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The Ultimate Guide to Campervan Showers [2023]

One of the most important parts of living on the road is figuring out how and where you are going to wash yourself - especially if you have someone else with you in your van! Whether it be just a quick nip in a lake or a full blown power shower, it's something you definitely need to consider for life on the road. In this article we will look at a variety of simple campervan shower ideas. We will examine a campervan shower diagram, and go deep on the installation of an indoor campervan shower cubicle.

I'm Shane, I've been teaching people to convert campervans for years; I'm the author of Roaming Home; The Comprehensive Guide for Converting Your Van Into a Campervan,writer of The Van Conversion Newsletter, instructor of The Van Conversion Course over at Udemy. And full-time vanlifer for 4 years!

Now, without any further delay, let's explore some campervan shower ideas.

The ultimate guide to campervan showers

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click a product link and buy anything from the merchant (Amazon, eBay, etc.) we will receive a commission fee. The price you pay remains the same, affiliate link or not. By using these links, you are helping me to continue writing free educational content!



Note: Did you know that you can get a free electrical wiring diagram by signing up to The Van Conversion Newsletter


Roaming Home

Supplies List 🛒

campervan shower tray

campervan Drain assembly

Shower drain assembly

Drain for the shower

campervan extractor fan

​Extractor fan

Remove humidity from the shower room

door vent

​Door vent

Allows air flow for the extractor fan

Campervan shower and mixing valve

concealed shower mounting bracket

Shower mounting bracket

A concealed bracket for mounting the shower mixing valve

Hepvo valve

2X ​Hepvo valve

For preventing bad odors from coming up the shower and sink drain

Campervan shower diagram

Before we hop into the main article and look at some campervan shower ideas, here is a campervan shower diagram!

Campervan shower diagram

Do you need a campervan shower?

In the Roaming Home 2023 study, we found that 69% of people have a shower of some sort installed in their van conversion. Of those, the slight majority have an indoor shower.

Campervan shower indoor vs. outdoor

So... Do you need to shower? Yes!

Do you need a permanent campervan shower cubicle inside your van? For most people the answer is probably no. However, there are a few scenarios where it could be very useful.

You should consider installing a permanent campervan shower cubicle if you meet one or more of these criteria:

  • You live for extended periods of time very off-grid

  • You have at minimum a high roof, long wheel base van

  • You can commit to having a >70L fresh water tank and large grey water tank - it takes up a lot of space! The average person uses 70L of water per shower in a house

  • You spend a lot of time in cold, wet climates

  • You have the cash available - all the plumbing supplies can be expensive!

After a wet, cold, and muddy hike, a campervan shower is an incredible luxury! But in most cases, an indoor campervan shower cubicle is more of a nice-to-have rather than necessity.

Campervan outdoor shower
Spray away your worries; @jurassicvans

Luckily, there are many alternative campervan shower ideas; let’s explore some of them…

Showering away from your campervan

Sea / lake swim

By far the cheapest and also the most courageous form of shower is to simply go for a dip in the closest body of water, be it sea, lake or river.

Surfing in Lofoten, Norway
Surfing in Lofoten, Norway

Many beaches have public showers that you can use at any time of the day or night after your dip and many also have public toilets. But be warned, they are rarely heated showers. A cold shower in the freezing wind after a sea swim in Irish winter is bone chilling and not for the faint hearted! Trust me.

Petrol station showers

Ah yes, glamorous van life... But seriously, it's a life saver. It is one of the best ways to get a free/low cost warm wash.

Gym showers

If you are staying in one place with your van for a while, it might be worth considering joining a gym to get access to their showers (and gym facilities). Unlimited hot showers!

Some gyms have multiple locations (eg. Anytime Fitness), so you can use them wherever you travel. There are also apps like Hussle which give you access to many different gyms around the globe.


A campsite is one of the better options to go with if you are travelling around with your van. Not only do you get to meet people and have a cosy lot for the night, but you get to shower too! (And often a washing machine).

Park4Night is a fantastic free app for finding campsites in your vicinity.

Campervan shower ideas

There's more than one way to skin a cat... Here are some campervan shower ideas!

Baby Wipes

Baby wipes can be a lifesaver when you need a wash but out of reach of a shower. But you better make absolutely sure you get the biodegradable ones as regular baby wipes are truly terrible polluters. Dry shampoo can also be a good shout!

12V portable shower

The 12V portable shower is a shower head attached to a submersible pump.

It is predominantly an outdoor shower, suited mostly to warmer climates (though I have used it in Irish winter!)

Here’s how to use one;

  1. Hang up the shower head somewhere on the van (I installed a hook on the backdoor and some shower curtains).

  2. Boil up a kettle of water & pour it into a bucket (with some cold water!).

  3. Stick the pump in the bucket.

  4. Enjoy your 2 minute shower! (You'll need about 5 litres for 2 minutes).

12v portable campervan shower

Using an immersion rod to heat up the water

Instead of having to boil water in a kettle to get hot water for the shower (I've done that and it takes a long time), I recommend adding an immersion rod to your campervan shower kit!

