Planning RV Mods

RVers are always modifying our RVs. I think it’s just part of the lifestyle. No other RVer ever questions it.

We love our No Boundaries travel trailer. But there are a few things we’re planning to make her better for us.

1. Remove RV Toilet

We’re going to remove the factory installed toilet from our RV and replace it with a Thetford Porta Potti.

Thetford Porta Potti

We want to do this mostly to remove the need to empty our black tank and to increase the capacity to store gray water while boondocking. We also like that we can take the Porta Potti anywhere. So, if we decide to tent camp, we can take it. We can empty it in any toilet or RV dump station. Traditional RV black tanks must be emptied at RV dump stations. This must works for us.

2. Remove Refrigerator

Yes, you read that correctly. We plan to remove our RV’s factory installed Dometic refrigerator/freezer.

Our current fridge

We plan to use the space differently. We already bought a Yeti Tundra 65 to use as our refrigerator. We have four large Yeti Ice cool packs. We put in two while the other two are in the freezer and rotate them every 2-3 days. Once we remove the fridge, we’ll buy a small 12 volt freezer. We’ll put it at the bottom of the space where our current fridge is, then build shelves above to hold soft containers for storage for things like clothes or other supplies.

Our fridge currently operates on 110 or propane. We want to use as little 110 power as possible for boondocking. I don’t like propane for running a refrigerator. There are horror stories about fires caused by propane fridges. Yes, I know, there are horror stories about everything. But this is one I can eliminate. The 12 volt freezer doesn’t use much power. And we would likely mostly use it to refreeze the Yeti Ice packs

And, honestly, I can get more food in the Yeti than I can in the fridge just the way it’s designed.

3. Remove Microwave

Our RV came with a nice convection microwave. We’ve used it some. It works well. We don’t use it every day. Sometimes we go a week without using it. It’s a power hog-1500 watts! There’s no way I’d try to use it while boondocking. So we’re going to remove it and use that space for a bit more kitchen storage.

4. Redesign our Murphy Bed Area

We don’t mind the Murphy bed. We’ve actually gotten used to it. But when it’s up, during the day, it covers up a gorgeous picture window. It also creates a barrier to the small storage cubbies at the head of the bed. We cannot get to them at all with the bed stowed in the daytime position. We want to take out the loveseat in front of the bed and redo it in a more sturdy and comfortable fashion. We’d like to cut the platform that folds up so that it folds again level with the back of the loveseat. That would give us access to the picture window and the small storage cubbies. It would also make the camper a bit more open and roomy feeling. As roomy as you can feel in a 24′ camper.

Jade in her natural habitat, with the stowed Murphy bed behind

I kind of like the way this guy modified the bed. He didn’t do the loveseat mods that I want. But I do like the bed.

We would like to have all of this done by the end of the year. Sooner, if possible.

We’re definitely going to be busy.

Five Things We’ve Learned in our First Five Months of Full Time RV Life

This list makes it sound like we don’t love our camper and RV life. That’s not the case. We love our camper and our truck. It’s true we’ll love RV life more when it’s safe to travel again. But we are so grateful to be living our dream. 

However, it is true that you don’t know what you don’t know. Even after two years of research and lots of soul searching what we thought at the outset would work great for us turns out to maybe not be the best choices.

With that, here are five things we’ve learning from our first five months of full time RV life that we want to do differently.

  1. Our space is just a bit too small. Yes, we could get rid of more stuff. But honestly at some point minimalism transitions to austere which is not us. Our travel trailer is 24’4”. After living in her for five months, we agree that we would like to transition to a Class C motorhome in the neighborhood of 30’. It’s not that we want more stuff. We don’t. Truly. The clutter of having to stack things, leave things out on the counter that I would love to put away, having to shuffle things every time I get something out of the cabinet gets frustrating. 
  2. A dedicated bedroom with a door is a must. We chose a Murphy bed layout because we thought it made sense to not waste space on a room that is only used to sleep. We talked about having to go to bed and get up in the morning at the same time with the Murphy bed layout. We talked about the possible weirdness of our bed being in our living room. But after living in the space for five months we realize a dedicated bedroom is not a waste of space. Daniel sometimes likes to stay up later than I do. Right now he can’t really because our bed folds out into the living space. I must have some quiet time in the morning. I like to get up a little earlier than he does. With our current situation, that doesn’t work well at all. If this were a two week vacation, it would be fine. But living with our entire everything in one big room is not the best choice for us.
  3. Our next RV will be a motorhome. Not a huge one. We want a Class C around 30ish feet. We want to tow a small car. Don’t get me wrong. We love and are beyond grateful for our travel trailer and truck. Sometimes (most of the time) a small car is much more efficient than a big super duty truck once you’re at the campground and just driving around or going to the grocery. In a motorhome the dogs would be more comfortable on moving days instead of being cramped up in the backseat of the truck. 
  4. We need a dinette/desk/table. We need somewhere to work and to eat. We currently have nice folding trays to eat and to use as computer stations. It works. It’s not great. Our current set up is not even close to ergonomic. In all honesty, I’m not sure you could have a truly ergonomic workstation in a small RV. However, it can be much better than what we’re doing now. 
  5. Cleaning a smaller space is not necessarily easier. Yes, we have two medium-large dogs. Yes, they both shed. I really thought it would be easier to sweep and dust on the daily. Nope. It’s not. It does take less time, but there are all kinds of cracks and nooks and little tiny spaces hair can get into. And there’s no place for the dogs to go while I try to sweep up. I’m not sure how to make this better. We do need some type of very small vacuuming system. Although, I’m not sure where we would store it. 

Even with these five things we’d like to change, we wouldn’t change the choice to take a chance on full time RV life. We still think it’s the best way to live for us. I’m sure in five months I’ll have five more things I’ve learned. Every day brings something new, for sure. 

Murphy Bed Mod

As is typical for any RV, there are a couple of things we’ve had minor issues with. One was the Murphy bed. For whatever reason, Forest River chose to use one sort of ineffective latch to hold the bed up.

Top is the original latch. Bottom latch is the one I installed.

The top latch in this picture is the original one. It sometimes latches. Sometimes it doesn’t. Eventually, it doesn’t hold and the bed slams into the back of the loveseat. Not cool.

So we went to Lowe’s and bought new latches that I installed in about ten minutes. I put one on each side. We plan to get a couple more just to take some of the pressure of holding up the bed. It’s a bit heavy since we added a 3″ gel foam and a puffy topper.

Here you can see the Murphy bed in place behind the love seat.

The first two weeks we had to leave the bed down all the time. It wasn’t that big a deal, but we lose a lot of space with the bed down. I wanted to be able to use the love seat and have the two feet of extra floor space during the day.

Problem solved for about $10 and 10 minutes of time.