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Our 10 Favorite RV Upgrades to Improve Your Camping Experience

Did you know that when you buy an RV, you don’t have to keep everything exactly as it is? Your RV upgrades aren’t going to ruin the structural integrity of your fifth wheel. You aren’t going to get a call from the dealer asking if you switched out the RV mattress for something more comfortable. In fact, we encourage you to make some changes so your rig feels like a home away from home.

Let’s take a look at ten RV upgrades that will enhance your camping experience. You might not want to complete them all. However, these easy changes will make your space feel more personal and comfortable. Let’s dive in!

We Renovated A 20 Year-Old Truck Camper Into A Luxury Overland Vehicle

How Can I Improve My RV? 

There are so many ways to improve your RV. Some of these ways depend on personal preference. What makes your space feel more like home isn’t necessarily what makes your co-worker’s RV feel like home. They may love their three-seater reclining sofa. You may hate yours and wish you had a cute loveseat and ottoman instead. You may hang sheer curtains to brighten up your kitchen, but they would rather have no curtains.

In general, many travelers make multiple RV improvements to make their camping experience more enjoyable. These changes include changing out the RV mattress, replacing the showerhead, and updating the countertops. In this article, we’re sharing our favorite RV upgrades after over 8 years of full-time RV living.

What Can You Upgrade in an RV? 

You can change almost anything in your RV to modernize it, like the cabinetry color, the flooring, and the kitchen appliances. There is very little that has to remain exactly as is. Feel free to make your RV fit your travel style better. 

Sometimes that means getting rid of a dinette and building a workstation instead. You can also add a dishwasher, so you aren’t wasting time washing dishes. Instead, you can enjoy the great outdoors. From small changes like putting in LED lights to big changes like installing solar panels, there are countless upgrades you can make to your RV.

RV Interior Painting Ideas
Even if you only use your RV for weekend adventures, a few upgrades can make it homier.

Watch Your Weight

One of the biggest caveats to updating an RV is your RV’s weight. Many RVs have very limited weight capacities, and some upgrades can add a lot of weight. Before you begin, it’s important to know your weight and keep it in mind. If you are adding something, maybe something else needs to go.

Our 10 Favorite RV Upgrades to Improve Your Camping Experience

Below are 10 of our favorite RV upgrades to make the camping experience more enjoyable. You may find a few of these changes to be exactly what your RV needs to feel more like home on the road. Most of these are pretty easy and fairly cheap, with a couple of exceptions. Let’s take a look!

1. Upgrade Your Mattress

One of the first things RV owners do after purchasing a new rig is to get rid of the factory mattress. These mattresses are notorious for being uncomfortable. It’s important to get a good night’s sleep, whether on a weekend camping trip or a month-long road trip. Just be cognizant of the mattress sizes. RV manufacturers are also notorious for making their own “king” and “queen” bed sizes, so check the dimensions before you shop.

You can also keep the manufacturer’s mattress and just upgrade with a mattress topper. We added a 2″ memory foam topper to our truck camper mattress and now it’s one of the comfiest bed we’ve every slept in. Plus, you can easily cut foam toppers to the correct size.

Did you know? You can even put a SleepNumber mattress in your RV!

2. Change Your Window Treatments

Besides upgrading the mattress, another immediate change many RVers make is to take down the ugly, protruding valances. They’re usually dark brown and take up several inches of space. So when you remove them, the space feels much more airy, open, and bright. 

You can remove the valances and use the RV window shades or add curtains to the space. Curtains can make the RV feel more like home while also adding privacy. They’re also a fun way to add a personal touch. Some may even opt to recover the valences for something that matches their style and personality better.

3. Replace Your Showerhead 

The best way to easily and quickly improve the RV shower experience is to replace your RV showerhead. If you’re unhappy with the water pressure or amount of water coming through your RV’s showerhead, replacing it is simple and easy. There are handheld showerheads, rain showerheads, fixed showerheads, and more. Practically any home showerhead will work, just be considerate of the water flow rate and any hardware adapters you’ll need to make it connect properly.

