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Camping shower options and ideas

7 Creative Options for a Hot Shower While Car Camping

No matter how at-one-with-nature you may be, there comes a point in time when you simply need a hot shower.

If you are planning to hit the open road for a car camping trip you may be wondering how you can take a hot shower while you explore our beautiful country.

Having the right supplies can improve the quality of your trip and prevent a long stinky ride home.

Fortunately, there are ways a person can maintain their personal hygiene whilst on the road. There are options for all budget sizes such as: 

  • Campground/truck stop showers
  • Portable camping shower tents
  • Vehicle-mounted showers

These are just a few of the options that you can choose from to take a hot shower while car camping.

If you would like to learn more about how to take a hot shower while car camping as well as some other helpful tips, continue reading.

Maintaining Personal Hygiene While Car Camping

Camping in your vehicle does not mean that you have to give up every modern pleasure that you have grown accustomed to, it just means that you need to be a little creative while maintaining your standard level of personal care. 

7 Options For A Hot Shower While Car Camping

This article will give you ideas on how you can take a hot shower while car camping so you and any traveling companions can get along without having to hold your noses. 

Manual and Battery Operated Pump Showers

For a shower with some pressure behind it try a portable pressurized camping shower. Pressurized camping showers are handy for other things as well. You can use them for washing dishes or anything else that may need rinsing off along the way. 

 Dr. Prepare Camping Shower

The trick to having hot water with one of these showers is you will need to somehow heat your water before filling up the water container. This may not be an issue if you are able to have a campfire or propane heater. Pressurized camping showers can be manually operated with a foot or hand pump or run with a rechargeable battery

Hot Water Car Kits

Thankfully someone who was tired of being without hot water when away from home had the wherewithal to invent a portable water heater that can be powered by multiple energy sources such as propane, a 12v  battery, or an electrical outlet.

So, if you are not afraid to use propane or your car battery it is possible to get instant hot water so you can enjoy a nice hot shower anywhere you travel.

Mr Heater Portable Camping Shower

This handy gadget revolutionized the way people take care of their personal hygiene while camping or in other outdoorsy situations when modern conveniences are not available. 

Outdoor Portable Water Heater Camping Shower

If you don’t want the hassle of pre-warming your water before you shower, try investing in a portable shower that is powered by a small propane tank. These units offer hot water on demand and almost make you forget that you are away from home. 

For a safe, easy-to-use shower option that won’t take up too much space, this is definitely a viable option for anyone looking to stay clean and enjoy the comforts of home while camping in their vehicle. 

Roof Rack Shower Kit

Although they are a little more pricy, there are pressurized camping showers designed to mount to the roof rack of your vehicle. The water is heated by the sun and offers a luxurious way to shower when camping on the road.

Yakima Roof rack solar shower
Yakima Roof rack solar shower

 These units can also be used for multiple purposes which makes them an even more valuable asset to your car camping trip. 

Is this roof rack too expensive? Then you can make a DIY solar roof rack yourself using ABS piping.

Solar Shower Bag

The most simple way to get a nice hot shower is to invest in a solar shower bag. They come in various sizes and some are fancier than others, but a basic solar bag with a shower nozzle will suffice and they do not take up much space. 

Kipida Solar Shower Bag 5 gallons
Kipida Solar Shower Bag

If accessing water will be an issue it can be a good idea to keep a few of these solar bags filled with water for times when you are away from civilization and need a quick rinse.

Campgrounds, Truck Stops, and Gyms

If you are staying on the beaten path and it is within your budget the easiest way to get a shower is to stop at a campground, truck stop, local gym, or YMCA. 

Van Lifers listen up, this is your jam here.

Campground Showers
Campground Showers

It may cost a few dollars to get clean, but you will feel much better and it will be worth every penny…or a quarter as some of these facilities feature coin-operated showers.

Don’t make the mistake of running out of change before the soap is rinsed off.

DIY Plastic Bottle Shower

You can make your own make-shift shower from a few things you likely have laying around the house. Save a few 2-liter soda bottles to fill with water for your shower. 

Keep a few extra tops to make your “showerhead”. If possible it can be helpful to have some clothesline rope or a bungee so you can hang your bottle when possible.

Otherwise, you may be awkwardly rinsing yourself off unless you are fortunate enough to have a traveling partner who is willing to help you with the deed. 

Other Helpful Car Camping Shower Tips

There is more to taking a shower than just having water. These tips will ensure your shower experience goes smoothly and does not leave a negative footprint on the earth. 

Earth-Friendly Cleanser

An important thing to consider when showering in the wilderness is what you are using to wash and anything else that may need washing. You don’t want to use harsh chemicals that may harm the plants and animals or pollute water sources so it is important that you use products that are labeled as safe for the environment. 

One of the best products on the market is Dr.Bronner’s™ Pure Castile Soap. This liquid soap can literally be used on anything that needs to be cleaned. 

Need to brush your teeth? No problem! Dr. Bronner’s can be used as toothpaste. The taste can be an acquired one, but it’s not too bad once you get used to it. 

Do your clothes need washing? Dirty dishes? If it needs washing, Dr. Bronner’s can do it and it can be done naturally. 

When using Dr. Bronner’s as a body wash you will feel invigorated by the fresh tingly feeling that leaves your skin feeling brand new. 

Flip Flops

It is likely that you will already have already packed some form of sandals since you will be out on the road and exploring wilderness but it is always helpful to keep an extra inexpensive pair of flip flops for showering situations. 

This is especially helpful if you plan on showering in public facilities where it can be easy to contract fungus and other unwelcomed bacteria. 

This may be one of the most important pieces of clothing that you can own. 

Flips flops protect your feet from bugs in public showers and they protect your feet from sharp poky things on the ground in the wilderness.

Portable Shower Tent

One thing we haven’t discussed yet is the issue of privacy.

Sometimes when car camping it can be difficult to find a place to handle your private business.

Portable shower and changing tent
Portable shower and changing tent

To avoid a potentially embarrassing situation, don’t get caught with your pants down and invest in a portable shower tent or make your own make-shift tent to shield yourself from any potential peepers as you enjoy your hot shower. 

Quick-Dry Towels

To avoid lugging around a bunch of wet, soggy towels that run the risk of getting that yucky mildew smell try packing several quick-dry towels instead.

They are great for cleaning up messes and drying off after a nice hot shower. Squeeze the water out when you are done and hang to dry for a few minutes. 

Car Camping Doesn’t Have to Mean Poor Hygeine

As you can see, taking a car camping trip doesn’t mean that you have to give up all sense of personal hygiene and go completely wild.

There are many viable options that are sure to work for your situation. If you are creative and resourceful with the space that you have in your vehicle you will have plenty of room to store all of the comforts of home and still experience the beauty that lies on the open road. 

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