A lot of folks following this blog have RV’s of some kind and whenever we meet other travelers on the road, the conversation always gets around to the fact that RV’s (or 5th wheels, pop-up’s, travel trailers etc.) are really not designed to be lived in fulltime.
So, we thought we would just do a quick rundown of the items we have changed/upgraded, when on the road fulltime in our Navion RV, from April 2017 – April 2018 (26,000+ miles traveled) and the money we spent (links where possible are provided below & these are in order of when we actually did the work/spent the money).
Keep in mind that we traveled in a 2007 23 ft Itasca Navion RV (Mercedes 5 cylinder diesel engine & Winnebago house, on a Dodge chassis), which we purchased used in 2016 with less than 50K miles on the odometer. We did not bring a tow car with us, so all of our trip mileage (other than the occasional bus ride) was done via this RV or via our bicycles.
The first & cheapest thing we did in our RV was to add a paper towel holder, above the sink in the kitchen and it has performed without an issue: Spectrum 40200, Wall Mount Paper Towel Holder, White
Also, hooks everywhere in your RV are invaluable: Command Utility Hooks Value Pack, Medium, White, 6-Hook, 2-Pack
When camping without electricity and/or just when trying to keep a senior (Husky-mix) dog cool in the RV, we can’t speak highly enough of these great 12V fans: Fan-Tastic Vent 01100WH Endless Breeze – 12 Volt Fan
We also replaced most of our interior RV lights with these LED’s (again, with no electricity/no hook-up camping in mind): HERO-LED SG4-12T-DW Side Pin G4 LED Disc Halogen Replacement Bulb, 2.4W, 20-25W Equal, Daylight White 5000K, 5-Pack(Not Dimmable)
We use our RV black tank (not everyone makes full use of their RV toilet facilities) and so, you need to treat the tank accordingly with regular use of these deodorizing bad boys: Walex PPRVLAV Porta-Pak Lavender Breeze Holding Tank Deodorizer Quantity 4. These are the kinds of things that you need to stock-up on, if going South of the US border on your RV adventure. And speaking of the black tank, don’t forget to be using single ply TP only: Scott 1000 Sheets Per Roll Toilet Paper, Bath Tissue
After traveling a few miles from home in Florida, up the East coast of the US, we realized that our leather RV seats needed protection (from us & from the sun) and we purchased seat covers, which have stood up to usage extremely well and still look great: Aegis Cover 701009TAN Tan Luxury Australian Sheepskin Wrap Seat Cover Airbag Ready, 1 Pack
One of the first “big” upgrades we did on our trip was the installation of solar panels on the roof of the RV, as we had discovered that being out in the wilds by ourselves was far more enjoyable than the average crowded campground and so, we purchased these panels and we haven’t been without power since: Komaes 200 Watts 12 Volts Polycrystalline Solar Starter Kit with 20A PWM Charge Controller + 20ft Tray Cable + 20ft MC4 Connectors + Mounting Z Brackets. The photo at the top of this blog post, taken in Utah, shows you how we like to camp; the solar panels have been invaluable in this regard
The biggest service of our trip was done in Oregon, where after 3 months in Canada (and specifically, after a lot of Vancouver Island rough logging roads) we went to have our front & rear brakes, front strut, rear shock and sway bar upgrade done. We used Upscale Automotive and while the work was completed, we could not recommend these guys for their customer service. FYI, the work was over $3,000 not including the price of the Koni Front Struts (as we purchased those online ourselves from Eurocampers at a cost of ~$400)
While in Oregon, we also deemed it time to replace our house batteries and did so with these 6V golf cart batteries
A couple of months later, in Southern California, we went to see the great team at SuperSprings and had some SumoSprings (Front SSF-401-54 | SumoSprings Front for Jeep Wrangler JK, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500|3500 & Rear SSR-338-47 | SumoSprings Rear for Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500) installed in the RV. These, in combination with the work done in Oregon, really made for a better ride in the RV
Along the way (we did over 26,000 miles during our year on the road), we dealt with regular maintenance ourselves, purchasing oil, transmission fluid, filters, sealant etc.
Underneath our kitchen sink, we have an in-line water filter and it takes these cartridges: Pentair Everpure EV959201 ADC Quick Change Cartridge. We only did 2 replacements over the course of the year and we also utilized a Brita SOHO White 5 cup Water Pitcher for all our drinking water
One general thing which we found very handy when dry camping – and trying to stretch our water tank as far as possible – was these kitchen wipes for cleaning up: Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, Crisp Lemon – 105 Each ( Pack Of 4) (Packaging May Vary) . Normally, we would be more eco-conscious than to use these disposable wipes, but they work great when you are trying to save your water for showers and drinking. Same goes for body wipes, when showers are not even an option Amazon Elements Baby Wipes, Sensitive, 480 Count, Flip-Top Packs. Remember, none of these items ever go down your RV toilet or you will suffer the consequences (involved heavy-duty rubber gloves)
Towards the latter part of our trip, we tended to stay longer in each spot and so, we wanted to do our utmost to keep the interior of the RV cool. We purchased this exterior windshield covering: Classic Accessories 80-035-212307-00 Snow White RV Windshield Cover and to keep it securely in place on the front windshield, we added some magnets to prevent any slippage: DIYMAG Powerful Neodymium Disc Magnets, Strong, Permanent, Rare Earth Magnets. Fridge, DIY, Building, Scientific, Craft, and Office Magnets, 1.26”D x 1/8”H, Pack of 6
Just recently, the motor on our slide-out failed us and were able to purchase a replacement & complete the straight-forward installation ourselves: Barker 29002 Powerhead Assembly with Motor. Not having the slide-out for a few days, made the RV seem very small indeed!
Hopefully, this post and the included links to recommended/utilized items, will be of use to you, if you are on an RV road trip currently or just planning a future adventure. Let us know what upgrades you’ve done in your RV and what really made a difference to you.
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