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How to Secure Your RV's Interior for Travel

I am an RV enthusiast with more than 50 years of experience owning, driving, traveling and living in recreational vehicles.

Learn how to make sure food, clothing and other belongings stay put in your RV while it is in motion.

Learn how to make sure food, clothing and other belongings stay put in your RV while it is in motion.

When vacationing in an RV, it's important to secure its interior before heading down the road. People often have problems with their belongings during trips if they have not properly prepared their motor homes and/or campers for travel.

If they do not clear counters, secure cabinets and lock windows and drawers, they are likely to have to deal with breakage and a mess when they finally stop driving.

This article explains how to avoid such issues.

The interior of this coach is now ready for travel.

The interior of this coach is now ready for travel.

Why Secure Your Coach’s Interior?

When you take a vacation, you should always try to make sure everything in your RV is in the same place it was in when you arrive at your destination as it was when you left home!

If you fail to do this, when you stop driving for the day you may find that

  • drawers fly open, or even fall out onto the floor along with their contents,
  • food falls out of your refrigerator as soon as you open the door,
  • items in your medicine cabinet are a jumbled mess,
  • items you left on your counter tops are on the floor or broken,
  • your clothes lie crumpled on the bottom of your closet and
  • windows you had previously closed are now open.

In short, not securing your belongings can leave you with a mess!

I have had every one of these things happen to me during my 50 years of RV travel, but I have found ways to avoid them. I am going to share what I know with you right here and now so that you can avoid them, too!

A secured RV interior makes for a comfortable, neat environment when camped.

A secured RV interior makes for a comfortable, neat environment when camped.

How to Secure the Food in Your Refrigerator

If you are going to secure the items in your refrigerator, you need to make sure that you use refrigerator bars and place them carefully so that they keep food from spilling and/or falling out of the refrigerator.

My husband and I have used the ones manufactured by Camco for years. We learned the hard way that not using them created major problems at times! They're sturdy and do a great job. I suggest buying two packages, as you'll need six of them to really protect refrigerated items.

  • Pack items closely together, and place liquids on the door or on the bottom shelves so that there is a smaller opportunity for them to tip over.
  • Whenever possible, repackage food that is packed in glass into plastic containers.
  • Pack food in the freezer as tightly as possible because doing this makes it work better and also keeps items from sliding.
  • Make sure the refrigerator door is firmly closed and locked before you start driving.

Keep Medicines and Cosmetics Safe

Medicine cabinets, depending on how they are configured, can be a real problem. The best way to secure your personal care and health products is to

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  • pack them as close together as possible
  • use small, expandable rods to secure them
  • line the shelves with some non-slip matting
  • and wrap towels in or around them to fill any gaps.

Even when the shelves have protective lips, you need to use these methods because the items you put there are all of different sizes, and the smaller ones are likely to slip out if you do not use further protection.

How to Secure Cabinets and Drawers

The best way to secure the interiors of cabinets and drawers is to pack items close together and line them with shelf grip waffle matting. This product comes in rolls and is relatively inexpensive, but once you have lined the bottoms of your cabinets and drawers with it, they will prevent a great deal of slippage and movement.

Some of these products are thinner than others, but if you can find the thicker type, it will be easier to manage. You can also use it in other places to make sure items stay put. For example, I put a piece of it on the seat of my booth so that I can put a plastic container of fruit there during travel. I also use one on the seat of the opposite booth to secure my laptop.

It is also very important that you make sure all doors and drawers are completely closed and latched before you start moving. If latches break, fix them as soon as possible so that you can avoid problems. In the meantime, push something up against them when your unit is in motion to protect them.

Protect Your Clothes

As you have seen, in just about every instance, packing many items close together is a basic method for securing your RV's interior. Wardrobes are no exception.

As an added precaution, it is a good idea to purchase some lockable travel straps such as those you use to secure luggage, and install them on each side of your wardrobe or across the entire width if you do not have a center divider in the closet.

