How to Make a Portable Shower

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Last Updated on December 31, 2020

If you are living in a van, camping, or venture into the sea frequently, it could be a good idea to consider a portable shower.

While most campsites have on-site shower facilities, if you are wild camping a portable shower will enable you to have the small comfort of a morning scrub.

They are also incredibly useful for washing sand and salty sea water off of your body after a trip to the shore.

Freestanding Shower Cubicle

This cubicle holds itself up and is useful if you prefer a more secure feel to your shower. 

What will you need?

4 6 foot lengths of ½ inch diameter PVC piping

8 3 foot lengths of ½ inch diameter PVC piping

PVC pipe cutters

8 ½ inch PVC outlet elbows (they must have 3 holes)

2 6×8 foot vinyl tarpaulin sheets with pre-drilled grommets (holes)

Zipties

Bricks, sandbags, or something else to act as a weight

Method

Select 4 of the 3 foot PVC pipes and lay on the ground in a square shape. Using 4 of the elbows, connect these pipes to form a square base for your shower. 

Taking the 4 6 foot lengths of PVC piping, stand them up vertically at each corner of the square. These should fit into the holes on the elbows and be held securely there.

How to Make a Portable Shower

Attach the remaining 4 elbows to the top of these 6 foot pipes.

Create another square at the top with the remaining 4 3 foot PVC pipes, holding them in place with the elbows.

Turn the tarpaulin sheets on their side so that the height is 6 foot, and aligns with the height of your makeshift shower cubicle. 

Thread the zipties through each of the holes in the tarpaulin and tighten to secure to the PVC piping.

Attach the second sheet of tarpaulin in the same way, overlapping one of the edges to keep your privacy intact. 

Leave one side of the cubicle unattached to allow for you to get in and out of the shower.

Weigh the PVC base down with bricks, sandbags, or wherever you have to hand. This will keep the shower securely on the ground, even in windy weather. 

You can then use the sprayer shower inside this cubicle with no worries about exposing yourself to anyone!

Hanging Shower Cubicle

This is a useful idea if you are in a wooded area. 

What will you need?

4 3 foot sections of ½ inch diameter PVC piping

4 ½ inch PVC elbow segments (with 2 holes)

String 

Eye hook screws

Metal washers

2 6×8 foot vinyl tarpaulin sheets

Zipties 

Non-slip mat

Binder clip

Method

Connect the 3 foot sections of PVC piping in a square. Use the 4 elbows to connect this square. 

Screw an eye hook screw into each of the elbow attachments. Tie string to the hooks that are diagonally opposite one another. This means you should tie a knot of string from the top left to bottom right corners. 

The eye hook screws are important as it makes sure the string does not slide along the piping. This could minimize the structural integrity of the shower enclosure.

In the center, where the strings intersect, attach a metal washer. Use some more string to create a loop from the metal washer to attach to a tree branch. 

Attach the tarpaulin sheets to the PVC framework with zipties as you did for the freestanding cubicle. 

Due to the fact you will be subjecting the ground underneath the shower cubicle to large volumes of water, it can become slippery and dangerous. We advise placing a non-slip mat on the ground to prevent accidents from occurring. 

Use the large clip to hold the ends of the tarpaulin together for privacy. 

Spray Shower

This is a cheap and easy way to create your own portable shower for camping and traveling. The only drawback is that there is no heating element incorporated into this design. For use in the daytime and hot climates this is not a problem, however using this outdoors in the cold will be unpleasant and can potentially lead you to developing health issues.

What will you need?

A new weed or deck sprayer

A garden hose nozzle that is similar to a shower head

A garden hose barbed adapter

Small hose clamp

Method

Your first step is to remove the spray end from the deck sprayer. YOu can reserve this for future use, although it is not necessary for making the shower.

Add the garden hose adaptor to the end of the nozzle, and attach the hose clamp to the hose. 

Place the barbed end of the adapter into the garden hose. Tighten the clamp. 

Add some water to the container of the sprayer. To use, pump the deck sprayer to force water out of the end. 

DIY Propane Shower

This is similar to the spray shower but includes a heater so that the water can be warmed to a comfortable temperature. 

What will you need?

A water tank

Portable water heater

Propane canister

Shower head attachment 

12V plug-in attachment 

Method

You will first need to connect your water chamber to the portable heater. 

This will then need to be attached to the propane canister. This will allow you to heat the water before it reaches your body, making for a much more pleasurable showering experience. 

The more you turn on your propane flow, the hotter the water of your shower will be. This will use more propane though, so if it is running low too fast consider reducing the temperature or the time of your showers. 

Attach your portable heater to the power source. If you managed to get your hands on a 12V plug adaptor, this can be plugged into your car directly. This will attach to the cigarette lighter in your car.

You will then need to attach the showerhead to the water heater. 

Turn on the propane and water heater to use your portable shower.

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