Tons of people take road trips in their camper vans. Some even live in their campers while traveling across the country. One of the most common concerns when spending lengthy amounts of time on the road is what to do about bathroom breaks and other hygiene needs. Do you stop at public restrooms? Do you visit campgrounds to use their showers?
Adding a bathroom to your camper van is one solution to all of these questions. However, the process has plenty of pros and cons, and it’s not for everyone.
What to consider when deciding if you should put a bathroom in a camper van
There are several things to consider when deciding if you want to add a bathroom to your camper. Do you have small children, or family members who would have a hard time hiking out to the woods every time they need to use the restroom? Would you mind losing space in your layout?
One consideration is what you need in the bathroom — are you just planning to add a toilet or do you want a shower as well? Consider the cost and duration of the project. In addition to the cost of the project, there are maintenance costs associated with a bathroom addition. If you decide to add a shower, you’ll need a hot water heater, which is an added cost.
There are also the regular maintenance issues to consider. A toilet will have some kind of tank that requires emptying. If your bathroom has a shower, you’ll need a much larger water tank. You’ll also need to be careful in colder climates because the pipes could freeze, causing a lot of expensive repairs.
Pros and cons of adding a bathroom to a camper van
Adding a bathroom to a camper van is a great option for some people, while others would be better off without it. As with every project, there are pros and cons.
There’s no denying that convenience is the biggest pro to adding a bathroom to your camper. You won’t have to worry about finding a place with public restrooms. Along with that convenience comes the comfort of being in your own bathroom, and the privacy. If you decide to add a shower to your design, that also adds a lot of convenience.
But, adding a bathroom is a big project. One huge issue with adding a bathroom is the lack of space. Camper vans aren’t exactly mansions, and space is precious. The bathroom will likely have to take the place of something else you would have wanted in its place.
Another downside to having a bathroom right in your camper van is the possible smell. Most of the time, properly cleaning the toilet will control any foul odors. The problem is that when it does smell bad, the smell permeates the whole area because it’s such a small space.
Lastly, when you install a toilet, the tank will eventually need to be emptied. That isn’t a fun job.
Is it expensive to add a bathroom to a camper van?
The cost associated with adding a bathroom to your camper van depends greatly on what you add to it. You can get a portable toilet and a divider to create your own tiny bathroom space for a budget option. On the other end of the spectrum, you could go all out and have a full wet bath, with a shower, sink, and toilet — that project will get fairly expensive. Most people will find a good fit somewhere in between — a modest traveling bathroom that has just enough to make your trips a little more comfortable.