How To Set Up Your Camp Shower

A look at all the different things to consider when prepping your  camp shower or bathing station while camping.

Camping can be a downright dirty endeavor to take on. There is nothing more refreshing while you are at your campsite than to be able to take a relaxing shower.

This takes a lot of prep, though, and you need to make sure that you have your bases covered.

I will be talking about all the necessary preparations that you should take before you head outdoors, including;

  • The different types of camp showers
  • Items you need for showering while camping
  • How to set up your camp shower
  • Tips on what to consider while setting up your camp shower

1) Types of Camp Showers

Campground Shower - If you plan your trip correctly, you can set yourself up at a campsite that has dedicated showers. Doing so will allow you to have reliable hot water and privacy during the duration of your time.

If this is something you desire, then be sure to call ahead to make sure your campground has one.

Portable Shower - There are many types of showers that you can pack along to have the comforts of home out in the wild. I will take a look at the most common types here.

Solar - Utilizing the power of the sun to heat up your water, this is the most sustainable and long lasting method of heating. It has the longest heating time out of those discussed but needs only the sun. Just make sure you are going to have sunny days, and you will be set.

Battery - Running independent of the sun and expensive fuel, battery powered showers will allow you to shower on a cloudy day. The great part about batteries is that you can pick up a set of rechargeable batteries and be set for a long time.

Make sure that the shower you purchase has a heater with it as well. Otherwise, you will find yourself soaking wet and cold.

Propane - Heavier and reliant on liquid fuel, these are the most effective way to heat your water. With the direct heat of propane on the water, this method will heat your water up the fastest.

Not ideal for a trek deep into the woods, due to the weight, if you have a base camp set up this will work nicely. The most important thing to remember is to pack enough fuel.

You can always make your camp shower if you are feeling adventurous and confident in your abilities as a do it you type of person. The items that you would need include;

Plastic bags or a bucket in which to warm up water. This will take a lot of time, so make sure you get it out in the sun early in the day.

Some sticks and rope to create a top rack for the shower. This structure will act as a way to hold up your water and a place to hang your curtain from.

A tarp to hang from the shower rack. This will allow you some privacy while you bathe and keep any cool breezes off of you.

The last resort is to bring some soap and hope that you run into some clear, warm water. Do not bathe in stagnant water as it a breeding ground for bacteria. Find a stream fed water source that appears clear. Then you can just bath the old fashioned way, and all you have to pack is soap and a towel.

2) Shower Items for Camping

There are certain items that you absolutely must have when it comes to showering while camping. If you forget your soap or something to dry off with, then you will find yourself in quite the predicament. Luckily I’ve thrown together a little list that should give you an idea of what to bring so you can shower like you’re at home.

Soap - Whether you prefer a bar or liquid soap, just make sure that try to find something that is friendly to nature. A natural soap will allow you to enjoy nature without disrupting it, so look for soaps that are labeled as biodegradable.

Shower Shoes/Flip Flops - You can never be sure what sort of shape a campground shower will be in, so you should be prepared for anything. There is also the chance that you may find yourself standing on the forest floor and will want some protection for your feet.

Shower Curtain - The last thing you want is for everybody in nature, including the squirrels, seeing you in your birthday suit. Bring something to cover the shower area, and you will be all the happier for it.

Towels - Unless you are planning on air drying, remember the towels. Air drying is only preferred if you are camping somewhere that is warm at day and night.

There are towels created specifically for camping that is designed to dry quickly. These are also made of lightweight material, making them easy to pack if you are going on a long hike.

Light - Some light source is recommended whether you are showering at the campground shower or one of your creation. There is a multitude of choices for this, but as always, LED is recommended.

3) Setting Up Your Camp Shower

Making sure you pick out the proper spot to set up your shower is essential to making sure it will function properly. If you have an RV or vehicle to set it up off of you are set, but if you do not, here are some points to consider while setting it up.

1. Hanging the shower - Make sure you have somewhere to hang your shower from whether it be a tree or your RV. It won’t be much of a shower if you can’t have the water falling from above, so plan accordingly.

2. Level Ground - You don’t want to be standing on a tree root for the duration of your shower so find an area that is level and offers good drainage. You also don’t want to be standing in a muddy puddle when you are trying to get clean, so dig a drainage trench that will allow the water to flow away freely.

3 Clean Water - Without access to clean water then you may as well not shower at all. Be sure that there is somewhere that you can get a hold of clean water to warm up and shower with.

4. Warm the Water - No matter which type of shower you are using, unless it’s at the campground, you will need to give the water time to warm up. A solar shower takes the longest, so get that water out early. For the battery and propane, it is faster, but it still takes time, so plan ahead.

5. Privacy, Please! - If you’re using a portable shower, set it up in a low traffic area to allow for maximum privacy. No one wants an audience while showering.

6 Bring a Light - Showering after dark with no light would be not only difficult but possibly dangerous. Have a nice lantern on hand to hang and to make sure you can see what you’re doing, and where your gear is.

7. Staging Area - Set up a staging area nearby, so you don’t have to go far for your towel, and you have somewhere to set the soap.

With your shower now set up, you are ready to stay clean in the great outdoors. Following the recommendations above will allow you to head into nature knowing you’ll be able to leave clean.

Here are a couple more tips to remember when getting ready to shower while camping;

  • If all else fails and you can’t set up any shower, bring baby wipes or some other sort of cleaning wipe. It won’t be as refreshing, but it will still help keep you clean. You can also warm up some water in a cup and use that small amount for a quick clean. It’s no shower, but it is better than nothing.
  • Use biodegradable soap and washing items. If you are out enjoying nature, be sure to take care of it, so the generations that follow you can enjoy it as well.
  • If you have the ability to, make sure that you wash up your socks and other clothes whenever you can. There is no use in getting clean with a shower just to put on dirty clothes afterward. Better yet, pack enough clothes for the whole trip, if you can.
  • Keep your feet clean. Not to pick on one part of your body, but if you are doing a lot of hiking, you need your feet in top shape. Make sure your socks are fresh, or at the very least let them dry out between hikes to avoid the blisters and problems associated with soggy feet.

Having the ability to keep clean while camping is not only a luxury but something that everyone must keep in mind. If you don’t take the proper procedures to maintain hygiene, your trip could take a turn for the worse. So stay fresh and clean with this guide and enjoy your time in the outdoors!

    Alison Lawrence

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