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The idea of throwing your backpack into the back of an RV and heading out on the open to see where it takes you with your nearest and dearest is something that we’ve all dreamt about at one time or another.
Finding the time, and having the financial freedom to make that dream a reality though are the two main hurdles that every RV owner needs to overcome before they can embrace their long-held goal of being able to take off whenever the mood takes them or when they’ve accumulated enough holiday days to just fill the RV’s tank with gas, find a place on the map that they like the sound of, put the pedal to the metal and head toward it.
The problem with clinging to the idea of something, is that the reality is often far different from the fantasy, and while the idea of signing on the dotted line and becoming a fully-fledged, paid-up member of the RV club is incredibly enticing, there are a number of practical things that you’ll need to think about before you leap headlong into your new lifestyle.
And first and foremost on the list of things that you’ll need to think about is how you’re going to go to the bathroom and shower while you’re putting your road miles in and exploring the country in your new RV.
The RV Bathroom Dilemma
Almost every RV, depending on the size of the vehicle that you choose, has one of three unique bathroom solutions. And while we’re going to focus on the one that most mid-sized RV’s use, and explain the pro’s and con’s of living with a wet bath, we thought that it would be remiss of us not to at least mention the other options and explain what they are, and how they’ll affect your life on the road as a dedicated follower of camping fashion.
No Bathroom – Smaller RVs that are usually every day van conversions, don’t have bathrooms. If you want to use the toilet and shower, you’ll have to depend on rest stops and campsite facilities.
A bathroom free RV might sound like it’s going to make life incredibly difficult, but it can actually provide a rare degree of freedom, as you won’t have to deal with any of the waste or water tank issues and problems that can all too often become a thorn in the side of any inexperienced or first time owner.
No waste and no mess can seem awfully appealing and can help you to maximize and make the most of the room that’s available in your RV and dedicate the available room solely to sleeping, relaxing, and kitchen space.
On the other hand, it does mean that you’ll be restricted to where you can and can’t travel to, as you’ll be dependent on campground facilities and you’ll have to get used to using rest-stop bathrooms while you’re traveling to wherever it is that you’re going. And if you’ve ever spent any time in a rest stop toilet, you’ll know that it isn’t exactly one of life’s little pleasures.
Separate Shower And Toilet – A lot of bigger RV’s, and by bigger we mean the juggernaut-sized behemoths with two or three separate bedrooms and all sorts of home away from home bells and whistles and comforts, often have separate toilets and bathrooms.
While they offer a rare degree of comfort and convenience and can, and do, make camping trips incredibly easy, you will have to take the waste tank problem into consideration, which, as we’ve already mentioned can be incredibly unappealing for some people.
While a separate bathroom and toilet make it easy to travel to wherever you want to, whenever you want to in your RV and you won’t necessarily be tied into staying at RV parks (although you will have to pull into one every now and then to empty your RV’s waste tanks and fill its water tank), the expense of owning an RV big enough to house a separate toilet and bathroom means that they occupy the sort of rarified RV air that’s usually reserved for retirees, or those who have given up the domesticity of suburbia in order to live their lives on the road.
Both of those bathroom options have their own unique charms and inherent set of drawbacks, which you’ll either willingly embrace or reject immediately depending on your own circumstances and what you want from your RV.
There is, however, a middle ground option and that’s the one that seems to float most RV’s owner’s boats and provides an optimal, and practical answer to the RV bathroom and toilet headache, and that’s a wet bath.
What Is A Wet Bath?
A wet bath is an all in one bathroom that includes a shower, toilet, sink, cabinets, and mirror in which everything has been designed to get wet, without getting damaged or suffering any long-term ill effects. The best way to think about it is like a slightly bigger version of a camping shower that also houses, and contains everything that your bathroom at home does.
Wet baths do take some getting used to, and while they’re an ideal solution for brief camping trips, if you’re going to spend any longer out on the road, they can become slightly infuriating.
Repeatedly having to wipe down and dry the toilet seat isn’t exactly comfortable and no matter how dry you think the floor in a wet bath is, you’re guaranteed to end up standing in the only spot that’s still wet while you’re brushing your teeth or having a quick wash before you hit the sack.
The major issue with wet baths seems to be the RV community, which is almost divided down the middle about them, with its members either swearing by their benefits or claiming that they’re the worst RV invention of the last half-century.
