photo by _jure via iStock
Overlanding rigs come in all shapes and sizes. Some of you might drive full-on RVs. Others might tow a fifth-wheel or bumper pull trailer. Yet others of you might be like me and have a small off-road trailer with a rooftop tent.
No matter what kind of overlanding setup you have, there is always room to improve it, make it more functional, and ensure that it gives you a safe, comfortable place to put your head at night.
And these days, upgrading your current RV or trailer is a much more budget-friendly option than buying a new one. Think about it – with interest rates on the rise and new RV prices in the six figures, spending a few thousand dollars on your current RV is a bargain!
In the spirit of customizing your experience, I’ve put together a lengthy list of ways to upgrade your camper. Let’s get to it!
Table of Contents
- Upgrade Your Camper With a Better Mattress
- Upgrade Your Camper With a New Electrical System
- Get a Better Showerhead
- Make Sure the Roof is Sealed
- Upgrade Your Camper With a 12-Volt A/C Unit
- Invest in Better Lighting to Upgrade Your Camper
- Add Locks for the Storage Bays
- Install a Double Waste Valve
- Buy a Backup Camera
- Buy More Fire Extinguishers
- Get a Rug for the Front Door
- Replace the Flooring Inside
- Upgrade Your Camper Kitchen with Counter Extensions
Upgrade Your Camper With a Better Mattress
photo by PrathanChorruangsak via iStock
Getting a good night’s sleep is always important, but when you’re overlanding and have long days of travel, being sleepy behind the wheel can be extremely dangerous.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been all that impressed with the mattresses that come in RVs and campers, so my first suggestion is to ditch the camper mattress and go for an upgrade.
The problem, of course, is that you can’t go buy a traditional mattress and throw it in your camper or RV. Camper beds are smaller and shorter than traditional beds, so you’ll need to explore your options for RV-specific mattresses that offer an upgrade over your current experience.
Upgrade Your Camper With a New Electrical System
There are so many aspects of an RV’s electrical system that benefit from a modern upgrade…
For starters, if your rig has AGM batteries, upgrading to lithium gives you more reliable power storage, higher density, and a greater depth of discharge. Lithium batteries are also smaller and lighter than AGMs, so you can save some space and weight while you’re at it!
Another prime area for an upgrade is with a power management system. Adding a system like this gives you quick and easy access to information about the RV’s electrical system so you can see how much charge is left, what the voltage is, and so forth.
On top of that, it’s worth replacing any chargers or inverters with a high-efficiency single-unit charger-inverter. Modern technology makes charger-inverters extremely reliable and durable, so you have the power you need when you need it.
Of course, adding solar panels and controls to your rig is yet another upgrade to consider…
With high-efficiency rooftop solar panels or panels on an actuating slide-out, you can reap the benefits of solar energy – clean, reliable, and silent power for your overlanding adventures. And if you play your cards right, you can even get solar power controls right on your phone so you can easily manage your RV’s power system.
But unless you’re an electrical engineer, these upgrades aren’t something you should tackle on your own. Instead, my advice is to find a reliable outfit to make these upgrades for you, like Lux Liner.
I’ve known the Lux Liner team for a few years now, and you won’t find a more knowledgeable and dedicated group of people. They’re in the business of making electrical upgrades like those mentioned above, so they have the expertise and experience to upgrade your camper and do it the right way.
Lux Liner uses only the finest components (like those from Victron), so your camper upgrade will be something that brings you improved electrical performance and reliability for years and years to come.
What’s more, with the systems that Lux Liner installs, you won’t need a generator or shore power anymore. Instead, you can boondock without worry about having enough power for your devices, including your air conditioning (more on that later).
At the end of the day, a brand-new camper is a great thing to have, but who wants sky-high payments with sky-high interest? By shifting your priorities to making your current setup more powerful and efficient, you get a fantastic return on your investment. Cutting the cord on shore power and generators is just the icing on the cake!
Don’t take my word for it, though – get in touch with Lux Liner today to see what they can do to upgrade your camper!
Get a Better Showerhead
After you’ve been out in the dirt, mud, and campfire smoke, a nice shower feels great – unless you’re using the sad showerhead that came with your RV or camper…
But a high-pressure showerhead is a quick and simple upgrade to your camper that will pay dividends. Plus it’s only $16 so this is also an inexpensive way to upgrade your camper!
Make Sure the Roof is Sealed
photo by Onfokus via iStock
The rubber membranes on the roof of RVs and campers can quickly deteriorate, and that means one thing – leaks. Not only is a leak inconvenient, it can also be incredibly costly to repair.
Applying a new rubber seal on your roof will be required after a few years. But another way to upgrade your camper is to use Eternabond tape to cover knicks or tears in your RV or camper roof.
