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DIY RV Upgrades: 30 That Won’t Break The Bank

Published on July 6th, 2019 by Ray & Tammy Roman
This post was updated on October 5th, 2023

Chances are when he first bought your travel trailer, DIY RV upgrades were the last thing on your mind. You were probably very impressed with all the bells and whistles that came with it.

But now that you’ve done some traveling if you’re like most of us there are things that you wish you should have bought or things that you find missing that you now want in this article we’re going to go over 30 DIY RV upgrades for your travel trailer.

Even the best travel trailer brands can use an update. These upgrades are fairly easy to do and they don’t cost a lot of money.

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DIY RV upgrades

#1 Better Quality Propane Regulator

Typically the propane regulator that comes with a travel trailer is one component that can use an upgrade.

The ones that come with the travel trailer are not always of the highest grade so it’s easy to just go to your RV parts supplier and talk to a technician about a better or in higher quality propane regulator that you can install.

Camco Propane Double-Stage Auto-Changeover Regulator | Features Auto......
  • Allows removal of empty cylinder for refill without interrupting propane supply
  • Inlets are 1/4" SAE inverted flare and outlet is 3/8" NPT female pipe thread

Last update on 2024-02-27 / Paid Affiliate Link / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#2 Surge Protector

To protect your electrical equipment on your travel trailer from electrical surges you should purchase a surge protector. Though you can purchase a non-wired unit we recommend instead he purchased a hard-wired surge protector.

They are costly ranging in price from $250 all the way up to $500.00, but this is obviously much cheaper than replacing your electrical appliances or equipment inside your camper.

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  • Maintain electronic safety - This 50 Amp RV Surge Protector by Progressive Industries is a real guard for your RV electronics. Its built-in Electrical Management System helps to protect...
  • Prevents costly damage - With a 50A/120-240V/12,000W rating, EMS-LCHW50 can absorb surges of up to 3,580 joules. This surge protector prevents severe and expensive damage to RV...

Last update on 2024-02-27 / Paid Affiliate Link / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#3 Digital TV Antenna with Booster

Getting over the air television channels is great but often times you can get more then you can with a typical antenna if you purchased one of the digital antennas that also have an included booster. The booster in the antenna is going to amplify weak digital signals and allow you to watch more channels.

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Last update on 2024-02-27 / Paid Affiliate Link / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#4 Digital Thermostat

Get more precise control over the temperature in your camper than purchasing a digital thermostat is going to allow you to do just that.

There are several models on the market that you can choose from, and they’re all basically easy to install if you follow the directions. This Dometic digital thermostat is a very good one.

Dometic 3314082.000 3312024.000 Duo Therm Comfort Control 2 CCC2 Black...
  • Built-in sensor accurate temperature control and management
  • Large SMX blue light display is bright and easy-to-read, even in the dark

Last update on 2024-02-27 / Paid Affiliate Link / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#5 Pantry Lights

Our friend has an RV with deep pantries and up until recently it was very difficult for them to see what was inside. At our suggestion, he installed some simple LED lights inside the pantry, and now it’s easier for them to see what’s inside during the night when they wake up early in the morning when there isn’t a lot of daylight. You can install pantry lights that are hard-wired and run off of 12 Volt electric you can install some that run off of battery and also have motion detection

#6 Upgrade You Shower Head

The showerhead that comes with your travel trailer usually isn’t anything great is just a simple showerhead. If you want something better with more features such as adjustable flows and pull out then consider upgrading your showerhead.

#7 Replace Your Storage Bay Locks

Did you know that most locks on travel trailer storage bays are the same ?. It’s possible there are other RV owners with keys similar to yours that will open your storage space.

Here is a nice set of locks that should work well for your RV. Just make sure you get the right cam size for your storage doors. So do yourself a favor and save yourself what is a potential problem and have your locks replaced. It’s fairly inexpensive and easy to do.

Last update on 2024-02-27 / Paid Affiliate Link / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#8 Installation of LED Lights

LED  lights are both energy efficient and improve visibility both inside your travel trailer and out. They are easy to install are cool to the touch and last a lot longer than any other type of bulb. You can find these lights in strips that come with a radio remote wireless dimmer and these are great for your awning, you’ll also find LED bulbs that will easily replace existing incandescent bulbs inside and outside your RV.

#9 Install A Solar Panel

Solar panels used to be very expensive but it seems that the prices drop just about every year. If you’re interested in boondocking or if you happen to be at a campground where there are no electrical hookups investing in a solar panel is well worth the money. You can save additional money if you install the solar panel yourself.

#10 Buy A Quality Power Inverter

For those interested in boondocking or if there are no power hookups at your campground by using an inverter, you can convert the 12 Volt power from your RV batteries to 120 volts. The 120 volts will power your TV, coffee maker, hairdryer, microwave, etc. An RV inverter is a nice accessory to have.

#11 Extra Batteries for More Capacity

Most of these come with one or 2 deep cycle batteries. However, if you find yourself boondocking or in situations where there is no power hookup having extra battery capacity may be useful. Adding additional batteries is not that difficult and means you’ll have power when you need it and can run your RV generator less often. See our review of some of the best RV batteries.

#12 RV Roof Exhaust Fan

Most RV’s that I have seen do come with a roof exhaust fan. If yours didn’t come with one then we highly recommend you install one as it will keep you cool when it’s hot, helps remove cooking orders, and will help remove excess moisture when it’s humid. There are many RV roof vent fans to choose from and they come with different features such as remote controls rain covers automatic rain sensors.

#13 Add Towel Rack and Shower Rack

Adding a towel in shower racks is a nice little upgrade that sometimes is overlooked by an RV owner. You can find towel racks and shower racks at Home Depot or Lowes. They’re easy to install and are available in the size that you will need.

