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Full or Combined Ensuite?

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Hi all, we have put a deposit on a 21' TE. Now we are trying to decide whether to go to a full ensuite (separate shower and toilet) OR a combined ensuite (shower and toilet in-one).

We are leaning towards the combined ensuite because we like to have more space and storage. We intend doing a lot of free/bush camping.

We feel that the ensuite will only be used a small about of time each day, and when in caravan parks we would use the park facilities.

Has anyone regretted their choice OR changed their minds as to which style of ensuite they would want. Any ideas would be appreciated.

We have not had an ensuite in a van before, so we are calling on those of you that have some experience and might like to share their thoughts.

Any help will be greatly appreciated, thanks in advance...

Regards

Doris and Rob

Townsville

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Hi Doris & Rob,

I agree with your thinking completely. You only spend a few minutes of each day in the shower/toilet and the extra space for a separate onsuite would be better spent in the more useable part of the van - your sitting area, kitchen and around the bedroom.

I know others will disagree with me, and that is fine as it is a very personaly decision and we all have different priorities. I would certainly agree that a separate ensuite is very nice and would be wonderful to have, but the price for the space it takes up is too high in a van.

We are currently having our second Kedron built. The first one had a combined bathroom unit and we thought only for about 10 seconds about changing it for the second van to an ensuite. Once again we decided it was not worth the sacrificed space.

Good luck with your planning. Take your time and go out and have a look at the different vans as they come through. Once you see a layout you like and can live with, you will know.

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Hi Doris and Rob,

I have an ATV with the Thetford toilet/vanity/sink bowl combination in mine. I do not know if Kedron still put this shower/toilet combination in their new vans now.

If you do go the combination shower/toilet way, just make sure it is sealed around the edges with sikaflex. Mine was done with white silicon and the beading is now coming away from the plastic combination. The beading is still attached to the wall. I'm a bit worried it will fall off the wall if I take the van on another trip. I have only travelled approximately 8000k's so far and that has been on bitumen. It will be a big job to remove the silicon off the walls and reseal it with the sikaflex. Not looking forwarded to that job I can tell you. Ensure you get it done properly.

Like Webby says good luck.

While I'm typing this does anybody know which sikaflex would be best to use to reseal the combination.

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Hi Rob.We are more than happy with our full ensuite as my wife likes to have the extra room for storage for the toiletry,towels,hairdries, makeup etc (not that she needs much of this). We like the idea of the dry floor in the ensuite and the seperate toilet. If you like to have a look at our van to see the seperate toilet and shower don't hesitate give me a ring and we can go there after work. Richard :lol:

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We travel full time and have the combined toilet and shower.The only thing I would change would be to get rid of that useless drop down sink. Used it once when we first got the van and it took forever to empty.Have not used it since and SWMBO says it drops down on very rough roads by itself. :blink:

Cheers

Rick & Lea

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Hi Rick and Lea. I agree completely with your thinking. We had the basin over the toilet in our last van and with this one I have requested no drop down basin (and yes it does drop down over rough roads - we taped ours up most of the time) and instead we are putting in a small corner basin (in one corner above the toilet).

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Hi Rob & Doris,

Guys for what it’s worth, Kerry & I too went through this decision. We did the usual list of pro & cons and came up with the full ensuite.

I don’t really understand the comment of wasted space as we have a mountain of cupboards in the ensuite and we felt the actual true difference in space was insignificant as most of the time is spent outside.

We used a van that had a combined bathroom and found it to be a pain in the backside as we were forever packing and unpacking the toiletries, toilet roll etc when we showered and the floor (and most everything else) was continuously wet. I know some people will say “You just have to wipe it down with an old towel when you’re finished” and they are right .......... However I/we just found that to be bloody frustrating and that really was the clencher for us ......... full ensuite we went and I have to say we have no regrets.

An added bonus was we had the diesel heater ducted to the ensuite and it makes for a fantastic drying room as whenever we use our van it rains (Doesn't it Rick & Lea)

Good luck with your decision

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Hi

We have just sold our cross country for a topender, the main reason being for the separate toilet shower. We really enjoyed the first trip with with separate toilet shower combination.

