No shower and still fresh!
One of the first questions people ask me when I talk to them about my lifestyle is where you can shower along the way.
Now I'm on the road in the rooftop tent for almost 2 years, and I can say: showering on the go is easier than you think. Because there are showers like sand by the sea. You don't believe this? In this article I reveal 35 ways to shower on the go, meaning how to get through the (outdoor) world without your own shower still being fresh, well-groomed and smelling well.
- 1 No shower and still fresh!
- 2 Showers are overrated
- 3 My aha-experience
- 4 Why shower daily in the first place?
- 5 The good old cat wash – or: take a shower on the way for in between
- 6 The warm shower
- 6.1 Showering on the way on campsites
- 6.2 Showering on the way at motorhome parking spaces
- 6.3 Showering on the way at service stations and off-motorway service areas
- 6.4 Taking a shower on the way in swimming pools
- 6.5 Showering on the way at a hotel
- 6.6 Showering on the way/ taking a bath in thermal springs
- 6.7 Taking a shower in outdoor pools
- 6.8 Showering on the way in beach swimming pools
- 6.9 Showering on the way at marinas.
- 6.10 Taking a shower on the go in train stations and airports
- 6.11 Showering on the go in gyms
- 6.12 Showering on the go in solariums
- 6.13 Taking a shower on the go in shopping malls
- 6.14 Showering on the way in craft shops
- 6.15 Showering on the way in sports venues
- 6.16 Shower privately on the go
- 6.17 Showering on the way at couch surfers
- 6.18 Showering at exchange partners
- 7 The cold shower
- 8 Outdoor showers
- 8.1 On the go shower with the DIY bottle shower
- 8.2 Showering on the go with the bottle shower with shower head
- 8.3 Showering on the way with the solar shower
- 8.4 Showering on the go with the pressure shower
- 8.5 Showering on the way with the submersible pump shower
- 8.6 Showering on the way with the Aqua2go cleaner
- 8.7 Showering on the way with the heat exchanger
- 8.8 Showering on the go with the hot water boiler
- 9 Why you should definitely switch shower providers
Showers are overrated
No wonder everyone is asking themselves the question of the shower. Because the shower has become an integral part of our everyday lives for our Western needs. One has the feeling that right after the basic needs “roof over your head” and “food intake” comes the desire for “cleanliness.” This is not surprising, because if you interpret the Maslovian pyramid of needs, showering and toilet are actually one of the physiological needs and belongs therefore to the basic needs number one.
In Germany, showering has not been a luxury commodity for a long time. The first walk in the morning goes to the bathroom for most of us, and without a morning shower most feel anything but fresh.
Every apartment, however small, is now equipped with its own shower. We shower daily – sometimes even several times a day. We put ourselves under a (drinking water) beam for minutes, which once briefly rushes past our body, only to end up in the wastewater.
My personal aha-experience was a conversation with my 70-year-old aunt. Shortly after I moved in the rooftop tent, I visited her, and we talked about the subject of body hygiene. She revealed to me that she would also shower only once a week. I was very amazed, and asked her why. After all, she had all the options to shower every day. And she didn't use them?
‘After the war we didn't have a shower either'. We bathed once a week in turn in the same bath water. ”
What sounds almost disgusting to our ears today was at that time in Germany and, by the way, still going on in many parts of the world today. Very few people in the world can afford a daily shower. If they can afford a shower at all.
My aunt is by no means unkempt. On the contrary. She's one of the most conscientious and tidy people I know. She just refrains from the daily shower, and instead strives for the cat wash. Completely without restrictions. And the whole thing also has an advantage for her:
‘It's better for the skin and for the hair.'
Why shower daily in the first place?
The first step for me was actually to emulate my aunt and do away with the daily shower. Quite apart from the fact that without your own shower in a camper van or caravan shower on the way is a challenge.
It is actually like so much else: a switch in the head that once has to be deliberately flicked. The malaise that comes when you start to omit the daily shower is nothing more than a burst out of the habit. That always feels a bit strange at the beginning. A little like a withdrawal because you break the routine.
Set the case, you have not spent yourself completely physically and sweated infinitely, you will not start stinking like an Iltis after a day without showering.
On the contrary. You finally start smelling normal. Your very body odor will no longer be covered by the odorants of the shower gel or shampoo, but will come to light: You.
Contrary to popular belief, this is rarely stench. The opposite is true: many even perceive the body odor subconsciously as positive and it even supports the search for a partner in the end-one, hears and marvels! It is not by chance that the phrase “liking to smell someone or not.”
Once you start reducing the frequency of your showers, you'll find: It's not that bad not to shower for a day or two. The initial malaise will gradually disappear and after some time you'll wonder why you performed the daily shower for so many years in the first place.
Do you put your child in the shower on a daily basis?
Think of children. They are also not showered or bathed every day, and despite enormous physical activity, they rarely stink. Some mother cleaning her toddler might wish she could shower it on the go if a malheur happened. Well, the organism of children still works a little differently than in sexually mature adults, that can't be compared one on one – but it's about the approach.
