The great comforts of home that RVs provide are pretty amazing. They’re a vehicle that you can drive from place to place… that’s also a home! And the availability of a private bathroom and shower in your RV is just one of the luxuries many of us enjoy as we travel. But, what about an RV outdoor shower? If you have one, do you use it? If you don’t have one, have you thought about adding one? Is an RV outdoor shower worth having?
Today we’re taking a closer look at the RV outdoor shower. What it is, what it’s good for, what it’s not so good for, how to use one effectively, and whether or not you even need one.
- 1) What Is an RV Outdoor Shower?
- 2) What Are the Advantages of an RV Outdoor Shower?
- 3) What Are the Disadvantages of an RV Outdoor Shower?
- 4) How Do You Shower Outside an RV?
- 5) Can I Extend the Hose of My RV Outdoor Shower?
- 6) Do I Need an Outdoor Shower on My RV?
What Is an RV Outdoor Shower?
An RV outdoor shower is exactly what it sounds like – a shower outside your RV. Some RVs come standard with an outdoor shower, while others only have an indoor shower. An RV outdoor shower is generally found near the water hookup in a small enclosure, either embedded in the side of the RV or in an enclosed bay. The outdoor shower takes water from your fresh water tank or from a city water source if you’re connected.
Some RVs that don’t come with a shower at all are great candidates for the placement of an outdoor shower, and this is an idea which many “van lifers” and other self-builders and regular campers whose rigs don’t have an indoor shower take advantage of in an effort to have some sort of shower available while they travel.
People often wonder why RVs that come with indoor showers also come with outdoor showers. But RV outdoor showers are good for many things that we can’t (or don’t want to) do in an indoor shower.
What Are the Advantages of an RV Outdoor Shower?
RV outdoor showers can be very useful for rinsing off everything from sandy shoes and feet, to muddy paws, to dirty bikes, to salty surfboards, to dishes, pots, and pans. An outdoor shower keeps all of that sand, dirt, and debris outside the RV rather than tracking it into your living space or into the storage bays of the rig. In the case of dishes/pots/pans, it can help keep your gray water tank from filling up prematurely.
And if you don’t have a shower inside your RV, the advantage of an outdoor shower is that you now have a way to shower while you’re camping!
What Are the Disadvantages of an RV Outdoor Shower?
There are lots of things on an RV to maintain. If you’re a camper who has no use for an RV shower, then it’s just another item to maintain that doesn’t benefit you.
An outdoor shower needs to be winterized annually because the related plumbing and valves will surely freeze if given the opportunity. So, if you camp in (or store your RV in) potentially freezing or sub-freezing temperatures, you need to be sure to adequately winterize this part of your RV.
If you’re looking to install an RV outdoor shower, it’s another expense to consider. And depending on how complicated the plumbing to that area would be, the installation could be expensive (though not necessarily so).
How Do You Shower Outside an RV?
If you’d like to use your outdoor shower to bathe, there are a few things you’ll want to consider. But showering outside in nature can be a fabulous experience if the weather and the surroundings are right.
Let’s take a look at a few things you’ll need in order to use your RV outdoor shower for bathing.
DIY Shower Enclosure
You can shower in a bathing suit or, if you’re camping in the literal middle of nowhere (with no neighbors), in the nude without issue. But in most places, you’ll probably want to have some sort of shower enclosure available.
An outside shower enclosure isn’t difficult to DIY with a bit of PVC piping, some suction cups, and a shower curtain and rings, as this Class B RVer did. You’ll probably want to use longer pieces of PVC, though, as her first attempt created a very small enclosure which she later revised using 31″ lengths of PVC. She also sewed a couple of shorter shower curtains together, but you can forego this step by simply buying a wider shower curtain like this one that should be able to wrap all the way around your enclosure.
- WATERPROOF: The tight weave and superior quality of the fabric provide it with a firm, smooth texture which promotes water bead formation and prevents...
- WEIGHTED HEM: The weighted bottom hem keeps the liner in place and reduces billowing; The high-quality weave gives this curtain liner a soft hand feel...
You could also use something like this removable shower rod, but you’d need to be okay with drilling some holes in the side of your RV for the two mounting pieces. Otherwise, some heavy-duty suction cups should suffice.
Pop-up Shower Tent
A nice alternative to installing/attaching an enclosure onto the side of your RV is a pop-up shower tent. These set up very quickly (in seconds, literally), and can sit beside your RV with the shower head and hose fed through the top and hung inside the tent.
- Pop Up & Easier Access: Automatically pops up in seconds, no assembly required. Fold up this lightweight tent effortlessly and compactly into the...
- UV Protection & Water-repellent: The waterproof polyester fabric in black with silver coating keeps the inner shelter dry and protects you from 98% of...
