Wednesday, January 2, 2013

How do you shower?

One of the questions I get about teardrop camping is how we bathe or shower when our tiny trailer doesn't have a bathroom. Even though I love to camp and don't mind the dirt and grime that comes with it, I am extremely picky about keeping clean while camping. I have to have a nightly shower before going to bed and after a day of hiking, kayaking or exploring. My husband is totally the opposite, he thinks that you should stink while camping, so I have had to battle him when it comes to our individual camp shower needs.



Sometimes we will camp at a campground that has hot showers. These can be either free or fee showers. Campgrounds in drought prone states like California, Utah, Nevada and Arizona will charge a dollar or two for a 3-5 minute shower. States with plenty of water like Oregon and Washington usually have free hot showers.

When we are boondock camping we usually bring along a pop-up shower tent. The particular tent we have is simple and does not have a floor, so I purchased a plastic water heater tank catch pan to use as a floor. I also built a small platform out of 2x2 redwood to stand on while bathing.





Our first few attempts at using a solar camp shower failed miserably because either the water would not heat up in time to take a hot shower or it cooled off too fast at night. The typical solar showers are also really heavy when filled up and nearly impossible to lift over your head to a branch or a hook on a car roof rack so you can take a shower. However, my camping girlfriend and I have come up with our own solution. We just heat up a small pot of water on the fire or the stove, grab a cup and take it into the shower tent. We then just dip the cup into the pot and dump the warm water over our heads. It feels fantastic and we have more control over how much water gets used, which is necessary when camping in a place with limited water.

Another solution (but not available in all areas) is to utilize local hot springs. We camp quite a bit in the Eastern Sierras which has hot springs dotted all around the area. We lounge around in a hot spring for an hour or so and then wash off with some soap and a bottle of water. Also, if you don't mind a cold bath in the middle of the summer, you can always jump into a lake or river to wash off, just be sure to use biodegradable soap and shampoo.

7 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Removed comment because it needed editing - fat fingers.

    Love the post, but a comment about using shampoo and soap in open water - please don't.
    Just because soap is biodegradable doesn't mean that it's safe to use in a lake or river. All soaps, natural or not, damage the environment in some fashion.

    If you have to wash in open water, please consider using a loofah or similar. If soap is really needed, then please keep a minimum of 200 ft between yourself and any body of water.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment Andreas. You are absolutely right. In fact, if I am washing in a river or lake, I will usually take a bucket of river water with some soap (soapwort-based soap or Dr. Bronner's) away from the source to wash and rinse. I will finish up with a swim or a quick cold dip in the river or lake. The same goes for washing dishes or clothes, don't wash directly in the water source.

      Andreas, where do you usually dump your used water?

      Delete
  3. Christina, another showe option is a weed sprayer, not repurposed, but new. I have a metal one that i attached a solar shower type sprayer to. Then heat it up on the camp stove a nd instany, almost shower. I also use it to wash dishes. Also by standing in my dishpan for a shower, i can reclaim the water and pour into a greywater container to pack out. It is rare, however, we are near bodies of water in NV! Debbie p in lovelock

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Debbie. Yes, I've seen some shower tents with the weed sprayer in them. Do they hold hot or warm water for a good amount of time? My dream is to also get one of the Coleman hot water heaters.

    ReplyDelete
  5. When I used to spend my days hang gliding or camping in CA and needed a hot shower or bath afterwards, I would saturate a couple of generous hand towels with water, wring them out lightly and place them in black plastic garbage bags. Then I'd turn the car so the back or front windshield faced south and put the bags in the dashboard, close up the car and within an hour or so, viola! Hot, steamy towels.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great idea Susan! You could probably also put soap on a few of them. Nice hot soap. :-)

      Delete