RV Bathroom Features To Look For In Your Next RV

by Curtis

Bathroom And Plumbing

rv-bathroom.jpg I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stepped into the shower of an RV, only to realize that my 24-inch wide shoulders are the same width as the shower I’m about to use.

In a shower like that, the first time you attempt to turn around in the shower, water ends up going everywhere except down the drain!

RV showers are only one part of the problem with the typical RV bathroom setup. The other issue is the RV bathroom sink.

In my own Dutchman travel trailer, the bathroom sink is placed in such a narrow (corner) spot that when brushing my teeth, I have to actually tilt my body sideways to spit out the toothpaste into the sink.  Of course, if my neck was about 14-inches long I could reach it straight on.

All this makes me wonder what the designer of this RV bathroom setup really looks like.  Are they pencil thin with a neck like a giraffe?

When shopping for an RV, the top 2 priorities in most peoples’ minds are:

I almost think the bathroom is more concerning than the bed.  Here’s why…


Cutting Corners In RV Bathrooms

I’ve lived full time in 4 different RVs. 

Every time, I made sure the shower was large enough to accommodate my almost 6-foot frame, and still have enough room to turn around with ease. 

My current travel trailer is used for weekends and short trips. 

I can live within the confined space of an RV trailer for a short period of time.  But if this was my home and I’d be living there for years, then I’d have to do something else.

I realize that the profit margin is what drives manufacturers to save money wherever they can.  I just wish sacrificing a usable bathroom wasn’t where they did their cutbacks.  

Bathrooms In Larger vs Smaller RVs

All of the larger RVs that I used as a full time RVer had comfortable bathrooms with plenty of room to move around. 

A couple of them even had some extra features that added more comfort.  My Bounder motorhome had the toilet in its own little room with a door.  This is a nice feature — because it prevents the rear half of the motorhome from being tied up whenever someone is in the bathroom. 

I have to say, the saddest excuse for an RV bathroom & shower is the low-price "wet bathroom."  With walls constructed of vinyl coated paneling, they pretty much expect you to straddle the toilet in order to take your shower!  Sure, there’s a plastic floor pan with a drain.  But just how long do they think those walls will tolerate being washed down before they fall apart?



Some upscale pickup campers have 1-piece plastic bathrooms that truly can handle being saturated with water.  They’re very tight in size, but space constrictions require it to be small.  At least it’s a quality installation that will hold up well over time.



RV Bathroom Features To Look For

Following are some tips to keep in mind when you’re shopping for your next RV.  These are especially important if you’re going to be on the road for an extended period of time or planning on becoming a full timer. 

These tips will keep you not only clean, but happy with your RV bathroom:

  1. The shower stall needs to be 36 inches wide to give you room to turn around comfortably.
  2. The shower head needs to be mounted high enough so the spray is at least hitting you in the face, but not too high that it sprays over the shower door/curtain.  If it’s too low, you’ll have to duck down just to get your head under the water.
  3. A shower door is much better than a shower curtain.  You’ll always end up with water on the floor with a shower curtain.  And since RVs have small showers anyway, you’re pretty much guaranteed to make a mess of the room if you have a shower curtain.
  4. A 10-gallon water heater  will allow you to run the water continually. A 6-gallon will require you to wet down, shut the water off off, soap up, then turn the water back on to rinse off.  Believe me, if you’re living in your RV, the 10-gallon water heater is the way to go!
  5. If you live in the Great White North, moving your RV trailer in the winter when the temperatures are below freezing isn’t a good idea.  Cold plastic showers become brittle at those temperatures, and they will most likely crack.  I found out the hard way and had to replace the shower walls on my 37-foot fifth wheel trailer.



When you’re shopping for an RV, don’t be bashful.  Go ahead and step into the shower and check it for fit and placement of the fixtures.  Also notice how solid the floor is.  If the plastic pan flexes, you may end up with a cracked pan down the road. 

Having your bathroom out of commission because of poor design that didn’t hold up would really ruin the RVing experience.  Take the time to make sure what you’re buying is well-built and functional.  You won’t be sorry.