How to convert a closet to a bathroom in a small camper

Written by john cagney nash
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How to convert a closet to a bathroom in a small camper
A functional bathroom can improve the camping experience. (toilet paper image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from

Given the size constraints of small campers, repurposing existing spaces to serve new purposes is usually the only way to alter or upgrade provisions. You can remodel a closet to serve as a functional bathroom as long as the closet is large enough to accept a cassette toilet/shower combination unit. Converting a closet to accept a conventional toilet is an extremely complex and challenging proposition, because aside from running a supply of water into the space, you must make provisions to store shower water and waste water separately until the camper is towed to a legal dump station. This would involve slinging two separate holding tanks beneath the vehicle, and all the plumbing, valves and sewer runs necessary for them to operate.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Cassette toilet/shower combo
  • Sealant
  • Household toolkit
  • Circular saw
  • Jigsaw (optional)

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  1. 1

    Measure the dimensions of the closet. Ensure a cassette shower/toilet combo is available that will fit into the closet space you intend to convert. If so, purchase and unpack the suitable unit to locate the template that is usually part of the delivery kit. Read and understand all of the manufacturer's installation instructions, then use a permanent marker pen to transfer the dimensions of the template to the correct location on the camper's outside wall.

  2. 2

    Clear the closet of all fixtures and fittings. The location you have chosen must make available a run of outside wall sufficient for the service port of the combo to be tight up against the area where you marked the template dimensions.

  3. 3

    Follow all of the instructions delivered with the combo precisely. Use a stud finder before beginning your cut to check that no pipework, wiring or structural supports exist in that part of the wall. Make the hole from the outside using a jigsaw or circular saw.

  4. 4

    Install the combo using the manufacturer-provided kit. No plumbing is necessary because the unit is entirely self-contained. Line the closet with Fiberglass reinforced panelling (FRP) cut to size and shape outside the trailer and then carried in. Fix the FRP in place using a proprietary FRP glue and seal around every outside edge and internal corner with bathroom/kitchen silicone sealant.

  5. 5

    Repurpose the panel you cut out of the camper wall to make a hinged door. The door should allow unobstructed access to the back of the combo, through which you can remove and reinstall the wastewater cassette and fresh water holding tank. Fit a sturdy latch to the door, and insulate it against drafts using an adhesive-backed foam strip.

Tips and warnings

  • Closet space is often more prized than bathroom facilities in a small camper. Before beginning the project, consider the availability of rest room and shower facilities at campsites and roadside rest stops.
  • The service hatch on the camper's outside wall should be kept as low as possible, because the removable tanks are usually sized to hold about 5 gallons, which weigh approximately 18.1 Kilogram.
  • The purchase of a combo unit fitted with a 180-degree swivelling seat makes it easier to fit against any wall of the camper.

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