Due to the parade of frankly clueless campers marching in to the facilities block will armfulls of all sorts of toot in Kirkwall I feel the need to impart the rules of showering when camping for general enlightenment.
What qualifies me to spout forth on this topic? In more than 40 years of camping I reckon there is no shower situation that could take me by surprise or leave me underprepared to get wet and clean.
Some of my most memorable camping showering scenarios:
• The hosepipe attached to the cow shed in Devon with the freezing torrent 🥶🥶🥶
• The stinging of 2 jets of high pressure hot water soaking everything including my sunburn in Brittany. 🔥🔥
• The lack of hanging space almost everywhere 😟
• The heated building in Montreuil 😌
• The Belgian 2 second squirt 😡
• The dark Spanish cave smaller than a phonebox 🌚
• The fijian al fresco seawater shower 🌊
• The token operated loveliness in Zuydcoote 🌡
• The Dutch sponge fest that you had to pay for 🧽🧼
• A dash in torrential rain to facilities in Franz Josef, NZ 🌧🌧
• Coin operated mockeries – to be avoided ⛔⛔
• Countless dirty, cold, cramped, underwhelming and inconvenient cubicles elsewhere 🙄
• And of course the platypus/solar shower/colapz arrangements fashioned when all else fails or is unavailable. 😁
So what are the rules of campsite showering according to LJ? Very simple.
1. Check out the facilities before you need them so you know what to expect. Mother would be mortified if she thought facilities were going unapproved. A test fire of the push button (if you can do it without getting wet) is always a good shout to check the reach of the spray, as is a turn around in the space to see if you are going to graze elbows and knees getting undressed. Are their hooks or shelves or whatever? Enquiring minds want to know. Going in relatively soon after they have been cleaned is a winner, as is using the resident squeegee and etc to make sure you leave it at least as clean as you found it.
2. Take one bag and one towel that you can hang up. It might be a purpose built adventure kit, or it might be a plastic carrier bag (equally valid – and useful when there’s a rogue squirting showerhead) but there is always one hook or at least a door handle where ever you are. You may have a collection of towels to rival the Queen (mother I’m looking at you) but don’t be tempted to take a domestic bath towel camping. Microfibre or Hammam towels are lighter, quicker drying and take up less space. No brainer.
3. Take the minimum amount of stuff in with you. I cannot stress this enough. This includes clothes. Ideally this means go and come back in the same clothes, preferably one item of clothing – a shower dress, which hangs up easily and is quick to get on and off is perfect. Shorts if you’re a bloke, obvs. Always wear flip flops/Crocs to not slip and against sandy/mucky/grassy floors. You can get changed/sort out your hair etc in the comfort of your own camping “unit” when you are clean. If you’re in a teeny 2 man tent with no head room you may disagree, but then you did decide to camp with this set up, so you can make it work. But what if it’s cold/raining? Don’t be tempted to go against rule 3. At the most a cagoule is acceptable, and run there and back! In the unlikely and frankly laughable situation where you feel you need to put on a full length trouser directly, you will need to master the under chin/hoisted leg cuff manoeuvre. I’m not teaching you either, it’s your own fault for being wantonly stupid and you deserve moist ankles to teach you a lesson.
There is no more sure-fire way of dampening the camping experience than having an unsatisfactory shower. Stick to the rules above, complete other ablutions separately and make the most of your own (or other) comfortable environments as much as possible. Some campsite showers are beautiful, luxurious, spacious and clean, but the rules apply here as much as anywhere else.
And whilst on the subject, always listen out for a Kronenbourg fuelled lion in the next cubicle 🦁 🦁🦁
If you’re the kind of person who can’t embrace the above and absolutely needs a trolley full of “products” and apparatus to feel that you’re presentable to the world then I would surmise that camping is not for you. However, in the event of preferring or having to create your own shower scenario, the colapz/tent arrangement below is the best DIY solution I have tested for warmth, comfort and result. The fact that it needs a bit of set up and water warming is worth it.
These are my final words on the matter. You know it makes sense.