How to Shower While Camping: A Comprehensive Guide

Heading out into the great outdoors, you’re ready to embrace the wild. But amidst the allure of the wilderness, one question lingers in your mind: “How do I maintain hygiene while camping?” You’re not alone. Many campers grapple with this issue, especially when it comes to showering.

Camping is a thrilling adventure, but it doesn’t mean you have to compromise on cleanliness. In fact, maintaining good hygiene is crucial. It not only keeps you feeling fresh and comfortable but also wards off potential illnesses.

When camping, maintaining hygiene is crucial and showering can be achieved with a few simple methods. You can use portable camping showers, bathe in natural water sources, or opt for sponge baths and biodegradable wet wipes. Always remember to use biodegradable soap to minimize environmental impact and adhere to the ‘Leave No Trace’ principle.

However, showering while camping presents unique challenges. You’re far from the comforts of your home bathroom, and you need to be mindful of the environment. The lack of facilities, the need to conserve water, and the unpredictability of weather conditions can all make the simple act of showering a daunting task.

But don’t let these challenges deter you. With the right knowledge and preparation, you can overcome these obstacles and enjoy a refreshing shower, even in the heart of nature. In this guide about how to shower while camping, you’ll discover practical tips and methods to shower while camping, ensuring you stay clean and fresh throughout your outdoor adventure. So, are you ready to conquer the wilderness without compromising on cleanliness? Let’s dive in!

camp shower

Understanding the Basics

Before you embark on your camping adventure, it’s essential to grasp a couple of fundamental concepts. These principles will guide you in maintaining hygiene while also respecting the environment.

Embracing the Leave No Trace Principle

First and foremost, you need to understand and embrace the ‘Leave No Trace’ principle. This ethic promotes conservation in the outdoors. It’s about preserving nature’s beauty for future generations.

Adopting this principle means you strive to minimize your impact on the environment. You take only photographs, leave only footprints. When it comes to showering, this principle becomes even more critical.

You might wonder, “How does showering affect the environment?” Well, the products you use can have a significant impact. Many conventional soaps and shampoos contain chemicals that can harm the environment. When you do outdoor shower, these substances can seep into the ground or enter water bodies, disrupting ecosystems.

The Role of Biodegradable Soap

This is where biodegradable soap comes into play. Biodegradable soaps are designed to break down naturally in the environment, reducing their impact. They are typically free from harmful chemicals, making them a safer choice for both you and the environment.

Using biodegradable soap is not just about being eco-friendly. It’s also about ensuring your camping practices are sustainable. It’s about making sure the trails you love are just as beautiful for the next person who walks them.

So, as you pack for your camping trip, make sure to include biodegradable soap in your kit. It’s a small step, but it goes a long way in preserving the environment. And remember, every time you take a shower in the great outdoors, you’re not just cleaning yourself. You’re also playing a part in keeping nature clean.

Different Methods of Showering While Camping

When it comes to showering while camping, you have several options at your disposal. Each method has its own set of advantages and considerations. Let’s explore these different methods, so you can choose the one that best suits your camping style and conditions.

Portable Camping Showers

Portable camping showers are a popular choice among campers. They offer a semblance of the home shower experience in the wilderness. There are different types of portable showers, each powered by a different energy source.

Solar Showers

Solar showers are an eco-friendly option that harnesses the power of the sun to heat water. They consist of a bag that you fill with water and leave in the sun. After a few hours, you have warm water ready for a warm shower. Solar showers are lightweight, easy to pack, and require no additional energy source, making them ideal for backpacking trips.

Battery-Powered Showers

Battery-powered showers offer a bit more luxury. They use a battery-operated pump to provide a steady stream of water, mimicking a real shower. Some models even have adjustable water pressure. While they require charging, many models are compatible with car chargers, making them convenient for car camping trips.

Propane Showers

For those who don’t want to compromise on comfort, propane showers are the way to go. These showers heat water to a comfortable temperature in a matter of seconds. They offer the closest experience to a home shower. However, they are bulkier and require propane tanks, making them more suitable for RV camping or car camping where weight and space are not major concerns.

Using Natural Water Sources

Nature often provides its own bathing facilities in the form of rivers, lakes, and streams. Bathing in these natural water sources can be a refreshing experience. However, remember the ‘Leave No Trace’ principle. Always use biodegradable soap and try to wash at least 200 feet away from the water source to prevent contamination.

Sponge Bath Method

A sponge bath can be a quick and efficient way to clean yourself while camping. All you need is a cloth, some water, and biodegradable soap. Wet the cloth, apply some soap, and wipe your body down. This method uses minimal water and is great for water-scarce areas.

Wet Wipes Method

Wet wipes are another water-saving method to stay clean while camping. They are especially handy for quick clean-ups after a hike or before bed. Opt for biodegradable wet wipes for an eco-friendly choice.

