Interested in how to renovate a camper and take it off the grid? You'll love our new series! Read on for more info.
New Series: An Off Grid Life is on the road! This summer we're working on a new project -updating our 2008 Gulf Stream Travel Trailer for off grid living. Follow along to learn about how we're making this trailer completely off the grid. Water, solar panels, lithium battery, etc.
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
If you're like most people, the idea of renovating your camper may seem daunting, especially if you want to make it an off grid camper or travel trailer.
It can be hard to know where to start, and it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of making changes to your RV interior. But don't worry.
As I'm learning, you can indeed learn how to renovate a camper on a budget.
How to Find an Old Camper
First things first.
One of the best ways to save money on your camper renovation is to find an old camper, an old RV, or even an old fifth wheel and renovate it yourself.
Some of the best places to find old campers to renovate include
- RV dealerships - RV and camper owners trade in their used travel trailers and RVs to get a new RV.
- Family and friends - ask around. Buying a used camper from someone you know means you have access to the previous owner who can tell you about the camper.
- Local Facebook buy and sell groups
- online classifieds
This can be a great way to get a lot of bang for your buck, and it's a fun project to work on with friends or family.
You'll need to keep a few things in mind when renovating an old camper.
First, check the condition of the roof and the walls. You may need to patch or replace them before starting any renovation work.
Second, make sure you have enough storage space for all your tools and materials.
Finally, be sure to plan where you'll put everything in your living space when you're finished. This can make a huge difference in how you feel about your RV renovation. After all your hard work, you don't want your newly renovated camper to be cluttered and cramped.
Once you've considered these things, it's time to start planning your renovation. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Adding insulation is one of the best ways to make your camper more comfortable. This will keep the inside of your camper cool in the summer and warm in the winter, making it a great space to camp in all year round.
Old campers often have tired and worn-out flooring.
Give your camper a fresh look by installing new flooring. There are a variety of options to choose from, so be sure to find something that fits your style and budget.
As long as the underlying surface is in good condition, a fresh coat of paint can make a big difference in the look and feel of your camper.
Choose white paint or another light color to brighten the space, or a dark color to create a cozy and intimate space.
Updated fixtures offer an easy way to give your camper a more modern look. This includes faucets, light fixtures, and cabinet hardware (or even cabinet doors.)
One of the biggest challenges in renovating an old camper is finding enough storage space. This is especially true if you plan to live in your camper or RV.
In our case, I'm struggling to make room for our cast iron dutch oven. We're bringing it with us as we travel across Canada. Lots of dutch oven recipes coming!
There are a few ways to add storage to your camper, such as installing shelves, adding storage containers under the bed, or choosing new furniture with built-in storage.
Tip: a fresh color scheme and new window treatments can help freshen up an older RV without spending a lot of money!
Find Camper Remodel Inspiration Online
There are several websites and online forums where you can find inspiration for your camper renovation. I found several when I went down a rabbit hole after searching for RV vacation ideas!
This includes websites like Pinterest, which is full of pictures of beautiful and stylish remodels.
You can also check out online forums dedicated to camping and RVing, where people share pictures of their renovations and offer advice on how to do it yourself. Many years ago, I spent hours on these sites when planning my own tiny home.
Sketch out Your Ideas
When renovating a used RV, it's important to plan what you want to do. This includes sketching your ideas and understanding what the finished product will look like.
There are a few ways to go about sketching out your ideas.
One option is to use a software program like Photoshop or SketchUp. These programs allow you to create 3D models of your space, which can help plan your renovation.
Another option is to simply use a pencil and paper.
Draw a floor plan of your camper and start planning where you want to make changes. This can be a more low-tech approach, but it's still an effective way to plan your renovation.
Once you have a plan for your renovation, it's time to get organized. This includes gathering all the tools and materials you'll need and making sure you have a place to put everything when you're finished.
Create a Project Timeline
One of the best ways to get organized is to create a project timeline. This will help you track what needs to be done and when. It's also a good idea to create a budget for your renovation. This will ensure that you don't overspend on materials or labor.
