12 Camper Vans with Bathrooms: Toilet & Shower Inspiration for Off-Grid Living

Check out the layouts of these camper vans with bathrooms for some major shower and indoor bathroom inspiration including toilet options!

person reaching into an upper cabinet with a foldable Storyteller shower setup

“But where do you shower and go to the bathroom?” is probably one of the questions we get the most from friends and family that wonder how on earth we can live in a van. The thing is, there are lots of great examples of camper vans with bathrooms which make off-grid living easier than you would think.

Camper van bathrooms are always a hot topic of conversation in the van life world, and you’ll find many different styles and opinions. Some people swear by the full indoor showers in their van and couldn’t imagine doing van life without them, while some prefer to keep things simple and forego a shower in their van altogether.

For many, a toilet is a must-have (see the best camper van toilets here), while others prefer to make do without it.

The good thing is, there are lots of different options out there for camper van bathroom setups so wherever you are on the spectrum, you’ll be able to find something that works for you.

In this post, I cover a variety of camper vans with bathrooms including shower and toilet setups so you can get some ideas of different layouts and options.

Camper Van Bathroom Considerations

So you think you might want a full bathroom in your camper van? It’s definitely doable, but there are a few considerations to keep in mind up front.

Getting the shower, plumbing, and water systems right for a full indoor bathroom are some of the most difficult parts of a van build. There’s so much involved – everything from framing and waterproofing to drainage, plumbing, a grey water tank, and a water heater. Not to mention the trim, paint, and stick on tiles or other siding.

But on the other hand, many people who have a full shower inside their van love it and say it’s so worth it.

If you want a shower but don’t want to dedicate the space to a full camper van bathroom, you can consider a retractable or hidden shower. This is something we’ve recently started to see and gives you the best of both worlds: a shower whenever you want one without taking up all the space. They’re basically showers that can easily be set up when you want, then stowed away when not in use. This is a major space saver compared to a full, permanent indoor shower.

Below, we cover a variety of full, built-in van showers plus some very creative space-saving hidden showers that you may want to consider. At the end, we share some unique toilet setups as well.

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Camper Van Shower Setups

@outsidevan

Outside Van built two of my Sprinter Vans, and I truly believe they are the best in the business when it comes to creating functional, off-grid camper vans. Their 170″ Approach model van has a clever hidden water box that stores a porta potty that also converts to a shower pan (with a drain). The shower curtain quickly hangs from the ceiling creating an indoor shower that doesn’t take up space when you don’t need it.

The cool thing about this is when the shower is put away, the box converts back to a comfortable bench seat.

Source: @outsidevan

@van_yacht

Lear’s “van yacht”, a 144″ Sprinter, has a beautifully done full indoor bathroom. The bathroom sits next to his slider door and has a shower and a portable toilet that’s stored in the shower when not in use. The shower has a lightweight, flexible sliding door that can be easily closed to prevent water from splashing out and to keep things in place when driving down bumpy dirt roads.

Camper van bathroom setup with indoor shower and portable toilet by @van_yacht
Source: @van_yacht

@the.activ

Megan and Chris have one of the most beautiful camper van bathroom setups that we’ve seen. They used stick-on tiles to give their shower that nice tile look without the weight of using real tiles or the issues they would have likely faced with cracking and loose grout from all the movement the van goes through on a daily basis. They have a lightweight, flexible shower door similar to Lear’s mentioned above, and they store their portable casette toilet in the shower when not in use.

@tothemountainsnback

UK-based van lifers Ceri, Will, and their pup Piglet knew that a full bathroom in their camper van was a necessity for them from the start. Their bathroom includes a floating, urine-diverting toilet and a shower that sources hot water heated by engine heat. They attached towel holders and a toiletry basket to the shower walls using suction cups to avoid having to drill additional holes.

Camper van bathroom setup with indoor shower and floating toilet by @tothemountainsnback
Source: @tothemountainsnback

@makai.the.van

Germany-based @makai.the.van built a larger shower into her van behind the driver’s seat and loves the extra space. Rather than a shower door, she kept things simple with a shower curtain. When not in use, she stores a portable toilet inside as well.

Camper van bathroom setup with indoor shower and portable toilet by @makai.the.van
Source: @makai.the.van

@mrandmrsadventure

Brittany and Drew of Mr. and Mrs. Adventure have a DIY hidden shower set up that pulls out of a drawer beneath a bench seat. They built a custom shower pan, which is a modified utility sink (very clever!), into a drawer that they can pull out when they want to shower, complete with all their toiletries. All they have to do is set up their shower curtain and they can shower in the comfort and privacy of their own van. Check out this video for details.

