What’s The Best Way to DIY Shower When Camping

cowboy taking a shower outdoors in a barrelThere’s nothing like a warm, refreshing shower – and there’s nothing like the mud, sweat and stickiness of a camping trip to make you long for one.

We always long for what we can’t have. Except…nowadays you can have a warm shower while camping, if you choose!

Why, you might say, would I pay another $20 to use a grimy shower block at another overcrowded campsite? You don’t have to! The simple method we’ll outline below will enable you to have a shower wherever you might be in the great outdoors.

Instead of staring at a grey concrete wall while cleansing yourself imagine gazing at valleys, mountains and forests, at one with nature in a way we so rarely are when utilizing the convenience of plumbed water. But don’t worry, if you value your privacy we’ll show you how to rig up a shower curtain, too!

Don’t believe me? Read on.

What you will need

In order to follow this tutorial you will need the following:

  1. A pump spray bottle with a minimum capacity of one gallon. This will act as the foundation for your improvised shower.
  2. A length of rubber medical tubing (between six to ten feet in length). This will be used to extend the spray head of the bottle from the ground to above your head so will need to be at least as long as you are tall, plus a little extra. Its diameter should be the same as the mouth of the sprayer to allow them to fit together.
  3. Thick rubber bands. These will be used to attach the tubing to the spray bottle so select bands with a similar diameter for a tight fit!
  4. A knife. This will be necessary to assemble your shower in a pleasingly DIY way.
  5. An umbrella! This may seem like a wildcard choice but bear with us. Hung from a branch it makes the perfect holder for both the showerhead and the shower curtain (should you choose to use one!)
  6. A shower curtain! A shower curtain isn’t the kind of thing you usually pack for a hiking trip but they are pretty lightweight. Of course, various other items you already have in your kit could double well enough for a shower curtain – your tent’s groundsheet, an emergency blanket, etc.
  7. Black refuse bags. These will be filled with water and left out in the sun to obtain warm water for the shower.
  8. Duct Tape (optional). This can be used instead of/in conjunction with the rubber bands to fix the shower together. Be aware, however, that if duct tape is used the shower will be much harder to disassemble and reassemble (and, therefore, transport).  

Steps To Take

Step One: Preparation

This step will need to be completed several hours in advance of your shower. Put one black refuse bag inside another (for security in case one of the bags is pierced) and fill it with water, tying it securely. Leave the bags in direct sunlight to heat the water. If sufficient sunlight is unavailable water could be heated over a fire.  

Step Two: Cut

Make two cuts to your pump spray bottle. One should be an inch below the spray nozzle, removing it from the short stretch of tubing that connects it to the bottle. The next cut will be an inch from where the tube enters the bottle. Again, sever this tube.

Step Three: Paste

Slide one end of the medical tubing over the inch of cord emerging from the spray head and secure it with the rubber bands and/or duct tape. Attach the other end of the medical tubing to the inch of cord emerging from the bottle and, again, secure it in place with bands and/or duct tape. The basic structure of your shower is now in place.

Step Four: Testing

Fill up the bottle with warm water from your black bags and hold down the trigger on the spray head to activate the shower. Water should emerge from the spray head but only the spray head! If water leaks from the connecting points of the medical tubing tighten the bands or reapply duct tape.

Step Five: Choosing a Spot

Find a tree with branches around head height from which you can hang your shower. It should go without saying that this spot should be as private as possible!

Step Six: Adding the Umbrella

Open up the umbrella and hang it upside down from a branch just above head height. Umbrellas with a traditional, curved handle are ideal for this as they will hook neatly over a branch, leaving the hood of the umbrella facing the opposite direction to which you would hold it to keep out the rain.   

Step Seven: Attaching the Shower Curtain

A simple step. Drape your shower curtain over the upside down umbrella. The circular shape of the umbrella should allow you to completely encircle yourself for the sake of privacy.  

Step Eight: Securing the Showerhead and Showering!

If you’d like a hands-free shower make a small incision in the fabric of the umbrella and use it to secure the shower head above you. Fix the trigger on the sprayhead to the “on” position with a rubber band and enjoy your shower!

Alternatively, simply hold the sprayhead above yourself and pull down on the trigger for a shower in which you can maneuver the shower head by hand.

Summing it up

So there you go! An outdoor shower in less than ten simple steps!

Camping is really all about DIY. We purposefully drive away from the conveniences of houses with electricity and plumbed in water to reconnect with a more hands on way of life.

Sure, your friends might laugh when you extend this DIY approach to rigging your own shower (especially when you pull out an umbrella and a shower curtain in the middle of a remote valley!) but you’ll have the last laugh when you’re standing under a stream of warm, soothing water.

Feel free to share the article and let us know how you get on with your own outdoor showers!