Boondocking is an exciting way to experience the great outdoors and connect with nature. But what about the basics, like taking a shower? It’s not as simple as just turning on the water and lathering up. Showers in boondocking spots can range from rustic to non-existent, so it’s important to plan ahead and be prepared. In this guide, we’ll explore the different options for showering when boondocking, from campground showers to portable showers and more. Whether you’re a seasoned boondocker or just starting out, this guide will help you keep clean and comfortable while enjoying the great outdoors. So, let’s get started and explore the different ways to shower when boondocking.

What is Boondocking?

Differences between Boondocking and Traditional Camping

Boondocking is a type of camping that involves staying in remote areas without access to traditional campgrounds or RV hookups. Unlike traditional camping, boondocking is free and often involves staying in dispersed camping areas or backcountry sites. Here are some key differences between boondocking and traditional camping:

  • Location: Traditional campgrounds are usually located in developed areas with access to amenities like restrooms, showers, and electrical hookups. Boondocking sites are typically more remote and can be found in national forests, BLM lands, or other public lands.
  • Cost: Traditional campgrounds usually require a fee to camp, while boondocking is free. This makes boondocking a great option for those on a budget or looking for a more affordable camping experience.
  • Facilities: Traditional campgrounds usually have access to facilities like restrooms, showers, and dump stations. Boondocking sites may have vault toilets or other basic facilities, but they often do not have access to running water or showers.
  • Dispersal: Traditional campgrounds have designated campsites with marked boundaries. Boondocking allows for more dispersed camping, where campers can choose their own campsite rather than staying in designated areas.
  • Self-sufficiency: Traditional campgrounds often provide amenities like water and electricity, making them more convenient for those who want a more hands-off camping experience. Boondocking requires more self-sufficiency, as campers need to bring their own water and other supplies and be prepared to manage their waste.

Overall, boondocking offers a more rugged and independent camping experience, while traditional camping can be more comfortable and convenient. Both options have their own unique benefits and drawbacks, and the choice ultimately depends on personal preferences and the type of camping experience desired.

Advantages of Boondocking

Boondocking refers to the practice of camping or staying overnight in areas that are not designated as campgrounds or RV parks. This type of camping offers several advantages over traditional camping methods.

One of the primary advantages of boondocking is the cost savings. Boondocking is free or low-cost compared to traditional campgrounds, making it an attractive option for those on a budget. Additionally, boondocking allows for a more secluded and private camping experience, providing a chance to get away from the crowds and enjoy the great outdoors in peace.

Another advantage of boondocking is the flexibility it offers. Boondocking sites are often found in remote locations, allowing for a more adventurous and off-the-beaten-path camping experience. This can be a great way to explore new areas and see different landscapes. Additionally, boondocking often allows for longer stays than traditional campgrounds, providing more time to relax and enjoy the surroundings.

Boondocking also provides an opportunity to connect with nature and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Without the distractions of modern amenities, boondocking allows for a more immersive experience in the great outdoors. It also provides a chance to learn more about the environment and wildlife, making it a great educational opportunity for both adults and children.

In conclusion, boondocking offers several advantages over traditional camping methods, including cost savings, flexibility, and a more immersive experience in nature. These advantages make boondocking an attractive option for those looking to get away from it all and enjoy the great outdoors.

Finding Boondocking Sites

Key takeaway: Boondocking offers a cost-effective and secluded camping experience, with access to dispersed camping areas or backcountry sites. Advantages of boondocking include cost savings, flexibility, and a more immersive experience in nature. Finding boondocking sites involves utilizing online resources, checking with local authorities, scouting the area, and being prepared to adapt. Portable showers and public showers are alternative options for showering while boondocking. Water conservation and hygiene practices should be followed to minimize impact on the environment.

