How to Shower While Camping? 12 Helpful Tips

Spending time in the great outdoors can be undeniably refreshing for many nature lovers. But, staying fresh can be challenging without modern comforts and conveniences. While many camping locations provide high-quality hygiene amenities, many require some more creative approaches.

Showering while camping will be aided by portable showers, safe water sources, unscented biodegradable body wash, shower shoes, quick-dry washrags, shower tents, and drying lines. Always make sure showering areas get enough sunlight and are away from natural water bodies.

Fortunately, there are many ways to make sure you stay clean while you soak in everything that nature has to offer. Stick around to find out some of the best camping shower tips to make sure you feel and smell great throughout your trip.


Why Showering While Camping is Important

Of course, we all know that staying clean is crucial in everyday life. But, there are a few additional reasons why cleanliness is crucial during camping trips – other than the obvious presence of unwanted odors.

Various pathogens and bacteria live in outdoor settings, and while it’s perfectly natural within those environments, it’s not good for human health without proper care. The human body does a great job at protecting us from unknown germs and micro-organisms, but pathogens can take a massive toll on health if it’s left to fester in the system.

Cuts and scrapes are fairly common on camping trips, from hiking trips to investigating unique rocks and much more. These tiny abrasions can become infected if they’re not cleaned properly – and consistently. It’s crucial for campers to stay clean throughout their trips to avoid illness, health problems, and much more.

12 Tips for Showering While Camping

Needless to say, showering during camping trips should be somewhere at the top of the priority list. Fortunately, there are quite a few ways to stay clean and protected throughout your outdoor experience.

Car Camping Showers

If you’re camping with your car nearby, you’ll be happy to know that there are quite a few more sophisticated portable shower options. Having your car with you allows you to bring along portable showers that would likely be too heavy or complex to haul on foot and would need some sort of power supply to stay functional throughout the trip.

Many outdoor portable showers are battery-powered, rechargeable, and can operate for up to 1 hour. They’re easy to use, as all you’ll need is a bucket of water to place the pump into and an area to hang the showerhead. Turn on the pump, and you’ll have a functional shower to rinse off all the traces of your outdoor adventures.

Solar Showers and Heated Water

Things will likely be more complex concerning packing and storage if you’re planning to go primitive or backcountry camping. You’ll need something lightweight, compact, and functional at the same time. Solar showers are excellent options, as they soak in the sun’s heat and warm up the water for a pleasantly homelike showering experience.

They’re compact, as they can be folded flat when not in use, making them perfect for on-the-go campers. They’re easy to use as well, as all you need is a decent water source and a private spot to relax and freshen up.

A tip for using these showers is to place them on rocks when you’re waiting for them to heat up. Most solar showers are dark-colored to attract the sunlight and absorb more energy for heating throughout the day. But, placing them on rocks or boulders can speed up the heating process, as rocks generally heat up in the sun and will transfer some of the heat to the solar shower’s water supply.

Pocket Showers with Adjustable Ropes

If you’re camping and aren’t too fussy about comfort, pocket showers may be a good option for you. They are super lightweight and hold a fair amount of water for all your hygiene needs. Try and set up an adjustable rope for hanging these portable showers, as most of them have bladders that rely on gravity or pressure to flow through the nozzle.

It’s much easier to use a hanging rope with a carabineer attached to the end, as this approach allows you to easily adjust the height for each person showering on the trip. Hanging ropes also allow you to take advantage of pressure and flow for a thorough rinse. Otherwise, you may only get a feeble trickle of water, which won’t be the most effective at getting your whole body clean.

DIY Camping Showers

Although it’s not as common and the effectiveness is questionable, you can try making your own DIY shower for camping trips. All you would need is a five-gallon bucket with a drilled hole approximately ¾ inches around ¼ inch from the bottom edge. Once you’ve got the bucket sorted, all you’ll need is some fittings to turn it into a shower.

Take a short piece of hose pipe, washers or o-rings, a faucet valve, some sprinkler fittings, water seal tape, and a round sprinkler head. You’ll need to get creative here and figure out how to get your DIY shower to work best with some trial and error. But, it’s relatively cheap to do it yourself, and the parts are quite easy to locate.

Allocate Safe Water Sources

Regardless of the type of portable shower you choose, you’ll need to have a suitable water source allocated for hygiene uses. Many camping sites offer water sources, but some only offer natural water sources – which do not suit all purposes.

Thankfully, most large moving water sources can be used to clean your body with – although you likely won’t be able to use it to brush your teeth. Natural water bodies such as streams, rivers, and creeks often contain freshwater that is relatively suitable for showering.

Although, it’s important to never use water from stagnant natural water bodies – water that sits idly in the environment. These water sources often contain countless micro-organisms, moss, dirt, and much more. It’s far too risky to source such polluted and contaminated water for any personal use.

Some campsites may not have suitable water at all, and it’s best to check this thoroughly with the campsite beforehand. In these cases, you’ll need to bring along your own water supply. Bringing along a water purification and filtration device is always a great idea, as it affords peace of mind knowing you’re using water that doesn’t pose severe risks to your health.

Unscented Biodegradable Body Wash

It’s important to note that you probably won’t be able to bring along your standard body wash and shampoo set – unless you’re already using biodegradable variants. Any products that you use while camping will directly impact the environment around you, and the chemicals used in various products can pose various risks to plants and wildlife in the area.

Always ensure that you invest in a good biodegradable body wash before your camping trip. Biodegradable body wash products are safe to use outdoors, will not harm the environment, and are free from fragrances and dyes. These can be pricy, depending on the brand and quality. But, many of them are relatively affordable and go a long way.

No matter how tempting your favorite fragrance may be, try your best to stick with unscented. While scents may blend well in everyday modern life, this is not the case while camping. Using scented body wash makes you far more prone to highly allured insects and bugs, even if you use bug and insect repellent sprays, lotions, and candles throughout the trip.

Always Wear Shower Shoes

Never shower without wearing shower shoes. Like showering in public spaces such as gyms and beaches, you just don’t know what lies beneath you. There are plenty of worms, insects, parasites, bacteria formations, germs, and much more – some of which only need a tiny opportunity to settle into your system.

So, don’t let them get their foot in the door, and cover up those toes. Some of the best options include water shoes that cover up the entire foot, but classic beach flip flops will work well too. They are lightweight, dry quickly, and are relatively inexpensive – it’s well worth the investment considering the risks.

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Durable and Quick-Dry Washrags

Make sure that your washrag is durable and rugged, capable of withstanding the kind of trip you’ve planned. You could use a standard washrag for camping trips, but it’s important to make sure they dry quickly and properly after use. Washrags can become moldy and clogged with bacteria – not good for cleaning your body.

You may be able to get by with a normal wash rag if you’ve got a lovely spot of sun to hang it in after use. But, if you’re unsure of the weather in your camping area, go for a washrag made of quick-dry materials. Amazon has different styles check them out.

Privacy While Showering

You could shower wearing a bathing suit, as this is common for some campers. However, this isn’t enough, particularly if your camping trip is lengthy. It’s important to get the chance to make sure every crevice is as clean as possible.

Showering nude should be practiced whenever the opportunity presents itself, but privacy needs can get in the way during camping – especially if you’ve got neighbors or aren’t camping alone. Many pop-up privacy tents or shower stalls are available, all of which offer varying design features and benefits.

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But, most of them do the primary job quite well – keeping your bits and pieces shielded from incidental eyeshot. Some of the best shower tents are water repellant, quick-drying, lightweight, and equipped with various design features like inner pockets, clotheslines, pegs, and even a space to hang portable showers.

If you’ve got enough space and freedom where you’re camping, you can get creative with a tarp and rope. With some out-of-the-box thinking, you can create your own tailored shower stall – just the way you want it!

Showering Area Placement

Even if you use biodegradable showering products, you’ll still need to consider the placement of your hygiene facilities. Biodegradable products only work when they are absorbed into the ground, so you will need to steer clear of water bodies. Try to set up your showering areas at least 30 – 40 feet from lakes, rivers, streams, and other water sources.

Another factor is the unseen threats posed by the outdoors – if they creep up on you, you likely won’t see it coming. The most concerning of these threats is hypothermia, which can be extremely dangerous and hard to remedy while camping.

While you should consider privacy, surrounding water sources, and the coexisting wildlife in the area, you should also consider natural heat and light for showering spots. Try to find a space with plenty of sunshine, especially if you’re choosing a showering option that isn’t heated.

Dry Line for Wet Clothing

Having a drying line is vital on camping trips, as personal belongings and gear can succumb to mold, bacteria, and various other unpleasant side effects when they remain moist. Hang up a drying line equipped with plenty of room for all your damp clothing and towels.

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It’s relatively simple to set up a drying line, especially if there are nearby trees to use as support. But, the positioning of the drying line is the most important here, as you need to make sure that the items being hung up will get plenty of sunshine throughout the day to dry up quickly and thoroughly.

Emergency Hygiene Products

While camping, there may be times where showering simply isn’t possible – even if you’ve managed to set up a great area. Perhaps you’ve stumbled into a muddy leaf pile and are in desperate need of a quick rinse but are far from the campsite. At times like these, it may seem worthwhile to just leave the mess for later.

But, again, try to make sure you’re keeping your body clean around the clock for your own protection. Thankfully, there are quite a few handy backup options in the event that you can’t shower immediately.

Alternative shower options include baby wipes, disinfectant or sanitization wipes, and waterless wash. These options enable quick and effective cleanups for on-the-go hygiene. So, try and keep at least some of these alternative options handy throughout your camping adventures.