Common RV Interior Design Flaws + Solutions

The most common RV interior design flaws and what the RV design industry should do about it is the topic of this timely post

As a nearly $30 billion dollar industry, you can only imagine how much money and man-hours go into designing functional and attractive interiors in the RV Industry. But sometimes even the best plans don’t translate to the best real-world results. The only real way to know what works and what doesn’t is to turn to the people using it.

RVers learn to adapt to the tiny lifestyle coming up with all kinds of clever solutions and hacks. God bless the RV designers who have given us a good head start but there’s always some kind of impracticality to overcome.

Living room and kitchen areas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The most common issues with RVs

Most issues revolve around the kitchen, laundry, shoe storage, and accessibility.

I think the solutions for these problems are certainly achievable even if they’re offered as options instead of standard features.

Impractical oven

Some people love their oven but many find the oven to be too small or too ineffective to be worth the space it takes. It seems many RVers are content to use convection microwaves or air fryers in their place.

Here are some suggestions for RV designers:

  • Option for convection microwave and dishwasher drawer instead of an oven
  • Option for 9-in-1 built-in air fryer instead of an oven
  • Larger oven that can hold at least a small turkey

Understandably, preferences can vary widely when it comes to ovens and cooking. So, it really seems the best solution is to have more options! Let the RVer have more of a say in their cooking appliances when they purchase an RV.

Micro-wave and kitchen © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

More counter space

RV designers have tried to maximize counter space without encroaching into the living space too much. Two main solutions they’ve come up with are boards that cover the stovetop and sink when not in use. While these are helpful sometimes, they aren’t really useful when you’re in full cooking mode.

After all, isn’t it while you’re cooking when you need the most counter space? You end up having to push those boards aside when, say, sauce is simmering on the stove and pasta is draining in the sink. That just takes up more room, not create more.

The most sensible solutions seem to be:

  • Sturdy pull-out boards
  • Sturdy flip-up boards from side of cabinet
  • Pull-down shelf from underneath the cabinets

I particularly like the pull-down shelf idea as it seems we just need more room to set things down that we take out of the pantry or fridge. The pull-down shelf takes advantage of the vertical space making a pseudo-double-decker counter. Once the ingredients are put away, the shelf hinges right back underneath the cabinet.

Living room with pull-out table and built-in desk © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Adjustable shelves (and more shelves)

Adjustable shelves seem like such a simple solution… because they are! I’d bet it’s one of the cheapest yet most effective changes every RV manufacturer could implement in every class and model. This problem came up with both pantry and closet storage.

Take advantage of vertical space and what better way to do that with shelves. Being able to customize the height based on the products you store would be a HUGE help.

And designers shouldn’t be stingy with the shelves!  Give us at least a couple more shelves to work with!

Drop-down upper storage

A lot of storage in RVs is in the form of small cabinets above the couch. It turns out that a lot of people either because of their height or their age have a hard time reaching these spaces. They’re high up plus we have to reach over a couch. Yet, these cabinets often store the everyday items we need to get to often.

It seems like one of the best solutions follows that same idea as the pull-down kitchen shelf―make these small storage cabinets hinge down and out towards us.

Bedroom with overhead cupboards © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Dirty laundry hamper

Where do we put the dirty laundry?

Maybe RV designers haven’t heard that we’re not supposed to air our dirty laundry because they haven’t given us a good place to put it.

We need a designated place for dirty laundry that’s not the shower space!

Shoe storage

Where to put all the shoes?

Shoe storage! Shoe storage! Shoe storage!

It seems everyone agrees we need more of it. Yes, there are after-market door hangers but why not integrate shoe storage into RV design?

It makes sense to incorporate shoe storage by the front door. We all end up leaving shoes by our doors and they become a tripping hazard. A cubby or space for a couple of pairs of shoes by the entrance door would be ideal.

Some models have this near-the-door shoe storage now. If this is important to you, make sure you check to see if the model you are viewing has it.

Living room with pull-out table and built-in desk © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Better accessibility

The RV Lifestyle is about freedom and discovery and it should be possible for people with disabilities and mobility issues. Not to mention, a big part of the RV community is seniors that are only getting older.

Newmar has wheelchair accessible luxury diesel motorhomes and Winnebago has several models they called accessibility enhanced.

One of the biggest obstacles for people with disabilities and seniors with more limited mobility is the front entrance. The big steps become a serious safety hazard if not a complete blockade to the inside.

RVers would like more options when it comes to how they enter their RV. Some suggestions include:

  • An electric lift (like a miniature version of moving truck lifts)
  • A slide-out ramp
  • More graduated steps
  • Swing-out or collapsible hand rail alongside steps

The next biggest area of concern in this area was a more realistic emergency exit for seniors. Many older people worry about the idea that they might someday have to escape through the escape window. Would they really be able to get out the window? Would they hurt themselves doing so?

A second emergency exit door in lieu of an emergency window seems like an option many people would pay extra for.

Worth Pondering…

Genius is the ability to reduce the complicated to the simple.