Tips for Finding Boondocking Sites

  • Utilize Online Resources: Take advantage of various websites and apps that provide information on boondocking sites. Some popular options include, Campendium, and iOverlander. These resources allow you to search for sites based on various criteria, such as location, availability, and user reviews.
  • Check with Local Authorities: Before venturing out into the wilderness, it’s a good idea to check with local authorities or ranger stations for information on designated boondocking areas. They may have maps or brochures available, and their staff can provide valuable insights into the best locations for dispersed camping in the area.
  • Scout the Area: As you’re driving through the countryside, keep an eye out for potential boondocking sites. Look for areas with ample space for parking, suitable terrain for leveling your rig, and natural features that provide privacy and seclusion. Pay attention to any signs or markers indicating restrictions or regulations, and always respect private property boundaries.
  • Utilize Social Media Groups: Join online communities or social media groups dedicated to boondocking and RV living. These groups often share information on the best locations, tips for finding suitable sites, and experiences from fellow adventurers. You may also find valuable advice from experienced boondockers who can offer suggestions based on your specific needs and preferences.
  • Be Prepared to Adapt: Finding the perfect boondocking site can sometimes be a challenge, and you may need to be flexible with your plans. Keep an open mind and be prepared to explore different areas or adjust your criteria to find suitable spots. With patience and persistence, you’ll likely discover some hidden gems that offer a truly unique and memorable camping experience.

Resources for Finding Boondocking Sites

There are several resources available for finding boondocking sites that offer shower facilities. Some of the most popular ones include:

  1. Boondockers Bible: This is a comprehensive guidebook that lists thousands of free camping locations across the United States and Canada. It includes information on the availability of shower facilities at each site.
  2. Harvest Hosts: This membership program provides access to over 1,200 wineries, breweries, and farms across the United States that offer free camping and shower facilities to members.
  3. Dispersed Camping: This is a term used to describe free camping on public lands outside of designated campgrounds. The US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management manage millions of acres of land that allow dispersed camping, and many of these sites have access to shower facilities.
  4. iOverlander: This is a user-generated database of free camping locations around the world. Users can leave reviews and ratings of each site, including information on the availability of shower facilities.
  5. AllStays: This is a mobile app and website that provides information on campgrounds, RV parks, and free camping locations. It includes information on the availability of shower facilities at each site.

By using these resources, you can find boondocking sites that offer shower facilities and plan your trip accordingly.

Boondocking Showers: Options and Considerations

Portable Showers

Portable showers are a convenient and practical option for those who enjoy boondocking. These showers are designed to be compact and lightweight, making them easy to transport and set up in remote locations.

Some popular brands of portable showers include:

  • ECOS Instant Cabin Tent Shower
  • Camplux Portable Shower
  • Aqua-Kemi Portable Shower

When choosing a portable shower, consider the following factors:

  • Weight and size: Look for a shower that is lightweight and compact, making it easy to transport and store.
  • Water capacity: Consider how much water the shower can hold and how long the shower will last.
  • Pressure: Choose a shower with a high water pressure to ensure a comfortable shower experience.
  • Durability: Look for a shower that is made with high-quality materials and is built to last.

Once you have chosen a portable shower, you will need to find a suitable location to set it up. Look for a flat, level area with good drainage and make sure to have a supply of warm water. You may also want to consider a privacy screen or other means of ensuring privacy during your shower.

In conclusion, portable showers are a great option for those who enjoy boondocking and want to maintain their hygiene while in the great outdoors. With a little research and planning, you can find a portable shower that meets your needs and allows you to enjoy a comfortable and refreshing shower experience.

Public Showers

While boondocking, access to showers may be limited, but there are options available to keep you clean and fresh. Public showers can be found at various locations such as rest stops, truck stops, and campgrounds. Here are some things to consider when using public showers:

  • Availability: Public showers are available at select locations, so it’s important to plan your route accordingly. Rest stops and truck stops may have showers, but they may not be available 24/7. Some campgrounds may also have shower facilities, but they may be reserved for guests only.
  • Cost: Public showers are typically free, but some may require a small fee or offer private showers for an additional cost. It’s always a good idea to carry some small change or bills for any potential fees.
  • Cleanliness: Public showers can vary in cleanliness, so it’s important to inspect the shower area before use. Look for signs of cleanliness, such as clean towels or soap, and take note of any visible dirt or grime. If the shower area appears dirty, it’s best to use a towel to avoid getting wet before inspecting the water itself.
  • Water Temperature: Public showers may not have temperature control, so it’s important to check the water before getting in. If the water is too hot or too cold, it may be uncomfortable to use.
  • Time Limits: Some public showers may have time limits, so it’s important to plan accordingly. Some locations may limit shower use to 10-15 minutes, so it’s important to be efficient with your time.
  • Towel Service: Public showers may or may not provide towels, so it’s important to bring your own. If towels are provided, they may be used on a rotating basis, so it’s important to check with the facility to see if they offer fresh towels.
  • Personal Items: It’s important to keep personal items safe while using public showers. Bring a small lock to secure your belongings, and avoid leaving valuable items in the shower area.

