How to Shower When Camping?
Photo Credit:outdoorgearlab.com

New campers often want to know how to shower when camping in the wilderness. It’s a fair question that isn’t always easy to answer. Sometimes you can take a shower and sometimes you can’t, but it’s important to stay clean no matter what. It’s pretty easy to take a shower at home. But how do you shower when you’re car camping? Don’t worry, we found a few choices.

New campers often want to know how to shower when camping in the wilderness. It’s a fair question that isn’t always easy to answer. Sometimes you can take a shower and sometimes you can’t, but it’s important to stay clean no matter what. It’s pretty easy to take a shower at home. But how do you shower when you’re car camping? Don’t worry, we found a few choices.

Due to the high temperatures in the summer, people may sweat more than they expect to. It gets even worse if you are doing things outside, like setting up a tent or going hiking. In this post, I’ll explain how to take a shower while camping and how to shower when camping.

Why showering while camping is important?

Most campers don’t take showers every day, but it’s best to take enough showers to get rid of all the dirt and oils. Showers get rid of bad bacteria on the skin, stop acne, and get rid of smells. They also make you feel clean and help you sleep better.

You might not need to take a shower every day, especially if you don’t work up a sweat or do a lot of physical activity, but most people agree that taking a shower every day is a healthy habit.

At the very least, you should wash with clean water every few days to stay clean. If you don’t have access to fresh water, you’ll need to find another way to shower and make your camping trip more enjoyable. We’ll talk about these other ways later in this post.

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How to Avoid Body Odour when Camping?

To stay clean, you should look for a soap that is good for the environment and won’t hurt animals or pollute the water. Soap lets you get rid of the dirt and grease that builds up when you camp in the backcountry for a few days. You can also wash your clothes with this soap, which will help you feel and smell better while camping.

You can keep body odor at bay with deodorant and cover up any bad smells on you or your clothes until you can take a bath or shower. Some campers also wear merino wool, which doesn’t hold any smells and can be worn for days without needing to be washed. For more ideas, check out this hiking underwear and these merino wool base layer tops.

Best ways to find showers while camping

Most websites that let you book a campsite online have a search filter that makes it easy to find out if the campsite you want has showers on-site or nearby. There are a lot of other camping websites and apps that can also help you find campsites with showers.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Free campsites. net-free camping areas only
  • Hipcamp.com (app): many paid and free campsite options posted by hosts
  • iOverlander (app)- geared toward the boondocking, car, and RV travel
  • PublicShower.directory: great for shower options across the US, organized by city and state.

They both cost money to use, but if you are camping for a long time, it may be worth it to pay to sleep and shower for free while making new friends along the way.

21 Best Tips: How to Shower When Camping?

1. Public Showers 

Who has ever heard of something like that? You can find public showers more often than you might think if you know where to look.

You can start by looking for campgrounds with public showers in the bathrooms. You may have to pay a little more or even pay per use for these campsites, but they are usually right next to your tent and only a short walk away.

You can also use public showers in the area, such as those at truck stops and public beaches. There are showers at a lot of truck stops, and most public beaches have them too. You can wash up there with a swimsuit and some soap.

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2. MakeShift Camping Showers

If you don’t have a camping shower that you can take with you, you can still make one out of what you have. You can clean yourself with just enough water from a large water bottle with small holes in the bottom.

In the same way, a bag with holes in the bottom will also work, but it might not work with hot water. If you take off the mouthpiece valve at the end, hydration reservoirs will work. They are also useful because they can be used for more than one thing and are likely already in your pack.

3. Source of water

Before, we said that you shouldn’t take a bath near a natural water source. But that’s only true if you plan to use soapy things. You can bathe in a lake, stream, or waterfall if all you want to do is wash off dirt and natural oils.

You might even find things that break down and can be used in surface water. To clean yourself, use a washcloth and a small amount of soap. Don’t use too much of the product to keep contamination to a minimum.

4. Showers on wheels

You can buy something called a portable shower already made on Amazon. Depending on what you need, you can choose between solar, battery, and gas portable showers, among other things.

