Friday, December 1, 2023


RV bathroom often underrated in buying process

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 heating 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 bathroom have – and do you need – 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.


Chuck Woodbury
Chuck Woodbury
I'm the founder and publisher of I've been a writer and publisher for most of my adult life, and spent a total of at least a half-dozen years of that time traveling the USA and Canada in a motorhome.



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Jeff Craig (@guest_136425)
2 years ago

Much needed article. One of the YouTube channels I follow is ‘Matt’s RV Reviews’, and he hammers manufacturers on their bathrooms. The easiest way to fail the “Prime Pooping Position” rating is to have a plastic bowl, lack of room to ‘do your business’ or a radius shower. One thing I want in my next RV is a fully enclosed, mid bath. Our current split bath has the shower kitty-korner to the bed, and on our first weekend, we were awakened at 6AM with the sunrise – several hours before our usual weekend time. I quickly learned to put velcro strips around the edge of the skylight, and cut some reflectix to size, so that is now covered. In the end, it was a minor detail (because we bought at an opportune time, we saved half on our Class A) but one everyone should think of when shopping floorplans.

RV Staff
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Craig

Good tip, Jeff. BTW, speaking of hammers – Be sure to check out the Leave here with a laugh in tomorrow’s (Tuesday’s) RV Daily Tips newsletter. 😆 Have a good evening. 🙂 –Diane

Diane M (@guest_136415)
2 years ago

I’m a fairly good-sized person, and in our first TT, I couldn’t get the bathroom door closed while sitting on the commode. You can bet that one of the first things I considered when buying our next one was the size of the bathroom!

Kamwick (@guest_136390)
2 years ago

We’ve been fortunate to have bathrooms of decent size in our history of TTs and 5th wheels. What’s also important is being able to access the bathroom without putting out a slide.

Our current Grand Design Solitude has a bathroom that is downright huge and luxurious compared to our old ones. Even has a fold down seat in a very large shower.

Unfortunately, it also has that angled drain pipe. Seriously? Fortunately, no problems so far.

Walker (@guest_136371)
2 years ago

One of the most overlooked areas of the bathroom is whether the toilet flushes straight down to the black tank or if it goes down a paper-clogging angled drain pipe that was engineered to be convenient for the designer but a maintenance headache for the user.

Stan Hume (@guest_136361)
2 years ago

My biggest complaint with RV bathrooms are the tiny, barely usable sinks and the cheap faucets.

littleleftie (@guest_136350)
2 years ago

My husband, while touring a huge motorcoach at an RV show, was approached by the salesman, who asked “isn’t she grand?”. My husband’s reply—“I would never buy it”. The salesman looked startled when my husband then added “because, while I can sit on the toilet, there is no way that I can finish the job”. Space in and around the toilet is so important. And I agree—a door that opens outward is a requirement, too.

Donald N Wright (@guest_136346)
2 years ago

On my 2020 Airstream, I plan to have the angled countertop removed and just a straight countertop installed. It will make more usable space in the bathroom. The shower is almost tall enough to stand up in. I wish Thor/Airstream would stop using hobbits for interior designers.

Joe Malvasi (@guest_136336)
2 years ago

If I could change 1thing in our motorhome, I would make the shower just a bit larger. The bathroom itself is large enough, but the shower is a little tight.

Bob p (@guest_136333)
2 years ago

Oh how well I remember our first TT bathroom, it was so small you couldn’t close the door before sitting on the commode without hitting you head on the door.

Rick Jacobsen (@guest_136327)
2 years ago

My first three criteria when we were looking for our camper were weight, ease of entry and layout of the bathroom. We are both persons of some size and my wife has some mobility issues. We needed a bathroom that gave us some “elbow room”, places to install assist bars if needed down the road and a door that opens into an open area in case of a fall or other emergency.

Bob p (@guest_136334)
2 years ago
Reply to  Rick Jacobsen


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