This stuff is sticky and will bond with the roof material to create a watertight seal. You simply clean the area around the tear, unroll a piece, cut it off, remove the backing, and voila – problem solved!
Upgrade Your Camper With a 12-Volt A/C Unit
In addition to providing comprehensive RV electrical upgrades, Lux Liner also offers 12-volt A/C unit upgrades. The question is, why would you want a 12-volt A/C?
Well, the answer to that question is simple…
Twelve-volt A/C units are quieter and more efficient than the typical air conditioning units that come with RVs and trailers. And since 12-volt units run directly off the RV’s batteries, you don’t have to rely on a loud, smelly generator to have A/C, nor do you have to plug into shore power.
In other words, with an upgraded A/C like this, you can enjoy cool, crisp air on a hot day while still boondocking at your favorite dispersed camping site. Better still, Lux Liner’s 12-volt A/C systems work so well with their upgraded electrical systems that you can run one of these air conditioning units for hours and hours without draining the system’s batteries.
Don’t believe me? The proof is in the pudding in this case study in which Lux Liner ran a 12-volt 12,000-BTU A/C system on battery power alone for 24 hours in the 98-degree desert. After a day of running the A/C, there was still 20 percent battery power remaining. Talk about an ideal way to upgrade your camper!
Invest in Better Lighting to Upgrade Your Camper
photo by gsagi via iStock
All new campers and RVs come with LED lighting, which is great because they last a lot longer than old incandescent bulbs, are cool to the touch, and most importantly, draw less power.
If you have an older camper or RV like I do, upgrading all the lights to LEDs is a relatively inexpensive way to upgrade your camper and do so quickly. Pop your new LEDs into the lights inside and outside your trailer and enjoy better light on your next overlanding trip!
Add Locks for the Storage Bays
photo by Groomee via iStock
When I was looking at buying my first camper, a buddy of mine came along with me. He was on his third or fourth camper by that time so he had a lot of good input that helped me find a great deal.
Part of his input was this – the locks on camper and RV storage bays are extremely common. To prove his point, he got out his keys and opened the storage bays on the camper we were looking at.
Needless to say, having common locks amongst millions of RVs doesn’t exactly provide the best security for the valuables you might store underneath. If you want to scale up the security, though, you can easily add aftermarket locks that will prevent other folks from simply using the keys they have to pop open your storage bays.
Install a Double Waste Valve
When you drain your RV or camper’s black and grey water tanks, you can let them empty for hours on end, but the next time you untwist the valve cover, there will be some gross water that leaks out.
There’s an easy solution to this, though – install a second waste valve.
A valve like the one shown above twists onto the end of the waste pipe just like the pipe cover. With this bad boy in place, you can remove the pipe cover without fear of what’s going to leak out!
Buy a Backup Camera
If your tow vehicle has a backup camera, it’ll be hugely helpful when you’re hooking up to your trailer. But when it’s time to back into your space at the campground, that camera won’t do you much good.
A backup camera like this one will do wonders for helping you back up your bumper pull or fifth-wheel (or older RV without a camera) into your camp spot or driveway while also assisting you in avoiding any obstacles.
Buy More Fire Extinguishers
The fire extinguisher that comes with RVs and campers will only last a few seconds. That might do the trick for a very small fire, but you’ll need more help if a larger fire breaks out.
You can get a two-pack for less than $50, and it might be the best money you spend on upgrading your camper!
Get a Rug for the Front Door
photo by ewg3D via iStock
Your camper or RV is going to get dirty inside no matter what you do. But you can help minimize all the mud and dirt that comes inside with you by adding a rug outside the front door.
Those tiny RV steps just don’t give you a lot of room to take off your shoes before you head inside. Having a “foyer,” if you will, gives you a spot to kick off your shoes without standing in more dirt in your socks or bare feet.
As an added bonus, having a rug outside the front door gives your four-legged friend a comfy spot to lay down without getting himself covered in dirt!
Replace the Flooring Inside
photo by gsagi via iStock
I’m not sure who thought it was a great idea to put so much carpet in so many RVs and campers…
While soft carpet is nice on your feet, it gets dirty really fast and it’s far more difficult to clean than linoleum.
If you want to upgrade your camper in a way that minimizes the mess and makes cleanup a lot easier, think about having all the carpeting replaced with vinyl or even laminate wood flooring. It’ll pay for itself the first time you can simply wipe up a dirty footprint instead of having to bust out the carpet cleaner when you get home.
Upgrade Your Camper Kitchen with Counter Extensions
Unless you’re in a massive fifth-wheel or RV, your camper kitchen will likely not have all the counter space you need to cook meals for you and your family.
But for about $30 you can buy a counter extension that gives you a little more space for getting your meal prepping and cooking done. If you’re handy, you can build one yourself too!
With that, you have a nice list of varying upgrades that will make your current camper a better fit for your needs!