How to make a portable Shower Tent for RV trips

Living in a 300 sq. ft. tiny home feels capacious after long trips in our 19 ft. long RV. To make the 100 sq. ft. home on wheels feel bigger, we shower outside using the RV’s external hot water faucet, our portable shower tent from an IKEA KURA bed tent, and a bracket on a magnet to hang the shower head.

The shower tent dries quickly, so you can hit the road with no delay! We bought a green polka dot tent several years ago for our RV.

Our choices this year for a portable KURA shower tent for friends with a new RV were pink or blue (blue below).

IKEA KURA tent |

Materials needed:

  • IKEA KURA bed tent $20
  • 16 feet Lightweight Nylon line/twine
  • 2 Rings of plastic or metal (like IKEA 1.5-inch plastic curtain rings or key rings)
  • 1 bungee cord 20 inches long
  • Magnets: 1.75-inch diameter x 1/4-inch thick magnet CMS magnetically N52 disc neodymium magnet strength: 13.5 K Gauss and 45.5 lb. pull force (available online $9.78)
  • Felt 2 inch x 2 inch, about 1/16 inch thick

The hack is very simple: use nylon string to connect the already attached 6 white plastic tent pieces so the tent will stand up vertically against the sidewall of the RV instead of creating the curved dome lying horizontally when attached to a bed.

We like the white plastic pieces designed to grab the top bar of a crib or bed frame as they won’t scratch your vehicle when placed as a vertical curved tent. Then you hang it with a bungee cord from your vehicle through rings attached to the strings at the top.

DIY portable shower tent for RV life

It’s not a spa, but it works well for our outdoor RV life. Here’s what we did to add a shower tent to our RV.

1. Build the tent following IKEA Assembly Instructions by inserting the included flexible tent poles into the sleeves. This leaves a stiff, flat, taut piece of nylon with 6 white plastic parts… 3 protruding from each side.

2. Turn it inside out so the fabric “ledge” is on the outside when it is curved for use, so it won’t collect water and soap.

3. Cut three strings, 4 feet long each.

4. Attach each string permanently on one side of the tent in a vertical position by knotting one end of the string to each of the 3 plastic parts on that side as it stands up in a vertical position.

5. Form a big enough loop at the unattached end of each string so that it can easily slip over the white plastic part on the other side… with a 3 ft spread between the fixed end and the looped end!!

6. In an upright position, pull the tent around you to create the curved structure.

7. Attach each string’s looped end to the plastic piece at the same height on the other side. The 3 strings will lie flat against the side of the vehicle. The tent will dome out behind you to create a private space… but it will not stand well on its own. It should be hung up first.

8. Attach one last string 4 feet long through the fabric loop where the only upright pole inserts. Make it a permanently fixed attachment at the top of the upright pole. Turn your tent upside down if needed to knot the string around the insert end that gives you a wad of tent fabric already sewn strongly so you can loop through it.

9. Now, the very important rings… one ring hangs on the top string lying against the side of the van. One ring is tied to the end of the string in the top middle of the tent coming from the top of the upright pole. This should be tied temporarily about 3 ft. long as you will need to adjust it to alter the height of that side of the shower tent. (We have included a picture below of the top of the shower tent showing rings, top strings, and bungees in use).

Portable shower tent for our long RV trips

9. Run the bungee through both rings and put the hook ends on the RV. Our RV has a high ledge to hook to, but you may need a longer or shorter bungee depending on how high up you have to go to find a place on your RV to support the shower tent. Adjust the hang of the tent, higher or lower, by shortening or lengthening the top strings.

10. The hardware bracket for our particular shower head was available at RV parts stores.

11. We glued the specified magnet (ordered online) to the showerhead bracket using epoxy. We also used epoxy to glue the felt to the magnet so it wouldn’t scratch our RV’s paint.

12. We don’t have a recommendation for a floor mat for the outdoor shower tent as we would like it to be flexible for uneven surfaces, stay above water and mud, be foldable for storage, and dry quickly. Any ideas?

Portable shower tent for our long RV trips

Our final advice: don’t shower naked in this tent in windy conditions … unless you’re an exhibitionist!

~ Sally of Zippity Go Global, Albany, California,

Jules Yap