towels hanging on rv towel rack in bathroom

Finding That Perfect Towel Rack For Your RV Bathroom

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The Best Towel Rack For Your Bathroom

Most RVs come with a bathroom towel rack already installed. However, anyone who spends a lot of time in their RV will tell you that it’s usually not enough. Especially if you have more than one person camping with you. Even if it’s just you and your dog, you’ll probably discover you need to hang more than one towel.

There is also the looks factor. Most of those standard towel bars lack style and are cheaply made. The older the model of your RV, the uglier they seem to get. Then, their placement isn’t always ideal. Replacement options can give you a chance to upgrade your style.

It’s not all about hanging wet towels. What about storing extra towels? Bathroom cabinet space is usually lacking, especially in smaller RVs. Separate shower rooms might not have cabinets at all. The last thing you want to do is step out of the shower and not have a clean towel.

The challenge is to find the perfect towel rack to fit your space and your needs.  After doing some research, you’ll probably find that one towel bar simply won’t do. Ask a full time RV’er and they will tell you that you need at least three. One for storage, one for drying, and one for outside.

View from inside bathroom of campervan

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Things to Consider Before Making Your Purchase

Before you pull out that credit card and start ordering towel racks, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself?

  • Where will you put them? Next to the shower? Over the door? Outside?
  • How heavy are they going to be? Dry? Wet?
  • What if they are dripping?
  • What kind of towels are you hanging? Hand towels? Beach towels?
  • How many towels?
  • Storage of dirty towels? Do you really want those in the clothes hamper?

How Many Towels Should You Take Camping?

This is the perfect place to start. How can you decide what to do with the towels if you don’t even know how many you’re talking about?

To get started, let’s do a little math. When deciding how many towels you’ll need, consider:

  • How many people live in the rv?
  • Are you outdoor people or will you be sticking close to home?
  • Are you beach or mountain people?

The general rule is 1 bath towels, 2 hand towels, and maybe a couple washcloths per person. Assuming it will be a week or less between laundry visits. You’ll need to double those numbers if it’s going to be over a week before you find a laundromat.

Yes, moms, if you have little children, add an extra set. Add one more set if you might have guests.

If you’re lucky enough to have laundry on site, you’re good, or a washer dryer in your camper – one towel pp is good, and ahem, do you mind if I drop by with my laundry…….pretty please.

Consider where you are going. Being near the lake or the beach usually means water sports. If you are planning any activities that involve the water, add at least 1 beach towel per person.

Don’t forget your pets. Bring a towel  for your dog. These don’t necessarily have to be stored with the other towels. It’s just worth mentioning while we are on the subject.

This means a family of four spending five days at the lake would need: 4 beach towels, 4 bath towels, 4 hand towels, and 8 washcloths minimum. 

More than you thought?

Family of 4 at beach with towels on

How Do You Store Towels In A Camper?

Now that you know how many towels you need, let’s figure out where to put them.

The most obvious place is in the bathroom linen closet, if your RV has one. Unfortunately, most RVs don’t have one large enough to hold all of those towels. Or if they do, you already have it full of other stuff.

One option is the metal wall mount towel rack. The ends of each rack are slightly hooked upwards to hold a rolled towel in place. Most models hold 5 to 8 towels. Some are designed with smaller racks at the top that are perfect for washcloths.

  • High quality towel bar
  • Enough space for quick drying.
  • Fits 1 bath towel or 2 hand towels

A variation of this can be found that hangs over the door. If you can’t find it in the bathroom accessory aisle, check the kitchen accessories. Many people use something similar in their kitchens to hold wine bottles.

  • Saves space and keeps you organized
  • Strong and durable with quality stitching and metal hooks.  We have used one in our kitchen for 5+ years for snacks – love it!
  • Easily stored when not in use
  • Can store lots of towels .

Another option is the countertop tiered basket. This only works if you have enough countertop space in your bathroom. There is also a hanging version that could be hung under a cabinet. Again, you might have to head to the kitchen aisle. Think about the fruit or desert baskets in your kitchen.

Some people have used hanging shoe organizers either over the door or attached to the outside of the shower. Size and how the organizer hangs might be an issue.

If you find that you still need some extra room for towel, consider using a clearly labeled storage tub or space saver bag for the rest. Most RVs have under bed or under camper storage where this will fit.

  • Holds multiple towels – perfect for RVing
  • Easy to install
  • Perfect for maximizing space in an RV
  • 6 Tier storage

Types of Towel Racks for an RV Bathroom

There are basically three types of towel racks for your RV bathroom: Single, Multi-tier, and Swivel. Depending on the finish, material, and style these will cost on average between $12 and $25 each.

Single Towel Bar

The single towel bar is probably what you already have in your RV. These come as either a straight rod or as a ring. Depending on the length, you can hang one or two towels over it at a time. The ring version is usually more for hand towels or washcloths.

Most versions you see in an RV bathroom are wall mounted. However, there are some over the door styles available. The over the door style can also be hung over the edge of a shower if the space allows. You can add one or two more single towel racks to what you already have. For instance, adding an over the door style or a second wall mount.

Consider replacing your current single towel bar with options that are a shelf/towel bar combination. There are many that have edges to hold your stuff in place as you go down the road.

  • Heavy Duty
  • East to install
  • Modern design 
  • Rust Proof

Multi-Tier Towel Bar

Like the name implies, these are similar to the single bar towel rack but have multiple bars for holding towels. Ones with two or three bars can be real space savers. These also come in wall mount and over the door.

There are a few styles of multi-tier bars. For small RV bathrooms, you might want to consider the style that mounts flush with the wall. The other style comes out a little further with each tier. After about the second or third tier, it could start to encroach on limited space.

You will have to take the weight of the towels and the rack into consideration if you are thinking of using this style.

  • Brushed finish
  • High quality
  • Modern design
  • Easy to install

Swivel Towel Bar

The swivel style is a metal plate with three or four hinged bars attached. These bars can rotate out away from the wall. The bars can also be staggered to allow for more airflow between the towels.

However, instead of two anchor points like the other towel racks, these have one, the metal plate. That means for this type of towel rack, you will want to find a solid stud in the bathroom wall to mount it to.

  • Stores multiple towels as needed
  • Easy to install
  • Perfect for space saving in an RV
  • Ideal for allowing multiple towels to dry

Towel Hooks

Not technically an rv shower towel rack! However, they are a good alternative (or addition) to the towel bar. Hooks can be a space saving way to hang your towels. Especially if you are working with a small RV bathroom.

Hooks are also a little more versatile. Since they take up so little space, walls that wouldn’t hold a bar can be used to hang your towel. There are over the door, wall mount and under the cabinet versions. Large Command hooks can be mounted inside the shower to hold towels when not in use. 

Self-adhesive kinds like command hooks can be mounted quickly and without drilling. Adhesive and suction cup styles can also provide a place to hang wet towels in the shower. Make sure to check the weight rating before buying. You’ll want to choose one with a rating for 3 lbs or more.

  • Perfect for hanging towels in an RV
  • Easy to install
  • Space efficient

Do Towels Dry Better On Hooks Or Bars?

While we are on the subject of bars and hooks, which is better for drying? If you guessed bars, you are right.

When it comes to drying time, bars are the better option. They allow for more airflow to pass around the towel. Hooks tend to cause bunching.  That can trap the moisture in. Faster drying times means less time for mold or mildew to develop.

Where Should A Bathroom Towel Rack Be In An RV?

This is going to depend on your RV. With so many options of size and type of bathroom towel holders, it’s really all about the flow of your shower area. This is where you have to use a little imagination.

Step inside your RV bathroom and close the door. Seriously, don’t do this with the door open unless you are never planning to close it. Having the bathroom door open creates an illusion of space that you might not actually have.

Now ask yourself the following:

  • Do you need something inside the shower?
  • Is there a way to hang something from the shower walls? Inside or outside of the shower?
  • What about the walls closest to the shower?
  • How about the door?
  • Under the cabinets?
  • Using the countertops?
  • Will something hanging on the door make it feel too cramped?
  • Will hanging items get in the way of the toilet, sink or cabinets?
View from inside bathroom of campervan

Remember you have to take weight of the towels as well as the racks into consideration. RV’s are designed with lightweight materials like plywood, paneling and particle board on mostly aluminum frames. There aren’t going to be a lot of useable wooden studs to anchor to like in your home bathroom. This means you need to keep it mostly lightweight too.

While you are in there, pull out the tape measure and take a few notes. Just because you think you can fit a bar or ring there, doesn’t necessarily mean you can. Always best to measure first.

How To Hang A Towel Rack In An RV?

