Everyone says don’t use screws or nails to fasten to the walls of your camper. But if you really want to make permanent changes, you’re going to have to use something other than 3M Command Strips or tape. When you need to hang something heavy on your RV or camper wall, you’ll definitely want to find the studs.
Note: My experience is based on aluminum sided campers, specifically Coachmen and Starcraft brands. Fiberglass campers will have different construction. All campers will have variances and the following may not apply to your unit.
House vs. RV or camper wall studs
Before you start, you should know that the wall studs of a camper have some differences from walls studs of your home. For instance:
How to do it
Here are some techniques that may work for you to find the studs in your camper walls:
Use a stud finder
I wasn’t sure if a stud finder would work because of the plywood interior walls. But it works well! Remember that the studs are running vertically and horizontally, so you can move the stud finder side to side and up and down to locate the studs.
The Zircon stud finder has another great feature- it will also find 120v wires that are running through the wall (when the power is on).
Here is the brand of the stud finder I have been using: Zircon Stud Finder with Wire Warning.
Caution: Wires will be running through the walls and are not in any protective casing. To avoid electric shock, before drilling make sure you turn off the main circuit breaker and fuse; or disconnect from shore power and disconnect the battery.
Look for seams in the wall
Plywood paneling usually has seams that land on a stud. Chances are there will be a stud wherever you see a 1” line running from floor to ceiling. The seams are not the only location of studs. Still use your stud finder to make sure it is actually a stud.
Locate studs based on cabinet anchors
Usually the sides of the cabinet are screwed to studs. You have a good chance of finding a stud by mapping out a vertical line down or up from the edge of a cabinet.
Use a magnet
If your camper has metal studs, you can simply run a magnet over your wall and you’ll be able to feel where the stud is.
Get a framing diagram
I have not done this, but I have seen that many RV owners have requested a framing diagram from the manufacturer. It seems like a simple request and it will include all sorts of useful measurements.
Push or knock on wall
Unlike drywall, plywood is fairly flexible. If you gently push in an area of the wall and it doesn’t flex, that’s where your stud should be. You can also knock on the wall. Wherever it isn’t hollow, that’s where your stud is.
Hope this post is helpful!
Have questions or comments? Drop them below!