Bathrooms worth the space? - Fiberglass RV

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Old 10-13-2010, 09:28 AM   #1
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Kip in Ga.'s Avatar
Name: Kip
Trailer: 2003 Casita 17' SD Deluxe, Towed by '09 Honda Ridgeline.
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Bathrooms worth the space?

Moderator's note: This thread has been split from the "Family Friendly Floorplans" topic, as they actually address quite different issues.

Been reading everything I can concerning "Fiberglass Trailers". Lots of good ideas and opinions.

So maybe some of you could give some helpful hints concerning bathrooms and the space they require, as well as sleeping options with a 16' model.

My wife and I are both 5'6"ish. So sleeping across the rear of a 6' wide (interior) trailer would not be a problem. She tosses and turns so we sleep in seperate beds. And would do so in the RV. The rear dinette/bed would be plenty of room for her tossing and tumbling, but I still need a place to sleep.

> With side dinette models how long is the sleeping area when the dinette is converted into a bed?

> With side dinette, and sofa up front instead, of a bathroom, does the sofa convert into a bed near 6' in length?

> When the thrill has worn off concerning the bathroom and the shower, are they still used for their intended purpose, or does that space become a storage area?

This may seem like a silly question, however...! It seems that in a 16'er the bath takes ip about 25% of the interior space, and if the shower is used, everything in that space gets wet and would need to be dried before the toilet could be sat on! And if the BR floor is wet, that water would be tracked into the rest of the trailer.

So, does anybody think that eleminating the bathroom and having the sofa (and a Porta Pottie) instead, would open up the percieved interior space as well as give added seating space, and possibly some added storage?

We are empty nesters, and 99% of the time, there would be just the two of us and a couple of 20# dogs. Most or all of our camping would be 1-2 nights. Any and all thoughts, encouragement, and critisism is welcome.


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Old 10-13-2010, 12:50 PM   #2
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Kip, In my 17' Casita with side dinette, the bed works out to be about 72" long. Hope this helps.

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Old 10-15-2010, 08:22 AM   #3
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Trailer: 2003 Casita 17' SD Deluxe, Towed by '09 Honda Ridgeline.
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Originally Posted by Terry G View Post
Kip, In my 17' Casita with side dinette, the bed works out to be about 72" long. Hope this helps.
Thank you Terry. It does help!

Does yours have a front bath? If so, what are your feelings, likes, and dislikes concerning the bath.

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Old 10-15-2010, 09:02 AM   #4
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Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
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Hi Kip,

I don't have a 16-er, just a 13-er, but I hope you don't mind my chiming in. Your post struck a note with me in a couple of the things you are wondering about. My thoughts on the "real" bathroom/shower are similar to some of those you expressed. I mean, they are wondrous things, but I don't want to devote 30% of my trailer space to something I use for 15 minutes a day. I'd much rather have a comfortable chair!

It also adds some weight and complexity (hose runs, fixtures, things to empty, winterizing, etc.), which may or may not be an issue for you. For one-to-two day excursions, I'd rather keep it simple, and have the trailer be more "use and forget" before and after the trip.

Sometimes, you lose a big window (but not always, I don't think).

And, while I can't speak directly to trailers, since I don't have a shower in mine, I can say that on boats what you say about moisture is true. When you shower quite a bit of moist air is created and it can be a concern; also, it's best to wipe down the walls and dry things up when you are done, and I don't feel like doing that when I've just gotten all clean and fresh.

Lastly, I like a bit of privacy when doing my business, and so I would rather take a brief walk to the facilities (small "shower" tent; campground bathroom, etc.) than use them five feet from my partners head. Solo, I don't have that problem and just use WAG bags in the 13-er (has no dedicated bathroom), combined with a Navy bath if there is not a handy shower. This might change if I were "living aboard," but for short excursions such as you have planned, I would keep my rig as-is. Of course there are many different opinions on this, and to each their own.

Of course there are many positives to having a "real" bathroom and shower; I'm just addressing the potential negatives you mentioned, since they are among the reasons I don't have one.