Our skin has a natural self-cleaning function. There are people that say the daily use of soap and shampoo destroys the skin's protective mechanism.
By the way, it is also an exciting topic for anyone who wants to find out about the possibilities of reducing body cleansers: the public has become more and more aware of a movement called ‘no-poo'. No-Poo = No Shampoo. Wash hair without additives. Easy with water. The cleaning happens without a fat solver through a lot of rubbing and combing. The rest is done by the scalp and hair almost on its own. Here you can find a Facebook group on the topic.
I now only shower every 3-4 days.
Sometimes I don't shower for a week. Trouble-free. This depends, of course, heavily on external circumstances such as the weather, your own physical activity and also on your very individual constitution. At the end of the day, everyone has to decide for themselves which frequency is right for them.
If you actually need a shower, then you feel that too. That's what your body tells you. The slight malaise that tells you: now a shower would be appropriate. And by that I don't mean the malaise that comes from this because your habit is interrupted.
Of course, there's also one little trick or another to make life between showers as enjoyable as possible. How to do that, I'll tell you now.
The good old cat wash – or: take a shower on the way for in between
If you think you could get a bit refreshed again, but there's no shower in sight, the good old cat wash comes into play: ideal for bridging the time between showering twice on the go. There are four different variants: the little cat, the outdoor cat, the open-air cat and the luxury cat.
The little cat
For the really fast cat wash in between, damp cloths are suitable. You get them in any drugstore or supermarket, they are quick to hand and easy to use. I tried almost all of them once (yes, even damp toilet paper). In the end, two types proved their worth to me: cosmetic wipes and baby wipes. Best without additives.
Everyone knows best for themselves where they sweat the most. Face, neck, armpits, the intimate area, and yes, even the feet are always happy about such a short treatment, when on the go shower just isn't possible.
No drying, no towel, and you are refreshed and ready to go again. I like to do the little cat wash before putting on fresh laundry again, either in the morning after getting up or to go to bed in the evening.
The Outdoor Cat
The outdoor cat wash is a bit more elaborate, but at the right temperature almost more refreshing than a shower: You heat water (about 1 liter) with a cooker, pour it into a container of your choice (I like to use a folding bowl), mix it with cold water until the temperature is right, and then use a washcloth. So you can shower on the go without a shower.
If you use soap, it's best to be a biodegradable alternative. Simple core soap is still the best choice. Otherwise, outdoor equipment suppliers also offer special travel rips:
- Dr. Bronner's Natural Soap 18-in-1
- Sea to Summit Wilderness Wash
- Care Plus Clean Biosoap
- Fibertec Travel Soap Eco Reiseseife or
- Or have you ever tried a powder?
However: no soap is a hundred percent biodegradable. So, use it sparingly! A pea-sized amount is often enough.
With slightly colder temperatures, I avoid undressing completely. I wash out the individual body regions in turn: take of my shirt, wash upper bodies, dry and directly use a fresh T-shirt and sweater. Then the lower body: pants off, etc.
In winter, of course, this needs some overcoming,but it makes is really refreshing! Because the warm water from the washcloth on your skin evaporates directly, it also gets cold very quickly. This is immensely refreshing and enlivening. Give it a try!
Tip: For children, a washing bowl is even enough for taking a proper bath. Just put it in and let it splash neatly – that's how even the most stubborn dirt dissolves. High fun factor included!
The open-air cat
This is the version for outdoor and hiking lovers. Showering on the go for open-air freaks. And it's as simple as that:
For sure you have seen them before: the small fountains on hiking trails with the inscription: “No drinking water.” The fact that this is not drinking water does not mean that it is not great for a cat wash.
Here you can wash your hair under running water with biodegradable shampoo and wash your body in a bikini or in swimming trunks with washcloth and organic shower gel. This comes very close to the real shower on the go. It's smart to use these places when there is little going on – so it is best to take off in the early morning or late at night. This way you don't bother anyone and have more privacy.
In Germany, there are often many such small fountains and basins in the mountains on hiking trails, sometimes also with a pump. Sometimes you will also find Kneipp basins there, which refresh a lot. Here, however, please take account of nature and be really very economical with the organic soap.
In more southern countries such as Spain, Italy, Portugal, etc., there are also small water dispensers and taps in cities, mostly at parks and sometimes in residential areas, as well as in parking lots near beach baths. Especially in these countries it is very refreshing to be able to take a shower like this in the morning and evening.
Often completely forgotten, but quite usable as a public water dispenser: cemeteries. Whether you want to make yourself fresh on site or not – the water offer is great for an open-air cat.
The Luxury Cat
This is the luxurious version of outdoor cat washing. This comes closest to showering on the go. And here's how to do it:
Find a public toilet with privacy. For this purpose, disabled toilets are suitable in slightly larger public buildings such as shopping malls, theatres, libraries, unis, canteens, hospitals and facilities of a municipality. But also restaurants or cafes are sometimes wheelchair-accessible.