If you are traveling in a car or van, you might want to get a portable shower that can be charged with the car adapter. Ivation’s portable outdoor shower is a good example of this. It has a lithium battery that can be charged again and again. You can do this in less than an hour with a car adapter or even a laptop.

If you want something different or aren’t traveling by car, you can also get a portable solar shower. The very popular Advanced Elements 5 Gallon Summer Shower is a good example of this.

Because it is powered by the sun, your water won’t be cold. It has a water temperature gauge so you can tell if the water is warm enough. It’s easy to use and has a pocket on the side for soap or shampoo.

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5. Rain from the Sun

The solar shower can be thought of as a bag that keeps water warm and holds it. It has a hose to help you empty the water and showerheads. It’s the easiest way, especially for people who don’t like to take baths in cold water. Solar showers are great because they are easy to fill, easy to move, and easy to use.

There are different kinds of solar showers with different parts and features, so this is something to think about before choosing one. Solar showers can hold up to or more than 5 liters of water. They are filled with water and put in the sun for 3–4 hours with the clear part facing up. This makes the water warm.

I would suggest putting it on something that absorbs heat quickly, like a dark rock, or putting it on the dashboard of your car and driving while the water warms up. Absolutely. Once it has reached the right temperature, hang it on a pole in a pop-up shower tent and hold it with your hands. You can also hang it on a tree branch and carry it to the solar bath or shower by the strap.

It’s also important to put the clean side facing you so you can figure out how much water you have for your shower. After using my Advanced Elements Solar Shower on several camping trips in the car, I really liked it.

6. Hygiene Tents Showers

You might want to use a hygiene tent to cover up when you’re washing up in a campground or even in the middle of nowhere. It isn’t much else you can do in these tents besides walk in and stand up. They don’t take up much space because they are usually about 4’x4′.

Also, most of the time, these tents won’t have a floor, so water can run straight into the ground. You can both take a shower and store portable toilets in these tents. A hygiene tent is important if you want to take a shower at your car camping site.

You might not want to bring a whole hygiene tent with you when you go camping in the wild. You could bring a tarp and some rope to make your own privacy screen in this case.

You could also just put on a bathing suit and take a shower without taking it off. If you’re car camping with strangers and don’t have a privacy tent or tarp to make one, this could be an easy alternative.

7. Battery Operated Showers

When it’s cold outside and you’re camping away from the grid, these items are perfect. Most campers use this item, which can be charged.

It’s an easy-to-carry tool that works well and doesn’t weigh much. Most of the battery is 2200mAh, and it has a USB port that makes it easy to charge with a 12v car adapter, a power bank, or even a laptop. Depending on the model, it can be used for up to an hour after being charged at home for 2 to 5 hours.

Most of it has an S-shaped hook that lets you hang it safely, like on a tree or a car window, so you don’t have to hold it. Car campers with kids like this feature because it’s easy to bathe kids under 12 with two hands.

Showers that are powered by batteries need to be charged so that they can pull water from a tank and push it through the horse pipe to the shower head. It feels very soothing to anyone who touches it, which is an added benefit. I would also suggest that kids use it.

The main problem with this battery-powered shower is that you have to charge it before you can use it, and it also needs a tank or bucket outside of it. Ivation Portable Shower is a good choice if you want a shower like this.

8. Water Container Showers

One of the best ways to save water when car camping is to take a shower with a water container. Filling a jug or bucket with water and using that to shower is a simple way to do this.

This can save water and be more comfortable than trying to take a shower with a handheld sprayer. You can even take a full-body shower if the container is big enough. Just make sure to put the container somewhere safe where it won’t get knocked over.

9. Pop-up Shower Tent

If you’re like me, you love being outside and don’t mind roughing it when you can. I’m sure you’ve thought at some point, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could take a shower outside?”

Well, a pop-up shower tent is just what you need if you want to feel clean after a long day of hiking or swimming but don’t want to carry around heavy camping gear. A shower tent that pops up is a simple way to make your own shower while camping. It’s easy to set up and take down, small enough to fit in any backpack, and light enough to carry with ease.

