Motorhomes are usually set up with a toilet and a shower. Space is limited in a motorhome toilet as are water and energy, but every time I use the shower it really refreshes me.
Motorhomes do have showers. The shower in a motorhome is surprisingly good. They are not comparable to the shower you have in your home as there is both limited water and power in the motorhome. If you are on a long trip you will be really glad of your motorhome shower.
When we first got our motorhome, I was tinkering with the idea of removing the bathroom and putting the space to better use. The thought of the chemical toilet and showering in such a confined space really did not appeal.
Thank goodness I had the sense to have a few trips before we shaped the motorhome to our needs. Turns out what we thought we needed and what we actually required were two different things.
The first time I used the shower it really was a bit of a squeeze. There is a shower curtain that is pulled right around the bathroom and you stand in the middle of it. The shower curtain is very light, so, you know that feeling of the shower curtain touching you when you are showering? It’s hard to avoid that.
Even so, when you have no other option it is really great to be able to wash and the water is nice and hot. A hot shower while camping in the wilds is an incredible thing to be able to do.
In the Hymer, there is a hot water tank, ours is 10 litres, that can run on mains power or gas. This allows you to have one or two showers per tank. The tank takes about 20 minutes to get hot and if you leave it on you can have a couple of showers one after the other no problem.
Now don’t get me wrong this is a camp shower. You soak, soap and rinse. While you are soaping up the water is off. You may have a problem if you like to spend 20 minutes in the shower with the water running constantly. It’s not that type of shower. It really is basic but very functional and I am very glad that it’s there for when we need it.
Obviously, if you are on a campsite you will be using their facilities and showers will be part of that. But if you want to be a bit lazy or if the showers are busy on the campsite your own personal shower is there if you need it.
All in all, having access to a shower in the motorhome is a fantastic luxury. If you have not already guessed I really like it
How much water does a motorhome shower use?
The amount of water used by the shower is totally dependant on how you use it. You can use a lot of water but if you are careful you will get a couple of showers no problem from the one tank. At a guess, as it is quite difficult to measure I would say we probably use 4 to 5 litres per shower. That is using the wet, water off, soap and scrub, rinse method. So there is not continually running water. You can just stand under the shower for ages if you want but you will soon get through the resources of water and gas – or electricity if you are on hookup.
It is quite amazing just how little resources you need to keep yourself clean. I think we are just so used to standing under that never-ending supply of water that we enjoy in our homes.
How much gas and power does a motorhome shower use?
If you are in a campsite your boiler should run off mains electricity, using no gas at all. When off-grid gas is use is not too bad. Obviously, you just heat up the water about 20 mins before you want to use it. You don’t need to heat the water in the tank all day long.
After about 20 minutes you can have a shower. Our hot water temperature can be selected from the control box so we don’t have it up at 70 but find 40 something degrees (Celcius) is ample for having a nice hot shower. The hotter you set the water temperature the more gas you will use. Even though our boiler is nearly 30 years old it does seem to be very efficient.
The actual amount of gas is difficult to quantify as you will be cooking and possibly heating the motorhome as well as having showers.
I do have the instructions for the hot water tank and the 10-litre tank that we have will use 120g of gas per hour.
So for a rough calculation if it takes half an hour to heat up the tank and for simplicity, you just get 1 shower out of a tank you will use 60g of gas.
In theory, you can get around 183 showers from an 11kg gas bottle. In reality, with a little bit of care, you should get at least twice that much.
The electrical side consumes about 800 watts so you really need to be on hook up for this.
Problems with Motorhome Showers
There are problems with showers in the motorhome. The main problem being, leaking.
If your shower base is leaking you may not notice for some time and the damage that can do can be extensive.
Motorhome shower bases tend to be very robust. Over the years they do take a fair bit of punishment. Our shower base has a bit of crazing but nothing serious and as far as I can tell there are no leaks.
When you think how long that shower base has been in the bathroom space getting stood on every time someone wants to use the toilet, enduring endless vibration and forces from the movement of the motorhome, it’s amazing it is even in one piece.
As the bases get older they turn a yellow colour and tiny cracks, like crazing, can appear and look unsightly and sometimes leak.
What to do if Your Motorhome Shower is Leaking
Once the base is damaged it is not a good idea to use the shower. Each time you do you will be soaking below the shower base and this will take a long time to dry out, undoubtedly causing rot to the motorhome floor.
The best repair is to rip out the base, repair any rot and put a new base in. If your base is like ours and is not made any more things are a bit more tricky. Also, our whole bathroom comes down onto the base which makes repairing the base a huge job where the whole bathroom would need to be removed. Our bathroom is so old and all seems to be made of plastic I would be worried about the panels breaking and being even more difficult to source than the shower base.
Before you get depressed there are a few options. If you can get the shower base out in one piece it may be possible to use the old base as a mould and have a new base made.
If that’s not possible then there are some companies who can repair them by putting a coating on them and giving your old shower base a new lease of life. Not as good as a new one but should last for many years.
Taking Care of Your Motorhome Shower
Looking after the shower is very important. If yours is like ours and the actual floor of the bathroom is the shower base then even more care is required so as not to damage or crack the shower base.
We don’t wear any outdoor shoes in the motorhome and this is especially important for your shower base. The last thing you want is large shoes in the toilet space kicking delicate plastics or grinding grit into the shower base.
No harsh chemicals. The bathroom in a motorhome is very different from the bathroom in your home. Our motorhome bathroom is mainly made of plastics – 30-year-old plastic. So to try and slow any degradation we use the eco-friendly chemicals which are usually a lot softer on the bathroom materials as well as the environment. Bleach-based chemicals will degrade plastics over time. There may be occasions you may need something stronger and that’s fine but for the majority of the time use less damaging chemicals.
Top up the shower waste. If it’s hot and you are finding that the bathroom is smelling a bit we found that pouring a couple of cups of water down the shower drain would stop the smells. Our shower drain seems to empty a bit during travel and if you are not showering (on a campsite or have other facilities) the drain seems to let smells up from the waste tank.
In general, the toilet always seems surprisingly fresh for such a tiny space. Keep it clean and dry as much as possible and you will find the space a joy (maybe taking that a bit far!)
Even though the shower space can look ridiculously small and there seems to be no way to shower in that space having a shower with warm water no matter how small is an amazing luxury and one I would find very difficult to give up. A shower in your motorhome is definitely worth having and seems to reinforce the feeling that you are travelling in a home from home.