Travel trailers are great all on their own, but it can be pretty fun to see just how fancy you can make it with upgrades. However, some upgrades can be pretty costly, and it can be pretty difficult to tell if it will really be worth burning that hole in your wallet.
That’s why I’m here to give you 17 upgrades that are definitely worth the cost.
1. Larger Propane Tanks
In some places it’s easy to get refills for your propane tank for your travel trailer, but this isn’t always the case, and getting a larger propane tank, in general, can be a really great upgrade if you find yourself in this sort of situation, especially if you tend to use up a lot of propane.
2. Solar Panels
The next thing that is completely worth the cost is upgrading your travel trailer to solar panels. Seriously though, the only thing you need for them to charge and store up power for you is sunlight. That means that they can even charge while you are on the road. How cool is that?
Going off of solar power can also be a great idea for those campers who prefer boondocking or going to campsites that don’t really have any power hook-ups available.
Sure, solar panel installation can be a bit pricey, but the cost has actually been going down slowly every year. And if the price to have professionals come do it for you is still too much for you, it’s actually not too difficult to install the solar panels on your own.
Here’s an article that does a pretty good job at walking you through step by step on how to install solar panels on your own.
Honestly, out of everything on this list, solar panels are probably the best upgrade you can get for your RV just because it basically means free power for you once you get everything set up, and it’s almost always charging your batteries, so you will rarely ever have to worry about running out of power.
3. Cold Weather Package
If you’re the type of person who likes to live in your travel trailer or likes to camp year round, then a cold weather package is a great investment.
Everyone knows that it can get pretty cold during the winter months, no matter where you are–even if it’s only cold at night. It can be pretty unbearable at times and scare a lot of people away from using their travel trailers when it starts to get cold.
A cold weather package can save you from such discomforts and keep your adventures exciting without freezing you to death. Basically, a cold weather package will include a tank heater to keep them from freezing and ultimately exploding, a thick plastic underbelly cover for extra insulation from the cold, and maybe even a propane heating system.
There are a lot of options out there where you can get this as a professional package, but it also isn’t completely impossible to do it yourself, if you’re up to the challenge.
4. Automatic Stabilizing Jacks
Leveling and stabilizing your travel trailer can be a long and tricky process that can often come with lots of frustration. A great way to avoid this frustration completely is by upgrading to automatic stabilizing jacks, and they’ll do all the work for you to make sure it’s absolutely perfect.
A lot of the automatic stabilizing jacks out there will allow you to operate the jacks using an included control panel or even your smartphone. How easy is that?
5. Built-in Generator
A built-in generator can be an especially great upgrade if you like to do a lot of boondocking or prefer to live in your travel trailer.
It tends to last a bit longer than those measly portable generators and can be really useful if you plan on running your travel trailer on the batteries for a while, meaning that it could potentially give you longer battery life for your travel trailer.
A built-in generator is also great if you plan to run your air conditioning unit for a good while on your trips because it offers the right amount of power without running out too quickly.
6. LED Lights
Replacing those old travel trailer lights with LED lights is another great upgrade that is definitely worth the cost. I don’t know about you, but it can get pretty irritating to have to replace those travel trailer lights so often, and they aren’t even that great of quality.
That’s why I replaced all of my travel trailer lights with LED lights. Not only are they a lot brighter and last a lot longer, but they also require a lot less maintenance. Unlike the average travel trailer light, they can handle all of those hard bumps and sharp turns in the rough roads during your travels.
Replacing your lights with LED lights is also a way to cut down on the amount of power you use.
For more information about replacing your travel trailer lights with LED lights, you can read this awesome article I wrote a while back. It will give you all the information you need to know about choosing the right size LED lightbulb and making sure nothing goes wrong in the transition.
7. Battery Monitor
Another excellent upgrade for your travel trailer that is completely worth the cost is a battery monitor. This is especially worth the investment if you plan on using solar panels.
