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RVs come in all shapes and sizes and so do their bathrooms! While you can find a bathroom in just about every possible size of RV from the tiny teardrop trailer to the massive Class A motorbus there’s obviously going to be a lot of variations between them. One of the biggest, and most fundamental distinctions, is the difference between a wet bath and a dry bath.
So what’s the difference between a wet bath and a dry bath? A dry bath is what you’d typically expect to see in a home. It has a completely separate shower, sink and toilet, and only the shower is intended to get wet. On the other hand, a wet bath is a combined toilet and shower and the entire space is designed to get wet.
While you might have a gut reaction to one or the other, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each.
What is a Wet Bath in an RV?
A wet bath in an RV combines the shower, sink, and toilet into one stall-style space that’s designed to get wet. So when you take a shower everything will end up getting wet- the toilet, mirror, sink, walls, and everything else! It’s honestly a cool design and this style of bathroom is actually pretty popular in smaller homes and apartments in Europe.
But there are some downsides.
Because wet baths are designed to get completely wet it usually means they have a lot less storage compared to the traditional dry bath. In most cases, you wouldn’t want to store something in a space that’s getting drenched every day and it can be difficult to create a storage space that won’t let at least some water in.
But the biggest benefit of a wet bath is the space! By not having to worry about splitting the shower from the toilet and sink, manufacturers can really save on space. That extra space can be used elsewhere in the RV and a wet bath is a staple of any smaller RV.
In some cases, the space-saving goes even further and manufacturers will even combine the shower and the sink. So instead of having a separate shower head, the sink extends to a wall-mount and becomes your shower. It’s hard to beat that level of space-saving efficiency!
Wet baths can found in some Class C RVs but they’re much more common in Class Bs and travel trailers. The smaller the RV, the more likely you’ll see a wet bath since even the smallest RVs can still fit a shower and toilet if they make use of a wet bath.
Pros and Cons of a Wet Bath
- Very efficient in terms of space since every inch of your bathroom is functional. That leaves more room for other parts of the RV like the kitchen or bedroom. Or just allows you to have a very small RV overall!
- In many cases, you end up with a larger shower since the entire bathroom is the shower. While this isn’t the case in really small RVs, if you’ve got a Class C with a wet bath there’s a good chance you’ll end up with a relatively large shower.
- No dusting is required! While you still need to clean your bathroom, you certainly don’t need to worry about any dust build-up since the entire bathroom is getting rinsed down with every shower
- Everything will be wet! That means you need to take special precautions for keeping your toilet paper dry or anything else that you don’t want to get soaked. This might not seem like a big deal at first but it can get old fast. Consider that if you or someone else needs to use a restroom within an hour of showering that everything in the bathroom will be wet!
- There’s typically less storage space available since it takes a lot more effort to keep things dry in storage when the entire bathroom is getting wet. So while you’re saving space with a small bathroom you might lose it in other space!
- If you’re used to sharing a bathroom as part of the morning routine, a wet bath might not be ideal. This is especially true for couples who might be used to sharing a bathroom during the morning routine.
What is a Dry Bath in an RV?
A dry bath in an RV keeps the shower, toilet, and sink all completely separate. In most cases, it’s exactly what you’d expect to see in your home but the RV version will obviously be a lot smaller. In some rigs, the shower is across the hall so it’s more separate than a traditional bathroom.
Dry baths on RV usually have plenty of storage and construction that’s in line with the rest of the RV. All the usual amenities like toilet paper rolls are exactly where you’d expect them to be. While this might seem like the obvious choice, there are certainly some downsides.
The biggest problem is space. There’s only so much room in an RV and if you’re trying to go small having a separate shower and toilet can seem like a luxury. Unless you’re going for a giant Class A RV, living in a motorhome is all about space efficiency and a wet bath is the clear winner there.
Still, you’ve got to be happy in your RV, and having the familiar layout of a dry bath can really improve the quality of life on the road!
In most cases, you’ll see a dry bath in Class C size RVs but as you get into travel trailers or Class B rigs you’ll start to see more and more wet baths.
Pros and Cons of a Dry Bath
- Simple, familiar, and almost the same as what you’re already used to- just on a smaller scale. RV living already requires a lot of adaptations and some folks will be relieved to have a more familiar bathroom.
- It’s possible for a second person to enter the bathroom while you’re showering. Again, this makes your RV feel like a normal home and couples that are used to sharing a bathroom during a morning routine will be likely to prefer a dry bath.
- Most dry baths have plenty of storage space which makes up for the extra space it takes up.
- Not nearly as space-efficient when compared to a wet bath. A wet bath will always win if space is the primary concern.
- Usually, RVs with dry baths are more expensive but it’s not always the fault of the bathroom. RVs with a dry bath are usually larger, too.
- There’s going to be more cleaning and general upkeep required since it’s not getting a daily hose down as a wet bath might.
Wet Bath Vs Dry Bath: Which Is Better For Your Next RV?
At the end of the day, which bath you choose for your next RV is going to come down to personal preference. If your number one priority is to go as small as possible while still having a shower and toilet then the clear choice is going to be a wet bath. They really are a staple of the smaller RVs and for good reason.
But if you want to try your hand at RV living while having to change as little as possible then a dry bath is a clear choice.
Can You Use A Composting Toilet In A Wet Bath?
When you’re looking at your next RV, you want to make sure you’re looking at all variables including the type of toilet you can use. While most wet baths will feature a plastic toilet you can use porcelin but the bigger question that a lot of folks ask is whether or you you can use a composting toilet with a wet bath.
It obviously presents some challenges since you don’t want your composting toilet filling up with water everytime you shower. Not only will this cause major management problems it can also disrupt the composting process if too much water is added.
Can You Convert A Wet Bath Into A Dry?
While it’s possible to convert a decent sized wet bath into a dry bath it’s not something I’d recommend since it’s going to be a far from perfect solution. While it’s not too difficult to figure out how to get a shower cutrain inside the bathroom the big problem is going to be the drain.
Most drains are going to be more towards the center of the bathroom to allow for easy drainage. So even if you’re able to section off a portion of the bathroom into a designated shower, you’re still going to have a very wet bathroom floor to get the correct drainage.
But if your drain lines up with your separate shower vision it might be possible. And if you don’t want to mess with mounting a shower yourself you can pick up a shower seperater like this one on Amazon. That uses a few suction cups to keep everything in place which means it can easily be moved and repurposed to outdoor use if needed.
When it comes to choosing between a wet and dry bath there are more than a few pros and cons to each. You’re going to have to decide what’s most important to you and how much space you really want in your bathroom.
But I’d love to hear from you! What style bathroom do you prefer and why?