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Old 03-30-2005, 11:46 AM   #1
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Is a shower possible?

Hello again,
It's raining and snowing here so my frame repair has been put on hold. My interior is completely gutted so I am trying to decide on what, if any upgrades I would like to add. As my Bubble is set up now it has a small fresh water tank and a sink with a pump faucet. I am seriously considering adding a shower but have no idea where to start. I have very limited space so the shower would probably have to be custom. Are there places I can get a custom shower pan? I would like to fit it in the original bathroom. I guess I could change the layout if necessary. I have also not ruled out an exterior shower as most all of my camping is in warm weather. I also need to decide what type of water heater and where to install it. Have any of you out there added a shower where it never existed, or installed an exterior type? Please advise me on this delima, my wife would be so stoked if our bubble had a shower! Thanks
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Old 03-30-2005, 12:29 PM   #2
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Is a shower possible?

Greetings 58Bubble!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 58BUBBLE
Hello again,
It's raining and snowing here so my frame repair has been put on hold. My interior is completely gutted so I am trying to decide on what, if any upgrades I would like to add. As my Bubble is set up now it has a small fresh water tank and a sink with a pump faucet. I am seriously considering adding a shower but have no idea where to start. I have very limited space so the shower would probably have to be custom. Are there places I can get a custom shower pan? I would like to fit it in the original bathroom. I guess I could change the layout if necessary. I have also not ruled out an exterior shower as most all of my camping is in warm weather. I also need to decide what type of water heater and where to install it. Have any of you out there added a shower where it never existed, or installed an exterior type? Please advise me on this delima, my wife would be so stoked if our bubble had a shower! Thanks
While I am not certain just how the task was accomplished, I am fairly certain that a Bubble has been "retrofitted" with a "wetbath" by at least one restorer who may not be on the Internet. I had the pleasure of traveling with John and Esther Dona on the 1999 Wagon Wheels Caravan to the WBCCI International Rally in Dayton, OH. It was my understanding that Mr. Dona added a shower as well as holding tanks for the toilet and wash water. If you are a member of WBCCI, you will find their contact information in the current WBCCI Membership Directory. You can see a photo of their coach on the site that I created chronicling our Wagon Wheels adventure at the link below:

http://personalpages.tds.net/~kallen/

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 03-30-2005, 12:43 PM   #3
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If one knew someone with fiberglassing experience, I would imagine a shower pan could be made in whatever shape you wanted, and as small or as large as needed.
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Old 03-30-2005, 08:21 PM   #4
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It seems to me that you have three separate issues

First, how to get warm water to the showerhead. You say you have a fresh water supply, but to get that water on skin you need: 1. plumbing, plastic seems the most popular for new installation, that will supply cold water thru the pump to a heater, then from the heater to a mixing valve at the shower and a separate cold line to the mixing valve, thence to the showerhead, either handheld or wall mounted. 2. pump, probably electric since a hand pump would be difficult to operate without recruiting a bigger crew into the shower process than most folks seem to prefer. This means you will need wiring to supply the pump with power (and a battery if you will be using it away from shore power or tow vehicle power) switch, fuse, etc. 12 volt RV pumps seem to run in the $50-$100 range 3. water heater, probably propane since that is the standard for RV use. The water heater will need a mounting location, propane supply plumbing, air supply and exhaust venting through a hatch in the exterior skin and connections to the water plumbing system. Heaters run in the $250-$500 range. My ruff estimate for materials for this side of the project is $450-$1200, depending on how fancy you get.

Second, a place to get wet, without getting everthing else wet. A shower stall is one choice. You can buy or fabricate a base, but you will also need vertical protection, either waterproof walls or a surrounding curtain. As you mentioned, an outside shower moves the spray out where it is less troublesome, but unless you are very secluded most folks are stll going to want walls or a curtain of some kind for privacy. The camping supply houses sell a kit that has a exterior door with a mixing valve and hand held shower head for about $60 You could spend anywhere from $20(for a washtub and wrap-around plastic curtain) to $1000, or more, on this part of the rig.

