20 RV and Camper Hacks on a Dime


*Clears throat* 

Oh, wait, not THAT kind of hack.  What we mean by ‘HACKS’ are a ‘cheap cheats or inexpensive remedies’; utilizing objects that are meant for other intended purposes.  We’ve come up some of our own ideas as well as sharing some others’.  Our purpose of this blog piece is to help new (and seasoned) RVers and Campers by offering ideas to make their lifestyle easier on a dime (or less!).  Please note, all but one of these photos are OURS; these are hacks we actually use OR have come up with. 

So, here we go…

1)  SILICA GEL PACKETS – You see these everywhere it seems.  They are annoying yet genius in the same sentence.    They come in almost anything that’s packed in a box for shipping or packaging; new small appliances, electronics, etc.  They have a purpose though; to keep moisture away.  Just to name a few places where we put these little packets…cookware drawer, cutting board storage, herbs/spice containers, culinary seed storage, dry pet food containers, camera bag, cutlery and silverware drawers, handbags, luggage and totes, tea box, battery storage containers, razor storage, clothes and shoe storage, closets, tool boxes, fishing tackle boxes, gym bags, and more!  Just throw them in where you don’t want moisture!  Though we’ve never tried it, we’ve read if your phone gets wet, throw in a few packets into a ziploc bag with the phone and zip it tight for a few days.  

DO NOT OPEN PACKETS!  Keep out of reach of children and pets.
COST:  Free
FOUND:  Wherever you can find them

2)  CORD WRAPS – We all them ‘cord bendies’.  We’ve seen these in stores that are sold ‘as’ a hardware/home item however, we found them in the Dollar Tree (the one where everything truly IS a dollar) in the hair care section for a just a buck a pack!  When they wear out, just toss and buy a new pack because they’re so inexpensive.  They have a foam outer with wire inside.  Wrap them around electrical cords, electronic cords, twistie tie for plastic bags, etc.  They come 5-10 per bag in different gauges and lengths; although at the Dollar Tree, you might be limited.

COST:  $1 pkg of 5-10
FOUND:  Dollar Tree

3)  TENSION CURTAIN RODS – Camping and RV stores sell these but they are pretty pricy.  However, just go to your dollar or big box store and look in the curtain rod section. We install these in our cabinets and refrigerator on moving days; they can extend according to the lengths you need and have grippy rubber ends.  Nothing like preventing a jar of salsa or a quart of milk flying out the door when you open the fridge, or opening a cabinet and getting hit in the face with whatever may be in there.

COST:  $2-3 each
FOUND:  Walmart, Dollar General

4)  OUTDOOR PAPER TOWEL HOLDER – We can’t take credit for this hack.  We saw it on Pinterest but nonetheless, immediately started using it because its so cool!  What are they?  Simple garden flag holders.  They have two prongs that stick in the ground near the picnic table or just outside your basement/storage compartments.

COST:  $5-7
FOUND:  Walmart, Target, Dollar General, Lowes, Home Dep

5)  CRAFT STORAGE BOX – We have a bunch of these for storage purposes.  We already had them from Lisa’s former craft studio but you can find them in the crafting department of big box stores or in the beading or crafting section of your favorite craft or hobby store.  We store everything from batteries, Command Strips and hooks, small hardware pieces, etc.  We use our label maker to identify the contents on the ends and stack them in a cabinet.

COST:  $2-3 each
FOUND:  Walmart, Hobby Lobby, Michaels, JoAnn’s

6)  GRIPPY RUBBER SHELF LINER – This is one of our favorites.  We have these EVERYWHERE, though most you can’t even see.  We cut small squares and put them between dishes, inside pots and pans to protect the cooking surface while in transit, in cabinets so things don’t shift or slide around, under our Keurig, under DVD players and electronics inside cabinets, underneath small indoor mats and rugs, and we cut them the same shape as lamp or canister bottoms so they don’t slide around on the counters.  We even cut a small square to use for opening new jars of pickles.  They also are great for putting under Krissie and Kandi’s pet bed so it doesn’t slide off the furniture when they jump up and down from it.