Nothing will fall or move if you do this.

Generally speaking, if you pack your motor home or coach in a way that balances it correctly, belongings are more likely to stay put.

Secure Your Counters

Contrary to what you may think, RV counters do not need to be totally cleared to keep them secured for travel.

  • If you use those heavy waffle-style, no-slide place mats on your bedside counters, you can keep items on them during travel, but you must lay tall items down and place them in a way that keeps them from rolling.
  • If you place your toaster on one of these mats and in the corner of a counter top, you can leave it out, also.
  • You can also use one on your dining table to hold small condiments, pill containers and napkins.

However, large, heavy, tall items, or anything made of glass, should all be placed in closets.

You can also place certain galley items such as soaps and sponges in the sink

Always do a "walk through" to check counters before leaving your campsite or driveway. It is very easy to forget something, even though it may be in plain sight, because you are used to seeing it there!

Close and Lock Your Windows

All RV's have locks on their windows, but they do not always work well, so the best thing to do is slide a small dowel that has been cut to size into the track of each closed window.

This will keep windows from opening during travel, and at when the RV is parked (as a safety feature), it will keep would-be thieves out, too!

If you forget to do this, and it rains while you are driving, you could have quite a mess on your hands.

Always double check before you start driving and whenever you stop to rest to make sure that your windows are completely closed and locked.

Use Baskets and Plastic Containers

In addition to lining all closets with non-slip material, you should make it a point to place food items, as much as possible, in plastic containers and baskets. Doing so makes them easy to access and helps avoid accidents.

Clear plastic containers let you see what is inside. They stack easily and are relatively unbreakable. They also protect your food from bugs and keep it air tight.

Before you leave home, transfer items such as

  • cookies
  • cereal
  • pasta
  • crackers
  • candy
  • chips

and other similar dry items into plastic containers so that they stay dry and cannot spill.

You can also use space-saving containers to keep other items organized: for example, sewing supplies, small tools and office supplies.

Load Balance, Vibration and Road Conditions Affect RV Stability

I highly recommend reading my article about How to Load and Pack Your RV for Comfort and Safety, because it teaches you how to properly balance your load. This is important because when a motor home or camper is loaded correctly, it sways less when you drive it. Less sway translates into a smoother ride and less opportunity for internal items to shift during travel.

The second thing you need to do is understand that road vibration and road conditions are real villains when it comes to keeping your belongings stabilized as you drive.

It is unfortunate that so many of our interstate highways are in poor condition, but it is a fact of life. These roads are used a great deal, and often by heavy vehicles. They have potholes, bumps and indentations and other issues that negatively affect your recreational vehicle.

Some states do a good job of maintaining them, but others do not. So, when you travel, you get some of the good and some of the bad. However, if you secure your RV's interior properly, these issues will be minimized.

Secure Your RV's Interior Prior to Travel

As you can see, there are many methods you can use to make sure you do not have any nasty surprises waiting for you as you travel from place to place.

You may come up with ideas of your own that also work well, but these are the ones that have always worked for me in terms of securing my RV's interior when I travel.

Happy trails!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: How do you secure a TV in an RV?

Answer: That depends on how the TV is set up in the RV. If it is build in, it is already secured. If it is not, you can tie it on to the sofa with seat belts or use bungie cords to tie it down on a seat that is bolted to the floor.

Question: Do you place netting across your pantry shelves to secure your RV's interior for travel?

Answer: No. I use slip free shelving and sometimes expandable cabinet bars. I also place canned goods, etc. in baskets.

Question: Drawers are opening when taking a sharp turn while our RV is moving. Do you have any suggestions on how to secure them?

Answer: Probably the only thing you can do is install stronger latches. The only other alternative is to remove those that open while you're in motion and replace them when you are parked. It could also be that some of your latches are broken. Check them to see if this is the case.

© 2014 Sondra Rochelle

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