Hidden drawer camper van shower by @mrandmrsadventure
Source: @mrandmrsadventure

@thetriointransit

Thinking about putting a shower in your van, but don’t want to haul around the extra water weight? Tim and Katie of The Trio In Transit have designed a super clever shower system that recirculates 3 gallons of shower water. Now, before you say “gross!”, the water gets filtered through a 5-step water filtration system, so you’re not bathing in a week’s worth of old shower water. To learn more about how this recirculating shower works, check out this video that walks you through the system.

@storytelleroverland

Storyteller Overland also has a hidden shower system in their ready-to-go adventure vans. It consists of a shower pan that’s built into the floor and covered with a lid that hinges up. The shower is stored in the cabinet above, complete with a shower curtain and all. You simply open the cabinet, pull out the collapsed shower curtain, tuck it into the shower pan, and you’re ready to go!

Camper Van Toilet Setups

If you want a toilet as part of your camper van bathroom setup, you’ve got lots of different storage options. Aside from storing a portable toilet inside the shower, we’ve seen lots of other creative ways to stash a toilet in a van so it’s hidden from sight when not in use but easily accessible when needed. Deciding on the toilet you want? Here is a roundup of the best toilets for van life.

@lighttravelers

This van build by @lightravelers has a great toilet setup that’s completely hidden when not in use. Their cassette toilet pulls out of a drawer and sits on a set of heavy-duty tracks that can handle plenty of weight.

Hidden camper van toilet by @lightravelers
Source: @lightravelers

@van.there

Jess and Mike have a hidden toilet setup as well, except their toilet – which is a composting toilet – is hidden beneath one of their dinette seats. This toilet requires permanent installation as it needs to be vented to the outside of the van.

Hidden camper van composting toilet by @van.there
Source: @van.there

@vandmvanlife

Ontario-based @vandmvanlife have the same Nature’s Head composting toilet as Mike and Jess that pulls out from under their garage. It’s a clever use of space that we haven’t seen before and makes the toilet easy to use in place.

Hidden camper van composting toilet by @vandmvanlife
Source: @vandmvanlife

@jomovan

@jomovan has a hidden cassette toilet built into a storage bench in their van next to the sliding door. The lid is cushioned and upholstered and serves as a seat too, making this setup multi-purpose. The base compartment comes apart from the top so it can easily be emptied when needed.

Hidden camper van cassette toilet in @jomovan
Source: @jomovan

@lindseyanddannyvanlife

Lindsey and Danny have a composting toilet that pulls out of their cabinet. When not in use, it’s completely hidden from view and you’d never know it’s there.

Hidden composting camper van toilet by @lindseyanddannyvanlife
Source: @lindseyanddannyvanlife

If you’d like to learn more about what goes into camper van bathrooms and showers including plumbing and greywater tanks, check out this post on camper van water systems, including showers.

Have you seen any other interesting camper vans with bathrooms? Do you have any questions on this topic? Let us know in the comments below!

Check out the layouts of these camper vans with bathrooms for some major shower and indoor bathroom inspiration including toilet options.

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42 Comments

  1. Nice update to creative solutions! We have a plan to have a sliding cartridge toilet that hides under the bed like some here…BUT have it slide out along the driver wall forward…into a space that has a shower pan below and use the adjacent sink faucet for the shower head. We want to enclose the area ONLY with an accordion door when used for either purpose, and have open with a fold up bench seat for normal use. Too much wasted space for any dedicated shower/restroom.
    (we also do #2 with a trowel when off grid and in restrooms at established campgrounds…so the toilet is for pee)

    1. Sounds like a good plan that will give you more usable space! Thanks for reading and for sharing your thoughts 🙂

    2. Well, in most places taking a dump outside is not legal. So while breaking out your trowel may seem like a good idea – is not ideal for other people that will camp in that location at some other time.

    3. It’s like I said earlier, I wish
      I could afford to recycle
      Old vans , so homeless
      Peaple could live in them.

  2. I just can’t imagine doing no.2 in open area. How do you stop the fragrance? No thanks. Toilet must be inside cubicle.

    1. This is a good point that you bring up and I’m sure it’s more comfortable for some to have their toilet in a more private space, but it’s pretty easy to air out a van afterwards by opening the slider door. That’s the great thing about camper vans, you can decide what works for you 🙂

    2. In our setup, there is no smell for the other person in the van. We typically have the back window open and the rooftop fan on pulling air out of the van causing little wind tunnel. We can even have the fan on a fairly low setting and it is still very effective. Plus, composting toilets barely smell at all compared to the other kind as long as proper maintenance is performed regularly, which isn’t very much or often. As far as a private space, we could easily hang some sort of a curtain in our setup.

