You take a shower just like you would when camped at an RV Park with full hookups. Taking a shower while boondocking doesn’t have to be any different. However, most full time boondockers prefer to do things differently.
How to Take a Shower when Boondocking
First consider that most full time boondockers prefer to keep their RV camped for as many days as possible in the same spot. Therefore, conserving water becomes an important step towards achieving this goal. Also, the faster their gray tank fills up, the faster they will be forced to vacate their campsite and head to an RV dump.
Also consider that boondockers love the challenge of efficiency. They want to conserve more, spend less, re-purpose stuff, and get by with as little as possible. This is often why boondockers employ unconventional practices with showering.
“Navy style” showers is the common method of showering. This means turning on the water just long enough to get your hair and body wet. Then turn off the water. Now, shampoo first, followed by washing your body. Turn the water back on and rinse everything off. Turn off the water immediately. Why shampoo first? Because if you were to wash your face with soap first, you’ll have to keep your eyes closed while reaching for the shampoo. It’s just easier the other way.
How Often Should You Shower When Boondocking?
It’s rare for boondockers to shower every day. In fact, most only shower once every few days, and others once a week. It really just depends on each boondocker’s comfort level and how much water they have in their tanks.
Many boondockers tend to remain alone and thereby don’t feel the need to clean up. Often, they only shower when they plan to go into town.
You can still shower everyday if you want. It just means you’ll use more water, and fill up your gray tank faster. If you only plan to remain camped in the same place for less than a week, and you don’t mind dumping your tanks every week, then there’s no issue with showering everyday.
Read our other article, “Can I Still Shower Everyday When Boondocking?”
Is It Necessary to Capture Shower Water in a Bin?
In the interest of limiting water into their gray tank, and for wanting to re-purpose used water, some boondockers capture shower water in a plastic tub. They often use a plastic storage bin. It’s not something most boondockers do, it’s largely done by those who want to keep their RV camped for several months without moving.
Most of the reuse is for flushing the toilet. See our other article, “Flushing the Toilet with Shower Water“.
Otherwise, if your water tank capacity and gray tank capacity is enough to last you a couple of weeks, then you probably don’t need to do this.
Showering Outside with Jugs
Believe it or not, this is more common than you think.
Boondockers that don’t have showers in their rigs will fill up a couple of 1-gallon jugs with warm water and shower outside with them. They will stand inside a large plastic bin, or on a plastic mat, or just wear flip flops, and take a shower. They first douse their hair and body with water, then wash themselves with soap and shampoo. They use the remaining jug water to rinse off.
Even boondockers that have a shower inside their RV will do this, mostly because their gray tank capacity is too small for their boondocking needs. Others will do this while standing in the shower of their RV as a way to train themselves to shower with no more than 2 gallons of water.
Most boondockers, however, do not shower with gallon jugs.
Showering at a 24 Hour Gym
This is very common, even for boondockers with showers inside their RVs.
They get a gym membership to a chain with hundreds of locations around the country, usually Planet Fitness or Anytime Fitness, and get a membership that gives them access to all of their locations.
Fitness centers and gyms that are open 24 hours a day will allow RVs to park in their lot during the late hours of the night. Many RVers will actually arrive at the gym after 10:00pm, which is when the parking lot starts clearing up. They’ll go into the gym, work out, take a shower, and then come back to their RV to sleep. They set their alarm clock early enough so that they can leave before 6:00am, when the parking lot starts to fill up again.
Read our other article, “Do People Get Dirty and Smelly When Boondocking?”