Regards,

Rob and Jewel

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Hi Doris & Rob,

You can approach this subject from all directions but we had only owned camper trailers before our ATV and bought top of the range Australian Offroad Odyssey campers, the last we bought in 2007 for $45,900 and sold it in 2009 for $46,000. We queried lots of people looking for vans in yards and asked "why are you changing from your current van". In almost every case the answer was because the wife wants a full ensuite. This convinced me to go that way with our ATV and I have to agree that although you only spend a small part of the day in it it's worth it. It depends on your lifestyle and if you are living in the van permanantly the combination may be the way to go. To me, what we have and the potential for resale is great.

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We all have to make decisions which suit us personally, of course. But as the question has been asked seeking othr's opinions so the original poster cn make a decision, I have to say we firmly decided against the ensuite.

A recent magazine article looked at the issue and revealed that there was a certain percentage of space in the van which had to be sacrificed to fit in an ensuite. I can't remember the figure but it was significant. So that is why people talk about loss of space.

If I were living in my van (and we did travel in our first Kedron for 4 years) I would value the cabin space more than the ensuite. How many minutes a day do you use the ensuite? Five minutes? And the rest of the day you are in the cabin of the van.

In our present Top Ender, it was a no brainer - we have the combined toilet/shower. We never get water on the toilet seat. The floor dries in double quick time, and anyway, we have a plastic mat on the floor which keeps your feet off the wet floor underneath.

Yes, we too have a diesel heater ducted into the cubicle and it is a wonderful asset - nice warm shower cubicle.

Another issue to take into account is the loss of an end of the van to place a window. In really hot weather by opening all four sides' windows, you get better airflow. An ensuite blocks one end off.

Chris

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Good point Chris.We had forgotten about the window part in our post.

Cheers

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Hi all.

We can not see that with a 21' van that an ensuite is a problem. This is an absolutely huge van by any standards so it can accommodate an ensuite and still give an adequate living area.

We chose the combined Shower toilet with separate basin (that worked grin) to our own design and are very happy with it.Plenty of room for a comfortable shower and ablutions at the basin with the curtain keeping everthing outside dry. It gave us a much larger living area while still having a laundry and allowed us to keep the van length to our requirements (18'6").We chose this length reluctantly over our 16'6" XC to allow more room to live comfortably full time and stay within our legal tow weight (3500kg's). This we achieved within 40kg's,so happy and much relieved.

Good luck and happy travels to all.

post-36-0-75791700-1316592127_thumb.jpgpost-36-0-69234400-1316592283_thumb.jpg

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Hi Gazza,

We just completed the job you are talking about, having traveled 50K with much over rough territory. Not only was the silicon coming away but we had some screws falling out and some minor cracking. We were able to remove the whole unit without too much trouble and found that some screws were into only the thin ply sheeting. We did what we could to achieve better fixing, mainly using silicon. Sometimes it is better not to have the fixing too solid as there will always be some flexing.

We had previously used Sikaflex-Pro to seal off the gaps in the Dometic window frames to stop insects getting in, while it was successful in stopping the little blighters it tended to discolour after awhile and is a tad unsightly, but better than the bugs getting in. So for the ensuite we used a silicon but can’t remember which one, think it was Fullers brand. One thing to remember is that it is a wet area so whatever you use needs to resist mildew/mould. Different silicons have different adhesion/flexibility characteristics so it is important to use the right one, suggest you do some research on the internet. Time will tell if we have been successful.

Robert & Jane

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It is an amazing question, isn't. So many people like this or that for so many reasons.

For me?

I LOVE the idea of the full ensuite, and had I never had this van I probably would have gone that way. However as I sit here looking at the end of my van, looking at the cupboard space and bench space I would lose, and I wonder.

