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Camper Van Shower Plumbing Diagrams & Installation Guide

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In this post, we show you how to build your own shower plumbing system in a camper van (or RV). Included in this post are detailed shower plumbing diagrams and a step-by-step installation guide.

This post does NOT include how to build a shower room/stall. We only show all the products and components needed to build the plumbing system.

Below is the diagram we will be putting together in this post. It will include:

Shower Plumbing Diagram

Outdoor Shower Plumbing Diagram For Camper Vans

So if you’re ready, let’s get to it!

Table of Contents
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    Not what you need? Check out our camper van “Plumbing” category page for more similar content.

    Section 1:

    Set Up Fixed Water Tank

    In this first section, we detail how to install a fixed water tank and list all the components & fixtures you need. We’ll show two ways you can fill water into your tank and you can choose which way suits you best.

    Below is the water tank plumbing diagram you can refer to.

    Fresh Water Tank Setup

    Water Tank Diagram With Accessories

    Fresh Water Tank Connections

    Most RV water tanks have 4 ports that you will have to connect to. These ports are:

    Fresh Water Tank Ports/Openings

    Good To Know: We did a ton of water tank research and the easiest tanks to work with are the "Spouted Water Tanks" from Class A Customs. The components we recommend below are specifically for these particular 'spouted' tanks.

    Materials List

    Product

    Purpose

    Where To Buy?

    10-Gallon Water Tank

    Holds 10 gallons of fresh water

    1/2" Braided Tube

    Components for "Air Vent"

    Hose Clamp

    1/2" Male NPT to 1/2" Barb

    Plug

    Compontents for "Water Inlet"

    (OPTION 1)

    Tank Filler Tube

    1.25" ID Hose Tubing

    Components for "Water Inlet"

    (OPTION 2)

    1.5" Hose Clamp

    Water Inlet Dish

    Drain Valve

    Component for "Drain"

    1/2" Braided Tube

    Components for "Water Outlet"

    Hose Clamp

    1/2" Male NPT to 1/2" Barb

    Installation Instructions

    Air Vent Port

    1. Attach the 1/2″ Male NPT to 1/2″ Hose Barb to the water tank’s air vent port.
    2. Fix the 1/2″ Braided Hose over the 1/2″ Hose Barb.
    3. Use a hose clamp to tighten the hose over the barb.

    Water Inlet Port

    Option 1: No connections necessary.

    1. To fill water, insert the tank filler tube into the water tank and fill with a hose.
    2. When finished, remove Cover the inlet port with the plug when finished.

    Option 2:

    1. Attach the 1.25″ ID Hose Tubing over the water tank spout.
    2. Use the 1.5″ hose clamp to tighten the hose over the spout.
    3. Fix the other end of the hose tubing over the hose barb of the water inlet dish.

    Water Drain Port

    1. Screw the drain valve into the drain port.

    Water Outlet Port

    1. Screw the 1/2″ Male NPT to 1/2″ Hose Barb into the water outlet port.
    2. Place the 1/2″ braided tube over the hose barb and fix in place with a hose clamp.
    3. The other end of the 1/2″ braided tube will lead to the water pump (to be discussed in section 2, below).

    How To Fill The Water Tank

    First you’ll need a hose. We carry a 25 ft. long expandible hose in our van. It’s space efficient, lightweight, and the walls are surprisingly strong.

    Section 2:

    Connect Water Tank To Water Pump

    In this section, we connect the water tank outlet port to the 12v water pump. We will follow the plumbing diagram you see below.

    Water Tank To Water Pump

    Water Pump Region in Camper Van Water System and Plumbing Diagram

    Materials List

    Product

    Purpose

    Where To Buy?

    Pump Silencer

    Reduces vibration & overall sound from water pump.

    Pump Filter

    Filters out small particulates before they reach the pump.

    12v Water Pump

    Pumps water from water tank to the shower.

    Female-Female Adapter

    Required to attach accumulator to pump.

    Pump Accumulator

    Prolongs life of water pump. (Optional)

    14AWG Wire

    Wire used to connect pump to batteries.

    Butt Connectors

    Extends 14AWG wires from water pump.

    On/Off Switch

    Lets you turn pump on & off.

    12v Fuse Panel

    Distributes 12v power to devices.

    Installation Instructions

    To Water Pump

    1. Take 1/2″ Braided Tube (from section 1) and attach 1/2″ Male NPT to 1/2″ Hose Barb with hose clamp.
    2. Fix the 1/2″ Male NPT end into pump silencer tube.
    3. Fix other end of pump silencer tube to pump filter.
    4. Screw pump filter into water inlet side of water pump.