Each of these methods has its own advantages and is suited to different camping scenarios. Consider your needs, resources, and the environment when choosing your preferred method. Remember, staying clean while camping is not just about comfort, it’s also about safety and respect for nature.

camping shower

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Shower While Camping

Now that you’re familiar with the different methods of showering while camping, let’s walk through the process step by step. Whether you’re using a portable camping shower or a natural water source, these steps will ensure you have a smooth and enjoyable showering experience.

Preparing for the Shower

Preparation is key to a successful camping shower. Start by gathering all your shower essentials. This includes your biodegradable soap, towel, change of clothes, and any other personal hygiene items you need. If you’re using a portable shower, make sure it’s filled with water and heated if necessary.

Setting Up Your Shower Area

Next, you need to set up your shower area. If you’re using a portable shower, find a flat area to hang it. A tree branch often works well. Make sure the spot is private and away from your campsite to avoid getting your gear wet. If you’re using a natural water source, remember to maintain a safe distance to prevent contaminating the water.

For added privacy, you might want to use a shower tent. These pop-up tents provide a private space for you to shower. They’re especially useful if you’re camping in a busy campground.

Taking the Shower

Now comes the fun part – taking the shower! If you’re using a solar or propane shower, adjust the water flow to your liking. Start by rinsing your body, then apply your biodegradable soap. Rinse off thoroughly, making sure not to leave any soap on your body.

If you’re bathing in a natural water source, be mindful of the current. Never enter the water if the current is too strong. Also, remember to use your biodegradable soap sparingly to minimize impact on the environment.

Cleaning Up After the Shower

Once you’re done showering, it’s time to clean up. If you used a portable shower, empty any remaining water away from your campsite and natural water sources. Rinse out the shower bag and leave it to dry. If you used a shower tent, make sure it’s dry before packing it away to prevent mold. Dispose of any waste properly. This includes any used wet wipes or tissues. Remember, the goal is to leave no trace.

Showering while camping might seem daunting at first, but with the right preparation and equipment, it can be a refreshing and enjoyable experience. So, on your next camping trip, don’t shy away from the shower. Embrace it, and you’ll find it adds a whole new level of comfort to your outdoor adventure.

camping bath

Tips for a Better Showering Experience While Camping

Showering while camping doesn’t have to be a chore. With a few handy tips, you can turn it into a refreshing and enjoyable part of your camping experience. Here are some pointers to help you make the most of your camping showers.

Choosing the Right Time to Shower

Timing is everything when it comes to showering while camping. The best time to shower is often in the late afternoon or early evening. By this time, the sun has warmed the water in your solar shower bag. Plus, a shower at the end of the day is a great way to wash off the sweat and dirt from your outdoor activities.

However, be mindful of the weather and temperature. On colder days, you might want to shower earlier in the day when it’s warmer. And remember, always give yourself plenty of time to dry off before the temperature drops in the evening.

Wearing Water Shoes

When you’re showering outdoors, the ground can be uneven, slippery, or rocky. Wearing water shoes or shower shoes can provide you with better footing and protect your feet from sharp objects. They also keep your feet clean, so you don’t have to worry about dirtying your feet right after you’ve cleaned them.

Using a Shower Tent for Privacy

Privacy can be a concern when showering in the great outdoors. A shower tent can provide a solution. These lightweight, portable tents offer a private space for you to shower. They’re easy to set up and pack down, making them a convenient addition to your camping gear.

But a shower tent isn’t just about privacy. It also serves as a changing room, a place to dry your clothes, or even a makeshift bathroom. It’s a versatile piece of equipment that can enhance your overall camping experience.

Remember, showering while camping is more than just a necessity. It’s an opportunity to refresh, rejuvenate, and reconnect with nature. With these tips, you can transform your camping showers from a daunting task into a highlight of your outdoor adventure. So, on your next camping trip, don’t just endure the shower, enjoy it!

How To Shower With a Portable Shower Without Running Out Of Water

Showering at a campsite is different from the luxury of endless hot water at home. To conserve water, follow these steps:

  1. Get wet.
  2. Turn off the water to soap up.
  3. Turn the water back on to rinse off.

Typically, you’ll need about a gallon to a gallon and a half of water per person. While longer showers are possible, remember that you’ll be responsible for securing and heating the water. Short showers will eventually become the norm, and the occasional long, hot shower will feel like a luxury.

Essential Shower Accessories for Camping

Once you’ve chosen your portable shower, consider these accessories to enhance your showering experience:

Shower Enclosures

Shower enclosures provide privacy when showering outdoors. There are many options available, from pop-up tents to shower curtains that attach to your car. When choosing an enclosure, consider the type of shower equipment you have. Ensure it can support the weight of your water if it needs to go overhead, or at least has an opening for the shower head.

