For about $25 you can easily build a drying rack that hangs from a ladder on your RV and has many wonderful features including:
1. It's sturdy and securely holds LOTS of items in a minimum amount of space using hangers, clothespins, or just draped freely over a bar and/or held in place by the existing rope. It even has a few pegs on the bottom for drying shoes or small items.
2. It's lightweight and can be disassembled into two pieces that store easily when traveling.
3. You can arrange the poles so they don't block your window, or door (truck camper) and they won't swing around in the wind.
4. You can hang your "unmentionables" between other items for some semblance of drying privacy. :)
So let's get started!
Step 1: Purchase the Materials
To build this, you'll need the following:
7 PVC elbows (1/2 inch)
10 PVC Tee fittings (1/2 inch)
12 PVC caps (1/2 inch)
3 ten-foot lengths of 1/2" PVC tubing
A 50 feet length of clothesline (not the coated type) or other rope that won't stretch
9 aluminum screws
7/8" drill bit
Step 2: Clean the Markings From the PVC
Use the Acetone and steel wool to clean the markings from the PVC.
You can skip this step if you don't care about the markings.
Step 3: Cut the Supports
Create nine supports for holding items by cutting up two of the ten-foot sections of PVC into four sections that are each 2.5 feet long.
From the remaining ten-foot section of PVC, cut one 2.5 foot length.
This leaves 7.5 feet for all of the remaining straight support sections which should be enough, but check your individual RV ladder measurements before doing any cutting!
Step 4: Create the Base Support
Measure the width of your RV ladder and cut two short sections that will go into the Tee fitting and run behind the ladder. Keep in mind that the PVC tubing will push into each fitting about 3/4 of an inch.
In this example, we placed the Tee fitting a little bit off-center so that the bottom rung would be able to swing past 180 degrees (since our ladder curves in), so the two pieces are not the same length.
Cut two equal length sections to form the "pegs" that come out towards the front.
Finally, cut two small (~1.25 inch) sections to connect the cap to the elbow. Note: These pieces are so small you don't really see them once the cap is pushed on.
Using five elbows, two caps, one Tee fitting and the six short pieces of PVC tubing that you just cut, glue up the bottom support pieces together as shown in the photos.
Step 5: Create the Top Support and Body of the Hanger
Measure the width of your RV steps. Cut one small piece of PVC tubing that will go between the two elbows to span the width of the step (keeping in mind that the PVC tube will press 3/4 inch into the elbows).
Again, cut one small (~1.25 inch) piece of PVC tubing to connect the cap to the elbow.
Using two elbows, one cap, and the small sections of tubing you just cut, glue up the pieces. This forms the "hook" at the top of the ladder.
Put the top hook and bottom support in place on the ladder and cut the remaining section of PVC tubing to run the vertical length between the top support and bottom brace.
Glue the vertical piece to the top support only in order to allow the unit to be both put onto the ladder and stored easily. The vertical piece won't need to be glued to the bottom support.
Step 6: Drill Out and Notch the Remaining PVC Tee Fittings
Drill out the remaining nine PVC Tee fittings using a 7/8" drill bit to remove the 'stops' so that these pieces will be able to slide over the vertical section of PVC tubing.
Using a drill, put a half-circle notch in the fitting below each Tee. This notch will fit over a screw to hold the support in position once assembled.
Step 7: Assemble the Supports
In each on the nine supports, drill a hole through one end, and a slot in the other (in the same plane).
Starting inside the support, feed a section of clothesline through the slot, down the length of the support, through the holes at the opposite end, back down the length of the support, into the slot on the opposite side, and out the end of the pole (we taped the end of the rope and fed it through using a straw as shown in the photo to make this easier).
Pulling at tight as you can, tie two strong square knots, then cut of the excess rope and push the ends back into the support. This is easiest with two people - one to hold the support and taut rope, one to tie the knot.
Glue a cap on the end with the holes, and one of the drilled out Tee fittings on the end with the slot. Align the Tee fitting so the ropes will run along the sides of the the support when assembled as you can see in the last photo.
Step 8: Assemble and Align the Supports
Hang the vertical piece on the ladder and slide all nine of the assembled supports onto it. Place the end of the vertical piece into the base support.
Slide the supports vertically to space them out (use a spacer to make them equal distance apart), and then rotate them on the support so they are spread out as you'd like. Keep in mind that the items will hang down and you don't want items draping on lower supports, or the bumper, or (potentially) blocking the view from your window, door entrance, etc.
Once you have them adjusted like you want them to be, drill a small hole where the notch is in each Tee fitting and attach the aluminum screw. The screw will hold the support in position, and keep it from moving in the wind. However, by sliding the Tee fitting up along the support just a little, and turning it, you can adjust it any way you'd like in the future.
When storing the unit, just slide the supports up and swing them to lay flat in the direction of the hook (last photo).
Step 9: Use Your New Creation in Many Ways!
Once you have it assembled, start drying all of those wet items!
Looping larger items, like towels, under the clothesline on each side will hold them in place on their own.
For smaller items, use clothespins to secure them.
In some cases it may be more convenient to hang items on hangers. The caps will keep the hangers from sliding off the supports.
Trying to dry something discreetly? Hang it on a support between two towels.
Use the bottom pegs for wet shoes, or small items.
What else can support nine towels and more in such a compact, convenient space? And for only $25!