Living on the road is a dream of plenty of people who crave adventures. Along with the dream comes the challenges, and one challenge, in particular, in the bathroom. Plenty of van lifers has different opinions on how to go to the bathroom while on the road when it comes to the bathroom.
You can have an enclosed wet bath area in your van or a collapsible shower enclosure. Aside from that, you can have a toilet as part of the bathroom or just a plain old shower, while other vans don’t have them at all. Remember that your bathroom would depend on the space that you have to spare in your van.
When it comes to your vanlife bathroom needs, it is important that you think about it thoroughly. In this article, I will talk about finding a place for your bathroom in your campervan, the different types of van bathroom options you can choose, and whether or not you should install a bathroom. I will also talk about some alternative van bathroom options for those who opted out of adding a bathroom in their van build.
Finding A Place for Your Bathroom In Your Campervan
There are plenty of van lifers that don’t have a bathroom simply because they don’t have the space for it. No matter what type of bathroom you are planning to install in your van build, you have to find a way to build it into your van. Make sure that you incorporate your bathroom before building it into your van.
Building space into your van for your bathroom will help disguise it and make your van interior feel cleaner and cozier. Although the space in your van is limited, there are plenty of creative ways of adding a bathroom to your van. Most likely, you can only fit a toilet in your van, so it can be pretty easy to place them in discreet places.
Different Types of Van Bathroom Options: Take Your Best Pick
Now, there are three types of van bathrooms that you can choose from, and I’m pretty sure one of these types would be perfect for your van build. You have three options: a wet bath, a hidden bathroom, or no bathroom. The following will talk more about each type of van bathroom that you can choose for your van build.
Wet Bath: Toilet With A Shower
The first type of van bathroom is the wet bath which is a bathroom that is finished so that all surfaces can be damp. The wet bath type is a very popular option among van lifers since it provides the most amount of privacy. The setup is also ready to use at any moment.
When it comes to aesthetics, these types of bathrooms are typically the most visually stunning and will give your van the ‘home feel’ that plenty of people are going for. The wet bath usually includes both the toilet and shower in one location of the van.
The main issue when it comes to the wet bath is the amount of space it takes up in your van’s interior. When you are planning to convert a van with enough space, it is the best decision to incorporate this type of bathroom. If you have a van with a 144 wheelbase, the wet bath would be a perfect addition to your van’s build.
Another disadvantage when it comes to the wet bath is the weight. Depending on the materials that you use and how you go about installing this bathroom, weight is a concerning factor. Plenty of professionals uses aluminum shower pans and shells to keep the weight solution to a minimum.
On the other hand, plenty of DIYers turns to heavy construction and waterproofing materials that will increase the overall weight of the build. If you are looking for the ‘home feel’ in your van, it is always important that you are mindful of the layout and materials used in your bathroom.
The Hidden Bathroom: Innovative Way to Save Space
One of the best options if you want to save space in your van is the hidden bathroom setup. This setup is also great for those who are not worried about privacy within the van. This type of bathroom can use a combination of sliders, drawers, and secret trap doors so that you can reveal the toilet and shower.
If you want to make sure all spaces can serve plenty of purposes, the hidden bathroom is the best way to go. Once everything is packed away, plenty of people would never know that you have a fully functional bathroom setup in your van. Though the toilet is more or less right out in the open, you would be surprised by the number of people who would come and go in your van and would never notice it.
Now, the hidden bathroom option doesn’t provide you with a dedicated private area when you need to use it. It doesn’t always sit well with some people, especially when they are not living on the road solo. Also, this setup is not always set up and ready to use. You would have to set up the entire bathroom before you can use it.
No Bathroom: Rely On Public Bathrooms
The last option is to forget the shower and toilet and just rely on public bathrooms or the great outdoors. You would need a structured schedule around your ‘morning business’ and a plan where you would need to stop to use the bathroom.
The main advantage of not having a bathroom in your van is it will save you money since you don’t need to spend anything on materials to get the bathroom set up nicely. Also, without a bathroom in your van, you don’t need to worry about taking up a significant amount of space in your van.
When plumbing isn’t something that you are comfortable setting up, going with this option would greatly reduce the amount of plumbing needed for your van.
Now, when you don’t have a bathroom in your van, you would need to rely on other people’s facilities. Also, depending on where you choose to go, you will be taking advantage of business owners and other facilities. At most times, there would be a small fee that you would have to pay for you to use their services.
Another thing that you have to worry about not having a bathroom in your van is the cleanliness. When you don’t have your own shower facilities, it would be more likely to result in less frequent washing. Of course, when you have to go, you have to go. When it comes to emergencies like this, it can be difficult not having a bathroom in your van.
