Is there anything better than a steaming hot shower in the middle of the bush, surrounded by nature and the stars? In fact, your off-grid showers are probably better than the ones you have at home! In this episode of the Snowys Camping Show, our gear gurus Ben and Lauren run through everything you need to know about showering outdoors. From basic baby wipes to luxurious portable hot water on demand units, how to conserve your water and what to do with the waste afterwards, they know how to keep it clean and green.
Listen to the full episode here:
Or you can watch the video version here:
- 0:00 – Intro
- 3:26 – Wipes
- 4:50 – Bucket & water
- 6:40 – Solar shower bags
- 20:16 – Conserving water
- 21: 48 – Flooring for showers
- 23:24 – Wastewater
- 24:22 – Shower tents
- 27:52 – Detergents, sunscreen & repellent
- 28:53 – Microfibre towels
Links to things mentioned in this episode:
- Wilderness Wipes
- Wilderness Wash
- Solar showers
- Cecil & Co Campfire Water Boiler 15L
- 12V showers
- Hot water systems
- Microfibre towels
- Foam floor mat
- Shower tents
- Weird, Wonderful & Disturbingly Strange Camping Gear Blog
Baby wipes or wilderness wipes are super handy when camping and make a perfect way to freshen up if there are no showers available. There are quite a lot of options on the market, so consider using ones that are compostable or biodegradable, and ensure you dispose of them responsibly.
Bucket & water
On a short trip where no amenities are available, you can keep it simple and just use a cup or bucket of water with a washcloth to sponge yourself down.
Solar shower bags
Shower bags are a super affordable option for freshening up without breaking the bank. On a warm day, you can just lay them out in the sun and the water will naturally heat up, then once suspended, you just open the nozzle and let gravity do its job.
They’re obviously not ideal to use in the dead of winter, and some ensuite tents can’t handle the weight of these bags so those are factors to bear in mind when making your choice.
12V showers are versatile, economical, lightweight, and easy to use. They’re essentially a small pump attached to a hose, that you then pop into a bucket of water (which you can heat up first for comfort) and switch on for an excellent shower outdoors.
Just like any other piece of gear, you will have to consider care and maintenance, so packing it away clean and dry is super important to prevent rust and to keep it running smoothly.
Hot water systems
These are the ultimate luxurious option and enable you to have instant hot water, on demand, when you’re camping in the bush. There are a few drawbacks though, as they are at the higher end of the price spectrum, require 12V power for the pump, extra gas to heat the water, and add more weight to your setup.
They’re fantastic for those who perhaps have a rural block set up, a caravan or camper trailer, are extended touring, or anyone who just likes their creature comforts.
There is an array of showering options from simple, to indulgent. Image: Sea to Summit
Managing your hot water supply
There are ways to get the most out of your hot water supply, so you’re not left cold and with soap in your hair mid-shower. We recommend getting undressed, having your toiletries all ready to go, and turning the shower on briefly to wet yourself down. Then turn it off, soap yourself all over, then turn it back on to rinse off.
Flooring for showers
Standing in a big pool of mud inside your ensuite tent somewhat defeats the purpose of trying to get clean, so consider setting up flooring underneath. There are canvas options available or a choice of EVA foam matting, or you can DIY your own. This will give you grip while keeping your feet clean and preventing the water from pooling.
If you’re planning to set up an outdoor portable shower station, you should consider where the water runoff will go. Ensure you don’t leave behind a muddy greywater puddle for the next camper and aim to always use biodegradable soaps, whether that’s for showering or dishes. It’s also very important to dispose of your used water at least 100m away from natural watercourses.
Detergent, sunscreen & repellent
If you’re camping near the beach or the river, you could also just take a dip in the water to rinse off. But you should avoid doing this if you are wearing insect repellent or sunscreen on your body, as the chemicals will have a negative impact on the environment. You will also need to avoid using any soaps at all in a lake or stream. Even though many are biodegradable, direct use in a natural water source can cause harm to aquatic life.
Shower tents are a great option to give you some privacy at the campsite. You can set them up with a hot water system, a 12V shower, or some models have frames strong enough to support a solar shower bag. There’s an array of choices from a basic single room pop-up shower tent that are affordable and lightweight, to more structured ensuite tents that offer extra stability.
If you’re looking for the ultimate privacy solution, there are double ensuite tents available that have all the bells and whistles. These feature two rooms, one for showering and one to use as a dry area for storing towels and clothes, or it can house your toilet instead. They also have external access for your hot water unit, come with ventilation, toiletry caddies, and more.
Compact & lightweight towels
If you’re looking to save some space and weight, microfibre towels come in bigger sizes that can be used to replace the standard cotton bath towels you have at home. They’re easy to wash, dry quickly, and pack down to the size of a drink bottle for convenient storage and transport.
Thanks for listening, tune in again for next week’s episode!
Thanks for tuning in to this week’s episode of the Snowys Camping Show Podcast. Don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Pocket Casts, Podcast Addict, or Stitcher so you never miss an upload.
If you have any questions for Ben and Lauren, make sure you head over to our Facebook group and let us know as we’d love to hear from you.
Catch you out there!
About the writer...
When it comes to camping, hiking, travel and adventure – the Snowys team have all the expert advice, guides, and tips on everything outdoors.