Here’s a list of the most popular Jayco Camper Trailer modifications.
We can’t travel in our Jayco Swan right now…
…so the plan is to do ALL the mods!
But where to start?
Which mods give the best bang-for-buck?
Which ones make the biggest difference to your camping experience?
I asked the Jayco Camper Trailer Owners Group these questions, and asked them to vote for their best modification.
Here’s the list in order of most popular responses:
1. Add a mattress topper
The general consensus is that Jayco camper trailer mattresses really suck.
This was BY FAR the most popular response:
It got 217 votes while no. 2 on the list got 97!
[the weird thing is that this isn’t even really a modification]
After reading A LOT of recommendations the clear winner (by a mile) was the Ever Rest Memory Foam Mattress Topper from Spotlight.
Feedback is consistently that it’s:
- You can leave on with the roof down
So I bought one here from Spotlight’s store on eBay
The double bed topper fits fine for both the double and “queen bed” mattress
(if you get the queen bed topper you’ll have to cut it down)
UPDATE: So I got mine… and it was great! You can read my full review here.
2. Hang some magnetic fly screen door curtains
One of the biggest shortfalls of the Jayco camper trailers are their lack of screen door.
After our last trip in our Swan I can understand why this is the 2nd most popular mod!
There tends to be 2 ways most people go about this:
- Get the Bunnings Magnetic Strip Flyscreen Door Curtain (90cm width) for about $15 then do some trimming, OR
- Buy one that’s already fited to your van from this lady in Victoria on eBay for about $40
I’ve just picked up the Bunnings one… let’s see how I go next weekend
UPDATE: Done! It took about an hour, and I’m really happy with how it ended up. Click here if you want to see how I fitted it.
3. Install a caravan fridge fan kit
This modification is to address an ongoing Jayco camper trailer design flaw:
Heat can’t escape from behind the fridge which effectively makes it stop cooling.
[on a hot day you can end up with a fridge running at over 10 deg]
Installing a 12V fan helps to remove the trapped heat so the fridge can work more efficiently
I started reading up about how to do it and what parts are needed…
…but then I found this review on Facebook:
So I’ve just ordered one from this seller’s eBay store too:
4. Stick marine carpet to the steps
The pull-out steps on the Jayco camper trailers are notoriously slippery when wet.
Lucky it’s a quick fix!
Our Jayco Swan came with this already done…
…both screwed AND stuck down with silicon.
Even then it still started to come loose at the front so I replaced it with some wrap around step covers from caravanmods.com.au:
The price is a little more than buying some silicon and a small piece of marine carpet…
…but it’s quick and easy to install, and no tools are needed
5. Hang a clothesline between the bed support poles
I’ve been completely fine with our portable folding clothesline… until this clotheseline modification!
I think this is pretty cool because it’s a modification that’s unique to a Jayco camper trailer
And it saves space.
There’s quite a few different ways of doing it…
…for our Jayco Swan, I fixed eye straps to the poles and used our Pegless Clotheslines that we got here from Caravanning With Kids.
[2 packets are used here in total]
Click here if you want to see the step-by-step photos I took when I did it.
6. Put shelves in the upright cupboard
There’s lots of different ways people go about this.
The easiest way is to hang one of these Flexi Storage 6 Shelf Premium Hanging Organisers (from Bunnings or here on eBay)…
…or if you’re handy you could install some permanent shelves:
UPDATE: Done! I tossed up between the pros and cons of a few different ways of doing it…
It’s not on this list, but while I was at it I also added in a lockable false bottom:
7. Install a 12V Water Pump
If you plan on doing any free camping then this is one of the Jayco camper trailer modifications that’s a must.