Simply stick the immersion rod in the bucket of water and in just a few minutes you'll have warm water!

Note: Some immersion rods take a high wattage, so ensure your inverter can handle it!

How long does it take with an immersion rod?

I worked out (based on an 1.5kW aquarium heater) that: if we wanted to heat 10L of water to shower temp (34 degrees) It would take 9 mins.

If you want to work it out yourself, this is the formula I used:

(4.2 × L × T ) ÷ 3600 = Pt

  • Pt = Power used to heat the water in kilowatt hours

  • L = litres of water you are heating - in my case 10L

  • T = The temperature difference you are heating eg. from 14°C to 34°C = 20°C

For example: (4.2 x 10 x 20) ÷ 3600 = 0.23.

Take the result of this equation and divide by the Wattage of the heating element you are using - we are using a 1.5kW heater so divide by 1.5:

0.23 ÷ 1.5 = 0.15 (which is 0.15 of an hour, ie. 9 mins).

Shower bag

This is a pretty unique type of shower system. Though not the best for colder climates. The concept is that you hang the bag of water out during the day and it heats up in the sun. If it isn't very warm, you could always fill it with a bit of hot water like the shower pump system! Just stand underneath, open the nozzle and enjoy!

campervan solar shower


Aside from building a full-blown campervan shower, RinseKit is as good as it gets! I'm a really big fan. Rinsekit is a pressurised portable shower. It has a 2 gallon container that stores pressure for up to a month. What does this mean? Hot water stays hot in the container for weeks! The RinseKit Plus even comes with an immersion rod so that you can heat the water up with the flick of a switch.


How to install a campervan shower cubicle

Step #1: Choose an appropriate location to install the campervan shower unit

Ideally, before you have even started your van conversion, you will have designed it in high fidelity on paper or with CAD software. You should already know where your shower will be installed.

Note: Before finalising the precise location of the campervan shower cubicle, you need to check what is underneath the van and on the roof.

Why? Because you need to cut a hole in the floor for the drain pipe and a hole in the roof for a small extractor fan. Triple check your measurements - don't drill into anything important.

There are three popular locations for installing an indoor shower in a campervan. A picture paints a thousand words, so here are some photos to illustrate those locations.

Step #2: Install the campervan water system

Before you install the campervan shower unit, you should already have most of the water system set up. Here is a complete guide to camper water system installation.

campervan water system

Notably, you need:

You will need hot and cold water PEX pipes running to the location of your campervan shower unit.

Step #3: Install the campervan shower tray and drain

Once you are sure the location you have chosen is suitable, you can go ahead and install the shower tray. Most people will buy a pre-built shower tray rather than make one - it is PVC shaped quite specifically.

There are two types of campervan shower trays …

If you are going to be installing a toilet anyway, then the campervan shower and toilet tray is probably a good idea!

Campervan shower tray preparation: First drill a hole through the shower tray. This hole allows us to run our drain pipe to the underslung grey water tank.

Installing drain in campervan shower tray

Note: Some campervan shower trays may require wood support struts to even out the height (see following photo). You can attach the wood to the PVC shower tray with SikaFlex sanitary sealant.

Campervan shower tray support

Drain installation: Next install the drain assembly into the shower tray. Run some Sikaflex sanitary sealant on the top and bottom of the shower tray drainage hole, then tighten the drain assembly into the hole. You may also want to use plumber’s putty for a super watertight connection.

A drain assembly usually has a rubber o-ring grommet on each side of the drain to help get a seal. Hand-tight will do.

HepVo valve: You should install a HepVo valve between the shower drain and the grey water tank. This prevents bad odours and water from coming back up the drain.

If you choose to install the HepVo valve inside the van, you must raise the campervan shower tray off the ground by a few inches - like the image shown below.

Shower hepvo

The other option is to run the shower drain assembly straight through the floor of the van and install the HepVo valve on the underside of the vehicle.

Drill the drainage hole: Next we need to drill a hole through the bottom of the van. This allows us to run the drain pipe to the underslung grey water tank.

When you are sure of the location, drill a small pilot hole first to ensure you won't affect the structural integrity of the van. Then use a bi-metal holesaw to cut the full-sized hole. Don't forget to apply metal paint afterwards to prevent rusting!

Mount the shower tray: Put some large beads of sanitary sealant/adhesive on the floor and stick the campervan shower tray to the floor!

Sticking campervan shower tray to floor

Step #4: Install the extractor fan

An extractor fan is absolutely essential if you are installing a campervan shower. Moisture control is vanlife priority #1!

