For many campers, getting away from their devices is the whole point of the RVing experience. RV travel attracts all kinds, though, from office workers employed in remote positions to families hoping to find adventure in a nomadic lifestyle. One group that’s often forgotten amongst those travelers is the gamers. Twenty years ago, gamers would have been confined to their living room couch, where all their internet, power, and snacking needs could be easily met. Thankfully this is no longer the case, and gamers have just as many opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors without forgoing their passion for electronic entertainment. To get your RV ready for an immersive gaming experience, though, you’ll need a few upgrades.
How to Transform an RV into a Video Gaming Den
Upgrading your RV is seldom cheap and requires hours of DIY work, but fortunately, prepping your rig for mobile gaming is one of the easier RV projects. There are just a few things you’ll need to check before getting out on the road.
Do You Have Enough Power?
At home, your game system's power consumption is largely irrelevant — grid electricity is essentially limitless and inexpensive. In an RV though, every watt needs to be accounted for.
A gaming PC uses around 300-500 watts, which is about six times as much as a normal laptop. A PS4 on the hand uses between 160 and 300 watts. Tack on another 60 to 120 watts for an LED or LCD TV and you’re looking at anywhere between 220 and 750 watts for every hour of gaming.
If you’re staying in an RV park and plugging into the grid, this isn’t a concern, but those using a battery bank and solar panels will need to calculate their anticipated hours of gaming each day and think about how many hours of direct sunlight the campsite will receive and how many panels are needed to run the gaming system (along with all of the other electrical appliances in the RV).
Ensure Your Internet is Up to Speed
Unless you’re sticking to single-player campaigns, you’ll need good internet to game in your RV. Even if you forgo multiplayer, many games require updates to remain playable and these patches can be absolute data hogs. Not all RV parks offer Wi-Fi though, and even if they do, it’s usually not that fast since everyone in the park shares the connection. If you’re out boondocking, Wi-Fi won’t even be an option.
Fortunately, each of the major phone companies offers mobile hotspots with unlimited data, but there’s a catch — you can only use 40 to 50 gigabytes before the speed drops significantly. After that, lag will be a problem. Data caps are usually buried in the plan’s fine print, but if you find a plan with a higher cap or none at all, it can vastly improve your off-grid gaming experience.
To game from truly remote locations, far from any cell towers, you’ll need satellite internet like Starling. The price is higher, usually upwards of $100/mo and the speeds are slower than you’d get with cellular internet. It’s enough for most games though, just maybe not enough for the most competitive players.
With such strict bandwidth limits, you’ll want to avoid any unnecessary downloads that could bring you closer to your plan’s data cap. Download updates on public Wi-Fi networks whenever possible to limit your data consumption.
Eliminate the Clutter
Staying tidy is the goal of every RV traveler, but with heaps of cords to contend with, it’s an absolute necessity for gamers. One of the easiest ways to straighten up your gaming space is to mount consoles and monitors, rather than relying on bulky furniture for storage. These mounts make for a much cleaner appearance, but be careful about where you drill.
When mounting TVs or shelves, be sure that the wood you’re drilling into is strong enough to withstand the weight of your devices. Never mount directly to an exterior wall either as these are especially flimsy without added reinforcement.
Make It Your Own
Your game system is more than something to unwind with at the end of a day in the outdoors, it’s a central character in your RV travel experience. Dress up the space with gaming-inspired decor like pillows, wall hangings, and mood lighting. Personalizing the space allows you to define the parameters of your trip, giving you permission to spend as much time with a controller in hand as a trekking pole.
Rent a Gaming Rig with Cruise America
Not ready to spend the bucks to buy an RV and transform it into the ultimate mobile gaming rig? Only spend a week or two on the road each year? Renting an RV from Cruise America might be more economical, and fortunately, we have plenty of models to meet your gaming needs.
RV rentals are available from locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, so you’re never far from scratching that itch for gaming in the great outdoors.