Easy Campsite Showering While Camping

Camping in the great outdoors is an excellent opportunity to disconnect from the stresses of regular life, reconnect with nature, and renew your spirit. However, one area that frequently causes worry among campers is personal cleanliness. Going days without a decent shower while camping may be terrifying.

Camping showers, or their absence, are a typical source of anxiety for both rookie and seasoned campers. While some campgrounds feature showers, individuals venturing into more rural regions may have to rely on alternatives to stay clean.

If you’re someone who loves exploring the great outdoors, you probably know that staying clean and refreshed while camping is one of the biggest concerns. Thankfully, there are several camp shower systems and accessories available to help you maintain your hygiene and comfort during your shower while camping.

How to Shower When Camping Pre-Trip Preparation

Before you embark on your camping adventure, make sure you have all the necessary supplies for your camping shower. This may include a portable shower bag or pump, a shower tent, a towel, soap, shampoo, and other toiletries.

Next, find a suitable location for your camping shower. Look for a spot that offers privacy and is at a safe distance from your campsite. Ideally, it should have some shelter from the wind. If you have a shower tent, set it up to provide privacy. Otherwise, try to find a secluded spot behind trees or rocks.

List of Essential Items for Camping Showers

Biodegradable soapTo clean your body and hair
TowelFor drying off
Shampoo and conditioner (optional)For hair care
Toothbrush and toothpasteTo maintain oral hygiene
DeodorantTo stay fresh
RazorFor shaving (optional)
Wet wipesFor quick cleanups
Brush or combFor hair care (optional)
Toilet paper (if needed)For bathroom use
Small mirror (optional)For personal grooming (optional)

Choosing the Right Camping Location

Choosing Shower Facilities: If you like the convenience of established shower facilities, look for and select campsites that have this option. Many campsites and RV parks feature well-kept shower facilities.

Distant Camping without Facilities: For individuals looking for a more rough experience in distant settings, regular showers may not be available. In this scenario, you’ll need to look into other ways to keep clean.

Compact and Eco-Friendly Options: To reduce your environmental effect, choose compact and eco-friendly versions of these things. For your toiletries, look for biodegradable soap, recyclable packaging, and reusable containers. Invest in a microfiber towel as well, as they are lightweight, quick-drying, and eco-friendly.

Depending on where you camp, you may have access to several sorts of campground bathing facilities. Let’s look at how to make the most of these benefits:

Using Established Campsite Showers

  1. Access and Usage: Communal showers at established campgrounds normally have set operating hours. Check the listed timetables and arrange your showers appropriately. It’s a good idea to pack a waterproof bag to carry your shower items in to keep it dry while you wait your turn.
  2. Shared Facility Hygiene Tips: Consider the following hygiene measures while utilizing shared showers:

Bring a pair of flip-flops to protect your feet from the public shower flooring.
Personal shower caddy: To keep your stuff organized and off the floor, use a shower caddy or a portable mesh bag.
Showers should be kept as brief as possible in order to be mindful of other campers.

Portable Camp Showers

If you’re camping in a location without established shower facilities, portable camp showers can be a game-changer. Here’s how to use them effectively:

Types of Portable Camp Showers

Solar Camp Showers: Solar camp showers are an environmentally friendly solution that heats water using the sun’s energy. They are made consisting of a black bag that is filled with water and left in the sun to warm up. Typically, these showers are suspended from a tree or other tall structure.

Propane Camp Showers: Propane camp showers heat the water with propane gas. They are well-known for swiftly delivering hot water and are great for cold-weather camping.

Manual Camp Showers: Manual camp showers need you to manually pressurize the water, resulting in a stream of water for showering. They are extremely portable and require no extra fuel or energy sources.

Setting Up and Using Portable Showers

1. Filling the Shower BagFill your solar shower bag or water container with the desired amount of water (typically 2-5 gallons).
2. Sun Exposure (for solar showers)Hang the solar shower bag in direct sunlight for a few hours to allow it to warm up.
3. Hanging the Shower BagFind a suitable place to hang your shower bag. Make sure it’s elevated and secure. If using a propane or manual shower, set up according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
4. Water TemperatureTest the water temperature before fully committing to the shower. Adjust the water temperature by adding cold water if needed.
5. Using the ShowerUse the showerhead or nozzle to control the water flow. Lather up with soap, and rinse off thoroughly.
6. ConservationBe mindful of water usage and try to conserve water while showering, especially if you have a limited supply.
7. Drying OffAfter your shower, use a quick-drying microfiber towel to dry off.

Alternatives to Traditional Showers

While permanent camping showers and portable choices are ideal for complete cleansing, these amenities may not always be available. Here are some alternatives for remaining clean in such cases:

Sponge Baths and Wet Wipes

Wet wipes and sponge baths are quick and easy methods to refresh yourself when camping. Here’s how to make good use of them:

Wet wipes are pre-moistened towels that may be used to clean your body, face, and underarms. They’re great for a fast refresh when a full shower isn’t an option. To reduce your environmental effects, use biodegradable wet wipes.

Sponge Baths: A sponge bath entails cleaning your body with a damp sponge or washcloth. Follow these steps to have a sponge bath:

1. Prepare a basin of waterFill a basin or container with warm water. You can heat water over a campfire or using a portable camp stove.
2. Soak the sponge or washclothSubmerge the sponge or washcloth in the warm water and wring out excess moisture.
3. Wipe down your bodyStart by wiping down your face, then move to your neck, arms, torso, and legs. Be sure to change the water if it becomes dirty.
4. Dry offAfter cleaning, dry off with a towel or air-dry.
5. Dispose of wastewaterProperly dispose of the used water according to Leave No Trace principles.

Natural Water Sources

Camping near lakes, rivers, or streams allows you to bathe in natural water sources. However, it is critical to do so while preserving the environment and adhering to the ideals of Leave No Trace. Here’s how to have a safe and responsible natural water bath:

Select the Best Location: Choose a location that is away from vulnerable ecosystems and wildlife areas. Avoid adding contaminants to the water by using biodegradable soap.

Reduce Impact: When bathing in natural water sources, avoid using too much soap and never release soap straight into the water. Collect bathing water in a bucket or container, and then distribute the effluent away from the water source.

Respect Wildlife: Keep a safe distance from animals and do not approach or bother them when they are bathing.

Bucket Showers

A bucket shower is a basic yet efficient do-it-yourself camping hygiene option. To make and utilize a bucket shower, follow these steps:

Gather Supplies: A solid plastic bucket with a cover, a showerhead attachment or nozzle, a length of hose or tubing, and a means to hang the bucket are all required for a bucket shower.

Assemble the Showerhead: Securely attach the showerhead to one end of the hose.

Fill the Bucket: Add the required amount of water to the bucket. Warm water is preferred, however cold water can still be used.

Hang the Bucket: Using a tree branch or some high structure, hang the bucket. Check that it is secure and can withstand the weight of the water.

DIY Hygiene Solutions

Camp Shower Bag: Make a camp shower bag out of a big, clear plastic bag with a showerhead attachment. Fill the bag with water, let it warm up in the sun, then use it as a gravity-fed shower.

Shower with a Spray Bottle: Mist yourself with a spray bottle filled with water and wipe clean with a towel or sponge. While it is not as thorough as a complete shower, it is an efficient method to keep refreshed.

Homemade Soap Pouch: Make a soap pouch out of linen or a sock. Fill it with soap, knot it off, and use it as a washcloth to clean your body.

Shower Tent: If privacy is a concern, consider setting up a shower tent. This portable enclosure provides a private space for showering and changing.

Why Showering While Camping Is Important

Showering while camping is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it helps maintain personal hygiene by removing sweat, dirt, and bacteria from your skin, preventing skin irritations and infections. Secondly, showering improves comfort and sleep quality by washing off sweat and dirt that can make you feel uncomfortable. It also positively impacts mental health by providing a sense of cleanliness and hygiene, boosting mood and overall well-being. Lastly, showering while camping is environmentally friendly as it reduces the pollutants that may end up in nearby streams, rivers, or lakes, preserving the natural beauty for future generations.