The 12V extractor fan is installed inside the campervan shower unit. It is normally installed on the roof or on the side of the van depending which type of extractor fan you buy.

The extractor fan is installed in much the same way as the primary campervan fan (eg. Maxxair Maxxfan Deluxe) is installed. To recap that process:

  1. Cut hole in the roof (bi-metal holesaw)

  2. Drill pilot holes where the fan screws will go

  3. Add mastic/butyl tape or Sikaflex to the top of the van

  4. Screw the fan to the roof

  5. Read a bead of sealant on the inside of the van - all around the fan

  6. Attach the backing flange

  7. Wire up the fan to 12V power

Roaming Home

Step #5: Build the shower walls

Once you have installed the campervan shower tray, you need to erect the wooden frame for the walls of the campervan shower cubicle. You can do this with 1X1 treated timber.

Campervan shower frame
Building the carcassing frame; @vandogtraveller

Next, screw a ply lining into the frame from the inside. Paint the ply lining with PVA paint and allow it to dry. The PVA paint seals pores in the wood and will allow the PVC sheeting to stick easier.

Campervan shower unit
Ply-lining the shower; @vandogtraveller

Cutting the plywood so that it matches up with the curve of the wall can be a bit tricky - in fact, done by eye it is nearly impossible to do perfectly. Luckily, there is a clever technique called 'scribing' that you can employ!

A scribe allows us to get the ply completely flush against the van wall! I suggest buying one as it will come in enormously useful during all the woodwork in your van!

Next you need to line the interior of the shower with PVC sheeting. The PVC sheeting is the waterproof material that lines the campervan shower unit.

First you will need to cut the PVC sheet to shape. You can use the same scribing technique above to cut the PVC to shape.

Note: Do not use power tools to cut the PVC sheet as it is normally only ~2.5mm thick and quite brittle. Instead, use metal shears to cut the plastic by hand.

Here is a video on how to use a scribe (though they are pretty self explanatory!)

Cover the ply with beads of some sealant adhesive (Sikaflex High Tack will do the job).

Installing PVC campervan shower

Then stick the PVC sheeting to the walls and roof.

Run a good thick bead of mold-resistant waterproof sealant around every joint.

PVC lining campervan shower unit

A quick note on tiling:

There are many methods of making waterproof shower walls. The PVC method described above is the most 'waterproof' method (and easiest). Another popular method is to tile the inside walls of the shower. Many of the 'prettiest' campervans use this method. However I will not be describing this method in this guide. However, LostOnTheRoute has a great blog describing how to do this.

Campervan shower with tiles

Step #6: Install LED lights

Without any lights, the campervan shower unit would be a bit dark! So go ahead and install some waterproof LED Strip lights wherever you think looks best (the ceiling is usually best).

Step #7: Install the shower door

There are many ways to create a campervan shower door. Here are some of your options…

A shower curtain on a rail: An easy way to get the job done. TheWholeWorldOrNothing chose to use a shower curtain on a rail

shower curtain

A tambour campervan shower door (My personal favourite): Tambour campervan shower doors are by far the most pretty! You can get them made to fit online or from physical retailers.

Campervan shower tambour

A DIY campervan shower door: Or... you could build your own campervan shower door.

To do this, cut the door from a large piece of high quality ply, pop it on some hinges (specifically flush crank hinges), and attach it to the campervan shower unit.

To keep the door from getting soggy, you will need to stick PVC sheeting to the inside of it. This is done in the same manner as the shower walls.

Add some ball catches or magnetic catches so that the door stays shut when closed. And add a door handle so it can open and close!

Greg Virgoe shows you how to build a DIY shower door beautifully in this video.

Ventilation: If your campervan shower door makes a really good seal, you are going to need to install a vent.

campervan shower door vent

Why? Well having an extractor fan is all well and good, but the air it extracts needs to come from somewhere!

To allow for proper ventilation of the campervan shower, install a vent somewhere low in the shower (the door would be the perfect place!).

Step #8: Install the shower head and mixer

The last step is to install the shower head and mixer. A mixer mixes the hot and cold water to the desired temperature - it also controls the flow of water.

I particularly like this campervan shower kit, it's cheap, cheerful, and does the job!

Campervan shower head and mixer

The shower mixer is typically installed on a shower mounting bracket. The mounting bracket is installed on the non-PVC side of the shower wall.

Campervan shower bracket
Shower mounting bracket; @thewholeworldornothing

The hot and cold water PEX pipes run from the campervan water heater to the mounting bracket. They are connected with 1/2" Pipe-barb fittings (brass).

To cut the hole for the hot and cold water pipes you can use a hole saw. Cut from the PVC side and mask where you are cutting with tape to prevent scratching.

Learn all about campervan water systems (including campervan water heaters & pipe fitting) here.

Step #9. Finish the shower drainage

Nearly finished! Last step is to polish off the campervan shower drain!

