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!
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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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