Surprise! I decided to redo my van’s shower and kitchen.
Snazzy, eh? The look is a bit more streamlined, but that’s not really what I was after. Instead, I was looking for better functionality.
- Swapped large sink (waist height, also used for sit-down showers) for a steel beverage tub on the floor (used for stand-up showers)
- Added 1 small sink made out of a mixing bowl (mounted like a vessel sink)
- Added 2 drawers for kitchen storage (previously was using plastic bins)
- Cabinet door pulls down and provides a spot for the dog bed at night
The aluminum tub slides out from under the cabinet for showers. When not being used, it stows slightly tucked under the cabinet to provide more floor space.
Why the change?
Well, truth be told, Jef didn’t like the sit down shower. It was too cramped for him, and if I wanted him to smell nice I knew I’d have to make him comfortable. What made this change possible was the discovery of this little doohickey:
Actually, I knew about thru-hull fittings because I used them to attach vinyl hose to my grey water tank a few years ago. But what I didn’t know was that they can come with a 90 degree elbow instead of a straight outlet. The fact that the elbow fitting takes up so much less room than a standard sink strainer/p-trap combo is what enabled the renovation. It’s kind of hard to explain, so maybe pictures will help.
Here’s a picture of my old setup just for reference. Note how much vertical space the contraption uses:
Now, here’s a picture of the new tub connected to the grey water line. It’s much simpler and smaller. For those who may not be familiar with my van, I built 4 inches of under-floor storage, so the fitting and the hose duck into that compartment.
I should mention that my grey water line isn’t perfect. There are a couple horizontal runs, and strange ups and downs in the line, and as a result, sometimes water drains very slowly. It really doesn’t bother me. But if it bothers you, then don’t copy me!
A Note About Thru-Hull Fittings
Thru-hull fittings can be used to turn lots of everyday items into sinks and bathtubs and connect them to grey water tanks. You can use thru-hull fittings with beverage tubs, buckets, chafing dishes, etc. The downside to thru-hull fittings is that flange is typically about 1/4″ thick and rests above the bottom surface of the vessel, which means that water cannot drain completely. Here’s a diagram to help illustrate my point:
Of course, there are ways around this if you’re willing to get creative or do a little extra work. You can “counterbore” it into your vessel if you have the right tools; you can make sure you use a vessel with a round bottom instead of a flat bottom. Or, you can just do what I did: shrug it off and figure, “Eh, oh well.” The water either dries up or finds its way to the drain while I’m driving.
Oh, and there’s always the option of not routing water to a grey water tank. You could simply use the vessel as it is, collect the water in the vessel, and dump it out later. That’s probably better suited to boondocking than urban stealth camping.
Anyway, you get the idea. There are plenty of ways to skin a cat (what a terrifying expression!).
Here are links to the items I used:
- Stainless Steel elbow thru hull fits 5/8″ hose
- Winco 5 qt. mixing bowl
- Full extension drawer slides
- Westy p-trap kit