Campervan drainage is primarily done with PVC piping. We need our shower drain to run to our underslung grey water tank.

An underslung tank is important as the drainage system operates by gravity.

Campervan shower drain

Nearly finished! Last step is to polish off the campervan shower drain!

Campervan drainage is primarily done with PVC piping. We need our shower drain to run to our underslung grey water tank. I discuss how to install a grey water tank here.

One important piece of kit you will need when doing your drainage is a Hepvo trap - it is the modern equivalent of a P-trap / U-bend. It stops bad odors from coming up the drain!

Hepvo trap

The PVC pipe will be navigated to the grey water tank using a series of PVC fittings which you can get from your local hardware store. Slip PVC fittings are attached using PVC glue.

I recommend checking out the video below by Vanlife outfitters - it gives an excellent demonstration of how to plumb the grey water.

Note: My one point of contention with this video is his addition of an dedicated vent line for the shower. Instead of installing the bulky system in the video, I recommend installing a simple air vent on the grey water tank itself.

Campervan Water heaters

You have two options for supplying hot water to your campervan shower:

  1. Tankless water heater

  2. Water heater with a tank

Tankless campervan water heater

Tankless campervan water heaters deliver (nearly) instant hot water whenever you turn on the shower. There is no holding tank for water and thus they take up less space than their 'with-tank' counterparts (discussed next). Tankless campervan water heaters predominantly run on propane gas.

The most popular tankless water heater by far is the Camplux 1.32GPM portable tankless water heater. It's a fantastic tankless water heater delivering 46°C at up to 110PSI (I recommend not running the shower on full blast to conserve water).

One of the many nifty things about the camplux heater is that it doesn't need to be plugged into your campervan electrical system; it is self sufficient and powered by two D cell batteries.

Let's zoom in and have a look at the Camplux tankless water heater up close...

Campervan plumbing diagram - water heater

There are three 1/2" ports on the bottom of the heater:

  • Gas

  • Water IN

  • Water OUT

The gas inlet can runs out to your propane gas cylinder via a compression pipe.

The water IN port brings in pressurized fresh water piped from the diaphragm pump. I recommend running 1/2" pex from your pump to the heater and attaching it with a metal 1/2" barb-pipe fitting.

The water OUT port pipes pressurized hot water to our shower. The camplux water heater comes with a shower head attached by default - since we are installing our own custom shower head, we can do away with the head they supplied. We attach 1/2" PEX pipe in the same manner we did for the water IN port.

You can learn all about campervan gas installations here.

Vented vs unvented tankless campervan water heaters

Propane-powered tankless water heaters operate by combusting propane. Carbon monoxide is produced in this process, which is very dangerous. Therefore, many propane water heaters come with vents to remove carbon monoxide from the campervan safely (through a roof flue). In contrast, the Camplux is an unvented campervan water heater.

A better and safer shower installation should instead use a vented campervan water heater instead. It pipes an exhaust pipe outside the van to get rid of that nasty carbon monoxide. While Camplux heaters are the most popular campervan heaters, vented water heaters are the most correct water heaters. Indeed, in some countries, installing a Camplux inside may be against regulations.

The Girard RV tankless propane water heater is one of the most popular vented water heaters. The RecPro RV water heater is another very popular option.

Diesel combi heaters: blow heater & water heater!

If you've got the cash, you could buy a diesel heater that works both as a blow heater and as a water heater. The most famous manufacturer of these types of heaters is Truma. The Truma Combi 4 is a well-renowned and very well reviewed combi heater.

Another renowned combi heater is the Webasto Hybrid 5. I love these blow heater / water heater hybrids! If you've got the cash you should definitely check them out.

Water heater with tank

A campervan water heater with a tank keeps water constantly heated inside the holding tank (when turned ON). It is fully electric and does not rely on propane gas like the tankless heater does. Once again, the most popular tank water heater is the Camplux 2.5 Gallon mini tank electric water heater.

The camplux heater is 1.5kw and thus requires an inverter sized at 2kw. It provides pressure up to 150PSI.

I have a close friend who uses one of these and he loves it. He has even wired up a sensor so that the water heater will automatically turn ON when the leisure batteries are fully charged (pretty cool!)

The campervan water heater with a tank is plumbed in the exact same as the tankless water heater (without the gas fitting). There are 1/2" fittings to which we can attach pipe.


So that's it folks. Our round-up of the best campervan shower ideas!

Don't forget to subscribe to The Van Conversion Newsletter for everything you need to get started with your own van conversion (I'll send you a free wiring diagram when you join).

If you're looking for some guidance with your van conversion, you might be interested in Roaming Home; The Comprehensive Guide for Converting Your Van Into a Campervan. In the 380-page book (or ebook), you'll learn directly from me how to convert a van into your dream home - no prior experience needed!

Van conversion water guide

Until next time,

Shane ✌️

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