We were lucky… Our Jayco Swan came with one of these already installed by the previous owner
(and I couldn’t imagine life without it now)
So yeah, it’s no surprise that this is so high up on the list
The one that everyone recommends is the SHURflo 4009
(one of the cheapest places to get is through ouRVan in Rosebud, Vic, through their eBay store)
8. Replace the bag awning with a roll out awning
The bag awnings that come as standard are pretty good…
…but they do take quite awhile to set-up and pack-away
The Fiamma F45 is the roll out awning that’s most frequently recommended
[I did A LOT of research and compared the pros and cons of the 3 most popular awnings in this article]
This is the most expensive of the Jayco camper trailer modifications on this list:
I’ve read of people paying between $1,200 to $1,700 to have them installed by a dealer…
…but can get one for aroudn $950 from RV Parts Express, Sydney via eBay instead, and just install it yourself
(apparently it’s pretty straightforward though: 3 brackets, bolt on, then hang it up)
Thats what I’ll be doing!
UPDATE: Done! Pretty easy, only a few hours, and saved $$$.
9. Install a diesel heater
If you only stay on powered sites then a little electric blow heater is fine.
If you plan on doing any free camping during the colder months?
These are ranked as 9th of the most popular Jayco camper trailer modifications:
They’re surprisingly cheap too at around $200 here on eBay
(the 5 KW is the size that’s recommended)
When I do mine I’ll take step-by-step photos showing how I installed it.
UPDATE: It’s in! It’s the middle of Winter so this one skipped the queue. We love it… if you’re looking at putting one in then check out our Jayco Swan Diesel Heater Installation [Step-By-Step With Pictures]
10. Add dual gas bottles
I’d much rather have two 4.5kg gas bottles than one 9kg gas bottle.
You can run one fully empty, change to the full one, then you have time to refill the empty one.
This eliminates the risk of running out of gas while you’re camping (or prematurely refilling while you still have some left)
[I wouldn’t bother with two 9kg bottles… two 4.5kg bottles lasted ages for our family of 5 doing a lap of Australia]
Looking forward to doing this one.
11. Install solar on the roof
Our Jayco Swan came with a solar panel already fixed to the roof.
Our last caravan didn’t. We used some folding solar panels that we plugged in whenever we stopped…
I didn’t know what I was missing out on!
I now rate fixed-solar as a ‘must-have’ modification because:
- It saves space
- One less thing to do
- Your batteries are charging even when you’re driving
- No need to plug your caravan in when you’re at home
Let me know if you want to buy some second-hand folding panels, I’ve got some going cheap!
12. Add a bed fly conversion kit
The bed end flys are great thing by themselves. They:
- Keep you and your bed dry if it rains during set or pack-up
- Keep your canvas clean (which means no bird poo on your bed)
This is one of those Jayco camper trailer modifications that gives great bang for buck:
These bed fly conversion kits from Supa Peg via eBay will save you a little bit of time during set-up…
… but the real benefit is less poles and guy-ropes for the kids to trip on.
UPDATE: If you want to read more about this mod, then check out Jayco Swan Bed End Fly Modification (Why It’s Worth Cent)
13. Add a second water tank
The thing that usually limits how long you can free-camp isn’t usually solar, it’s water.
The standard Jayco tank is 90 L, so adding another one is a pretty common mod.
To get one installed can cost several hundred… but if you’re handy, you can DIY for less than $200
[They’re about $110 from RV Parts Express, Sydney via their store on eBay]
Don’t forget though:
1 L of water weighs 1 Kg so an extra tank can eat into your payload pretty quickly.
14. Get external gas bayonets fitted
You don’t want to carry a spare gas bottle just to use your BBQ
[or worse, have to mess around with unplugging the one in your van then putting it back in after]
This one isn’t a DIY though:
Get a gas-fitter to plumb in a bayonet gas fitting to the chassis on the front and back of your van.
Then, you can simply plug your Baby Q straight in.
15. Key all locks alike
When we picked up our Swan I couldn’t believe the amount of keys it came with!
I’m not sure how others have done it, but this was how I did this as a simple fix:
Your locks have a code on them (something like B23)
So I called the local Jayco dealer…
…and they ordered in some boot lid locks to match.
