Useful Hacks to Transform Your RV Lifestyle
Switching to an RV lifestyle provides you with the freedom to travel around the country while also maintaining many of the comforts offered by a home. Many people are choosing to make the switch to a house on wheels, opting for a more simplified lifestyle that allows you to focus more on experiences and less on the accumulation of things.
While an RV lifestyle can be liberating, there are several challenges to consider. Even after reducing the amount of stuff you own, many people transitioning to an RV lifestyle find it challenging to find room for all the essentials they’ll still need for a life on the road. Most people also don’t exactly want to sacrifice comfort, convenience, and style after having had these things with a traditional home.
Whether you’re planning on living in an RV full-time or wish to simply rent an RV to start enjoying more comfortable road trips and explore the many beautiful national parks out there whenever you get the itch to travel, there are thankfully many useful hacks that can make RV travel easier and more enjoyable. Read on to find out ways you can improve the storage, lighting, entertainment, comfort, and functionality of your RV.
Be Smart with Storage
While more and more people are joining the RV community, many struggle when it comes to downsizing their belongings. While it’s true that you will not be able to find room in an RV for all the belongings you once had in your home, there are ways you can maximize the more condensed space of an RV in order to accommodate more than you would think.
The first step to saving space in your RV is to do away with items you know you will rarely use. Moving into an RV means simplifying your life, and that means getting rid of clutter. For things you will definitely need or simply cannot part with, there are many ways to store items without having them impeding on your comfort.
Utilize the space under beds in your RV to house labeled storage tubs or boxes. You can also make storage holds underneath bench seats that may be present in spaces like your RV dining or living area. Even stairs in your RV can be transformed into small chest-like storage areas. Add under-shelf baskets for extra storage space beneath your kitchen cupboards. Save even more space in the kitchen by switching to nesting bowls and nesting cookware that can fit neatly inside one another.
Get an RV Power Converter
Most RVs these days use both AC and DC power. Finding a decent converter for your RV is a must to ensure you can power all of your onboard RV appliances and electronics. A power converter coverts AC (120V) voltage to DC (12V) voltage, allowing for multiple 12-volt DC appliances and accessories to be run without draining your battery. A converter allows you to run AC power to your RV to charge your batteries for the DC system.
Plugging your RV into a 120v plug power source, known as shore power, allows the RV’s electrical system to not only recharge the batteries but also potentially power the RV’s electrical system directly. Tapping into an external power source allows you to run most of the electronics you are used to using at home like a TV or microwave, while simply running off your RV’s battery (DC) system will only allow you to run the essentials such as your RV lights and water pump.
It’s important to note that the amps of service your RV provides may differ between 30 amps and 50 amps. An RV with a 3-prong plug marked 30 amps is of course a 30 amp electrical service RV whereas one with a 4-prong plug marked 50 amps will be a 50 amp electrical service RV. It’s a good idea to have compatible adapters on hand to be able to use the amp service provided by the RV park you are using.
It is possible to tap into a home electric system but the home would have to have a designated 30 or 50 amp connection or you’ll need an adapter. When connecting to electric power at an RV park, you will want to be sure to turn on the circuit breaker after hooking up to the electricity. Remember to turn it off after disconnecting from the power supply. Failure to hook up to shore power correctly could result in blown fuses and possibly damage to either your RV or the power source.
Modern RV power converters are quiet and efficient, allowing you to run all the electronics you need to stay comfortable and entertained. While an RV may be designed to operate the basics without AC Voltage, this will only last several days before you deplete your DC voltage unless you hook up to shore power.
Switching to LED lighting can save you power and therefore money. LED bulbs can be retrofit to existing RV light sockets to replace various bulbs including bayonet and halogen down lights. LED lights also come in a range of different brightnesses which will allow you to enjoy low light for night-time reading and more powerful lighting for evenings outdoors.
When choosing lightning fixtures for your RV, keep in mind that ones marked 120v will need to be powered by shore power or a generator. Lighting fixtures marked 12v will run off the RV’s batteries. You can opt for hardwired overhead lights that can be turned on and off via a wall switch plate, dome lights that have been wired into the RV’s electrical system, battery operated lights, or a combination of all three.
Battery-operated fixtures are an economical and easy way to add light to spaces where you don’t have lights already hardwired. More specifically, battery operated push lights are great when you need to light dim corners or the inside of cabinets for short periods at a time. We recommend you also apply glow-in-the dark tape to areas like stairs or objects you can easily trip on or stub your toe on during night-time wanderings such as trips to the bathroom.
Strapping Things Down and Preventing Breakage
While living out of RV is great for traveling around the country, your RV’s contents will do a bit of traveling on their own if you fail to secure them properly while driving. You will need to securely strap many items down in order to keep them from moving around while taking sharp corners and hitting pot holes.