10. Multi-Use Systems

REI’s dromedary bags are a similar system that can also be used to clean water when not used as a shower. You can use these bags with gravity water filters to clean water. The bags are usually black, so the water inside heats up quickly, and they come with a hose attachment that has a showerhead. This is a great two-for-one choice for travelers who want to save space.

11. Roof Rack Options

Check out the road showers with water tubes that attach to your car’s roof racks if you like simple things that still look cool. Fill the water tank before you start driving, let the sun do its thing, and when you stop for the day, connect the hose for a nice hot shower that is pressurized by the drop in height from the roof of your SUV to the shower handle. Simple and very cool!

12. RV Shower (Indoor / Outdoor)

RV Shower (Indoor Outdoor)
Photo Credit:bobvila.com

Chances are, if you rent an RV, it will have a stand-up shower inside. And propane will probably be used to heat it on demand.

And some RVs come with a shower head that can be used outside. This is a great way to clean up after going to the beach. Or to wash off the mud after a trail ride in the rain.

13. Pressurized Camping Showers

A pump-action camp shower works like a regular weed sprayer or water pistol in that you pump the container to make the liquid spray out.

Pressurized showers are a little bit stronger and are made to hold and spray hot water instead of chemicals or cold water. You can expect the plastic to be thicker so it can handle higher temperatures and the hose and nozzle to be stronger so they last longer.

There are a few different kinds, from the traditional hand pump to newer versions with a foot pump. The shower doesn’t have to be hung over your head, and both can be used on the ground.

You will still get more done if you hang the nozzle above your heads because you won’t have to use your heads to apply soap. Because of this, a foot pump is more useful than a hand pump because you can keep pressing down on it while washing your hair while camping.

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14. Sponge Bath 

Even if you don’t have a lake or a way to take a shower, a good camper always has plenty of water. The sponge bath is one of the most simple ways to take a shower at camp. Use any small bottle or container of water, a little soap, and a sponge to quickly wash your body.

With this careful method, you won’t waste a lot of water. You can use small amounts of water to rinse off the dirtiest and smelliest spots.

15. Electric Camping Shower

Because of changes in technology, there is now a new kind of camping shower that can pump water using electricity and a portable battery. These electric camping showers are great for weekend trips, but after about 45 to 60 minutes of use, they will need to be charged again.

You just put the electronic pump into a large container full of water and use the nozzle like you would any other shower. The flow rate is better than a pump-action or gravity-fed system, so it will use water faster but give a better shower.

16. Hot-Water Car Kit Shower

One of the more expensive options is a car shower kit with hot water. There is a water tank, a pump, and a showerhead nozzle in a hot-water car kit. The kit connects to the engine compartment of the car, which lets the outflow heat the water while the car is running.

In the same way, the water tank is insulated. This keeps the heated water at a good temperature for taking a shower. The water tank has a separate tank for cold water. This means you can use both hot and cold water.

With a hot-water car kit, you have to shower right outside the car. For privacy, use a privacy tent with a hot-water car kit. When you’re ready to shower, turn the knobs on the water tank to change the temperature.

17. Foot-Pump

In a way, a foot-pump shower can go against gravity. You can set it up on any flat surface and use a pump to make the water in the bag pressurized. Many of them have showerheads with hoses that you can change to fit your height.

If you step on the foot pump, you can get enough water pressure and have your hands free. They cost less because they don’t need batteries. You’ll have to put the bag in the sun to warm it up, so it’s not the best way to save time.

18. Heated portable shower

Plan your showers around how you will get to your destination. You won’t be able to bring a lot of water with you when you go backpacking or camping on a bike. But if you travel by car or, even better, by van, you can carry a lot more water.

When winter comes, you won’t be able to shower outside like you usually do. The water gets cold, and you can’t really take a shower outside. So, heated outdoor showers can be helpful.

When backpacking, it’s a little hard to carry such showers. Most of the time, people who camp in a van or car are told to do this. The Hike crew portable propane water heater is an example of a heated outdoor shower like this.