By considering these factors, you can ensure a clean and comfortable shower experience while boondocking.

Showering at Campgrounds

Showering at campgrounds is a convenient option for those who prefer to have access to basic amenities while still enjoying the great outdoors. Most campgrounds offer shower facilities that are clean and well-maintained, providing a comfortable and refreshing experience for travelers.

Some campgrounds may offer private shower stalls, while others may have communal shower areas. In either case, it is important to be considerate of others and maintain a level of privacy when using the facilities. It is also advisable to bring a towel and soap to ensure a complete and satisfying shower experience.

In addition to shower facilities, some campgrounds may also offer other amenities such as laundry facilities, restrooms, and picnic areas. These amenities can make camping more enjoyable and comfortable, and are worth considering when choosing a campsite.

When showering at campgrounds, it is important to follow any rules or guidelines that are posted. This may include restrictions on the use of soap or shampoo, as well as guidelines for conserving water. By following these guidelines, travelers can help to ensure a positive experience for themselves and their fellow campers.

Overall, showering at campgrounds is a convenient and comfortable option for those who want to enjoy the great outdoors without sacrificing basic amenities. By being considerate of others and following any rules or guidelines, travelers can have a refreshing and enjoyable shower experience while camping.

Alternative Showering Options

While camping and boondocking, showering can be a luxury that is often not available or feasible. In such cases, it is important to consider alternative showering options that can provide a sense of cleanliness and refreshment. Here are some of the most popular alternatives:

  1. Portable Shower Tents
    Portable shower tents are a convenient and private solution for outdoor showering. These tents are designed to provide a secluded and clean space for washing, while keeping the surrounding environment dry. They are usually made of durable and waterproof materials, and come with a built-in shower head and drainage system.
  2. Camp Showers
    Camp showers are compact and portable shower units that can be easily set up and used in a variety of outdoor settings. They typically consist of a small, collapsible frame that supports a shower head and a water bag. The water bag is filled with hot or cold water, depending on preference, and the shower head is attached to the frame. Camp showers are a great option for those who want a simple and efficient showering solution.
  3. Wag Bags
    Wag bags are disposable, biodegradable bags that are filled with water and used as a portable shower. They are designed to be disposed of after a single use, making them a convenient and eco-friendly option for outdoor showering. Wag bags typically come with a small shower head and a string for hanging the bag.
  4. Creeks and Rivers
    For those who are willing to venture out into the wilderness, showering in natural bodies of water such as creeks and rivers can be a refreshing and invigorating experience. This option requires some caution, as it is important to ensure that the water is clean and safe for showering. Additionally, it is important to respect the natural environment and avoid disturbing wildlife or leaving any trash behind.

Each of these alternative showering options has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the choice will depend on individual preferences and circumstances. However, with the right mindset and preparation, showering in the great outdoors can be a fun and rewarding experience.

Safety and Hygiene Tips for Boondocking Showers

Water Conservation

Water conservation is an essential aspect of boondocking showers, especially when there is limited access to water or you are in an area where water sources are scarce. It is important to use water wisely to ensure that you have enough for your needs and to minimize your impact on the environment. Here are some tips for water conservation when showering in the great outdoors:

  • Take shorter showers: Take a five-minute shower instead of a 20-minute shower. This can save up to 100 gallons of water per shower.
  • Use a water-efficient showerhead: Water-efficient showerheads are designed to conserve water while still providing a satisfying shower experience. Look for showerheads that have a flow rate of 1.5 gallons per minute or less.
  • Don’t run the water while soaping up: Instead of letting the water run while you soap up, use a bucket to rinse off. This can save up to 10 gallons of water per shower.
  • Use a camping shower: A camping shower is a portable shower that can be used anywhere, even in areas without running water. It uses a small amount of water and can be refilled as needed.
  • Use a water filter: If you are using a natural water source, such as a stream or river, make sure to filter the water before using it for showering. This will help to remove any impurities and ensure that the water is safe to use.

