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Three Life-Changing RV Mods That Transformed Our Home Away from Home

Published on October 19th, 2023 by Lucinda Belden

Whether you get out and RV on the weekends or are a full-time RVer, making RV mods to your rig will become a part of your experience.  That’s because there is no perfect RV that matches every distinct feature of every camper owner. Just like brick-and-mortar homes, we will fill, change, and upgrade the RVs we own to create better RV life adventures. 

These Easy RV Mods Fixed RV Floorplan Issues in our Toy Hauler

Everything we change is about our priorities and how we travel.  Is safety on the critical list?  How often does technology play into our daily use?  Are we big foodies or cooks?  Will we boondock a lot or stick to campgrounds?  Whether you buy a motorhome or travel trailer, the list is never-ending. Learning how to customize our RV home away from home is part of the process.

Here are a few important, but relatively easy RV mods we have made over the years as full-timers. Maybe some of these upgrades will fix RV floorplan issues in your camper, too.

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Problem 1: Lack of Pantry Space

I needed a pantry and shelf space in the kitchen. 

Our rig came with a large TV in the kitchen area. But a TV is not something we use daily or even weekly.  Most of our ‘TV and Movie’ viewing is done on our laptops.  So, a TV is not necessarily something we see as added value in our RV.  

RV Mod Solution 1: Turn the Entertainment Center into a Kitchen Pantry

We took out the TV and donated it to my brother’s outdoor firepit area at his home.  I didn’t want a closed-in space which would make the RV area feel smaller.  I also didn’t want to try and match the wood in the empty TV space with new cabinets. Here’s what I did.

RV pantry mod
A new and improved pantry instead of TV cabinet. (Image: Lucinda Belden).

I measured the space and found stackable metal shelves.  They separated so I was able to stack the baskets as needed and I filled them with canisters.  You can buy canisters cheaply from resale stores, but I also found them in the right sizes on Amazon.

Problem 2: Lack of Electronics Charging Options

Our RV was manufactured in 2018. But it did not have a single USB plug in it, beyond the stereo head unit.  We experienced too many boondocking nights running the inverter just to charge our phones. Battery packs that shut off when the phone reached 100% were also a pain. We were ready for a change. 

Thankfully we have an excellent solar power system as installed by the rig’s former owner.  Plenty of rooftop solar, 400ah of lithium batteries, and a great Victron system.  We just needed to tap into it.  

RV Mod Solution 2: Add More DC-Powered Charging Outlets

The foot of our bed (under the mattress) was just above the “bend” in our fifth wheel.  Drilling a hole in the floor allowed us to feed some heavy-duty insulated wire down to our battery bank. 

NOTE: DO you have a lithium battery system? If so, Use the battery monitor’s grounding instead of the chassis. This enables a proper SOC (state of charge) measurement. We ran both positive and negative.  

RV charging outlet upgrade
Adding more DC power charging options to the toy hauler. (Image: Lucinda Belden)

We sourced some three-port cabinet-type USB plugs. Each had at least one QC 3.0 port. This is known as “QuickCharge,” a new technology allowing for rapid device charging. Each also had two standard ports.  All, of course, 12v powered. 

Taping and drilling the holes with the proper hole bit, and getting the outlets wired was not too difficult.  We were running the power under our bed, where storage goes. So we made sure to anchor the cable down to avoid sliding things snagging the wire. 

Under the headboard, using distribution blocks for positive and negative, we then split the power to each bedside.  In the battery bank, we installed a fuse box (a bit oversized for any future needs). We added a switch to disable the entire power up to the bedroom for any storage needs or safety cutoffs.  

In addition to now being able to charge our phones without running an inverter, we can also run bedside, USB-powered fans when we are off-grid. This can alsoo save power when dry camping.  Running this power source to the bedroom emboldened us to put more devices in our RV on DC-power. No more always relying on the inverter!

Problem 3: Heat Build-up in Electronics Closet

Because we are a tech-centric family, we are always connected. We use a lot of electronics. Computers, laptops, servers, drives, wifi and internet connection devices, etc.) are part of our RV lifestyle. But this puts out a lot of heat in cupboards. Our cabinets dedicated to electronics was getting up into the 90s in the summer.  Not good for electronics.

RV Mod Solution 3: Vent the Cabinets, Add Air Flow

We decided to centrally locate all of our electronics in one cabinet for connectivity and wiring ease.  That meant finding a cooling setup for them.  

We took off the existing cabinet door where we had our electronics. Then we took it to a cabinet shop that could cut a hole in it for venting.  Next, we bought a decorative vent to go over the new hole.  Then we mounted a fan on the back of the vent. The purpose? To blow the hot air from the cabinet through the vent to the outside.  The fan was also hooked up to DC power like our USBs.

RV electronics cooling upgrade
A new cabinet venting system for RV electronics (Image: Lucinda Belden)

The fan and vent now keep our electronics from overheating.

What RV Upgrades Will Make Your Floorplan Better?

I tried to pick RV mods we have made that may be helpful to make your RV feel like home. These should work no matter how often you take the rig out, what size it is, your RVing style, or who you travel with. 

I hope some of our DIY RV upgrades will bring you more comfort and enhance your RV home experience.  Enjoy your adventures!

This post may contain affiliate links or mention our own products, please check out our disclosure policy here.

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