We definitely subscribe to the former, rather than the latter, view of wet baths as without one, we wouldn’t have been able to hit the road in our vehicle anywhere near as much as we have. Like all things in life though, whether or not you actually like, or want to use a wet bath is all a matter of individual bathroom preference(s).
Why is it called a wet bath? Well, because everything in it gets wet and in RV lingo the word bath doesn’t actually refer to a bath that you’d normally relax in while you were washing yourself, but is a shortened version of ‘bathroom’.
So, yes technically it should be called a ‘wet bathroom’, but over time as these things often do, the word bathroom was clipped down to bath, so the term wet bath was, and is used to describe the all-in-one, all-purpose shower, and toilet that’s fitted in a list of mid-sized and mid-ranged RVs.
And you know what that means don’t you? It means that any RV that you’ll probably purchase, will almost certainly be fitted with a wet bath, which is why we’re going to take a deep dive into the idea of the wet bath and look at all of the pros and cons of having, and using one in your RV.
The Pros Of A Wet Bath
As we’ve always been the glass half full kind of people, we thought we’d start with the pros first as it’s always better to be buoyed by good news before you have to try and deal with the fallout and heartbreak of bad news.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s dive straight into everything that the half of the RV community that swears by them uses to reinforce their faith in, and extol the virtues of, wet baths.
Every Millimeter Of Space In A RV Matters
Every inch of space in an RV matters, and making the most of that space is incredibly important, which means that the smaller your RV is, the less likely it is the manufacturer will have installed a separate toilet and bathroom.
And with a wet bath, manufacturers don’t have to try to squeeze both in and cut the available space that they have for a kitchen or the room that’s available to house two or three separate beds.
With a wet bath in place, you don’t have to worry about pushing your bank balance to the limit to try and work out a way to afford a Class A or even a Class B RV, and can opt for a much smaller and far more economical wheelbase instead.
Which means that your RV will be cheaper to run and insure and far easier to drive, and instead of actually having to purchase a ready-built RV you can choose a van conversion and design your own custom-built, and individual RV.
Size is crucial to an RV, and the smaller your bathroom is, the more room you’ll have to sleep, cook and relax in comfort inside it. With the price of gasoline hitting record highs, it makes far more economic sense to have a smaller Class C RV or camper van conversion, which a wet bath will make possible, without having to give up on your dream of being able to hop into your camper because you can’t afford to run or fuel a bigger RV.
So, in a way, it’s a wet bath that will help to make all of your RV dreams come true. Why? Because it’s small enough for you to make sure that you can be entirely self-reliant when you go camping and won’t have to depend on any of the bathroom facilities of the campsites and RV parks that you’ll end up pulling into, and stay at.
Wash Down, Clean Up
No one wants to clean a bathroom, it’s laborious and all too often involves having to use a lot more elbow grease to scrub away at the first that gets everywhere than any of us are comfortable with. This is where the simple, but efficient design of a wet bath pays dividends as they practically clean themselves.
Well, okay they don’t actually clean themselves, but you can use all of the “tools” that are part and parcel of their design to clean them.
Wet baths were built to get wet, and every square inch of them was made to be soaked in water, so when you do have to clean a wet bath, you can use the shower to soak everything down to clean it.
All the soap marks and dirty water, the stains, and the spills can be washed away with the shower that’s already in there, and once you’ve finished, you can just leave it to dry by itself, even though we wouldn’t recommend that you do and we’ll explain why a little later on. When it comes to cleaning the bathroom in your RV if you have a wet bath installed it will make the process straightforward, simple, and easy.
One of the tips that we always give every RV owner who is thinking about installing a wet bath, or buying an RV with one already in place is clean as you go. Once you’ve finished showering, spray down and clean the wet bath before you get out and dry yourself off.
That way, it’ll always be just as clean as you are. It’s the RV equivalent of killing two birds with one stone, except there are no stones and no birds, there’s just a shower that can clean two things at once. You and your RV’s wet bath.
Bigger On The Inside
You know how open-plan homes often feel much bigger than they actually are? The same principle applies to a wet bath. Separate showers, especially in the confined space of an RV, can often feel cramped and small which can make it slightly depressing and more than a little miserable to try when you use them, as it often feels, even if it is not entirely true, as though as you can’t get completely clean while you’re using them.
That isn’t true in a wet bath, as even though they’re designed to take up and use less room than a separate bathroom and toilet, they actually feel much bigger when you use them.
