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The Problem With Plumbing: Choosing The Best Bathroom Layout For Your Caravan

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If you're in the market for a new or used caravan, you will have many different difficult decisions to make before you can choose the caravan that best suits your vacationing needs. However, while variables such as size, weight, power supplies and amenities should all be considered carefully, one of the most important components of any caravan is often overlooked -- the bathroom.

Caravan bathrooms are available in a variety of different configurations and layouts, and each type of bathroom suite suits a different kind of caravan owner. As such, you should carefully consider the layout and location of the bathroom in every caravan you view. Here are the most common bathroom layout schemes found in modern caravans, along with their individual advantages and disadvantages:

Central bathrooms

These bathroom suites are located at the centre of the caravan, and are usually positioned opposite the kitchen and cleaning areas.

This central location makes these bathrooms very convienient to use, especially during the night when using an end bathroom can disturb other sleepers. Central bathrooms can also be much easier to maintain, since they are located close to the other plumbed appliances in your caravan and keep the caravan's piping layout located in one central area -- this can be particularly helpful if your piping springs a leak, making the damage much easier to locate and subsequently repair.

In terms of space, central bathrooms are generally less spacious that end bathrooms, but considerably more spacious than combined bathrooms. The exact dimensions of your central bathroom will vary depending upon your caravan model, but most are large enough to accommodate a separate toilet, shower and sink.

End bathrooms

These caravans are located at one end of the caravan, and usually take up the entirety of the caravan's width to maximise space. They are generally located at the back end to keep plumbing couplings away from the tow hitch and allow more space for frontal storage.

These luxurious bathrooms are the closest you will find to a full-blow residential bathroom inside a caravan, and contain toilets, sinks and a dedicated, screened off shower section. They are subsequently very comfortable to use, and the extra space and ventilation helps prevent buildup of condensation and mould. Some end bathrooms even have small privacy windows fitted, allowing the rare luxury of natural light into your caravan bathroom.

Unfortunately, caravans with these spacious bathrooms are often some of the most expensive at your chosen price point, especially if the end bathroom functions as the en-suite to a fixed master bed. These bathrooms can also be hard to access during the night for sleepers at the other end of the caravan.

Combined bathrooms

These unique bathrooms essentially consist of a sink and simple toilet fitted inside a shower stall, and are very useful when you want to maximise the usable space inside your caravan. Operating the shower does not flood the toilet or the sink, as they are fitted with seperators to prevent waste shower water flooding your sewage systems. As long as the interior is well lit these compact units are surprisingly simple to use, and make an excellent backup bathroom if you primarily use bathroom facilities at the campgrounds and caravan sites you visit.

However, combined bathroom units are very unforgiving to the larger caravan owner, and attempting to shower and dry yourself privately in such an enclosed space can be quite challenging. If you choose a caravan with this type of bathroom, you should also take care to familiarise yourself with its operation before embarking on your first journey -- attempting to flush the toilet only to activate the shower's cold tap directly overhead can ruin your whole day.