How do camping showers work?

We love our camping shower but there’s a lot of confusion about them and how great they are. So we’re back to answer that very common question, how do camping showers work?

Camping showers don’t need any electricity or plumbing, making them a great choice for camping, vanlife, festivals, backpacking in hostels, the beach, and much more.

No electricity and no plumbing?

It’s old-school physics that gets the job done. Just the heat of the sun and gravity. Which also makes the camping shower very eco-friendly, fuss-free, and able to be used just about anywhere.

So how do camping showers work without electricity and plumbing?

The bag holds 20 litres of water. If you place it in the sunshine it will keep its warmth and heat up the water. Even if it’s not particularly warm outside. It uses light converted to heat rather than the ambient air temperature. Which is why the black colour on one side is important and you need it facing up to absorb all that light.

When your bag has been sat in the sun for a while you can put it in the right spot for your shower. You might be lucky and already in that spot. But mostly people like to be in a more private place tucked out the way when they shower. Which might mean shade.

There’s a handle on the bag to help move it and the bag is tough so will withstand a bit of manhandling, dropping, or being perched in a tree.

The bag needs to be hung or placed above head height to get a good flow. It can be lower but the flow will be weaker and you might be bending over.

Get the hose and showerhead attached and you’ve got a low-tech but fully functioning warm shower! How do camping showers work? Super simply!

Gravity will pull down the water and the flexible hose and head mean you can get a good clean. There’s a valve for turning the water on and off at the bag so you can switch the shower off and leave it for the next person. There’s a different hole to top the bag up with water so you can keep it running if you find a good spot.

Alternatives to a camping shower are less than attractive

Your epic travels might mean you can’t – or don’t want to – stop at a well-appointed hotel every night. When you want to get off the beaten trail, stop for the night and pitch wherever you choose, save some money by backpacking or hostelling, or enjoy the festival season, you don’t have many other options.

Those options might include not showering at all – which gets tired and smelly pretty quickly. Or a quick strip wash in a public toilet, over a bowl, or with wet wipes. Washing under a freezing cold standpipe, paying for facilities elsewhere, or sharing dirty facilities with thousands of festival-goers aren’t great alternatives either.

Now you’ve got your answer to “how do camping showers work?” you can get yourself a private, warm shower set up wherever you like. It’s a perfect travel companion, folding up small to slip into your luggage. And offering you a refreshing shower anywhere you choose.

Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash