Options For a Van Life Shower

Did you know that the average American spends over 100 hours a year showering? If you love the open road and the freedom of camper van life, that's time away from exploring. However, there are options for getting clean and pristine without sacrificing adventure time.

In this article, we will explore an array of van life shower ideas, including portable camping showers, gym memberships, public swimming pools and beach showers, friends and family, campgrounds, as well as installing a shower in your camper van. We understand that being able to maintain cleanliness while living on the road is important to you. After all, it's essential for staying healthy, feeling refreshed and maintaining your vitality, so we've done our homework to bring you a variety of practical solutions. So sit back, relax, and take a few moments to let us guide you through some thoughtful ways of cleaning up while getting outdoors.

Inspiration for a Camper Van Shower

Being a van life nomad, the idea of van showers and being fresh and clean can be daunting. But there are plenty of ways to have camper van bathrooms on the road, and enjoying the privacy of showering in your camper van. One option is to install a van life shower inside, such as a wet bath or van shower with a shower pan. However, if you don't want to go through the expense of installing a full bathroom with plumbing and electrical needed to support an onboard hot water heater, solar showers, Road Showers, Rinse Kits, Geyser Showers, and Sea to Summit showers are great alternatives to an indoor shower when you want a hot shower. You can also find showers at gyms or recreation centers, as well as other locations. Keep reading for more bathroom ideas and how to make outdoor portable showers work for your van shower needs.

Woman standing in a van next to a sink

You can have it all, including an onboard shower.

Portable Camping Showers

If you're looking for a van life shower to stay cleansed and revived while on the road, portable camping showers are a game-changer. All you need is water, a hose and shower heads to enjoy a refreshing outdoor experience. These systems come in various shapes and sizes, with some even having built-in water heating elements if a hot shower is a necessity. Portable showers are especially useful for van life since finding reliable shower sites on the road can be difficult. Plus, who doesn't love an outdoor shower with stunning views? Next up, we'll explore solar van life shower ideas for keeping clean while living your best van life.

Solar Powered Shower

So you're living the van life but don't want to sacrifice your daily shower routine? Look no further than the sun for an eco-friendly, cost-effective solar shower to clean up on the road. Solar shower bags can be filled with water, left in the sun to heat up their black exterior, and then used with the attached hose and shower heads to have a van life shower while conserving flow. Although a solar shower is lightweight, portable and easy to take on the road as a camper shower, a solar shower bag does lack water pressure. Prefer an indoor shower or need more consistent heated water than a solar shower can provide? Other van life shower ideas include a tankless water heater or investing in a gym membership to access their showers.

Gym Memberships

Looking for convenient van life shower ideas without taking up valuable space? Signing up for a gym membership such as Planet Fitness offers members access to showers in over 2,000 locations nationwide. Some gyms even offer hair dryers and towels so you can get ready without packing extra gear. If gyms aren't your thing, consider visiting friends or family who may let you use their shower. If you're off-grid without access, public swimming pools and beach showers can be good alternatives.

People at a gym

Planet Fitness has 2,400+ clubs in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada, Panama, Mexico and Australia.

Public Swimming Pools and Beach Showers

Want to stay clean on the road without the need for a camper van bathroom? Check out public swimming pools and beach showers for affordable, convenient shower access. Many pools offer day passes or pay-per-use options to shower, while beach showers (albeit cold in many cases) can provide free rinse-off stations near popular destinations. Although they may not always offer complete privacy or temperature control, these public showers can be a practical solution for van life shower needs. When combined with other alternatives like gym memberships, portable showers, or wet wipes, you can achieve a comfortable level of hygiene without sacrificing your budget or lifestyle. Speaking of alternatives, another option worth exploring is roadside rest stops and truck stops that often have decent bathroom facilities available 24/7. With these tips in mind, you can keep yourself fresh and clean while enjoying the freedom of van life on the open road.

Roadside Rest Stops and Truck Stops

If you're traveling on the road and need a refreshing break, roadside rest stops and truck stops like Pilot/Flying J can provide clean showers for a small fee. These showers offer a convenient option for van lifers who are in need of hot water or just a quick rinse. However, it's important to note that some facilities may only offer cold water showers. It's also wise to bring your own shower supplies, such as shampoo and soap, as they may not be provided at these locations. Additionally, be sure to budget for these fees when planning your trip. In addition to public facilities, friends and family can also be a great resource for van lifers in need of showering options on the road.

Pilot/Flying J travel centers

Pilot/Flying J travel centers have hot showers available for a fee.

Friends and Family

For road warriors looking for showering alternatives, friends and family can provide a convenient option, with 70% of van lifers reporting using their loved ones' facilities while on the road. If you have friends or family members living in the areas you visit, consider asking if you can use their facilities. It's a great way to catch up with loved ones while staying clean on the road. However, be respectful of their space and time and don't overstay your welcome. If you're not comfortable asking for a full shower, consider asking if you can fill up your water tank or take a quick rinse-off outside with a portable shower like the Geyser Systems Portable Shower or RinseKit Portable Shower. Additionally, some friends may offer to let you park your van in their driveway overnight so that you can utilize their bathroom facilities as needed. While it's important to conserve water while living in a camper van, having access to showers at friends' houses can provide an opportunity for a more thorough cleaning when necessary. When visiting friends or family members, be sure to express gratitude and offer something in return for their hospitality. To continue finding alternative options for staying clean on the road, consider checking out campgrounds and RV parks where showers are readily available without imposing on others' personal spaces.