Advantage: there you do not hinder the ongoing operation even if you need a little longer. You also avoid arousing public annoyance when you undress at the sink.
However, please take account of people with reduced mobility by not allowing yourself too much time there. Or make sure to show up when it's not too busy. Wheelchair users, unlike you, have no other way to go to the toilet. Generally, you should be able to quickly free the room to allow a wheelchair user access to the toilet.
In any case, make sure not to leave a puddle. It's best to wipe the floor with kitchen crepe or paper towels reasonably dry, so no one slips.
With the sink, a lot can be done: If you want to wash hair, you can even do so under most taps with sufficient height. It's a bit more difficult, but even the feet can be washed at the sink with some practical experience.
A washing cloth, a full sink and a towel for the cat wash at the sink shower is enough. The perfect alternative for showering on the go. The great thing about the luxury cat is the usually well tempered room – so you can make yourself completely naked!
The warm shower
What do you think you'll value a shower if you haven't had one in a long time? Warm, running water on your body, which we consider to be completely normal in everyday life, you will celebrate like a little child after a prolonged shower abstinence!
But: where do you find a shower if you don't have one yourself? I'll tell you something: the world is full of showers, you just have to know where. In the following the collected possibilities for showering on the go from two years of shower experience without a shower:
Showering on the way on campsites
On most campsites you will find everything your heart desires: Toilets, showers, even washing machines, dryers, and on some even bathtubs! If you like to stay on campsites, you are therefore well cared for. So the easiest way to take a shower on the go is to pay to stay at campsites.
But did you know that it is also possible to take only a shower stop at a campsite without having to stay there all night? Like how, you wonder? Quite easy: ask.
More and more camp sites have showers anyway, which you have to pay with coins in order to get water or warm water at all. Often the complete washing systems are also secured with a key, access code or card system.
This also means, however, that it is often possible to use them for payment regardless of an overnight stay. Don't let that put you off by that. A visit to the reception and friendly asking quickly sheds light.
Most of the time, this is not a problem for the campsite operators. And if it is, well, you just go to the next campsite. And if you want to save yourself the journey, then just call. So far, I myself have only experienced the shower being denied me once.
By the way: whether hedged or not: it is an act of courtesy and respect to ask for permission when using a shower at a campsite without an overnight stay.
Showering on the way at motorhome parking spaces
A motorhome parking space is a publicly accessible parking space for residential- and motorhomes, where you can stay in the vehicle for one or more nights. By defninition, they are designed for the “stay of recreational vehicles that have a closed sewage system and an on-board toilet (self-sufficient vehicles).”
They differ from campsites in such a way that
- Arrivals or departures can be made at any time
- There is usually no or a rarely occupied reception (paid at a parking ticket machine)
- Sanitary failities are only available to a limited extent
- Tents, also front tents (thus actually also roof tents) are not allowed
- The length of stay is limited to 2-3 days (permanent camping is usually prohibited),
- The accommodation prices are manageable (sometimes even free of charge).
Normally, at least one supply and disposal station for fresh and wastewater as well as waste bins and (mostly coin-controlled) electricity connections are used to provide a motorhome parking space.
As soon as showers or washing facilities are also offered, one speaks of a comfort pitch. The showers are usually operated with a coin slot, or you pay an obulus for water around showers, as with campsites, if you don't stay overnight.
Tip: pitch apps such as Promobil are extremely helpful when looking for a shower on a motorhome parking space.
Showering on the way at service stations and off-motorway service areas
Service stations and off-motorway service areas are usually really well equipped when it comes to toilets and showers. No wonder: in the evening, the rest stops fill up with trucks, because the long-distance drivers take their well-deserved night's sleep. And clearly: the professional drivers, both women and men, naturally also want to refresh.
Whereas in the past rest stops were often so rancid and unpleasant that one actually wanted to run off into the distance as soon as possible, they develop more and more into clean service stations, which actually leave no wishes open.
Whether you support Sanifair‘s business concept or not, what you have to leave to the company, they have ensured that many service station's toilets have become acceptable again.
Showers can be used at most rest areas for a fee of about 3-4 euros: you go to the checkout, pay your shower, usually leave a deposit (ID or car key), and get a key or a coin to a shower cubicle.
The advantage on rest stops: you always have your own lockable cabin with privacy. The shower cubicles are usually fully equipped with toilet and sink. Less often, you share the sinks and toilets in a metropolitan area. And quite rarely, but sometimes there is also: no gender segregation.
In most rest stops and off-motorway service stations, the length of stay and shower length is not limited: practical for hot shower lovers.
Did you know that it is even possible to take a bath in some off-motorway service stations?
This was new to me too until recently. But you never stop learning:
For a fee of 6 euros you have your own bathroom for yourself. Also without time limit. Including musical background. The first time I celebrated, you can imagine! Just get out of the car after a long drive and into the bathtub. After that, you're really relaxed.
