Having an RV is a great luxury as it allows you to travel and go camping in many places while bringing with you a comfortable and convenient miniature-sized home. Many enjoy the RV lifestyle more than traditional camping as it allows for more luxurious living and is often referred to as glamping. However, a big concern that many potential buyers of RVs or current owners may have is how do they make their RV more accessible for themselves, their family or other people if they intend to rent it out. Although RVs are much more accessible than a camping tent, accessibility should be an important consideration for those designing RVs as well as for owners of RVs to make sure everyone can equally enjoy the luxury and convenience of having a miniature home on wheels. Therefore, the question becomes, aside from the designers and builders of RVs, how can someone maximize the accessibility of their RV to accommodate anyone who may require extra safety or usability features. The way one may answer this question is by evaluating all spaces in their RV and seeing how they can make them safer for their guests.
How can you ensure the RV you are buying is accessible?
The first step to ensure accessibility is to buy an RV that fits your needs. A lot of the time accessibility starts with the proportions of your spaces and entrance ways in your RV which are things that can not easily or affordably be adjusted after purchasing. Therefore, it is in your best interest as a buyer to ask your retailer how accessible the RV you intend to buy is and share with the retailer any specific needs or accommodations you and your family may need to make sure that you find an RV that is most accommodating to your lifestyle.
But once you have bought your RV the first accessibility concern is the entrance. Once you park at your beautiful campsite, you want everyone to be able to get in and out of the RV safely and efficiently! A RV owner can make their RV entrance more accessible by adding a ramp to accommodate wheelchairs, or a railing to provide stability for anyone entering. Also, more advanced chair lifts which can be mechanical or electric can allow individuals with wheelchairs to safely enter and exit the RV. Furthermore, when buying an RV one should consider the width of the doorway and make sure it can accommodate their family or future guests appropriately, there exists specific standards that RV manufacturers need to uphold. However, it is important to make sure that if a wider door is required, that decision is made earlier on as it can be difficult to change the dimensions of a door after purchasing the RV. You can also consider how low the entrance is, as a lower entrance would make it easier for individuals to enter without requiring as long of a ramp.
Even in the average household which has much more space than an RV provides, the bathroom can be a safety nightmare for many who are more prone to falling or have certain disabilities (i.e. those requiring a wheelchair) that may make accessing different amenities in the washroom difficult. Therefore, it is understandable that in a much smaller space the safety and accessibility concerns would only increase. Therefore, it is important for RV owners to be aware of this and make changes that can help increase accessibility.
Specifically, if the washroom is small, which is the case in most RVs, it can be difficult for people to bring a cane or walker to stabilize themselves. However, one benefit of a small washroom is that most appliances would be closer together thus allowing anyone who needs to grab onto different items for stability. To further assist those with poor stability one could add grab bars, these can be seen put in handicap stalls of public restrooms as being placed on the wall beside the toilet. Perhaps this is something an RV owner would consider adding to maximize the opportunities to grab onto something for stability for anyone using the washroom.
Also, it can be quite difficult to make the shower more accessible in most cases due to the way it was designed by the RV manufacturing company but if grab rails can be added this is something RV owners can consider. However, one good thing about most campgrounds or RV parks is that they usually provide public restrooms with showers that are likely much more accessible than a washroom in a RV. But to make sure this is the case one could always google RV parks near me or campgrounds near me and see which ones provide the necessary amenities you require.
For more insight into specific types of RV toilets if you are investigating to determine if a certain type is accessible please consult our previous blog on the topic of the 7 best RV toilets.
The Main Living Space
In general, RVs are much smaller than the average house and thus every space is like a scaled down version of a space in your home. If you are looking into tips for saving space that will ultimately decrease clutter and increase accessibility please check out a past blog on that topic! Therefore, when you are deciding which furniture to put in your RV you have to consider how that furniture will fit in the space without causing too much clutter. Fortunately, most RVs are designed in a way that they have built in furniture that can be easily tucked away or turned into something else. A common example is a pullout coach or a dinner table that turns into a bed. Therefore, the best way for an RV owner to be accessibility conscious is to minimize the amount of furniture and to buy furniture with multiple purposes that can easily be removed or minimized to allow for optimal accessibility.
Overall, it is important to consider all aspects of your RV when considering how to maximize the accessibility of your home on wheels. Whether that be for your own sake, the sake of your family and friends or if you are trying to rent out your RV to others who may have specific accessibility needs. The more accessible your RV the better, and ensuring accessibility starts from the buying stage as some things, such as the size of different rooms or areas as well as the dimensions of the entrance are hard if not impossible to change after purchasing an RV. But, if you have already purchased a RV and want to make it more accessible to maximize the safety and enjoyability of your guests, it’s not too late and by adding grip rails, ramps or lifts, and buying smart furniture you can make your RV a great experience for everyone!
For more insight, check out this self-isolating during COVID in an RV. As if you are doing so, you may want to make sure you are prepared and have adjusted your environment accordingly !