Keeping loose items in drawers will help keep things from moving around too much, but you will also need to make sure drawer and cabinet doors stay closed with something like bungee straps or installed door latches. You can secure items that are placed on kitchen benchtops or tables with the use of adhesive velcro strips, magnets, or a reusable putty adhesive such as Blu Tack.
Attaching adhesive putty to the undersides of items like tea boxes, toasters, or flower vases is probably the easiest, as it works on most non-porous surfaces such as wood, tile, brick, glass, vinyl, and plastic. Adhesive putty or adhesive Velcro strips can also be used to keep things like place mats, desktop photo frames, and knick-knacks from moving around.
Tension rods can also be used to keep kitchen and bathroom items in place. Installing non-skid shelf liners will also help stop things from shifting around inside cabinets and drawers while driving.
Hanging Items in your RV
Hanging up items is a great way to maximize space and keep things tidy. Hanging artwork is also a way to add a bit of style and personality to your RV decor. We highly recommend the use of adhesive hooks which won’t force you to put holes in the walls and can be used to hang a wide variety of lighter weight items. These hooks come in a wide variety of sizes, each designed to hold various weights.
Door pocket-organizers can be hung over doors to create more storage for items like shoes, accessories, sunscreen and bug spray cans, flashlights, and more. Secure the corners of the organizer to the door using adhesive velcro strips to prevent the organizer from shifting while driving.
Utilize your shower curtain rod if you have one to hang shower products like shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel. You can get rings that have little clips attached which can attach onto your toiletries which can then be hung from your shower rod to make them more accessible. This is especially helpful if your RV shower does not have a shower rack. Another great way to hang items in the bathroom is to use suction cup hooks that can attach to tiles or mirrors.
Broom clips can also be installed onto walls to hold more than just mops and brooms. They may be able to hold flashlights, hiking poles, and other gear. And the same adhesive velcro strips you use to keep things in place on counters can also be used to hang lightweight items such as pictures or at least be used to keep pictures from shifting around.
To install mounting brackets or wall mounting plates, use pop rivets instead of screws when there is limited rear access and you’re afraid of drilling too deep into the walls of your RV which could damage important things like electrical components.
Dealing with Low Water Pressure
Experiencing low water pressure is a common problem associated with RVs. While it may be hard to get the same quality water pressure you experience at home, there are things you can check and do to enjoy higher water pressure. Often it is the RV park’s water system which is to blame for causing low water pressure in your RV.
Water pressure in RV parks can be inconsistent, so you may want to look into getting a pressure regulator which will allow you to keep your water pressure from fluctuating. A pressure gauge will allow you to measure the psi of incoming water pressure coming in from an RV park’s water system. It is important to note that a pressure regulator only regulates the pressure and cannot increase the pressure. To achieve increased water pressure, you may have to look into getting a compatible RV water pump that offers a higher flow rate.
If your RV is equipped with a water filter, check to make sure it is not clogged as this can also cause low water pressure. Water filters should be replaced roughly every six months. Another thing that can help with your RV shower is to install a high-pressure shower head which can provide you with different spray settings and pressure-boosting technology.
When it comes to watching TV in an RV, you can opt for either a 12v TV or a 120V TV. The benefits of a 12v TV are that it runs on the RV batteries and won’t require hooking up to shore power. Plugging in a normal 120v TV like you have in your home won’t work unless you are hooked up to shore power, a generator, or are using an inverter. The cons of 12v TVs are that they are often expensive and there isn’t nearly as much selection as your traditional TVs offer.
Whichever TV you decide on, choose to mount it on an adjustable-arm wall mount so you can angle the TV to different areas of your RV depending on where you want to watch. Mounting your TV on the wall will also help free up valuable floor or table space. An adjustable-arm mounting unit with a quick release will allow you to easily take down the TV for safe transport or to mount on another installed TV mounting arm on the outside of your RV for outdoor movies under the stars.
More and more RV parks are now offering free Wi-Fi to entice people to stay. If this is offered, you’ll be able to stream movies, play games, and use the internet to research local area attractions easily. If no Wi-Fi is offered, you will have to resort to using your phone as a mobile hotspot, adding a hotspot router to your existing mobile plan, or looking into satellite internet.
Note that mobile carriers often cap mobile hotspot use even with unlimited data plans, so go with a carrier that offers the best mobile hot spot limits if you plan on going this route for accessing the internet. Increase your Wi-Fi speed by purchasing a signal booster which can amplify cell phone signals.
You should also invest in a quality sound system for your RV to enjoy your favorite music both while on the road and while parked at RV parks or campsites. Speakers mounted on the outside of your RV are another great idea to continue the music even when enjoying a barbecue or outdoor sports around your RV.
We hope these tips help you to enjoy RV life with more ease and comfort. As you can see, there are many ways you can transform your RV lifestyle both in style and functionality. Be sure to check out more of our top tips for transitioning from life in a house to an RV.