The American author and Pulitzer Prize winner Phyllis McGinley once said, “A hobby a day keeps the doldrums away.” I agree. Wholeheartedly. But what hobbies can an RVer do inside their rig? After all, we have very limited space.
Hobbies I have known
My husband and I shared many different hobbies over the years in our stix-n-brix home. My favorite? Furniture refinishing and/or upcycling. We scoured local garage sales, flea markets, and auctions to find “just the right piece” of furniture. Then, we’d bring it home, clean it up and, often as not, rebuild and refinish it for a new purpose. The entire process was fun, and I loved the challenge and creativity this hobby required. Obviously, there’s no way to refinish furniture inside the RV. This hobby requires space for supplies and tools. You can’t strip paint or apply varnish inside, either. Our furniture refinishing hobby is restricted to our stix-n-brix garage when we’re at home—not traveling.
I also did a lot of sewing during our “pre-RV” years. But now? I have yet to find a good place in our RV for my sewing machine to “live.” Not only that, but where can I lay out yards of fabric in order to place patterns and cut? Crawling around on the RV floor to cut fabric seems more like a hassle than hobby to me.
So, what now? What kind of hobby can an RVer have inside their limited space? I’ve been researching. And guess what? I found several hobbies that seem not only doable but actually suited for the RV lifestyle. Before we look at specific examples of hobbies, it’s important to know some basic principles of pursuing a hobby while living in a small space.
Downsize the hobby
Sometimes you can simply downsize your hobby. For example, I enjoy sewing but may need to downsize this hobby to better fit our RV life. Rather than lug along my big sewing machines, it makes sense to downsize to a smaller sewing option, like embroidery. (Here’s a small sewing machine Nanci Dixon recommends.) I can still work with fabric and be creative by learning new stitches, implementing a variety of colors, and producing new items.
The principle of downsizing the hobby can apply to most every hobby. For example, if you enjoy playing your tuba but your RV space makes that hobby difficult, think about learning a new (and smaller) instrument.
Identify hobby traits
The hobby of refinishing furniture has many different traits: creativity, carpentry, painting, etc. If I focus on these particular traits, I might find a new hobby that fits (literally) into our RV lifestyle. For example, I’ve recently discovered “dot painting.” (You can check it out here.) This kind of painting originated in India and requires no special training. I started out using some leftover craft paint I had at home, used a new pencil eraser as my “dotting tool,” and experimented dotting on some scrap paper. Guess what? I really enjoyed making patterns, swirls, and free-form shapes. I ordered dotting tools and some paintable bookmarks and began a hobby that takes up very little space inside our RV.
Limit the number of hobbies
RV life gives us the ability to do many things. When it comes to indoor hobbies, limiting these special interests is important. Why? There simply isn’t space inside your rig for you to pursue more than one or maybe two hobbies at once. For example, I can paint, and I can embroider, but if I try to do both hobbies concurrently, I’m soon tripping over thread or searching for a flat surface where my paintings can dry.
The more people who travel with you, the more you will need to limit the hobbies you do at one time. After all, they may need space for their special interests, too!
What to do with hobby results?
Another thing to consider when choosing a “small space” hobby is what you’ll do with any completed projects that result from your hobby. For example, my dotting hobby produces decorated bookmarks. It doesn’t make sense for me to keep every bookmark I make. So, I give some of the finished bookmarks to folks to distribute on church mission trips. I also give some bookmarks to our local library to give away. And I keep some bookmarks to tuck into books that I give to my grandkids for birthdays and holidays.
If your hobby produces something tangible, figure out what you’ll do with the hobby’s result. It will give you purpose and incentive to do your best. It will also prevent your RV from becoming cluttered or even overrun by “stuff.”
Indoor hobbies for RVers in a small space
Once you understand and implement the basic principles for small-space hobbies for us RVers, your choices are almost limitless. Check out these hobbies that RVers can do. Then, please add your own indoor hobby ideas in the comments.
- Culinary hobbies. If you enjoy cooking or baking, consider making it your hobby. Learning about the science behind the different processes can be fascinating!
- Jewelry making. The only challenge here is to find secure storage for your collection of beads, wire, and tools. Results can be stunning.
- Writing. All you need is a laptop computer and your imagination. Get busy writing the next great American novel. Or begin an autobiography for your kids and grandkids.
- Leather-working. Keep your projects small, like bracelets or key chains, and let your creativity soar. Check online for hints and tips.
- Music. Singing or writing music can be a lifelong hobby. Your results might find their way onto the “Talent Night” campground stage, as well!
- Magic. Perfect your sleight of hand tricks. YouTube can provide guidance for this hobby, too!
- Gaming. Learn how to play the video games your kids enjoy. Then challenge them to play with you online.
- Paper crafts. Check out online videos for origami projects. Learn, and then teach your grandkids.
- Chess or checkers. Get your travel buddy involved in these or other board games. Then, work to perfect your strategies.
- Programming. Learn to code or set up websites. It’s educational and challenging, too!
- Knot tying. This hobby can really come in handy as you RV. Who knew rope could be so much fun!
Please add to this list of hobbies for RVers. I would love to hear how you “hobby” inside your RV!
Sign up for a weekly digest of my articles here.