Beginner's Guide to Wild Running
An introduction to Wild Running by Jen and Sim Benson, authors of the Wild Running guidebook.
Spending time in the outdoors camping or hiking is fun until you're in need a hot shower, and don't know where to get one. Here are 8 ways of keeping clean while out in the wilderness.
While newbies to the outdoors may have a hard time staying clean, veterans will tell you it’s no biggie. It's quite easy to shower when you are out camping.
One thing that campers and hikers know how to do is to work with nature. Well, the sun is a great tool when it comes to having a hot shower in the outdoors. A simple trick is to put a black tank on the car roof and let the sun warm the water for you. As you drive throughout the day, the tank (and water inside) will be heated.
You can then fit a shower head with an extension to the metal tank and have a hot shower. Through gravity, the water will flow from the tank down to you as you shower.
You can also have a valve to reduce the flow of water in the shower head as you desire. However, a black tank of water on a car roof will only work in a hot area where the sun blazes almost all day. In a cold area you need to think of another solution.
A hot shower solution you can count on in the outdoors, whether you're in a hot or cold environment, is the car engine. You can use your car engine to warm up water for showering by fitting a heat exchanger to your car heater line.
The heat exchanger uses the car engine coolant system to heat the water. A pressure pump draws water from the water source, which passes through the heat exchanger where it heats up, and comes out on the other side hot and ready for you to shower. As long as your car engine is running and you have a water source close by, you can have endless hot showers on the road using this method.
You can also use your car battery to heat up your shower water.
Just fill a portable shower with water, plug it into your car charger and the water will heat up quickly. The portable shower has another attachment that allows you to access the water through a nozzle or shower head connection as you wash.
These portable showers can be as small or as large as you desire. A portable shower the size of a backpack can help you have a complete wash from top to bottom, so it's a great option. When it's empty, it's easy to pack away in a handy suitcase or backpack.
Another kind of portable shower is the solar shower bag, which is made of a heat absorbent material. You place the solar shower bag out in the sun, and the solar radiation heats up the water inside it.
Most portable solar shower bags come with hanging clasps or cords that you can use to attach the bag to a tree or any other place overhead. They also come with a shower hose that you can turn on and off.
You can have a shower using this device for up to ten minutes depending on the quantity of water it can hold. They also come with a thermometer you can use to check the water temperature, so you can avoid scalding yourself.
You can also use some free resources at roadside places such as gyms to have a shower. Many gyms allow you to pay a daily membership where you will be permitted to use all their facilities, as you desire - including the showers. It gets better if the gym has a sauna so you can have a nice steam session to relax from the strain of being on the road.
A great thing about using a gym shower is that you can remove all your clothes and have a good scrub which is often hard to do in the outdoors.
A propane hot water heater heats water quickly and will keep doing so until there is no more gas in the tank. It has a connection point for a shower head, and some give you the option of getting the water running as fast or as slow as you desire. As long as you have a reliable water source, having hot water for a shower outdoors will not be a problem with the propane water heater.
If you cannot stand to be away from home amenities and yet want to camp out in the wild, you can use a mobile home.
Also known as RVs or motor-homes, mobile homes are a great way to travel on the road. Many of them come with kitchenettes, bathrooms and sitting areas so that you can have a home away from home.
You will be able to have a hot shower in the motor-home because they have a hot water heating system already wired into the vehicle.
Its one of the most comfortable ways to camp and explore the outdoors and is worth the investment. Alternatively, you can hire one if purchasing one is not an option.
You will also find shower facilities at many camping sites. They have amenities for people that pay to stay in the camping area. In such cases, you only have to find a camping site to get a hot shower. Most of them have portacabins for toilet facilities and showers. Just ensure you pick a campsite that provides hot water as some only offer cold water.
These are a few options for a hot shower when camping or hiking. Just because you are out in the wild doesn't mean you have to go without! Get resourceful, use one of these options and you will be able to have a shower whenever you like during your time outdoors.