We have been living in our fifth wheel for a year. After the first six months we knew we wanted to continue this exciting lifestyle. However, there were a few things we learned the first year and thus, we have been making some changes to our home on wheels as we get closer to heading back out on the road full time.
Our 5th Wheel Upgrades Include
- Installed a washer and dryer
- Replaced water heater with an on-demand system
- Added a cell phone booster
- Bought an HDMI to USB-C Adapter
- Removed a TON of unnecessary items we originally packed
- Added a kayak rack and kayaks
- Removed our second lounge chair
- Added insulation
- Replaced the kitchen faucet
- Added a weather station
- Added new layer of carpet
- Replaced our propane/gas generator with 2 suitcase generators
Installed a washer and dryer
We thought about installing a washer and dryer before we started full time RVing. However, we decided the cost of a unit was quite high and we didn’t mind going to the laundry mat and knocking out all of our laundry in one day.
Well, when we were in southern Utah our friend Tracy (who also lives in a fifth wheel) was trying to get rid of his washer/dryer unit. He just wanted it gone and offered to give it to us. We jumped on the opportunity like a couple of street rats. Can you believe we got this $1300 washer and dryer unit for zero dollars?
Piles and piles of laundry have no where to go in a fifth wheel. So even though letting the laundry stack up and doing it all on one day doesn’t bother us in a normal domesticated American household situation. It does cause angst in a fifth wheel. There is no where, other than the bath tub, to hold piles of laundry. To us it is now better to do small loads once the basket fills up.
We may not always have access to to water, sewer and electric hookups. So there will be times when we aren’t able to use it, but for the most part we are RV park livers, not RV campers.
Replaced Water Heater for Tankless Water Heater
This is MY FAVORITE upgrade. Our fifth wheel is comfy. We even have a full size bath tub. However, a full size bath tub doesn’t allow you to take baths when you have a measly 6 gallon water heater. I like to relax in a bath especially in the winter.
Zach installed a new on-demand or tankless water heater so we can have long hot showers and winter time bubble baths (next on the list is a tv in the bathroom). He was able to sell the water heater he removed. We bought the Girard 2GWAM Tankless Water Heater. Zach had it installed in half a day. The door is purchased separately to fit what ever water heater you had previously.
The original Atwood water heater ran on either propane or electric. The new on-demand water heater only runs on propane and requires that you have the propane on at all times.
Zach replacing the water heater.
Cell Phone Booster
We added a cell phone booster for the times that we don’t have great cell phone reception. When we were in Eastern Tennessee we had times where cell reception was piss poor. We have also experienced some of this in Montana and Idaho. The cell phone booster we got requires electricity and a hint of a signal. If you are in a zero reception area, it doesn’t work. It simply boosts the little bit of reception you already have.
HDMI to USB-C Adapter
One of the biggest problems with full time rv travel is the lack of wifi. RV park wifi is the poop shoot. Hot spot data is mega throttled. We have enough data with our Verizon hot spots and jetpack to get us through the month for our work. BUT we need some screen time, Netflix and Amazon TV.
I bought an HDMI to USB-C adapter to take advantage of the extra data available on my phone plan. This data can’t be used as a hot spot, but I can play the shows on my phone and plug the phone into my TV. Cell phone data is also just “managed” after you hit your monthly allotment of high speed data, where hot spot data is actually “throttled”. You can also just get an HDMI to USB-C cable, but I got the adapter because I already had a long HDMI cable.
I have a Samsung Galaxy S20. If you have an iPhone you will need an iPhone adapter.
Unpacked a TON
We over packed when we first moved into our fifth wheel. I guess we felt like we didn’t want to be caught without something we needed. We have learned to live with just our absolute needs. So many clothes went back to storage. Zach has also been working on selling quite a bit of extras we had stashed in storage. Pssst, don’t tell anyone but we might not make it back to Montana next summer. It’s not 100% certain, but I am thinking we need to travel New England next summer ;).
Added a Kayak Rack
Last year we visited so many lakes and didn’t get the opportunity to get out on them. So this year we are bringing the kayaks. Zach built a rack, because the premade racks are ridiculously expensive. Good job Zach.
Removed Our Second Lazy Boy
We rarely have company in the fifth wheel so the second lazy boy just took up space. We sent that lazy boy to the shed. I am considering adding a couch with a pull out bed. Our guests don’t always enjoy when Pancakes (our rabbit) jumps all over them in the night when we set them up on our air mattress. Our first guest is going to be meeting us in Southern Utah in late September to hike the Narrows in Zion.
We talked about selling our fifth wheel to upgrade to a similar model that was an all seasons package. There have been a few times in the last year where our pipes froze do to the cold weather. This was because we left Montana late and came back too early. We are hopefully going to be headed south before the snow comes (September 19th is when we leave). But this is Montana you just never know what the weather can bring.
I just love our fifth wheel. This is home to me and I am not ready to make a change. So Zach has been doing some work to the undercarriage. He has added an entire layer of insulation to the bottom of the fifth wheel. You would be surprised at how little insulation our fifth wheel has.
Our new faucet and essential oil diffuser thanks to my friend Taylor Hill with Young Living Essential Oils: Member 15006832.
One less chair means more room for Pancakes to lounge.
Replaced the Kitchen Faucet
The standard faucet that came in the fifth wheel was pitiful. It was so hard to wash dishes under. We upgraded our faucet. We chose this RV faucet.
Zach added this weather station that allows us to track the temperature with three different censors. So we can keep an eye on the temperature in the under carriage where the water pipes are. We can also see the temp inside and outside the fifth wheel.
New Layer of Carpet
We don’t need to replace the carpet in the fifth wheel, but because of the lack of insulation underneath the fifth wheel, we added a second layer of carpet. Our rabbit lives in the living room, where it tends to get the coldest at night. You can feel the cold air seep through the seams when you sit on the ground to soak up some bunny snuggle. This extra layer will help with insulation,
Replaced Generator 1 with 2 Suitcase Generators
We decided to replace our big generator for two of these Champion suitcase generators. This is because the larger generator was very heavy and loud. The only time we really need the extra power is to run our AC. The two suitcase generators can actually be connected to provide the amount of power we need to run our AC if needed. I can actually carry this generator, where the bigger one, I could not.