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How to Take a GOOD Shower in an RV (Is It Even Possible?!)

| Updated Apr 7, 2023

Yes, taking a GOOD shower in an RV is possible if you know the following tricks and make the following easy upgrades…

A woman in our RV Lifestyle Facebook group cried out for help… likely after one too many cold showers. Crystal posted:

“OK help! How do we take an actual shower in our camper? Or is it not possible…”

She went on to say that they do the “get wet, turn off, soap up, turn on, rinse off, done” strategy, but “it’s awful”! She asked fellow group members if there is any trick to enjoy a good shower while camping.

Thankfully, the group came to her rescue with many comments filled with tips, tricks, and useful info. 

We’ve compiled many of the same tips and info here so YOU can enjoy showering in an RV, too.

If you buy something through our links, we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. It helps keep our lights on so we can continue to provide helpful resources for RVers. Read our full affiliate disclosure here.

The 3 Big Problems with RV Showers

Shower in an RV

The biggest problems that arise with showering in an RV are not enough water, not enough hot water, and not enough room in the shower. Let’s quickly take a closer look at these three problems, and then we’ll offer solutions!

1. Not Enough Water

The biggest challenge RVers face is not having enough water for long, enjoyable showers. Unless connected to water hookups, they must rely solely on their RV’s fresh water tank to supply water for their showers, sinks, and toilet.

An RV’s fresh water tank can hold anywhere from 20-100 gallons of water. So, if you have a smaller camper, travel with multiple people, or go on longer road trips, you have to conserve water as much as possible. 

If connected to water hookups (like many campgrounds provide), then you can basically use as much water as you want. However, having plenty of water leads to two other problems…

Limited Gray Tank Size

If you’re connected to water, you have plenty of water to shower with. But where does all that water go? It goes to your gray tank, which can fill up rather quickly.

If your campsite’s hookups include sewer hookups, you’re still okay. You can easily empty your gray tank with a twist of a handle or leave the valve open. (Just don’t make the mistake of leaving the black tank valve open.)

If you don’t have sewer hookups, you have to be mindful of how much water is coming in and how much water is going out.

Then there’s the second problem RVers encounter, especially when connected to water…

How to Take a GOOD Shower in an RV (Is It Even Possible?!) 1

2. Not Enough HOT Water

Unless your RV is equipped with a tankless water heater, running out of HOT water is as big of an issue as running out of water. To conserve water and hot water, many RVers employ the “Navy shower” strategy that Crystal alluded to in her post.

A “Navy shower” is when you turn the water off between wetting and rinsing. It certainly conserves hot water, but it leaves you cold in between rinses and isn’t nearly enjoyable as showers you take at home.

Waiting for hot water also wastes water! So, that just adds to the first problem.

3. Not Enough Room

It’s no secret that RV showers are small. Only the most petite people don’t have any complaints in this area. Hitting your elbows, knocking down shampoo bottles, and being unable to shave your legs are common complaints.

While you can’t easily make your RV shower larger, there are tricks you can employ to make it feel bigger and more functional.

Let’s jump into those tips and tricks now!

How to Take a GOOD Shower in an RV

Alright, now that we’ve addressed the main problems of showering in an RV, let’s talk about some solutions. 

Obviously, the best solution is to park with water and sewer hookups and upgrade to a tankless water heater. But it’s not the only way to enjoy a shower while RVing. The following tips and products can help.

1. Replace Your Shower Head

A quality shower head can make a world of difference! Some allow you to adjust the pressure and water flow, so you can rinse your hair more quickly and easily. It helps conserve hot water and feels better than factory shower heads RVs come with.

Here is a list of some of the best RV shower heads

2. Install a Water Control Valve on Your Shower Head

Some shower heads come with a built-in water control valve that lets you “pause” your shower. You simply twist a valve up by the shower head to “pause” water flow. 

What’s the difference between “pausing” your shower and turning it off between rinses? Well, when you turn your shower off and back on, it may take a few seconds to get back to the temperature you had it at. So, you get a few seconds of tortuous cold water.

If you “pause” your shower with a water control valve, the water turns back on at the same temperature you paused it at.

So, if you boondock or dry camp and must take Navy showers, then this is a great way to improve your shower experience.

How to Take a GOOD Shower in an RV (Is It Even Possible?!) 2

3. Organize Your Shower

If your shower is well-organized and optimized for functionality, you’ll enjoy bathing much more than you think. A quality shower caddy or even a shower curtain that works as a shower organizer can make your shower feel more spacious.

You can check out these 7 RV Shower Caddy Solutions that REAL RVers Recommend. While you're at it, check out the 15 Best RV Bathroom Products (Shopping List)

4. Install a Curved Shower Curtain Rod

If you’re tired of bumping your elbows when showering, you may be able to install a curved curtain rod. This upgrade combined with an organizer shower curtain from the previous suggestion, can give you a lot more elbow room.

There are many available on the market, but this adjustable curved curtain rod is highly rated and easy to install.

5. Upgrade to an Instant Hot Water Heater

Like what you see in these videos? We'd appreciate it if you would Subscribe to our YouTube Channel (easy to do right here) and consider “ringing the bell icon” to be notified of any new video from us. 🙂 Thanks!

Showers were always a big issue for us when we started boondocking. Honestly, we rarely used our campervan’s shower, waiting to use campground or gym showers. 

But all that changed when we started using a Truma AquaGo water heater. You can watch the above video or read more about it here

There are probably other instant hot water heaters on the market, but we’ve been really happy with this one. It truly changed the way we RV, as we can enjoy showers in our RV wherever we travel. 

Mike and Jennifer's Great Lakes Bundle – 2 ebooks!

How to Take a GOOD Shower in an RV (Is It Even Possible?!) 3

This bundle is our popular Upper Peninsula RV Adventure Guide PLUS our newest Adventure Guide – The Great Lakes Shoreline Tour! Both ebooks will give you plenty of ideas and resources to enjoy this part of the US.

Explore this Bundle and plan your next trip!


Mike Wendland

Published on 2023-04-06

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

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