We made a lot of mistakes on our RV journey and those can be your learning experience. One of the mental traps we fell into was taking what RV manufacturers were offering as far as the floor plan and furniture goes.
RVs may be some of the most easily modifiable domiciles you’ll ever inhabit. I hate to describe the materials as “cheap” but they have to be thin and light. If RV manufacturers used fixtures tough enough for a house, your RV would weigh as much as a house and you’d need a truck the size of a 747 to tow it. All the same, for those of you crafty enough to make the modifications, other than making sure you don’t interfere with where the slideouts travel, you can make some surprising and functional modifications to your RV. Here’s a list of some of the most popular.
Extra 12 Volt Outlets
We live in a mobile world and yet our RVs are surprisingly devoid of outlets for charging those mobile devices. RVs are short of 110v outlets, so you can quickly exhaust them with cell phone chargers. Some extra 12 volt outlets can make charging your phone in remote areas all the easier and you won’t tie up your 110 volt outlets. I’m always amazed at the 12 volt DC appliances that exist out there. You can find cookers, portable A/C units and coffee pots. Most people don’t even think to look.
Many RV manufacturers are doing this step for you but, if they don’t, replacing the stock light fixtures with LED lighting is so easy I can do it. LED bulbs will last for years and draw a minimal amount of power. They also run cooler, as anyone who’s ever had to change a bulb cover browned from bulb heat can attest.
Cargo trays will really save your back and relieve you of the necessity of crawling into your storage to get at a box way in the back. And the box you want always seems to be in the back! How does that work anyway? Beat the back box with slide out cargo trays. A lot of Class A RVs come with these as standard features or a dealer option.
I know a lot of people use these judging strictly by the number of times we’d pull into a campsite and find some had left their water supply connector behind. On the park side, you’ll still have to twist on the fitting, but the less fiddling you have to do setting up the better.
Grey Water External Tank
Almost every camper has a separate drain for the grey water tank. Grey water comes from your shower and sinks, black water is the toilet tank water. When you’re wilderness camping you have to either move your camper or haul your waste water. But a lot of people use grey water for watering flowers or vegetables. Hook up an external container to your grey water outflow and you won’t have to guess at when it’s time to dump your shower water.
I don’t know where RV manufacturers get their furniture but the ghastly colors, cheap fabrics and shoddy construction are hardly worth the effort of moving it into a camper. Like any other fixture, you can’t have a full size, and hence full weight lounger, but you can definitely do better than stock camper furniture. Futon couches are light, sturdy and you can find them made with extra tough fabrics. Even something like heavy duty outdoor loungers, that you can use indoors or outside, take up less room and can fold flat when you’re traveling. If you have a storage unit, keep the old RV furniture for when you sell your camper but, for the love of heaven, don’t travel with it. You can replace your camper furniture with something lighter and nicer and it’s inexpensive to do.
These are just a few ideas to get you out of the stock camper mentality. When you look at an RV or camper, picture it empty and decide how you want the space to look and function. RVs are a lot easier to modify than houses, just keep the weight issue in mind.