When you think of going camping on an RV, your first thought might be on having a private bathroom and getting to shower whenever you want. Indeed, not having to use communal toilets or showers seems like a treat, right?
Although you’ll basically be living in a home away from home on wheels, keep in mind that the shower experience in an RV is quite different. You won’t have an endless supply of water. This means you can’t really take long showers. At most, you’ll only have a few minutes. Even if you’re plugged into a hookup, unless you have a tankless water heater, you can run out of warm water. You’ll have to wait until your RV tank refills.
You also need to take into account other activities that will require the use of water. What about washing your hands? Cooking? Cleaning the dishes? Flushing the toilet? With the need to conserve water while RVing, exactly just how much water does a shower use?
To determine the answer to this question, there are three main factors you have to examine: RV Class, time spent showering, and shower flow rate. Striking a balance between these three is an important part of your RV experience. Knowing these things will come especially in handy during long trips where the distance between RV parks and full hookups are few and far between.
These are discussed in more detail below, so continue reading.
The first thing you need to do is be aware of the type of RV you own or rent. There are different types of RV classes and each one has a different water carrying capacity. For instance, Class A RVs average between 75-100 gallons; class B RVs have the capacity for 20-40 gallons; and class C RVs can hold between 35-60 gallons on the average.
Depending on your RV class and subsequently your water tank capacity, you get some leeway on how much water you can consume for a single shower. You can then consider the time you spend on a shower, determine the optimum flow rate, and choose an efficient showerhead.
The amount of water your shower dispenses is largely dependent on how long you spend under the water. Remember that taking a shower in your RV is different from taking a shower at home. You don’t have the luxury of taking long showers.
On the average, a family of 3 will use 30-35 gallons of water a day. As a general rule, the more you linger under a showerhead, the more water you will use up. So, it is a good idea to move quickly.
If you plan to get off the beaten path for more a longer period, VEHQ advises you limit showers to 2-3 minutes. If you’re camping with full hookups but have a regular heater, you can extend your time 5-10 minutes. Now if you don’t want to be limited, you need to have a tankless water heater and pick a campground with full hookups.
Flow Rate and Showerhead
The shower flow rate compounds with the time you spend showering. If you take long showers and use a high flow rate, then your consumption will definitely be high. On the other hand, if you utilize a lower flow rate, the amount of water you use will decrease.
Closely connected with the flow rate is the type of showerhead. Most showerheads’ flow rates range from 1.5-2.5 gallons per minute (GPM). With this figure, you can estimate how long you can extend your showers. Keep in mind your total supply. To make sure you choose an efficient showerhead, it is recommended you choose a showerhead with a 2 or lower GPM.
Being knowledgeable about the flow rate, choosing an efficient showerhead, and managing your time under the water are essential information if you want to know how much water your RV shower consumes. Combining these three will help you come up with an optimal shower routine.
For example, if you take a shower for 5 minutes with a showerhead that has a flowrate of 2 gallons per minute, your shower will cost you 10 gallons of water already. If you had a class B mobile home with 40-gallon water carrying capacity, how much would be left for your companions? Would you still have enough water to do laundry, prepare food, or drink?
This would be no problem if you chose an RV park with full hookups to camp in. However, if you choose to go the dry camping route, you need to adapt.
In a bid to maximize their water carrying capacity, many RV campers recommend what they call a “Navy” shower routine. Basically, you would turn on the shower long enough to get yourself wet, turn it off, and then lather yourself with shampoo and soap. Afterwards, you turn your shower back on and wash everything off. Close the tap, and your shower’s done.
Weigh your Options
In the beginning of this article, we sought to answer a common question among RV campers, that is, “how much water does a shower use?” The answer depends on you and how you use your supply.
Just remember to first determine the total capacity of your RV’s water tank. After, depending on the kind of trip you’ll be taking and the number of people with you, you can decide on the optimal flow rate and length of shower for each person. After asking yourself these things, you’ll be able to allocate your water consumption better.
Know your limits and adjust accordingly. This is important because the key ingredient to a successful trip is to have an adequate water supply. Always keep in mind that you may not have a constant source of water when you go camping.
Depending on the length and location of your trip, prioritize your water consumption. If you want to allocate more H2O for your baths, that’s your decision. You just have to alter your consumption in other areas of your RV such as food preparation, drinking, toilet flushing, and personal hygiene.