Welcome! We’re a fulltime RVing family of four on the road since 2010. You can read more about us, why we ditched the suburbs, and how we afford it. These are the modifications we’ve made to our 2014 Wildcat Bunkhouse Fifth Wheel RV to make it comfortable and usable to live in fulltime..
These are the projects we’ve done on the outside:
We ordered our fifth wheel without the swoops - but the factory did install their “Wildcat” logos. We replaced them with our own logo.
We work online so depend on having internet coverage. To maximize our chances of a good signal I installed an exterior Wifi Ranger router and a 4G antenna on the crank-up TV antenna.
Our trailer came with an exterior door for an optional outdoor fridge that we didn’t get. As soon as I saw the size and shallow depth of the storage space I started scheming a way to turn it into an outdoor office.
- A small clip on table
- A power outlet
- A second monitor
RVs shake and shimmy when people move around in them. To help stabilize our unit we had the dealer install a JT Strongarm system.
We also use a set of x-chocks when parked for more than a day or two.
I’d estimate that between these two items 90% of the trailer movement is eliminated.
To smooth out the feedback (or “chucking”) between truck and trailer we also had the dealer install a Mor/Ryd Pin Box System.
Ditching Suburbia Manifesto Shirt
Suburbia-ditchers have different values than most people - tell the world what they are:
Simpler Living. Closer Family. Richer Education. Uncommon Adventures.
Styles available: t-Shirts, tank tops, and hoodies.
Colors available: black, navy, gray.
Screen Door Magnets
The latch on our screen door broke within weeks of getting the new RV. I assumed that fixing it with original parts would last about as long.
Now we just push on the screen door frame or “bump” the bottom with a foot to open the screen door.
To make setting up a bit easier I installed one of these large bubble levels on the kingpin of the RV. I can see it from the driver’s seat in the truck.
It also has a smaller front-to-back level for use once the trailer is off the truck.
Bumper End Bolts
I got tired of losing the rubber end-caps that came with the RV. I drilled out the bumper and use a long 1/4” bolt with a wing-nut to keep the sewer hose in now:
New Lug Nuts
The stock lug nuts on our trailer were the cheap chrome-capped versions. These have a tendency to come apart during unbolting and jam up your wrench.
I replaced all the lugnuts with some of these full chrome versions that won’t come apart. Well worth the $20!
Here’s what we’ve added to the interior of our bunkhouse fifth wheel:
This trailer is short a couple of power outlets. The forward end of the living area only has an outlet for the TV. The bunkhouse has one outlet period.
I added one outlet for a charging center and another where I could reach it from the seating area.
Device Charging Center
For the charging center I mounted a surge-suppressed power strip that accommodated all the various chargers.
I mounted another shelf above that spot, carpeted it, and routed all the plugs to it. I secured them with a plastic wire clamp so they stay in place.
To charge a device we just need to find the right plug, plug it in, and set the device on the shelf.
I also made room for a Bluetooth receiver and found an unused input to the stereo in the mess of wires behind it so all of the Bluetooth wiring is hidden.
Now we can connect to the trailer stereo from my iPhone for music or from a laptop for watching movies.
Internet Gear - Inner
I cut a piece of plywood, covered it in automotive carpet, arranged all the components on it and routed the wires using tie-downs.
Couch Out - Ikea Chairs in
The couch that came in our fifth wheel wasn’t comfortable for any of us.
Ikea to the rescue - we had their Poang Chairs in our first trailer and loved how comfortable, light and inexpensive they are.
We ordered some dark wood versions of the Poang with red cushions to brighten up our dark trailer interior. When the chairs arrived we yanked the couch and sold it on Craigsist.
We eventually replaced the dining table with two more Poang chairs so the entire family could hang out in the same room.
I bought a “shoe-bench” from Amazon to serve as a coffee table in the living room (also visible in photo above). It has a bottom shelf, about 5” of hidden storage under the lid, and can serve as extra seating if need be.
I ended up removing the hinges - this way we can lift the lid off to access the storage from either side without having to clear it off entirely first.
Just about all of the blinds that came in our trailer broke. We made our own no-sew RV curtains for under $100.
We needed more fruit storage, so I hung a wire fruit basket from our overhead cupboards (also visible in photo above).
The kids needed a way to organize their clothes in the bunkhouse wardrobe unit.
I found some stacking storage bins on Amazon that looked perfect.
The bins provided necessary storage and don’t have drawers that like to open themselves while going down the road. They left enough space in the wardrobe to store a guitar and a keyboard stand.
