Whether you’re a full-time RVer, weekend warrior, or an RV owner who rents your rig out to others, RV upgrades are an important way to make your camper safer and more comfortable. Even if you primarily use your RV for short vacations, there are many little touches you can make to help your RV feel more like home.
RV manufacturers generally do a good job of providing basic comforts and safety features in their products, but every RVer is unique — meaning there are many different options for customizing your RV to your family’s unique tastes. There are also very important safety upgrades that every RVer should know about.
In this post, we’ll cover an array of RV upgrade ideas to make your journey more smooth. We’ll start with the most important topic — safety upgrades for your RV. After that, we’ll move into power saving/economic upgrades, follow with convenience upgrades, and wrap it with the aesthetic upgrades that’ll make your rig more homey and cozy.
RV upgrades that provide increased safety
Few things are more dangerous in the life of an RVer than the potential for a tire blowout. Whether you have a motorhome or a travel trailer, your tires have the potential to explode or suddenly lose pressure over the road — and yes this is true even for new tires!
A TPMS system is an RV upgrade that will alert you to dangers — such as a sudden rise in tire temperature or drop in tire pressure — to help you preemptively avoid dangerous RV tire situations.
Few things are scarier than cars zipping by you while you’re trying to change a tire, reattach an RV panel, etc. If you have to stop your RV on the side of the highway, you’ll absolutely need a way to alert other drivers of your presence.
That’s why adding a roadside safety kit with flares is one of the best RV upgrades you can make.
RV roadside assistance is specialized to offer towing and other services specific to your RV. When you rent an RV on a platform like Outdoorsy, roadside assistance is included.
Traditional fire extinguishers are important tools that are included in most new RVs. That said, they are usually tucked away in an under-sink cabinet that may not be the first place you go in a panic during a flash grease fire.
That’s why your modified RV safety plan should include the placement of fire extinguishing sprays in critical areas like kitchen countertops and near bedroom areas. These sprays are specifically designed to take out fires like grease fires before they’re able to morph into an even more dangerous situation.
Standard RV smoke/carbon monoxide detectors use a 9-volt battery that needs to be tested regularly and changed often. Ten-year detectors are an RV mod that’ll keep your family safer while also eliminating the need to regularly test batteries.
You’ll often be parking your RV at night when you can easily trip on or bump into things that can hurt you. That’s why headlamps are a camper modification that help keep everyone safe.
Cushions for low-clearance areas
RVs are notorious for having short entry doors and intrusive cabinet fixtures that are waiting to bump the heads of anyone over five feet tall. You can remedy this with a simple camper upgrade. Creatively cushion headbanging areas to soften blows. By hanging decorative items — think string lights, greenery, and micro-sized garlands — in a doorway and on offending cabinets, you can beautify low-clearance areas in your travel trailer while deterring any would-be headbanging.
If you plan to be away from your camper for extended periods of time, a trailer lock is a very important travel trailer upgrade. These locks slide into the trailer’s tongue to keep any would-be thieves from hooking onto your camper and towing it away.
Trailer theft like this is an all-too-common experience and it can be largely prevented by securing your trailer with a lock.
Power-saving (and wallet-helping) RV upgrades
If your RV doesn’t already have LED lighting, one of the best RV upgrades is to replace incandescent bulbs with LED lights. This is usually fairly easy because many companies make plug-and-play bulbs that you can simply trade out for your current lighting.
This will save you money if you stay in long-term parks where you pay for your own electricity. The best part of this travel trailer mod is that it allows you to boondock for longer periods of time because LED lights will sip on your battery power. You could also install an RV skylight to bring in natural light while conserving even more power!
There are two types of surge protectors — ones inside your RV and ones outside your RV that guard the power coming in. For surge protectors inside your camper, a power strip like this one will offer surge protection to your devices while also featuring built-in USB charging stations.
Another vital RV upgrade is a surge protector like this one or this one that connects at the campground power pole to protect your sensitive RV appliances from power surges.
One camper upgrade that’ll help immensely on the energy front is to add solar panels to your RV. These can either be attached to the roof of your RV or used as a portable kit.
If you attach them to your RV, the sun will charge your batteries as you roll down the road — meaning you’ll constantly be ready to start boondocking. Solar power prices have also come down significantly over the years meaning this is one of those motorhome or camper upgrades you shouldn’t do without.
Upgrade your batteries to lithium-ion
Traditional RV batteries are lead-acid which has several drawbacks. They are very heavy and environmentally unfriendly, they can’t be discharged to under 50% or they’ll start losing long-term capacity, and they are sensitive to extreme temperature changes.
By trading your deep-cycle lead-acid batteries for lithium-ion deep-cycle batteries, you’ll bring several worthwhile upgrades to your RV. Here are a few examples:
- Lithium Ion batteries can be discharged to near zero — meaning you’ll have use of the full battery capacity, rather than just 50% as with lead-acid.
- Lithium Ion batteries are less impacted by temperature changes.
- Lithium Ion batteries tolerate many more charge/discharge cycles than do lead-acid — resulting in a longer lifespan.