Third, a way to get rid of the water after it is used. This is so-called gray water. You may be able to dump it on the ground, but if not you will need drain plumbing and a p-trap into a holding tank and then plumbing and a dump valve to later empty the water into an approved municipal drain. Who knows what that would cost?

You also ought to consider wheter you have enough water in your tank t be useful. Some propose that you should plan on about 5 to 10 gallons per shower, and that may be about right. I once conducted an experiment of my own and measured the exact amount of water I used for a very restrictive navy shower and it was just cup or two shy of two gallons. You have to really want to save water to do that, though. If you think your current tank won't hold enough you either need a bigger tank or some other way to add to your water supply. It could be as simple as a toting a couple of plastic jerry cans from the lake or as elaborate as you care to go.

I am not trying to talk you out of putting in a shower; getting clean is one of the greatest luxuries you can have camping. But if you get obsessed with the shower pan, to the exclusion of the other issues you will be making a big mistake.

As a lo-tech alternative, since you have mentioned outdoor showering, let me suggest the sun-shower bags you can get at any camping store. I have used these tent camping (and only in the summer) and they do work. Best of all, they are cheap, cheap, cheap.
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Old 03-30-2005, 11:21 PM   #5
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You're about the same size as the early Bambi II's I think. One next ot us at a regional rally had a wet bath with shower. You might check out pictures on the vintage site for layouts. The problem in most of the older trailers is working around the window placement.
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Old 03-30-2005, 11:39 PM   #6
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Bubble;
Are there places I can get a custom shower pan?

I bought my trailer gutted out and I too, plan to install a shower pan and all the other things that BOBECHS mentioned above to make it functional. My trailer is a bit larger than yours but the way I designed the floor plan, I still need a custom made shower pan. I have talked to a couple of sheet metal shops here in town that have the capacity to make me one out of stailess steel. You might also find one that will suit your needs from one of the many R.V. parts supply houses on the net, they have many designs, shapes and sizes.
I'm not at that point yet, but I have already installed the water heater and plumbed the gas to it. Good luck with your project.
Ernie
'58 Traveler, 18ft.
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Old 03-31-2005, 10:01 AM   #7
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Good idea, Ernie. Depending on the look you're going for, I would think a metal shop with a brake press could make a really nice shower pan with a high of a lip as you want for the doorway. This is probably what we'll do with our GT - it currently has a fiberglass tub/shower stall along the curbside, but I'd like to have a stainless pan across the whole bath, angled down towards the drain and perhaps a teak grid to stand on that would level the surface. Just dreaming at this point, though.
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Old 03-31-2005, 11:36 AM   #8
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Square footage is more valuable than gold in a small trailer. I would poll owners of other small trailers about shower usage before I started to build!

As mentioned earlier, you will have water supply and grey water storage issues to deal with. As an example, we have an Argosy that is about 20 feet long and it has a shower. We hold 30 gals of fresh water, the black tank is 12 gals and the grey water tank is 10 gals. Taking a shower with less than 3 gals of water is tricky - if you want to shampoo hair and get the soap rinsed out (unless you have a Bruce Willis do) requires more water.

Space: Our shower is tiny and yours probably will be as well. My broad shouldered husband is wider than the shower pan - splash management will be an issue.

Usage: In the 3 years or so we've been using our trailer neither one of us has taken a shower in the trailer. Almost all parks and campgrounds have some kind of shower facility. When we find one that doesn't, we only stay a night or two and take sponge baths.... I figure that in an emergency we could use the shower, but to date, it just hasn't happened - we typically store 2 guitars and a folding lawn chair in the shower - we also routinely put the table there if we are making a bed up front.

I have often thought that it would be better to have an outdoor shower plumbed into the side of the trailer - as is comonly seen in newer rigs, and a portable shower surround (shower curtian) ...

Since you get to design from scratch, I would look at making the bed bigger, the space around the toilet more generous, increasing kitchen counter space or more lounging room and forget about the shower.
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Old 03-31-2005, 12:20 PM   #9
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Is a shower possible?

