Most of us purchase a camper for one reason, a bathroom to go to in the middle of the night and not have to wander through the forest with bears and other items lurking in the shadows, or so you perceive with every movement in the dark. Many popups have bathroom facilities, but many do not.
Do popup campers have bathrooms? Yes, some popup campers do have bathrooms but it depends on the model. Most of the well-known RV companies such as Coachmen, Jayco, Forest River, etc. offer several types of models with bathrooms. These bathrooms can consist of a wet, dry, curtained or fully enclosed bathroom. However, the majority of popup campers consist of a wet, curtained bathroom.
Types of Popup Bathrooms
There are several types of bathrooms in popup tent trailers. These each have their benefits and drawbacks, and you may need to find the perfect type for you. Here are the 4 types of bathrooms:
Wet bathrooms are bathrooms that can get entirely wet including the walls. Most wet bathrooms consist of a toilet/shower combination. The toilet is located in the shower and will get wet when the shower is in use. There are generally no sinks or vanities in these bathrooms and most are enclosed by a shower curtain. However, wet bathrooms that come with sinks are normally larger with walls and a door. In these larger bathrooms, the sink and toilet are inside the shower. The sink will get wet, just like the toilet, while the shower is in use.
Some popup campers offer a wet bathroom that can be hidden when not in use. The Aliner Somerset Popup Camper is one of these campers. The bathroom is hidden in what looks like a square cabinet. When you open the cabinet, it exposes a wet bathroom. The bathroom consists of a toilet/shower combination along with a hand-held shower head. There is a floor to ceiling curtain that can be hung when the shower is in use. When the bathroom is not in use, everything can be closed back up into the cabinet. The top of the cabinet can be used for storage.
Dry bathrooms are like your typical bathrooms at home. They have a separate shower and toilet. When taking a shower, the shower is the only space in the bathroom that gets wet. Generally, these types of bathrooms are enclosed by a hard door and walls. They can also have a sink/vanity within the bathroom but not always. Dry bathrooms are mainly seen in larger RVs and travel trailers. Popup campers generally do not have dry bathrooms since they are typically smaller campers and do not have space, but some models have them.
A curtained bathroom is just like it sounds; a bathroom surrounded by a curtain. Although, this curtain is not your typical home shower curtain. It is a strong, heavy-duty curtain that protects the rest of the cabin from getting wet. Curtained bathrooms can be used for either a full bathroom, consisting of a toilet, shower, and sink or just a shower/toilet combo.
Most of the time in a popup, there will be hard sides for the bottom 1/3 of the bathroom and a curtain for the top half. This does not provide much privacy either in the shower or on the restroom for anyone that has to use it while others are in the trailer.
An enclosed bathroom is your typical bathroom. It has floor to ceiling walls and a door. The inside can be a normal dry bathroom consisting of a separate toilet, shower, and sink. Or it can be a wet bathroom. If it is a wet bathroom the walls and door will have a protective sealant on them to protect them from the water.
You may be thinking, how can the bathroom have hard wall sides and a door if it’s a popup camper? Good question, for a popup camper bathroom to have hard wall sides and a door, then we need to go back to the previous example of the cabinet-like hidden bathroom. This cabinet-like area can open up and has folding hard sides that can snap into place creating a floor to ceiling enclosed bathroom. The bathroom door will generally sit on top of the dining table while the popup camper is closed and on the move. Once you are ready to create the bathroom, simply snap the full-sized door in place. The walls and door can be left up during your camping trip. As soon as you are ready to leave, fold the wall sides down and remove the door.
Pros of a Bathroom in a Popup
- The best feature of a bathroom in a popup camper is that there is a bathroom in your camper. You can take the camper off-road into the backcountry and have a comfortable place to use the bathroom. You will not need to worry about camping somewhere that has a private or community bathroom because your popup camper has one.
- You can clean the entire bathroom at once. You do not have to worry about harsh cleaners hurting any wood finishes. Spray the entire room down with cleaner and wipe clean. You can also use the hand-held shower head to spray the entire bathroom down to help the cleaning process.
- One pro to a dry, enclosed bathroom is that it is like your typical bathroom. It makes you feel like you are in your bathroom at home. Also, they are larger than a wet bathroom which means two people can generally fit in the bathroom, one in the shower and one getting ready. Another pro is that there is storage in the bathroom for toiletries. The toiletries can also be kept in the bathroom when showering since the whole bathroom doesn’t get wet.
Cons of a Bathroom in a Popup
- One of the biggest cons with a wet bathroom is that you are unable to keep any toiletries in the bathroom. This includes toilet paper because everything will get wet.
- There is a small water tank in popup campers and a small water tank means shorter showers. Since the water tank is small, there will not be much hot water for showers and the kitchen sink.
- These bathrooms are very small. There is not much room to move around and only one person can be in the bathroom at a time.
- You may notice a smell coming from the bathroom. This is because the sewage holding tank is directly under the toilet. It doesn’t automatically drain out of the holding tank unless you are hooked up to a sewage line or dump station.
Maintenance on a Popup with a Bathroom
Here are a few maintenance tips for your popup camper bathroom.
- First, hiding the smell. Make sure you have the correct chemicals to break down the solid waste, toilet paper, and help with the smell. It is important to break down any solid waste because if not, it could result in a sewage line blockage.
- Another maintenance tip is to use the correct toilet paper. Make sure to purchase extra dissolvable toilet paper. This will help it break down and not back up the sewage line.
- Dump the sewage holding tank when it is almost full, about two-thirds. Do not constantly dump your holding tank. If you dump the tank too often, the chemicals will not have a chance to work and the sewage will not flow out properly when dumping. Although, do not wait to dump your holding tank when it is completely full. You can misjudge how full it is and it can back up and overflow into your bathroom. That would create a huge mess!
- Clean the sewage holding tank. Many people may not think to clean the holding tank but there are many benefits to cleaning it. The first reason is the smell. The second reason is to keep the tank sensor clean. If not cleaned, the sensor can say the tank is full when it was just emptied. You can clean it with either a black water tank flush if you have one installed on your trailer, or get a wand to wash it out.
- Check for any leaks and mold. Since the bathroom pops up like the camper, parts can break or crack while putting the bathroom together. Also, check for cracks in the shower line.
- Mold can build up in these bathrooms because they do not come with a fan. Make sure to let the bathroom completely dry out before collapsing it down. If you collapse the bathroom too soon, mold will build up which will damage the bathroom.
- If you live in a winter climate, you will need to winterize your water system in your popup. For a guide how to do this, we have one here for you.
- When you are storing your popup camper for a long period of time, make sure the bathroom is completely clean and all water has been dumped. Not only does the sewage holding tank need to be cleaned/dumped but so does the waterline. Make sure the water lines, toilet bowl, and holding tanks are dry. If not, this could create mold throughout the camper.
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