Friday

RV Renovations: Replacing Your RV's Furniture


Renovating your RV’s interior is an excellent way to modernize the space and make it your own. The list of potential RV projects is endless, and, with each individual improvement, you are sure to add more character and personality to your space. When renovating your RV, it’s important to complete each task entirely before moving on to the next one.

Once these more technical projects are complete, you will be ready to begin the more aesthetic projects. Once such aesthetic project is replacing the (often) dark, outdated RV furniture with brighter, more modern furniture that you would typically find in a more traditional home. This project will add a final layer of completion to your RV, while making it feel more like a real home away from home. Read on for a full tutorial on how to replace your RV’s furniture and bring a more modern vibe to your space.

1. Measure current furniture
Start by measuring your current RV furniture to know what will fit in your space. This typically includes your couch(es), reclining chairs, and maybe even your dinette table and chairs if you also wish to replace those. Be sure to measure the length, width, and height of each piece of furniture.

Keep in mind that the height and width of the new furniture you choose do not necessarily need to be the exact same as the previous furniture. However, additional width will extend into your living quarters, occupying precious floor space. Additional height is not an issue, as long as the new furniture is not covering part of your windows. Be sure to record your measurements somewhere once you have them.

Credit: @188sqft 

2. Remove old furniture
After you have measured your old furniture, you must remove it before you can install new furniture. Removing the old furniture may be fairly simple, but it may be a bit more difficult, depending on the size of your front door. First, you will need to unbolt the furniture from the floor. Next, you will need to have someone help you carry it out of the RV. Since most RV furniture is assembled inside the RV, there is a good chance it will not be able to fit through the door in one singular piece. If this is the case, you must disassemble the furniture before removing it from your RV. Once the old furniture has been removed, you are ready to begin shopping for new furniture.


3. Shop around, select furniture
This is perhaps the most important step in replacing your RV’s furniture. There are a number of places where you can find RV-friendly furniture. IKEA has a great line of furniture optimized for small spaces, and many traditional furniture stores also tend to have furniture geared towards those with less space to work with.

When replacing your RV’s old couch, many people opt for a futon. These are perfect for RVs because they double as a bed when you have guests or additional family members who need somewhere to sleep. Most RV couches are sleeper sofas, so it is helpful for both your future trip planning and resale value to replace your old couch with a new one that also serves as a bed. Just be sure to find one that fits into your space well. In addition, be sure to find a new couch that compliments the color scheme of your new space. Many people tend to stick with more neutral tones, as these are more subtle and can easily be decorated with brightly-colored throw pillows and blankets. However, if that bright green couch is calling your name and you feel that your space can handle such a bold choice, then go for it. Just be sure to compensate for the statement piece with simpler pillows and decor. 

If you are updating your RV’s reclining chair, there are a number of new pieces of furniture that will work well as a replacement. You could replace the old recliner with a new one, or you could replace it with a simpler accent chair. If you choose either of these options, be sure to choose a chair that appropriately coordinates with the new couch and the rest of your space, as well. 

If you are not wanting to add another recliner or accent chair to your space, you could consider installing a small bookshelf, an ottoman, a bench, or an accent table in place of your recliner. The options are endless, and all that really matters is that your new piece fits into your space and coordinates well with the rest of your decor and colors.

Finally, you must choose a new dinette set-up if you are replacing your eating area. The most typical replacement is with a table and chairs, but there are a number of other options that will work Be sure to measure everything to make sure it will fit before purchasing it and bringing it home.

Credit: @188sqft 

4. Assemble new furniture
Once you have your new furniture, you must bring it inside your RV and assemble it. Simply follow the exact instructions on the packaging, and put your furniture together. Once it has been put together, slide it into whatever place you have chosen for it to reside.



5. Anchor new furniture
Lastly, before you take your new furniture for a spin, you must anchor it to the RV floor and/or walls. This will ensure that you can safely move down the road without your furniture sliding all over the place. You can bolt new couches, accent chairs, tables and bookshelves to the floor fairly easily. Kitchen chairs may be a bit more difficult, as these slide in and out when you are sitting or standing. In this case, you can install a hooking system where the chairs can temporarily attach to the table to keep them in place when you are in transit. Whatever method you choose to anchor your new furniture, be sure to double check that it is secured safely before you take it out on the road.

Adding new furniture to your RV space is one of the final steps to bringing the RV into the modern century. New furniture vastly changes the overall look of the space and adds so much character and personality. Once you have your new furniture installed, you are ready to begin decorating. Stay tuned for our next installment to learn how to put the final finishing touches on your new RV interior.

