Do you need a camper van with a bathroom or not? This question plagues the minds of many potential camper van owners. Having a bathroom has many benefits but some pretty big disadvantages, too.
In this article, we take a closer look at which camper vans have bathrooms, what kind you’ll find, and some considerations when shopping for (or building) your own van.
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Do Camper Vans Have Bathrooms?
Some camper vans have bathrooms, and some don’t. Most professionally manufactured camper vans have some sort of facility, even if it’s just a cassette toilet. But many DIYers leave the bathroom out entirely. Whether or not a van has a bathroom depends on its size, its intended use, and the conversion budget.
Do You Need a Bathroom in a Camper Van?
Having a bathroom in a camper van is a personal preference, but many DIY builders opt-out of including one. These van travelers find new ways to use the restroom and shower, including going outside, only staying in campgrounds with facilities, utilizing public or solar showers, or relying on public toilets. Other van travelers view a bathroom, or at the least a toilet, as a necessity.
What Types of Bathrooms Do You Find in Camper Vans?
Camper vans are among the smallest types of recreational vehicles on the road today. They come in different lengths, but they typically never exceed 17 ft. Because of their short size, space for a bathroom is minimal but possible.
Larger camper vans and Class B RVs have room for a dry bathroom. A dry bath has a separate toilet and shower area. Some might have a toilet in one room and a shower in the other. Other dry baths have the toilet and shower in the same room but separated from each other.
A wet bath is a room where all components are designed to get wet. They’re small and include a toilet, shower, and sometimes a sink. While a wet bath might sound weird, it has some significant advantages. Smaller camper vans can have wet bathrooms that fit a toilet and a shower into a small space.
➡ Read our in-depth guide on wet baths to learn more about their pros and cons: What Is An RV Shower Toilet Combo?
Some small Class B RVs and DIY camper vans, like these amazing minivan conversions, just have a toilet.
Professionally built Class B RVs likely have a cassette toilet. A cassette toilet is an all-in-one toilet that features a small wastewater holding tank built-in. In many Class B RVs, you can access the holding tank from outside to remove and dump it.
In other camper vans, especially DIY ones, you can find composting or portable camping toilets. Portable camping toilets are all-in-one, with a removable waste tank on the bottom and a tank for fresh water on the top. Portable camping toilets don’t require installation, and you can remove them to use anywhere.
The DIY crowd likes composting toilets. These toilets separate liquids and solids and require no plumbing or major installation.
Pro Tip: Don’t believe every negative thing you hear about composting toilets. They’re actually pretty great! Here’s why: 5 Composting Toilet Myths You Need to Ignore.
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What are the Benefits of a Camper Van With a Bathroom?
There are major benefits to having a bathroom in your camper van, or at the very least a toilet. Having a bathroom makes it easier to live on the road or take extended road trips.
If your camper van has a shower, your RV is considered fully self-contained. You can relieve and clean yourself without relying on a campground or other public facilities.
Are There Any Disadvantages?
Some disadvantages to having a bathroom in a camper van include taking away valuable living space in a vehicle that’s already very small.
Some that only have a toilet have an intelligent design where the toilet slides easily into a cabinet or under the bed. Other vans with an entire bathroom have to dedicate quite a bit of space.
Another disadvantage to having a bathroom in a van is the holding tanks. They can’t hold large fresh or wastewater tanks. So, even though it has a shower, you can’t take a very long one before running out of water and filling up the gray tank.
Additionally, you may have trouble finding dump stations. Having wastewater onboard and a toilet that needs dumping is another chore and can limit how long you can stay parked at a campsite.
Is It Worth It to Have a Camper Van with a Bathroom?
Is it worth it to have a bathroom in your camper van, or at the very least a toilet? Having a bathroom has many benefits, but this ultimately comes down to personal preference.
If you need the convenience of a toilet in your camper, then finding a van with a bathroom or building one yourself is essential. But if you think you can do without it, you can save time, money, and space.
Does your camper van have a dry bath, wet bath, or toilet only? Let us know in the comments.
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