My feeling would be that if you think you can be happy without a "real" bathroom/shower, then you might as well enjoy the advantages to not having one; conversely, if one of you would not be happy without one, then of course get one. (I say that because I think for some people the experience would not be enjoyable without one.)

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Old 10-15-2010, 12:02 PM   #5
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Trailer: 2003 Casita 17' SD Deluxe, Towed by '09 Honda Ridgeline.
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Raya, I definitely appreciate your chiming in, and hope more folks will.
I'm sincerely trying to learn and not make a costly mistake. Used "Eggs" sure hold their value.

Toward the end of our camping days, the kids outgrew camping, so we put our last camper, a 30'er on a rented lake lot. (The lot did not have a sewer line.) We didn't leave the fridge running when we were not there. We carried stuff in an ice chest, and it got to where we didn't bother to turn on the fridge and wait for it to get cold and then transfer from one to the other and back again when leaving. Usually only there for 1 or 2 nights.

During the winter everything was winterized so we took a Porta Pottie along and it easily lasted a couple of days for the two of us. When we needed to wash our hands we did it at the campground spiket outside, or used baby wipes.

At first we cooked meals in the campers. But as time went on we decided there was just too much involved with the cooking and clean up, so all food except for something we might want to grill was cooked before we left the house. Cereal or oatmill and fruit for breakfast, a burger or sandwich for lunch, and something for the microwave or outside grill for supper. Paper plates and bowles, plastic flatware, and syrofoam cups were throw away instead of wash items. We did both insist on our favorite glass coffee cups. Really didn't even have a need for pots and pans, other than maybe heating some water for hand and face washing and teeth brushing.

Got to where the bathroom was used for things we were to lazy to take home and it filled up with junk!

If it got to a point that sponge baths (navy baths) didn't work, there was a campground shower with plenty of hot water and no clean up for us. We did wear flip flops there. The last summer there I didn't bother to flush the antifreeze from the pipes. We just did the same as winter camping.

When we left, the only dumping we had to do was the "Porti Pottie"! Quick and easy.

That camper got to where it was just plain big for the two of us, as most of it wasn't being used. Not unusual to fall asleep on the sofas and stay there all night. We spoke several times of doing some camping at other places, but the thought of dragging that big thing behind the van was more than either of us really wanted to do. 30' of trailer behind a long WB Chevy Van took up a lot of space and burned a lot of gas, and it was somewhat nerve racking being blown around when passed by a big rig or driving in bad cross winds. So now the "Eggs" are looking very appealing!

You bring up some good points about the extra weight, plumbing, and such associated with the bathrooms. I suppose that in reality a 13'er without a bathroom would have as much "Living" space as a 16'er with one.

When we first started camping we did use the shower. Found out real quick that 6 gallons of hot waterruns out real fast, and it was slow to recover. So it was get wet, soap down, rinse off. But is was nice to not have to walk to the bath house, in the beginning. None of our campers had baths where everything in there got wet during a shower. So trying to imagine how folks deal with that. On the other hand the bathroom could be used for storage and still be there if needed.

Right now I'm trying to weigh the pros and cons. Hope some other folks will chime in.

Thanks again,
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Old 10-15-2010, 01:31 PM   #6
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Trailer: Fiber Stream
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Red face Simplicity vs. Convenience

Originally Posted by Kip in Ga. View Post
You bring up some good points about the extra weight, plumbing, and such associated with the bathrooms. I suppose that in reality a 13'er without a bathroom would have as much "Living" space as a 16'er with one.

Hope some other folks will chime in.
I think you pretty much figured correctly.
We started out in an old 1960's era canvas cabin tent, then moved up to a Compact Jr. with a porta-potty. Then we got the Fiber Stream and sold the Compact Jr. We still have the tent.

