Marine & RVs

How Do You Put a Sink in a Camper Van?

Even before the recent growing interest in camping and RVs, camper vans had a certain appeal. Now, not only are they more popular, but it’s easier than ever to buy a pre-made one. However, if you want to save some money, it’s possible to build a camper van yourself. Although you don’t need every single gadget, a camper van does require a sink. Here’s what you need to know about putting one into your van.

What goes into installing a camper van sink?

The sink and fridge in a converted Volkswagen T3 camper van
A Volkswagen T3 camper van’s sink and fridge | Carmen Jaspersen/picture alliance via Getty Images

Putting a sink in a camper van means dealing with plumbing and an on-board water tank. So, as with the build itself, try to measure how much space you have and mock-up the build in cardboard, Outside explains. That way, you’ll know how big of a sink you can fit, and where to put the plumbing and water. And don’t forget, you’ll need somewhere to store the dirty gray water too, ParkedInParadise reports.

One way to streamline the installation is to consider getting a sink/stove combo, Outside reports. The installation will be a bit more time-consuming, but it’ll make the hardware easier to contain. So, it’s a matter of getting two birds with one stone.

Speaking of hardware, you also need to consider how the water from your tank gets to the faucet. Some camper van sinks use gravity. But most use either an electric or manual pump, Gnomad Home reports. A manual foot-operated pump is simpler and cheaper, but the electric one is more convenient. However, if you choose the latter, you’ll need to wire it into your camper van’s electric system, which is a separate topic.

The tools, materials, and parts you’ll need to give your camper van or RV a sink

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It’s possible to create a camper van sink completely from scratch, The Van Animals reports, complete with custom backsplash. Admittedly, you may not want to go quite that far. However, the basic tools and materials are involved whether your camper van sink assembly comes ready-made or fully DIY.

The basic parts of a camper van sink assembly include the sink itself, some PVC and vinyl hoses, the metal and/or plastic pipe fittings and faucet, the fresh and gray water tanks, a water filter, and the pump. You’ll also need screws, clamps, and silicone caulk to securely fasten the various parts together. Plus, a cabinet and countertop to contain all this hardware.

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After this is all assembled, you can screw the sink into your camper van using sheet-metal screws, Crafted Workshop reports. Just be sure to leave some room, if so desired, for extra cabinetry around the sink area.

Additional things to consider

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It’s worth noting that the parts list for our basic camper van sink doesn’t include a water heater. You can incorporate a hot water system into your van, Camplify reports, but it’s noticeably more complicated.

The Trail Kitchens Camper Van Kitchen Pod with sink
Trail Kitchens Camper Van Kitchen Pod | Trail Kitchens

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In addition, if you don’t want to mess around with cabinetry, you can always buy and install a ready-made one instead. And, if all you want is a fully-prepared drop-in camper van sink, there are kits available from suppliers like Trail Kitchens. Though what you save in time and energy you will pay in cash.

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