within minutes I had the screen porch set up and secured as tightly as possible to keep out creatures (and keep mine in). To my dismay, the thin cheap tent fabric was riddled with holes across the top, although I do not understand how that could happen so soon.  But, a little strapping tape patched the holes quickly—we’ll see how well it holds up.



Improvising3It could be said that my project looks somewhat “amateurish”, but hey, if it gets the job done, who cares? My improvisions cost me nothing but time and a little manual labor, and now, I have a spectacular view from my high rise screen porch!


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