When shopping for an RV, it’s easy to be influenced by advice that you should concentrate on models that provide the appropriate amount of sleeping, dining, meal preparation, storage and closet space for your family. Those aspects are, indeed, important. But while you’re focusing your attention on those areas, don’t allow yourself to neglect features and equipment that could make the difference between being comfortable or miserable on a camping trip. For example, the most underrated area in an RV is the bathroom.
First-time buyers tend to ignore the size and features of RV bathrooms, only to learn later that they spend more time in those tiny spaces than they thought they would. Veteran RVers consistently rank bathroom size, location, layout and features as among the most important considerations in their purchase of a new unit.
In fact, it’s not hard to imagine that a significant proportion of the late-model used RVs for sale on a dealer’s lot were traded in on new ones because their owners judged the bathrooms inadequate.
The most criticized features of RV bathrooms, besides size, are the inconvenient location of a toilet, the lack of storage space for toiletries and the poor design of shower stalls. Who can forget the frustration expressed by one RVer who examined a motorhome’s toilet compartment and complained, “I could do my business there okay, but I’d have to go into the hall for the paperwork.”
Bathrooms and shower areas are notoriously poorly designed and constructed. Many of the most widely used models of combination tub/showers require the camper to balance on one foot and climb into them through a child-size opening.
While walking through a new or used RV that interests you, consider whether the bathroom has adequate storage space for your family’s toiletries and whether it has towel racks, a large enough mirror and heating ducts. Either the bathroom should have space for keeping towels and linens or there ought to be a linen closet conveniently located nearby. Is the tub/shower large enough, and is its curtain or sliding door adequate?
In order to step into the tub, do you have to climb over the toilet or stand on a heat register? Is the shower enclosure well-built or does it look as if it leaks? Stand in the shower to determine if the space there is adequate. Does the bathroom have a built-in hamper for dirty clothes? Is there enough knee and elbow room when seated on the toilet? Does the RV bathroom have – and do you need – a power roof vent?
Maybe take a check-off list with you as you’re shopping for an RV so you don’t overlook something that you may regret later.