Quick and Easy RV Upgrades

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Do you find yourself building a list of ‘wanna-do’ tasks to make your RV feel more like home? Mark Nemeth, author of RV Gadget Box, can help you knock out some of those tasks with the help of a couple of nifty gadgets he’s tried in his RVing travels.

More Electrical Outlets for All of Your Devices

Are you tired of cell phone and tablet chargers taking up all the electrical outlets in your RV? Check out one of the many new USB chargers that are designed for the auto and boat world.

These charge ports are small, easy to install and some even come with a digital voltmeter built in so you can monitor your battery condition. The round ones require about a 1–1/8-inch hole to be cut in a panel for mounting, and the wiring is straightforward. They operate on 12V DC and can be mounted almost anywhere.

Magnadyne USB outlet

You can also purchase sets that include an extra 12V cigarette lighter outlet and a power switch. There are a lot of great possibilities.

Do you need more ports? Check out the Magnadyne Wall Mount 4-port USB Charger. It operates on 12–16V DC, will mount in a standard electrical box and accepts a standard switch cover plate.

Secure Your RV Storage Bays

Did you know that most RV manufacturers use the same key pattern for storage compartment locks on every RV they build?

Look at your RV keychain. If your storage compartment key is stamped CH-751, then almost every RVer has a key to your RV! This is probably okay if all you have in your compartments is sewer hoses and old lawn chairs. However, if you carry valuable items in your outdoor compartments, it’s time to think about replacing your original compartment locks.

Thankfully, replacing these locks is neither expensive nor difficult. For the standard cylinder-type compartment locks, check out Industrial Lock & Hardware Inc. They sell sets of replacement locks with unique keys, and they have a handy measuring guide on their site to help you determine the correct replacement size. Simply remove one of your old locks and compare it to their sizing chart, which you can print from the website. If you don’t have a printer, don’t worry. Give them a call and they’ll mail you a chart. Ordering is easy, and you can have any number of locks keyed alike. I recommend the tubular lock style, as they are much harder to pick. These are the same style locks that you see on vending machines.


ch751 lock

If your storage compartments use latches with integral locks, you have two options: Either remove the latch mechanisms from your doors and have a locksmith re-key them, or simply purchase new ones from a source such as RV Locks & More.

Add Some Functional Privacy to Your RV Windows

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Most RV entry doors have a window, but in many cases, that window is frosted glass. That’s fine for letting light in; However, it’s difficult to see through! This can be a problem when someone knocks on your door, especially at night.

If you’re tired of having a window you can’t see through, drop by Zarcor.com and check out their RV door window shade kit. It’s designed to replace that frosted glass and add a nice window shade to boot. John Halter, owner of Zarcor, was kind enough to send Mark a couple kits to try out. Everything you need to complete the job is included in the kit, along with easy-to-follow instructions.

Mark installed the shade-only kit in his RV. It was an easy shade to install, and the only tool needed was a screwdriver. It looks and works great! He shared the complete retrofit kit with Escapees Mark and Mary Poth #139279, who had a typical frosted window in their fifth-wheel trailer. Their kit came with new glass, sealant tape and a shade, which is available in several colors. Here’s what they said about the product: “Took about 45 minutes. We installed the clear glass window in our RV’s door yesterday. It was not a difficult process, and the finished product looks great.”

Zarcor also offers custom window-shade products for Airstream trailers. For boaters, they have a complete line of shades and nautical gadgets, some of which would work fine for RVers. Check them out.

Create More Storage Space

You need to use your shower! That doesn’t mean you need to go take a shower. It means you should make your shower work even when you aren’t in it!

Most RV showers are wasted space when you’re not bathing. But you can reclaim that wasted space with the addition of a closet rod.

Measure the inside width of your shower walls. Go to a local home improvement store, such as Lowe’s or Home Depot, and purchase two rod holders (or support brackets) and an expandable closet rod that will fit wall-to-wall inside your shower. Attach the rod hangers high up on opposite walls and slip the rod into place. Now you have an excellent place to hang towels to dry.

The rod lifts out easily when you want to shower. You can also use them for hanging clothes and freeing up space in your closet. It’s a great place to hang wet raincoats and umbrellas to drip dry, too.

Did you find these ideas helpful? Take a look at more of Mark’s recommendations over at RVer Gadget Box and in Escapees magazine!

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2 Responses

  1. We have a shower rod and we put a multi-compartment shoe hanger on it for small toiletry-type stuff, bug sprays, small tools, etc. Easy to remove and lay on bed when showering.

  2. We are looking into replacing the flooring. It has carpet and some sort of tiles right now, but we do not want carpet and there are 2 slide outs. One drops down when it reaches the farthest out position and the other doesn’t when sliding out. What is a good product? any tips appreciated

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