Airstream Caravel/Bambi 16RB Closet Shelving System

In our 16′ Airstream trailer, there is a tiny, narrow floor to ceiling closet, only about 17″ wide. As weekend warriors, we do not store much clothing there, so adding shelving to it would make much more efficient and convenient storage space.

Last summer, I designed a system that uses the stainless steel rods/tubings taken from those rollup dish drying racks. Here are some highlights of the system.

  • Cost effective – total cost is under $100, this include both upper(5 shelves) and lower(3 shelves) shelving.
  • Very easy to install, especially the upper shelving.
  • Maximize storage space – shelves take very little space.
  • Strong and lightweight. they are made from 304 stainless steel rods.
  • Shelving do not hinder illumination or air circulation
  • Looks surprisingly beautiful. Pictures do not do its justice!

You will need to have access to a 3D printer, to print the brackets. These brackets are pretty easy to print, I printed them on a $250, 5 years old printer.

The upper shelving


The brackets for upper shelving are designed to be very flexible – there are 3 different lengths of the mid section – you can mix match them to create different shelving depth, this is important as the back wall of our Airstream is curved.

Upper shelving brackets

Height Consideration

I managed to fit 4 sets of shelves – depends on how you plan to use the space, you might have a different configuration, here is what went into consideration for mine.

  1. The bottom shelf needs to accommodate paper towel rolls placed vertically, and my mini Nespresso machine.
  2. Other shelves should be high enough that those storage baskets can be put in and taken out with ease.

Put it All Together

Here is what it looks like, not bad, isn’t it? It actually looks better in person.

With all the stuff in, still looks great.

Lower Shelving


Here are the lower shelving brackets. the idea is the same, but the right side bracket has a built-in ‘fence’ to prevent small pieces of things fall into the gap on the right. Also notice the front railing support on left side is at 45 degree, as it goes on to the stainless steel cable/wire cover piece, which is installed at 45 degree angle.

Height Consideration

I put 2 shelves for the lower part, I wanted the bottom shelf to be tall enough for 1 gallon Crystal Geyser spring water bottle, it’s over ~13″ tall, slightly taller than those 2 liter soda bottles, which would fit as well.

Put it All Together

The small footprint of the system really shines for the lower shelving, It uses every inch of the the available space. See the little fences built into the right side brackets?

This is how the front railings are mounted on the stainless cable cover, using 3M VHB tape.

This was a shelving system I designed last summer,

Material List

Brackets 3D printable Files DownloadFor personal use only, please.
Stainless Steel Roll up Dish Drying Rack x 6I have tried 4 different brands, this one works the best – rods are in perfect length, no cutting needed for upper shelving.$60
Stainless Steel Roll up Dish Drying Rack x 6 Same as the one above in case that one is out of stock$60
Stainless Steel #6 x 5/8″ Wood ScrewsFor mounting brackets to the Cabinet wall $7
Double-sided carpet tapeThis is optional – it eases brackets installation and provides additional strength.$15
3M Scotch 5952 VHB TapeFor mounting lower shelving front railing left side bracket to cabinet stainless cover piece, you only need about 4″x2″ $15


Screw driver with Philips bitThis is the minimal tool needed for installing upper shelving. An electrical drill can make things easier by drilling pilot holes to mount the brackets though.
Tubing cutter$17 – You need a tubing cutter for the lower shelving, because the lower section of closet is narrower than the upper so those stainless tubings need to be cut to size. (Note I have not used this one – I used a vise and a jigsaw with metal blade, but I would not recommend that.

Installation Tips

First use pencil to draw lines where brackets go on, then use the double sided tape to stick the brackets to be aligned with the lines you drew. snap 2 rods on at front and back, check if they are level. Once you are happy, then drill the pilot holes, then drive the screws on. do not remove the double sided tape, it provides extra strength and you can’t see it anyway.

To find more 3D printable accessories for your Airstream, click here

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