How to shower while camping: Everything you need to know

Have you ever wondered how to shower while camping? Growing up, I did very little camping as I wasn’t convinced the no-shower thing was for me. However, as an adult, I’ve been much more adventurous. After losing my job, I decided to start camping more regularly since it is a very inexpensive way to travel. I started car camping and tent camping consistently and picked up many helpful tips on how to stay fresh while camping along the way.

Little can compete with a hot, clean shower after a long day of hiking and exploring nature. While camp showers might not be the most luxurious kind of showers, there are many ways to take a shower and stay fresh while camping, even when water is scarce.

In this post, I’m sharing everything you need to know to answer the question “How to shower while camping.” I’ve included tips for saving water, what soap to use, types of shower systems, and much more to help even the most skeptical campers start camping and stay camping longer.

Why showering while camping is important

You might not need to shower every day, especially if you are not sweating or doing physical activity, but daily showers are generally seen as a healthy habit.

Daily showers are not typical while camping, but showering enough to remove excess dirt and oils is ideal. Showers remove unhealthy bacteria from the skin, prevent acne, and eliminates odors, all while helping you feel fresh and get a better night’s sleep.

At the minimum, you should rinse off in freshwater every few days to maintain proper hygiene. If freshwater is not available, you’ll need to use an alternate method (more on these methods later in this post) to shower and make your camping experience that much more enjoyable.

Best places to shower while camping

If you are not camping in an RV with a built-in shower, you may want to choose a campground with shower facilities. Of course, it will cost you more, but the convenience is probably worth it if you have the budget.

Many developed campgrounds and National Parks will include showers with campsite reservations, while others offer public showers for additional fees. Some campgrounds will allow you to pay for a shower even if you are not camping with them. Some campgrounds even have community pools which is another excellent way to rinse off and refresh after a long day.

Many gyms, YMCA’s, truck stops, and travel centers offer public Showers when on the road. Most YMCAs charge $3-$8 for a shower. Flying J travel centers charge a bit more ($12-$15) but offer fresh towels and amenities. However, these locations are usually along highly trafficked interstates or residential communities and are not convenient to most campgrounds.

If your campsite does not offer shower facilities, you will have to look for potable water spigots to fill jugs and bags for DIY showers or bring extra water with you. More on different kinds of DIY showers later in this post.

Finally, freshwater sources like lakes and rivers are ideal places for rinsing off. When bathing in natural water sources, don’t use any soap (even biodegradable soap). If you must use soap, fill a jug with the water and shower at least 200 feet away from the natural water source using your favorite environmentally safe soap.

Some of my favorite natural soap brands are:

Hi, I'm Sam

After a lay off from the corporate world I decided to SEE the world. Sharing all my bucket list experiences to help spark your wanderlust and inspire your next adventure!

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