Was about $14 each. Took about 5 minutes to change. Worth it.
16. Reinforce bases for bed support poles
The plywood on the bottom of the beds gets pretty chopped up by sliding the poles in and out.
It’s a pretty easy fix though:
You can knock something up yourself like this…
…or the easiest way to go about it would be to get a set from Adam from CaravanMods
[he’s a fellow member of the Jayco Camper Trailer Owners Australia Group]
17. Add a second battery
To be honest, right now I’m not sure if I’ll be doing this for our Swan
[our family of five has always coped with a single 100 Ah battery]
But, I can completely understand why this is one of the most popular mod
18. Replace curtains with roller blinds
Installing roller blinds looks like a great way to:
- Eliminate curtain derailment
- Remove a fire hazard from behind the gas cooker
- Make it easier for the vertically challenged in our family!
The most common approach seems to be getting the ones straight off the rack at Bunnings
[Apparently they weigh about the same as the curtains too]
19. Turn the tunnel boot hatch into a table
When I started making a list of modifications I wanted to do to our Swan I was originally going to buy one these caravan picnic tables…
…but then I saw that someone had done a caravan tunnel boot table modification.
Because I needed to get some bits and pieces for the clothesline modification, I thought I might as well get enough to do this too
[so yeah, I sorted of jumped ahead in the modifications I was doing for our Swan]
This is how it turned out:
What a difference a couple of well placed chains can make!
You can see how I did it and what materials I used here: Tunnel Boot Table Modification for Jayco Camper Trailer
20. Mount PVC tube pole carriers
These PVC tubes are great for storing poles for your awning, bed flys, or annex.
They help keep the tunnel boot tidy, and make it easier to get things out
For our old caravan I went to Bunnings to get everything to make one…
…but it ended up more more expensive by the time I went to get a 3 m length of pipe, a couple of end caps, brackets, etc
[for just one it was cheaper to get one off eBay]
If you plan on having 2 though, that’s when it’s definitely cheaper to DIY.
21. Cover floor with carpet tiles
I love the idea of this modification to:
- Create a bit more warmth in the winter
- Protect the floor from the kids
- Easier to clean than permanent carpet
[something I reckon I’ll do though is cut a single piece of marine carpet to shape]
UPDATE: We did it! Here’s our link to Installing Marine Carpet In A Jayco Swan Camper Trailer
(it’s simple, easy to clean, doesn’t move, and light… glad we did this instead of tiles)
22. Convert one of the beds to king size
When I heard about this I thought it was just for the giants who needed extra legroom…
…but it’s so you can sleep longways instead of East-West
[so you don’t have to climb over each other in the middle of the night]
This isn’t one of the Jayco camper trailer modifications I’m likely to do…
…but if you are interested, pretty much it’s a case of:
- Buy a piece of foam to fit
- Put a length of board underneath to support it
- The fitted sheet holds it all in place
- During the day fold the extra back onto the bed
- When travelling lay it on top of the table
23. Install a BBQ Arm
We’ve always just gone with one of the small folding tables from Bunnings…
…but everyone I know who’s got one of these thinks they’re worth it
[and that they’ve also popped up on this list, makes me think I should get one too]
If you’re after one you can get straight from BBQARM’s website.
24. Insulate underneath the mattresses
This’s another of those Jayco camper trailer modications that addresses a design flaw:
They’re notorious for letting the cold in from under the bed.
3 ways you can do this:
- Insulation (make sure it’s the breathable type)
- Marine carpet, or
- K-mart yoga mats with foil insulation on the back
(I’m going to wait and see what effect our mattress topper has first before I do any of these)
25. Add a kids bed divider
This is great to either:
- Allow a little one to get an uninterrupted sleep, or
- Stop 2 bigger ones from fighting over their space
Adelaide Annex & Canvas make this…
…or you could DIY like this one we made for our Swan:
Read: Here’s how we did our DIY Bed Divider for Jayco Swan Camper Trailer
Either way, this is one of the great Jayco camper trailer modifications if you’re a parent
26. Install a Travel Buddy 12 Volt Oven
At first I thought people were talking about replacing the gas oven with a 12V oven to save space…
…but then I saw that these cook your food while you’re driving!
