Designing the Van Part 40 – Taking an Outdoor Shower

I’d acquired two 10 litre solar showers through the medium of online transactions and upon their arrival had left them out in the sun with belies full of cold water. By the end of the afternoon they had both produced reasonably warm results, certainly warm enough to enjoy without need of a shiver afterwards.

To complete the job I wanted a space to shower in that would spare us from wandering and over curious eyes. So back to eBay it was then.

Chris McCandless built a shower out of an old tin can by drilling holes in the bottom of it and hanging it from a tree. He filled it at the river and placed a piece of metal in the bottom to stop it leaking while he heated it on an oil drum converted into a stove.

What Chris McCandless didn’t have to worry about was people watching him as he was 30km from the nearest road when he settled into his great Alaskan adventure.

Fortunately for us we wouldn’t have to rely on the leftovers of trappers and hunters but I was looking for that kind of ingenuity.

A few years back my parents bought me one of the first pop-up tents made by Quechua and both my brother and I had been the envy of every camp site and festival we visited. No more pitching poles, spreading ground sheets and wresting with outer skins in windy conditions; just open it, throw it and peg it.

My thoughts wandered to that tent as I searched for a solution to our privacy booth conundrum and then a friend told me about pop-up changing rooms used on photo shoots. My search began and ended on the internet where I found the perfect thing – a pop-up cubicle.

The £35.00 price tag didn’t bother me, I had to have this pop-up gem.

In the build up to receiving the showers and the cubicle I added a hinged arm to the side of the van from which the shower would hang. I had to shorten the shower hose otherwise it was going to be crouchy washes and aching backs.

I waited for a warm day to test the whole thing and after having a right game with the pop-up shower room (the pop-up bit was a cinch but getting it back in the bag was a painful, harrowing nightmare that brought forth a torrent of previously unheard combinations of curses and expletives) I was ready to go.

I hung the shower from the roof of the shed and crept inside the cubicle. On went the tap and out trickled a few drops of tepid water. Great. Not the power shower I’d hoped for but with a little adjustment I had it flowing quite smoothly.

I was all set for a life of foldaway bathroom duties in the wild.

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