Power loss, natural disaster, camping, broke water lines and more, are all reasons why you may need to take an outdoor shower. Bathing off-grid or without electricity can be tricky, see what we do for ideas on how to stay clean.
Bathing Off-Grid With Our Outdoor Shower & How to Stay Clean
Whether you live off-grid or recently found yourself without electricity, there are several ways you can stay clean and take an outdoor shower. Of course, none of them will be as luxurious as your own private bathroom with a cast-iron claw foot tub and telegraph showerhead (<< can you tell I miss my old bathroom?). But my solutions will get the job done in a pinch.
How do I know these will work? Because my family of five has put them to the test, including our teenage daughter. If you can pass the teen daughter test, then you should get a gold standard double-blind test approval. Just saying.
Solar Shower Bag
After we moved to our new land, our property didn’t have water nor indoor plumbing to the cabin. A friend of mine sent me two outdoor solar shower bags so we could take a shower while we built our home. Another friend who came to visit gifted us another solar shower bag so we now have three. We have tried and tested all three outdoor shower bags pictured below, the Sun Shower, Summer Shower 2.5 Gallons, and the Summer Shower 5-gallon bag.
Our family of five, four adults and one child, have used these bags for over six months and they are worth their weight in gold. Perfect for a power outage, camping, boating, living off the grid, or an outdoor shower.
I wrote about the pros and cons of the two different bags here and which one we liked the best.
When we lived by the ocean in South Carolina, we would lose power for days, sometimes weeks, after a hurricane. The outdoors were flooded and it made taking an outdoor shower impossible. The cowboy bath was our only option. We would heat water on the grill and pour it over ourselves in the tub. We’d use a small pot from the kitchen to dip out the hot/warm water.
Now that we live off-grid in the mountains, it gets a lot colder than we’re used to. The solar outdoor shower bags aren’t as enjoyable as they were during the warmer months. Not to mention the rainy days when there isn’t sun to warm the bags. The cowboy bath is the only way we can bathe on cold, rainy days unless we run into town.
Remember playing with the garden hose when you were a kid? Running around spraying everyone, getting a tarp and adding a bottle of dish soap to make bubbles? Yeah, it’s nothing like that. But it could be if you wanted to have fun while you bathed.
We have a 100ft black garden hose. During the warmer days, we would lay the hose out in the yard to warm in the sun. Our garden hose holds roughly four gallons of water, which is more than enough for one adult to wash completely, shampoo and condition.
During the summer, it only took about thirty minutes in the direct sun to heat up, so within just a couple of hours, all five of our family members could take hot showers with the garden hose.
YMCA, County Community Center, GYM or Recreational Building
Moving to the mountains, we knew we wanted to buy raw land and that meant not having a bathroom right away. So we located the closest community center and bought a family pass. Our community center has an indoor pool, basketball court, gym, and full shower facility. Not only is it a great place to get spiffed up, but we can also have fun AND get in shape.
Whenever we want to make the thirty-minute one-way drive, we all load up and go to the center for a little recreation and a hot shower. Yes, it’s a lot to go through just to take a shower, but have you ever lived in a tiny home with five people? Trust me, the drive is worth it.
The locals here tell me, not too long before we moved here there was a local shower house. You can go and take a nice, hot shower for $2.00 per person. Unfortunately, some big company bought the property and got rid of this valuable amenity. However, shower houses are still located all over the world.
Truck stops have amazing shower houses. Although some are kind of pricey, I’ve heard they are well worth the investment. In addition to truck stops offering bathing facilities, but some also offer laundry facilities as well. So you can wash your dirty clothes and body at the same location.
State Park or Campground
We moved from a state (South Carolina) that charged almost $100.00 for a state park pass to a state that has free admission to all their state parks. Free is always a good thing. State parks with campgrounds offer shower houses for their campers as well as outdoor showers by the picnic shelters. This is one alternative to using an outdoor shower that also provides the opportunity for adventure and entertainment. State parks have nature centers and trails that the whole family can enjoy before, or after, taking a shower.
Do you have ideas to take an outdoor shower that I didn’t mention?
Or do you know of other public bathhouses? If so, please comment below or email your ideas to me so I can share them with others.
Lastly, if living off the grid is something you would like to do or learn more about, you can read other off-the-grid articles on our site here.
Saturday 9th of October 2021
It was recommended that we purchase a Planet Fitness membership with just the 2 of us.They are everywhere and with 1 gold membership you can bring a guest for free.
Monday 11th of October 2021
Great tip! We don't have one of those anywhere close to us but we did join the local rec and used it.
Tuesday 10th of March 2020
Hey Amber, awesome ideas! Loved them so much, they're included in our 9 Inspirational off-grid showers article :D I can't share the link with you due to your spam protection, but it's on the homepage if you'd like to have a look.
Wednesday 19th of February 2020
Too many ads. Hard to read your nice blog
Sunday 19th of May 2019
Thank you for sharing this nice post, I am very impressed with your post, the information is meticulous and easy to understand. I will regularly follow your next post.
Monday 26th of November 2018
I live in a tiny house without running water. I use a bucket heater (sold at feed store or on Amazon), a 5 gallon bucket, and a rechargeable shower head with pump. I heat the water and stand on my sheltered porch. Nothing is quite as invigorating as a hot shower. I rarely use all the water in the bucket since I put the shower head back in the bucket while I shampoo or soap up. Easy peasy.