By upgrading your RV to a digital thermostat you’ll make it easier — and more economical — to precisely control your RV’s temperature. You could even add a smart RV thermostat if you want to take your camper mods to another level!
Entire articles, websites, and businesses have been created around the topic of RV internet upgrades.
High-pressure shower head
RVs are infamous for their low-pressure showers. You upgrade your travel trailer by snagging a PowerFlow shower head to provide a high-pressure — and water-saving — shower even when your campground has low water pressure
WiFi space heaters are an excellent upgrade because — when you have WiFi at the campground — you’ll be able to warm up your RV before you get back from a day of outdoor adventuring.
Your RV air conditioner is probably the biggest power hog in your whole rig. That’s why one of the best camper modifications is to add a soft start to your rooftop AC.
Air conditioners pull the most power when they are starting up, but this RV modification will balance it so your air conditioner is able to start up using less power. This means you can more easily run your air conditioner off a small generator or in RV parks where hot weather is creating high power demand that’s causing power fluctuations.
RV upgrades for comfort and convenience
Most factory RV mattresses aren’t exactly the pinnacle of comfort. That’s why a terrific RV improvement involves trading your RV’s original mattress for something more cozy and plush.
Mail order mattresses like Casper, Tuft & Needle, Purple, and many more are excellent options for RVers because they offer stupendously comfortable mattresses delivered to wherever you happen to be parking.
Motion sensor lights in small spaces
Closets and other tight spaces in RVs are usually poorly lit. You can easily remedy dark spaces with affordable LED lights that are motion-activated.
RV bar area
Turn your microwave space into a bar. Ditching your microwave might seem like a controversial idea, but many RVers are of the mind that a microwave is a useless device if you have an RV stove and oven. After all, when space is at a premium in an RV, why devote a chunk of it to an energy-hogging microwave if you don’t have to? If you’re open to ditching your microwave, the space left behind is usually perfect for creating a bar area in your RV.
You never know when you’ll want to have a fire and you won’t always have a fire ring available. That’s why a pop-up fire pit is a vital camper upgrade. As an added bonus, you can even purchase a grate to turn your fire pit into a grill!
Inflatable air lounge
An air lounge is an inflatable piece of furniture that’ll allow you to enjoy the outdoors with ease, making this a camper mod that’ll turn you into the coolest kid in the campground.
Folding chairs are great and all, but they still take up too much space in an RV. Micro chairs like these are an important RV upgrade because they save space while offering ample seating.
Pop-up lanterns are cute and functional — and cute and functional anything is a worthwhile RV improvement.
Why have a smattering of pots and pans when you can get ten pieces to stack into the space of one? Space-saving utility makes nested cookware one of the best RV upgrades you can make.
The best RV upgrades happen when you get multiple functions out of one beautiful item. Turkish towels are towels, blankets, and shawls rolled into one. Check out this list of 27 practical ways to use a Turkish towel.
RV upgrades to make your camper feel more like home
This stuff is a fantastic way to splash new life into many RV spaces. You could use peel & stick tile to create a backsplash in your RV kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom.
Peel and stick tile comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials and can be easily cut to fit tiny nooks.
Fake plants that look real
Faux has gotten a makeover to where you can now upgrade your RV with maintenance-free greenery that looks like the real thing. World Market is one place in particular that has an excellent selection of real-looking fake plants that’ll add a down-home feel to your RV.
Rewrap your furniture
RVs can sometimes come with furniture design that makes you want to reupholster. But instead of reupholstering, one of the best — and most affordable — RV upgrades involves wrapping the old furniture yourself with new fabric.
If your RV furniture needs to be upgraded entirely, here are some tips on finding used RV furniture in great shape.
The best RV upgrade ideas involve things that are multi-purpose. Mason jars are one such item because they make excellent storage containers, drinking glasses, planters, etc.
If you also upgrade your RV to include a mason jar compatible blender, then you can make and store your smoothie all in one place.
Coffee tables, footstools, and ottomans that double as storage
Speaking of multi-purpose, why not add some cute RV furniture that doubles as storage? While we’re at it, here are a few more great RV storage ideas to improve your RV.
IKEA — for example — makes a number of Ottomans that double as storage containers. By creating cozy environments that increase storage capacity, you’ll be making a camper mod that’s both functional and practical.
A handy, stowable item that can be used as a dish rack, drying rack for washed fruits and vegetables, and even a surface for hot pots in the kitchen.
Magnetized spice rack
By putting spices in metal containers and attaching them to a magnetic sheet, you can create a space-saving spice rack that you can hang on the wall or inside a door for a highly functional RV mod.
Magnetized knife holder
Fasten a magnetic strip in your camper’s kitchen to easily organize knives and other utensils in your camper. Be sure to take knives down while driving!
Upgrade RV life
RV upgrades are an important part of road life because they’ll make your camper feel like much more of a home. There are also important camper mods that will help make your rig safer, more comfortable, and more energy-efficient. The RV upgrade ideas we’ve shared above offer simple yet powerful ways to enhance your RVing life.
Do you have an RV you’d like to rent out to others? List your RV with Outdoorsy.