      I hope this helps,
      Danny 🙂

    3. Maxx Fan to the rescue! We’ve got one for our van – on full power the fan will evacuate our small space to remove cooking smells, moisture and yes, stinky #2s!

  3. This is the number one reason I want to buy RV/campervan with toilet so that I can do no. 2 in my own space! Wherever I go! But definitely need to be enclosed for smell reasons and also incase I’m with others in the van! My question is what is the best toilet? Composting, cassette, vacuum, macerator based? Money no object? I like the plane toilets! Very powerful vacuum!

  4. Any recommendations for a cubicle just for the toilet? I’m not looking for shower too, just permanent small cubicle for toilet

  5. Thanks for featuring our little bathroom! We couldn’t be without it, especially during current times with public toilets not easy to find!

  6. I’m rather surprised that Camping Van companies didn’t take a page out of the Passenger Railroad Playbook with Pullman Cars which has had more the 100-years on designing Limited Spacing Bathrooms/Water Closets and burrow from their knowledge…

  7. I don’t think much of the design of any of the shown toilet and bathrooms, we’ve got a Mercedes sprinter LWB and have got a full bathroom inside. We also have full cooker, sink and drainer, fridge and two single beds that can be made into double. Loads of storage and onboard water and gas. I most definitely would not want to pull a toilet out from under a seat or bed.

  8. If you every come up with a plan……I am all ears…I would like to do Van Builds too.
    Mechanic.
    Thanks!

  9. My low cost plan is to use a 5 gallon bucket with a toilet seat and plastic poop bags for occasional use. I have previously lived in a cabin with a shared outhouse, so at night I’d pee in a mason jar, and wash it out in the mornings.

    Have you seen any showers built into the side entrance -I was thinking to do a pull up floor board to uncover a shower pan. What do you think of these ideas?

  10. Just picture it. You’re in a restful and peaceful deep sleep. Your partner has to poop. What a disgusting thought to look over and view someone taking a dump, one foot away, and wiping. The smell? This is just gross.

  11. This blog is for Camper Vans with Bathrooms: Toilet & Shower Inspiration for Off-Grid Living ……….Each of us has our own idea of the the perfect off grid getaway. The one comment that finds my listening ear in the morning,
    [ did that sign say beware of bears ] and if so we are going to manage our morning whiz in the van before daybreak ”YES” period no questions asked, done deal.. So is it a can, a bottle or whatever, you figure it out but keep in mind if you are not hauling 100 gallons behind you in a trailer you will only be off grid for 1 or 2 days in luxury …. or 7 to 10 days conserving on 20 gallons + 3 gallons of store bought drinking water. If luxury is what you need then you might add a 100 gallon holding tank …. I feel the goal should be to enjoy the people you are with, let nature be your in your conversation, always leave it cleaner than you found it ..

  12. Love these ideas. Obvously a shower/toilet takes lots of critical space in the van. I wonder if anyone ever thought of sharing the shower space with storage so that a hinged/sliding closet will occupy the shower room and that – when the shower is needed – slides into the living space temporarily? some humidity issues, I am sure – but these can be solved, no?

    1. Hi Jonathan, it sounds possible, although we’ve never seen it done! You’d probably either need to wipe down the shower every time or let it fully air dry before sliding the closet back in.

  13. hi, can you all put a bathroom and mini kitchen in a little house boat. Only thing you would need to go to where it’s moored thanks

  14. We toiled over this bathroom debate when building our Sprinter 170 and decided to go with a 36″ x 24″ fixed shower/bathroom with Natures Head toilet. We are so glad we did. It has made the van massively more useful as a travelling home in all seasons. Especially after a hot day of hiking, mountain biking, or anything else sweaty.

    With very careful planning including details to the fraction of the inch, we were able to create a van for 2 people inclusive of this bathroom, a dinette, 5.3 cu ft refrigerator/freezer, microwave/convection oven, pantry, 2 burner induction cooktop, tons of galley storage, huge amount of clothing storage including a wardrobe, near queen size bed, and garage that carries 3 bikes along with 3 person inflatable kayak and dog Burley trailer. All in a Sprinter 170 that is very comfortable.

    We feel we did not have to sacrifice anything for the benefit of the shower that we really appreciate having and use a lot. Everyone’s needs and resultant layout are different, but there is a lot you can do and not have to make all hard tradeoffs.

    Happy to share floorplan/design with others if this is helpful.