The Sofa Bed Project

If you’ve been following our blog posts, you have no-doubt seen a few pictures of our travel trailer; a 2012 Keystone Hideout. The couple from which we bought it had made some nice little modifications that were useful to us too.

In our time with the trailer (this is our third season), we have continued the tradition of making some mods to more tailor it to our style of mobile living. Our most recent was the remake of the sofa bed. The original was wearing out. It didn’t look bad, but when you sat on it, you felt like you were leaning forward and the center seat felt like it sagged down a bit. It wasn’t comfortable at all.

Out with the old!

Our makeover was Sharon’s inspiration and we both worked on the planning and design. She took care of the mattress and upholstery and I focused on the carpentry work

Sharon likes to store things under the sofa and the old convertible sofa bed was difficult to maneuver when it came to trying to get something out or put something into the under-seat storage. It was heavy and a balancing act to try to hold in just-the-right position to balance between falling back down into a seat or slamming out into a bed. She would usually call on my help to hold the seat up while she took the dive into the storage area.


Our first step in the remodel was to remove the old jackknife sofa mechanism from the wooden base that is attached to the floor. Once removed, I did some measuring and assessing the best way to put a solid new seat base in… strong enough to withstand active grandchildren yet easily accessible for the storage area. Sharon wanted a real mattress on the bottom and she wanted some space along the back of the seat to be able to lift the mattress up to rest on its edge while being behind the hinges, so the lid to the storage could be easily opened. To accomplish this, I built some framework and covered it with the thin strip of plywood along the back. The rest of the seat base was attached with four sets of hinges. Since the hinges rest under the mattress, I selected them more in regards to their strength than how they look. Industrial function was priority here.



I felt the need to have a supporting brace across the middle of the base to offer extra strength under the weight of those of us who will sit or lay on it. However, Sharon likes to store some things in there that are too long to fit in a half-width opening. So, my solution was to make a brace that was removable when wanting to store a long object (like Sharon’s L. L. Bean hammock). So the brace shown here simply lifts out.IMG_20170805_175441308

After the carpentry phase of the project was complete, Sharon went to work. She had ordered a custom-made mattress to fit the space. She then carefully removed the upholstery material from the base and back of the old sofa bed. We wanted to use it, if possible, because it matched the upholstery of the dinette seats. Sharon carefully covered the mattress with the material from the bottom of the old seat and then covered a foam back with the material from the back of the old sofa.

The finished project doesn’t look much different than the old seat, but it is way more comfortable. Plus, all we have to do to turn it into a bed is lift the back off to expose the full width of the bed.

We have a few little tweaks we would still like to make to our newly-remodeled sofa bed, but are for the most-part very happy with the result.

Believe it or not, this was not the biggest project we’ve tackled in the Hideout. I’ll tell you about some of the others in future posts.

Happy camping!


Labor Day Weekend in Waterford, PA


Our decision to camp this weekend was on relatively short notice; certainly not within the advanced reservation timeline that I am accustomed to. However, we were able to land a full-hook site at Sparrow Pond Family Campground near Waterford, PA for the long weekend. Because of our late decision, we were not able to get a site under trees with some nice shade. The weather this weekend was cool with a good amount of light rain, so baking in the hot sun was definitely not a concern. We didn’t turn on the air conditioner at all, but we did run some heat a few times.


Binx, the camping cat, went along for his second trip with us. The hour-long ride to the campground was quite an adventure with him. About 20 minutes up the road, he got sick and threw up on the truck’s front seat between us. Thankfully, I had the forethought of placing a towel on the seat for him to sit on.

After rolling up the towel, we continued on, stopping for ice cream about half-way there. Shortly after leaving Dave’s Place, Binx got down on the floor under my feet. I thought he was just wanting a change of scenery, but he had other things on his mind. He did both #1 and #2 on the floor. The #1 got on my left foot and flip flop. We had quite a stink in the truck for a while until we found a place to pull over. Sharon got some bags from the camper and bagged it up. That took care of the smell, but not my wet foot! Thankfully again, the mess was all on the floor mat, which we were able to remove from the truck.

We adapted to the cooler weather conditions and had an enjoyable weekend of shopping, walking, cooking over the fire and inside the camper, playing cards and enjoying church at Sparrow Fellowship, which meets at the campground. It all makes me wonder if there could ever be such a thing as a bad weekend of camping. Binx seemed to enjoy himself too, as he followed us around the camper (he stays inside).

The ride home was great! Binx was relaxed and had no… ahem… incidents.

So, that’s it for this trip. Next time out, we head to Bear Run Campground near Portersville, PA.

See more photos on Instagram.


Meet The Traveling Kites

Hello world! We are Randy & Sharon; decades-long married couple and long-time campers and travelers. Our adventures have taken us from camping trips around our home region (oftentimes with our family) to journeys across this great country and around the world. We have slept in tents at the world’s largest Christian music festival (Creation Festival) and have slept on the cement floor of a horse stable in Tijuana, Mexico as we spent a week on mission, building houses for the poor. We’ve walked the streets of Athens, Greece and stood at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

More recently, we have enjoyed local camping in the comforts of a 2012 Keystone Hideout camping trailer (model 25RKS) that we bought used from a lovely elderly couple in 2015.IMG_20170901_172721019-01

Although we are not yet retirement age, we are starting to dream about what retirement should look like for us. We do not intend to stay at home, but rather look to expand our American travels to hike, photograph and write about our great country.

We have considered all modes of camping transportation, from a small pull-behind teardrop camper to a large, tour bus-sized Class A motorhome and have settled our hearts (at least as of this writing) on a Class B camper van. We would love the freedom of not having to hook and unhook a camper or “toad” (towed-behind vehicle on a Class A or C). We are definitely past the desire to tent or crank a roof up and down. Believe me, we’ve paid our dues on that!IMG_20170829_123927803-01

Our plans and timing for a camper van purchase are as foggy as a fall western PA morning right now, but we have been spending a lot of time virtually walking through many, thanks to the efforts of those who produce YouTube videos, and have even had the opportunity to set foot in a small number of Winnebago Era, Travato and Paseo vans at a semi-local dealership.

Our dream is to live in our home region during the warm months, then set out to travel the warmer climates when things get cold and snowy in the north. Unlike the snowbirds that travel to Florida from our region for the winter, we seek to have a constantly changing scenery before us.

So, join us as we work our way toward the next chapter of our life. Then, when we get there, perhaps we will see you on the road!

Please follow us here and share your own story. We would love to hear from you and learn from your experience.

Here we go!…


Blog at

Up ↑