The few hanging clothes Miranda has now get rolled up and stored in the large drawer below.
Dinette Bench Mod
I modified the rear dinette bench by removing the face boards from the lower bench support. There is a lot of storage under these seats but the rear one you had to flip up the entire seat to access.
I added some metal corner supports to keep the unit rigid and with it open now shoes or a laundry bag can be tucked under the bench.
Keyboard Storage Shelf
We travel with a fullsize keyboard. It needed a dedicated space to live and travel in.
I scrapped together a shelving unit from some spare lumber, covered it all in carpet, and installed it in place of the upper bunk. I installed some marine-type rope cleats so we could rope it all off for travel.
The shelf is only as deep as the keyboard needs, so it allows the kids to sit at their table without having to duck under it.
We collect fridge magnets to memorialize our travels. I needed a place to display them.
I removed the unused TV mount and cut, fit, clear-coated and mounted 7 lengths of 1.25 strap steel on that wall to serve as a place to display our fridge magnet collection. I also mounted some 5x7 photo frames on magnets to hang here.
We put together a video on making our own collectable fridge magnets you might want to watch.
Digital Photo Frame
While I try to minimize our technology I have a ton of photos from our travels and it’s nice to see them more often.
So I added a digital photo frame to the living room.
We like how they trigger questions and conversations about our experiences.
The trailer came with the sink hung under the counter by 3 thin sheet metal straps that immediately bent from sink use.
I made legs from PVC plumbing supplies, sized to wedge in underneath the sink. I can then tighten them further by “unscrewing” the shaft.
The rear wall of the living area of our new trailer was this big empty canvas just begging for something.
The challenge is there is little clearance there when the main slide room comes in - I couldn’t even hang framed prints without having to remove them each time.
I remembered seeing different decals for walls and found these RoomMates RMK1317GM Tree Branches Peel & Stick Wall Decals on Amazon.
One looked a bit small so I ordered two and pieced them together for a larger tree. I used leftovers on the other side of the door as well.
When I go in my bedroom now I feel like I’m walking into a forest.Miranda
In our RV, the only place we could place shoes to keep them handy was right in the entryway, along the edge of the cabinet.
I googled around different solutions for shoe storage, I found a shoe rack that had just simple vertical pegs to slide shoes over.
I realized I could build a shoe rack out of PVC pipe to fit the space we had.
I used schedule 80 3/4” tubing and the cheaper schedule 40 connectors. I made all the pegs long enough to get my (size 12) shoes up and off the floor. Once assembled I gave it a quick shot of flat black paint to cover the white connectors.
I initially didn’t glue it together. However - it sits right over a register grate and when the heat ran the PVC would expand. The rack would then get all floppy. I later glued it all together.
The Wildcat is considered a “lightweight” trailer - which seems to sometimes mean “we left off as much as we can while still calling it a complete trailer”. With the cabinetry this means hardly any shelves anywhere. I added:
- A side shelf in each pantry - taking advantage of the “around the corner space” from the front
- A shelf in the cupboard over the fridge
- A shelf in the cupboard over the counter - designated for coffee supplies, ect
- Two shelves in the left-most cupboard, spaced so plates and glasses get a designated space
- A shelf in the right-side nightstand
- A shelf in the master bedroom wardrobe
- Shelves in the entertainment center
Our trailer is basically a shrine to the Command brand of hooks. We love them because we don’t have to drill holes in the walls. I installed Command hooks for:
- Coats in hallway
- Hats over the entry door
- Towels in the shower
- Keys and headlamps
- Oven Mitts in the Kitchen
Some of these items came uninstalled from the factory, others I had to purchase:
- Mounted the paper towels on the flip-up cupboard door above the microwave for ease of access while using the kitchen, but to keep them out of sight otherwise
- Installed towel bar in bathroom
- Installed a towel bar on the end of the counter
- Installed our wall clock/inside-outside thermometer over the bunkhouse door
- Installed broom clips in luggage area for broom and other long/skinny items
Bumpers and Felt Pads
RVs move a lot going down the road. Doors also get flung open carelessy. I tried to stave off damage and:
- Installed several small bumpers where doors contacted walls, etc
- Put felt bumpers on the back of the curtain bottoms so they don’t rattle as the trailer moves (when people are walking, etc)
- Put rubber feet on the bottom of the sink covers so they can sit on the countertop without scratching
- Installed felt bumper for sliding door where it meets the wardrobe
Somehow in addition to doing all of the above we’ve actually had time to enjoy living in our RV fulltime since buying it in late 2013.