Start small if you're feeling overwhelmed by the thought of renovating your entire camper. There are a number of small changes you can make that will have a big impact on the look and feel of your space.
One option is to paint the walls - as long as they're in good shape. This is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to completely change the look of your camper. (If you like the vintage camper look, stick to earth tones.)
Another option is to install new flooring.
Buy RV Renovation Supplies and get Started
If you're planning on renovating your camper, you'll need to purchase some supplies. Here are a few places to buy RV renovation supplies:
1. Home Improvement Stores
Home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe's sell all sorts of RV renovation supplies, including insulation, flooring, paint, and fixtures. Be warned. It's way too easy to spend too much time and money in the RV aisles!
2. Online Retailers
There are also a number of online retailers that sell RV renovation supplies. These include Amazon and eBay.
3. RV Dealerships and Service Centers
Many RV dealerships and service centers sell RV renovation supplies. This is a good option if you're looking for specific RV-related products.
Once you have all the supplies you need, it's time to start renovating your camper. Begin by making the changes you've been planning. And don't forget to take before and after pictures to see the transformation yourself.
How to Renovate a Camper with Water Damage
If your camper has been damaged by water, you can do a few things to repair the damage. Here are a few tips.
1. Remove any water-damaged items (start with the RV bathroom and kitchen) and dry them out. This includes furniture, appliances, and electronics.
2. Clean the affected areas with a disinfectant.
3. Dry out the area with fans or a dehumidifier.
4. If the flooring is damaged because it's been wet for a long time, you may need to replace it.
5. Repair any water-damaged walls or ceiling by patching them with drywall or another type of repair material. Make sure it's completely dry before you stick subway tile or other wall material.
6. Paint or refinish any water-damaged wood surfaces.
By following these steps, you can repair water damage and get your camper back to its original condition.
How to Make the Most of Small Spaces in Your RV Renovation
Are you planning to move into your camper? Full time living in a small space can be challenging, but it's also a great way to save money and conserve resources.
If you're renovating an RV, travel trailer, fifth wheel, or camper van, it's important to make the most of every square inch of space. Here are some ideas for doing just that.
When renovating an RV, looking up is a great idea!
Think about ways to use vertical space. This includes adding shelves, hooks, and other storage solutions that use the interior walls and ceiling.
If you're on a tight budget, look for these items at a second-hand shop, not an RV shop where things are more expensive. You'll get unique items at a great price to give your RV a new look.
Get Creative with Furniture
When choosing furniture for an RV, look for pieces that serve multiple purposes. For example, a coffee table can also be used as a dining or work surface.
Use Storage Bins and Boxes
Storage bins and boxes are great for storing items you don't use regularly. This includes seasonal clothing, holiday decorations, and camping gear.
Don't Be Afraid to Downsize
When living in a small space, it's important to be selective about your belongings. Get rid of items that you don't use or need. This will help to declutter your space and make it feel more spacious.
By following these tips, you can make the most of small spaces in your RV renovation.
How to Take Your RV Off The Grid
Solar power is a great option if you're looking for a way to take your RV off the grid. Solar panels can provide enough energy to power your RV, and a lithium battery can store energy when the sun isn't shining. Here's what you need to know about adding solar power to your RV.
1. Solar panels can be mounted on the roof of your RV, or they can be attached to a portable stand.
2. A solar panel typically produces about 100 watts of power. You'll need to determine how many panels you need based on your power needs.
3. Lithium batteries are a great option for storing solar power. They're lightweight and durable and can store a large amount of energy.
4. You'll need to wire your solar panels and battery together. This can be done by a professional, or you can do it yourself if you're familiar with electrical work.
5. Once your solar power system is installed, you'll need to maintain it. This includes cleaning the panels and checking the batteries regularly.
By following these steps, you can take your RV off the grid and enjoy all the benefits of solar power.
Finish up and Enjoy!
If you're in the market for a camper, check out our tips for finding the perfect one. And if you do decide to renovate your camper, be sure to follow our tips for how to do it right. We'll be posting four more articles in this series over the summer. So keep an eye out. Happy camping!