If you are converting a van to live in or if you are about to buy a readymade conversion you may well be wondering about if it is worth having a shower in a campervan. Some long term van lifers will tell you that they are a must have piece of kit while others state they are a waste of valuable space. In this article we look at the pros and cons of having a shower in a campervan.
Is It Worth Having a Shower in a Campervan?
The Van Life Refresh: Is It Worth Having a Shower in a Campervan?
Picture this: You’re on the road, chasing horizons, and living the van life dream. The sunsets are breathtaking, the open road is your canvas, and adventure awaits at every turn. But there’s a question that often arises for campervan enthusiasts: Is it worth having a shower in your rolling home?
In this article, we’ll dive into the heart of this dilemma, exploring the pros and cons of installing a shower in a campervan. Whether you’re a seasoned van lifer looking to enhance your setup or a curious traveler considering your options, we’re here to provide insights that will help you make an informed choice.
The Convenience of a Campervan Shower
Refresh, Revive, Repeat: The Perks of a Campervan Shower
One of the undeniable luxuries of van life is having your home on wheels, ready to whisk you away to remote destinations or bustling cityscapes. And when it comes to comfort and convenience, a campervan shower is a game-changer. Here’s why:
Freshening Up on the Road: No more feeling grimy after a long hike or a day at the beach. With a campervan shower, you have the freedom to rinse off whenever you please, keeping you refreshed and ready for your next adventure.
Access to Hot Water: Imagine stepping into your compact oasis and indulging in a hot shower, even in the heart of nature. Many campervan shower setups provide on-demand hot water, delivering a spa-like experience in the wilderness.
Privacy and Comfort: While camping is about embracing the great outdoors, having a private space to shower can be a game-changer. A campervan shower offers both privacy and comfort, allowing you to enjoy the simple pleasure of bathing in peace.
But before you dive headfirst into campervan shower dreams, let’s explore some considerations, including space limitations and layout challenges.
Space and Layout Considerations
Cracking the Code: Navigating Space for Your Campervan Shower
Campervans, with their charming compactness, present both opportunities and challenges when it comes to layout and space utilization. Adding a shower to this equation might seem like a puzzle, but fear not – we’re here to help you unlock the secret to making it work.
Space is undoubtedly at a premium in a campervan. Every square inch matters, and you want your shower to seamlessly fit into the overall layout. Here are some space-savvy considerations to keep in mind:
Opt for Compact Designs: There are space-efficient shower kits designed specifically for campervans. These often include foldable shower walls, compact fixtures, and smart storage solutions. Investing in a purpose-built kit can make the most of your limited space.
Multi-Functional Spaces: Campervans thrive on multi-functionality. Your dining area can double as a shower space with the right design. Consider fold-out or collapsible shower enclosures that can be easily stowed away when not in use.
Water Management: Efficient water management is crucial. Look for systems that recycle and filter water, reducing wastage. Additionally, having a designated gray water tank for shower runoff is essential to maintain an eco-friendly and clean setup.
By thoughtfully addressing these space and layout challenges, you can integrate a shower into your campervan without compromising on comfort or functionality.
Stay tuned as we delve further into the shower dilemma, weighing the pros and cons to help you decide whether a campervan shower is a worthwhile addition to your rolling sanctuary.
Cost of Installation and Maintenance
Counting the Pennies: The Investment and Upkeep of a Campervan Shower
While the allure of a campervan shower is hard to resist, it’s essential to understand the financial commitment it entails. Let’s break down the costs:
Installation Costs: Adding a built-in campervan shower involves both material and labor expenses. The cost can vary significantly depending on your choices. Expect to invest in a water heating system, plumbing, fixtures, and shower enclosure. Professional installation might add to the overall cost, but it ensures a seamless setup.
Maintenance Expenses: Like any component in your campervan, the shower system requires maintenance. Periodic checks for leaks, fixture upkeep, and ensuring the water heating system functions correctly are crucial. Routine maintenance costs can vary but are generally manageable.
Potential Repairs: In the world of van life, wear and tear are inevitable. Shower components, such as pumps, water heaters, or plumbing, may need occasional repairs or replacements. Being prepared for these unexpected costs is part of responsible van ownership.
