Adding a changing room to your pontoon boat gives it a little extra appeal for hosting guests and extended family. Perfect for parties out on the lake, a collapsible changing room for a pontoon boat provides privacy for when you or your guests need to change after a dip in the water. And because they can be easily folded down, there’s no need to worry about the amount of space they take up.
But with a range of choices available on the market, it might be tough to really zero in on a pick that matches your boat and your preferences. That’s why we took the time to sift through the market to help you find the best choice with this buying guide and review.
The 5 Best Pontoon Changing Rooms
This easy choice pops up with no assembly required. Using heavy-duty polyester taffeta, this pick can easily withstand the elements to bring you lasting performance through all sorts of weather. Complete with sewn-on loops to drive stakes through, this pop-up changing room can be set-up on shore to serve its purpose off of your boat.
Designed to enclose your pontoon’s bow, this pick by Taylor Made provides maximum coverage for more than just getting dressed. Creating a large, covered space, this bow enclosure doubles as a shaded lounge area to protect you from heat and rain whenever necessary. The spacious interior also means you won’t have to deal with cramped conditions when getting dressed.
This changing room privacy curtain hangs from your bimini top, creating an enclosed space with a free underside. The design is simple, yet effective, serving its purpose as an on-board changing room. Made from Poly-Guard fabric, this choice was built for durability, offering years of reliable performance without showing signs of wear and tear even with exposure to the elements.
This comprehensive pop-up tent features a range of added features that make it more convenient and versatile than the average pop-up. Its interiors feature hanging loops and pockets to hold your clothes while you change. Its mesh roof lets water pass through, so you can set it up as a shower room by standing it underneath a shower head.
This lightweight and easy changing room frame is the ideal pop up for occasional use. The simple deisgn features an optional ventilation window that lets you unzip a small opening to improve airflow. It also comes complete with an interior clothesline that lets you hang up your clothes while you get dressed or take a shower.
Different Types Of Changing Rooms For Pontoons
Pop-Up Changing Rooms
These are exactly as the name suggests. They have a metal wire frame that lets them pop up into a tent-like structure. They’re pretty basic and require zero installation, unless you’re taking them off shore in which case they come with a set of stakes to secure them to the ground. When you’re done using them, they can collapse back to a flat piece for storage.
Changing Room Combo
The changing room combo is a slightly upgraded version of the pop-up. It offers more accessories than your average pop-up, like a clothesline, pockets and compartments for accessories and toiletries, and ventilation windows which basic pop-ups tend to lack.
Drop Down Partitions
Then, there are drop down partitions. These attach to your pontoon bimini top and drop down like an enclosed curtain. They’re usually universal in design, so they will fit any bimini top model. For easy take down, the straps feature quick release buckles. And if you were really hoping for lasting performance, some of the better choices use high-quality marine-grade polyester that should survive countless boating seasons.
Finally, there’s the bow enclosure. These look sort of like a roof that creates an enclosed space over your bow. It’s typically far more spacious than your average changing room, and doubles as a covered space for taking shelter from the sun and rain. But while they can be pretty spacious and versatile, it isn’t recommended that they be kept installed when underway.
If none of these options match what you’re looking for, you can always try to go DIY. There are lots of services that can offer to give you a custom-made changing room to specifically fit your pontoon. Of course, it’s likely to be more expensive, but you’ll get a changing room that’s truly designed for your space.
Determining the Right Style
While all of the different changing room designs might seem like good choices, it’s important to consider your expectations and preferences. Finding out what you need and want out of your changing room can curb the process of tedious returns.
What Will You Use It For?
Is your changing room going to be used strictly for changing, or do you want something that doubles as a shower-slash-toilet room? Some changing rooms can accommodate a portable toilet so you can use the stall as a temporary bathroom. Others still can be used as protection from rain and heat. The bow enclosure makes an ideal choice for this purpose.
Where Will You Use It?
Are you planning to keep your changing room on the pontoon at all times, or do you want to take it on-shore? Certain designs feature sand bags or loops that go with stakes to let you temporarily secure the stall to the ground. In this case, it’s worth pointing out that drop down changing rooms and bow enclosures can’t be used off of the boat.
Do You Want No-Frills Or Something More Elaborate?
Basic changing rooms will be pretty much stripped on the inside. But more elaborate choices can include things like pockets, compartments, clotheslines, and even ventilation windows.
How Often Are You Going To Use It?
Durable material that resists both heat and moisture damage should be a top priority if you feel that your changing room is going to see some tough weather too often. On the other hand, there are lightweight, inexpensive choices that get the job done for now-and-then usage.
What Weather Conditions Do You Encounter?
If the weather in your area is usually windy or rough, you might want something that can stand securely against strong gusts of wind. A drop down will blow around because of the lack of any connection along the bottom hem. Pop-ups can topple over because of the height and solid surface area. Consider the ways you can secure your changing room especially if you’re no stranger to bad weather.
Where to Put a Pontoon Changing Room?
Pontoon floor plans aren’t set in stone, so the best way to tell where to put your changing room would be to consider your unique layout. The beauty of the pop-up changing room is that it lets you instantly set-up virtually wherever there’s space available. Their small footprint takes up minimal floor area so even smaller pontoons can accommodate their size.
Drop down curtain changing rooms can attach to a bimini top and drape to create an enclosed space. These attach with quick release buckles and hooks for easy set-up and storage. Because they don’t have floor panels or connections to the pontoon flooring, these drop down designs are ideal strictly for changing clothes.
Should Wind Be a Consideration?
The common design for a collapsible changing room for a pontoon boat features solid fabric material that doesn’t permit air to flow through. That said, in windy conditions, your changing room might not stay in place and may topple over depending on the design you’ve chosen. It’s also worth considering that larger changing room designs, like bow enclosures, can’t be in place when the pontoon is underway.
Many of these changing rooms come with sewn-in loops that are designed to drive stakes through for on-shore use. They also typically come equipped with cables that you can use to tie them to your pontoon seats or rails. On the other hand, drop down changing rooms hang from your bimini top and may blow around in strong winds, compromising the privacy they offer. Weighted curtains or those that come with tie down cables can retain their purpose even in windy conditions.
Over to You
A changing room is one of the necessities for a pontoon boat, and should definitely find a place in your space. Extending the versatility, comfort, and convenience of your vessel, the right collapsible changing room for a pontoon boat should help you feel more relaxed and at home anywhere your boat takes you. Keep in mind though - not all changing rooms deliver the same experience. Consider your expectations and understand how each option is different so you can find a changing room that really meets your needs.