As you take more trips with your RV, you might start to discover things you wish you had. Different storage, different utilities or different features. While you could always look at buying a new RV, you could also consider DIY RV upgrades to your current vehicle. Upgrading your RV ranges from easy to difficult based on what you want to accomplish, but the possibilities are endless!
Should You Perform DIY Upgrades on Your RV?
If you have some DIY knowledge, you should feel right at home working on your RV. Not unlike working on your home or your vehicle, safety is the primary concern. If you know your tools and the RV well, you can do almost anything. But if you’re unsure, always consult an expert or mechanic. Not only could you do damage to your RV, but you could even harm yourself!
In addition to your own knowledge, there are plenty of RV forums and online communities that can help you with your DIY RV upgrades. They can help you decide on the best upgrades for your RV lifestyle, and even give you tips on installation!
Common Reasons to Upgrade an RV
Improve Storage Options
Traveling in an RV can feel cramped, largely due to the lack of storage. Most people who take it upon themselves to upgrade their RV do so to add more storage options or to improve existing ones. Even if you have plenty of space, sometimes it doesn’t work for what you need to store.
Adding or improving storage options can make it easier to pack or unpack. It can also make traveling safer – preventing spills or loose objects from escaping their shelves and cabinets.
Add New Features
RVs come with a variety of unique luxuries and features. However, if yours doesn’t have the exact features you want, you can sometimes add them yourself! Electronics are a popular addition to RVs, and there are a variety of unique upgrades you can make to improve the functionality of your RV.
Make Life Easier on the Road
As you take your RV on the road more frequently, you’ll discover little things that you wish you had. A cup holder near your favorite seat, a better way to keep your kitchen utensils in place. Whatever it is, DIY RV upgrades are a great way to make your RV feel truly like home.
Our Favorite DIY RV Upgrade Ideas
Among the infinite possibilities for upgrading your RV, there are a few that we believe will be great for almost any RV owner – whether you only travel during the camping season or if you’re a full-time RV owner.
Storage Bay Locks
Your external storage bays are convenient. But that means, without proper protection, they’re also an easy score for thieves or nosy neighbors. The basic locks on your RV are enough to keep out most, but if you’re looking to lock down your storage bays, new locks are a great place to start.
One of the most popular types of locks for your storage bays are slam locks. These unique locks close and lock by just slamming them shut. The easier they are to lock, the less likely you are to forget to lock them. Unlocking them requires a key, just like any other lock.
If your RV doesn’t have LED lights, they’re one of the best investments you can make. They’re easy to replace in any of the dedicated light sockets throughout your RV – any traditional bulb will have an LED alternative.
LED lights have three major benefits: they’re energy-efficient, surprisingly bright and have incredible longevity. When you replace your older bulbs, you’ll use less power. This can be a huge boon for boondocking. You’ll be able to use them for longer with less fear of draining your RV’s batteries.
On top of that, the improved illumination can make night-time RVing more comfortable. If you like to read at night or just need to move around the RV, it never hurts to have adequate lighting!
You don’t have to limit yourself to replacing older bulbs, either. If there are nooks or crannies of your RV that you feel need more light, LED puck lights are a cheap, easy DIY solution. They typically come with adhesives and are battery-powered. Stick them anywhere and activate them with a remote or with a tap of the light.
Many RV owners find that a cleverly-placed LED light can make their kitchen pantry easier to navigate or helps their interior storage spaces less frustrating to use.
Hard-wired Surge Protector
Surge protectors are a necessary part of using your RV. Every RV houses countless electronics – including your appliances, AC and more. Just like your home, surges can happen without warning. The cost of a single surge could be crippling if it destroyed these.
Every time you travel to a campsite that offers hookups for RVs, you’re taking a risk that the power supplied there is safely managed. Poor maintenance or undetectable problems can lead to surges. Without a surge protector, you’ll have to rely on luck to save your electronics.
Even if you make a point to avoid the use of public power, it’s always possible that devices in your vehicle can cause problems. Electricity can be very unpredictable. A surge protector is a very small investment for the protection it offers. Unlike other insurance policies, it’s a one-time cost.
High-quality surge protectors can last for a long time, unless they suffer damage from preventing a surge. And at that point, it was worth the investment and cost to replace!
Full-time RVers and those that like to travel far off the beaten path find that solar power is one of the best DIY upgrades they’ve done for their RV. When you’re out in an open field with nothing but sun shining down on your RV, it makes sense to capture that energy and use it.
Adding solar panels to your RV gets less expensive every year as the technology improves. It also produces more power! That said, there is a big range of options and the amount of solar power you want will dramatically change your costs. Adding some supplemental power to your RV may only cost a few hundred dollars – but trying to run a majority of your RV on solar could easily climb into the thousands.
The biggest gain with solar is for boondocking. If you’re frequently parked in RV camps with power hook-ups, or if you drive a lot, your batteries will generally stay charged. However, when you want to dry camp and stay parked, solar becomes much more appealing. It’s a great way to help you save some money on the cost of RV camping.
In addition to helping you keep your electrical appliances powered, solar energy is silent. What’s the point of getting away from it all just to have a loud generator ruin your peace and quiet? If you’re a dry camper, solar power will almost always be a worthwhile DIY RV upgrade.
Living the RV life is comfortable – but compared to living in a home, it can feel a bit compact. Depending on your RV of choice, you may find that a little extra storage space would be a huge benefit to your future trips.
If that’s the case, there are dozens of ways you can upgrade your RV to store more stuff. Not sure where to get started? Here are some tips:
- Peel-and-stick hooks for hanging small objects
- Wire shelving to double storage space in cabinets
- Hanging waste-baskets on cupboards
- Vertical shoe-storage racks near the door
- Towel racks near the sink and shower
The possibilities are endless. Your local hardware store will have a variety of hooks, hangers, Velcro and other options to turn empty space in your RV into usable storage space. The trick is to identify a need and then find the solution that works for you.
Extra Waste Valve
Veteran RV owners know that occasionally a small leak can lead to the waste valve holding back a collection of waste water just waiting for you to open the valve. Or, for forgetful operators, you may not have closed a valve after dumping.
In either case, a backup waste valve can be a lifesaver to protect you from surprise spills of nasty water from your waste valve. Popular twist-on valves add a second gate to that water, giving you some extra protection from waste water that nobody enjoys dealing with.
As simple to install as their name implies, these twist-on valves are often relatively inexpensive as well. You can find well-rated models online for as low as 20 dollars.
Upgrading an RV is a great idea – but it’s even better to start with one that has everything you want! The professionals at RV Wholesale Superstore are ready to help you find the perfect RV for your budget! Visit us in-person at 5080 W. Alexis Road, in Sylvania, OH or call us at 844-601-1171
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