How to Build an Indoor Portable Van Shower

with 5 Comments

Showering outside or finding a shower while on a trip is not always an option, so we came up with an indoor shower idea for our Sprinter van. It is portable, collapsible, and rather inexpensive to build.

First, we started with the shower pan. It needed to take up little space when stored, but be big enough to catch the water when showering. We used a Kopeks Outdoor Swimming Pool Bathing Tub, sourced from Amazon. We bought the small size, which is 32″x8″.

 

The drain that comes with the pool is located on the side, about an inch from the bottom. That wasn’t going to work for us so we bought a 1½” threaded bathtub drain and installed it in the bottom of the pan. This was very simple to do with a couple careful slits with a sharp razor knife and then screwing the drain fitting on to the pool bottom using the seal that came with the drain kit. After the drain was installed we attached a 90 degree, 1½” barbed elbow and a section of braided, clear hose sourced from a local hardware store. We reduced the hose to 1″ with a reducer/coupler since a 1½” bulkhead drain would not fit where we would be installing it (the next step).

 

We located a spot in the side of the slider step area that would accept a double threaded bulkhead fitting. This is where the water will drain to the outside of the van. I found a nice flat spot that was out of the way and drilled a hole using a hole saw. I figured this spot was great because if I ever needed to patch it back up, it would be very simple to access, weld in a plate, and cover it with trim or vinyl matting.

 

After the drain port hole was cut, I primed the edges with Rustoleum oil-based paint to prevent rust.

 

The bulkhead fitting fit nicely along with a 1″ PVC style elbow on the inside. It came white, but I spray painted it black to match. I also added a 1″ barbed elbow fitting outside to direct the water straight down. Originally we were worried the water would puddle up near the slider area of the van causing us to track mud in. We were going to add a section of hose and divert the shower drain water to the other side of the van, but it didn’t drain as fast and we found that the little bit of water that drains out doesn’t cause a problem.

 

To keep the setup and teardown time to a minimum, we used cam-locking couplers to attach the hose to the drain port.

 

The couplers make it quick and clean to hook up and disconnect. We purchased caps to seal off the drain port and the hose from the shower pan to keep things dry and tidy.

 

Once the shower pan is all hooked up, we set a foldable bamboo shower floor inside and let the drain hang over the slider step area.

 

So I bet you’re wondering how the heck we keep all this shower water contained while showering right? Easy. We just hang up two shower curtains on magnetic hooks and squeeze clamps. The shower curtains with the weighted magnets keep it inside the shower pan, but a squeeze clamp is sometimes nice insurance to keep the floor dry. This literally only takes a few seconds to do.

 

For a water supply, we use our Ambassador sink faucet. It pulls out 6 feet and has hot water thanks to a Bosch water heater and our plumbed in waterpump. It even reaches outside the slider for hosing off your feet on a hot day.

 

 

Success!

“We did it!”

As tested a couple times on a recent trip, it worked out great and the van floor never even got wet!

 

Some have asked us what we do about the wet shower curtains afterward. We just bunch the shower pan up in the corner and let them drip dry into the pan overnight. In the morning we fold everything up and hit the road.

 

Don’t Forget to be Earth Friendly!

Some soaps and shampoos are not good for the Earth.

So we use Dr.Bronner’s Peppermint Castile Soap when showering.

 

Parts List

Comments

comments

Follow Pete:

Do more with less! That is my motto lately. I love getting outdoors and exploring new places, usually on my KTM motorcycle. My wife, Anna, and I recently bought and built out a Sprinter van to do more of the things we love. Traveling and seeing new places is always at the top of our to-do list.

5 Responses

  1. steve
    | Reply

    Looks awesome
    Thanks for posting
    Is there any risk of falling out of the van to the ground from inside the shower curtains? Is it really that close to the sliding door step?
    Steve

    • Pete
      | Reply

      The slider door stays shut. The only part of the shower pan that hangs over is the edge where the drain is. So no, you are always standing on the van floor. There is plenty of room to shower.

  2. steve
    | Reply

    ps
    love the cam locks !!

  3. Warren Ruiz
    | Reply

    Hi, Pete, Great post. That’s well thought out, nicely done. You have really killed it on your entire van build! Thanks for the sharing this.

    • Pete
      | Reply

      Thank you Warren. Thanks for following along! Much more to come too.

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