Campers and RVs have a ton of cool upgrades you can buy nowadays. An RV owner could go broke trying to keep up with the latest gadgets (trust me, I know from experience).
I have spent hundreds of dollars trying to get a mirror shine on my 1965 Airstream. It probably would’ve been cheaper in the long run if I would’ve just hired an expert to do it. There’re 4 different types of polishing paste needed and you have to use a GOOD power buffer.
Anyway, RV upgrades usually fall into 2 categories; really useful or just useless junk. At least, that’s been my experience.
Installing RV upgrades should always do two things; make your RV more comfortable and/or more functional and increase the value of the RV. The list below covers the most popular RV upgrades that can do both.
Our list has a couple of products on it that may require professional installation like the solar system, tankless water heater, and roof fan. However, if you’re a seasoned DIYer with a good grasp of plumbing and electrical systems you should be fine.
So which RV upgrades should you get?
If you Google ‘Best RV Upgrades’ you’ll get pages of articles and videos that share each author’s opinion on the best products. After double-checking, it was easy to see that there were a few products that were always listed.
In this article, we’re focusing on the top 10 most recommended products for campers and RVs based on the first 15 articles and videos on Google search for the keywords ‘RV Upgrades.’
These products have to be pretty good to make it on 7 of the first 10 articles on Google. That’s pretty impressive.
They all make life a little easier in an RV whether you live in your RV full-time or just camp on the weekends. RV builders are starting to add these options to their newest models but it’s DIY or nothing for the rest of us.
Tankless Water Heater
There are a few benefits and a few drawbacks to installing a tankless water heater. I’ll not go too far into it but key aspects to consider are size, flow rate, energy usage, portability, and the time it takes for hot water to reach the fixture (usually about 5 seconds or is a lot of water wasted especially if you’re off-grid for a few days).
The first thing I did after I bought the Airstream was to replace the old light bulbs with LED lighting.
The old incandescent bulbs get hot and need a lot of energy but LEDs don’t. It cost around $24 to replace every interior bulb.
LED lights last a lot longer than traditional light bulbs plus they have a higher wattage to illuminate all the corners of the RV. You can pick up these light bulbs at any department store or home hardware store.
You can also purchase surge protector power bars to decrease the chances of disrupting the power throughout the RV. These surge protectors are available at local stores or through online sources.
Install Solar Panels
Another smart RV upgrade is solar power. There’s a lot more to a solar system than most realize though.
The solar panels themselves are just the beginning. You also need a charge controller to regulate the energy that flows from the panels into the battery bank in DC (direct current) form. To use the energy stored in the batteries you need a pure sine wave converter to convert the DC energy to AC so you can use your appliances.
Learn more about RV solar systems here. Solar panels have been getting more affordable with each passing year. This can be a complex project and if you’re not comfortable with drilling holes in your RV’s roof it’s probably best to pay a professional.
Upgrade Your Mattress and Sofa BedUpgrading a standard RV mattress to a thicker and better-made one will make a huge difference. There are some great mattresses and sofa beds on the market for RVs and Campers. You can spend anywhere between $99 and $1500 on a pull-out sofa bed or a mattress.
Get Storage and Organization Products for Campers and RVsOne complaint that people tend to have when it comes to RVs is the amount of storage space located inside or, the lack thereof. You can use scrap wood located around your garage to build a small set of shelves that will fit underneath the sink of the RV, shelving that can go up the overhead of the bunks, or a little end table to place next to the couch with shelving inside. Paint the exterior of your shelving bright and welcoming colors then use it to proudly display knick-knacks and pictures from previous camping trips. There are some great mattresses and sofa beds on the market for RVs and Campers. You can spend anywhere between $99 and $1500 on a pull-out sofa bed or a mattress.
High-Pressure Shower HeadIf I could recommend just one thing to someone wanting RV upgrades I’d say the LED lights and the high-pressure shower head would be my first two choices. It’s simple to install and reduces water consumption by a ton which is important if you’re boondocking somewhere and have a limited supply of water.
Bed LiftMost campers and RVs will have decent storage space under the bed. Unfortunately, this space is not easy to get to sometimes. If your RV has a full, queen, or king bed you’d have to raise the mattress and the plywood which can be a few good pounds. A bed lift solves this problem. It’s like air shocks for your bed and they are handy to have.
Appliance UpgradesNew appliances make sense for vintage campers and RVs more than for newer makes and models. For instance, the refrigerator in my 1965 Airstream works fine when plugged into shore power but doesn’t work at all with propane. I’ll be getting one installed just as soon as I finish paying for my daughter’s college. New convection ovens can cook food without getting the interior hot. Gotta love technology! An RV cover is not the first thing that comes to mind when you are thinking of ways to upgrade your car, but it can be a very worthwhile investment. A good car cover will protect your vehicle from the elements and keep it looking new for longer. Not all RV covers are created equal, so it is important to do your research before making a purchase. There are a few things to consider when selecting a car cover, such as the type of material, climate, and size of your vehicle.
An RV cover is not the first thing that comes to mind when you are thinking of ways to upgrade your car, but it can be a very worthwhile investment. A good car cover will protect your vehicle from the elements and keep it looking new for longer. Not all RV covers are created equal, so it is important to do your research before making a purchase. There are a few things to consider when selecting a car cover, such as the type of material, climate, and size of your vehicle.
Making Memories in RVsBoth of my grandmothers kept campers and RVs. My maternal grandmother had an old camper she turned into her sewing shed complete with comfy sewing chairs and her trusty Singer.
Campers and RVs are perfect for making memories whether at the campground or in the backyard. I’ve never met a single person that doesn’t have a beautiful memory involving their family’s RV. I hope these RV upgrades help you and your family make some wonderful RV memories to look back on. As always, thank you for reading Mobile Home Living®1