Showering While Camping

You love a good hike and camping is also fun, however, you are a bit of a clean freak and need your daily shower. No problem. Yep, we have some ways that you can keep your cleanliness without leaving behind a mess on the environment.

It is important that we leave no trace of ourselves and the environment is exactly as we found it. This means that you may need to arm yourself with some biodegradable soap and a nice sponge or washcloth. There are various levels of intensity as well. So, let’s explore the various ways to bath while out camping and or hiking.

River Bath

This is just as it sounds. If you are near a river or a lake in the summertime this can be very refreshing. However, it is probably not an option in early spring or late fall as the waterways would be too cold. It certainly will be refreshing but you cannot use soap. This is a great way to begin your bathing process and then, if you prefer soap, you can finish with a sponge bath away from the waterways with your biodegradable soap. It is recommended that you are 200 feet away from waterways when you are bathing with soap. This allows the soap to be absorbed by the ground and helps break it down.

Sponge Bath

A sponge bath allows you to have a little bit more control of the water temperature. This means that you can boil or heat up a pan of water to the desired temperature and use a washrag or sponge to clean yourself with soap and water. Sponge baths are common in our hospitals and medical centers, which is exactly what you are doing in this situation. Just be sure to discard your soapy water away from the waterways when complete.

Backpacking Shower

There are all kinds of devices out there that allow you to create a shower by hanging a bag of water above your head and having gravity feed the water over you. This is a great method of cleaning yourself during backpacking, just be sure you are away from any waterways when you are doing this. And, remember, that the water is not going to last longer, so shower up quickly. Most devices come with an on/off valve that you can turn on and off. This is helpful in conserving water in the bag.

Remember a backpacking shower is going to add more weight to your pack but if you are a person that really loves their shower, then it certainly is possible. If you don’t care about the water temperature you can fill from a nearby stream. However, if you are looking for a warm shower, you will need to heat the water in a pan first and then put it into the bag to have a warmer shower.

Now that you know your bathing options, you will need to dry off. But, hauling around a huge bath towel seems a little over the top. We would recommend you picking up a hiking towel. These are made to be low weight and absorb lots of water quickly. These are also great for drying dishes as well.


I have been camping and going outdoors for over 15 years! My first experience was when I joined the scouts. There I learned a lot. From building a campfire to set up a really big tent. Then I know this is awesome. Around 2005 I also started Geocaching. This is a lot of fun. And every time we go camping we look at the map to see if there are some nice caches around.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *