I’ve got a little bit of a fascination with RV bathrooms. Especially small RV/trailers bathrooms, because I’m intrigued with how to fit in all the things that make a bathroom doable for me… without taking up half the RV.
So in this post I’m going to explore some of the options I’ve seen for a small bathroom; or more accurately, a bathroom in a small RV or trailer.
My ideal RV is small, simply because I have this notion that small means we will be less restricted on where we can go. We can find secluded spots, we’re not going to get hung up on overhanging branches, we can take the last spot in a busy campground because we only need 7 metres instead of 12 (that’s 23 ft and 40 ft for my non-metric friends).
But having a small RV means you need to be clever with how it’s designed. So let’s have a look at some of those ideas:
Porta potty in a cupboard
I’m just gonna say right up here, that I hate this idea. Like, really hate it.
I get it though, a porta-potty (chemical toilet) might be the only thing you have room for, and I’m sure it will be fantastic in emergencies.
But I can’t see myself ever pulling out the porta-potty in the middle of the RV, telling my husband to vacate the RV for a few minutes and then having to put the potty back in the cupboard or under the bed or wherever its hidey hole is. The thought of it just makes me feel ick.
If you don’t have a room in your RV for your toilet then you obviously don’t have room for a shower either. So I presume that would mean you either use the campground showers or you have an outdoor set up. I’ve seen some pretty sweet setups too, but I think they’d be for more rugged camping… not the kind of rig you’d set up in a campground methinks?
Solar shower and tent
I see this as being really good for camping, if you’re going to be in one spot for a couple of days. Not really the full timers kind of set up though, huh.
This great Aussie invention (I’m trying not to be bias here) is fantastic IMO. The Evershower is a portable shower that you can set up anywhere (inside or outside), it has small footprint (but (plenty of shoulder room) and you can even recycle the water back if you have a limited water supply. The water is pumped via a 12volt water pump and you can also connect a water heater if you wish.
Check out all the details over on their website: Evershower.com
These are really clever ideas for hooking up a shower to the rear door of your van. To check out how each of these people have built their showers, just click on the picture.
In a small RV, the wet bath seems to make the most sense. At first I was all annoyed at the idea of having a shower and then if I needed to use the loo there’d be a wet toilet, wet floor and steam. But I managed to get over myself… realising that the wet bath means that you can fit all the things that you need, but in the smallest space. There are some things that you might want to consider when looking at wet baths though.
Large enough to turn around
My husband is 187cm (over 6.14 ft) and I’m 173cm (5.67 ft), so we’re not exactly small people. I think it would be important for us to get into the shower space and see if we can actually move in there. I’ve seen wet baths where it looks like you have to be either sitting on the loo or straddling it in order to get under the water.
Height of the shower head
Also check if the shower head is tall enough. If I have to bend over or contort myself in order to get my hair under the shower head, that’s gonna get old real quick.
Size of the basin
Why do they make a basin that’s so small you can’t get your hands in there to wash them anyway? Like, why?
All you can do is get your toothbrush under there to wet it, but it’s in such a tight corner with a medicine cabinet right above it that you can’t get your head in close enough to spit… without getting it on your toes. Really, if there isn’t enough room for a basin they should just leave it out and I’ll use the kitchen sink instead.
But there are some clever features that make it not as bad as I thought…
If the the wet bath doesn’t have this, then I’m just left shaking my head at the nonsense.
The fold down sink over the toilet
This is a good way of saving space.
I’ve seen this used in some of the newer Class Bs, where the wet bath door has an extra extension in it so that you can create a bit of elbow space.
Wrap around shower curtain
This will keep the water contained so that you’re not spraying water and soap and shampoo all over the toilet and walls. I like this idea, it’s simple yet effective.
Removable Floor Grate
I’ve see some wet baths that have a wood or bamboo slat floor so that the water can run through and not be pooling at your feet. I think that’s how they work anyway. But what I’d like is if you take the slat floor out, and you stand in the shower floor, have your shower then put the slat floor back, and you’re got a dry floor to stand on!
I’ve done a bit of research and this is what I mean, a shower deck! This one is portable.
Or you just use a wooden floor mat like these:
Slide Out/Fold Down Shower Tray
This has got to be the most novel approach I’ve seen so far. When you think about it, the shower is somewhere you spend such a small amount of time in, that it seems crazy to dedicate too much space to something that gets used so little. (Am I revealing too much about myself by saying I don’t spend ages in the shower?)
That’s why I think these fold-down, lift-up (the floor) or slide-out (the shower tray) type of showers are so great.
Obviously all these ideas are going to be dependant on your space, budget and what you and your travel companions are going to be comfortable with.
Personally, I would much rather have a full shower, even if I do have to keep it short, than utilizing some of the ideas above. BUT… if having a full shower set up means that I have to work for another five years in order to afford the type of rig that I desire… then give me a cold bucket of water and a flannel, and let’s hit the road now.
What about you? What kind of bathroom will you (or do you) have? Do you have any other novel shower and toilet ideas for a (very) small bathroom?