The Truth About Small RV Bathrooms


Class B RV bathrooms

The Truth About Small RV Bathrooms

An RV’s floor plan can be a deal-breaker. Every traveler has their preferences when it comes to what they want in their unit. They are usually looking for comfortable living space and functionality.

According to a recent survey by RVIA, one of the most sought after RVs on the market are Class B motorhomes. These mini motorhomes pack quite a bit in their small frame and often leave folks wondering, how do they fit everything inside?  

Perhaps the most unexpected aspect of these RVs is the ingenuity and resourcefulness that goes into the construction of the bathrooms. Class B RV bathrooms, although typically thought of as cramped, can be very versatile and cleverly constructed for the space they are allotted.

What are Class B Motorhomes?

Often referred to as camper vans, Class B motorhomes are the compact version of its motorhome counterparts, Class As and Cs.

“Think of them as the little sister to the Class C, though just as capable and comfy.”

Representatives of Thor Industries explain

Class B motorhomes are built on a van chassis and easy to maneuver; they can be driven anywhere. These self-contained units are equipped with a kitchenette, sleeping area, and bathroom. Singles, couples, and small families enjoy vacation time in their camper vans. Some live in them full-time.  

At first glance, the Class B RV bathroom is seen as a closet fixture of the unit, almost impossible to fit inside. The truth about the matter is that Class B RV bathrooms have come a long way in their functionality, space, and build. Take a look at what is really going on with them.

Most Class B RV bathrooms are wet baths. 

Wet baths are thought of as “toilet and shower combos” and mainly found in smaller RVs. Both of these features, along with a sink, are enclosed in a small room that is intended to get completely drenched but can also be wiped up quickly.

A dry bath, in contrast, includes a shower room separate from the toilet and sink. 

Class B RV bathrooms have very little space. Photo via Youtube

Due to the compact nature of Class B RVs, the bathroom is usually a wet bath. However, with the ever-evolving world of RV manufacturing, two Class B models exist in North America with dry baths. These two models are the Arriva from Coach House and Winnebago’s Era 70M. Both Class B RV bathrooms are situated in the rear portion of each unit. 

Class B RV bathrooms are a tight fit and can be quite claustrophobic to some RVers.  

Instead of subjecting themselves to the confines of their wet bath, some RVers opt to use the campground shower facilities.  Every Class B RV bathroom is created differently, and the arrangements may not afford the space for the user to stand up and take a shower.  The sink may jut out enough where sitting is the only option to lather up and rinse.  

Rear dry bath in the Arriva by Coach House. Photo by coachhouserv.com.

Besides not wanting to use the small space, the RVer may be trying to conserve water if a sewer hook-up is not an option at the campsite. Many Class B holding tanks are less than 40 gallons. Taking a shower in this case, regardless if conservation measures are taken, could quickly fill up the grey tank.

Companies are trying to find innovative ways to make more room in these tight spots.

Finding creative ways to utilize a small space is the name of the game with many Class B motorhome manufacturers. Listening to what customers want is a quick and easy way to start making modifications and improvements. 

Advanced RV did just this when one of their RV customers reached out with their concerns regarding their Class B RV bathroom. The RV couple wanted to utilize their wet bath regularly but were having difficulty maneuvering around inside to take showers.

Advanced RV not only increased the width of the bathroom space by two inches, but they added a dutch door and an extendable shower curtain rod. When someone uses the shower, the bottom portion of the dutch door stays closed while the upper portion is left open.

A bar, acting as a shower curtain extender, pushes the curtain out beyond the upper door opening allowing more upper body/elbow room. The video below illustrates these modifications.

There are other ways Class B motorhome manufacturers have addressed customer comfort issues.

The Winnebago Paseo, for instance, utilized a fold-out sink and a tambour door on a rounded track. These modifications allowed more bathroom square footage and overall maneuverability. Just a few designs like these create a practical, comfortable space to carry on everyday routines.

It’s easy to keep a wet bath dry.  

Wet baths are intended to get wet, but they are also intended to be cleaned in a jiffy. Using products like a squeegee and a microfiber towel make wiping down the entire room a quick project. It’s also advised to turn on the vent fan in the Class B RV bathroom to help air out and dry the space quicker.  

RV Select, an RV dealership in Florida, mentions,

“Bathroom supplies and toiletries that you would normally keep out in the open or in a cabinet in a dry bath are suddenly exposed to water in a wet bath. Things such as toilet paper and towels need to be stored in areas where they won’t get wet during a shower.” This can be accomplished by storing your toilet paper under a waterproof protective cover and hanging your towels outside the bathroom.

A tidbit many Class B owners suggest using in a wet bath is a wooden bath mat. They sit a few inches off of the floor and provide sufficient drainage with the separated slates. Wooden mats are not slippery. Also, using a mat made of cedar prevents the growth of mold and mildew.  

Storing bathroom items in the small space takes some creative thinking. 

When Janine Pettite of Girl Camper moved into an RV with a wet bath after living in a vintage trailer without a bathroom for 13 years, she “was in heaven.” In Episode 168 of her podcast, Janine talks about ways she stores her bathroom items and maintains cleanliness. She discusses ways to use products like spring rods and baskets to hold essentials like towels and soap.

For additional feedback on Class B RV bathrooms, be sure to check out iRV2 Forums. Like many RVers, Class B owners are a treasure trove of information, sharing personal stories, RV tips, and repair advice.

Natalie Henley

Natalie Flores-Henley and her husband, Levi Henley, workamp around the country in their 26-foot motorhome. Along with writing for RV magazines, they recently published their first book together, Seasonal Workamping for a Living: How We Did It. They share their experiences and RV-related tips on their own blog henleyshappytrails.com as well as videos on their YouTube Channel, also called Henley's Happy Trails.

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