If I get a van with a combined, I would lose the window, the bench and lots of cupboards, not to mention that I love my TV where it is and it would not be possible with an ensuite. I am not a fan of TV's on arms, I never understand how you would attach your VAST box to your TV that way? Put it on the bench underneath it? I know the ensuite has cupboards, but when I consider what is in the cupboards that I am going to lose. .. its not stuff I want to put into a bathroom. I don't want to go to the bathroom to get tin food, chargers, plastic cooking stuff or glad wrap. Where would I put this stuff, its not that the rest of my cupboards are empty and waiting for it. And.. the cupboards in the ensuite would never never be the same volume (can you say that), as what I currently have. If Kedron put the washing machines into the bathrooms it would be a bit better, but they don't seem to. There is also the fact that with an ensuite, from what I have seen, you get a toilet with a smaller cassette and it draws from your main tanks so you have less water available for other things.

I would however, make the next combined 400mm wider and 400 mm longer to give a little more elbow room. Lose the useless drop down basin that the water has never ever wanted to go down the tiny little tube called a drain, and put in a corner or long narrow basin under the shower.

We do live in our van and have for about 8 years now while travelling.

But as I said in the beginning of this missive, its horses for courses and everyone has their own opinion of what suits them best.

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Hi all.

A friend of ours changed the cupboards in the ensuite to have doors in the main cabin and turned them into a pantry. :rolleyes:

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Forget the ensuite and go combined. Webby said all that needs to be said at the beginning.

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Hi Robert & Jane

Thank you for the advice RE silicon.

Will do some research at Bunnings later in the week.

I was getting a bit worried that I was the only one that had trouble with the combined unit.

Regards

Gazza

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Doris & Rob,

We bought a secondhand van with a combined ensuite so didn't have much choice in the matter but I do agree with webby etc that if I had a choice this is the way we would have gone.Our vanity is mounted opposite the toilet not above, I never use it as with my hands I'd have to wash one finger at a time. It's easier for Deb & I to use the kitchen sink. As far as eveything getting wet our toiletries are in a vanity cupboard and we have a heavy duty rubber mat on the floor with dimples on the bottom of it to keep it off the checker plate. It dries in no time with the water draining away. Hope this helps.

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Doris & Rob,

We bought a secondhand van with a combined ensuite so didn't have much choice in the matter but I do agree with webby etc that if I had a choice this is the way we would have gone.Our vanity is mounted opposite the toilet not above, I never use it as with my hands I'd have to wash one finger at a time. It's easier for Deb & I to use the kitchen sink. As far as eveything getting wet our toiletries are in a vanity cupboard and we have a heavy duty rubber mat on the floor with dimples on the bottom of it to keep it off the checker plate. It dries in no time with the water draining away. Hope this helps.

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Thanks everyone for your replies. It's great to get different opinions before deciding.

I guess now, if we go the combined ensuite, we have to look into where the vanity basin will go, either next to the toilet or on the wall under the shower head?

Many thanks

Doris and Rob

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Doris & Rob

We are also measuring things very carefully and working out where to put the corner basin, and which toilet we will have. The options are to have a wall to wall toilet with no drop down basin and the corner basin on the opposite wall in the corner. (Same wall as the shower rose).

.......or have a freestanding toilet, coming from the side wall, but you can swivel it to face the length of the bathroom when in use, and back to straight across when using the shower. This may enable us to put the small corner basin along the same wall.

Bit hard to explain, so I've included a couple of drawings......not to scale

Will do some measurement next week to see which one might work the best.

post-1-0-28494500-1317949419_thumb.jpg

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Hi Sue

How would a swivel toilet stand up on rough roads? And how does the swivel system work? :unsure:

Cheers

Rick

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Hi Rick,

I believe they stand up quite well. Kedron are putting them in all the ensuite vans now. But yes, the other would probably be more sturdy.

Thanks for your input.

Maybe someone out there who has one of the swivel toilets can let us know how it is going (over rough roads).

Cheers

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Swivel toilet hey??? I cant wait for the recliner model or the massage recliner model

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Greetings all.

Our swivel toilet has endured some very rough off road travels with no ill effects at all.

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