Have you installed new furniture in your RV? What process and methods did you use? Feel free to share in the comments below!

FMCA’s Sunsets + Saguaros Convention in Tucson, AZ

If you’ve never been to an FMCA convention, or any RV convention for that matter, we’d advise checking one out. It is worth your while. You’ll find countless opportunities to learn, network, and enjoy the comradery that makes RVing such a wonderful lifestyle. 

FMCA, a not-for-profit, member-owned association for RV owners, is gearing up for its 101st International Convention and RV Expo. The event will take place at the Pima County Fairgrounds in Tucson, Arizona, March 26 through 29, 2020. Being set on the cusp of spring makes this the ideal end-of-winter outing for snowbirds who are beginning to make their way back north with the warmer weather.

During the week leading up to the convention, the fairgrounds will be converted into a city of RVs, with all the necessary services, including shopping opportunities. RVers will find items needed to improve, repair, or upgrade their homes on wheels.

Socialize with other RVers
If there is one thing that can be said about nearly all RVers, it’s that they are a social group. The festive environment becomes apparent from the moment you enter the convention grounds. The campgrounds are full of travelers who are eager to start making new friends, catching up with familiar faces, and sharing stories from the road. The first-timer opportunities offered help to ensure you feel right at home when you arrive.

One aspect of FMCA that keeps members social while on the road is chapters. These groups are organized around a common interest, hobby, geographic location, or RV brand. A chapter fair will take place during the convention, where various groups set up information tables, and newcomers are welcome to inquire about the chapter and sign up if they feel inclined to join. Another great opportunity to see what each chapter has to offer will be during the Chapter Block Party, an evening event that takes place within the campgrounds.


Educational Opportunities
Over the course of the event, dozens of educational seminars will be held. Topics range from very informative and technical to relaxed and fun. They are taught by industry experts who are seeking to share their knowledge of various aspects of RVing with eager ears.

If you’re interested in learning about RV driving safety or you want to understand the way RV brakes work, there is a seminar for that. If you’d rather learn a new craft or get tips about boondocking on public land, there is a seminar for that. Some seminars are held more than once throughout the event so that you don’t have to worry about schedule conflicts. A list of all the topics of discussion is available to give you a better idea of the wide spectrum of subjects.

Shop ´til you Drop
If you’re looking to make a purchase for your RV, odds are you’ll be able to do so at one of the many vendors who are on-site. You can stroll the aisles of the vendor hall daydreaming about upgrading different aspects of your RV, take the plunge and replace that one thing that you’ve been meaning to replace for months, or even make an appointment to have your RV serviced by one of the companies performing on-site RV service work.

Besides the vendor booths, there will be multiple RV manufacturers and dealers at the convention inviting you to shop for a new RV. You can browse the newest models from Newmar, Tiffin, Entegra, Jayco, Winnebago, Fleetwood, Airstream, Grand Design, Lance, Renegade, and more. Even if you are just daydreaming, it is a lot of fun to tour the newest, nicest models on display!


Entertainment & Activities
The F in FMCA stands for Family, but who says it can’t also stand for Fun? Plenty of fun-filled activities will take place throughout the convention. Registered attendees will enjoy live music from classic rockers Three Dog Night and national country megastar Josh Turner. Aside from the headlining artists, attendees also can enjoy daytime entertainment, starting with coffee and doughnuts each morning.

Other entertainment includes stand-up comedy, bingo, karaoke, a charity walk-a-thon, and the Mr. Whiskers facial hair competition. Check out the events page on FMCA’s website to see all the scheduled activities.

Sign up today
If you haven’t already registered for the convention, there is still time to do so. Online registration is available here or by phone until March 18, 2020. After March 18, registrations will be accepted on-site at the fairgrounds. Daily passports (with no on-site RV parking) also will be available for $50 a person on-site, allowing you to attend seminars, tour the display RVs, shop in the vendor hall, and enjoy the evening entertainment. Day passes ($10 per person; $25 for a family of three or more) also will be available for those who wish to visit the RV displays and indoor booths only.

So, no matter what type of RV you own, and no matter how long you’ve been participating in the RV lifestyle, there will be something for you to do, learn, and experience at the “Sunsets + Saguaros” convention in Tucson. Will we see you there?

How to Find the Perfect RV for You


When you buy an RV, you aren’t just purchasing a camper—you’re investing in a future full of open roads, scenic vistas, and crackling campfires. But choosing the wrong unit could turn those vacation dreams into more of a nightmare. With all of the options out there, how do you know which RV is right for you?