An example of a rest stop with that extra bit is the SVG Autohfelder Lohfeldener Rüssel on the A7 in Kassel.
Taking a shower on the way in swimming pools
Visiting swimming pools is the easiest way to combine fun or sports with showering on the go. In most major cities, you'll even find more than one swimming pool. Here, the it ranges from a simple indoor pool to a sauna and wellness temple.
Accordingly, this is reflected in the price of your shower. Admission fees for adults start at around 3 euros and are open upwards depending on the location.
It even happened to me that I told the lady at the checkout that I just wanted to take a shower. Without hesitation, she let me in at half the price. So showering for 1.50 euros works too!
I prefer simple indoor pools. These often offer everything I need for my shower happiness. In addition, there is usually no time limit there, so I don't have to hurry up with splashing or body hygiene.
The only shortcoming: privacy usually falls by the wayside in public indoor pools. Collection showers are the order of the day. For this, swimming pools almost invariably offer hairdryers. Mostly for free or for a fee of a few cents.
By the way, swimming pools can also be found in some hotels. However, since they often open their doors only to guests for insurance reasons, you are less likely to be lucky there. Also read the next paragraph on the subject of hotels. Asking doesn't cost anything, and often you experience the greatest surprises when you dare a little. As with my following experience at the Sporotel Kühtai in Austria:
Showering on the way at a hotel
Be honest: who would walk to the hotel lobby, and explain to the nice receptionist that you desperately need a shower, but actually don't want to stay overnight. Social norms prevent us from even considering that.
I felt similar when, after a week without a shower at the winter camping in Kühtai on 2025m, I desperately felt the need to wash myself properly.
Three hotels in the village had a swimming pool. I walked in everywhere to ask if I was allowed to use the swimming pool. Unfortunately, I got rejected by everyone.
The last cancellation frustrated me in such a way that I stood in front of the receptionist in the third hotel and it burst out of me almost sadly but honestly: “But, I just want to take a shower after all!”
The lady behind the counter called the manager and I explained my situation to her. I don't know if out of pity, respect or just sympathy: without hesitation, she turned around, retrieved a room key from one of the key compartments, and handed it to me.
This shower at the Sporthotel Kühtai was one of the most beautiful showers respectively bathrooms I had ever enjoyed. Simply because the gesture was so unexpected and terrific.
Of course, this little story is not to be generalized, but it is meant to show what is possible if you reach out honestly, openly and kindly to people and dare to ask questions. Quite apart from the fact that this is often crowned with success – the experiences, stories and encounters you have as a result are priceless.
In some simple hotels or in Bavarian/Austrian ski resort and hiking regions there are often accommodation with shower facilities in the hallway. It is quite conceivable that the operators there do not mind having a rooftop tent nomad take a shower. Asking doesn't cost anything!
From a rooftop tent nomad, who is a hotel receptionist, I know: in some hotels, especially the larger city hotels, but also in wellness hotels, you can use the spa area for showering. To do this, you simply go to the reception, preferably early in the morning, and ask kindly and politely where the wellness area is. You will be told that the sauna will not be switched on until the afternoon. Just answer that you just want to use the shower. Sometimes a fee is demanded. If you are lucky, you can also use the shower like that.
Showering on the way/ taking a bath in thermal springs
Thermal springs are a wonderfully relaxing way to shower along the way. Thermal springs, are usually warmer than the surrounding groundwater, because they flow out of hot rocks. In Germany, groundwater is called thermal water when its temperature at the exit point is more than 20°C.
Many thermal springs are free and freely accessible, so if you avoid the rush hours, you can also take a relaxed bath without piling up with others.
Here are some of the best examples:
- Maibachl thermal springs
- Thermal springs in Saturnia (Free sulfur source)
- Worldwide overview of thermal springs
The sulfur smell is not for everyone, but normally you don't smell anything of it once the water on the skin has dried. And the source in Saturnia, in turn, offers the shower afterwards with privacy for little money. If you want to have your peace and quiet, be sure to avoid weekend and holiday days in the summer half of the year.
Taking a shower in outdoor pools
During the summer season in Germany, you can combine the useful with the pleasurable in outdoor pools. Why not splash a bit, chill on the lawn and do something for body hygiene?
The entrance fees of outdoor pools are about in the area of swimming pools, usually even lower, since the water is often not heated. Definitely cheap for people who often want to shower on the go. If you stay longer in the area, maybe a 10-person card is worth it.
In most cases, the parking spaces of outdoor pools are also great for overnight stays. These are not the most romantic pitches, of course, but very handy if you fall out of the rooftop tent in the morning and are one of the first in the water.
Even if a private shower experience is usually not possible in outdoor pools, there is plenty of sun and the feeling as if the holidays have just begun.
Note: in many outdoor pools there is only cold water, and the showers are close to the swimming pool. Just inform yourself beforehand on the homepage of the outdoor pool, where you will also find a photo gallery.