[great for when you’re doing big drives, you can pull over and eat pies, sausage rolls, etc]
It looks like the thing to do is to mount them in the boot tunnel with a divider
The moment I found this pic on Google, I was sold!
I wish I’d heard of these when we were doing our lap of Australia
The cheapest place to buy them is here on eBay.
27. Remove the centre pillar from entrance cupboard
The centre pillar in this cupboard just gets in the way.
Removing the pillar (and shifting the doors over so there’s no gap) makes complete sense.
It’s a pretty simple job that gives 2 big benefits:
Not only does it make the dinette cupboard more usable…
…it means you don’t have to rely on those dodgy Jayco door latches
Check out how I did it here: Removing The Centre Pillar From Entrance Cupboard [Jayco Swan]
28. Add USB ports
I can understand why this is a pretty popular modification:
It seems like everything charges by USB these days.
We were lucky enough to have had the previous owner install some of these in our Jayco Swan:
We love them (and at a bit over $5 each from eBay, it’s hard to go wrong!)
29. Remove the roof safety kill switch
This is a switch that’s job is to cut power to the roof when it’s packed down
But, it often malfunctions and stops the lights from working
Now, I’m not going to provide electrical wiring advice…
…but some people say that it’s safe to cut it out and simply join the wires
[if you’ve turned off all the switches and/or disconnected the power before lowering the roof it’s not required anyway]
We’re lucky. It appears the metal tongue has fallen off at some point…
30. Add roof support poles
If you don’t already have roof support poles then they should be at the top of your list of Jayco camper trailer modifications
For something so cheap and simple, they could save you a lot of problems
[Jayco caught on to this one, and they now come as standard]
Some broom handles, a hacksaw, and some stoppers is all you need.
31. Change light globes to LED
LED lights use way less power than traditional globes.
And, they last 10-50 times longer.
To be honest:
Lights use bugger all power in the first place…. I think the main benefit is reducing the risk of having to change a globe while you’re away.
You can get kits here off eBay that are the right fit for Jayco camper trailers.
32. Stick a spirit-level on the drawbar
This one gets my vote…
…it’s one of my favourites things that you can do for only a few dollars and it makes a big difference
[especially if you travel a lot]
These are less than $5 here on eBay, and make setting up so much easier.
Totally worth it.
Hint: When you put it on, don’t just do it based on when your drawbar is level
33. Install a pop up power point
This is a pretty cool way of making your caravan a little bit more neat and tidy.
The good thing is you don’t need an electrician to install these:
They just like a power board, and plug straight into an existing power point.
[These ones from eBay also have USB plugs in them]
UPDATE: We’ve now installed ours! Read: Pop Up Power Point for Jayco Swan (Installation and Review)
34. Stick hooks on back of door for long utensils
The spatula, tongs, etc are just that little bit too long for the cutlery holder in the drawer
Adding a couple of dollars worth of hooks from Bunnings?
Cheap and easy.
35. Create a storage room underneath your bed end
I’ll be honest:
This one didn’t make it onto the list
But I thought I’d add it because they look pretty cool…
…and I’ll definitely be getting one
This looks like a pretty good way of tidying up our campsite and keeping out of sight our:
- Bikes, rollerblades, toys, etc
You can get them online here from Caravans Plus, NSW’s online eBay store.
Summary: These are the most popular Jayco camper trailer modifications
So these are the MOST POPULAR modifications that people do for their Jayco Swan, Eagle, Hawk, Flamingo, Swift or Dove…
…but I bet there’s some other mods that aren’t on this list that make a big difference too
What’s your favourite Jayco camper trailer modification?