Floor Mats

A floor mat is a great way to keep your feet clean while showering. Options include rubber welcome mats, RV sand mats, or snap-together foam or teak tiles. These mats create a quick space to stand and help prevent mud from forming.

Camp Towels and Soaps

A quick-drying, moisture-absorbing towel is a great addition to your kit. These camp towels come in wide variety of sizes and dry quickly, making them perfect for camping. Also, consider using environmentally safe soaps, available in liquid form or as individual soap leaves.

Tips for Washing Long Hair While Camping

Long hair can be challenging to manage while camping, but with some planning, it’s manageable. Here’s how to wash long hair while camping:

  1. Thoroughly soak your hair from roots to tip.
  2. Turn off the water and apply environmentally safe shampoo or conditioner.
  3. Massage your scalp and rinse thoroughly.

If water is scarce, focus on washing your hair and only clean essential body areas during that session. If you don’t have a shower but need to wash your hair, ask a friend to help by pouring water over your head.

outdoor shower

Alternatives to Showering While Camping

If you find yourself without access to a normal shower while camping, don’t worry. There are several alternatives to keep yourself clean and fresh.

Using Waterless Soap

Dr. Bronner’s is a natural soap designed to be used without fresh water. You can apply it, rub it in, and then wipe it off with a towel. However, it’s important to note that while it’s a great land-based solution, it can be harmful to aquatic life, so avoid using it near water bodies.

Bathing in Natural Water Sources

If the weather is warm and you’re camping near a water body, why not take a dip? Bring a washcloth and enjoy a refreshing swim. You can even use sand or dirt as a natural scrub. Just remember to rinse off carefully to avoid leaving any residue in the water.

Using Pre-Moistened Towelettes

Pre-moistened towelettes are a convenient alternative to a full shower. While there are camping-specific options, these can be pricey. Instead, consider pre-soaped wipes from the cosmetics aisle or gentle options from the baby aisle. These wipes can provide a quick and effective clean-up solution.

Taking a ‘Spit Bath’

If you have a camp stove and pot, you can heat some water, dampen a pre-soaped washcloth, and give yourself a quick wipe down. This method, often referred to as a ‘spit bath’, is a classic way of cleaning up without running water.

Getting a Friend to Help

If you have a large pot of warm water and a willing friend, a good dousing can work wonders. While a super soaker might add a fun element, a simple pour over your head can significantly improve your cleanliness and mood.

Freshening Up in Public Restrooms

In a pinch, you can freshen up in gas station or fast-food restaurant restrooms. A quick splash of water on your face and a scrub down with a washcloth can make a big difference. Alternatively, consider a ‘waterless washcloth’, a plastic cloth designed to remove dirt without water.

Using Waterless Shampoo or Dry Shampoo

Waterless shampoos can help freshen up your hair without water. However, these are temporary solutions, and eventually, you’ll want to find a real shower for a thorough clean-up.

Embracing the Rain

If all else fails, check the weather forecast and head towards the nearest rainstorm. A good downpour can serve as a natural shower, a method often used by sailors on long journeys without freshwater stops. It can work for campers too!

Remember, staying clean while camping is about creativity and adaptability. With these alternatives, you can maintain your hygiene even without a traditional shower.

A Comprehensive Guide to Buying a Camping Shower

Choosing the right camping shower can significantly enhance your outdoor experience. However, it’s important to remember that not all camping showers are created equal. Here are some crucial factors to consider when buying a camping shower:

Type of Camping Shower

There are various types of camping showers available, including solar showers, portable showers, gravity showers, and showers with portable hot water heaters. Each type has its unique features and benefits. For instance, solar showers utilize the sun’s energy to heat water, while portable showers offer mobility and convenience.

Size and Weight

The size and weight of the camping shower are critical factors to consider, especially if you plan on hiking or moving around a lot. Lightweight showers are more portable and versatile, but they usually have a smaller water capacity, which means your showers may not last as long.

Materials and Construction

The durability of your camping shower is essential. You want a product that can withstand the rigors of outdoor use. Camping showers are typically made from plastic or fabric. Plastic models are more common and often transparent, allowing you to see how much water is left. Fabric models, on the other hand, tend to be slightly more durable.

Fixtures and Features

The shower head plays a significant role in determining the flow rate of your basic camp shower. An adjustable shower head allows you to control the flow rate. For models with a portable hot water heater, usually heated with a propane tank, heat adjustability is another feature to consider.

Brand Reputation

Purchasing from a reputable brand often guarantees a higher quality product, superior customer service, and excellent warranties. It’s always a good idea to research the brand and read reviews from past customers before making a purchase.

Remember, the best camping shower for you depends on your personal needs and preferences. Take the time to consider these factors, and you’re sure to find a camping shower that suits your outdoor adventures perfectly.

