One of my biggest problems with having a roof top tent was where to put my shoes. Often after a day of walking, hiking or just chilling out in the bush your shoes or thongs are going to be dusty and dirty; not to mention if its been raining and they are muddy.
When you go to crawl up into your nice clean tent there is 3 options for your shoes.
1. In The Tent. This is not great, there is no space in there that isn’t a mattress and you will effectively get dirt and mud constantly on there. Then when you go to pack it up and flip the mattress any dirt on the end of the mattress gets thrown onto your bedding. No thanks!
2. On The Ground. Not a bad option for thongs apart from the risk they go wandering. Not such a great option for shoes, I wouldn’t want any creepy crawly finding a nice warm home in there, and there is a high chance of them getting wet or damp from rain or dew. Also anywhere there may be dingos around you can’t leave any leather out or it will most likely disappear.
3. In The Car. Leaving you to walk with bare feet to the tent. Again it’s not a bad option depending on the weather and campground that you are in but not always a suitable option.
None of these options are any good for camping long term and in various weather conditions, so for us a solution had to be found. There is plenty of ‘camping hacks’ out there with already made up shoe holders or other bags that you can buy. These would work fine but I wanted something that looked like it matched our set up, was exactly what we needed and cheap. I came up with a simple design and one bag took less than an hour to make and only a few dollars. It fits a pair of hiking boots and thongs in it and slips straight into the sail track on the roof top tent, so we can leave it there when pack up or take them away when we want to put the tent on the bottom. Even if you don’t have sail track you could attach these bags with some hooks or screws to put them in place and simply adjust the below instructions to meet your needs.
So if you have some leftover bits of shade cloth (as it is easy to clean and get rid of dirt), material and a sewing machine it is a simple and quick project you can do to add something to your camping setup.
What you need:
- Shade cloth (or other material)
- Cotton material or calico
- Sewing machine
- Sail track tape
- For one shoe bag, cut a rectangle of shadecloth 35cmX43cm (if you are adjusting yours to have something other than sail track material you may want more than 43cm of material, for extra at the top of the bag to work with); this will be the back of the bag. Then cut another rectangle, 67cmX40cm, this will be the front of the bag.
- Cut out a 67cmX5cm strip of material for the edge of the bag. Then fold both edges into the centre and iron flat. Then fold in half and iron flat again, so it is like bias binding. This will be the edging for the opening of the bag.
- Put this strip over a long edge on the front of the bag and sew in place.
- Position the shade cloth rectangles together so that the 40cm edges of the front are pinned to the 43cm sides of back. It won’t all line up at this point and the front will bulge out. This bulge is so that you can have 2 folds on the bottom to allow the top of the bag to open further. You should have 16cm spare of material to fold over each other and pin down, which is 8cm wide fold on each side. See pictured, there is a close up drawing of the fold. Pin all edges in place. Sew around the 3 outside edges, fold inside out and sew around again for a clean edging, double strength and no fraying. Fold back the right way and then you will have the seam on the inside. This is called a french seam.
- Cut sail track to length, 35cm wide, position at top of bag, pin and then sew in place.