Pros and Cons of Camper Vans with Showers

Alfresco vanlife shower with woman camper vans with showers and surfboard by beach

Pros and Cons of Camper Vans with Showers

Buy or Sell Campers

Buy or Sell Campers

21 August 2023

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Are you contemplating buying your dream camper van and wondering whether it should be equipped with a shower? It’s a decision that could significantly impact your vanlife experience.

Join us as we dive into the world of camper vans with showers, exploring the pros and cons that will help you make an informed choice before taking the plunge.


Table of Contents


⭐ Overview of Camper Vans with Showers


Camper vans with showers offer the luxury of having a personal bathroom-on-wheels. These innovative vehicles are designed to provide adventurers with the convenience and comfort of a shower, even while traversing the most remote destinations.

There are various types of camper vans with showers, from integrated setups to portable options, each catering to different needs. In recent years, the demand for such vans has surged, reflecting the growing popularity of vanlife and the desire for self-sufficient travel experiences.


🚿 Pros of Camper Vans with Showers


1. Convenience and Comfort on the Road

Having a shower in your camper van means never having to rely on public facilities or wait for the next rest stop. Whether you’ve been hiking through muddy trails or simply need to freshen up, a quick shower in the comfort of your van is a game-changer.


2. Enhanced Hygiene and Cleanliness

Maintaining personal hygiene is essential, and a built-in shower ensures you can stay clean and fresh throughout your journey. This is especially valuable for extended trips or when traveling with kids and pets.


3. Freedom to Camp Anywhere

With a shower-equipped camper van, you gain the freedom to camp in more remote locations without sacrificing your comfort. Explore hidden gems and wake up to breathtaking views without compromising on the basic necessity of hygiene.


🚫 Cons of Camper Vans with Showers


1. Limited Space and Layout Considerations

Integrating a shower into a camper van’s layout requires careful planning and can impact available living space. The shower area might take up valuable room that could have been used for other purposes.


2. Water and Wastewater Management

Managing water usage and wastewater disposal becomes crucial in a camper van with a shower. Limited water tank capacity may lead to frequent refills, while finding suitable dumping stations can be challenging in certain areas.


3. Initial Cost and Maintenance Expenses

Camper vans with showers generally come with a higher price tag compared to standard models. Additionally, maintaining plumbing systems and shower fixtures adds to the overall maintenance costs.


💡 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Camper Van with Shower


1. Size and Layout

Consider the van’s size and layout to ensure the shower setup complements your lifestyle and doesn’t compromise on essential living space.


2. Water System Capacity

Evaluate the water storage capacity of the camper van to gauge how long you can comfortably go without refilling.


3. Heating Options

Explore heating options for the shower, especially if you plan to travel in colder climates, to enjoy warm showers regardless of the weather.

🔍 Comparing Integrated vs. Portable Shower Systems


When it comes to camper van showers, there are two primary options to consider: integrated showers and portable showers. Each system comes with its own set of advantages and drawbacks, catering to different needs and preferences.


Integrated Showers: Pros and Cons

Integrated showers are permanently built into the camper van’s interior, providing a seamless and convenient bathing experience. They are typically equipped with a dedicated water tank, plumbing, and drainage system. The main advantages of integrated showers include:


  • Convenience: Integrated showers offer the ease of use and eliminate the need for setting up or assembling separate shower components.
  • Aesthetics: These showers are designed to blend seamlessly with the van’s interior, creating a cohesive and visually appealing living space.
  • Reliability: Built-in systems are less likely to experience leaks or malfunctions, providing a consistent showering experience.
  • Space Usage: Integrated showers may take up valuable interior space, potentially limiting the van’s overall layout and storage options.
  • Installation Complexity: Retrofitting a van with an integrated shower can be a more intricate process, often requiring professional assistance.
  • Weight: The fixed plumbing and water tanks can add to the overall weight of the van, potentially affecting fuel efficiency.


Portable Showers: Pros and Cons

Portable showers, on the other hand, are standalone units that can be set up outside the van when needed. They offer flexibility and versatility, and their portability makes them popular among minimalist travelers. Let’s explore their pros and cons:

  • Space Efficiency: Portable showers do not consume interior space when not in use, allowing for more versatile van layouts.
  • Versatility: These showers can be used outside the van, doubling as a beach shower or for other outdoor activities.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Portable showers are generally more affordable than integrated systems.
  • Setup Required: Setting up a portable shower may involve assembling various parts and connecting to a water source.
  • Privacy Concerns: Using an outdoor shower may raise privacy concerns, especially in crowded or public areas.
  • Water Supply: Depending on the water capacity of the portable shower, you might need to refill it more frequently.


📍 Legal and Environmental Considerations


Before enjoying the convenience of a camper van shower, it’s essential to be aware of legal and environmental considerations that come with it.


Campsite Regulations and Restrictions

Many campsites have specific rules regarding wastewater disposal and using outdoor showers. Always check the regulations of the areas you plan to visit and be mindful of preserving the natural surroundings.


Environmental Impact of Shower Usage

Showering in nature can have an impact on the environment, particularly in fragile ecosystems. Consider using biodegradable soaps and minimizing water usage to reduce your ecological footprint.


Ethical Camping Practices

Practicing Leave No Trace principles is crucial for responsible campers. Ensure you pack out all waste, including soapy water, and leave the campsite as pristine as you found it.



⚙️ Maintaining and Cleaning Your Camper Van Shower


Keeping your camper van shower in top-notch condition ensures a pleasant and hygienic travel experience.