It has a shower pump and an automatic shutoff for safety. This portable shower is perfect for all your hiking and camping trips. The maker has also decided to include a carry case, which you should still use if you’re going to be traveling by car.

19. Showering in nature

If you have a source of fresh water nearby, why not use it? In the winter, this method is almost never possible, but in the summer, it can be a double win. You can enjoy the beauty of a lake and keep yourself clean at the same time.

Look for clean-looking water sources. In general, moving water (lakes) is cleaner than still water (lakes). Make sure it’s not against the rules to swim there before you do.

Respect the environment, don’t use shampoo in the water, and don’t leave trash behind. If you need shampoo, get a bucket and fill it with water. Put the shampoo on your body, pour the water from the bucket over yourself, and make sure it doesn’t get anywhere near the water source.

20. Road Shower

Road showers are put on the vehicle’s rack system, which is the same system used for roof tents. This gives the car a cool look.

The road shower can be pumped up right away with an electric bike pump or tire inflator. Between 5 and 10 liters of water can fit in it. It’s very flexible, so it’s easy to change the water pressure.

It lets light in, which heats the water. In any case, you can use cold water.

The only bad things about the shower on the street are that it costs money and needs a roof rack to set up.

21. Public Showers

Public Showers
Photo Credit:travelwithwadeanddani.com

Who has ever heard of something like that? You can find public showers more often than you might think if you know where to look.

You can start by looking for campgrounds with public showers in the bathrooms. You may have to pay a little more or even pay per use for these campsites, but they are usually right next to your tent and only a short walk away.

You can also use public showers in the area, such as those at truck stops and public beaches. There are showers at a lot of truck stops, and most public beaches have them too. You can wash up there with a swimsuit and some soap.

What You Need To Shower When Camping?

1. Towel

That is fast-drying. There is such a thing. We want to think that we’ve explained to you the best way to shower on your next outdoor excursion, mostly during car camping.

It includes the essentials you should bring along. Keep ourselves clean and have more fun. You don’t need to search for shower facilities in public when camping.

2. Shampoo

The best shampoo for camping is one that smells good and works well on your hair type. Try to choose a shampoo that will not leave behind any residue on your hair and will not make your hair extremely soft or rough after washing it off. To help the environment, choose a bio-degradable shampoo.

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3. Soap

You should always carry at least one bar of soap while going on a camping trip so that you can clean up after taking a shower. Make sure that the soap does not contain any perfumes or additives as these can cause irritation in your skin during the hot summer months when you are exposed to sunlight for long hours. Buy a biodegradable soap.

4. Suction Hook Cups

This is a device that assists in hanging your towels or clothes and keeps them dry when showering. It is a great way to hang soap bags or carry bags.

5. Flip-Flops

Most outdoor showers are a bit unpredictable and used by a lot of people who might not take pride in their hygiene as much as you. To ensure your safety, wear flip-flops that can protect you from getting injured by harmful insects, objects, and microorganisms. If you are a beginner, forget about bringing your Gucci sliders!

6. Shower Curtain

It is a huge piece of fabric that can be folded around a spring rod to increase privacy since most spaces are open.

it creates a space like a bathroom, which allows for a shower in a way that suits them.

7. Spring Rod

This rod is intended to twist into a pleasing shape, such as a rectangular or rectangle. This rod can connect the curtain to create an attractive bathroom. If someone forgets to attach the hook with suction cups, it could be used to hang towels.

8. Towel clip

This helps you to hang a wet towel in your tent or to hang it up on a tree branch. They weigh almost nothing and take hardly any space, so carrying some of these along with you is not big deal at all.

9. Floor Mats

A floor mat of some sort is also a great way to give yourself more options on where to shower and will keep your feet clean. Rubber welcome mats, RV sand mats, or snap-together foam or teak tiles all work to create a quick space to stand and stay out of the mud your shower will create.

How to Wash Long Hair While Camping?

Long hair is so beautiful but can be a nightmare to take care of while camping. It doesn’t have to be. Make plans to give your hair some time, and you’ll find it looks dazzling no matter where you travel.