Of course, solar panels allow you to charge your battery pretty consistently as long as you have at least a bit of sunlight, but it’s always nice to know when it’s time to recharge your batteries for your travel trailer.
Keeping track of how long your batteries are really going to last you can be pretty difficult, but a battery monitor will take away all of that hassle for you. Basically, a battery monitor will let you know with just a single glance just how much charge is left in your batteries.
It’s great because using your battery monitor will prevent you from getting into any emergency situations where you run out of power just because you didn’t have the best idea as to how much longer your batteries were going to last you. I can promise you that that is definitely a situation you want to avoid. It’s not fun.
8. Improved Roof Seals
Alright, everyone knows that one of the worst and usually more common “disasters” that can happen to your travel trailer is having a roof leak. Especially if you don’t catch it fast, the repairs can cost up to thousands of dollars. It’s nasty.
Improving your roof seals with some nifty sealant can save you from all of that hassle. All you have to do is place the sealant over the original roof seals, and it will help the seals last a good while longer and also save you from a lot of future maintenance costs.
One of my favorites is Eternabond Tape. It comes in various lengths and sizes and it really isn’t too expensive considering the value of the roofing tape overall. Cover your original roof seals with the tape, and your roof will be protected for several years. That’s actually quite a bit longer compared to the average roof sealants that typically last up to six months.
All things considered, this small upgrade to the roof of your travel trailer is definitely worth the cost since it will potentially save you thousands of dollars worth of roof repairs in the future.
9. Roof Vent Fan
If you’ve read my article on stealth camper vans, specifically on the section on how to build up your own stealth camper van, you know that roof vent fans are completely necessary.
A travel trailer can get really stuffy really fast, especially during the summer, if you don’t already have some sort of fan. Save yourself from the discomfort and heat and invest in a roof vent fan.
Not only will a roof vent fan help to cool you down in the summer but it will also let out some of the moisture if there’s too much humidity and even filter out strange cooking smells. It really is a fantastic and useful upgrade that is completely worth the cost.
One of my favorite options for roof vent fans is the Fantastic Fan.
10. Back-up Camera
Have you ever seen those people backing out their travel trailers with perfect precision? Do you really think they’re just that good and have that much experience and perfection? I know I don’t buy it.
It’s most likely a backup camera that they’re using to help them back up and maneuver their travel trailer so perfectly. And believe me, it’s worth the investment.
The backup camera will act as a supplement to your side and rear-view mirrors and will make maneuvering your travel trailer so much easier that you’ll look like one of the pros.
Yes, some of the backup cameras can be a bit expensive and a pain to install, but there are wireless backup cameras out there that can simply connect the live footage to your phone, or you can go with the more typical version of the backup cameras that have an entire system to make backing up your travel trailer so much easier.
Believe me, once you even just test out the backup cameras with your travel trailer, you’ll never want to go back to having to rely on just your mirrors and a friend standing outside sending you signals as to how far to move and which ways to turn.
11. Surge Protectors
The next upgrade for your travel trailer that will definitely be worth the cost is a surge protector. If you’ve ever been hooked up to the shore power at a campsite and had a problem with a power surge, you’ll likely know why this is such a great idea already.
A power surge can do some pretty bad damage to your electrical appliances and maybe even call for some expensive replacements. As the name suggests, a surge protector will protect you from having to deal with this.
Basically, a surge protector monitors the voltage coming into your travel trailer from shore power. Once a very high or very low voltage is detected, the surge will automatically disconnect from the power source in order to protect your electrical appliances. Really it will save you from a lot of headaches and guessing games, so it is definitely worth the cost.
Perhaps surge protectors can be relatively expensive, but compared to the amount of money you could potentially have to spend on repairs after a major power surge, it really isn’t that bad. Here is a great option for a surge protector.
12. Propane Regulator
A propane regulator can also be a pretty nifty upgrade for your travel trailer just because it will overall make things safer.