Regular Maintenance Tips

Check and maintain the plumbing system, water tank, and shower fixtures regularly to prevent leaks and malfunctions. Perform routine inspections to catch any issues early.


Cleaning and Sanitization Guidelines

Use non-toxic cleaning products to clean the shower area thoroughly. Properly sanitize surfaces to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and maintain a healthy environment.


Dealing with Mold and Mildew

Combatting mold and mildew is essential for both your health and the longevity of the shower. Address any signs of mold promptly and use ventilation to prevent moisture buildup.


🛠️ Modifying and Upgrading Your Camper Van Shower


As your needs and preferences evolve, so can your camper van shower setup.


DIY Upgrades for Better Functionality

Consider DIY modifications to optimize the shower area for your specific requirements. From storage solutions to showerhead adjustments, small changes can make a big difference.


Installing Water-Saving Features

Water conservation is essential for vanlife. Explore water-saving showerheads or systems to minimize water usage without compromising on comfort.


Adapting to Changing Needs

As you gain more experience with your camper van, you might discover aspects of the shower setup that need tweaking. Stay adaptable and make changes that align with your evolving lifestyle.


🌞 Benefits of Outdoor Showers


Embracing outdoor showers in your camper van lifestyle brings a multitude of advantages that go beyond mere hygiene.


Connecting with Nature

Outdoor showers offer a unique opportunity to connect with nature. Imagine showering under the open sky, feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin, or bathing under a canopy of stars. It’s a refreshing and immersive experience that brings you closer to the natural world.


Practicality in Beach and Outdoor Activities

After a day of sandy beach fun or engaging in outdoor adventures like hiking or biking, an outdoor shower becomes a practical asset. Rinse off saltwater, dirt, or sweat without dragging the mess inside the van, keeping the interior cleaner and more comfortable.


Preserving Indoor Living Space

By having an outdoor shower, you can preserve precious indoor living space in your camper van. This extra space can be utilized for storage, a cozy sitting area, or even a mini-workstation, enhancing your overall vanlife experience.


🌧️ Coping with Weather and Climate Challenges


As a seasoned vanlife adventurer, you’ll inevitably face various weather and climate challenges. Here’s how to tackle them effectively.


Insulation and Temperature Control

Proper insulation and temperature control are essential for year-round vanlife. Consider insulating your shower area to maintain comfortable showering temperatures during colder months.


Winter Camping Considerations

For winter camping, you may want to invest in an external hot water heater or heating element to enjoy warm showers, even in freezing conditions. Additionally, keeping the shower area dry and moisture-free becomes crucial to prevent freezing and mold issues.


Dealing with Rain and Humidity

Installing a simple awning or shelter can protect your outdoor shower from rain and provide privacy during use. Be vigilant about maintaining good ventilation to combat humidity and avoid moisture-related problems.



🚽 Camper Van Toilets vs. Showers: A Comparison


When outfitting your camper van, the toilet and shower options deserve careful consideration. Let’s compare the two.


Different Types of Camper Van Toilets

There are various types of camper van toilets, such as cassette toilets, composting toilets, and portable toilets. Each has its own pros and cons, from water usage and odor control to installation complexity.


Pros and Cons of Toilet Options

Cassette toilets are easy to use and maintain, but they require regular dumping at designated stations. Composting toilets are eco-friendly but may need more involved maintenance. Portable toilets are convenient but might not be as comfortable or odor-free.


Weighing the Priority: Toilet or Shower?

Deciding between a toilet and a shower depends on your travel style and priorities. If you frequently camp in remote areas with limited facilities, a toilet might take precedence. However, if you value the freedom of outdoor living and connecting with nature, an outdoor shower could be your top choice.


📝 Summary


In summary, camper vans with showers offer convenience and comfort on the road, enhancing the vanlife experience. They provide the freedom to camp anywhere and promote self-sufficiency.

However, there are cons to consider, such as limited space, water management, and initial costs.

When choosing a camper van with a shower, factors like size, water system capacity, and heating options are essential to consider.

Embracing outdoor showers and responsible water usage can further enrich the vanlife journey.

Camper van showering etiquette involves respecting shared facilities, disposing of waste responsibly, and preserving privacy for a harmonious camping community.


📚 Key Takeaways


  • Embrace outdoor showers to connect with nature and preserve indoor living space.
  • Prepare for weather and climate challenges by insulating and considering external heating options.
  • Weigh the benefits and drawbacks of integrated vs. portable showers based on your preferences and space requirements.
  • Explore different camper van toilet options and choose the one that aligns best with your needs and sustainability goals.
  • Implement water-saving strategies such as low-flow fixtures and greywater collection to minimize your environmental impact.


🙋‍♀️ FAQs about Camper Vans with Showers


The value of a camper van with a shower depends on your travel preferences and priorities. If you prioritize convenience, comfort, and self-sufficiency while camping, having a shower onboard can greatly enhance your vanlife experience.

Integrated showers are permanently built into the camper van’s interior, while portable showers are standalone units that can be set up outside the van. Integrated showers offer seamless convenience, while portable showers provide versatility and space-saving benefits.

Proper water management is crucial. Regularly check water tank levels, be mindful of usage, and know where to find suitable dumping stations. Some van lifers also practice greywater recycling by reusing shower water for other purposes.

With regular upkeep and cleaning, camper van showers are relatively easy to maintain. Keep the shower area dry to prevent mold and mildew growth, and use non-toxic cleaning products for sanitization.

Yes, you can use your camper van shower in cold weather. Some camper vans come with built-in heating elements for the shower water. For winter camping, consider insulating the shower area and using an external hot water heater.

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