They even make a two-room pop-up tent if you’ve got the room for one. These allow you to shower on one side of the tent and then move to the dry room next door to change privately. These are ideal as pop-up shower/changing rooms on the go, if you’ve got the room for them. Be aware that this two-room pop-up shower/changing tent weights just a bit in excess of 16 pounds.
- 【LARGE SPACE】2 rooms, the shower tent size (83''× 42''× 83'') is large enough for two adults; shower tent packaged size: 23''× 7.8'' × 7.8'',...
- 【EASY SET UP】Easy assembly with pole clips that quickly snap over the poles; You will install very easy with 4 steel poles, 5 fiberglass poles, 4...
Suction Cup Shower Caddy
If you’ve opted for the DIY shower enclosure, you might like to have somewhere to put your soap, shampoo, conditioner, razor, etc. other than on the ground. While the pop-up shower tents have pockets for your shower items, a DIY shower enclosure calls for something like this that will suction to the side of your RV.
- ✅ No Tools Need & 1s Installation - No drilling, No screws, No holes, No glue, No tools to apply the suction shower storage. Our suction bathroom...
- ✅ Powerful & Removable Suction Shower Caddy - Our suction cup shower caddy can max hold to 22lb/10kg, firmly to the wall for over 1000 days after...
Teak Wood Bath Mat
Showering outdoors is lovely, but not if you’re standing in the mud or wet grass as you do so. If you’re going to shower outside, a wooden bath mat is a great companion item to your RV outdoor shower. Water will drain beneath it, and you’ll emerge from your shower with clean feet which you can slide into sandals or shower shoes.
Teak makes a wonderful wooden bath mat as does bamboo, but there are other types available as well. Just make sure the mat raises your feet off the ground and allows the water to drain beneath the mat.
- Upgrade Your Classy Bathroom - Premium teak bath mat looks much beautiful than other material made bathtub floor mats. Reddish brown wooden color and...
- Luxury A Grade Teak Wood with Lacquer Finish - The L24" x W18" x H1.2" bath mat is made of teak wood, only A grade teak made wooden bathroom mat...
Biodegradable Soap & Shampoo
If you’re going to shower outside or wash your children, pets, clothes, or anything else that requires soap, please be mindful of the fact that many soaps and shampoos are very harmful to the environment.
As RVers and people who greatly appreciate and enjoy the magnificence of nature, we all need to do our part to not impose more harm on the environment wherever possible. Using biodegradable products like the famous Dr. Bronners soaps is very important if you anticipate using soap outside for any reason.
There are other biodegradable soaps/shampoos/conditioners available as well, but Dr. Bronners is the most popular among campers so we’re linking to it here.
- MADE WITH ORGANIC OILS & CERTIFIED FAIR TRADE INGREDIENTS: Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Liquid Soaps are made with over 90% organic ingredients. Over...
- ORGANIC & FAIR TRADE PALM KERNEL OIL: Grown by fairly-paid smallholder farmers in Ecuador to ensure sustainable harvesting techniques that won't...
Can I Extend the Hose of My RV Outdoor Shower?
You can indeed, and many people do. The shower hoses on RV outdoor showers can be annoyingly short in some cases. If you’d like to extend your shower hose, you can very easily DIY an extension by picking up a few items at your home improvement store.
If your outdoor shower is located in your water bay, you should have plenty of room for a hose extension and you can simply replace the hose and a couple of fittings in that case.
But if your outdoor shower is housed in a small enclosure built into the side of your RV, you may not have room to store it all inside the enclosure. In this case, in addition to the hose extension, you’ll appreciate having some quick-connect hose fittings on the stock hose, the sprayer, and the extension hose. This will allow you to quickly connect and disconnect (and store) the extra length of the hose as necessary.
Do I Need an Outdoor Shower on My RV?
The answer depends on how you use your RV. Some folks have absolutely no use for an RV outdoor shower. Some campers use only campground showers while others use only their RV indoor showers.
RVers with children, pets, or who lead an active lifestyle with bikes, kayaks, who hike in mud or camp in dusty areas are more likely to find an RV outdoor shower priceless.
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Monday 20th of December 2021
Thanks for the great information. How do you suggest managing where the water goes so your not standing in a puddle when working in the wet bay
Monday 20th of December 2021
Thanks, Matthew. That's where the teak "bathmat" (or something similar) comes in. Since you can't really control where the water goes, using something like that helps to keep you out of the water/mud showering could create.
Monday 20th of December 2021
Thanks for the suggestions. I wonder if anyone ever uses the outside shower with a longer hose to wash the entire RV. With so many CG not allowing washing it would be nice to pull over somewhere and wash the rig or at least be able to wash off the front leading edge of all the bugs and debris.
Monday 20th of December 2021
With the proper adapters, Bob, you should be able to do something like that. You'd probably want a different head on it for that purpose, too.