Showering on the way in beach swimming pools
A beach bath is a bathing area at a swimming lake or river (river swimming pool). They often offer man-made or natural sandy beaches and are very similar to outdoor pools when it comes to facilities (shower, toilet, changing rooms, restaurant/kiosk).
I'll get to beach baths by the sea later in the section to the cold showers.
Lidos are often located on natural or dredging lakes created by excavations of gravel and the accumulation of water. The beach is often followed by a sunbathing lawn. Due to their natural location, they immediately exude the flair of holidays.
However, if you don't want to stack up while sunbathing, you should avoid the rush hours on weekends, holidays and afternoons in high summer.
Tip: As with driving, I try to visit public shower rooms such as swimming pools/outdoor pools and swimming lakes in an anti-cyclical way, that is, when few think about going swimming, my time has come. This also allows a common shower to convey the feeling of privacy. And: at the same time the parking lot on the lake is usually a good parking space for the night . Note the signs at the entrance to the car park, you are not always allowed to stop at night.
Showering on the way at marinas.
Of those who don't have much to do with sailing, they are often forgotten as a shower opportunity: the ports for sport shipping.
If you will, marinas are campsites for ships. They are very differently equipped depending on the country and size, but they almost always provide sanitary facilities. So why not just drive to a marina and use it for a shower?
Of course, as with campsites, it may be that you can't easily enter the washing rooms. But again, who asks is smarter. afterwards
As long as they are not shuttered yacht clubs, but rather smaller and manageable marinas, you can be lucky, and the showers on site are also usable for campers.
Tip: at marinas you can also replenish your drinking water supply.
Taking a shower on the go in train stations and airports
If your route takes you past a train station or airport, perfect! Here you can take a cheap shower on the way.
Everyone knows that train stations and airports have toilets. But did you know you can take a shower there, too? Many train stations and airports have toilet shower centers, as travelers from continent to continent or from country to country also want to refresh themselves in between.
For 1 to 4 euros you can take a shower in peace and privacy. If you're in the middle of a city anyway, a train station is a great place to go. Just find a parking lot nearby, and walk there with toilet bag, towel and fresh clothes.
At airports, you will certainly have to factor in parking fees, because the seats in the immediate vicinity are usually not offered free of charge. Or you can park on a free park & ride parking lot and combine sightseeing and shower in one day with the help of a day ticket for the city's public transport.
Advantage: at least train stations are often a good starting point for visiting local attractions as well as shopping. Another advantage: train stations and airports are usually open 24 hours a day.
Showering on the go in gyms
Sure, you can shower in gyms, but did you already consider them as a way to shower on the go?
By request, some gyms don't even charge if you ask if you could shower briefly please because you are travelling by car and rooftop tent. For the most part, you reap a mixture of pity and admiration and, after a brief explanation, you are simply waved through.
Other fitness clubs want you to buy a 10-card or subscribe. However, a trial training is also a possible option. If you visit gyms more often, you might even be worth a membership for you.
Mc Fit, for example, is represented 164 x in Germany and 252 x in Europe. A membership costs less than 20 euros per month. With more than 6 showers a month, the investment is already worthwhile. You can also combine the pleasurable with the useful. First work out, then refresh. Isn't this great?
Showering on the go in solariums
Often forgotten are facilities such as solariums. Sure, they not only have tanning beds, but mostly also have possibilities to refresh yourself after a sweat-inducing sunbath.
Again, asking doesn't cost anything. Depending on the flexibility of the operator, it is either possible to shower without using the tanning beds, or just not. And if you get a cancellation, you still have the option of opting for sunbathing. Who knows, maybe not bad for the complexion in winter either, or just for the good mood and the feel-good factor.
Taking a shower on the go in shopping malls
Another suggestion of where to shower along the way came from Frank in a comment. Frank works at the guard service of a shopping mall and has already made one or the other shower wish come true.
Many malls have showers for their employees and tenants. With a friendly demand from the local guard service, there is a good chance of being able to use the sanitary facilities. Preferably, however, one should not exactly choose the “rush hours” (center opening, evening). And asking costs nothing.
Showering on the way in craft shops
Surely you were surprised, too. But yes, sure! Rooftop tent nomad Monika is right: most craft businesses are equipped with showers. This is applying to companies whose work requires a high level of physical activity, but which do not have to comply with major hygiene regulations (due to food processing).
Carpentry, locksmiths, mechanics, plumbing and heating builders, car repair shops, coach builder, glassworks, horticulturalists and landscapers, painters, paint shops, construction and expansion, scaffolding builders, carpentry …-I could continue the list: You know what I mean.
You are probably have better luck in companies that are small, have no special access restriction (barriers, gatekeepers, security checks) and usually don't have too much public traffic. I imagine the boys in carpentry like to join in the fun, while a restaurant will rather gratefully decline.
Why not just knock on the car repair shop and celebrate the shower while the oil change is being made? You will certainly become the number one topic of conversation on this day!
