The RV “Modder”: Which Type Are You?!

James & Stef Adinaro James & Stef Adinaro  |  05.09.2017

This is what our RV “Lance” looks like at the moment.

Lance is just outside my office, so as I sit here I can’t help but see James carrying mystery parts in and out of the rig.

To be clear, there was nothing wrong with Lance. You see, James is a project lover. A born tinkerer. So, when we bought Lance and I was dreaming of all the adventures we’d have, James was dreaming about all the mods he could do. The RV became an excuse for James to get to tear things apart on the regular. I’ll probably not see him inside for days.

I’ve come to learn James isn’t unique in this way. There are actually entire websites devoted to RV mods.  Even on our Travato Owners Facebook group, there are other RV owners posting photos of their innovations. But not all the projects are at the extreme levels of the ones James tackles. In fact, I’ve been able to make out several different RV modder styles simply from observing mods people are sharing on our Facebook group. I had a little fun with it and put them in list form below. See if any of these sound like you:

The Timid RV Modder:  If you get nervous at the thought of installing a Command Hook in your RV, then you might just be a Timid Modder.  Typical mods for the Timid Modder might include putting a piece of tape on a door to remind you where to grab; or installing the aforementioned command hook to hold your washcloth by the sink.  Eventually, some Timid RV Modders work themselves all the way up to the ultimate (and stressful)… Paper Towel Holder Install!

The Decorator: Sure, RV Manufacturers have teams of designers who determine floor, wall, and fabric colors to make sure the interior is harmonious.  But if that’s not good enough for you, then you could be a “Decorator”.  The decorator spends their RV remodel time on projects like tile backsplashes, curtains, wall hangings, and adding (or changing) wallpaper.  In their spare time, you can find the decorator binge-watching reruns of “Trading Spaces”.

The Techie: If you refer to the TVs in your RV as “monitors”, you’re probably a Techie Modder.  Typical mods for this crowd would include adding wi-fi routers, cell boosters, and media hubs.  Also, in the time it’s taken you to read this, the Techie modder has reprogrammed their vehicle’s navigation system with a new route optimization algorithm, and added data logging and SAN storage to their OnePlace control panel.

The Overexcited Newbie: The social media calling card of the Overexcited Newbie reads something like this: “I just bought my first RV, and picked it up today.  I also bought 1600 watts of solar panels to add so I can run my air conditioner!”  You’ll find this type of RV modder rushing headlong into projects with more exuberance than planning. They provide great amusement for all the other RV modders; rivaling reality shows like “Flip or Flop” for entertainment value.

The Anti-Modder:  This modder lives by the creed that if Winnebago saw fit to make the RV the way it is, then you had better have a darn good reason for changing it.  By their nature, anti-modders don’t really do any DIY projects, and would rather spend their time on the road instead of at Home Depot.

The Dreamer: Unique among the RV modders, the dreamer doesn’t even need an RV! Dreamers are in the planning phases of RV ownership and follow owners’ groups to get ideas for when the day comes that they have their own rig. If they did have an RV, they already know which mods they would like to do.  Or will do. Next year.  When they have that RV…

The Over-The-Top DIYer:   And then there are poor souls like James.  If you really wanted to build your own RV but bought one instead, you’ll probably turn into an over-the-top modder.  The sky is the limit for this type.  No dinette in your RV?  No problem – they’ll add one!  Don’t like the noise from the generator?  Tear it out and put in something else!  Want to move the entire galley four inches to the left?  Bring it on!  I’d like to say there’s a correlation between the success ratio of the over-the-top modder and the number of screws they have left over when they finish. When they’re not doing RV mods, you can find these characters thinking about doing RV mods.

So there you have it…the 7 styles of RV Modders based on my highly scientific research playing around on Facebook. To be clear, there isn’t one that’s right or wrong and there’s definitely not one style better than the other.

Because if you think about it, RVing is all about joy. We all bought our RVs to bring more joy to our lives…whether the rig is taking us to see the loves of our lives (the grandkids) or to see the jaw-dropping scenery. So it only makes sense that the mods we do bring joy to us as well, no matter what they are. That’s the beauty of this beast, we can tailor the RV to reflect our own personalities and have a little fun with it along the way.

