Why showering while camping is important
Picture this, you’ve been hiking for a few days, and the weather has not been that bad. You haven’t been sweating or doing any physical activities, so you decide to skip on that day’s shower.
Besides, along the way, you may have decided to have a dry shower or a quick bathe in a stream or river, which kept you sane and kept you feeling clean and refreshed.
But most people may like to shower regularly due to habit and hygiene. At the very minimum, one should rinse off in fresh water at least once a week to maintain good sanitary practices.
Personally, I have to shower just after setting up base camp to get the sweat and grime off and to signal the end of a busy day.
How to shower while camping – almost like home
While camping, you may use real toilets in certain states, national parks, and campgrounds. These are generally located in the park’s car camping section, but wilderness campers may trek to the park for a rest stop.
If you’re in a national park or a paid campground, these venues will likely have designated toilet and shower spaces, but if you are camping in the wilderness, you may have to trek a few miles/kilometers to the nearest park or rest stop.
From personal experience, most park showers have been clean and maintained, even more so if you are camping out of season. However, always be cautious and check out the shower area thoroughly before use, as the last thing you want is a surprise visit from local wildlife while your in your birthday suit.
Shower in the wild – use whats around you or bring your own
Bodies of water
As mentioned earlier, rivers and streams have traditionally been great places to shower and bathe while camping. However, there are a few precautions when cleaning yourself in a body of water.
Firstly like above, check out the area first for wildlife, secondly check the speed of the water, and if the water is clear, try to get a feel for the river bed or stones. This is to make sure that you won’t get dragged away with the swell and to make sure you can stand in the body of water.
And if you have children make sure to supervise them and avoid fast running bodies of water.
Portable camping showers
Got a plastic bag? If it’s durable enough, what’s stopping you from going down to the river and filling the bag up and tying it to a tree, and sticking a couple of holes in the bag to create a shower stream?
The only problem with this solution is that you will need to waste a bag, and most bags are not that tough and are awkward to try and tie onto something elevated.
This is why a simple solution is to purchase a portable camping shower kit in preparedness for your outdoor trip.
Portable shower kits are a durable and minimal solution similar to the plastic bag method above, except they will have a hose and shower head fixed to the bag and an easy way to tie onto a tree or elevated position.
They are simple, handheld, and quick to set up, but most shower kits will have about a 1.5 shower capacity because they are so packable. Meaning that one and a half people should get a 3-5 minute shower depending on the water flow setting.
Camping shower etiquette
We always go by the rule, ‘Leave it as you found it,’ which also applies to showering when camping. Avoid using heavy chemicals, shampoo, and soaps that may corrode the flora or wildlife or pollute the surrounding waterways.
Make sure to take any bottle caps or plastic you may have used during your shower. There are plenty of biodegradable soaps on the market, which we have detailed below with a few portable camping shower options.
How to shower while camping – In summary
Showering in the wilderness can be effortless if you know how to do it properly and safely. You should always make sure you’re prepared before going into the woods. Choose a technique and use it on your next camping excursion.
You may discover that a river bath gives a more authentic experience or half a jug of boiled water with your regular portable shower water gives you an experience that is almost as good as at home.
Below we have linked some must-have products we couldn’t camp without and love to use when showering outdoors. Check them out.
What we recommend
Pop Up Pod Privacy Changing Room
The Gigatent provides you with an instant private camping showers to change into clean clothing, shower outdoors, and go to the toilet outside.
Hang your desired portable hot water camping shower from a tree above the GigaTent privacy room and you have yourself a campground shower.
Solar Shower Portable Camp Shower Bag kit
Simply a must if you want a warm shower after a long days hiking and camping.
It has solar powered heating element so all you need to do is fill the pouch with water and lay the bag out (solar panel side up) for it to work its hot water magic.