Travel trailers are great, but sometimes they don’t come with all of the options that we need. Here is a list of travel trailer upgrades that have made our trips more enjoyable.
LED Light Bulbs
When we first purchased our 1984 Ford RV, we did not have a clue about RV electrical systems. After going on a few camping trips, we soon learned that if you are going to be boondocking, battery power is a precious commodity. If you want to have water pressure to take a shower or use the toilet, you had better not leave a light on all night and drain the battery!
Luckily, we soon found out about the amazing invention call L.E.D. light bulbs. The normal bulbs in our rig drew approximately 1.4 amps of electricity, each. These new L.E.D. bulbs draw around .1 amps each. So by spending around $40 for our whole interior, we were able to reduce our battery draw for light bulbs by about 93 percent.
Now, you can spend up to, or over, $10 per bulb in some places. We needed 18 bulbs for our rig. We did not want to spend $200 on light bulbs. So I decided to take a chance and order some of the cheaper, off brand bulbs. They came in a 10 pack for under $20, so i ordered 2. They worked great!
Another positive to switching to L.E.D. bulbs is that they give off a lot less heat. This will help keep your rig cooler in those warm months.
Below is a link to L.E.D. replacements for 921 bulbs (A very common RV/travel trailer bulb). Please make sure that you order the correct bulbs for your rig. Pull one of them out of the socket (make sure it hasn’t been on for a while, or you might get burned!) and take a look. They usually have a number stamped on them.
Power Tongue Jack
Our upgraded camping unit that we bought May of last year, was a 2007 Keystone Outback 26RLS travel trailer. On the day we went to the dealership to pick it up, they took my keys, and pulled our suburban around back while we signed all of the paperwork. When we came outside, paperwork in hand, we found our brand new camper hooked up to our truck, ready to go. We were so happy and excited! We hopped in and took off towards home.
After we pulled into our driveway, I started to unhook the trailer. It was at that time, I realized how much I hate cranking a manual tongue jack up and down. It was a warm day, and it took me 3 tries to get the right combination of blocks of wood under the jack to raise the trailer enough to get the hitch out from under it.
I immediately went on the internet looking for a Power Tongue Jack.
Installation was very easy. The 3 bolts that held the manual jack in place were removed, and then it simply slid out of its spot and into my garbage can. The new one fit perfectly in its place. All I had to do was run one power wire to the battery, and my days on hand cranking were over!
If you do one simple Youtube search for “Camper Tire Blowout”, you will probably lose some sleep thinking about your next trip. I know I did. Little did I know, there are several things you can do to greatly reduce your risk of having tire failure.
When we purchased out travel trailer from the dealership, it had what appeared to be brand new tires on it. I decided to do some more research on the tires. I found out that they were already 2 years old, and that the weight rating was very close to the GVWR of our camper. Which means, if we were to load the camper to its maximum capacity, we would be pushing our luck with these tires.
I found out that I could go up one load rating for our tires, and I went for it. Sure, some people might think it’s a waste of money to do travel trailer upgrades like this, when the original tires would have probably been fine. And that is a decision that is totally up to you. But I’m one of those “Better safe than sorry” people.
The first night that we slept in our camper, was in our driveway. Yes, we got made fun of for it from some of our friends and family, but we were so excited to have a new rig, we couldn’t help ourselves. When we woke up the next morning, we weren’t quite as excited anymore. Julia and I both had very sore backs, and did not get much sleep. As it turns out, our RV did not have a very high quality mattress in it.
We made the decision that a Quality mattress was well worth the money, so we ordered one. Of all the travel trailer upgrades that we have made, this one has got to be my favorite. What a difference it makes to wake up feeling well rested while camping!
Last but not least, we replaced our 12 volt RV deep cycle battery, with 2, 6 volt golf cart batteries.
By switching to this 2 battery system, we increased our battery capacity from around 100 Amp hours, to 215 Amp hours!
And as an added plus, our rig already had a second, unused, battery tray right next to the original battery. So installation only required one new heavy gauge wire. Stay tuned, I will post more about many other travel trailer upgrades in the near future!
We would love to hear about your travel trailer upgrades in the comments section!