How To Hang Heavy Things On Trailer Walls

It's no secret that space is compact in most RVs, so you have to utilize it in creative ways. Extra storage space might be available on the walls. You need to know how to hang items on RV walls to use this space properly. We have researched and found instructions and tutorials to help you out.

RV wall construction is different than regular home or garage walls. Heavy objects may need reinforcement and specific hardware when hanging on RV walls. The following list of hardware contains options suitable for RV walls. 

  • Screws 
  • Hollow Anchors
  • Pop Rivets

Please keep reading to find out more information about the construction of RV walls and how best to hang things to make them secure without damaging the walls.

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Best Hardware for RV Walls

Manufacturers design RVs with layouts that meet owner needs while maximizing available space. Most RVs contain less than 400 square feet of living space, which often means a compromise on storage space. Therefore, utilize any available space for extra storage, which often means hanging items on the walls.

Hanging things on RV walls is a bit different than hanging items on your home or garage walls. You may need to purchase additional hardware because securing directly into a stud isn't always an option, and hardware may rip out of the thin walls.

Interior of a rustic inspired RV motorhome with wooden shelves and countertops

When installing shelving or baskets to the walls, make sure not to overload your walls or your hardware. Nails and screws are common options but certainly not the only options or even the best ones. Below are some alternate hardware options that might work better to secure the items you want to hang on your RV walls.

Before starting any work, make sure to check that you aren't drilling into any wiring or other functional elements hidden in the walls.


tapping screws made of steel metal

When hanging anything with weight, screws are usually the go-to option. When using screws, go with the shortest size that still gets the job done. Make sure to pre-drill your holes to avoid splitting the wall surface while drilling in the screw.

Hollow Anchors

metal molly fastener fixed predrilled hole

Screw anchors or wall plugs are inserts that fit into the wall to secure screws when studs aren't available. Anchors add extra support to wall surfaces that might not be durable enough to secure a screw. Anchors are driven into the walls and then expand behind the wall's surface, creating an anchor grip allowing the screw to hold.

There are anchors available in various styles and designed for specific wall materials. Make sure that you match your anchor type to the compatible wall material.

Consider these Toggler door anchors recommended by the experts for RV walls.

Find it here on Amazon.

To watch a tutorial check out this video on YouTube:

Pop Rivets

pop rivets on black reflective base

Pop rivets, also referred to as blind rivets, join together two surfaces when access to both sides is an issue. The installation uses a unique tool known as a rivet gun. First, insert the rivet into a pre-drilled hole. Then the rivet gun pulls the stem into the body, expanding it and permanently joining the surfaces together.

Rivets are durable and come in different materials for use with many projects.  They leave a slight protrusion on the surface and can be difficult to replace but work well in RV projects. Most RV manufacturers use rivets in the initial construction, so there are no worries about hanging things items on RV walls.

If you need a rivet tool, consider this Pop Rivet set from Giantisan.

Find it here on Amazon.

To see it done, check out this YouTube video:

How Thick are Travel Trailer Walls?

camping van interior seating four rv trailer adventure

RV walls are much thinner than standard construction walls. RV manufacturers use lightweight materials to keep the gross weights of RVs manageable for the towing vehicles. Most RV walls measure around two inches to two and 1/2 inches.

What is Behind RV Walls?

Rustic inspired motorhome interior with wooden flooring, classic designed sofas and wooden shelves and lamps

Walls in an RV are structural, but they also contain the wiring, plumbing, and HVAC components that are important to the functionality of your travel trailer. You have to be careful when removing or even drilling into RV walls. It is wise to turn off systems during intrusive work for your safety and to protect your RV's internal components.

Your interior walls are most likely thin paneling. Behind that, you will also find the studs, insulation, soundboard, and either plywood, fiberboard, or vinyl.  Exterior walls are usually fiberglass, aluminum, or lightweight composite material.

When remodeling or considering removing walls, consult any available manufacturer diagrams and specifications to locate significant systems and components. Also, consider that some walls, even though not load-bearing, are essential to the structural integrity of the camper.

How Do you Find Studs in an RV Wall?

When hanging items on your RV walls, the best option is to find the studs to anchor the screws or nails. However, it isn't as easy as it is in your home.

A spacious and luxurious motorhome interior of an RV with dark wooden cabinets and a white countertop

Studs in your RV walls are set differently than those found in regular house walls. RV studs are often placed at irregular intervals rather than a set pattern. You may even find that studs are placed horizontally instead of vertically.

Additionally, you may find that your stud finder isn't much help because the studs might be stuck together using glue rather than nails. Further, plywood may be between the studs used for reinforcement that a stud finder will falsely recognize as a stud. If this is the case, you will have to rely on other methods to locate any studs.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Look for the rivets.
  • Study the morning dew on the outside of the RV to find the outline of the studs.
  • Consult the factory drawings and specs.
  • Gently press on the walls to find where they bend.
  • Use an infrared thermometer.

If you are looking to purchase an infrared thermometer, consider this top-rated option from Etekcity.

Find it on Amazon.

Can you Screw Things into RV Walls?

Yes, you can use screws in RV walls but consider if an alternative will work. For decorating, using adhesive strips or hooks, museum putty, or velcro that won't leave unattractive damage in your walls are excellent options.

If your project requires screws, locate the studs to secure the screws. If that isn't an option, use screw anchors for added support. For best results, keep screws short because RV walls are thin. You don't want to drill into components behind the walls or drill through to the outside walls.

How Do you Hang Shelves in an RV?

A home interior worker installing wooden shelves into the motorhome

There are many different ways to utilize shelves to gain space in your RV. You probably won't find enough space to hang a massive shelf, but any bit of additional horizontal space can be helpful when space is limited.

Hanging baskets on the walls is one way to gain storage, especially in the kitchen. Fruits, vegetables, or snack items will be accessible without taking up valuable counter or table space. Find the baskets that fit your space and your decor. Then grab your drill with bits, measuring tape, and anchor screws, and you are ready for installation.

For a tutorial on how to gain an instant upgrade by adding basket shelves to your RV walls, check out this YouTube video:

RVs usually have cabinet or closet space, but the design often leaves empty space.  Sometimes adding shelves in these areas allows you to use all the available space. You can easily add wire pantry shelves. There's even a way to add shelving so that you can remove it later without any damage to the cabinet or closet.

You will need plywood, two-by-four boards, and L brackets, as well as a measuring tape and drill with bits. Then, dress it up with some creative decorative skills. Finally, add some baskets, and you have tons of added storage space.

For a tutorial on putting shelves in a closet without permanent damage, watch this YouTube video:

RV Window Shelf

You might even want a shelf over a window for plants. Just because you are in an RV doesn't mean you can't grow fresh herbs or pretty flowers. A window space converts into a mini garden using pre-fab shelves from a building supply store, brackets, a tape measure, screws, and a drill with bits. You lose a window blind, but the oasis of greenery seems worth it.

To see it done, check out this YouTube video:

In Conclusion

Modern themed interior of a Class A motorhome with a small dining area and natural lighting from the windows

There are many options for creating extra space in your RV using wall space. Be sure to use the proper hardware to support and secure any objects you hang. Anchors and rivets can be good alternatives to traditional screws for securing items to RV walls.

For more information about storage options in your RV, read How To Keep RV Cabinets And Drawers Closed When Traveling.

Also, consider reading 21 Tips for Properly Storing Stuff in Your RV When on the Road.

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