How To Shower While Camping: Tips for Getting Clean


While there’s nothing quite like a trip to the great outdoors, it can be tricky to maintain your personal hygiene while camping. And no matter how rugged and tough you are, a week-long, ripe stink sours the mood all around. 

We’re covering all you need to know about how to shower while camping. Below, you’ll learn how to ethically shower and conserve water, some handy items to make bathing on the road easier, and what kind of facilities to expect when camping.

So grab your finest soap and lather up that loofa –– it’s bath time! 

How Often To Shower When Camping

Deciding how often to shower while camping is ultimately up to you. Some campers don’t shower every single day. But the refreshed feeling you’ll get from a simple rinse can energize you for the day, eliminate bacteria (and their odors), and help you sleep better.

So try to bathe once every other day at least. And even if you don’t feel up for a whole shower, daily teeth brushing along with rinsing your face, underarms, and intimate bits can make a huge difference in morale and the general icky-ness of extended camping.   

Ethically Showering While Camping

Taking a long, hot shower or bath at home can be a great way to relax sometimes. But you may be shocked to learn that a normal shower wastes 12 liters of water every minute. And when you’re camping in the backcountry or relying on your RV’s shower, supplies are limited. So you won’t be able to afford that kind of luxury when conserving water becomes essential.

Taking a sponge bath instead of a full shower can save a ton of water. And when it’s time for a regular shower, less time spent running the water is the key. Try turning off the water while you’re lathering up, rinse quickly, and turn the water off again as soon as you’re clean. Try to keep showers between 5-10 minutes, especially when dry camping.

Unlike a normal shower at home, you also need to consider what kind of soaps you’re using. Everything you use at a campground shower runs into the local wilderness. So, you’ll need to make sure you’re using biodegradable soaps. 

Some excellent biodegradable soaps to use are:

How To Shower While Camping

We’re pretty sure you can handle showering all by yourself. But! There are a few items you’ll want to bring along to make your camp shower experience a pleasant one. 

Camp Showering Accessories

  1. Microfiber towels: these dry quickly so you can use them often
  2. Waterproof flashlight: some camp showers have no electricity or get little natural light
  3. Wet wipes: these come in handy when you need a quick pick-me-up or have no access to showers
  4. Toiletry bag: campground showers are often lacking the basic amenities department like hangers and racks
  5. Flip-flops: protect your feet from bacteria that live on dirty shower room floors
  6. Rubber bath mat: helps you get dressed again without soaking your clothes on a public shower floor

Where To Shower While Camping

Now that you’ve got all your toiletries and soaps ready to go, it’s time to figure out where to do the dirty deed. Depending on the type of camping you’re doing, and where you go, there will be a few options to choose from. 

RV Showers

RV showers are the most convenient option. You won’t need to wander the campgrounds in cold or rainy weather. And all of your supplies are well within reach. Depending on your setup, warm water time might be limited, and you could even run out of water. So if taking a comfortable RV shower without worry is a concern, don’t forget to choose a campground with water hookups.

Campground Showers

You’ll find all manner and quality of campground bathhouses out on the road, from well-maintained comfort areas to glorified water spouts. And while campground showers usually have a few perks over an RV shower, you’ll want to be prepared for the worst. 

Campground showers are spacious and roomy compared to your typical RV. And they usually have an unlimited supply of hot water giving you a chance to soothe tired muscles after a day of hiking. 

But, you’ll also have to contend with other campers, consider hygiene more carefully, and walk yourself (and your stuff) across camp and back. When you’d like to have a shower, try planning your day to finish a bit earlier to avoid a line. Make sure to bring some flip-flops along since all kinds of bacteria thrive on bathhouse floors. 

Natural Bathing

Don’t miss out on all of nature’s refreshing ways to get clean. Weather permitting, have some fun on your trip –– jump into a lake, dip into a hot spring, or even shower via waterfall! Just remember to never use soaps in a natural environment, even if they’re biodegradable. Compounds in soap that aren’t native to the local ecosystem can still cause lasting damage over time.

Learn More About RV Camping With Cruise America

Well, that just about does it for our tips to keep you squeaky clean while camping. Remember to conserve water when you can, bring our essential items if you’re heading to the campground bathhouse, and don’t miss an opportunity to bathe au natural. 

If you’d like to learn more about RV camping, check out our RV lifestyle blog chocked full of tips and tricks from veteran road warriors.