At the end of a long, sweaty afternoon of camping, you want nothing more than to step into the enveloping heat of a shower and cleanse away the day. Showers aren’t always easy to come by at campsites, which is why you thought you’d buy an RV. Will all RVs have showers or does the model you choose matter?
All RVs do not have showers, as plenty of motorhomes are too small to include this luxury amenity. Small trailers and class B motorhomes, for instance, likely will not have showers. Larger RVs such as classes A and C often feature showers, but even that varies by floorplan.
If you still have lingering questions about RV showers, you won’t by the time you’re done reading. We’ll explain how RV showers work, where the water comes from, and how long it stays hot. We’ll even recommend a few RV models with showers, so make sure you keep reading!
Will Your RV Have a Shower?
First, let’s talk further about whether your RV will include a shower.
That depends on the size of your vehicle.
RVs or motorhomes are divided into three size classes, which is something we’ve discussed on the blog before. The first size class is A. The average size of a class A motorhome is between 21 and 45 feet long. It’s not unheard of for these RVs to weigh up to 30,000 pounds.
Class A RVs are the biggest motorhomes on the road. Due to their sheer size and length, a class A RV can accommodate any and every motorhome amenity under the sun. That includes more than a shower, but a full bathroom. Your RV bathroom would likely be outfitted with a walk-in shower, a toilet, and a sink. It’d feel like being back home!
The next RV class size is class B. Of the three RV classes, class B RVs are the smallest. Their average size is 17 to 19 feet long, and they weigh 6,000 to 11,000 pounds. Their size equivalent is a camper van.
Since they’re afforded such little room, you’re not likely to see a shower in many class B motorhome floorplans. You’re lucky to even get a toilet. Full bathrooms would mean sacrificing room elsewhere, and with paltry space to spare, it just doesn’t work.
The third RV size class is class C. These motorhomes are the second largest after class A. Measuring 21 to 41 feet long and weighing up to 12,000 pounds, class C motorhomes are nothing to sleep on.
Since they’re practically as big length-wise as a class A RV, a class C motorhome would also have plenty of room for a full bathroom with a sink, toilet, and shower. Being able to enjoy the luxuries of home will allow you to extend your camping trips.
As for trailers, although they’re not the same as RVs, some people lump them in together anyway. The same logic as above would apply to trailers. If you had a large travel trailer, it might have the space for a shower. Small teardrop trailers though would not.
We do want to make one thing clear. Although classes A and C motorhomes do have the space for a full bathroom, that doesn’t mean every model or floorplan includes a shower. Just the same, although class B motorhomes are small, that doesn’t mean you can’t find some models with a shower. These class B RVs are certainly unicorns, but they do exist.
How Big Is an RV Shower?
Having access to an RV shower lets you enjoy more of the creature comforts of home, but the shower in your motorhome likely will not be as big as your bathroom shower. However, we must again include the caveat that the size of an RV shower absolutely depends on how big the motorhome itself is.
On the smaller side, an RV shower is 24 inches wide. According to home design resource Sebring, the average household shower size starts at 32 inches wide, so a 24-inch shower is smaller than average by eight inches.
Is that noticeable? That depends on your own size. If you’re a rather tiny person both in weight and stature, then a 24-inch shower could feel plenty roomy to you. For those who are bigger or taller, a 24-inch shower might be a tight fit.
On the moderately bigger side, RV showers might have a width of 32 or 34 inches. This is average but still small by household shower size standards. Even still, having those eight extra inches of shower space can make a big difference for some RVers.
The largest RV showers are 57 inches wide. You’d almost exclusively find these showers in classes A and C motorhomes. Large household showers are up to 60 inches long, so you’re only sacrificing three inches in your RV shower.
A shower that’s 57 inches would be the closest thing you’d get to showering back at home.
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How Does an RV Shower Work?
Speaking of household showers, they and RV showers do not work the same. At home, when you flush the toilet or let your shower water go down the drain, it enters your local sewage system. Unless you have a septic system, you don’t have to think or worry about the water and sewage again. It’s taken care of.
While it’d be nice if that were the case for RVs, it isn’t.
Your motorhome has a series of tanks. One such tank is the freshwater tank, which is where your potable water supply comes from. You drink this water, use it wash your hands, cook, and shower.
Your RV will also have a blackwater tank. When you use the toilet, the waste goes into this tank. That includes bathroom waste as well as toilet paper.
Some motorhomes include a graywater tank as well. In this tank is where all your water waste goes besides that from the toilet. Your shower water drains into the graywater tank, as does sink water.
When these tanks fill past a certain point, it’s on you to drain them. Today’s RV tanks include sensors that indicate to you when they’re approaching full so you can dump them before then. Trust us when we say you don’t want a full blackwater tank onboard your motorhome for very long. It will start to smell.
You can only dump your RV tanks at a verified dump station, which many campgrounds and park sites have readily available. We wrote a great guide to dumping your RV tank contents that you can check out here.
That guide includes detailed steps on how to dump your blackwater and graywater tanks. It’s not hard, per se, but it can be time-consuming. You absolutely want to wear safety equipment such as gloves and goggles, as sometimes the tank contents can splash on their way out.
Yes, it’s gross, but it’s something that’s happened to almost every RVer at least once!
We do want to briefly recap one of the most important tips from the guide we linked you to above. When dumping your tanks, you want to be fast about it since others are usually waiting in line behind you. To help you move quickly, you must know the proper tank dumping protocol.
