Finding toilets and showers to maintain hygiene while living the van life can be a challenge, particularly if you spend lots of time off grid camping. Having a toilet inside your Transit camper van can save you from stumbling around at night, looking for a suitable place to do your business.
Alternatively, you might be spending a night in an urban area, where it isn’t appropriate to do your ablutions outside. Being able to have a shower after a day of hiking, or any other activity, will keep you feeling fresh and clean, helping you enjoy your van life adventures.
So, can you put a bathroom in a Ford Transit? Yes, you absolutely can put a bathroom in a Ford Transit. There are some important considerations and design implications that you must address, but plenty of Transit owners have equipped their vans with showers and toilets.
How To Add a Bathroom to a Ford Transit Van
As I mentioned previously there are some important factors to consider if you are planning on adding a bathroom to your Ford Transit camper van.
Firstly, you need to allocate an appropriate amount of space for the shower and toilet. The smallest shower pan you can buy is 24” x 32”. You may want to make your shower cubicle slightly larger than this to allow your toilet to fit inside.
You will need to have a drainage hose running to your wastewater tank or outside the van. Only drain water directly out of your van in appropriate locations. Most bathrooms will be wet rooms, meaning your toilet sits in the shower pan to minimize the overall space you need for the bathroom.
You need to have a suitable water heating system. This is the most complex challenge associated with a shower in a Ford Transit van. One option is a calorifier, this is a water tank with an internal coil that is connected to your engines coolant system. When your engine is running hot coolant is passed through the coil heating the water.
The other main alternative is an electric or gas water heater. An electric system would require a significant battery bank and an inverter, or for your engines alternator to be running. A gas water heater requires a full propane system which would require professional installation.
Go here to read more in depth about heating water in a camper van.
Showering will have a high water usage, so you need to ensure you have an appropriate size water tank. A 25–30-gallon tank would give you enough to shower, drink and wash up cooking utensils. You can have this mounted on the underside of your van to prevent it taking up space internally.
Hot water produces a lot of steam which will quickly make your van very damp and humid. Installing a roof vent with a fan over your shower area is a very wise idea, allowing the hot air to rise and escape. If your van does not have proper ventilation you could start to see mold growth.
With the increasing popularity of composting toilets, you may not need to have a flushing toilet. A composting toilet separates the solids and the liquids. Liquids have to be emptied every few days, but solids can be left for much longer, sometimes up to a month. Dry material is added to the toilet to help the breakdown of solids and prevent unpleasant smells.
The alternative to a composting toilet is a cassette toilet. This is a simple chamber that stores all your waste. They require regular disposal at designated sites. The addition of chemicals helps to prevent odors but makes disposal more challenging.
Examples of Ford Transit Camper Vans with Bathrooms
Vanture Customs Ford Transit with Full Wet Bath
Vanture Customs produce a fantastic Ford Transit van with a full bathroom. Their bathroom sits in the center of the van, opposite the kitchen that is down one side of the van. It has white PVC wall panels which allow for easy cleaning and quick drying. Their sliding shower door is a Nautilus Retractable Shower Door made from antimicrobial polyester.
It features a self-clean feature that clears excess water off the screen when you open it. There is an intentional gap left at the top of the door allowing better ventilation for the shower.
The floor is made of wooden slats over a normal shower pan drain. This allows them to secure the toilet down. Speaking of which the toilet used in this Transit camper van is an Airhead Composting Toilet. Airhead claim this toilet can provide two people one month of full time use before the solid waste container needs to be emptied.
Their shower head is RV specific, designed to provide increased water pressure. The hot water is supplied by a 2.7 gallon Bosch water heater, with a water pump to provide good pressure.
This is an electric water heater, powered by 300 amp hours of lithium batteries and a 3000 watt Renogy inverter. There is also an additional 25-gallon water tank which is connected to the shower and the main faucet providing additional off-grid capabilities.