I'm wishing I kept the Compact Jr. as well.
  1. Bathroom maintenance is mostly my job.
  2. It takes us 20-30 minutes to set up (and secure) all of the Fiber Stream's component systems.
  3. My partner finds the Fiber Stream too difficult to maneuver into a campsite by himself. He could unhitch and push the Compact Jr.
  4. While great for a 2-3 week vacation, the Fiber Stream can be a hassle for a weekend where meals & restrooms are otherwise provided.
So when he's alone he either uses the tent, or has me deliver the Fiber Stream and set it up.
Then when he's done with it, I have to go pick it up. I get the work and he gets the enjoyment...
Frederick - The Scaleman
1978 Fiber Stream 16 named "Eggstasy" & 1971 Compact Jr. named "Boomerang"
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Old 10-15-2010, 08:49 PM   #7
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Trailer: 2009 Trillium 1300 "Homelet"/2014 Subaru Outback "Rosie"
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Smile Thirteen is neat!

After tenting for 40 years my wife and I really enjoy our 13' Trillium. We use a porta-potti and it works out just fine for us. We use hand sanitizer afterwards.
We used to both sleep in the rear 3/4 size bed, but both having to get up when only one wants to use the p-p got to be a drag. So now I sleep in the front dinette/bed since, like you, she is the more active sleeper.
In the morning, I get dressed first, take the p-p to the campground restroom, empty, and rinse it. By the time I return, my wife is dressed, has the trailer straightened up, and the door for p-p storage open.
I dislike all the complications that come with more "stuff" in a trailer. We eliminated a water heater by not having a shower. We do not have a refrigerator. I find that one would even have to worry about freezing in the summer. I well recall the 25 night we spent in a tent at Bryce Canyon in July. We have no furnace, we use an electric space heater which can make it toasty in there.
Today we returned from a week trip which included the NONOG last weekend. We pulled into the drive, nosed into the turn-around, unhitched, turned, and PUSHED the Trillium into its spot next to the garage. The bigger the unit, the harder it is to handle.
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Old 10-16-2010, 12:57 AM   #8
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Trailer: 2006 Scamp 13' towed with a 2005 Dodge Dakota 4.7l Magnum W/full tow package (over kill)
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I have a 13' Scamp (2006). No bath or shower. In today's world there's very little need for a shower on board. When we camp in place without a shower, and sometimes even if there is a shower, we use "wet ones" or the larger "Fresh Bath" wipes. For the several times of hand washing we use waterless hand cleaners. Both seem to work quite well. I even use a waterless shampoo at times.

As for toilets, we have very different attitude than many folks do. Campgrounds have facilities that I'm already paying for, so why bother with the fuss and trouble of a toilet, including a Porta Potty. We also have thing crazy thing about carrying around your body waste, we simply won't do that.
Sometimes we camp in "dispersed" area. In most places there's trees and bushes to get behind and use the same methods of disposing of body waste as we do when backpacking.

As for getting up in the middle of the night, we get up together. The short walk to the facilities is kind of refreshing at night. It's quiet and when in the deep woods their are more stars than can be imagined visible.

Some people have mentioned electric heaters. This only works if you intend to RV with hook ups. I have set our trailer up to be off the grid. Last Feb we were out for about 25 nights and only night did we have electricity. We got up to 25 temps a couple of mornings. The propane furnace kept us nice and warm. On those mornings you cook inside.

A lot of what you want and don't want in a trailer depends on how you plan on using it. Think carefully about how want to use it, the types of places you plan on staying with it, and your options to experience some other type of place. Once you give it that kind of thought the options you want should be evident.

My 2 cents worth
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
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Old 10-16-2010, 06:14 AM   #9
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Trailer: 2003 Casita 17' SD Deluxe, Towed by '09 Honda Ridgeline.
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Thank you, Frederick, Roger, and Byron

Interesting ideas and comentary.

In a 2-10 year old Egg, when the shower/BR are eleminated is there usually still a kitchen sink?

If so, is there still a fresh water and a gray water tank?

If there is a fresh water tank, Is the water from the tank pumped by hand or electric?

Is there still a hot water heater?

We haven't camped for several years, so I have to assume that most modern private and state/federal camp grounds have Ice available. This is just in case we purchase a TT without a fridge or just don't want to mess with it. We paid a bit more and got a really efficient Ice chest years ago. It will usually hold it's cold all weekend as long as we don't leave the lid open for extended periods. But things can go wrong.

