Cooking shelf and table attached to ladder
We have an Alumines box on the rear bumper that folds out and it functions well as a table for cooking. However, for food preparation, plates, dishes, there is just not enough space on that folded down door in addition to the stove. And I often find it too much trouble to get a camping table from the van (opening the rear doors means dust gets in our bedding). Originally I wanted to have a fold down table/shelf that would be stored in place, e.g. behind the spare tire carrier, or behind the box on the bumper. However, there is just not enough space between these swing arms and the rear barn doors. So, I sacrificed the idea that it had to store in place.
Over the last few days I put some material together to make a shelf/table that attaches to the ladder. This idea is inspired by what others on the forum have done with hanging brackets from the ladder.
The shelf/table had to:
1. Hold a 2 burner Coleman stove and heavy pots with boiling water. Thus it had to be sturdy, stable, secure.
2. Be a space (shelf/table) for dishes etc. if the stove is not there.
I also wanted the shelf/table to be:
1. Small enough to store on the outside of the van (e.g. in a bag over spare tire). I did not want to get in and out of the van to get the parts; it had to all be stored outside the van and be accessible from the outside. Thus I was thinking it may have to be collapsible and have a few parts rather than be one thing.
2. Easily and quickly assembled and disassembled.
The following is what I did:
1. I got folding shelf brackets
2. I bolted these on aluminum U channel
3. I bolted tool storage hooks on the top of the aluminum U channel
4. I put rubber stoppers / spacers on the back of the aluminum U channel (screws go through bracket and U channel). This made the shelf level rather than sloped down.
This resulted in relatively compact brackets that don't take up much storage space.
5. I got a metal wire shelf with sides. The sides provide extra security against the stove sliding off. The Coleman stove "almost" fits perfectly on this shelf.
6. I clipped away some of the wires for the flame controls and the igniter of the Coleman stove.
7. I attached shelving U channel on the bottom of the bracket. Amazingly this fit over the folding bracket perfectly. I used zip-ties to attach the U channel to the wire shelf.
8. Bolts that I inserted in the bracket (upside down) function as stoppers, preventing the U channel and the wire shelf from sliding forwards or backwards on the folding shelf brackets. The U channel combined with the stoppers result in sufficient rigidity.
9. I cut two short straps of velcro to secure the U channel and wire shelf to the folding brackets... A heavy pot on the side of the shelf now cannot cause the shelf to flip up on the other side.
I think this will work. I recognize though that there are many variants possible...