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The Ultimate Guide to Campervan Showers [2024]

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!


Index

 

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.

Campsites

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

Rinsekit

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.

vanspace3d

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 …