Oxygenics is a well-known, reputable brand that many RVers choose. Phoenix and Camco are other popular brands. However, we think the best RV showerhead is one that you’d also consider putting in your home with simple controls of the flow rate. Choose one that’s easy to install and will provide the water pressure you desire for a long, enjoyable shower.

Sale
Oxygenics 26488 BodySpa RV Handheld Shower, Modern...
  • Powerful Oxygenic setting amplifies existing water pressure and...
  • Easily control the flow of water with the push of a button. This...
  • Designed to achieve maximum performance with tank size and...

Pro Tip: Follow these steps on How to Upgrade Your RV Shower Head to make the process easy.

4. Change Your Lights to LED

Did you know that your RV’s lights drain your battery? LED lights are the most efficient lights on the market, so changing out those power-hungry standard light bulbs is a great RV upgrade. 

Because they’re more efficient, they’ll last longer, thus saving you money. LED lights are also much safer because they’re less likely to burn you or catch fire.

5. Pull Out Your Booth Dinette and Install a Work Station

One of the best RV upgrades for travelers working full-time while on the road is creating a workstation. RVers with toy haulers often do this with the garage, but if you don’t own a toy hauler, you have to find another space. 

If you enjoy cooking and eating outside, get rid of the indoor dinette and turn it into your workstation. You can design the space to fit your needs by adding shelves, cabinets, drawers, and whatever else you need to have a comfortable, functional workspace.

Pro Tip: Turn your steering wheel into a workspace with this guide on how to Turn Your Motorhome RV Steering Wheel Into a Table.

We replaced our couch with a desk so we can work comfortably while on the move.

6. Install Solar Panels and Upgrade to Lithium Batteries

The most costly RV upgrade on this list is installing solar panels and lithium batteries. However, if you want to dry camp for long periods of time, you pretty much have to make this upgrade. The standard lead-acid battery that comes with your RV won’t get you through many nights of boondocking. It might not even get you through one night

Lithium batteries and solar panels can cost hundreds of dollars a piece. So spending on the size of your solar power system, you could spend $1,000, $5,000, $10,000, or more getting the right equipment for a comfortable dry camping experience. But trust us, this is an amazing way to camp and worth the satisfaction and peace of mind.

7. Add an RV Dishwasher

Some RVs have the capacity for you to add a dishwasher. You’ll find quite a few RVs with washer and dryer hookups in a cabinet or wardrobe closet. You can install a dishwasher in a kitchen island or underneath a countertop. 

Once you’ve been traveling for a while, you’re tired of washing dishes several times a day. Upgrading to a dishwasher could make your camping experience even more enjoyable.

Mortons on the Move RV Dishwasher
Installing a dishwasher in your RV can make RV living much easier.

8. Switch Out Your Couch to Residential-Quality

Another common RV upgrade is switching out the RV furniture. Often the standard furniture isn’t very comfortable or doesn’t fit your personal style. Many RVers take a day trip to IKEA or search Facebook Marketplace to find the perfect couch that fits their lifestyle and taste. 

Don’t hesitate to take it out if you don’t want a reclining sofa or sofa bed.

9. Replace Carpeting with Laminate Flooring

Besides adding solar power, replacing the carpet is one of the most time-consuming and costly RV upgrades. Many people despise carpeting, especially in an RV where it’s so difficult to keep clean. It’s much easier to just sweep up dirt off of laminate flooring. However, this may not be a project you want to tackle on your own. 

There are multiple steps that involve prepping, measuring, purchasing, and installing that may go beyond your handyman skills. But it’s certainly an upgrade to consider if you’re tired of looking at that dismal brown carpet.

Pro Tip: Replace your RV carpet with one of these RV Flooring Options to Make Your Camper Feel Like Home.

10. Update the Countertops

Just like homeowners look forward to the day they can update their countertops, RVers do, too. There are several options. You can choose a peel-and-stick countertop to create a fresh, new look. 

You can completely remove the existing countertops and replace them with something that fits your decor. Apply a material to the top of the countertop, like cement or epoxy, to change the look. 