—C.W. Ceran

7 Tips on Maintaining Your RV Tires during Storage

RV tires are vital to a safe, smooth trip, yet they are often the most overlooked parts of an RV

Traveling the country in your RV is an amazing experience but during the off-season, it’s crucial to make sure you’re keeping your investment properly stored.

Class A motorhome tires are one of the most important components of your RV which means you’ll want to ensure that they’re kept in storage the right way to keep them protected from damage.

Read on for a list of seven helpful tips you can use to maintain and store your tires so you’ll be ready to hit the road once again.

Check tires at rest areas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Keep them clean

Proper care of your RV tires revolves around keeping them clean and dry so that the natural lubricants in the rubber compound that protect your tires won’t erode over time. Road oil and dirt will also suck the life out of your tires so it’s important to keep your tires clean. Oil will deteriorate the rubber and dirt will act as a sponge and hold any contaminants next to the tire. Use a soft brush and mild soap to clean your tires.

Once they are clean you can use a tire dressing to protect your tires from aging but be very careful. Many of these treatments do more harm than good. Never use a dressing that contains petroleum products, alcohol, or silicone because they will cause sidewall cracking and accelerate the aging process. If you find a good tire dressing that does not contain these products, yet offers a UV barrier, your tires will benefit from it. I use 303 Protectant.

RV tire © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. Cover your RV tires

Two other factors that dry out tire sidewalls are sunlight and ozone. Ozone eats rubber, so don’t park your RV in an area where welding is being done or near electrical generators or transformers as ozone is created by high electrical use. Sunlight contains harmful UV rays that dry out rubber so if you are going to be parking in a sunny area for a while it’s a good idea to cover your tires.

Look for a high-quality tire cover that’s UV-resistant since sunlight can quickly cause tires to wear down and potentially rot.

RV tire © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Rotate your tires

If you’re in a smaller RV, you may need to rotate your tires occasionally. In larger RVs, on the other hand, rotating your tires is a very difficult process. Due to wheel configurations, Class A motorhomes require wheels to be remounted when taken off and that’s a task that should ideally be performed by a service center to ensure it’s done correctly. Additionally, Newmar coaches install different-sized tires on the front and rear axles, making it dangerous to rotate from front to back or vice versa. Should the tires on your Class A coach require rotating, your preferred service center will be sure to tell you.

When your RV weight is unevenly distributed, it causes the tire tread to wear down which can result in a flat or a dangerous blowout. Try to keep even weight distribution throughout your coach to reduce the wear on your tires.

You’ll want to know How to Survive an RV Tire Blowout.

Not the way to treat your motorhome tires © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Check the air pressure

Too much or too little air pressure can wreak havoc on your tires even while in storage. Check to make sure that your tires are properly inflated before you store the RV for the off-season. Some manufacturers recommend you inflate them 25 percent more than normal while in storage.

Use an inflation gauge to check the pressure and look for an angled dual-foot pressure gauge if you want to test multiple tires. Always inflate them according to your specific RV’s manufacturer instructions which can be found in your owner’s manual or on the certification tag. While your RV is in storage, check the PSI levels monthly and reflate each tire as needed for the best results.

I have more on checking air pressure:

Cover the tires! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Lighten your load

A Class A motorhome is designed to withstand thousands of pounds of weight while you travel. From camping equipment to cooking appliances, all of that heaviness rests on your tires.

Before you store your RV for the off-season lighten the load as much as you can. Remove anything that doesn’t need to be inside so that it reduces the total weight and relieves some of the pressure that your tires will have to bear. The lighter the load, the lower the chances are that you’ll end up with an unwanted flat.

6. Age is more than a number

You might wonder what the motorhome tire life expectancy is. While each brand and each specific RV tire may have a different lifespan, it’s best to replace any tires that are older than six years of age.

Even if you take immaculate care of your tires, the standard maximum tire age for most RVs is around six years. As they age, there could be hidden damage you can’t see with the naked eye. The last thing you need is to head out on your adventure and end up dealing with a flat on the side of the road.

Read: When to Replace RV Tires

RV tire © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

7. Perform regular inspections

When it’s time to put your RV in storage, you should thoroughly inspect your tires first. Take a close look at the tread and make sure that each tire is evenly worn. Replace any tires that show signs of dry rot, extreme wear, or bulges.

Check the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) for your RV and make sure that your tire tread has reasonable depth according to this information. With regular check-ups, you’ll feel good about the health of your tires so you can hit the road in confidence.

Take good care of your tires

With a little bit of effort, your RV tires should be able to handle anything that comes their way. Always check for things like air pressure and tread health before you put everything away in storage.

Cover your tires to protect them from the elements and to prolong their lifespan. Cleaning and rotating your tires will also ensure that they serve you well for many road trips to come.