Before you begin, make sure you have the right tools and parts. You will need:

  • Drill/screwdriver (preferably cordless)
  • Drill bits and screwdriver head (most likely Philips)
  • Butterfly toggle bolts (1 for each bracket plus 2 more) You’ll need these in addition to the hardware provided in your towel bar kit.
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Painter’s tape
A drill to put screws in wall for rv towel hooks

There is a good chance that you will not be able to locate a stud for mounting your towel rack. That’s where those butterfly toggle bolts come in handy. They are usually used for hanging pictures on drywall, but because they are self-bracing and distribute the weight over more area, they work better than those plastic braces that come with the kit. However, you will need to drill a larger hole.

You might also notice that nothing in your RV bathroom is perfectly square or level. That’s why most people tend to hold the bar in place and make the marks from that. You can always go back with a tape measure and level before drilling if you want to double check.

  • First thing is to measure the bar to find the center. Mark this with the painter’s tape.
  • Hold the bar (fully assembled) up to where you want it and mark the center on the wall.
  • Measure the fully assembled bar from the center hole of one bracket to the center hole of the other bracket.
  • Use your center mark to mark where the bracket holes should go
  • Double check with your tape measure. Then check again by holding up the bar.
  • BEFORE YOU DRILL: Make sure you are not going to drill into electrical or plumbing. Consider where you are drilling. Use a stud finder to see if there is anything behind where the holes will go.
  • Drill one hole. Assemble the butterfly bolt going through the center hole of the bracket.
  • Pinch the butterfly closed and push through the hole. You will hear it snap into place.
  • Hold your bar up to double check that your second hole is still on target then drill the hole and insert second butterfly bolt.
  • You can use a little construction adhesive to hold the brackets in place if you want.
  • Now you can tighten the bolts down. Make sure you are going the right direction or you will lose the butterfly in the wall and have to use one of the spares.
  • Finish mounting the towel bar according to the package directions.

If you are going for a ring type towel holder, you will only have one bracket holding it up so you will be able to skip some of the steps from above.

Not Enough Space? Outside Towel Racks Offer Another Alternative

One of the things about RV camping is that the outdoors becomes part of your living area. That means if you don’t have enough room inside to hang your wet towels, it’s time to consider hanging them outside.

Outdoor towel rack on back of RV

Mount The Towel Bar Outside

You can mount one on the back, by the outdoor shower or even by the door. They can also double for holding other things like life jackets and grill tools. Remember to use water proof caulk after they are installed to prevent water damage.

  • Six independent arms
  • Supports 10lbs per arm, 60 lbs max
  • Wall mounted
  • Keeps towels out of the way while they dry

Towel Rack For Your RV Ladder

There are models similar to the over the door racks that fit over the ladder.  Store them under the RV with the lawn chairs when it’s time to break camp.

Free Standing Towel Drying Rack:

Check out the laundry section of your local department store for these hand portable racks. They fold down to fit under the RV. As a bonus, you can take them lake side to hold your towels while you are in the water

  • Cool-grip Spiral Handle provides a safe, comfortable grip
  • Unparalleled heat retention and even heating.
  • Use in the oven, on the stove, on the grill, or over a campfire

Clothes Line

When all else fails, go old school. Plus, you never know when you might need some extra rope. Fastening a couple tie downs together around some trees also makes for a quick clothes line.

Campervan parked with washing on line

What to do with Dirty Towels?

After a few uses you’ll want to retire that towel. The problem with towels is that even after having time to dry, they still can produce mildew. That’s where that funky odor comes from. This is something you don’t want mixing in with your other laundry.

Lots of RVers use these towels because they dry super fast, and are ideal for a tiny space.

While you are adding towel racks, think about adding a sturdy hook to hold a mess laundry bag specifically for towels. The mesh bag allows air to get to the towels. Slowing the growth of mildew until you have time to wash them.

The bonus here is that you won’t have to sort them from your other laundry when you do make it to the laundromat.  

Towel Racks Can Help You Organize Your RV Bathroom

Keeping your RV bathroom organized will help make any camping trip a little better. From storing clean towels to drying wet towels to keeping dirty towels out of the general laundry, towel racks are your secret weapon.

Now that you have an idea of all the options available to get your RV bathroom organized, start planning. Many full time RVers recommend using a combination of towel drying options for an RV. This means utilizing bathroom towel bars, shower hooks, over the door towel hangers and outdoor towel racks. The more people you have at camp, the more options you’ll want.

The Best Towel Rack for Your RV bathroom

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