#14 Increase the Size of Your Propane Tanks

  If you have space at the front of your travel trailer you should consider increasing the size of your propane tanks. Having larger propane tanks means you need fewer refills and that comes in handy if propane refill places are not easily available in your travels.

#15 Automatic Stabilizing Jacks

One of the most frustrating things about owning an RV is having to level it after you’ve parked it either for storage or at the campground. It takes time and it is a tricky process that can be very frustrating. A great upgrade that you can do is to install automatic stabilizing jacks. These automatic stabilizing jacks will do all the work for you and some even come where they control panel or can be used with your smartphone.

#16 RV Backup Camera

One of my favorite upgrades is an RV backup camera. Backing up your travel trailer is not fun and does require some position. It’s true that some of these backup cameras can be quite expensive and because you have to run wires that can be a pain in the butt to install.

There are however some wireless backup cameras that work just as well and are easier to install. Some of these backup cameras will use your phone as the screen others have an LCD panel that you install or place somewhere on your dashboard.

Wireless Backup Camera for Furrion RV: 7-Inch Recording Plug-Play Easy......
  • 【Latest Wireless Technology and Stable Signal】The rv backup camera wireless with monitor upgraded dual antenna and unique digital stable signal.The signal can reach 825ft in open...
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Last update on 2024-02-27 / Paid Affiliate Link / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#17 Purchase an Extra Waste Valve

RV waste valves do fail. The seal can break causing leagues which is pretty nasty considering what comes out of that waste valve. All you have to do is install the extra waste right onto the existing valve. It serves as a backup should your first waste valve fail.

#18 Slide-out Trash Can

I’m sure you know travel trailers have very limited space. One upgrade we recommend is to install a slide-out or a pull-out garbage can. These are installed inside a drawer in your kitchen and simply pull out when needed, and you slide him back in when you’re done. Pull-out garbage cans come in various sizes chances are you can find one that’ll fit in one of your cabinets.

#19 Better Roof Seals

We all know RV roofs are notorious for leaking. One of the best ways to improve euro seals is to cover them with Enternabond Tape. This type is simply applied over your existing roof sales, it’s very simple to install and only requires some surface preparation before you use it.   The size of the role is 4 inches and by 50 feet long there are also some other sizes available.

#20 Upgrade to a Cold Weather Package

Many travel trailer manufacturers offer a cold-weather package as an option. If you didn’t buy one or have a travel trailer that doesn’t have one you can upgrade to a cold-weather package.

The Cold weather package includes a tank heater which keeps it from freezing and ultimately exploding. A thick plastic underbelly cover for extra insulation from the cold and maybe a propane heating system.

Though installing it cold weather package is something you can do yourself it is a bit challenging. You might like to consider the services of professionals to install it for you.

#21 Replace Carpet with Vinyl Planking

If your RV has carpet you may want to consider getting rid of it. Replace the carpet with a laminate floor or vinyl planking. Laminate floors or vinyl planking is much easier to clean looks a lot better in my opinion and doesn’t need to be replaced as often as carpet.

#22 WiFi Extender

If you work from your RV or spent a lot of time on the Internet having a Wi-Fi extender as they must. A Wi-Fi extender will boost the Wi-Fi signal and sometimes and often time eliminate Wi-Fi “dead zones”. This is definitely one of the upgrades we will have when Tammy and I purchase our travel trailer.

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#23 Upgrade Your Cabinet Shelving

Heading shelves inside your cabinets is great because it will add additional storage space. We suggest using wire shelves because they are easy to install and are fairly inexpensive. He can buy longer lands and then cut them to size where they hacksaw or a jigsaw with the inappropriate blade.

#24 Shampoo and Soap Dispenser

Installing a shampoo and soap dispenser is a fairly inexpensive upgrade. However, it is one of the most beneficial since it’s going to clear up a ladder space around your tub shower or counter. You can easily get a dispenser that has shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, and lotion dispensers. Might as well choose an RV showerhead upgrade while you’re at it!

#25 RV Floor Dustpan

A really inexpensive upgrade is the installation of a floor dustpan for your RV. The RVSkampcan replaces your dustpan with a floor-mounted push-to-open unit. It’s a pretty cool idea that works very well.

#26 Consider a Bumper Mount

If you’re not doing anything behind your travel trailer you can easily install a bumper Mount. A bumper mount allows you to carry extra bikes kayaks or even ice coolers etc. Bumper mounts have different ratings so make sure you know how much weight yours can hold before you load it up.

#27 Upgrade Your RV Mattresses

The RV mattresses that come from the factory are usually subpar.   They’re not very thick or provide sufficient support for most people. Upgrading your RV mattress is as easy, and it’s one of the better investments you can make in your RV. you’ll easily find the typical mattress sizes such as twin, full, queen, king. If you need a custom size there are companies out there that will do that for you.

#28 Install Countertop Extensions

If you don’t have enough countertop one of the things you can do to get more counter space is to install countertop extensions. Countertop extensions attached to the side of your cabinets level with your countertops using a hinge an extension bracket that keeps them upright when needed. they are super easy to install by anyone.

#29 Remote Propane Indicator

The remote propane indicator is a cool device that alerts you when your propane system switches from one propane tank to the second. It will blink to let you know it’s time to refill one of your propane tanks.

#30 Headphone Jacks

If you’re looking for some peace and quiet in your travel trailer then installing headphone jacks throughout the interior of your RV might be a very good idea. This easily allows others to connect their headphones, so they can watch and listen to television without bothering you which is great if you’re still asleep.  

DIY RV Upgrades Final Thoughts

The list above of DIY RV upgrades is far from comprehensive as there are dozens of more DIY RV upgrades you can perform for little money.

The lesson to take away from this article is that not all campers are perfect and with a little time and money you can make yours exactly what you want and need.

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