Thursday, June 8, 2023


18 brilliant uses for tension rods in your RV

By Gail Marsh
Storage is always an issue for RVers. At least it is for me. That’s why I use tension rods. Yep, those little beauties come in handy in almost every room of our RV. They come in various lengths and strengths (light to heavy-duty) and can dramatically maximize space in an instant. These handy rods are inexpensive, adjustable, and versatile too!

Here are some ways that I use tension rods in our RV:

Photo credit: Family Handyman

In the kitchen

  • Make your own paper towel holder with the tension rod. (Remember that you can position the rod vertically in order to save space.) Slip the rod through the paper towel roll and then position the rod where you want it.
  • Put the rod inside the sink base cabinet. Hang spray bottle handles over the rod.
  • Use a tension rod as a towel rack for the dishrag and dish towels to dry.
  • Place tension rods securely against jars inside the fridge to keep them from moving when you change RV locations. The same goes for boxes and cans inside your cabinets.
  • Keep lids separate from pots and pans. Place a sturdy tension rod inside a drawer to form two spaces. Slip the lids into the smaller of the two spaces. Pots and pans go in the other.
  • Put a rod inside the window cornice. Use “S” hooks to hang herb pots from the rod.
  • Separate plastic storage containers from their lids with a tension rod. (Just like pots/pans above.)
  • If you have adjustable shelves in your RV kitchen cabinets, lower the pegs at the front of the shelf. Then place a tension rod at the lowered edge to form a lip or ledge. Place cans (like tuna or cat food) on the shelf. The cans will roll forward and be easily viewed and accessed this way. (Return the shelf to its original position when moving the RV.)
  • Put a rod under the top kitchen cabinets. Use “S” hooks to hang coffee mugs from the rod. This hack also works for corralling cooking utensils that feature handle holes.
  • Inside your cabinet, stand cutting boards, cookie sheets, pizza pans, etc., between vertically positioned tension rods to keep the pans separated and easily accessed. This is much easier than stacking these flat items all one on top of the next. (Invariably, I need the pan that’s on the bottom!)
  • Keep little Fido in his place. Put a few tension rods across a doorway opening. Position the rods a short distance apart to form a barrier that doesn’t allow little Fido to crawl in between and/or jump over the rods.

In the bathroom

  • Place a tension rod at the back of the shower for extra drying space for towels, swim trunks, etc.
  • Two or more rods placed horizontally at matching heights inside a cabinet can serve as an extra “shelf” for towels, TP, or other bath essentials.
  • A tension rod paired with some curtain clips will hold small containers of lotion, personal loofahs, a bath brush, washcloths, and more inside your shower.

In the closet

  • Put the tension rod in a horizontal position. Drape scarves over it. Or use “S” hooks with the rod and hang purses or belts from it.
  • Hook the heels of boots and shoes over a tension rod positioned inside the closet to keep them neatly paired and off of the floor. Or use the rods inside drawers to form compartments for shoes to live.
  • Use two tension rods as an extra shelf. Place them at equal heights a short distance apart. Storage boxes containing socks and underwear can sit on top of the two (or more) rods.
  • Keep the broom and vacuum sticks in place. Put a rod in front of them and they will no longer fall out of the closet.

Some precautions

RV walls and cupboards are not built to the same standards as a bricks ‘n sticks home. You will need to be careful when positioning tension rods so that they don’t accidentally poke a hole in your RV wall! You can put a larger piece of stiff cardboard between the wall and the end of the rod to disperse the rod’s pressure.

If a tension rod keeps slipping on a smooth surface (like inside a shower) you can put a small circle of shelf liner on the rod ends to make them “stick” better.

Take care not to overload your tension rods. In some cases, you can simply use a second rod to help carry the weight; but again, use caution.

When ordering tension rods online be sure to check the reviews.


Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh is an avid RVer and occasional work camper. Retired from 30+ years in the field of education as an author and educator, she now enjoys sharing tips and tricks that make RVing easier and more enjoyable.


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe to comments
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
8 months ago

Is there an tension over the commode storage shelves for rv”s

Judith Roales
9 months ago

I’ve replaced broken plastic latches in my kitchen drawers for the last time. A cafe curtain size tension rod from the floor to the lip of the counter right in front of the drawers works perfectly to keep them closed during travel.

1 year ago

Hi Gail marsh
It’s nice to see your post, Small Storage is always an issue for RVers, You said a good initiative to prevent storage problems. what is the size of the tension rod? this storage problem is also a problem for small bathrooms. Can you please suggest to me some shower curtain rods for a bathroom?

2 years ago

I found that pieces of 3/8″x 4″x 6″ pieces of pine work well in stopping any damages from tension rods and in the bedroom I use red cedar pieces making it not only smelling good but helps keep the bugs out. And when I remove the rods for travel I leave the cedar pieces in the closet or drawer on the bottom.

Last edited 2 years ago by Skip
2 years ago
Reply to  Skip

Cedar is such a great idea! Thanks for sharing.

2 years ago

What happens to your wall with those metal utensils banging against it while you’re driving down the road.

George Pennington
2 years ago
Reply to  John

You take the items off and put in drawer when traveling!

Nanci Dixon
2 years ago

Great idea to add shelf liner to the ends of the shower rods. I have been using felt pads to prevent scratching the shower but they still slip. Will try! Thanks

Judy G
2 years ago

With probably 30 ‘arts & crafts’ labeled pencil boxes stacked in an overhead bin, vertical tension rods keep them in place but accessible. Same with files full of paper records. Also ‘installed’ an actual curtain to close off the driver’s area in the class C.

Sign up for the

RVtravel Newsletter

Sign up and receive 3 FREE RV Checklists: Set-Up, Take-Down and Packing List.