By Russ and Tiña De Maris
“Sizing down” for the RV lifestyle can be tough. Where do you put your laptop — other than on your lap — when you have some serious computing to do? Enter the laptop desk.
There are a couple of different approaches: Simply put a more solid platform under your computer and set the whole works down in your lap. Some are wide enough to use a mouse in conjunction with your laptop. All of them help to keep you from getting “laptop burn.” One such desk that retails for less than $30 is marketed by LapWorks (www.laptopdesk.net). This one uses a folding hinge trick, allowing you to set your laptop on a table; the device then gives a bit of an angle to the laptop making for easier typing. One problem: When you need to move, you’ll need to set the desk and laptop aside.
A similar system, but one that gets the laptop off your lap entirely, is to use a “bed table.” These little stands take a flat platform and add legs, usually folding ones. Many have room for a mouse and also prevent burnt laps. But what to do when you need to move and don’t want to disrupt your work in progress? The one pictured above left is from Sam’s Club. Careful though — those handy drink and silverware holders could create issues with free mouse movement.
Here’s another idea: Coupling the flat and stable platform with “full-to-the-floor legs,” the “Table Mate II” is made with lightweight plastic and is adjustable in height and platform angle. There aren’t any side braces, allowing users to slide their legs in and out from under the rig without fear of banging knees or legs. The whole rig slides right up over your lap, bringing the computer into reach and at precisely the right height. They’re adjustable so you can use it with more than one chair or even the sofa.
We snagged a two-pack of these from Walmart for $50, drop shipped to a nearby store. We found we could use the second Table Mate as a printer stand. Set for the correct height, we could roll our plastic file cabinet right underneath the stand, saving even more floor space. Try Google “shopping” for “Table Mate” and you’ll find many sellers offering single packs for around $30.