Shower Time

Camp Shower vs. RV Shower

There are so many things to consider when thinking about living full-time in a RV. It can be a little overwhelming as well as difficult finding the information you want. For me it was tricky to find information on doing laundry, how much food we would be able to fit in the refrigerator, and how much propane might cost. There were other things that I didn’t even think about. One of these things was the shower.

Hopefully you made sure to get in the shower in your RV before you purchased it. I had my husband get into the shower of any RV that we liked when we were still in planning phase. He was not too excited to stand in the shower and pretend he was washing up, but I wanted to be sure he was going to be comfortable.

Of course our RV has a shower, but there are times when it is necessary to use the facility at the campground. The main reason we end up using a camp shower is when we don’t have full hook-ups. Showers for our family of five fills our grey water tank pretty quickly. Which means for extended stays we use the camp shower. So I want to share with you some of the things I have learned about RV showers vs. camp showers.

To Pay or Not to Pay

The great thing about taking our house with us wherever we go is that we have all the conveniences of home no matter where we are. This includes having our own shower. It is free to use and always has what we need right there. There is one catch, we have to have water and sewer hook- ups to take full advantage of this convenience.

Many campgrounds offer hot showers, especially when full hook-ups are not available. However, some may charge you for this. The fee is usually a quarter or two for an allotted amount of time. The time varies, but I have found that it is typically around five minutes per quarter. So if you are going to use the camp shower make sure you know before hand if you will have to pay. It is always a bummer to get to the shower with all of your stuff only to find you forgot to bring a quarter.

Make it Quick

Whether you are showering in your RV or at a camp shower you will want to make it quick. The hot water tank for most RV’s is pretty small. Our trailer has a six gallon one which allows for about 10 minutes (or less) of hot water. It took our kids several showers ending in cold water to learn to make it quick, but they rarely run out of hot water now.

If you are using the shower in camp I recommend still making it short. The reason for this is that you never know who might be waiting. Depending on the shower you might just be in the bathroom where people are coming and going which can be awkward. If you are paying for the shower it is probably timed which means the longer you take the more it will cost.

The Clean Factor

In your RV it is up to you to clean the bathroom. So if it isn’t clean at least you know what to expect. I am in the habit of doing a good cleaning every time we move (which is frequently) so ours never gets too bad. It is always more comfortable to use the shower at home because you know what you’re getting into. Even if it is a quick one.

The campground shower facilities cleanliness varies widely. We are all relying on the camp hosts or maintenance people to keep the facilities clean. Unfortunately, they do not always do the best job with this. It can be difficult to keep the area clean for many reasons.

Bugs are attracted to the showers because there is plenty of water available. Most camp showers have bugs in them no matter how clean they are. The procedure for cleaning the shower stalls usually consists of someone on the other end of a hose. There is not much scrubbing action involved, so they don’t really get all that clean.

If the campground is busy the restrooms will be busy as well. With so many people using them it can be difficult to keep them clean. Typically they are only cleaned once a day. We try to schedule our showers for right after they are cleaned whenever possible.

Having What you Need

When traveling full time it can be hard to remember the day to day stuff. This means things like remembering to buy shampoo or toothpaste. For me this is even more so when bouncing between our RV shower and camp showers. I can never remember if it was almost out or did I just buy some? Either way it is not cool to run out, but living in a small space makes stocking up challenging.

Get in the habit of buying only what you need. It saves space and weight to keep on hand only what you use. Staying organized is also important in a small space, so having a place in the shower to keep soaps and other necessities is a good idea. Our trailer has a built in shower storage for our shampoo and other stuff, but if yours doesn’t, it is a great thing to have. We use an over the door hook to hang our towels so they are right there when we get out.


It is a good idea to have a bag of some kind to take your shower items with you when using a camp’s facility. This is something that will hopefully help you remember to bring everything with you. Several times we have arrived at the camp shower only to find that we had forgotten something. The worst was when it was the towel and we didn’t realize until the end of the shower! So make sure you have what you need with you when using a camp shower.

I prefer to use the shower in my RV whenever possible, but I have found that it is sometimes necessary to use the camp shower. While they are not always the cleanest places they get the job done. It takes a little bit of planning ahead and we always like to look them over before we use them. This is so that we know what to expect. In the RV we have to be quick, but we always know what we are getting into. Enjoy your travels and stay clean.

So what about the other bodily functions that happen in the bathroom? Here is an article about Camping Toilets

Or how about Laundry? Well we talk all about Laundry Day here.

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