Do camper vans have toilets and showers?

In this article, we will answer the following question: Do camper vans have toilets and showers? We will explain how camper toilets and showers work. 

Do camper vans have toilets and showers?

Yes, camper vans can have toilets and showers, but this is not a general rule. Some camper vans have dry or wet baths, others have none at all – same for toilets.  

​​​This is usually one of the main concerns of many of the people who want to acquire an RV. In fact, in many cases, there is a lack of knowledge as to whether something like this is possible in a camper van. Incidentally, these equipment are frequently found in large volume models, not so in small or medium campers. We are referring mainly to campers with an indoor shower and a fixed toilet (not potties).

The most popular camper vans equipped with toilets and showers are Class B RVs. Looking for a model? Check out these models:

Camper Van ModelBathroom type/locationMSRP
Nugget Plus from WestfaliaA built-in toilet, washbasin and small storage space. Can be accessed both from the inside and the outside.$59,875
Era 70C from Winnebago A large rear bathroom with a toilet, shower, and sink.$100,000.
Plateau TS from Pleasure-Way A large toilet with a 12-gallon black water tank.$79,500
Zion SRT from RoadTrekAn enclosed bathroom with a shower.$90,509

And now that we have covered what camper vans have toilets and showers, we are going to explain how the bathroom in a camper van works. 

How does a camper van chemical toilet work?

The chemical toilet is the solution to locate a toilet in places where there is no water intake or ordinary drains. You have been able to see them at concerts and other types of events (such as marathons and large concentrations). 

In these cases, they usually have the shape of a cabin where a person can stand. In the present case, the WC for camper vans or motorhomes has a much smaller size, consisting only of the essential part: the toilet bowl and the tank. For small and medium camper van models the solution is the famous portable potty.

Now, let’s talk about the chemicals. In essence, there are two liquids that we need to use in the chemical toilet and one of them is not absolutely essential, although it can improve the experience.

  • The blue liquid helps to break down the excrement that goes to the toilet tank, called the black water tank. The name in this case says it all. Among the best-known brands to buy blue or decay liquid are Ambiti, Domocamp, Motorrevive, Thetford, Dometic, or Campingaz.
  •  The pink liquid is not essential but it enhances the experience. Its function is to disinfect, create a good smell and help make the surface of the cup more slippery. The brands that we can find that sell the pink liquid are the same ones mentioned for the decomposition liquid.
  • More recently other formats and liquids are appearing. For example, ecological decomposition liquids are beginning to appear, a very interesting alternative for caring for the environment. Another of the formats that exist are pills.

How is the chemical toilet used? The first thing is to prepare the sewage tank with blue liquid and a little water. Do not pour in any additional liquid as it may react with the blue (decomposition) liquid.

In the case of a fixed toilet, turn on the water pump and check that the white water tank (clean water) has enough. If it is a portable toilet, we must check that the cistern has water and, if we consider it, we will have poured the necessary amount of pink liquid (for a good smell, etc).

The third thing will be to open the hatch that separates the bowl from the sewage tank. This step is very important, otherwise, the hatch may be unnecessarily stained.

We will do our business … Preferably we will throw the paper in a separate bag. At this point, there are people who also throw the paper into the black tank. We do not recommend it. The fewer things that are difficult to decompose we throw into the tank, the easier the subsequent cleaning will be.

We will close the hatch again so that the odours do not come out of the black tank.

As a general rule, the black tank has an indicator (green/red) to know when it is full. It is usually one of the parts that fail with use, so if it does not work properly, you will have to use the traditional method: look through the hatch. When it is full, it will have to be emptied in the place set up for this purpose. Once emptied, it is recommended to rinse it several times until the water runs clear so that there are no odours.

How to clean a camper van toilet?

This is the process most feared by beginner users, due to indirect contact with its content, however, it is good to know that due to chemical additives and cleaning substances, these faecal residues do not have the characteristic odours, therefore, it is much less unpleasant than some think.

However, it is essential to take into account certain precautions when emptying the waste. First of all, it is advisable to use rubber gloves, because the chemicals used to break down organic matter are very toxic to the skin. This is one of the reasons why the toilet deposits should be emptied only in the sites-enabled for this purpose, such as service areas and campsites.

It is good to note at this point that some tanks can weigh 20 kg or more, therefore, it will take the participation of two people to transfer it to the place of emptying. However, some models have wheels for easy transport.

A chemical toilet drain is easy to recognize, as it is similar to a bidet, so it has a hose and in some cases, it also has a metal element to help dump the tank. In this way, you only have to unscrew the cap of the tube and proceed to turn the mouth of the container towards the drain. 

How does a camper van shower work?

As we have mentioned, some camper vans have indoor showers. These campers come with either a dry bath or a wet bath. What is the difference between the two?

  • Wet baths are considered “bath and shower combos” and are mostly found in smaller RVs, like Class B motorhomes. Both features, along with a sink, are encased in a small room that is meant to get completely soaked but can also be quickly cleaned.
  • A dry bathroom, on the other hand, includes a separate shower room from the toilet and sink.

The different types of showers in a camper van

  1. Camper vans with a dry bathroom and a hot shower are, of course, the most expensive models, which have been devised since the beginning of the camperization so that all the systems are perfectly connected to each other. That is, clean water tank, pump connected to the current, water heating system, cabin where we can shower without suffering too much with the water going out and finally, collection and storage of gray water in the water tanks gray.

As in the cases mentioned above there are several possibilities and systems to heat the water, for this, we recommend that you consult our articles in which we talk about camping during winter. 

  1. Camper vans with a solar pressure shower.  These are outdoor showers. By activating the manual pumping system we will create a certain pressure to shower. They are usually black so that the sun warms the water.
  1. Camper vans with a gravity solar shower.  Another solution that serves as a shower on camper van trips is the solar model by gravity. It is a bag (usually black) of about 5-10 liters of water that we must hang in a high area (such as a hook on the camper door) to later turn the “tap”.
  1. Camper vans with an outdoor shower with 12v connection or battery. Other shower models work with a pump connected to 12v. We will have to submerge the pump in a water tank and connect the 12v plug. Later it will be enough that we activate the engine so that it starts working. This is a pretty good compromise.

Alternatives for a camper van without a shower

Of course, not all camperr vans come with a shower, but your needs stay the same! So let’s look at some solutions to still be able to enjoy you trip:

  • Public showers, sports centres and municipal swimming pools. Remember to look for public showers at rest stops as well.Most will ask for a small fee, but it is a good option while travelling. 
  • Gas stations with shower. Some gas stations also have showers on their premises. Sometimes they charge a low amount and sometimes they even include it in the price of the menu. In any case, the best way to find them is to consult the website of the different oil companies and go to the map of gas stations to consult their services.

Camper vans with toilets and showers: Conclusions

As you can see, there are various options for both having camper vans with shower and a toilet. As a general rule, a potty is usually a good option for all sizes (small, medium and large campers). Regarding the campers with an interior shower, we should tend to large models, not only because of the height or the space but also because of the size of the tanks that we must have, both white and grey.

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please do not hesitate to get in contact!

Other FAQs about Camper Vans that you may be interested in.

Why are camper vans so popular?

What is the best camper for a family of 4?

Is driving a campervan difficult?

Do campers have pink slips?

FAQ on Do camper vans have toilets and showers?

How long does the water last in a motorhome?

In a 4-seater motorhome (2 adults and 2 children), the 100/120 litres of clean water that most motorhomes carry should be enough for 2 full days, using all the elements (shower, w, c, washing dishes, etc …), in an autonomous and logically moderate way.

How long does the motorhome sewage tank last?

The sewage comes from the toilet. Each one has its corresponding independent tank, so you can empty one or the other. We recommend that the grey water be emptied daily and the black one every 3-4 days.

Do Class B motorhomes have bathrooms?

While not all Class B motorhomes have bathrooms, you can count on many vans that have fitted a small bathroom (sink, toilet, shower), which are usually called wet baths. 

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