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Thread: Permanent or temporary shower?

  1. #1
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    Oct 2016
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    Default Permanent or temporary shower?

    Building out a T1N LWB Sprinter van for expedition use. We spent the last three years traveling parts of Asia, then all of Europe and Africa with a motorcycle, ending our last 3 months with a 4x4 Hilux. Once this van is finished we want to spend 8 months traveling through central Asia, all the stans up into Mongolia and Russia etc, before moving on to South America. This has been a huge factor in considering our van layout, so we are trying to weigh up the pros and cons of a permanent bathroom setup for overland use

    The reasons I will absolutely have a shower/toilet included in the van build
    • Not reliant on campgrounds
    • Not reliant on public facilities
    • Can take a shower daily
    • Can use a toilet whenever needed


    Pros of a permanent shower/bathroom
    • Not reliant on warmer climates (typically outside showers)
    • No water spillage or condensation in living space
    • Private room for toilet/shower use
    • No setup required


    Cons of a permanent shower/bathroom
    • Takes up a lot of room inside a van (28"x32")


    Pros of a temporary shower/bathroom
    • Frees up space in the van


    Cons of a temporary shower/bathroom
    • Setup required every time
    • just...urgh..


    Trying to talk myself away from permanent bathroom into a temporary setup. Anyone got a preference for either/or?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Ontario Canada
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    713
    For Full time a permanent bathroom was an essential requirement for us. (we have been 3 yrs full time so far).
    A Sprinter is going to be tight. I would say a composting toilet is one of the best upgrades we made. No searching for dump stations, no water for flushing and no blackwater. Total freedom from services.
    I doubt you will be showering everyday, even with a "boat shower", water is heavy and your capacity will not be that large.
    Last edited by Joe917; 11-19-2017 at 12:20 AM.
    1993 Mercedes-Benz 917 AF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    1,211
    For fulltime I would go permanent, especially since you mention "daily shower". That also is going to mean a pretty substantial amount of water storage, I would shoot for at least 40 gallons, with 60 being more ideal.
    1997 Dodge Ram CTD, 5 Speed manual, BD exhaust brake, 5x12 injectors, 4k Gov. springs, Thuren coils, Fox shocks, Stable loads, 99HD steering, Carli end links, Method Race Wheels, 295/70/18 Cooper STTMaxx tires.

    2011 Northstar Adventurer

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    631
    You have no choice really - you need to go permanent. If 2 people intend to use a bathroom full-time, to me, that means at least 2-4 showers a day and maybe 10 flushes a day depending on the situation. In that case, having a proper bathroom is going to make your trip so much better. What you will need to do is budget less space for other stuff though. You might need to go with a bit smaller kitchen and less storage. Or maybe consider cutting out any seating area you have planned? I never understood seating areas in sprinter vans - waste of space. I prefer a fixed bed with storage under it, and you can then sit on the bed. Or sit in the TWO seats in the front (driver/passenger), or best yet, sit outside in the sun with patio chairs (which you were able to store because you have a fixed bed! lol). If you make some sacrifices like that, you can fit a big nice cozy bathroom.

  5. #5
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    Mar 2012
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    O'Fallon, MO
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    Keep the fit-out simple.

    Park up at campgrounds or hostels for a shower. Learn how to take a bath out of a pan or use wet wipes.

    Ditch the massive water tank for a couple of water cooler bottles with a Dolphin hand pump. Get a 5 gallon porta potty to use as a crapper.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    631
    Quote Originally Posted by dlh62c View Post
    Keep the fit-out simple.

    Park up at campgrounds or hostels for a shower. Learn how to take a bath out of a pan or use wet wipes.

    Ditch the massive water tank for a couple of water cooler bottles with a Dolphin hand pump. Get a 5 gallon porta potty to use as a crapper.
    That sounds awful. Might as well ride a motorcycle across the country. The whole point of having a sprinter is to not be taking ****s in a porta potty and wiping your *** with baby wipes.

  7. #7
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    Sep 2016
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    NM
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    Quote Originally Posted by adam88 View Post
    That sounds awful. Might as well ride a motorcycle across the country. The whole point of having a sprinter is to not be taking ****s in a porta potty and wiping your *** with baby wipes.
    Interesting perspective. I'd rather do everything outside if the weather is nice.

    IMO the reason for having a nice enclosed space is to easily get out of the weather and carry stuff. It isn't so I can haul the "comforts of home" around with me.
    2016 Toyota Tundra SR 4x4 Double Cab Long Bed 5.7L..... DIY camper on the way...

  8. #8
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    May 2010
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    631
    Quote Originally Posted by rruff View Post
    Interesting perspective. I'd rather do everything outside if the weather is nice.

    IMO the reason for having a nice enclosed space is to easily get out of the weather and carry stuff. It isn't so I can haul the "comforts of home" around with me.
    It depends entirely on the needs of the person. If you are a single, young person, then sure, have at it. But good luck convincing your 45 year old wife, who has never overlanded, to take a dump in the hallway in front of you. Or better yet, be on her period in front of you in the hallway. And what do you do when it is snowing outside and -10 degrees and you need to use the bathroom at 3am? These are not fun things to talk about but they are the reality. As a male, if I were single, I'd just use baby wipes and take a **** in a porta potti but when you have a wife and kids you gotta upclass it. So you either put a bathroom in a sprinter, or you get something bigger which many people cant afford as well.

  9. #9
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    Sep 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by adam88 View Post
    It depends entirely on the needs of the person. If you are a single, young person, then sure, have at it. But good luck convincing your 45 year old wife, who has never overlanded, to take a dump in the hallway in front of you. Or better yet, be on her period in front of you in the hallway. And what do you do when it is snowing outside and -10 degrees and you need to use the bathroom at 3am? These are not fun things to talk about but they are the reality.
    I'm not young. Did 13 years full time ('84 Toyota truck and homebuilt camper), around 20 years ago. About 4 of those years with a couple different women. I guess people do have different ideas about what is comfortable and what women want. No one ever took a dump in my truck. No one was around and the weather was nice ~360 days/year (pretty easy to accomplish in the western US), so the outdoors made a fine toilet. Even at 3am. I definitely didn't consider it a hardship at all, rather a blessed privilege. Gave me an excuse to get my *** out and look at the stars.

    My wife has no qualms about exposing me to whatever natural bodily functions she may be experiencing. Don't recall any other women I've known have either.

    IMO if a woman doesn't like to camp in the wilderness, then she isn't going to enjoy being in your rig no matter how comfortable it is. It still isn't going to be a big house and have all the things she is accustomed to. And if she *does* like it, then minor inconveniences (relatively) are inconsequential.
    2016 Toyota Tundra SR 4x4 Double Cab Long Bed 5.7L..... DIY camper on the way...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    California
    Posts
    4
    I’d go with a cartridge toilet. I’d have a small inside enclosure for those cold days or days you don’t need to completely “shower” and a larger outdoor shower curtain attachment to the side of the sprinter and a wood platform for those days you need to shower and it’s not freezing. I have a picture of one somewhere on my computer and will post later. My wife refused the idea of no toilet in our rig so we did a wet bath in our rig. I could not talk her into the outdoor shower so we lost space. Now she she says I should have tried harder for the outdoor shower...

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