As they say, “enjoy the journey.” Whether that journey is on the road or in the driveway with tools spread out everywhere, it’s up to you.

Happy travels (and modding), all!

-Stef from TheFitRV

(Thanks to my Travato Owners family for inspiring this article…you’re the best!)

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  1. JeffDeb Posted on 05.18.2017

    We like James ….#7…over the top DIYers. Replaced the roof, axels and almost everything in between :-) Safe travels

  2. Dan Goetzman Posted on 05.18.2017

    Need to add #8, the actual Class B RV DIY builder! :-)
    Building our own based on the Travato 59K floorplan!

  3. Evan Watkins Posted on 05.17.2017

    For those of you who have a Minnie Winnie you should look at the Facebook page ” Minnie Winnie 22R Owners” group and there you will find Jorge who has done many upgrades and is what I would call the “Minnie Winnie Techie”. He and others have posted many useful techie and useful upgrades.

  4. David Karol Posted on 05.13.2017

    LOL :)

  5. John and Jane Canfield Posted on 05.13.2017

    We took delivery of our brand new 2005 Horizon May 25 of that year and by July I was already replacing and upgrading the electrical system. And it hasn’t stopped to this day, we have over 110,000 miles on the Horizon. :)

    Safe and Fun Miles to all, John and Jane

  6. Steve Bartolucci Posted on 05.13.2017

    Great “State of the Art” review, Stef! As you know, many of us tend to float a bit across those classifications, and also avoid some at all costs. Such as, I avoid “Decorating” because I just have no talent there!

    As a bit of an “Anti-Modder,” I also appreciate those that “Mod For the Sake of Modding,” I’ve lived my life adapting myself to the cars and motorcycles I’ve owned, and yes, often prefer to “Live Like the Designers and Engineers Think I Should.”

    That is, unless a Refrig Door opens the wrong way, Sundshades don’t stow conveniently, or rattles and clanks need to be suppressed.

    Thank You!!

  7. George Hurst Posted on 05.13.2017

    Had to smile at the statement ” I’d like to say there’s a correlation between the success ratio of the over-the-top modder and the number of screws they have left over when they finish. When they’re not doing RV mods, you can find these characters thinking about doing RV mods.” That’s me. Just finishing removal of old carpet and laying of new floor, removal of old jack-knife sofa and replace with two recliners, removal of dinette and replace with more storage space and kitchen work area…. And have a BUNCH of screws left over. Now the next job is…..

    1. James and Stef Adinaro Posted on 05.13.2017

      Where do you live?!? I’ll send James over!!! ;-)

  8. scott baldassari Posted on 05.13.2017

    Great stuff! Lol. And SO true.
    I never even THINK about a mod, until I see it done in someone else’s rig, and think, “oh, that might be useful….” then I think, and plan, and visualize, and price things out, until I’m completely exhausted by all that work, and I just go camping… ;-)

    1. James and Stef Adinaro Posted on 05.13.2017

      Spoken like a true Anti-Modder!!!

  9. Bob Bedell Posted on 05.13.2017

    Great article! I fit several catagories on that list. Mostly techie, a pinch of dreamer and a bit of decorator. There just may be one more type for the list. I have often run across them in my neighborhood concerning my house and I bumped into one in a campground once.

    The Neighborhood (or Campground in this case) Dreamer – maybe a subset of the Dreamer? – the guy next to you who has all kinds of mod ideas for YOU to do to your RV. “Have you thought of a new awning?” “I saw this great bike rack you should get.” “why don’t you have solar?”

    1. James and Stef Adinaro Posted on 05.13.2017

      I’ve got it…The Backseat Dreamer!!!

  10. michael bucalo Posted on 05.13.2017

    Dear Steph, loved your post. Thank you and James too. You know, you really are an odd couple, perfect!

    1. James and Stef Adinaro Posted on 05.13.2017

      Yes. James is odd. ;-)

  11. Sarah Wynde Posted on 05.13.2017

    Yes, I recognize myself! I’ve definitely been considering that paper towel holder. Seriously thinking about it. Any day now…

    1. James and Stef Adinaro Posted on 05.13.2017

      We have confidence in you Sarah. YOU CAN DO IT!