Worth Pondering…

Speed was high

Weather was hot

Tires were thin

X marks the spot

—Burma Shave sign

RV Parking and Storage Tips

In the blink of an eye, summer ends. Then just as quickly autumn disappears. What will you do with your RV at that point? Will you be storing your RV for the winter? A lucky few live in climates that permit them to drive their RVs year-round. As for everyone else, we don’t have that luxury. Having a plan for where you’re going to store your RV until spring returns is crucial. Many RV owners elect to store theirs on a campground or storage facility. You might be interested in storing your RV at home over the winter.

Falling leaves and temperatures mean it’s time to pack your RV away for the off-season—unless you’re a four-season camper. While it’s never fun parking your rig for winter hibernation these RV storage tips will ensure that your rig is ready to go when spring returns once again. 

Covered storage © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When should you start lining up your RV storage options? 

Arrange your RV storage options as early as possible. If you need offsite storage options may be limited or full by late summer. The recent surge in RV sales means there’s more competition for existing facilities. 

Winterize your RV before storing for winter © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What should I consider when storing my RV?

Consider these six elements when selecting a storage spot:

Security: If storing away from home does the facility provide a gated entrance, guards or attendants, and security cameras?

Protection from the elements: Will your rig be indoors or outdoors? If outdoors, will it have a covered roof? If indoors, are the temperature and humidity controlled?

Location: How far is the location from your house? Is it easy to access if you need to check your RV? If you store it at home, do you have a large, protected space?

Access: If you wish to take your rig out for a winter trip are you able to remove your RV from the facility? Note that some locations park rigs for months at a time without the ability to remove them. 

Amenities: Some storage facilities offer onsite electric and water hookups and sewer dumps which may be useful as you prepare for and return from trips.

Budget: How much can you spend on monthly storage fees?

Don’t wait for the first snowfall before making winter storage plans © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What’s the best way to store an RV?

There’s no single best way to store an RV. Instead, you need to consider the pros and cons of each option and decide which choice works best for your situation and budget.

Storing your RV at home

Pros

  • You’ll have easy access and can keep an eye on your rig. Plus, it’s free.

Cons

  • You’ll need to find a good location to park your RV. It may be in your way through the winter.

Storing your RV at an indoor self-storage facility

Pros

  • Parking your RV indoors is the best protection from winter temperatures and precipitation. Indoor self-storage also offers good security.

Cons

  • This is the priciest option. Also, you may have limited locations near you and it may not be convenient to check on your rig.
Don’t wait for the first snowfall before making winter storage © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Storing your RV at an outdoor storage facility

Pros

  • You may find extra layers of security. Also, some outdoor facilities have covered parking which keeps snow and ice from accumulating on your roof.

Cons

  • Outdoor storage offers little to no protection from the elements.
Covered storage © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Additional storage options

If none of the options above work for you, don’t despair. You may have friends or family with farmland, a convenient parking spot, or a lot in town. These options may not offer security or protection from the weather but they can be less pricey—possibly free. Finally, research other nearby options like fairgrounds, campgrounds, or marinas which may offer storage in their offseason. 

Don’t wait for the first snowfall before making winter storage plans © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Long-term versus short-term storage

Short-term options provide parking for 3 to 6 months spanning the winter season. Long-term storage may cost slightly less per month than short-term storage but you’re paying for more months out of the year. 

Cost of RV storage

The cost of storing an RV varies greatly. The price depends on these factors:

  • Location: The cost varies depending on your location including rural vs. urban.
  • Size of space: How big is your RV? You will pay more to store a 40-foot Class A motorhome than a small travel trailer. 
Covered storage © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How do you store an RV outside?

If you’re storing your RV outside, decide if you want to use a cover. Covers can cost a considerable amount and take time to properly apply. However, they help protect your RV from the elements. 

If you decide to purchase a cover, buy the proper size for your rig and follow the directions for securely fastening it. Tarps are not recommended since they don’t allow for proper air flow and can trap in moisture. 

Don’t wait for the first snowfall before making winter storage plans © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tips for storing your RV for the winter

Before locking up your rig for the off-season, follow these tips:

  • Winterize your water lines and tanks.
  • Thoroughly clean out anything that could attract bugs and rodents as well as anything that could be damaged by freezing temperatures. 
  • Be sure to check the fridge and freezer to ensure no food is left stored inside. Prop doors open to prevent mold.
  • Check your roof and window seals to prevent leaks and ensure all windows and vents are closed.
  • Remove the batteries from your RV and store them in a temperature-controlled area through the winter but be sure not to store them on a concrete floor. It’s also recommended that you use a battery charger so they’re ready to go when you are.
  • Cover the tires to reduce exposure to direct sunlight.

Whether you’re parking your rig at home or offsite utilize multiple layers of security including wheel locks and/or hitch locks to prevent theft.

Covered storage © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

With your RV securely tucked away for winter, spend the winter months making plans for next spring and summer. Just remember to check in on your rig every few weeks.

Other articles you may want to read:

Worth Pondering…

My parents live in the part of the United States that is Canada. It is so far north that Minnesota lies in the same direction as Miami. They have four distinct seasons: Winter, More Winter, Still More Winter, and That One Day of Summer.

—W. Bruce Cameron