COST:  $5-$10 Roll
FOUND:  Walmart, Target, Lowes, Home Depot, Dollar General

7)  FIRST AID/COSMETIC PLASTIC DRAWER ORGANIZERS – We love these!  We already had these from our former S&B so we just brought them with us.  They are lightweight and can be stacked; they have little feet that nestles them together.  We have few sets under the sink in the water closet/commode room that has all of our first aid supplies and one in the Captain’s Cabin that has all of Lisa’s cosmetics, nail care, travel size toiletries, etc.  We put the above rubber shelf liner under them so they don’t slide during travel.  We use an expandable curtain rod ‘vertically’ to keep the drawers from opening while in transit.

COST:  $7 each set of 3 drawers
FOUND:  Target or Walmart

8)  CABINET HANDLED BASKETS – We admit, being prior military, we are so organized we are borderline compulsive.  The first time we transitted, we opened a cabinet and had a bunch of stuff fall on our faces.  We remedied that by buying tons of baskets.  Lisa took measurements of each cabinet, stored them in her phone and carried a small sewing tape measure to have when she’s shopping.  We like baskets with handles for easy grabbing.  If we need something out of the cabinet, we simply grab the whole basket without having to rifle through the cabinet.  Nothing gets ‘pushed in the back’.  We use them in almost every cabinet in our Landmark; in the pantry we store chip bags and cracker boxes.  In the living area, we store maps, books and guides, motorcycle wear and gear, office supplies, small gifts and souvenirs, and in the bedroom, we have them in our clothes closet that store ball caps, scarves, medical supplies, sandals, rolled t-shirts, etc.  We found most of our baskets at Ross’s Stores in graduated sizes; keeping them the same style for a cleaner and nicer appearance that we can show off when opening our cabinets.

COST:  $5 each
FOUND:  ROSS Store or anywhere you can find inexpensive baskets

9)  CLEAR PLASTIC STORAGE BINS – When Lisa saw these in a Ross Store, she bought out the whole store because she knew she’d use them.  We store our jars and small things in the refrigerator.  In the food pantry, we store gravy and soup packets, dip mixes, small box items, oatmeal and hot cocoa packets and other small items.  They keep everything orderly and easy to see the contents.  We also keep our plastic food storage containers nicely arranged in one and easily grabbed from a high shelf.  We’ve seen them in big box stores and home stores for double, even triple the price we found them at Ross’s. 

(Note: if you see something in Ross, TJMaxx, Marshalls, Home Goods, etc. buy it immediately as their stock is not regular.)

COST:  $3-$5 each
FOUND: ROSS Stores, Bed Bath & Beyond

10)   CLEAR LUCITE LAZY SUSAN – We had all of our small medicinal and prescription bottles on one of those tiered shelves in the medicine cabinet.  After our first transit, Lisa opened the cabinet only to muttering words my mother shouldn’t hear.  Everything fell out into the sink and at her feet.  She was miffed to the point of after getting set up, her first mission was to find a remedy to keep everything in tact and not to have to rearrange everything everytime we move.  She found these at Bed, Bath & Beyond.  Though pricey, they work beautifully and are worth their weight in gold.  

COST:  $15
FOUND:  Bed Bath & Beyond

11)   COMMAND STRIP VELCRO – Velcro aka ‘hook and loop’ fasteners are a necessary expense in your RV or Camper.  We use them for keeping small things at fingers reach.  We attached remote controls near the recliners, the outdoor tv remote to the inside compartment, small wall art and picture frames to walls, items to inside cabinet doors, etc.  Command Strip Velcro now come rated on the packages according to what weight they will hold.  Even our LIBERTY quarterboard is attached to the outside of our Landmark and easily removeable for underway days.  Unfortunately, these are on the pricy side so we more careful planning is used when utilyzing them.  We are careful with how much weight we put on them though as to not have the hook pull the wall paper away from the bulkheads.

COST: $4-$10
FOUND: Walmart, Target, Lowes, Home Depot, Dollar General

12)  COMMAND ADHESIVE STRIPS & HOOKS – These are for attaching things more permanently; not to be removed.  We use them for attaching hooks they came with or alone.  We use the hooks for attaching temporary decorations, strings of lights, etc.  We also are careful with how much weight we put on them though as to not have the hook pull the wall paper away from the bulkheads.

COST: $4-$10
FOUND: Walmart, Target, Lowes, Home Depot, Dollar Genera

13)  MUSEUM or POSTER MOUNTING PUTTY – We learned this little trick from other seasoned RVers when we first began our on-the-road travels.  We warm and soften little balls and apply it underneath items we don’t want to move.  Amazingly, knick-knacks have not moved while in transit.  We applied it under the feet of our tea box and faux flower pot on our buffet counter.  We use it for our tiny treasures we pick up as souvenirs on a ledge.  We love this stuff!

