How Much Water does an RV Shower Use?

One of the luxuries of traveling with an RV is that you have modern commodities right at your fingertips, such as a shower, that other forms of camping do not offer to you. The process of taking a shower is, however, slightly different in a trailer than it would be at home as the water will either be coming from a holding tank or from a water hookup line at a campground.

How much water does an RV shower use? On average, a travel trailer shower will go through about 2-6 gallons of water per shower. This depends on a variety of factors such as length of shower time, the water usage of the shower head, and if you turn off the shower while you lather up.

These numbers are an average, and will of course vary from person to person and from RV to RV. It is always recommended that you consult your owner’s manual before any trip in order to know more specifics about your trailer and it’s shower. 

Length of Showers in an RV

With a travel trailer, you are able to shower just about anywhere. Depending on where you are taking your trailer will also determine how long you can use the shower and how much water you will be able to use. 

If you are wanting to shower in your trailer when it is not hooked up to a water source, such as a spigot at a campground, you will be relying solely on the amount of water that is available in your water holding tank as well as how much water can go in your gray water tank. You will only be able to use as much water as there is in there and no more than that. 

You will also need to consider how much water you will be able to use if you are not hooked up to a sewer system. If your trailer is not able to get rid of the water used in the shower right away, you will only be able to use as much water that can be contained in the grey water tank. This will then need to be dumped at a designated disposal station.

If you are able to have a full hookup, including an unlimited waste disposal system and full water hookup, you will be able to shower for as long you want! But you will need to think about the amount of available hot water that can be used for the shower.

Hot Water vs Cold Water

Another thing to consider while you are taking a shower in your RV is the heating capabilities of your hot water unit. Hot water tanks are not as large or as powerful as an at home unit, so the length of time you will be getting hot water through the shower head will be limited. You will also probably not receive water that is as hot as if you were showering at home depending on the size of tank and if it is electric or gas. 

Travel trailers typically have hot water tanks that are anywhere from 4 to 16 gallons in size, with the average being around 6 gallons in size. A home water heater can typically hold as much as 40 or 50 gallons. You need to be conservation minded when it comes to your showers in your travel trailer, and do not linger longer than you need to. RV showers will need to be quick and to the point! 

If you are really wanting to be able to have a larger amount of hot water available to you, it is possible to upgrade your current water tank to either a larger size or to a tankless water heater. This will allow you to have a more sustained amount of hot water, although it will probably cost a travel trailer owner around $800 to $1,000 for the proper unit to fit your travel trailer model. 

Taking an RV Shower

While the concept of having a shower in your RV may seem glamorous, the actual act of taking a shower may not be so much. The designated showering space is very small and does not really provide ample opportunity to stay in there and enjoy the shower for a long period of time. An RV shower will need to be used to clean yourself quickly and efficiently. 

While using the shower, you will want to get in and get out. This is not the time for a lingering shower and to ponder the universe type of moment. If you are boon docking, you will want to use as little water as possible while still getting your body satisfactorily clean.

Many RVers challenge themselves to take a one gallon shower, where they use the most minimal amount of water required in order to clean themselves off. This is especially a good trick to know when you are in a boondocking situation (where you are camping without either electric or water hookups) as you will be extremely limited on your water supply. 

Tips For Conserving Water in Your RV While Showering

There are some other methods that a travel trailer owner can take to help conserve water while using the travel trailer shower. Some of these ideas will need to be considered before hitting the road with your rig, while others can be done last minute at the campsite. 

  • Type of Shower Head Being Used – The shower head that is used in the trailer can really affect how much water is being used. Some shower heads have lessened water flows than others, have adjustable spray heads, and include a water shut-off valve. 
  • Turn Off the Water When It Is Not Needed – Don’t let the water run unnecessarily. While using the shower, you can turn off the water when you do not need it, like when you put the shampoo into your hair or when you are using the soap. Only turn the water on when you need to wash something off. Otherwise, keep it in the off position, which will conserve a lot of water. 
  • Use the Campground Shower Units – Most established campgrounds will have one, if not multiple, bathrooms that contain shower units. This can be a great way to have a more spacious shower space, while not having to worry so much about the water usage. However, if your campground does not have one, or you are not staying at a one, this is not an option. 
  • Take Fewer Showers – Many of us shower every day. However, while camping, you may want to consider showering every other day or every few days. You can use baby wipes in between showers to still clean yourself off. 

These are just a few simple steps that travel trailer owners can take in order to reduce the amount of water they use when traveling in the RV. Especially if there are multiple members of the family that are using the shower, these steps can come in extra handy in limiting the water usage. 

Having an RV affords an individual some luxuries that tent camping does not, such as your shower. Get to know your RV’s shower, how much water your unit can hold (both in the water tank and in the gray water tank) and understand your water heater. Once you understand all of these things, using your RV’s shower will be a more pleasant experienceand not cause you any unnecessary headaches along your travels. 

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