It’s all due to the way that they’re designed. Because you don’t have to worry about climbing inside a shower and then closing the door behind you when you turn said shower on, as the entire wet bath is the shower, you have a lot more room to shower in.
It’s partly psychological, but the additional room that a wet bath provides will make you feel more comfortable about showering in and using one. We know, it sounds incredibly bizarre and almost like there’s no way it could possibly be true, but trust us it is. You’ll feel like you have room to shower in a wet bath than you do in a separate RV shower.
The Comfort That You Never Knew You Needed
After a hard day of hitting the trails and adventuring while you’re camping a wet bath can also offer a surprisingly different, and incredibly comfortable showering option that you never knew you needed or wanted.
Have you ever thought about how much more relaxed you’d feel if you were able to sit down while you were taking a shower? You haven’t? Well, we bet you’re thinking about it now, aren’t you? And yes, you can sit down while you’re washing away the aches and pains of the day in a wet bath.
Again, it’s all due to the design of the wet bath. You can sit on the toilet with the seat and cover down, point the shower head toward you, and just switch it on and feel the warm water soothe your aching muscles when you finally get a chance to sit down for the day.
Okay, so it sounds a little weird, having a shower while you’re sitting on the john, but it can help you to fully and properly relax while you’re taking a shower. And it doesn’t matter what gets wet while you’re sitting there, letting the shower do what it does, as the entire wet room that your shower and the toilet are in was designed, fashioned, and made to get wet.
It Isn’t Just A Wet Room…
A little trick that a fellow RVer taught us a couple of years ago made us see wet baths in an entirely different way. Imagine the scene, you’ve spent a day hiking but before you can make it back to the campsite and the comfort of your RV, the heavens open and you end up getting soaking wet.
When you eventually make it back, and you change into warm, dry clothes, you’re left facing a camping dilemma that countless other campers have faced before you. What do you do with your wet clothes?
If you’ve got a wet bath in your RV, you can just hang the clothes in there and let them drip dry without having to worry about the water staining, or dripping on the carpet in the back of your vehicle. The wet bath was made to be wet, so the water dripping from your clothes isn’t going to harm it at all.
That means, in a weird sort of way, that a wet bath can also double up as a drying room, which makes it almost indispensable if you don’t want to have to endlessly fret, or worry about the weather when you head off for a weekend in the mountains or the woods.
It Isn’t All Good News – Wet Bath Cons
Newton’s Third Law is the only thing that we can remember from the physics class that we took in our freshman year of college, and it seems rather apt and fitting when talking about wet rooms.
If you’re not familiar with it, it basically states that for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction, which in the simplest terms means that even though wet baths can be much need camping blessing, they can also be a curse that’ll gradually creep up on your RV if you don’t devote the necessary time and energy that you’ll need to cleaning and drying them.
Condensation Build Up
The problem with having a wet bath in your RV is that it’s usually always going to be wet. The moisture that’ll build upon the walls of the wet bath? It needs to go somewhere, and if you’re not careful you can end up leaving a trail of water from your wet bath throughout your RV after you’ve had a shower.
If you were at home, neither of those things would be a problem, as the water that was left on the walls and that soaked into the carpet or the floorboards, would just dry out over time. In the small, enclosed area of an RV though, it can become a serious issue, incredibly quickly.
An increase in the general level of moisture inside your RV can create all sorts of damp and mold-related problems that can be a nightmare to address and fix, and could potentially pose a threat to the health of anyone, you included, who spends any time in your RV. If the wet bath in your RV stays wet, it could prove to be extremely costly to both your physical wellbeing and your bank balance.
It’s Drying Time, All The Time
The point that we just made about the potential danger of moisture build-up in the wet baths of RV’s leads directly into the next major big cross on the list of possible wet bath problems, and that is making sure that it’s always dry after it’s been used.
How do you stop a wet bath from becoming a source of moisture build-up in an RV? The only way is by making sure that you dry it every time you use it.
On paper that sounds easy enough, as you can just grab a towel and use it to wipe down and dry the walls and floor of the wet bath. It’s not only a great solution to drying your wet bath conundrum, but it’s also a quick and effective one. The problem, however, is what do you do with the wet towel once you’ve used it to dry the wet bath? Where do you store it in your RV?
