The Perfect Bathroom for Van Conversion
Whether you plan to spend weeks at a time traveling in your campervan or just a few days visiting a local campground, having a bathroom on board will make your travels much better – And cleaner.
So what is the perfect bathroom setup for your van conversion?
Is it a spacious walk-in bathroom with a toilet, shower, and sink? Or is it a simple and more concealed feature of your campervan? Regardless of which suits you, here are the three different van conversion bathrooms we incorporate into our van conversions.
Why A Bathroom Is A Necessity
While bathrooms in the United States seem ubiquitous, public restrooms, gas stations, and running water are not always available near many places we like to travel to, like BLM land or campgrounds. The last thing you want to worry about when you’re on the road is how far the next rest stop or gas station is. Furthermore, given that it’s a luxury we get to use in our homes and offices every day, it’s not uncommon for us to adore the privacy of a personal bathroom and want one in our campervans too.
Here are the two features you will commonly find in any camper van with a bathroom –
After exploring new places, hiking dusty trails, and swimming in the salty shorelines, a shower at the end of the day can make you feel like a brand new person. The days of having a hot shower are no longer reserved for RVs, truck stops, and established campgrounds. Instead, you can include this feature in your conversion and shower whenever or wherever you want – Even get hot water supplied by the onboard water heater. While it is a luxury feature to have in a campervan, it will allow you to feel clean and refreshed after those long days of exploring – And you won’t have to divert your travel plans to find one.
The Camper Van Toilet
While adding a shower might not be paramount to your van build, a bathroom is used more frequently and might be highly desirable during longer trips. Depending on your adventure, a restroom may not always be available, and if there is one, there’s no guarantee of the condition and if it’s equipped with the necessities. However, if you choose to install a toilette in your conversion, you will now have the convenience of stopping whenever you need “to go” and can stay off-grid for longer as you have everything you need.
#1 – The Full Bathroom
Bathrooms in campervans are always a hot topic of conversation, especially an enclosed bathroom with a shower and toilet. This floor plan will take up a decent amount of conversion space, but its convenience is uncanny to that of a public restroom. Like many other factors of living part-time in a van, deciding to install a complete bathroom will revolve around your lifestyle and initial need for the conversion.
We have a brand new full-shower design with a magnetic feature and zipper door. We also created a removable shower pan in this design that extends the space inside the shower to move around freely and prevent water from escaping. This addition ensures a quick and easy setup and guarantees that all the water stays contained, leaving you with a clean and dry van.
- This layout will provide the most privacy and security of the three designs discussed.
- You can use the bathroom and shower inside your van.
- Instantly, it makes van life more homely.
- This van conversion bathroom takes up valuable conversion space. You will often find Full Bathrooms in 170″ and 170″ extended wheelbase, as they won’t typically interfere with the remainder of the conversion layout.
- They can be more expensive. Creating an area specifically for a bathroom yields more material and can add to the overall cost of the conversion.
To see an example of a full bathroom, check out The Ron (Start video at 1:20 for Bathroom Feature). The Ron is a 170″ Extended Wheelbase conversion with a Tri-Max Bed in the back.
#2 – The Hidden Bathroom
Maybe you don’t want/need a full bathroom, or perhaps you’re converting a 144’’ and don’t want to sacrifice all that space for a full bathroom. If that’s the case, consider the Hidden Bathroom, a subtle design that still offers everything you need. This setup is still an interior bathroom, but instead of extending from floor to ceiling, it is half the size and accessible by a hinged countertop. This illusive feature opens up with the help of a curtain attached to the L-Track on the ceiling for complete privacy. This option allows you to blend the bathroom into the rest of the design, allowing you to use more area for your conversion.
- It provides the privacy needed inside a conversion without too much space.
- While it’s not ready to go like the full bathroom, there is minimal setup.
- Perfect in any van, regardless of size.
- While it’s hidden and half the size of a full bathroom, it still takes up space that could otherwise be used for a kitchen.
The Ramona Conversion (Start video at 3:02 for Bathroom Feature) is an excellent example of the hidden bathroom. The Ramona is a conversion built to explore the best coastal locations so Helen (the owner) can surf year around. Her hidden bathroom allows her to shower inside a warm van on cold days, keep her wet and salty wetsuit in a contained area, and when it’s not used as a bathroom, she uses the counter space to work.
#3 – The Outdoor Setup
While an interior sprinter van bathroom is nice, many people are more interested in using the interior space for features like a full kitchen, additional seating, or a more open layout that doesn’t feel crowded. When that’s the case, an outdoor shower is a perfect solution because it still offers the ability to bathe but doesn’t take up any additional interior real estate. The outdoor shower is set up with a quick-release hose that hooks up to the water tank in the back of the van, and the head of the shower connects to a convenient mount on the back door that allows you to shower hand-free. For privacy, the waterproof shower curtain clips to the rear doors and creates a private and concealed area to shower. If you choose to use an exterior shower, we recommend using eco-friendly products, as this shower directly impacts the environment around you. Some of our favorite brands are Dr. Bronners and SunBum.
- You can maximize your interior for additional sleeping, seating, storage, and cooking areas.
- The most cost-effective bathroom option allows you to spend your budget on other, more important areas.
- It requires you to set it up, and you may need additional accessories, such as a shower tray, so your feet stay clean.
- You can’t comfortably access the bathroom in poor weather or in an area not appropriate for showering.
The Ash Van Conversion is an excellent example of an outdoor bathroom setup. Start the video at 2:41 for the Bathroom Feature.
#4 – Just The Toilette
Not every van conversion needs a full bathroom, and some of our clients prefer to stay the night at established campgrounds with facilities, so there isn’t a desire to have a shower at all. However, even with access to public restrooms and gas stations, having a porta potty (or ‘cassette toilet’) means you’ll never have to search for a bathroom, dig a hole, or go outside in the middle of the night. These porta-potty toilets are space saving and compact enough to move in and out of your van as you wish and are an excellent option if you’re traveling with younger children. Here are some of our favorite options.
When it comes to dumping (draining) your black and gray water tank on your new RV, there is indeed a process to follow to ensure that the tanks are drained correctly (and safely).
Portable Cassette Toilette
The Cassette Toilet is a go-to choice; we recommend the Thetford Porta Potti. This award-winning company is one of the more affordable options on the market, and their toilets don’t take up much room and do not require any installation, making it easy to take out of the conversion and clean. This cassette toilet averages 27-56 flushes and has an easy piston flush, a sealed valve to contain the odor, and a removable seat for easy cleaning.
Laveo Dry Flush Toilet
If you’re looking for a dry and clean solution to your campervan toilette, consider budgeting for the Laveo Dry Flush Toilet. This model is similar to a traditional toilet in your home; however, it seals the waste into leakproof bags that can be easily disposed of in any trash can. This capability keeps any messes at bay and eliminates any odors, which is always necessary when confined to small spaces. Make sure to carry plenty of refill cartridges, however, as this toilet is not usable in any way once you run out.
* We didn’t recommend any composting toilet options, but if you’re looking for that, we recommend the Nature’s Head Dry-Composting Toilet.
Which Van Conversion Bathrooms is Right For Your Campervan?
Like every other decision, you need to make about your conversion, understanding which bathroom to choose will be based on the budget, the size of your conversion, and your lifestyle. If you’re unsure which bathroom is appropriate for your lifestyle and budget, reach our team at [email protected] for help!