Vanlife Bathroom: To Install or Not To Install
The first thing that you need to think about when it comes to your van build is whether you are going to install a bathroom or not. You need to know why you want or need one in your van. Depending on your needs and where you will be spending most of your time, a toilet may or may not be the perfect option for you.
One of the big advantages of having a bathroom in your van is convenience. Of course, there is nothing like having your own bathroom since you can go anytime while you are on the road. You will be more comfortable, it feels like cleaning, and you don’t need to stress when you really have the urge to go to the bathroom.
If you are in the middle of nowhere, you don’t have to worry about digging a hole so that you can go and relieve yourself. You also don’t have to keep a container in your van that contains poop until you can dispose of it.
One of the disadvantages when it comes to adding a bathroom in your van is there is a possibility that it will stink. You also need to find somewhere to dump your toilet at some point and pay a dump fee. If it’s compostable, you need to keep up with putting kitty litter or chips in it, so it doesn’t start to smell.
If you want to find free dump stations, here is an article that I have written for you.
Factors to Keep In Mind When It Comes to Deciding on Your Van Bathroom
Deciding whether you want a bathroom in your van or not is a big decision, especially when you are set to live on the road full-time. If you are still undecided on whether or not you would build a bathroom in your van, here are some factors that you need to keep in mind while you are doing your van build.
Full-Time or Part-Time Van Living: The First Thing to Keep in Mind
When you plan to use your van for a weekend getaway or short trips, it is unlikely that you will find a full bathroom. You can simply go return to your home and take a good long shower at the end of your adventure before you return to your daily life.
However, if you plan to full-time van living, you may want to consider adding a bathroom in your van. If you don’t have the extra space, at least add a toilet to your van build. There are different toilets that you can choose from, such as composite toilets or cassette toilets.
If you want to know the difference between a composite toilet and a cassette toilet, here is an article that I have written for you.
Places You Plan to Stay: Consider the Bathroom Situation
If you plan on staying at campgrounds or RV parks, then it is worth keeping in mind that they have bathroom facilities to offer. Almost all campgrounds and parks have showers either on the site or nearby. It may seem a bit pointless to build a bathroom in your van when you can use an external shower most of your stay.
However, if you plan to move from different places and just stay in your van throughout your outdoor adventure, it is best to build your own van bathroom.
The Size of Your Campervan: The Most Crucial Factor to Consider
The number one thing that you need to consider when planning to add your van bathroom is the size of your campervan. When you have an extra-long sprinter or a van that is something bigger, you may be able to squeeze in a bathroom without sacrificing any space inside your van.
If you have something smaller, adding a bathroom can be trickier, but there is a possibility that you can squeeze in a toilet in your build. However, if you are planning to add a shower, it may not be possible.
Think of What You Want to Add In Your Campervan
Adding to a bathroom in your van will mean you need to compromise the rest of your van’s layout. Make sure that you think about what you will leave out in your build if you use a particular space for your van bathroom. Think whether removing that space is worth it or not.
Alternative Van Bathroom Options: No Need to Fret
When you have come to a decision that a van bathroom is not for you, then there are alternative options that you can choose from. There are plenty of clever solutions that will let you have a shower and toilet without needing to sacrifice space inside your van.
External Shower and Solar Shower Bags: Great Way to Stay Refreshed
Adding an external shower into your van build is one of the great ways to install a bathroom. You can easily hook your camper’s water supply and water heater whenever you want to use them on the outside of your van. The setup process is pretty easy, and you can feel refreshed in just a snap.
With an external shower, it is a fantastic solution to your bathroom needs. You can have a reliable, hot shower without having a van bathroom. Aside from washing yourself, you can also use the external shower to wash off your gear. Now, the downside to this is everyone will see you showering, so you may want to choose a location that is a bit more private when taking a shower outside your van.
Now, if you are not fond of the permanent external shower option, you can choose a solar shower bag. To use this, you can fill it with water, leave it in the sun to warm up, and then hang it above you for a quick shower. The solar shower bags are a cheap shower solution, but they may not be a luxurious experience.
If you are in a location that is not that hot, the water will take a long time to heat. The same thing goes when you are in a location that doesn’t get enough sun and has a limited amount of water to wash. However, it will get the job done and leave you feeling refreshed and clean.
Choosing to go with a van bathroom in your build is an individual decision. You can be a person who has lived in a van for years without needing a shower but a toilet inside the van. It can work for some people who don’t want to take up too much space inside their van. Making a proper decision to add a bathroom or not in your van should be well thought out. Keep in mind the different factors that you need to consider when it comes to your van bathroom. If you want to know more about van life showers, here is an article that I have written for you.