And given that you’ll need to repeat the process every single time you use the wet bath, it means that you’ll need to take a lot of towels with you just to keep the wet bath dry. Then there’s the time that you’ll need to devote to ensuring that the wet bath is always dry between uses, which means that all of the labor time that you’ll be able to save by washing and cleaning it with the shower that’s part of its set up, you’ll then spend trying to keep it dry. It’s like we said, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Everything In A Wet Bath Gets Wet
You’re right, we’ve already pointed out that everything in a wet bath gets wet, that is, after all, the point of them. But that everything includes toilet paper, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and any other toiletries that you might keep in your RV’s wet bath, because… Well, because they’re toiletries and they belong in the bathroom.
Having to take all of the toiletries out of the wet bath every single time that you want to use the shower can be frustrating and annoying and you’ll be surprised how quickly it can begin to really irritate you, and ruin your weekends and the time that you spend in your RV.
And if you forget to take the toiletries out of the wet bath before you use it? That’s the kind of simple mistake that no one wants to have to deal with the consequences of if you’re in the middle of nowhere, there isn’t a store for miles, and all of your toilet paper has been turned into dripping wet paper pulp by your shower.
The need to always be on your guard and to constantly be aware of your surroundings and having to make sure that you don’t forget any of the wet baths do’s and don’ts form the basis of the argument that the half of the RV faithful who don’t actually like them use to prove their point.
Unless you’re always on your guard, a wet bath can be more of a camping hindrance than help while you’re on the road.
Keeping Everything Dry
Another of the problems that plague most wet baths is that they’re not exactly overburdened with storage space. They’re usually incredibly simple and straightforward as far as the way that they’re set up and designed is concerned, and usually only have a couple of shelves and some countertop sink space to store your toiletries.
That means as soon as the shower goes on, if you haven’t already moved your stuff it is going to, just like everything else in your RV’s bathroom, get wet.
There is a solution to the problem, and it is possible to get a wet bath with watertight cupboards, that’ll provide the room you need to store all of your toiletries and will make sure that they don’t get wet, and remove the need for you to always be on hyper-alert from the wet bath equation.
However, the problem with those kinds of storage space extras is that they can, and often do push the cost of a wet bath higher and higher, which then eats into, and can even negate the economic advantages of having an RV with a wet bath. It’s a case of Newton’s Third Law rearing its ugly and unwanted head again.
Size Really Is Important
The one thing that takes the most time for RV newbies to get used to, and acclimatize themselves, to is the size of a wet bath. While it’s true that they’re bigger than normal RV shower stalls, it doesn’t change the fact that they were designed to save space in small RV’s, and that cramming a toilet, sink, shelves, and a shower into such a small space can feel a little claustrophobic.
The lack of space and room in a wet bath can be uncomfortable, especially when you know that everything in a wet bath is always going to be, well wet. So, when you need to relieve yourself, you’ll be forced to do it in a small, cramped room in your RV that doubles up as a shower.
And the wet bath is also where you’ll clean your teeth and wash your hands, which doesn’t exactly endear them to anyone who is already having second thoughts about the list of dos and don’ts that need to follow if you’re going to adhere to the protocols of having a wet bath in your RV.
The surprisingly small amount of space that they offer, coupled with the rules increases the negative perception that a lot of RV fanatics have about wet baths and adds further fuel to our belief that their usage is governed by the Third Law, and whether or not you’ll actually want to use one in your RV depends entirely on whether you believe the pros of having one outweigh the cons or vice versa.
The Final Wet Bath Word
As we’ve said on more than a few occasions, we’re dedicated wet bath fans. We like their versatility and the way that they can double up to save a weekend away from the worst kind of weather, we adore the fact that they can be purpose-designed to fit almost any van conversion and bring the RV world within the financial purview of the average American.
And, as we’re increasingly aware of the environmental catastrophe that we’re all facing, we’re also more than a little enamored by the fact that they can free almost all of us from having to invest in inefficient and extravagant road liners if we want to fulfill our RV dreams.
But we also understand why they might not float your RV boat, and how the idea of having to constantly clean and dry them might take the shine off your RV dream. We get it, we really do and that’s why at the end of the day the choice about whether or not you follow the wet bath route for your RV is entirely yours.
Take some time to think about it, read the pros and cons carefully and when, and if you do make your mind up, and regardless of the decision that you end up making, maybe we’ll see you somewhere down the road.
Discover How To Use The Power of Authority Marketing To Make You Money While You Adventure!
No Experience, Existing Product Or Technical Skills Are Required
DO YOU BELIEVE ADVENTURES ARE WORTH CHASING?