DIY Ensuite Shower Enclosure!
While building the Off-road Overland Camper, I knew that I wanted to incorporate the ability to take a hot shower. My original idea was to purchase a popup tent and just set it up beside the access to the shower head, and although this would have been simple to execute, it would have required a place to store a potentially wet enclosure and it definitely wouldn’t win any style points. While scouring the internet for ideas, I came across a company called Quick Pitch. They have a product called the Quick Pitch Ensuite and it was exactly what I wanted! Unfortunately at the time the were not available in the states although they were coming soon and once I saw the price, I decided that it would be best to build my own.
The first step was figuring out how big I wanted my finished tent to be. After laying out some squares on the floor I decided I wanted the finished size to be between 36 and 42 inches. The next step was to figure out a case that was similar in dimensions that was somewhat weather proof. After spending some time searching online I settled on a short rifle case. This would allow me to easily fit a 36” enclosure and still have room to hold the shower curtain as well.
For the portion of the frame that extended away from the case, I wanted something that was strong but at the same time light so deflection would be minimized. For this I chose aluminum C channel. The rear portion of the frame has brackets welded to attach the fold out framework to, and also supports the mounting hardware for attaching the ensuite to the trailer.
There is nothing inherently difficult about the way the ensuite folds out. It is actually amazingly simple. That being said, it did take some time and a little bit of thinking to figure out the geometry required to get everything working properly. Once I had everything cut and bolted together I mounted the structure to a wall in my barn to test out the idea.
Once the frame geometry was locked in I took some final measurements so that I could start making the shower curtain. I made the curtain from 70 Denier Nylon Ripstop. To make it, I hemmed the top and bottom of the curtain. In the bottom hem, I enclosed an aluminum Rod. This serves two purposes, first to define the shape of the enclosure from top to bottom and secondly to add weight to the curtain to aid in keeping the curtain in place in light wind when it is not staked down. Along the top I evenly spaced 18” lengths of Nylon Strap to serve as a way to attach the curtain to the Frame as well as a way to adjust the length of the curtain.
The last step in the build process was to make a way to attach the straps to the aluminum C channel. I decided the best way would be to make 2 parallel slots in the aluminum for each strap so that you could adjust them the same way you adjust a strap on a backpack where the friction of the strap holds everything in place. To do this I used a 1/4” upcut spiral bit in my router table. and carefully marked out the locations of the slots and routed them into the channel. One word of advice is to go slow and take your time. Aluminum machines well with woodworking tools, but can be a little unpredictable at times. Once everything was completely assembled the only thing left to do was to mount the unit to the trailer.
Shortly after the ensuite was completed I took the trailer on a 19 day trip from Kentucky, through Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota and many others. The majority of this trip was offroad and in very dusty dirty conditions. Being able to quickly and easily take a hot shower made such a difference in the experience. Many nights I stood in the middle of nowhere staring out at some of the most majestic scenery I’ve ever encountered while taking a hot shower. It was amazing!