Custom Strap Handles for the Dometic Refrigerator

Discussion in 'Tips & Tricks' started by Inn42, Mar 30, 2016.

  1. Ken & Peggy

    Ken & Peggy Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

    I missed that - I think that's the way I'll 'handle' the issue. Thanks
     
  2. Little Patriot

    Little Patriot Junior Ranger Donating Member

    After closer examination, the screws that attach the handles on the Dometic are further apart than 6".
    They're more like 9" apart.
    I'm now thinking the Yak Gear Handle Kit will not work.

    I'd go with Joan's straps instead.
     
  3. Brian & Lucy

    Brian & Lucy Novice

    On my kayak they are just under 7" apart, but that allows for a lot of space between the handle and the kayak. I suspect you could go to about 9"+ if you didn't need as much space between the handle and the fridge.
     
  4. Inn42

    Inn42 Junior Ranger

    It has been well over a year since I posted about our Dometic strap handles, so thought I would provide an update. The design works exceptionally well, holding up to daily use, including lugging the Dometic back and forth form the camper to the van twice a day. I wouldn't change a thing from the final design. They provide a very comfortable and secure grip. As I recall, a drill and hacksaw were the only tools needed, plus some very basic sewing skills.
     
  5. dustinp

    dustinp Novice Donating Member

    I made some strap handles for our Dometic as well, and have been using them for a couple years with good success. I think I may have gotten the original idea on this forum (like so many of the improvements I've made to our Camp-Inn) but can't remember who to credit for this one. Anyway what I used is called tubular webbing that you can buy by the foot from REI.
    [​IMG]
    Cypher 1
    It's pretty inexpensive, very strong, and no sewing required. In addition to the tubular webbing I slid about a 4-5 in. piece of PVC tubing into the webbing to form the handle. A dowel would also work, but I had the tubing on hand, it was light and won't absorb water if gotten wet. The cap head screws are the ones that came with the Dometic for attaching the plastic handles it come with, so the only other thing needed to purchase are the fender washers, which would be available at most hardware stores. Once I cut the tubular webbing to the desired length it worked well to use a soldering iron, or torch to melt the cut edge to keep it from fraying, and to make the holes for the screws. Then as you can see in the pictures, I folded the cut edges under the area where the handles attached to the frig. to both double the material for additional strength at the attach point, and hide the cut edges. So far this has worked great.
    Dustin & Kris
    P1010417.JPG P1010418.JPG
     

    Attached Files:

    Tom & Diana P and Brian & Lucy like this.
  6. Inn42

    Inn42 Junior Ranger

    I think it may have been Rotus8 who originally used tube strap for a Dometic handle. With the dowel or pipe stuffed in it, I had a hard time envisioning how you could squeeze it into the galley storage space. But obviously, if that part of the handle is laid on top when it is being stowed, that problem is solved. And I suspect that, once stowed, the handles tuck in on either side of the Dometic so that the side table can be stored on top, as designed.

    I would say the one drawback in that design would be that with the handles up and the Dometic in the galley, the handles would be about four feet off the ground, so it would be awkward for one person to safely move it out of the galley (though that would not a problem for Wilt Chamberlain, but I suspect he doesn't own a teardrop).

    Of course there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution to that particular dilemma. There is at least one owner who never removes the Dometic from her galley (except I suppose to clean it now and then), due to her height versus that of the galley - it simply requires very poor body mechanics for her to get it out, which risks causing an injury.

    My design works well for me at about six feet tall - the straps are pretty much even with my forearms when my arms are by my sides and my elbows are bent at 90 degrees. A slightly lower strap position would be even better, but my design still enables the use of good body mechanics. And with the uneven surfaces at many campsites, that reduces my risk of injury.

    Folks shorter than me might not always be able to use optimal body mechanics with my design, but I suspect it would be much better than with a design that has the handle above the Dometic's lid.
     
  7. dustinp

    dustinp Novice Donating Member

    Thanks!
    You make some good points Steve, and the older I get, the more I understand the importance of good body mechanics. I am gradually having more aches and pains, and recovering from them slower than I remember before.

    The straps I made will sit at the sides of the Dometic when it is stowed in the galley space, so the side table can still be stored on top as designed. If I remember correctly the PVC tubing I slipped into the webbing was about 1/2", so it just barely fits in on each side of the Dometic.
    But the body mechanics issue was still there, so after reading your reply I decided to try turning my straps upside down so that they hang down, rather than up. That shortened them so that instead of laying across the top of the Dometic, they come up to just about the top edge of it, and also I noticed that the PVC handle portion can now be stowed in the grab indentations on the side so sliding the Dometic into the galley space can be done as easily as without them.
    I did notice it was easier taking the unit down from the kitchen counter where I was working on it with the shortened straps. I'll give that a try for awhile, and if need be, I can still shorten them further and make new mounting screw holes in them with the soldering iron.
    It's fun to compare not only ideas, but the reasoning behind them, and the constructive criticism here to make improvements we can all benefit from.
    Thanks again Steve!
    P1010423.JPG P1010424.JPG
     
  8. Ken & Peggy

    Ken & Peggy Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

    I'm liking the exchange going on here - hopefully we'll get close to a consensus before my Dometic arrives...
     
  9. Inn42

    Inn42 Junior Ranger

    Keep in mind that with my design you just slide it into place, there is no need to worry about squeezing the handles in so that they stay clear on the stove side (the opposite side isn't as much of a problem, as the "hockey stick" offsets that side to allow room for the cord plugs and to allow ventilation of the compressor).

    And I suspect the wide strapping is more comfortable than the rigid pipe inside of a tube strap, but hard to say for certain without having seen the latter in person.

    But I appreciate any custom design that seeks to find the answer to an unmet need. It shows self reliance and creativity. And it definitely personalizes your camper!
     
  10. dustinp

    dustinp Novice Donating Member

    I saw Rotus8's reply earlier in this thread, but I went back and searched the subject and found it was Gary Haynes picture post back in Oct. of 2012 that had inspired my handle strap construction.
    At any rate I guess that there are frequently several ways to accomplish a goal, and the more people who come up with and share their ideas the better off we all are. Frequently an idea one person shares will spark an idea on how to improve on it in the mind of someone else, and what may be ideal for one person may not be the ideal for someone else. So thanks to all who share their ideas here and at the camp outs. I know I have benefited greatly, and hope others do as well, and in turn share their great ideas with the rest of us too.
     
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