    Pump Electrical Wiring

    1. A short amount of red and black wire already comes attached to the water pump. You will need butt connectors to extend the length of these wires.
    2. Attach the red wire to one end of the on/off switch. From the other side of the switch, run another red 14AWG wire to the 12v fuse panel.
    3. Extend the black 14AWG wire straight from the water pump to the 12v fuse panel.
    4. For more information, check out our 12v installation guide.

    After Water Pump

    1. Attach the female-to-female adapter to water pump’s outlet port.
    2. Attach pump accumulator (optional) to other end of adapter.
    3. Attach second pump silencer tube to other end of accumulator.

    Section 3:

    Pump To Water Heater & Shower Head

    In the final section, we connect the water pump to a water heater and finally to the shower head. We will follow the below plumbing diagram.

    To Heater & Shower Head

    Water Heater Installation Diagram

    Materials List

    Product

    Purpose

    Where To Buy?

    Pump Silencer

    Reduces vibration & overall sound from water pump.

    Pump Filter

    Filters out small particulates before they reach the pump.

    12v Water Pump

    Pumps water from water tank to the shower.

    Female-Female Adapter

    Required to attach accumulator to pump.

    Pump Accumulator

    Prolongs life of water pump. (Optional)

    14AWG Wire

    Wire used to connect pump to batteries.

    Butt Connectors

    Extends 14AWG wires from water pump.

    On/Off Switch

    Lets you turn pump on & off.

    12v Fuse Panel

    Distributes 12v power to devices.

    Installation Instructions

    To Water Heater

    1. Attach 1/2″ Male to 1/2″ PEX adapter to pump silencer tube with the PEX crimper tool and copper ring.
    2. Attach other end of PEX tube to PEX stop valve.
    3. Continue to run PEX tubing from stop valve and attach a 3-way fitting to split the tubing into 2 lines.
    4. Run one of the two blue PEX lines to the water heater and attach using a 1/2″ PEX to 1/2″ swivel female NPT.

    To Shower Head

    1. Run 1/2″ PEX tubing (blue) from the 3-way valve to the water mixing valve. (If you want to connect a faucet to this system, you can put in another 3-way valve a bring a PEX tubing line to the faucet (see camper sink & faucet installation post).
    2. Attach a 1/2″ PEX to 1/2″ swivel female NPT to the water heater outlet.
    3. Run 1/2″ PEX tubing (red) to the water mixing valve.
    4.  Attach the shower head to the water mixing valve with the provided hose.

    Download Free Plumbing Diagram eBook

    Enjoyed reading? Check out our camper “Plumbing” category page for more similar content.

    Critical Accessories

    Fresh Water Tank

    As mentioned above, we recommend the ‘spouted’ water tanks from Class A Customs. This is because the tank’s water inlet spout makes it easy to fill water into the tank.

    Our diagrams and product recommendations are all based on this specific water tank.

    Spouted Water Tank Size

    Where To Buy?

    10 Gallons

    20 Gallons

    30 Gallons

    Water Pump

    Just like with our sink & faucet installation diagram, we use another 12-volt pump to bring water from the water tank to the shower head.

    The water pump will need to be connected to a battery to function. We talk more about how to do this in our electrical system guide.

    12-Volt Water Pump

    PEX Tubing + Fittings

    Just like with our sink & faucet installation in our van, we used PEX pipe and the relevant fittings to make the connections from the water pump to the water heater.

    PEX is lightweight, flexible, easy to install, and works with both cold and hot water.

    1/2" PEX Pipes

    Water Heater

    Having a hot water boiler in an RV is a very nice luxury to have, but it’ll mean having to carry additional battery capacity or propane in order to heat your water.

    Mini-Tank Water Heater: Bosch Tronic 2.5 Gallon – This water tank heater is a popular option for those building their own camper plumbing system. However, you’ll need decent battery capacity and at least a 3000VA Inverter to power it.

    Tankless Water Heater: Camplux Propane Water Heater – This water heater was made for campers and RVs in mind as it comes with a built in shower head and hose. However, having a propane water heater takes up more space than an electric heater and you’ll need a larger propane tank if you plan to use your heater often.

    Mini-Tank Water Heater

    Tankless Water Heater

    Shower Head

    Because water is precious in a camper van, we selected a shower head with an on/off switch that is built into the handle of the shower head.

    Shower Head (with switch)

    Conclusion:

    Final Thought: An Enjoyable Hot Water Shower Isn't A Fantasy

    With proper planning you, too, can build your own camper shower for van life.

    If we’re being honest, we hated building our plumbing setup because it was frustratingly difficult to locate all the different components needed to put the system together. That’s why we created this guide.

    Remember: You can always download our free camper plumbing eBook.

    So we hope our camper shower installation diagrams & tutorial help you in your pursuit of that perfect hot water camping shower.

    Happy building!

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