Oh My Military Shower!
As lovers of the great outdoors we have all experienced it (whether we wanted to or not). The first one we ever had made us think twice about camping. The second one made us think about how we could make it last longer. The third one made us think of ways we could make them easier. You all know what I’m talking about…a camp shower. That magical moment at the end of a long day of hiking, fishing, or exploring when we get to wash off the layer of dust we have collected and make sure we haven't re-homed any unwanted bugs.
The first shower we take as novice campers we figure out what seasoned campers call the military shower and why it’s important. By definition a military shower is the process of turning water off and on while showering to conserve water and energy. When water is limited and the need is focused on getting in, getting washed, and getting out we also figure out ALL tips and tricks can be lifesavers.
Over the years, while camping with my family I’ve come across several tips and tricks we have used to make our own camping showers a bit easier.
On days you wish to wash your hair, use wipes to wash down before or after you shower. On days you wash your body, don’t wash your hair.
PRO-TIP: Times have changed and investing in some good dry shampoo means it’s possible to go a day (or several) without washing your hair.
Have you ever hopped into a shower, gotten all wet and realized you can’t find the soap you could have sworn you put somewhere in the shower? I highly recommend investing in a shower caddy that can hold everything you might need within easy reach.
PRO-TIP: I also recommend loading the caddy as you come across shower items when unpacking and settling in at your campsite. Having a good shower caddy that you’ve preloaded can help prevent wasted time and water trying to get what you need.
If it’s possible, I’d recommend investing in an On Demand Heater. This means you don’t have to worry about running out of hot water. I’ve been known to take a longer shower this way. It’s so nice to wash off the grimy feeling at the end of a long day of hiking.
PRO-TIP: If an On Demand Heater isn’t possible, try to optimize your bathroom skylight by parking it in a good position to get some extra sun. You can take a shower using less hot water and let the skylight provide a bit of added warmth.
Don’t cheat! Focus! Get in, get wet, and TURN OFF THE WATER to lather up. Once you’re lathered, turn the water back on and get rinsed off. Done! It might be rough but it can be done and you will enjoy washing with warm water! Leaving the water on while lathering up will waste what little warm water is available and trust me it runs out FAST!
PRO-TIP: RV/camper showers typically have shower heads with off switches so you don’t have to actually turn the water off. This means you don’t waste precious time turning the water off and on and trying to make sure the water temperature is nice and warm. If you’re shower doesn’t currently have one you can purchase a good one and easily switch them out .
Did I mention using a bathtub? If possible, have a bathtub in your RV or camper. For us this was a must have for our little ones as they are the perfect kid size. Water can be heated on a stove or campfire and used with cold water.
PRO-TIP: If you do not have a bathtub in your RV I recommend investing in an inflatable tub. These weren’t an option when our kids were smaller but it would have been amazing! They are soft and can be dried, removed, and deflated for easy storage anywhere.
It may sound scary but we have camped at many campgrounds and have been pleasantly surprised with wonderfully clean and hot showers. A nice big shower stall with hot water at the end of a long day feels amazing and sometimes a campground shower is the only thing that can provide just that. When I was younger the showers offered at various campgrounds were iffy, but they have come a long way and I have yet to encounter one as an adult that isn’t nice, clean, and warm…and did I mention all the HOT water you could want? Forget the military shower and ENJOY!
PRO-TIP: Carry some type of flip-flop or water shoe to wear in campground showers just in case you encounter one that you might not want to stand in.
I love camping with my friends and family. Hiking, fishing, exploring this great country, breathing the fresh air, and just watching nature exist all around me is a balm to my soul. I truly feel at peace when I'm in the great outdoors and look forward to every trip we get to take. Sometimes the worst part is the military shower, but sometimes it's the best part because needing that shower means I've experienced enough to feel grimy.
What tips and tricks do you have to make the best use of your shower time? I'm always open to new ideas an expanding my military shower experience!