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Ashley Mann spent three years living full time in a 38-foot, 5th-wheel RV with her husband Josiah and their cat, Kitty. Her favorite thing about RV life is the challenge of finding the perfect way to organize a space, and she loves seeing all the creative and clever ways people come up with to customize their RVs.
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.
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.
- 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 the work is done by a certified RV mechanic.
- 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 definitely not fit for a full-size 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
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.
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. While a fully grown adult won’t get a good soak, they are great for kids and pets.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
- 【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.
- 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.
- 1ft 10in * 2ft 11in (Height * Diameter). Large-size recommended for adults 6ft 2in and under
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.
- 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.
- Relaxing inflatable spa ensures ultimate relaxation in comforting warm water with the 2 to 4-person hot tub that has 60 soothing air jets and a water capacity of 192 gallons
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.
- 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.
- Holds up to 22 gallons of water
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.