Nothing makes you appreciate the comforts of home more than going a few days without a hot shower while camping. The grime builds up, you feel sticky and dirty, and you’d do just about anything for a steamy cascade of water to wash it all away.
But you don’t have to totally rough it when it comes to keeping clean on a camping trip. With some clever tricks and gear, you can rig up a makeshift hot shower right at the campsite. Sure, it may not have the fancy massage jets and limitless hot water of your shower back home, but it’ll get the job done.
In this post, we’ll explore several ingenious methods for creating a hot water camp shower. We’ll go over easy setups like solar bags and portable propane showers. We’ll also cover DIY shower contraptions for the true camping MacGyvers out there.
With these tips, you’ll stay fresh and clean no matter how many days you spend sleeping under the stars. No more dreading sponge baths in freezing lake water! A comforting hot shower will reinvigorate you and keep your camping morale high. Let’s learn how to bring this little luxury into the wilderness.
Why Bring the Comforts of Home?
Before we get into the how-to, let’s go over why a hot shower is worth the effort while camping:
- Wash away dirt and sweat: No more feeling sticky and grimy from activity during the day.
- Relax sore muscles: The warm water will loosen up tense, aching muscles from hiking.
- Improve sleep: You’ll sleep better after rinsing off right before bed.
- Boost morale: A hot shower lifts your spirits and motivation each day.
- Reduce smell: Let’s be honest, you’ll stay fresher for tent-mates and other campers!
Harnessing the power of a hot water shower while camping makes the whole experience more comfortable and enjoyable.
Portable Hot Water Showers
The easiest way to get an on-demand hot shower is to use a specialized portable camp shower. Here are some top options:
Solar Shower Bags
- Fill bag with water and leave in sun to heat up.
- Shower nozzle is attached to bottom for easy dispensing.
- Cost: $10 to $100 depending on size and brand.
Propane Camp Showers
- Attach propane tank to heat water on demand.
- Some have small water tanks, others connect to hoses.
- Cost: $70 to $200.
Electric Hot Water Showers
- Plug-in shower heads heat water electrically.
- Need generator or RV/camper power hookup.
- Cost: $50 to $150.
Portable showers provide high shower temperatures and decent water pressure for a wilderness wash. Set them up anywhere!
DIY Hot Water Camp Shower
To make your own hot shower with supplies you already have, follow this method:
What You’ll Need
- Large water container, 5-20 gallon
- Black hose or tubing
- Adjustable showerhead attachment
- Propane camp stove or burner
- Wood Campfire
How to Construct
- Fill container halfway with water.
- Use propane burner or campfire to heat water.
- Secure hose to container spout.
- Attach showerhead to other end of hose.
- Place container high on stand or tree branch.
- Turn on showerhead and enjoy!
Adjust water temperature by adding cold water. This DIY setup provides hot shower water on the cheap!
Camp Shower Tips and Tricks
To make your wilderness wash as enjoyable as possible, follow these pro tips:
- Heat water to 100-110°F for comfortable temperature.
- Take shorter 5-10 minute showers to conserve water.
- Hang shower bag in a sunny spot to maximize solar heat.
- Add a water flow control valve to hose for easier temperature regulation.
- Insulate water lines and shower bags to retain heat.
- Shower early in the day to allow solar reheating time.
- Use a timer or songs to keep shower short.
- Face away from shower flow while soaping up to stay warm.
With the right gear and techniques, you’ll stay squeaky clean and refreshed even in the backcountry.
Choosing a Camp Shower
How do you choose which camp shower setup is right for your needs? Here are key factors to consider:
- Ease of Use: Look for simple setups without too many parts.
- Water Heat Source: Choose solar, propane, electric, or DIY heat based on campsite amenities.
- Portability: Will you carry it on hikes or drive campsite to campsite? Opt for lighter options.
- Duration: Smaller solar bags work for short trips. Seek larger capacity systems for longer duration.
- Flow Rate: If sharing with others, find showers with flow rates of 1.5 GPM or higher.
- Price: Set a budget and find good value at that price point. DIY is cheapest.
Choose based on your primary considerations – such as ease, weight, or budget – to find the perfect camping shower for you.
Keeping Clean Without a Shower
Okay, so maybe setting up a shower seems like too much work. Luckily, there are other effective ways to stay fresh while camping:
- Baby wipe baths – Keep a pack on hand for quick cleanups.
- Swimming – Jump in a lake or river to rinse off.
- Sponge bath – Heat water in a pot to wipe yourself down.
- Deodorant and moisturizer – Use daily to feel cleaner.
- Dry shampoo – Absorbs grease and adds volume to dirty hair.
- Hand sanitizer – Kill germs you can’t see on hands.
While not as luxurious as a shower, these tips will keep you from feeling too scruffy.
FAQ 1: How do I heat water for a shower while camping?
You can heat water with a propane camp shower, solar shower bag, portable electric shower head, or DIY setup using a camp stove/fire and water container.
FAQ 2: What is the easiest way to take a hot shower camping?
The easiest method is using a portable solar shower bag. Just fill with water, hang in the sun, and it heats up for an on-demand shower.
FAQ 3: How long will a solar shower stay hot?
Most solar shower bags will stay hot for up to 2 hours if kept in direct sunlight. Insulating the bag with reflective material can help retain heat longer.
FAQ 4: How can I control the flow of my DIY camp shower?
Add a hose splitter with a valve or showerhead with flow control. This allows you to regulate water temperature and pressure for your custom shower setup.
FAQ 5: How much water does a camp shower use?
With conservative use, plan for 2-3 gallons per shower. Take shorter 5-10 minute showers, wet down/rinse off quickly, and turn off water while lathering to save water.
Enjoy Your Clean Camping Oasis
Adding a hot water camp shower to your next trip will make the camping experience much more comfortable and enjoyable. With so many setup options, from DIY to solar bags, you’re sure to find a method that fits your needs, skills, and budget.
Soon you’ll be relaxing under the stars or trees feeling fresh and renewed after your warm wilderness shower. No more dreading the body funk that comes with extended time off the grid. A simple shower gives you a little slice of home right at the campsite.