Campgrounds and RV Parks

While visiting friends and family or using outdoor showers are great options for staying clean during van life, sometimes a more traditional shower is desired. Luckily, many campgrounds have showers for use by guests. Not only do these facilities provide access to hot water and clean shower stalls, but they also allow you to conserve your own van's shower water for longer trips. When utilizing campground or RV park showers, it's important to remember to bring your own toiletries and towels. Additionally, some facilities may charge a nominal fee for usage or limit the amount of time allowed in the shower. Overall, utilizing these amenities for showers can be a convenient and cost-effective option for maintaining personal hygiene on the road.

Tips when using campground/RV park showers:

  • Bring toiletries/towels
  • Be aware of fees/time limits
Dakine's Revival Kit for all your toiletries, shown in Cascade Camo.

Dakine's Revival Kit for all your toiletries, shown in Cascade Camo.

Pros of using campground/RV park showers include:

  • Access to hot water
  • Clean shower stalls
  • Conserves your fresh water

Installing a Shower in Your Van

Looking to add a touch of luxury to your mobile lifestyle? Consider installing a shower in your rig for the ultimate on-the-go spa experience. While it may seem like a daunting task, there are plenty of resources available for those interested in adding this feature to their van. Start by researching different types of showers and layouts, such as tray/drawer showers or under-counter options, to find the best fit for your space and needs. Consider investing in a portable shower head or tankless water heater for hot showers on demand. With a little bit of plumbing know-how and some careful planning, you can have the convenience and comfort of a shower inside your van. Plus, having this feature can make it easier to stay clean while on the road and save money by avoiding paid campsite showers.

Conclusion: While installing an indoor van shower may not be feasible in a small space or necessary for everyone, it is certainly an option worth considering if you value convenience and comfort while traveling.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you winterize a water system in a van to prevent hoses from freezing?

To winterize a water system in your van, start by draining all the water from the tanks and lines. Then, use compressed air to blow out any remaining water. It's important to disconnect the water heater and bypass it during this process. Next, add RV antifreeze to the system using a hand pump or similar tool. Run each faucet until you see pink-colored antifreeze coming out, which signals that it has filled the entire system. Remember to also winterize any outdoor shower connections. By taking these steps, you'll protect your van's plumbing from freezing temperatures and ensure a functional water system when warmer weather returns.

What are some alternatives to using an indoor van shower?

Looking for alternatives to using an indoor van shower? There are plenty of options that can save you money, space and hassle. Quick wipe downs with a microfiber towel or Kleen Freak body wipes can keep you clean without the need for a full shower. Outdoor showers or visiting friends and family who have showers can also be viable options. Additionally, campgrounds, RV parks, recreation centers, and gyms often provide readily accessible shower facilities. If you prefer a portable option, the NEMO Helio shower is a cheap and compact outdoor shower that is pressurized via a foot pump while Geyser Systems Portable Shower has a built-in heater and only uses one gallon of water for up to 15 minutes of usage. By exploring these alternatives, you'll have more flexibility in your van life while staying fresh and clean.

What are some budget-friendly options for adding a shower to a van?

Looking for budget-friendly options to add a shower to your van? Consider the pull-out shower, which can be tucked away when not in use and easily accessible when needed. Another option is the DIY bug or weed sprayer van life shower, which utilizes a spray nozzle attached to a pressurized tank for outdoor showers. For on-demand hot water, try a tankless water heater. And don't forget Klean Freak wet wipes for quick cleanups on the go. With these practical and resourceful solutions, you can enjoy the freedom of van life without breaking the bank.

Klean Freak body wipes in a variety of scents.

Klean Freak body wipes in a variety of scents.

Can a toilet also function as a shower in a van?

Looking for a practical and resourceful way to save space in your van? Consider using a toilet that doubles as a shower. While it may not be the most conventional option, it can provide convenience and functionality for those living on the road. With portable showers readily available, such as the Geyser Systems Portable Shower or solar showers like Sea to Summit, you can easily find an alternative for outdoor cleaning while still having access to a toilet inside your van. This solution allows you to maximize your space and simplify your build-out without sacrificing necessary amenities.

How can you find free public showers when living in a van?

Looking for free public showers when living in a van can be challenging, but it is possible. One option is to search for campgrounds or RV parks that offer shower facilities. Recreation centers and gyms are also great options, as many of them have day-use rates for their facilities. Another possibility is to ask friends or family if you can use their shower occasionally. If none of these options work for you, consider investing in portable showers like the Geyser Systems Portable Shower or the RinseKit Portable Shower, which do not require a fixed water source and can be used anywhere. Additionally, quick wipe downs with baby/body wipes can help keep you clean between full showers.

Geyser Systems Portable Shower

Geyser Systems Portable Shower


So there you have it. You've discovered a plethora of van life shower ideas to keep you clean and refreshed no matter where the road takes you. From portable camping showers and solar showers to gym memberships and public swimming pools, there's something for everyone.

Woman standing proudly next to a van with brutrek.com label

There's nothing like waking up clean and refreshed, ready for coffee.

Imagine waking up in your cozy van on a chilly morning, stepping out into the fresh air with a hot cup of coffee in hand, and feeling the warm water from your portable shower wash over you as you gaze out at breathtaking scenery. Or picture yourself enjoying a refreshing swim at the beach or pool before using their outdoor showers to rinse off all that saltwater and sand.

With these showering options for van life, staying clean on the go has never been easier or more enjoyable. So pack your bags, hit the road, and explore all that this beautiful world has to offer – without sacrificing your personal hygiene!