Self-Converted Ford Transit with a Shower and Toilet
This DIY ford transit build is of a very high spec. Designed to go off grid for up to two weeks this build has every comfort you could possibly need. The shower is in the same place as the previous example, in the center of the van opposite the kitchen area. Their shower walls are a tiled PVC, and the floor is a regular shower pan with a drain.
The shower is usually hidden behind a sliding door. However, when in use they have a shower curtain on a railing that extends slightly, allowing extra space inside the shower.
Their shower drains into a 14-gallon grey water tank that they can dump in a suitable location. Critically there is also ventilation in the shower, which is vitally important to allow hot air and steam to escape. The toilet is a Nature’s Head composting toilet, again proving that composting toilets are a great choice for a Ford Transit bathroom.
Their shower set up is a 4-gallon electric Bosch water heater fed by a 32-gallon freshwater tank. There is also a Shurflow water pump to increase the water pressure. To power their electric water heater, they have 600 amp hours of Battle Born lithium ion batteries with a 3000 water Renogy Inverter. They also have 500 watts of solar panels to help recharge their batteries and create an off grid set up.
Ford Transit Campervan with Rear Bathroom
Our final example of how to fit a bathroom into a Ford Transit has a unique, slightly different design. The bathroom is located at the rear of the van. A central bathroom takes up space in a van and can make it feel much smaller. The owner of this van wanted to have a 360⁰ view and didn’t want to build walls inside the van so opted for a rear bathroom.
The toilet and shower sit at the back in a custom-built wooden frame. The wood has been coated in a plastic veneer to make it easier to clean and to repel water. There is a curtain that can be drawn across the back for privacy.
The cassette toilet faces the other sidewall of the van with a recessed shower platform in front of it. There is a black water tank for toilet waste inside the van that requires regular emptying.
The wooden shower platform can also be removed, allowing you to shower outside the van. The shower head is stored in a small cubby behind the toilet keeping the walls clean and uncluttered. The shower pan drains directly out of the van.
The water is heated using a calorifier, that is a water tank that is heated by the hot coolant used to cool the engine. This means that no additional electricity is needed but you have to have had the engine on for 20 minutes to produce hot water.
There is a 25-gallon freshwater tank provisioning the toilet and shower, which allows the couple to spend up to 5 days off-grid. There is an extra small water container for the toilet as it requires a lot of water to flush. As this van uses a calorifier there is only 200 watts of solar and 230-amp hours of battery power, which is plenty to run simple lights and charge devices.
Does Chevy make a campervan?
Yes, lots of class B camper vans are built onto a Chevy chassis. Some of the most popular Chevy camper vans are the retro Chinook, the adventure off-road Sportsmobile and the Roadtrek. The Chevy Express is also a popular panel/box van that can be easily converted into a camper.
How much is a Ford Nugget camper van?
Ford Nuggets are built on the base of a Ford Transit custom and converted by the company Westfalia, renowned for some of the most popular VW conversions of all time. The nugget is available at a few price points, ranging between $58,000 and $67,000 depending on the model you choose.
Does a Ford Nugget have a toilet?
Yes! Ford produce a longer version of the Nugget, called the Nugget plus. It has a slightly different interior layout, with an L shaped seating arrangement. The biggest advantage is the addition of a built-in toilet towards the rear of the van.
Putting a bathroom in your Ford Transit van may seem daunting, but it is very achievable and has been done by many other campervan owners. I believe a calorifier is the best solution to providing hot water for a shower, as it doesn’t draw any power meaning you can have a smaller leisure battery system.
A composting toilet also makes the most sense as they use less water and must be emptied less frequently. A shower in the center of the van is easier to design and install in comparison to a rear bathroom. These would be my design preferences for putting a shower in a Ford Transit van.
Up Next In Ford Camper Vans:
David is an accomplished mountain endurance athlete who has completed over 25 ultra marathon races (follow on Strava). He is most proud of his finish at The Drift 100 – a high elevation, 100 mile winter foot race that zigzags along the Continental Divide in Wyoming. In the future he hopes to compete in the ITI 350 and ultimately the full 1,000 mile Iditarod Trail Invitational that follows the same path as the historic dog sled race.