(Have you found that pattern in this list yet? All of these upgrades are just to help your RV life be easier, safer, and ultimately save you some money down the road.)
Basically, a propane regulator will help to control the flow of gas and lower the pressure as it flows from the gas tank to the separate appliances. It will save you from lots of future issues with this upgrade.
I recommend talking to a propane technician to help you come up with a plan and figure out which path is right for you with getting and installing your propane regulator.
13. Replace the Storage Bay Locks
Okay, I’m about to blow your mind. Are you ready? Most locks on the storage bays of just about any type of RV or travel trailer are the same.
Mind not blown yet? Here’s where it happens. The same locks mean the same key. That means anyone out there with the same lock as you could easily break into your storage bay without causing any real damage just because they already have the right key.
Chances are, if you look at your key for your storage bay, it will be a CH751 key unless you’ve already switched out the locks. The fact is, a good percentage of RVs and travel trailers use this same type of key.
This is why it’s necessary, in my opinion, to change out your locks. Sure, it’s more likely that a burglar would use a crowbar to get into your storage bay than having a not so trustworthy person realize they have the right key to break into just about anyone’s storage bay, but it’s always nice to take the extra precaution.
While you’re at it, you might as well commit to the upgrade and get a higher quality lock that will be sure to keep your storage safe and stay sturdier for a much longer amount of time than those basic locks that come with the travel trailer.
14. Under Bed Storage Light
In most travel trailers, under the bed is always a great place to find extra storage space, but it can be a pain when it gets too dark to see under the bed.
Installing a string of lights under the bed is a useful upgrade just because it makes it so much easier to see what you’re doing and what exactly you have in that storage space underneath the bed.
It’s more of a simple upgrade, but whether you only use a simple battery-powered light or taking the time to completely wire and install some extra LED lights down there will make your life a whole lot easier,
15. Digital Thermostat
A lot of travel trailers, if they have them, will come with the old-fashioned thermostats that have the manual slider to control the temperature in your travel trailer, and they aren’t always super accurate. It’s a smaller upgrade, but it’s definitely worth the time and money to install a digital thermostat.
It’s so much nicer to be able to control the temperature of your RV with just the touch of a button and watching it act pretty quickly and accurately instead of taking your chances and playing a guessing game with the little slider thermostat.
It’s also a pretty easy upgrade, too, because you should be able to get just about any thermostat, whether it’s made specifically for a travel trailer or RV or not, and easily replace the old one.
Believe me, you’ll thank me for the idea once you make the switch. One great option for digital thermostats is this Hunter Digital Thermostat.
16. Extra Waste Valve
Alright, if you’ve had your travel trailer for a while, then you should know by now that one of the least exciting parts of the upkeep is emptying out the waste tanks. You would also know that the most important step in emptying the tanks is to close that waste valve as tightly as you can without causing any damage to avoid any nasty messes in the future.
Of course, there can always be the problem that it still doesn’t seal properly, and the next time you open it up, a little bit of nasty water drips out for you. Yes, it’s gross, but yes, it is completely avoidable if you install an extra waste valve.
It’s super easy to do with screwing it directly onto the end of the pipe properly, and your problem is solved. No extra drippage the next time you open it. If you ask me, that upgrade is definitely worth it.
Here is a link to Amazon for an excellent option if you want to test it out for yourself. You’ll definitely be thanking me later.
17. Pull-Out Garbage Can
Everyone knows that travel trailers tend to be pretty limited on space, and finding a place to put the garbage can be quite the puzzler. This is why I like the idea of the pull-out garbage can so much.
A pull-out garbage can is a great option because it allows you to lock your garbage can away inside a simple cabinet. It’s out of the way, takes up less space, and there’s less of a chance that the garbage can would spill all over the place f you come to a nasty bump or sharp turn when you’re on the road.
The simplest and cheapest way to do it is with a couple of bungee cords to hold the garbage can in place inside the cabinet, or you could even install a sort of rolling system to allow it to roll out like a drawer.