We all like to clean up while camping. Many state and national parks and private campgrounds offer shower facilities. But, sometimes, you are camping in a more remote spot or after the season has ended and you don’t have access to a hot shower. What do you do? Well, if you are in Yellowstone National Park, you can pay for a shower at a lodge. You could also choose a location like a KOA that has an extended season for camping showers. Some think it’s the perfect excuse to stink to high heaven – not me. I have been preparing for such an occasion and I am glad that I have because my next trip falls after the shower facilities are closed for the year. Remember, this is a series on glamping, not roughing it, so I plan on staying clean!
You might be wondering how I plan on pulling off a hot shower. Here’s how:
- Camp Chef Triton 5L Hot Water Heater
- Flojet Triplex Diaphragm 3526 Series Automatic Water System Pump
- SHURflo 255-313 Classic Series Twist-On Strainer
- 12v Battery
- Paha Que Teepe
Let me explain how each component works. First you have a need for privacy and also the need to capture and properly dispose of “grey water”, the water run-off from your shower. The Paha Que Tepee is one of the few shower enclosures with a floor that can catch and drain the shower water. I have not yet purchased this item but I will before I leave for my trip. This gets the best reviews of all shower enclosures by hard-core campers because of its ease of set-up, quality and strength of construction, and roominess. The Tepee also comes with a lifetime warranty. The floor has a fitting for a hose (not included) that allows you funnel the water directly into a grey water collection container (not included.)
You might be wondering why I am bothering with grey water. Well, most campgrounds require you to collect it and dispose of it properly.
The Tepee also has an external towel rack and vents at the top. You can pick either fiberglass (lighterweight) or aluminum construction.
Since I will be in bear country I am also going to be forgoing my usual soaps and shampoos for a scentless, biodegradable soap. I have one bottle of Coghlans but will probably pick up a few bottles of Campsuds because it has a much better concentration per the reviews. This soap can be used fr showering or to wash your dishes!
So, now on to the actual hot water. There are 2 ways to take a camp shower: a tankless hot water heater or a solar shower. A solar shower is the quick and cheap way to do it, but, it might not be the best solution in cloudy or colder weather. That brings us to the next solution, a tankless hot water heater.
I had a gift card to a big box store, so I snagged the Camp Chef Triton, which gets great reviews. This hot water heater provides hot water on demand by using propane. This is great for me, because I am also using a propane lantern and Coleman Roadtrip grill. You can obtain either a 5L or a 10L Triton. Ecotemp offers a nearly identical set-up, also getting good reviews. Zodi has some different hot water solutions, and Coleman has a hot water on demand solution as well. the Ecotemp and Camp Chef solutions get the best reviews among seasoned campers and certainly are cheaper than the Coleman and seem to get better reliability scores than the Zodi solutions, so those factors as well as availability for purchase with my gift card made my choice thee Camp Chef.
People use these hot water set-ups for camping, boating, beach and lake house outdoor showers, in shops and garages, and to bathe pets. In addition to a shower, I will also use this to wash my camp dishes.
Unless you are tapping into city water or your home water via a garden hose, you will need a pump and power for the pump. I will use mya Flojet pump and my 12V battery. You can use an AC use a car battery or a 12v car plug to power the pump as well, just watch you don’t run your car battery down. I will eventually upgrade to a deep cycle battery, but this year I probably won’t have the chance. I also have as a back-up, this less powerful Zodi pump, which is power from size D batteries.
This video shows how the hotwater heater and pump work together:
Not all campgrounds allow you to use tent showers, even if you collect properly, so, please call ahead. Evidently, some campers have not collected water correctly, ruining it for everyone. If you can’t put this type of set up together, you can also see of there are pay showers in the area. One of the places I am visiting does have pay showers available but the other does not. in addition to being ready for camping you will also be prepared for your next power outage. Let me know what you have done when showers were not readily available!