Showering on the way in sports venues
Sports halls and sports courts are well equipped with showers. Of course. But why only for the athletes? Just ask!
Many small sports venues and club houses may not be open continuously, but even away from the times of the event, you sometimes find a placeholder or landscape keeper who, in most cases, likes to help you. Usually it is even easier to gain access to the showers when you show up there, when nothing else is going on.
It's even easier at universities. The sports fields and halls are usually open all day and do not always find courses and events full of courses and events. If you avoid the rush hours, you can usually mix freely with the people showering. And all those who now say they stand out because of their age: the days are over, when you were still in your early 20s when you studied.
Sports venues also include water sports clubs. Rowing, paddle, water skiing, wakeboarding clubs always have a shower area for their members. Most are super open-minded and helpful. Even more so when you tell you're out in the rooftop tent and haven't showered in a long time.
Tip: Sports venues are also great for spending the night. The parking spaces are mostly empty and apart from a few walkers, there is no one on the road away from the games and events.
Shower privately on the go
Why not just be invited to shower instead of dinner? Or both? In my environment, an interesting change has taken place since I live in the car: I get shower invitations. And not only from friends, but also from strangers.
So it happened in Norway, for example, when late evening I had no desire to look for a nice pitch. We bent into a private path, well aware of the fact that someone might complain about it.
The next morning, barely peeled out of the rooftop tent, a local resident came towards us. I was sure I had to have a discussion with him now. Instead, he invited us for coffee and a shower.
Another night, I camped in a roadside parking lot in the middle of Frankfurt City. That was even with a folding tent at the time. The next morning, the window opens on the first floor of the apartment building opposite: “Hey, rooftop tent guy! Do you want a coffee? Do you need a shower? ”
Even more than the shower, I was pleased with the openness and helpfulness of these foreign people. This gesture alone has so much value that the shower almost takes a back seat.
Sure, these are chance encounters that are difficult to plan. But the opportunity to shower with friends, family or acquaintances always exists.
In the beginning, it seems strange to ask for it, but the shower is actually a thing many like to share. Probably because you share a shower anyway in most cases. And probably also because everyone can put themselves in your situation well without a shower.
Showering on the way at couch surfers
CouchSurfing is a highly popular internet-based hospitality network founded in 2003. Members use the site to find free accommodation while travelling, offer accommodation themselves or simply get to know other people and show them the city. CouchSurfing now has 10 million members worldwide.
You can sign up for free at CouchSurfing. Every member can, but does not have to offer, a place to sleep. Any traveller can search for or inquire about accommodation as a guest. Duration, nature and terminations of the stay are usually agreed in advance. Overnight accommodation costs no money – this is even forbidden as it contradicts the CouchSurfing principle.
Even if you already have a place to stay: why not ask a CouchSurfing host for a shower? So to speak as a ShowerSurfer;-)
CouchSurfers tend to be very relaxed people. With many you even get a key to the apartment and can move around there completely freely. The network is based on mutual trust. On many CouchSurfing stays I have even made good friendships.
Showering at exchange partners
A rooftop tent nomad has another hot recommendation for those who need a shower, which I have not tested myself: swapping showers on the go.
Swapping showers? How is this supposed to work? The system is very easy:
- You sign up for a swap ring of your choice somewhere in the world . Most of the time you pay 4 EUR per year as a contribution for the club.
- You perform any service like cleaning, mowing lawns, helping with your computer or what you're good at on the one hand and what someone may need on the other. Every hour spent is entered in your exchange booklet.
- From the hours you can take a shower or a warm bath somewhere in the world (you get contacts through the exchange ring). The best way to ask the members that are very active offering either overnight stays as the “showers” section does not yet exist.
The cold shower
It is not always possible to get a warm shower in one of the above public or private facilities. But it isn't necessary anyway. If you like refreshments, then you should try the cold shower facilities.
Taking a shower/bath on the way in swimming lakes
Bathing lakes are natural freshwater lakes that – unlike most reservoirs (drinking water reservoir) – are freely accessible to everyone, and can be officially used for swimming and bathing. On touristically developed shores you will usually also find well-equipped bathing beaches, which offer showers on the go.
But it gets much more romantic if you are looking for a lonely place by a lake somewhere in nature. Wake up in the morning, tear clothes off the body, and hop nicely into the freezing water. To have that feeling of being the first to touch the surface of the water in the morning – priceless.
You'll be surprised how refreshing that can be. If you do it more often, you'll quickly get used to the cold morning bath shower.
All over Europe you will find bathing lakes. All of Scandinavia is dotted with natural inland waters, so you feel at every place you have the opportunity to take a bath. But what many do not know: even in Germany there are almost 2,000 bathing lakes, the quality of which is even regularly monitored.
Since bathing lakes are fresh water, you can easily indulge your body hygiene and wash yourself there. However, you should make sure that you either do not use soaps and shampoos or if so, then products that are biodegradable and do not contain surfactants.
If you've found a cozy spot, and the weather and temperatures are right, then you may really get the romantic feeling there that many vanlifers also convey through the images and videos of their travels.
Taking a shower on the way in the sea
Of course, most of the beaches in the world are located in the salt water. Even if it is possible, permanently salt on the skin is not for everyone. But here, too, there are solutions.
They may not be the most romantic places, but most public beaches have beach showers. You can use them either for free or with a coin slot. Often they are cold and publicly visible, but there are also said to be beaches where warm showers are offered.
Taking a shower on the way in the river
Rivers are great for shower bathing because they have fresh water – often even in drinking quality. Here it is said: the closer to the source, the better – but also significantly colder. You have to be very hardened to jump into an ice-cold meltwater river in the mountains – and it can be dangerous too.
But bathing in rivers is incredibly refreshing, and is a lot of fun. This is pure nature. That's “feeling yourself.” A treat for body, mind and soul. And if it's too cold for a full bath, just wash piecemeal like outdoor cat washing.
On the way, showering in springs
I can tell you from my own experience, source bathing is the supreme discipline of body cleansing. In fact, there can be no more talk of cleaning.
If you manage to focus on more than your breath and not just constantly think of it: “how do I get out of this the quickest way?,” then you can call yourself extremely tough. The ice cold can usually not be endured for more than a few seconds. If you go diving, you have my greatest respect
By the way: at first glance, the cold creates a pressure on the rib cage and lungs, which makes you breathe very hard and violently. Kind of a shock reaction. Here simply keep calm and do not get hectic, then the hyperventilation subsides after about a minute.
Although very challenging, source bathing is also an incredibly impressive experience and an absolute visual feast for the eyes. I've rarely seen such beautiful water dazzling in all colours and so clear. Even if you don't want to use the springs for bathing, take the time, look at them and take a canister of spring water with you. You rarely get such delicious water!
Tip for hot shower lovers: information about the hot springs can be found in the section “Hot Shower.”
If you would like to have your own shower on or in your car in the long term, then of course there are also solutions for this: camping showers or outdoor showers.
On the go shower with the DIY bottle shower
The easiest of all outdoor showers is the bottle shower. This can be a PET beverage bottle that you either hold in your hand for showering (then, though, you only have one hand free) or attach headfirst to a branch or branch with a string.
You either regulate the shower beam over the opening of the lid, or you craft your own shower: Simply punch a few holes in the lid with a needle or drill. If you drill the holes into a second extra lid, you can create a fully functional drinking bottle again in the blink of an eye from the shower by simply changing the lid.
For better water flow, it may make sense to drill an air hole in the bottom of the bottle so the air can flow into the bottle. You can fill the bottle via this hole, but then it remains a shower. It can no longer be used as a drinking bottle.
If you like, you can also fill in heated water in the bottle, then you have conditioned your bottle shower in the blink of an eye.
Showering on the go with the bottle shower with shower head
A fairly simple and compact addition to a PET bottle, for example, is the Lifeventure Travel Bottle shower. Basically, this is a shower head that can be screwed into most standard water bottles. The flow speed is lowered by the shower head, so with a 2-litre bottle you can shower over two minutes.
With a simple cord suspension, you can attach the bottle upside down to a branch or car and stop or start the shower again by tilting the bottle.
Showering on the way with the solar shower
Solar showers operate according to the principle of heat absorption. It is usually a flexible black water container or bagthat is raised into the sun (on a tree or on the car) .
On some off-road vehicles you can see pipes that are attached to the roof, which serve as watertanks. This camping shower is built from drainpipes and some fittings and can be perfectly adapted to each vehicle as a do-it-yourself project.
The way it works is the same everywhere: due to the sun exposure to the dark surface, the water tank heats up, and thus the water contained therein. This can thus be brought to pleasant (shower) temperatures without any additional energy supply. The water is dosed and distributed through a shower head.
Advantage: no additional energy source is required. Gravity does its service.
Disadvantage: if the sun is not shining, there is no hot water. In addition, you should keep a good eye on the temperature. The water can get 50 ° C and hotter in favorable sunlight. To avoid scalding, you then have to let it cool or alternatively mix with cold water.
Showering on the go with the pressure shower
Pressure showers are camping showers whose water containers remain on the ground but can still deliver a shower jet without power. The necessary pressure for a shower beam is usually generated via a small manual (foot) pump, which ensures that an overpressure is created in the container, which pumps the shower water through the hose to the shower.
A whole new invention comes complete without manual pumps and without electricity. The Rinse Kit camping shower uses pressure in the house's water pipe. The entire water system in the house is under a supply pressure, which is usually between 2 and 2.5 bar depending on the water supplier and the location in the grid. With this pressure, the Rinse Kit is “loaded,” creating an acceptable shower beam for at least a few minutes.
Unfortunately, Rinse Kit is always dependent on a water house connection, which somewhat restricts its use for rooftop tent nomads that travel away from civilization.