Greetings 58Bubble!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet
Square footage is more valuable than gold in a small trailer. I would poll owners of other small trailers about shower usage before I started to build!

As mentioned earlier, you will have water supply and grey water storage issues to deal with. As an example, we have an Argosy that is about 20 feet long and it has a shower. We hold 30 gals of fresh water, the black tank is 12 gals and the grey water tank is 10 gals. Taking a shower with less than 3 gals of water is tricky - if you want to shampoo hair and get the soap rinsed out (unless you have a Bruce Willis do) requires more water.

Space: Our shower is tiny and yours probably will be as well. My broad shouldered husband is wider than the shower pan - splash management will be an issue.

Usage: In the 3 years or so we've been using our trailer neither one of us has taken a shower in the trailer. Almost all parks and campgrounds have some kind of shower facility. When we find one that doesn't, we only stay a night or two and take sponge baths.... I figure that in an emergency we could use the shower, but to date, it just hasn't happened - we typically store 2 guitars and a folding lawn chair in the shower - we also routinely put the table there if we are making a bed up front.

I have often thought that it would be better to have an outdoor shower plumbed into the side of the trailer - as is comonly seen in newer rigs, and a portable shower surround (shower curtian) ...

Since you get to design from scratch, I would look at making the bed bigger, the space around the toilet more generous, increasing kitchen counter space or more lounging room and forget about the shower.
I agree with everything that Janet posted with one exception - - I Would Not forgoe the shower. In the past ten years of traveling (mostly between the Continental Divide and the Mississippi River), I have only spent time in three campgrounds where I would have voluntarily chosen to use their bath-house facilities -- fortunately the two times that I was having trouble with my water heater, I was camped in one of these parks with impeccably clean facilities (Rustic Barn Campground, Kieler, WI). My number one reason for buying my Airstream was to have my own complete bathroom with me wherever I traveled. The shower in my Minuet 6.0 Metre is small, but adequate - - with the 6.0 Metre, the wash water tank is above floor so the shower water is collected in a 5-gallon blue portable tank. Personally, my compromise (if necessary) would be to have better bathing facilities rather than larger sleeping facilities. I suspect that with the size of the Bubble (nearly four feet shorter) in comparison to the Minuet, a wet bath may be a more practical use of the space - - one of my previous Brand X (17') coaches had a wet bath that was a 3' x 5' rectangle that was nicely sized for regular use.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 03-31-2005, 02:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander64
My number one reason for buying my Airstream was to have my own complete bathroom with me wherever I traveled.

Amen to that! I haven't set foot in a park bath house since getting the Airstream! Ranks right up there with sleeping in my own bed every night, no matter where we go.
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Old 03-31-2005, 06:28 PM   #11
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Post Camp shower vs Wet bath shower

I'm a new owner of a 22ft CCD. I originally thought the idea of a wet bath was yucky, but after visiting the factory, liked the 22ft layout the best. I've used the camp's bath and my own. Definitely if I want a long, long shower it's not gonna happen in the CCD, but for a quick PTA shower it's nice and I don't have to get my hair wet with a hand held shower head/faucet.

I always wear shower shoes to the public facilities - and I think I'll start carrying my own curtain too. I'll modify one and add suction cups on the sides. Why DO campgrounds always have a curtain that's six inches too narrow for the opening it's covering? And made out of plastic that's thinner than a drycleaner bag so that it will float in and plaster itself to your wet behind?

In the CCD, I think I've finally found a practical use for "GUEST TOWELS" - you wipe down the wet bath with them after showering! Damn, they're perfect for that and useless for anything else. Don't forget to dry the seat or you'll regret it later!

In short, the Bubble looks awfully small for a separate shower, but if you can use a wet bath or outside shower, I say go for it.

Tin Lizzie
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Old 03-31-2005, 07:39 PM   #12
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Exclamation

Whenever I had a camper with a 'wet-bath', I put Astroturf doormat on the shower floor, cutting a hole for the drain. That way no-one is tracking water out of a wet shower floor.
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