COST:  $3-4
FOUND:  Dollar General, Walmart, Hobby Lobby, Michaels, JoAnn’s

14)  TENSION SHOWER CURTAIN ROD – These are awesome to install on the wall side of your shower and adjust it to rest on the upper edge of your shower shell.  We hang wet clothes or towels on shower curtain hooks on it to dry.  We also hang our bathhouse shower bag, loofahs, body scrubbies, etc.  For extra holding power, we put the above putty between the rubber ends and the wall.

COST:  $10
FOUND:  Walmart, Target, Dollar General, Lowes, Home Depot

15)  SMALL PET FOOD STORAGE – Our nomad cats’ food becomes stale and invites bugs if we left it stored just in the bag.  We found this storage container at a Ross Store in the small pet section however, we’ve seen them at big box stores in the bird seed section. We just open the top of the new bag, slide it in and seal.  No bugs or stale pet food.  What’s cool is it has a flip-top pouring spout.  You can find bigger ones at big box stores as well.   You can even store your charcoal in it too!

COST:  $10
FOUND:  ROSS Stores, Lowes, Home Depot

16)  DOOR SHOE POCKET ORGANIZER – We’re glad we didn’t toss this or donate when we sold our home.  It fits perfectly on the door of our laundry/utility storage closet in the galley area. We keep bear spray, sunscreen, bug spray, cat brush, lint roller, flashlights, shopping tote bag, packing tape and markers, etc. in it’s pockets.  There’s no limit to this cool must-have for an RV or camper.  Just don’t overload it to affect the sway of the door or to put stress on the hinges.  We put little pieces of adhesive moleskin on the backside of the hooks as to not mar the door finish.

COST:  $10
FOUND:  Target

17)  KOOZIE BOTTLE SLEEVES – We wondered what we could use to protect our bottles in our liquor locker until one day, as we grabbed a bottle of wine out, a dozen Koozies fell on the floor.  Why we had a dozen koozies is beyond me. we took one, cut off the bottom and slid it over a bottle like a sleeve.  Now, our bottles won’t clang together and it protects them from breaking or cracking.  We only cut the ones we get free at RV shows and expos.

COST:  Free
FOUND:  Fairs, Shows and Expos

18)  HEADLAMP LIGHTS – Oh, these little buggers are awesome!  We found them in a big cardboard promotional bin in Walmart.  Originally, we only bought two; one for each of us for our nightly walks.  When we got them home, as we were removing the tag from one, we dropped it thus, part of it fell apart.  When we picked it up, the little lightbulb went off in my head.  Immediately, we cut off the strap, attached museum putty to the backside and stuck it to the underside of a shelf in the pantry cabinet to light up the shelf below.  Oh my word!!  So, back to Walmart we went…to buy another 20!!!  We put them everywhere…one inside our gauge and control panel, under the cabinet that lights up the commode in the middle of the night, in cabinets, inside drawers, etc.  All you have to do is push the button and VOILA!  Let there be light!   Even if they fizzle out, they only cost a buck each!!

COST: $1 Each
FOUND:  Walmart

19)    GLASS STEMWARE SOCK SLEEVES – Don’t worry, they’re clean…and new!  We hate drinking even cheap wine and beer out of plastic, so we had to come up with something to protect our stemware as it hangs from their homes.  Then it came to us as we were perusing a flea market; we bought a 10 pair pack of ankle socks to use to slide over them when they are not in use.  And even if they do break, the broken glass will remain inside the sock.  Oh, and the glasses stay clean when not in use also.  

“Put a sock on it”!
COST: $5 for 10 pair
FOUND:  Flea Market

20)    JEWELRY DISPLAY/ORGANIZER – This frame had a generic cardboard picture in the Captain’s Cabin (bedroom) of our Heartland when we bought our RV and it was that…so generic.  We couldn’t take the frame down because it would have left ugly holes in the bulkhead so we came up with something useful.  We took it down, took it apart, mounted 1/2″ foam rubber and fabric on the board, put the frame back up and VOILA!  Never had a single earring come down during transport and necklaces hang without coming off the pins.

So those are our top 20 RV and camper hacks on a dime.  We hope they help.  You probably have some of your own that you should share; anything to make it easier for others who come after us.