To Tow or Not to Tow?
RVs fall into two categories, motorhomes and towables. Motorhomes are self-contained units and come in three types: Class A (built on a commercial bus or truck chassis), B (a camper van), and C (built on a van chassis with an over-cab bunk). Their main advantage of motorhomes is the flexibility while traveling, since passengers can move around the cabin, prepare food, and even use the bathroom while in motion. Another benefit is ease of set-up—turn off the engine and just like that, you’re camping.

But there can be cons to motorhomes, too. Because you’re paying for both a vehicle and a living space, motorhomes are more expensive than towables. Even mid-sized motorhomes are often too large or cumbersome to maneuver easily in small towns, so you may need to tow a separate vehicle for sight-seeing and shopping. If you already own (or need) a large SUV or truck, a towable is a more economical option, and you’ll have wheels to move around town or take day trips after you set up camp.

Towables come in a wider variety of shapes and sizes, from compact teardrop and pop-up campers to travel trailers and fifth wheels. While many motorhomes can sleep six or eight, most still have only one rear bedroom. Most motorhomes rely on fold-out couches and convertible dinettes for extra beds, while many trailer layouts include separate bunkrooms, giving large families an added measure of private space.

Bottom line: Motorhomes win for convenience and comfort while traveling, but trailers are designed with families—and their budgets--in mind.

Camping or Glamping?
Do you like the idea of “roughing it”? Do you plan to camp in areas where electricity won’t be available? For dry camping (also known as boondocking), you’ll want features like solar panels, an ample battery bank, a generator, and dual fuel/propane systems and appliances.

If glamping is more your style, the only limits to your RV’s amenities are your budget and imagination. Modern units include options like extra baths, kitchen islands, electric fireplaces, outdoor kitchens and entertainment systems, and most are equipped with multiple slides for spacious indoor living.

Does your idea of fun include getting out on the water or going off-road? If you have kayaks, a jet ski, an ATV, golf cart, or a motorcycle, consider a built in toy-hauler. Available in both motorhomes and towables, these RVs include a rear garage to store whatever you need to make your vacation complete.

Bottom Line: The kind of camping experience you want should guide your choice of RV.

Is Bigger Always Better? 
Not necessarily. There’s a cost that comes with size, both in a higher purchase price and in the expenses of use. Plus, driving a big rig isn’t for everyone, and the differences in turning radius, braking distance, and sway in a heavy travel trailer can make towing challenging. Accessibility is another problem. Many state and national parks were designed decades ago, when RVs were smaller. In fact, 27% of national parks don’t have sites for RVs over 35 feet, and only 7% of national parks can accommodate RVs longer than 40 feet. In many cases, even if you meet this criteria, you will also need available space to park your tow or towed vehicle in a separate lot.

Bottom Line: Choose an RV you are comfortable handling, and one that can take you where you want to go. We highly recommend taking a test drive before you get too far down the path to purchase.

New or Used?
That depends on two things—your budget and your mechanical skill. Depreciation of recreational vehicles in the first year is estimated to be about 21% and increases to between 35 and 40% by year five. This makes purchasing a used RV an economical choice—if it was well-maintained. Otherwise, you could be looking at high repair costs unless you can do the work yourself. Before buying a used unit, go online, check reviews, and look on forums for any issues with the manufacturer or model. And consider hiring an expert to do a survey of the RV before you buy—it will be money well spent.

Bottom Line: Used RVs make financial sense, but you have to do your homework.

Ready to Shop?

Before you buy:
  • Research different manufacturers and models.
  • Look for owner review on reliability, workmanship, customer service, and warranty coverage.
  • Go to an RV show. 
  • Compare types and sizes of units. Sit inside, try out the kitchen, lie on the bed. Imagine living in that space for a week of rainy days. 
  • Rent an RV. Nothing beats firsthand experience! 
  • Make a wish list. Write down five features that are MUST-HAVES and five that are WANT TO HAVES. Use those as your guide. Don’t be talked into a unit that doesn’t fit your needs. 
Take the time to find the right unit for you and your family—and let the adventure begin!

Tips and Tricks For Working From Your RV


When you imagine living in an RV, it might seem like an endlessly exciting adventure. Every day you get to meet new people, see unique parts of the country and work from wherever you want.

Thursday

5 Things to Consider When Financing an RV


RVs make for the ultimate road trip vehicles, allowing owners to bypass hotels, restaurants, and other costly vacation expenses. This can make vacations more affordable, fun, and convenient. For these reasons, more people than ever are hitting the road in their tiny vacation home on wheels and loving every second of it. However, this freedom and relaxation comes at a price.