We generally used an electric heater and let the campground pay for the "fuel". But there have been times when Electricity failed for some reason.
In that case, We have a small "catalytic" heater that will run for several hours on a 1 pound bottle of propane as a back up in case the electricity and furnace failed for some reason. Of course we would crack a window if we needed to use it, even though it is supposed to be safe.

We still like our comfort and a TV to watch before retiring. We had a small TV with a built in VCR so we could watch something we had rented or taped. Recon that would have to be replaced for something with a DVD player. Of course AC is a given.

Any one else with ideas, please post.

Also hoping for thought and suggestions from folks that have all the necessities such as showers, satalite, Lap top hook ups, and so forth.

If you have all the goodies, do you use them all?

This isn't a debate! It is an exchange of ideas, and all are most appreciated.

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Old 10-16-2010, 09:32 AM   #10
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Trailer: Escape 21; (formerly Casita LD 17 & 16)
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I split these posts away from "Family Friendly Floorplans" in part because there may be people with advice who would not normally be visiting that topic.

Thanks, everybody, for your participation!
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Old 10-16-2010, 10:47 AM   #11
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Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
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I think virtually all of the eggs come with a kitchen sink (at least all of the ones I know of). Most of the older "primitive" 13-ers have a small fresh water tank (say, 10 gallons or so) with at least a manual pump at the sink, and maybe an electric one. The grey water would typically drain to the ground or to a hose fitting so you could direct it into a jerry jug. There would also be a fitting so that you could attach "city water" (i.e. a pressurized hose) and use that as your water supply.

I sometimes just use a dishpan in the sink when I'm travelling, so that I can wash my hands or do a few small things and not have my grey water either dump on the ground or have to set up a container. A regular dishpan happens to fit right into the typical 13-er sink.

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Old 10-16-2010, 12:24 PM   #12
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Kip, I saw one reference in this thread to the bathroom taking 25% of the total space and another for 30% of the space. Those percentages seemed very large to me so I made some rough measurements from the floor plan schematics on the Casita and Scamp websites. The Casita 17 bathroom was 12% and the Scamp 16 bathroom was 11% of the space. The measurements did not take into account the rounded corners, so the actual percentages may be a little less than 11% or 12%. I have a 13 ft Burro without a bathroom, but if I had a 16 or 17 ft egg, I would want the bathroom, even if I did not use it often.

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Old 10-16-2010, 01:54 PM   #13
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Trailer: 2005 19 ft Scamp 19 ft 5th Wheel
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We are gutting and re-doing an old 14.5' Surfside trailer and are making decisions about what to do with our interior setup based on our experience with our partially-gutted and re-done 19' Scamp 5er, which has a side bath enclosure.

We enjoy taking our 5er on trips that have ranged from weekends to three weeks long, staying in both primitive and developed campsites along the way. The Scamp's toilet gets used, but we have yet to take a shower in our trailer. There are a number of reasons for that, but two of the biggest ones are:
1) When we're boondocking, showering takes a lot of water. Take a shower and we'd use at least 3 gallons of water. By taking a sponge bath at the kitchen sink, then using the "wand" (something I added and is really nice to have) to rinse the last of the soap out of my hair I can keep that water use down to a quart or so.

2) Sites with hookups usually have showers. Nice, big, showers we can turn around in and which Lynne can more comfortably wash, rinse, and condition her hair in. The trailer shower, by comparison, is not only much too cramped for this, but makes the toilet wet and less attractive to use. So we plan our trips so we move to a campsite that has showers once a week or climb in our tow vehicle and drive to a place with showers.

So, our "new" 14.5' trailer will not have a shower. For our toilet we'll have a porta-pot that stows under our planned front dinette.
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Old 10-16-2010, 02:40 PM   #14
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I'll take the opposite tack. I really like have a bathroom and shower. The middle of the night trek to the bath house is no fun for me and a deal breaker for my wife. In addition, we stayed in a park this summer that there was no way I was showering in. We were there for work, otherwise we would have moved on.

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