9 Alternative RV Bathtub Ideas: Adding a Tub to Your RV

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One thing that many full-time RVers miss most about not living in a “regular house” is a bathtub. For some, a long soak in a tub is the perfect way to unwind. For others, small kids or pets would be easier to bathe if their RV had a bathtub.

In this article, I share aftermarket RV bathtub ideas for those who want to take a bath but don’t have an RV with a bathtub built in. I’ll also link to options for traditional and alternative RV bathtubs such as foldable, collapsible, and inflatable tubs for kids and adults.

Can you buy an RV with a bathtub already in it?

Photo Credit: Rving Dogs and Wine

While they are usually quite small, you can buy an RV with a bathtub already built in. These are most commonly found in fifth wheels or trailers. An RV bathtub is likely only large enough to fully bathe children or pets, not a full-size adult.

4 Things to Consider Before Adding a Bathtub to an RV

Before you start on a project to install a bathtub in your RV, consider this:

  • Filling a tub may require more hot water than your RV’s hot water tank can hold.
    If you’re dreaming of a long soak in a bubble bath, you may need to install a tankless, on-demand hot water heater in your RV. But be aware that even a propane-fueled tankless water heater will likely require electricity to function. That would mean no hot water when you’re dry camping.
Photo Credit: bbandtherv
  • A full tub of water big enough for an adult human is pretty heavy. You’ll want to ensure the floor beneath your tub can handle the weight and add reinforcement if necessary.
  • DIY modifications can void an RV warranty.
    Suppose your RV is covered under a manufacturer’s warranty or an extended warranty. In that case, you should be aware that alterations to your plumbing system may void warranty coverage for those systems unless a certified RV mechanic does the work.
  • Full-size bathtubs likely cannot fit in your RV.
    If you buy an aftermarket RV bathtub, you’ll immediately notice they are not designed to fit adults. Camping World’s aftermarket RV bathtubs are only 10-12″ deep, making them perfect for kids and pets, but not an adult. If you want a full soak, you may have to get creative. I’ll show some alternative options below.

Replacing an RV Shower with an RV Bathtub

Photo Credit: re.creation.co517

If you’re determined to install a bathtub in your RV, the first step will be to figure out whether or not the space in your bathroom is big enough for a bathtub. There are quite a few RV bathtubs to choose from on Amazon, and they all seem to measure either 24″x40″ or 24″x36″.

Most of them are a drop-in style. (Some will include the shower surround built together with the tub.) This would require building some type of wooden frame with a panel across the front to house them.

The bathtub pictured below is from the well-known RV parts website RecPro.com.

RV bathtub from RecPro
RV bathtub from RecPro.com

Here’s a video that demonstrates the framing and installation process (after the existing shower pan has already been removed).

Properly done, adding an RV bathtub can be a great way to add a little value to your camper.

Can you add a regular bathtub to an RV?

If your RV can handle the weight, you might be able to find a residential bathtub to fit your space, such as this acrylic soaker tub, which is 47″ long…

It is very rare to see this in an RV, and you’ll likely only see it from professionals. Superstar renovator Cortni of The Flipping Nomad wowed the RV world when she unveiled “The Ultimate Montana” with this luxurious bathroom setup.

Again, you’ll need to ensure that the weight of a full tub can be supported by your RV frame.

7 Alternative RV Bathtub Ideas for Adults

For most renovators, you’ll see less traditional RV bathtub replacements. Here are a few ideas!

1. A Stock Tank

I’ve seen quite a few RVs renovated with a farmhouse style where the shower was removed and replaced with a livestock water trough as a bathtub, like the one pictured below.

Stock tank bathtub in an RV
Photo by Amber of @notallarelost

The owners of the RV below removed their shower pan and installed a stock tank tub. For showers and baths, they left up the shower surround and shower fixtures. They added a shower curtain that closes on all sides so they still have the option of taking a shower if they want. This family said if they had it to do over again, they would build a slightly slanted platform to go under the tub to help with drainage.

If you’re interested in the stock tank bathtub idea, here are some videos to check out. While they aren’t RV-specific, they provide some helpful insight into how to make a bathtub out of a livestock water trough:

One major consideration for adding any type of alternative tub is how much space it will require. You may need to get creative, like this renovation that turned the whole back of the trailer into a spa-like bathroom. Imagine parking somewhere and having panoramic views from this tub!

Photo Credit: Justus2rv

2. A plastic storage tote

This interesting idea was shared by an RV owner who wanted to have a bathtub in her RV. She covered a giant plastic storage container with decorative Contact paper and connected a hose to the kitchen sink to fill it.

Rubbermaid storage container used as a bathtub in an RV
Photo by Michelle Charlton

Personally, I would probably want to stack two containers together if I were to try this. In my experience, Rubbermaid storage totes can crack fairly easily. That would make a huge mess and cause possible water damage if it cracked while full of water!

Another drawback I can see to this idea is that it might be difficult to empty the water after use. You would probably have to drag it over to dump it out the door… Or perhaps you could siphon the water into the sink? Or bail the water with a 5-gallon bucket?

None of those options are too attractive.

It reminds me of this photo I’ve seen circulating the internet:

Storage tote used as a bathtub in a shower
Original source unknown – shared by this Facebook page

3. Foldable Bathtub for Adults

This collapsible bathtub seems to be a great alternative to installing an RV bathtub. The size (40″ x 20″) is similar to the size of an RV bathtub, except deeper. This tub would be ideal for older children or small adults, and it folds flat for storage when not in use.