Showering on the way with the submersible pump shower
A submersible pump is a transportable or stationary (gyro) pump, which is immersed in the liquids to be transported. In the case of the shower, it is water – unless you are planning something more exciting.
Submersible pumps for camping use are powered by 12V. The usually very narrow and handy submersible pumps are completely sunk in a water storage canister (or bucket), so that only the water hose and the electrical pipe sticks out of the water. All voltage-leading parts are insulated against the environment.
You can connect a shower head to the water hose. Most of the submersible pumps for camping needs are already equipped with a shower and a switch. Often there is a hook and a suction cup, so you can also attach it to the car.
The liter performance moves from about 10 l/min to 20 l/min – although faster water production is not always better. Unless you have very large water supplies.
If it's really warm in the summer, you don't even need to warm up the water. At colder temperatures, simply briefly put on a pot of water and tip into the container of cold water.
Rooftop tent nomad Sven even uses water from a lake or river for 80%, rarely sacrificing drinking water from the canisters.
Sometimes you don't even need a container to do that. Rooftop tent nomad Lea , for example, does it this way: she stands in a stream, fixes the pump with her foot so it doesn't drift away and “off goes the refreshment.”
Showering on the way with the Aqua2go cleaner
The Aqua2go is a multifunctional, highly effective and versatile cleaning device, water tank and shower in one. Actually intended as a high-pressure cleaner, it is great to use as a shower. Even a shower head is already included.
Rooftop tent nomad Robert travels a lot on a mountain bike and gets dirty very often. With the high-pressure mobile cleaner, he cleans his shoes, rubber boots and the bike.
To shower, you simply heat water with your cooker and mix it with cold water, or you use the warm water from your solar shower or water bag.
The washing up can also be done wonderfully with it. And if you are back home, Robert tells us, you can also use it for planting on the balcony.
Showering on the way with the heat exchanger
It is a bit more expensive to install, but if you want to tinker and be independent of the sun, you should take a look at this concept of THE SUNNYSIDE .
The rooftop tent nomads Phil and Karo have built a heat exchanger into the cooling water system of their Defender “Willi” and show in this video how they did it exactly.
Using a heat exchanger that the two have placed in the fender of their Willi, the existing heat of the cooling water is released to the shower or drinking water. With a submersible pump, the water from a suitable container is extracted through the continuous heater. If you add another switch, you can regulate the water flow perfectly, and not just shower with the water.
Showering on the go with the hot water boiler
Showers with hot water boiler are probably one of the most luxurious variants of the mobile outdoor showers.
In principle, they function like a run-through heater at home. The water is extracted from a water tank via a submersible pump and heated with the help of a gas burner in the heat exchanger of the device. A normal camping gas bottle is connected for firing. The ignition and submersible pump are powered via the cigarette lighter.
If you have enough space, and have to transport gas in large gas bottles for cooking anyway, such a purchase is certainly worthwhile for you. A separate, controllable and constantly warm shower outdoors – what more would you want?
Why you should definitely switch shower providers
Once you no longer own a shower, you're switching showers on a regular basis. It's been 2 years now since I moved into the car, and I haven't regretted that, nor the fact of not owning a shower anymore.
I'm a friend of the thought of sharing. Shared joy is double joy.
How many things of daily life do we own, and yet rarely use it or even not at all? Why do we all need a car when it's just in the garage? Why does everyone in the neighborhood need a lawnmower and a hedge scissors?
In some areas of life, sharing has already found its way: cars can be shared, apartments can be shared (Airbnb) and bicycles or motorcycles can also be shared. So why not showers?
There are also many advantages to the whole thing: Many items could be “exploited” much better if we share them. By sharing, you save costs and ultimately also space.
But there is a much more valuable aspect: by sharing, we come into contact with other people. Connections and relationships are established. Maybe even new friendships. Why does couch surfing work so well? Because it's more than just spending the night. It's about togetherness, about contact, about sharing.
If we can say goodbye to the idea of wanting ownership and using goods exclusively, then completely new possibilities are opening up.
Sharing showers is then no longer just body cleaning. Showers become an experience. A new body feeling emerges, showering is suddenly adventure and experience at once, epitome of sport and part of leisure – or is simply there to consciously let go, relax and chill.
I wish you a lot of fun trying it out!
Greetings from the Rooftop,
- Über den Autor
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Thilo Vogel ist Dachzeltnomade mit Leib und Seele. Seit Juni 2016 lebt er Vollzeit in seinem Ford Mondeo mit Dachzelt: 24/7 und 365 Tage im Jahr – wenn er nicht gerade auf Kreta in einem Nissan Micra wohnt. Thilo ist Maschinenbauingenieur, Fotograf und Abenteurer. Er ist Gründer der Dachzeltnomaden und ihr kreativer & strategischer Kopf. Irgendwann, wenn das Reisen wieder möglich ist, wird er zu seinem nächsten großen Abenteuer aufbrechen: Einmal mit einem VW Käfer von Feuerland nach Alaska. Mit Dachzelt versteht sich.