Finally, you can paint countertops to give your space a pop of color.

rv countertops before and after
Make your RV kitchen cozier by upgrading the countertops.

Do RV Renovations Have to Be Costly? 

The cost will vary depending on the type of RV upgrades you make. Simply removing the window valances will cost you nothing. Adding a significant solar power system will cost you thousands. Switching out the showerhead will cost $15 to $40. So don’t think that all RV renovations have to be costly.

If you’re planning on painting all the cabinetry, walls, and ceiling, you can expect to spend quite a bit of time and money on your reno. But the overall cost won’t break the bank if you just want to create a workstation where you can comfortably answer emails and have video conferences.

Pro Tip: Use our guide on How to Replace RV Ceiling Panels (Plus 5 Alternative RV Ceiling Ideas) to make your RV a little more luxurious.

DIY RV Reflooring with a Flush Slide-Out

Improve Your Camping Experience With Some Easy RV Upgrades

RV upgrades don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. They also don’t have to take weeks to complete. With simple changes like replacing your lights with LED lights or upgrading your RV mattress, you can make your space feel more like a home.

What RV upgrades have you completed to have a more enjoyable camping experience? Tell us in the comments!

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About Tom Morton

Tom, a Pacific Northwest native, is our technical genius. Born in Washington and raised in Alaska before settling in Michigan. He's the man who keeps our operation running, both figuratively and literally.

With a background in Electrical Engineering, Tom specializes in RV solar systems and lithium batteries. He made history as the first documented individual to use a Tesla battery module as an RV battery. Tom has personally assisted countless RVers with system installations and has educated thousands more through his videos and articles.

Cinematography is another of Tom's passions, showcased in his work on the Go North series. You can see his camera skills on display in The RVers TV show on Discovery Channel and PBS where he also stars as a co-host.

Tom's mechanical expertise extends beyond RVs to boats, planes, and all things mechanical. He's renowned for taking on maintenance and repair projects single-handedly and is often spotted underneath RVs, making him the technical backbone of our endeavors.

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Cindi Wiese

Sunday 19th of March 2023

I'm having the cab of my motorhome updated from a u shaped entertainment center to a set of 3 cupboards. I'll have SO much more storage!

Mary

Sunday 19th of March 2023

We bought a 30ft 2003 camper. We were told it had never leaked. $1300 later we had a major leak fixed. I painted all the walls a very soft grey. Removed the valances. Covered the table and countertops with sticky backed vinyl. I put the stick on subway tiles around the stove and sink. Added stick on ceiling tiles to the front of the fridge. Added free carpet from my daughter's new house to the bedroom and in front of the couch. Clip together floor tiles from habitat for humanity at $10 per box. Four boxes. We were installing that when I fell at home and dislocated my shoulder🙄. I am putting in vinyl sticky backed tile to the bathroom floor. And at the entry door. Diy curtains made from a salvation army duvet cover. And I'm going to put diy storage boxes in cupboards etc. We're on hold at the moment because of my shoulder. But it's been fun for me to redo this camper mostly by myself but hubby has retired and is starting to help. I also glued down refexit to all the floors prior to laying down the flooring. I saw this on a post somewhere and thought it sounded like a good thing to do for warmth. Hopefully it works ok. We have 3 cats, one dog, two birds and as many plants as I can figure out how to bring also in the mix. Our plan is to travel around the country until we find somewhere we want to stay then build a natural build home and live off grid as much as we can. That's about all I can think of. Have a great life y'all.

Mortons on the Move

Sunday 19th of March 2023

Wow thats a lot of changes! Love to hear your making it yours tho :)

George

Friday 17th of March 2023

You should watch the weight when doing some of these upgrades, like the "residential" couch. I already see so many people at the campgrounds, with vastly overweight RVs. I was surprised at how quickly we our load limit, with just the essientials.

Mortons on the Move

Sunday 19th of March 2023

That is a great point, And I will add it to the article. We always want people to be within weight ratings and have covered that topic in many articles.