Since it’s more expensive to be a fulltime RVer than it used to be (due to the price of gas, RVs, and tow vehicles), many have chosen to downsize in order to make the RV dream a reality.
However, downsizing your RV doesn’t have to mean going to the laundromat to clean your clothes when you’re on the road.
Here’s a DIY RV project that’s worth considering…
Start With A Lightweight RV Trailer
The choices in lightweight, small fifth wheel RVs has been steadily increasing.
Many also have interesting features to make them family friendly.
An RV trailer up to about 25-feet is now light enough to be pulled with a standard half ton pickup — like the Ford F150 or GMC 1500.
With a single living room slideout, the roominess inside these lightweight models makes them an adequate choice for full time RVing.
Now, here’s where it gets good…
Remove The RV Bunk Beds
Certain models have an option available that makes them even better for married couples who want to hit the road on a more permanent basis.
It’s called a bunkroom.
Why would a couple with no kids want to waste valuable floor space with a bunk room, you ask?
The bunkhouse models offer something that you can’t do in other models. (This is where you have to think beyond what the engineers planned back at the factory.)
By removing the factory installed bunk beds, you now have an empty room large enough to install a stacked washer/dryer unit!
Many bunkhouse model trailers have the bunk room right beside the bathroom. Located across the rear of the trailer, it’s a logical way to put the 2 areas side by side, while leaving more open space in the living area.
Though rather cramped for a bunk room (it’s usually no larger than a long narrow closet), it makes a wonderful laundry room.
With the bathroom on the other side of a common wall, the necessary plumbing should be relatively easy to find.
Yes, it will take some engineering on your part — since the factory didn’t have this in mind when they built the trailer. It will take some cutting and modifying in order to access the pipes and extend the hot and cold water as well as a drain for the washer into the new found laundry room space. You may have to run an electrical circuit into the room too.
Choose A Stackable Or Standalone RV Washer/Dryer Unit
I’ve owned a couple different RVs with the 1-piece combination washer/dryer in them. They will wash your clothes, though I rate them as an absolute last resort. It takes forever to wash and dry a load of clothes in them (about 3 hours).
The last time I went full time RVing, I insisted that the dealer install a stacked washer dryer unit like you might find in an apartment. A quick run to your local Sears store will get you a stacked unit cheaper than the 1-piece RV units cost. (You’ll always spend more when the term “RV” is attached to the name.)
They’re smaller than conventional washers and dryers and they operate completely on 110v.
With a separate washer and dryer, you can be washing a second load while drying the first load. The capacity of these machines is about twice what you can fit into the little combination washer/dryer unit. The performance is as good as what your home machine will do.
Turn Your Full Time RV Dream Into A Reality
Yes, this is a bit of a project to undertake. I won’t guarantee that this conversion will work on all bunkhouse RV models.
Before you buy that new RV trailer with this DIY project in mind, talk it over with the RV dealer first. Get their opinion on how hard extending the plumbing will be. If it’s a workable idea, then go for it!
Odds are you will still have extra room left when the project is done.
Instead of using the space solely as a laundry room, you may want to add a pantry cabinet and use that space to increase your food storage as well. At the very least, you will have room for a hamper, the broom and dustpan, or a few other things that you didn’t know where to store.
When you’re all done, you’ll have created a full time capable RV that cost you a heck of a lot less than those huge triple slide units. Plus, when you unhook your half ton truck, you can still afford to drive around town and see the sights.
See, you can still live your dream of being a full time RVer!
I’ve been involved in RVing for over 50 years — including camping, building, repairing, and even selling RVs and motorhomes. I’ve owned, used, and repaired almost every class and style of RV ever made. I do all of my own repair work. My other interests include cooking, living with an aging dog, and dealing with diabetic issues. If you can combine a grease monkey with a computer geek, throw in a touch of information nut and organization freak, combined with a little bit of storyteller… you’ve got a good idea of who I am. To date, I've shared my RV knowledge in over 300 articles here at The Fun Times Guide!