Popup shower tent and rechargable shower pump
Taking a clean, warm shower while camping is usually not a great problem, aside from the occasional campground that has poorly cleaned or maintained showers, or those with limited hot water. A greater problem is when the showers have been turned off, or simply don't exist!
When do you need to worry about the absence of warm, clean showers?
There are several situations when this is a problem:
- No showers exist: like when primitive camping in a national forest
- The hot water gets used up quickly. This especially happens at peak times, like mornings between 8 am and 10 am, and sometimes early evening.
- You run out of quarters for paid, timed showers (common in national and state parks campgrounds)
- Showers are broken. It happens...
- The showers are turned off. This used to only happen during freezing weather (winters), but our National Parks Service, in their imbecilic "wisdom", turned them ALL off in national parks in 2020 and 2021.
The solution: bring your own shower.
And yes, this is a very practical, easy and economical solution. The entire equipment weighs less than 5 lbs and takes up only the space or a 2 gallon bucket. Not ideal for remote backpack camping.. but you can see a lighter weight solution for backpacking on this page!
Here's what you need:
- Battery operated shower pump and shower hose
- Bucket (2 to 5 gallons, your choice of size
- Popup shower tent.
- Small (about 4 ft by 4 ft) ground tarp, it can be larger, so you can use it for other things, like over your tent at night. (optional, you can just wear flip flops)
- Camp stove with fuel and lighter
- Pot to heat water on the stove
- Source of clean water. A river, steam or spring will do.
- A small cloth to use to filter the water as you fill the bucket, if there is any potential for debris in the water. If you use a 5 gallon bucket, you can get a screen that fits on top.
How it works
- Spread the small tarp on a flat firm surface
- Unfold the popup tent (it sets up in 30 seconds.) on put it on the tarp
- If you are using stream or lake water, cover the pot with a cloth and pour the water through the cloth to filter out any debris. A bungee works well to hold the cloth securely in place.
- Bring water to a boil on your campstove in your largest pot. Alternatively, if you are near a natural and clean hot spring, simply bucket water out of the pool!
- Pour the hot water into the bucket and add enough cold water to make whatever temperature you like!
- Put the sump portion of the shower pump into the bottom of the bucket.
- Hook the shower nozzle inside the top of the tent.
- Step in the tent, undress, turn on the shower pump and enjoy 5 to 10 minutes* of hot, clean shower! (* duration depends on the size of your bucket! If you wet yourself, turn the shower off, lather up and then turn the shower on again to rinse off, 3 gallons is plenty for one person.
- Having your friend or partner outside the tent to hand you clean clothes keep an eye on the water supply and turn the pump on and off is very helpful.
- Boiling the water can take 20 minutes if your stove is small, so get that going first!
- Be sure to use clean water or filter it with a cloth so you don't clog your pump.
- Put the tarp and tent where there is good drainage and away from your sleeping tent and eating area.
- The pump I recommend can provide 3 people 1 shower (5 minute duration each) a day for 5 days on a single charge. Even so, I get the model that has a spare battery.
If you have never taken a shower by a natural hot spring in a remote area, it is truly a unique and fun experience that you'll remember! This is possible in Yellowstone, western Wyoming, Arkansas and other places with natural hot springs that allow public access.