Discover the 5 Best Camping Showers

When you’re out in the wilderness, maintaining personal hygiene can be a challenge. But with the right camping shower, you can enjoy the refreshing feeling of a good cleanse even in the great outdoors. Here, we’ve compiled a list of the top five camping showers that can make your camping experience more comfortable and enjoyable.

1. Advanced Elements 5-Gallon Solar Shower

The Advanced Elements 5-Gallon Solar Shower is a popular choice among campers. This solar-powered shower harnesses the power of the sun to heat water, providing you with a warm shower even in remote locations.


  • Large water capacity
  • Solar-powered heating
  • Durable construction


  • Takes time to heat water
  • Requires sunlight for optimal performance

2. Nemo Helio Portable Pressure Shower

The Nemo Helio Portable Pressure Shower offers a unique foot pump system that provides excellent water pressure. It’s lightweight, compact, and easy to use, making it a great option for backpackers.


  • Lightweight and compact
  • Good water pressure
  • Easy to use


  • Smaller water capacity
  • Requires manual pumping for pressure

3. Ivation Portable Outdoor Shower

The Ivation Portable Outdoor Shower is battery-powered, providing a consistent flow of water. It’s easy to use and comes with a built-in filtration system, making it perfect for camping trips near bodies of water.


  • Battery-powered for consistent flow
  • Built-in water filtration system
  • Easy to use


  • Requires battery power
  • Lower water pressure compared to other models

4. Sea to Summit Pocket Shower

The Sea to Summit Pocket Shower is an ultra-lightweight and compact option, ideal for backpackers. Despite its small size, it offers a decent water capacity and a good flow rate.


  • Ultra-lightweight and compact
  • Decent water capacity for its size
  • Good flow rate


  • No heating mechanism
  • Requires a place to hang for use

5. Coleman 5-Gallon Solar Shower

The Coleman 5-Gallon Solar Shower is a budget-friendly option that doesn’t compromise on performance. It uses solar energy to heat water and has a decent water capacity.


  • Budget-friendly
  • Solar-powered heating
  • Decent water capacity


  • Takes time to heat water
  • Requires sunlight for optimal performance

Choosing the right camping shower depends on your specific needs and preferences. Whether you prioritize water capacity, portability, or the ability to heat water, there’s a camping shower out there that’s perfect for you. So, consider these options and make your next camping trip a more comfortable and enjoyable experience.

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Shower While Camping

When it comes to showering while camping, several questions often come up. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Can You Use Regular Soap While Camping?

While it’s possible to use regular soap, it’s not the best choice for the environment. Regular soaps often contain chemicals that can harm natural water sources. Instead, opt for biodegradable soap. These soaps break down naturally and have less impact on the environment, making them a more eco-friendly choice for camping.

How Do You Heat Water for a Camping Shower?

There are several ways to heat water for a camping shower. If you’re using a solar shower, simply fill it with water and leave it in the sun for a few hours. The sun’s heat will warm the water. For propane showers, the propane heats the water. If you’re using a battery-powered shower or bathing in a natural water source, you can heat water over your camp stove and mix it with cooler water to reach a comfortable temperature.

How Do You Stay Fresh Without a Shower While Camping?

If showering isn’t an option, there are other ways to stay fresh. You can use biodegradable wet baby wipes for a quick clean-up. A sponge bath with a damp cloth and biodegradable soap can also do the trick. Additionally, changing into clean clothes, keeping your feet clean, and maintaining good oral hygiene can all contribute to feeling fresh while camping.

Remember, staying clean while camping is not just about comfort, it’s also about health and respect for the environment. So, whether you’re taking a full camp shower or just freshening up, make sure to leave no trace.


Camping is a fantastic way to connect with nature, but it doesn’t mean you have to compromise on personal hygiene. Showering while camping is not only possible, but with the right methods and tools, it can be a refreshing and enjoyable part of your outdoor experience.

Throughout this guide, you’ve learned about the importance of maintaining hygiene while camping, the concept of ‘Leave No Trace’, and the role of biodegradable soap. You’ve explored different methods of showering, from portable camp shower facilities to natural water sources, and even sponge baths and wet wipes. You’ve also picked up some handy tips to enhance your showering experience, like choosing the right time to shower, wearing water shoes, and using a shower tent for privacy.

Remember, the key to a successful campground shower is preparation and respect for the environment. Whether you’re using a solar shower or bathing in a river, always aim to minimize your impact on nature. Use biodegradable products, dispose of waste properly, and leave your shower spot as clean as you found it.

So, as you pack for your next camping trip, don’t forget to include your shower essentials. Embrace the challenge of showering in the great outdoors. It might be different from your usual shower routine, but it’s an experience worth trying. After a day of hiking, there’s nothing quite like a refreshing shower under the open sky. So go ahead, give it a try on your next camping adventure. You might just find it becomes a highlight of your trip.