You’re supposed to start with the blackwater tank first, then the graywater tank. The reason is that the graywater tank contents are mostly water. As the graywater tank wastewater floods through the hose, it can clean more of the waste from the blackwater contents so you don’t manually have to do it later, hogging up more time at the dump station.
Do RV Showers Stay Hot for Long?
Your freshwater tank or a campground faucet hookup works in conjunction with the water heater in your RV to provide hot water for your shower. As the heater turns on, the potable water warms up to a comfortable degree, allowing you to shower.
Yet the question is, for how long will you have hot water?
The bigger your RV’s hot water tank, the longer the hot water lasts. Even still, if you’re expecting the time to leisurely lather up your hair with shampoo and conditioner, wash your body, shave, and maybe sing a song or two, you’re going to be disappointed.
The hot water in your RV shower might last for a couple of minutes before it begins turning lukewarm and then cold.
If you’ve ever lived in a dorm or apartment with cruddy plumbing, then you know this scenario all too well. You’ll have to begin taking what are called military showers. These are very quick showers that require you to turn off the water when lathering up and then turn the water back on to rinse off.
Do RVs with Showers Cost More?
Should you buy an RV with a shower (which you’re seriously thinking about doing), is it going to be costlier than one without?
Often, yes. Showers are considered an RV amenity. The more amenities your motorhome has, the costlier it will be. That goes for any amenity, by the way.
You have to keep in mind as well that the size of an RV with a shower is usually quite large. Bigger motorhomes such as a class A or a class C RV will be more expensive than a class B or a trailer.
3 RV Models with Showers
If you’re ready to begin shopping around for RVs with showers, allow us to help. Here are three of our favorite motorhome models complete with bathing amenities.
Fleetwood RV Discovery LXE 40M
The Discovery LXE by Fleetwood RV is one of the most luxe set of wheels that money can buy. This class A diesel motorhome is available with three floorplans. We most like the 40M plan and think you will too.
Beginning with the bathroom, the 40M model includes two lavatories. One is a full lavatory with all the fixings. The tile shower has a built-in seat. A full bathroom counter includes his and hers dual sinks. There’s also a corner toilet, a linen closet, and a stackable washer and dryer with an included drawer.
The second lavatory has only a sink and a toilet.
The rest of the 40M LXE comes equipped with an Encore Series king-sized bed that’s 72 inches by 80 inches. The bedroom has a dresser, two wardrobes, and a 32-inch LED TV with built-in storage.
A residential refrigerator with an icemaker is large enough to store a whole family’s worth of food. In the rest of the kitchen are a pantry, a convection microwave, an induction cooktop, a dishwasher, and a pull-out galley top.
Across from the kitchen is an apex booth dinette with a drop-down table. Adjacent to the dinette is a fireplace. Yes, you read that right, a fireplace.
Parallel cushions beside the dinette give you plenty of space to cozy up. The apex sofa sleeper includes a pull-out bed. The sleeper is 67 spacious inches. The apex loveseat is 64 inches and includes storage. A 49-inch pop-up TV will provide entertainment.
Even the driver’s cockpit includes a 32-inch LED TV.
Forest River Ibex 19QBS
Another great RV with a shower is the Forest River Ibex. The RV is 23 feet long and weighs 4,795 pounds. The blackwater and graywater tanks are both 30 gallons apiece.
The 19QBS floorplan has a curvy radius shower with sliding doors that might rival your shower back home. A sink and toilet are included in the small yet cozy bathroom.
The other features of this Ibex floorplan are a 14-foot awning, a refrigerator, a full cooktop with a stovetop, a pantry with an entertainment center, a three-seater dinette, and dinette storage.
When it’s bedtime, drift off to dreamland in a 60-inch by 80-inch queen-sized bed. Included super storage gives you a place to lay out your wardrobe. Pass-through storage is available as well.
Palomino RV River Ranch 390RL
The third RV we recommend with a shower is the Palomino RV River Ranch. It’s a class A RV that’s 42 feet long and weighs a bulky 17,999 pounds. Its blackwater and graywater tanks are 39 gallons each.
The 390RL floorplan is jam-packed full of amenities. We’ll start with the bathroom first as we have. It’s a major part of the River Ranch with a large shower, a toilet, his and hers sinks, and a linen closet in the bathroom.
Outside of the bathroom is the main bedroom, which houses a 72-inch by 80-inch king-sized bed with a full wardrobe adjacent to it. A ceiling fan overhead can keep you cool even without the air conditioner, which saves on electricity.
In the bedroom as well are an included washer and dryer prep with a removable shelf. You can also enjoy entertainment with a 33-inch pop-up TV.
Doors into and out of the bedroom and bathroom maintain privacy. In the center of the floorplan is the kitchen complete with a walk-in pantry, a refrigerator, a microwave, a stovetop, and a kitchen island. Across from the spacious kitchen is a set of chairs and a table for dining.
Then there are the living quarters, which include a 65-inch theater seat, an entertainment center across from the theater seat, and an 88-inch split tri-fold sofa.
Related Reading: 11 small campers with bathrooms
Classes A and C RVs are likely to have showers, but this fixture becomes less common the smaller your RV is. Although the inclusion of a shower tends to jack up the cost of an RV, being able to shower in the privacy of your own vehicle is a priceless creature comfort.