When showering, thoroughly soak your hair from roots to tip before turning off the water. Suds up with environmentally safe shampoo or conditioner, and make sure you massage your scalp. After that, rinse thoroughly.

If you don’t have much water or only a small reservoir for your shower water, focus your hair wash showers on your hair and only take care of the essential areas on you for that session. And if you don’t have a shower at all but need to wash your hair, have a friend help by pouring water over your head.

Personal Hygiene and Safety

Did you know that bears and other animals can be attracted to the scent of your soaps, deodorants, lotions, and other personal hygiene products? While it might be unlikely, a bear might even rip through your campsite just because he smelled your lip balm or toothpaste.

When camping, put these items in your bear canister and hang the canister in a tree or put it the recommended distance away from you. If you’re car camping at a state or national park, put these items in your food locker.

Backpacker’s resident bear even suggests that you skip the deodorant when camping overnight in bear country.

For myself, I just take along unscented personal hygiene products. You can buy these at most hunting stores. They help you stay both clean and safe from any animals who may otherwise decide that you smell delicious.

Final Thoughts

Camping is a great and fun thing to do, but let’s face it: sometimes it can get a little gross and dirty. If you know how to take a shower while camping, you can save time and energy. As they say, if you’re always ready, you’ll be fine.

How do you stay clean when you’re camping? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about How to Shower When Camping?

Do Campsites Have Showers?  

A typical campsite won’t have a shower, but many campsites are close to places where you can take a shower. But many campsites have water hookups that you can use to fill up your camping shower without having to leave your campsite.

If a campsite has water, it will say “full-hookup” or “water only” on the sign. With either of these choices, you can find a campsite with water.

Are there any Portable Shower Cabins for Camping?

Yes! The WolfWise 6.6FT Portable Pop-Up Shower Privacy Tent is an example of this kind of thing. This tent doesn’t get wet and is easy to carry. You can keep your privacy and keep feeling good.

Are Portable Showers Expensive?

Not really. They cost anywhere from $10 to $200. The best ones let you change the temperature, show the status of the led lights, and more. Even a homemade shower can be great for a short camping trip.

How Do You Wash Your Face When Camping?  

The best way to wash your face when camping in the wild is with biodegradable soap or facial wipes. When camping at a place with regular bathrooms, you can bring your regular soap and wash your face in the bathroom sink.

How to Shower When Camping in Winter?

You should get some kind of portable shower that you can heat up. There is also a cheaper version that lets you use dry shampoo and bath wipes. You can buy clothes that pull sweat away from your skin, which is very helpful in the winter.

How to Heat Portable Shower Water?

Some of the portable showers have a heater, while others get their power from the sun. I would recommend getting ones that you can plug into a car charger.

How Do You Poop While Camping?

When you can, use the outhouses, pit toilets, and other facilities that are there for that purpose. Always bury your poop in a cathole that is at least 6-8 inches (15.2-20.3 cm) deep, but don’t bury or burn your toilet paper. Always bring things like tampons and pads to take care of your period.

How Do You Shower in Winter Camping?

In the winter, you need a way to heat the water and let it flow from the top so you can take a shower. You can boil water over a flame and use any bottle or container to take a gravity shower. A solar camping shower can be used when the sun is out. Campers also like to use showers that run on propane.

How Long Can You Go Without Showering?

“If your skin doesn’t get dry often, you could do it less often, like every other day or so.” But a certified germ expert says you don’t have to shower for as long as you want.

How Yo You Thrower in a Tent Camping?

Bring your own camping shower on wheels, If you’re using soap, choose a spot at least 200 feet away from any bodies of water, hang yours from a tree, and let the sun warm the water during the day. When you’re done exploring, you can rinse off.

What is The Best Way to Shower When Camping?

It’s hard to say which one is best because there are so many options, like portable showers, showers you make yourself, bathhouses at campgrounds, etc.

Where Does The Water Go in a Camping Shower?

These systems hold your shower runoff, which is also called “gray water,” until it can be emptied into a container and taken to a specific spot on the campground for disposal.

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