Turning your part-time RV into a full-time home is a work in progress when you’re new to this way of life. You’ll need time to discover what home goods help you feel comfortable wherever your wheels are parked.
Everyone has different needs, but in general here are five popular RV upgrades that can make or break your full-timing experience.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a new RVer or an experienced camper. Living in your RV is totally different than vacationing in it. After you ditch your sticks-and-bricks lifestyle, you’ll be more comfortable if make these five moves to upgrade your home.
Upgrade your RV’s mattress
Many RV manufacturers cut corners in the weirdest places. For instance, RV bed mattresses are usually made of cheaper materials than regular domestic bed mattresses. Don’t wait until your back is achy to upgrade your RV mattress.
When you’re ready to full-time, invest in the cost of a better RV mattress. You can buy a better RV mattress for as little as $500 – far cheaper than the one you’d buy for your stick house.
Install RV step stabilizer jack
RV steps take a beating whether you have a class A motorcoach or a travel trailer. From the occasional curbside scrape that loosens welds on the step assembly, to your heavy-set friends who make your rig rock and roll whenever they come inside, RV steps wear out with full-time use.
Purchase an RV step stabilizer jack for as little as $20. Without one, your stairs will eventually sag enough to require a replacement.
Install a better RV shower head
You can’t compare a typical RV shower head to its domestic counterpart. The chintzy plastic used to make factory-installed RV shower heads make them feel like something used to bathe a child’s doll.
Their meager water flow is hardly powerful enough to lather up and rinse. After just a few years of use the cheap components of your RV shower head will break, so why not invest in quality RV shower head now? You’ll start every day feeling as clean as you did when you lived in a sticks-and-bricks house.
RVers are closer to nature than ever. This means that all of earth’s splendors from dust to gravel tend to come in our front doors faster than ever. The dirt and fur of full-time RVing pets multiplies before you can ever get around to brushing them.
A high quality, high-powered vacuum that picks up dirt in one swipe can make your full-timing experience more comfortable and clean.
Roam with reliable internet access
Reliable internet access is critical whether you just use it to check in with grand kids or work on the road. Unfortunately the unreliable nature of RV park internet WiFi signals means that you’ll always need to have a way to get online.
Most full-time RVers get online through their cell phone companies. They use a wireless hot spot device that’s billed to their cell phone plan. Those who enjoy off-grid dry camping purchase RV satellite internet systems, which have varying costs for hardware and access.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to turn your part-time RV into a full-time home. Even just a few investments can make the difference between feeling like a grungy camper to living like everyone else. Only you’ll feel better because you can move your home whenever you want.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.
I enjoy all the information in your blog. I am struggling with the internet thing. Instead of buying a separate device to work with my cell company, why couldn’t I just tether off of my cell? Seems like an added expense to have a separate device.
Rene Agredano - The Full Timing Nomad says
Chris, you can certainly do that. But two things to consider: 1) cell phones aren’t meant to be used as tethers all the time. In my experience, they get very hot after keeping them on all day, especially iPhones. 2) if you want to make a call, you can’t be online and talk on the phone at the same time. This just happened to me a few minutes ago when my husband received a call and my internet connection was dropped. If you’re not a heavy internet user, it could work. But if you rely on it like I do, then you and whoever you travel with could get frustrated.
Douglas Tally says
I purchased a cell booster from Radio Shack $300 range. Requires the tiniest spec of antennae for the booster to work. We were camping along the Galatin River, very narrow steep canyon and it worked 80% of the time for my Samsung but never for wife’s Apple. Booster has a base inside the RV and 20′ cord to an antennae (box) facing south. I’ve seen folks with their antennae atop a telescoping pole not sure if that would help our system. Maybe these folks have a satellite system. If we know where the WIFI signal Eeminates from in a campground we point the booster antennae at it if needed.
Hi. I agree regarding ALL of the above! The tips and especially the hotspot, mattress, and shower head.
Great, concise article. Also very affirming for me as I’ve done 4 of the 5 since I started full timing (again) last May.
Nobody uses my steps but me, but it makes sense.
Thank You for taking the time to write these tips. I look forward to my RV newsletter every Sunday.
Steve Shelby says
Newer phones can handle both call and data. My Moto G4 can, but my Moto E1 can’t and my Hwuawi 5G can’t.
All good but reverse that shower head advice. RVs usually come with a big shower head on a hose that dumps over 3 gallons per minute. Change it out to a home type that has a brass disc with a few holes for water stream. It should put out about 1 gallon per minute with good pressure. Then you can take showers when running just on your tank 30 gallons or so, and the hot water, often just 6 gallons, will last up to 15 minutes for full satisfaction. ( Catch the shower water in a kitchen bowl to measure the galolons per minute)