Sale
W WEYLAN TEC Large Foldable Bath Tub Bathtub for Toddler Children Twins Petite Adult Blue
  • 【Chest Deep Water】Enable the bath water to chest deep, keep kid warm for long time

Since it’s actually designed to be used as a bathtub, it’s sturdy and includes a drain hole. If you have space, you can set it inside your shower to make it easy to fill and empty. Otherwise, you can fill it by connecting the sink to a garden hose and empty it by directing the drain hose into the shower.

4. Inflatable Tub for Adults

For a more luxurious soak, you might consider this inflatable bathtub. However, after considering the practicality of filling and emptying it, I think I would only use it outside.

CO-Z Inflatable Adult Bath Tub, Free-Standing Blow Up Bathtub with Foldable Portable Feature for Adult Spa with Electric Air Pump (High-Density PVC)
  • SUPERIOR MATERIAL: Carefully constructed with high-density PVC and finished with thermal fusion technology for extra durability. This inflatable tub is waterproof, non-toxic, and eco-friendly.

Still, if you have an outdoor showerhead, it would be easy to fill. Sitting in it with your favorite beverage in the cup holder could be a very nice way to relax. (Just wear a swimsuit!)

If you do decide to use it indoors, a bathtub liner can add an extra layer of protection to prevent it from leaking inside your RV.

5. Inflatable Soaker Tub

This inflatable soaker tub is only 35″ in diameter, which means that you may be able to fit it inside your RV shower.

Portable Bathtub (Large) by Homefilos, Ice Bath and Cold Plunge for Athletes, Inflatable Adult Size Japanese Soaking Hot Tub for Shower Stall
804 Reviews

It’s big enough for adults and highly reviewed on Amazon. It has a drain hose which would make it easy to empty whether you have it in your shower or just in your bathroom.

6. Folding Bathtub

Here’s another adult bathtub to consider. This one isn’t inflatable, but it collapses down flat to be portable and easy to store. It also includes a drain hose, so it can be emptied into a shower.

AellerSen Portable Bathtubs, Foldable Soaking Bathing Tub for Adults, Oval Bathtubs for Showers, with Thick Insulation Foam to Keep The Temperature (Green)
  • Portable and Foldable:The folding bathtub is easy to assemble and can be folded. Even in your shower or small bathroom, you can also take a bath. It is an ideal choice for portable folding bathtub.

7. Inflatable Hot Tub

One last idea for you.

If all you’re looking for is a way to relax, a hot tub may be a better option. This Coleman inflatable hot tub would probably need to be used outdoors. But the advantage over a tub is that it comes with its own heater, so the water stays warm without depending on your RV’s hot water heater.

Coleman SaluSpa AirJet 2 to 4 Person Round Inflatable Hot Tub Portable Outdoor Spa with 60 Soothing AirJets and Insulated Cover, Black
2,474 Reviews
Coleman SaluSpa AirJet 2 to 4 Person Round Inflatable Hot Tub Portable Outdoor Spa with 60 Soothing AirJets and Insulated Cover, Black
  • Attention: Shipping restrictions may apply; This model is not available for sale in the following states: CA, MA, ME, NJ, NV, NY, OR, RI; Residents of these states may select the comparable Bestway model sold with energy-efficient EnergySense thermal cover to avoid cancellation

This is definitely the most expensive option on the list, but it says it could fit up to four people.

RV Bathtub Ideas for Kids

If you don’t want to do any major modifications to your RV and just need a way to bathe your kids or pets, here are some ideas for you.

1. Collapsible Bathtub for Kids or Pets

There are quite a few foldable or collapsible bathtubs for kids available online, but none with as many positive reviews as the Stokke Flexi Bath. This foldable tub with hard plastic sides and a drain at the bottom is easy to fit into any shower.

Stokke Flexi Bath, White - Foldable Baby Bathtub - Lightweight, Durable & Easy to Store - Convenient to Use at Home or Traveling - Best for Newborns & Babies
  • FOLDABLE BABY BATHTUB - The Stokke Flexi Bath is a foldable baby bathtub for newborn babies and children up to 35 lbs. Whether in the bathroom or away from home, unfold it wherever you are for instant, trouble-free bath time.

This tub comes in two sizes. The XL size is big enough for a toddler and regular is great for babies. You could also bathe a small dog in this tub without having to worry about the dog’s nails puncturing the plastic

2. An Inflatable Kiddie Pool

Here’s a cheap idea from Pinterest that might work in an RV. The tricky part would be finding an inflatable kiddie pool with the right dimensions, but one full-time RVer found this one to be the perfect size.

This is a great affordable option that would work well for kids.

Intex Sunset Glow Baby Pool (34 in x 10 in)
  • Your baby will have fun splashing their way through summer in this inflatable pool

9 Alternative RV Bathtub Ideas

If you can’t fit an RV bathtub into your existing shower space, hopefully one of these alternative ideas will work for you. Have you added a tub to your RV bathroom? We would love to see it! Share your remodel in the comments.

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3 Comments

  1. I am remodeling a completely gutted bathroom. I have been using a large rubbermaid tote as a makeshift tub. I use the water lines to fill it and a pond pump with a hose to drain it.

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