The camping shower

I had a fantastic camping trip last week. One of the best I ever had. We hiked along the Pictured Rocks of Lake Superior. We relaxed on the sandy beaches Lake Huron. We biked Mackinac Island and had ice cream and watched sunsets and laughed around campfires. We played games, and shared stories and marveled at waterfalls. It was the closest thing to perfect that I could have imagined.








But with every camping trip comes the shower.

IMG_9213We have a very small camper. Just enough to store our food and clothes and keep us sleeping off the ground. No bathroom. Which is FINE with me. But the camping shower is a gamble. Even the best shower requires technique.


A few years ago, I camped at Sleepy Bear Campground, which no longer is a regular campground, and only serves seasonals and large rv’s but my shower experience was blog worthy… feel free to read it HERE.

So as I showered this week, I thought it would be fun to share with my faithful readers the complicated process of the camp shower. First you need to walk to the shower. This means hiding all your unmentionables in towels and making sure you remember every thing you need: shampoo may be all you need… it can work for hair and body, but I also want conditioner and face wash and potentially a razor.

Then the shower itself. If you are lucky there is no plastic curtain. The curtain never fully closes and typically has a magnetic attraction to your body and the entire shower you are trying to keep it from attaching to you while trying to use it for some semblance of privacy. Whether you are in a nice stall with a door, or hiding behind the thin white curtain you need to prepare for keeping everything you have dry. Spoiler alert, it is impossible. So you do your best to stack your clean clothes and towels on the tiny shelf/chair/hook and some how keep them separate from your smoky dirty clothes.

When you finally are set up and ready to shower, the first task is water temperature. Which if it is almost hot, you should be satisfied. Don’t count on too much water pressure, a few drips a second is pretty typical. Or if your lucky you have fabulous pressure, but the shower head is so low it hits you at the belly button so you have to do a back bend to get your hair wet…I digress, what is crucial at this point, when you actually step out of your flip flops and onto the shower floor is this: Feet cannot fully touch the floor.

Somehow it is okay to have your heels on the floor. Or one foot on the floor, Or the balls of your feet on the floor, but to put both bare feet on the floor, heals and toes at the same time, is quite possibly the grossest thing anyone can do. Avoid it at all costs.

Once you are clean (while balancing on different small areas of your foot, bending over backwards to wash your hair and constantly rotating the shower handle to keep from freezing or being scalded), the really difficult part has begun.

Now you have to dry off and get dressed. The room is so steamy you can hardly see your hand in front of your face so actually drying off is not possible. The idea here is just to get the major drips off of you. You will still be wet when you get dressed, but hopefully not dripping wet. Your next problem is putting on your clothes without letting them touch the ground.

You can’t sit down even if a chair/bench is provided. Your still wet and potentially the bottom of your feet are muddy so you have to put pants or shorts on while not letting your feet touch the inside of the pants/shorts nor can you let the pants/shorts touch the ground. Note: this is about %50 possible with shorts and %1 possible with pants.

You are now sweating, wet, likely muddy and your muscles are spasming from awkward bending and balancing. All of this so you can walk back through the dirt, to sit around a campfire so that you can get fully dirty and smelly enough to justify another shower tomorrow.


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