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How To Create Your Own Outdoor Solar Shower In Under $10

When you think about all the comforts of home for your travels one of the things which commonly comes to mind is having access to a shower. While many campgrounds offer toilet facilities you will find that many fail to provide shower services. While this is great for roughing it for a few nights, let’s face it our desire to be clean and want to feel comfortable is a crucial point in how comfortable we feel.

If you like camping or glamping, this one is for you!!

I recently traveled to Colorado where I found that many of the campgrounds with the best views do come at a hefty price of having limited facilities. Offering vault style toilets is one thing, but no running water for showering can start to raise more than a few eyebrows. I wanted to try something very different for this trip to stretch my time of enjoyment between campgrounds which offered amenities, many times at the cost of losing amazing remote views. I opted to pack a traveling shower.

For those who aren’t here with a full understanding already as to what a travel shower is let me explain.

A travel shower, or solar shower, is an option for those who are off grid or with limited amenities. You simply fill the 5 to 10 gallon shower bag and then place in direct sunlight. By placing the bag in sunlight the water inside is heated to a pleasant temperature for showering.

When you have reached the optimum shower temperature you can then suspend the bag from a tree or hook to elevate it enough for the gravity feed of water to work correctly. There is usually a spout which resembles a water hose or water tube which then delivers the water from the bag to your body to fully shower and this can be controlled though a small output knob.

These solar showers can be purchased at most major retailers which provide outdoor gear at a very reasonable price point. I am providing a few options you might check into if you are interested in the concept for your travels.

Now that we have gone over the technical aspects of the shower bag itself. Let’s talk about the logistics.

When camping remotely you have all the privacy in the world but if you are at a campground which might have others there this privacy is hindered a bit. While I do always encourage people to shower outdoors in swimwear just in case, having a bit more privacy is still something which is very important to many.

When I was at the Clear Creek Reservoir I had the place to myself so simply did not need a curtain or anything to feel comfortable but at a campground I stayed at in a different location I was more than a little nervous about doing so because I had neighbors. So what do you do in these instances??

Create your own outdoor traveling shower!!

A lot of people will purchase expensive travel shower tents which can range from $30 to $100 but is that piece of equipment necessary? No!

I thought resourcefully and determined that you can find everything you need at your local dollar store or in items you might already have at home.

What you will need:

1 - Hula Hoop

1 - Shower Curtain (if using a large hula hoop you will need two)

1 - Set of Shower Rings (if using large hula hoop you willed two)

1 - Para Cord

1 - Pair of Scissors


1 - Pack of Clothes Pins

These common items can be found at pretty much any store and depending on the thickness and design of the curtain can fluctuate. I personally used items I already had so I only needed to purchase the para cord which was $2.97 at my local store. I priced all the items also at a Dollar Tree and determined you could purchase everything on the list for less than $10.

Step 1: Place All Shower Rings on Hula Hoop

You will want to make sure you are using full circle plastic durable rings which can fully close around the hoop. This will keep your shower curtain in place and will not allow it to gap off of the hoop itself.

Step 2: Attach The Curtain

For this step you will want to make sure as you add each section of the curtain to the hoop you move the curtain to make sure you do not miss any of the eyelets. If using a larger hoop make sure you attach both curtains at this time.

Step 3: Position Para Cord

I recommend during this step to secure para cord in 4 points to ensure an even hang when raised. I personally tied off hoop where my two shower curtains met and also in the middle of each of the cords forming an x pattern. To do this I cut two pieces equal in length and secured one side at a time .

Step 4: Elevating Your Shower

When I used my shower I was able to take the crossing points of my para cord and place them on a large tree branch which was about 7 feet tall. This was enough to secure my shower, however if you do not have a branch which offers support like this at a lower level then you will have to then attach an additional lead of para cord tied to the center intersection of your x pattern and raise the shower from this. You want to make sure that the curtain is even so it will not shift mid usage also make sure the branch is secure enough to also elevate your solar shower or that you have a hook in place for hanging it inside your curtain.

Step 5: Add Solar Shower

After your shower curtain is secure you will want to introduce your heated solar shower by elevating it using para cord or hanging it by its connecting loop to a sturdy hook such as a lantern hook. Something to consider is the amount of space this will take in your shower when you are purchasing your hula hoop. If you have a larger solar shower you probably will want to size up in hula hoop.

Step 6: Optional Clothes Pin Closures

If you happen to be in an area which is a bit breezy or just want to ensure your curtain does not expose you, especially if you choose to shower without a bathing suit this is a huge option. You will want to clip the curtains together to fully close the enclosure. While I found that it was fine when there was no wind, as soon as the wind started blowing I noticed gapping and also loss of shower form. By adding clothes pins you can secure your tube like form and keep your curtains fully closed.


Now that you have done the hard work, which should not take more than10 minutes you are ready to hop in the shower. Of course make sure you allowed ample time for your solar shower to heat up, each is a bit different on heating times. I like to keep a camp chair or small camp table next to me for my shampoos, scrubs and towels, this keeps them out of the way. I also like to wear a pair of flip flops to keep my feet off the ground and clean.

Be your camping trip primitive and just needing a little privacy or glamping with the girls this option allows you to have a budget friendly upgrade to any trip. You can use it for strictly purpose or have fun and make it outdoor chic to meet your taste. Personally I think that this inexpensive, easy to stow and purposeful addition is an excellent option for those wanting to add function or fashion to their outdoor experiences.


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