Types of Camp Shower Systems

Type of Portable Camp ShowerKey Features
Solar Camp ShowersUses sunlight to heat water
Environmentally friendly
Lightweight and compact
Ideal for warm weather camping
Limited water capacity (typically 2-5 gallons)
Takes time to warm up in sunlight
Propane Camp ShowersProvides hot water quickly
Suitable for cold weather camping
Heats water using propane gas
High water flow rate
Requires propane fuel canisters
Manual Camp ShowersPortable and lightweight
No external fuel source is needed
Manual pressurization for water flow
Highly customizable
Limited water capacity (varies by design)

There are several types of camp shower systems to choose from:

  1. Portable Shower Bags: Lightweight and easy to use, portable shower bags are plastic bags with a shower head attached at the bottom. You fill the bag with water, let it warm up in the sun, and use the shower head to wash yourself. They are affordable and convenient but may not provide a lot of water pressure or warm water on cloudy days.
  2. Pump Showers: These consist of a small water tank with a hand pump that pressurizes the water, allowing for a more forceful shower compared to portable shower bags. They are a bit more expensive but offer better water pressure.
  3. Solar Showers: Similar to portable shower bags, solar showers have a built-in solar panel that heats up the water. They are ideal for warm water without the need for heating it over a fire or stove, though they may not work well on cloudy days.
  4. Bucket Showers: Low-tech and inexpensive, bucket showers involve filling up a bucket with water and using a smaller container to pour water over yourself. They are easy to set up and can provide decent water pressure.
  5. DIY Camp Showers: If you’re feeling handy, you can create your own camp shower using materials like PVC pipes or a watering can. DIY camp showers can be customized to your preferences but may require more effort to set up.

Popular Camp Shower Accessories

Enhance your camping shower experience with these popular accessories:

  1. Shower Tent: Provides privacy, keeps your clothes and towel dry, and offers shelter from wind and sun. Lightweight and easy to set up, shower tents come with a carrying bag for convenient transportation.
  2. Shower Caddy: Keep your shower essentials organized and accessible with a shower caddy. It typically has compartments for soap, shampoo, conditioner, and more.
  3. Quick-Dry Towel: An essential accessory for any camping shower kit. Quick-dry towels dry quickly and are lightweight and absorbent.
  4. Solar Shower Bag Hanger: If you’re using a solar shower bag, a hanger provides a stable and secure location for the shower bag, preventing spills or leaks.
  5. Water Filter: Ensure your shower water is clean and safe to use, especially in areas with questionable water quality, by using a water filter.

Tips for Showering at a Campsite

Consider these tips to make your camping shower experience even better:

  • Bring enough water: Ensure you have sufficient water for your shower, as well as for other campsite tasks.
  • Use biodegradable soap: Opt for biodegradable soap to minimize your impact on the environment.
  • Wear flip-flops or water shoes: Protect your feet in shared shower areas.
  • Pack a quick-dry towel: A quick-dry towel is perfect for camping showers as it dries quickly and is easy to pack.
  • Set up a shower tent or privacy screen: Create a private showering space for your comfort and privacy.
  • Dispose of wastewater properly: Follow Leave No Trace principles and dispose of wastewater away from water sources.
  • Consider showering during off-peak times: Conserve water by showering during non-peak hours.
  • Pack out all trash and leftover soap: Leave the campsite clean and free of waste.


Showering while camping does not have to be a difficult or unpleasant process. You can maintain your personal hygiene and stay clean and rejuvenated even in the wilderness with appropriate preparation, the right tools, and a sense of adventure. Whether you use permanent camping showers, portable choices, or alternative techniques such as wet wipes and sponge baths, the important thing is to be environmentally conscious and maintain excellent hygiene. You may enjoy your camping vacations while being clean and comfortable by following the instructions offered in this thorough guide, allowing you to make the most of your time in the great outdoors. Remember that a little ingenuity and planning may go a long way toward ensuring a safe and pleasurable camping trip.


Here are some common questions about camping showers:

  1. Can I use regular soap when showering at a campsite? It’s best to use biodegradable soap to avoid harming the environment.
  2. How much water do I need for a camping shower? Plan on using about 2-3 gallons of water per shower as a general rule of thumb.
  3. What is the best way to heat up water for a camping shower? Leave solar shower bags in the sun to heat up or use a camp stove or fire to heat water.
  4. How can I conserve water when showering at a campsite? Shower during off-peak times and use a low-flow showerhead to conserve water.

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