Alternatives to a Built-In Shower
Thinking Outside the Enclosure: Campervan Shower Alternatives
While a built-in campervan shower offers unparalleled convenience, it’s not the only way to stay fresh and clean on the road. Let’s explore some alternatives:
Portable Showers: Portable showers are versatile and cost-effective. They typically consist of a water reservoir, a hose, and a nozzle. You can set up a portable shower outdoors, whether it’s a standalone unit or one that attaches to your campervan’s rear door.
Public Facilities: Many campers rely on public facilities, such as rest areas, service stations, or campgrounds, for their shower needs. These spots often provide shower facilities for a small fee. It’s a budget-friendly option, but it may require planning your route around available facilities.
Natural Baths: Nature lovers often opt for natural bodies of water for their daily soak. Lakes, rivers, and oceans offer a unique and refreshing shower experience. However, be mindful of Leave No Trace principles and local regulations to protect the environment.
Each of these alternatives has its advantages and disadvantages, including varying costs and levels of convenience. The choice ultimately depends on your preferences, budget, and the destinations you frequent.
Leaving No Trace: The Eco-Friendly Side of Campervan Showers
While living the van life opens doors to adventure, it also brings a heightened responsibility towards the environment. Campervan showers can impact the environment through water usage and waste disposal. Here’s how you can minimize your ecological footprint:
Water Conservation: Be mindful of water usage in your campervan shower. Invest in low-flow fixtures and consider water-saving showerheads. Shorter shower times can also make a significant difference in water conservation.
Gray Water Management: Properly manage gray water (wastewater from showers and sinks) to prevent contamination. Many campervans have designated gray water tanks. Ensure they are emptied at approved disposal sites to avoid harming natural habitats.
Sustainable Products: Choose eco-friendly and biodegradable toiletries to minimize the environmental impact. Look for products with minimal packaging and opt for refillable containers to reduce waste.
By taking these eco-conscious steps, you can enjoy the comforts of a campervan shower while minimizing your impact on the beautiful landscapes you explore.
Maintenance Tips and Best Practices
Maintaining Your Oasis: Keeping Your Campervan Shower in Top Shape
A campervan shower, like any other part of your mobile home, requires regular care to ensure it stays functional and hygienic. Here are some maintenance tips and best practices:
Cleaning: Clean your campervan shower regularly to prevent mold and mildew growth. Use a mild, camper-friendly cleaning solution to scrub the walls, floor, and fixtures. Rinse thoroughly to remove all cleaning residues.
Ventilation: Ensure proper ventilation in your campervan bathroom. Ventilation helps to reduce moisture buildup, which can lead to mold problems. Crack a window or use an exhaust fan when showering.
Inspect Seals and Fixtures: Periodically inspect seals, faucets, and showerheads for leaks or damage. Address any issues promptly to prevent water damage.
Prevent Clogs: Be cautious about what goes down the drain. Install a drain strainer to catch debris and hair that can lead to clogs.
Dry the Area: After showering, use a squeegee or towel to dry the shower area thoroughly. This helps prevent water spots and mold growth.
By following these maintenance practices, you can extend the life of your campervan shower and ensure it remains a reliable and enjoyable part of your van life experience.
The Decision is Yours: Is a Campervan Shower Worth It?
As we wrap up our exploration of campervan showers, it’s essential to remember that the decision to install one ultimately comes down to your unique preferences, lifestyle, and needs.
The convenience and comfort of having a campervan shower are undeniable. It provides you with the luxury of staying fresh and clean while on the road, regardless of your location. For those who relish the idea of a hot shower after a day of exploring, it can be a game-changer.
However, it’s also crucial to weigh the factors discussed in this article, including the space it occupies, installation and maintenance costs, and environmental considerations. Some van lifers find alternative ways to stay clean, such as portable showers or utilizing public facilities.
Ultimately, your decision should align with your van life philosophy and priorities. Whether you choose to install a campervan shower or explore other bathing options, the essence of van life is the freedom to adapt your mobile home to suit your unique journey.
Take a look at our other van life articles here.