By following these water conservation tips, you can help to preserve the environment and ensure that you have enough water for your needs while boondocking.

Showering in Remote Locations

Showering in remote locations can be a challenge, but with the right preparation and mindset, it can also be a refreshing and rejuvenating experience. Here are some tips to keep in mind when showering in remote locations:

  • Use biodegradable soap: In remote locations, it’s important to use biodegradable soap to minimize your impact on the environment. Look for soap that is specifically labeled as biodegradable or choose natural options like castile soap.
  • Conserve water: Water is a precious resource in remote locations, so be sure to conserve as much as possible. Take shorter showers, use a water-saving showerhead, and avoid running water while brushing your teeth or washing your hands.
  • Be mindful of wildlife: When showering in remote locations, be mindful of the wildlife around you. Try to avoid showering during the peak hours of bug activity, and use insect repellent to deter biting insects. If you’re in an area with snakes, be sure to use a snake-proof shower or take your shower at a safe distance from any potential snake habitats.
  • Be prepared for extreme weather: Depending on the location, you may need to be prepared for extreme weather conditions when showering in remote locations. Make sure you have a durable, weather-resistant tent or shelter to protect you from the elements.
  • Practice Leave No Trace principles: Finally, it’s important to practice Leave No Trace principles when showering in remote locations. Make sure to pack out all of your trash and dispose of it properly, and avoid using soap or other products that may harm the environment.

By following these tips, you can safely and responsibly enjoy a shower in the great outdoors.

Staying Clean and Healthy

Boondocking showers offer a convenient way to stay clean and healthy while enjoying the great outdoors. Here are some tips to help you maintain good hygiene while using boondocking showers:

  1. Bring biodegradable soap: To minimize the impact on the environment, use biodegradable soap that will break down quickly. Avoid using products that contain harsh chemicals or synthetic fragrances.
  2. Keep your area clean: Before and after using the shower, make sure to clean up any mess you may have made. This includes wiping down the shower walls and floor with a damp cloth or sponge.
  3. Use a waterproof bag: To keep your belongings dry, use a waterproof bag to store your toiletries and other items. This will also help prevent any accidental spills or leaks from ruining your gear.
  4. Take care of your skin: The sun, wind, and cold temperatures can be harsh on your skin. Be sure to use a moisturizing soap and protect your skin with a moisturizer to prevent dryness and irritation.
  5. Avoid submerging your head underwater: To avoid the risk of bacterial and viral infections, avoid submerging your head underwater while showering. Instead, use a spray nozzle or take a bucket shower to keep your head above water.
  6. Use a towel to dry off: After showering, use a towel to dry off completely. This will help prevent any lingering moisture that could lead to mold or mildew growth on your skin or clothing.

By following these tips, you can enjoy the benefits of boondocking showers while maintaining good hygiene and reducing your impact on the environment.

Enjoying Your Boondocking Adventure

Making the Most of Your Boondocking Experience

  • Maximize Your Comfort and Convenience
    • Bring appropriate clothing and bedding for the climate and weather conditions
    • Ensure that your campsite is set up to provide adequate shelter and protection from the elements
    • Consider investing in a portable power source to keep your devices charged and ready to use
  • Embrace the Natural Environment
    • Take advantage of the opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and wildlife watching
    • Enjoy the stargazing and appreciate the night sky in a location far away from city lights
    • Practice Leave No Trace principles to minimize your impact on the environment and respect the natural surroundings
  • Connect with Nature and Fellow Campers
    • Start a campfire and share stories with fellow campers
    • Attend ranger-led programs or other events at the campground
    • Take part in communal activities such as group hikes or picnics to build connections with other boondockers
  • Explore the Local Area
    • Visit nearby attractions such as national parks, historical sites, or cultural landmarks
    • Support local businesses by shopping for groceries, souvenirs, and other supplies
    • Learn about the history and culture of the area from local residents or informational resources

Tips for a Comfortable and Memorable Boondocking Trip

Boondocking, or dispersed camping, offers a unique and rewarding experience for outdoor enthusiasts. By following these tips, you can make the most of your boondocking trip and create lasting memories.

Choose the Right Location

The first step in ensuring a comfortable and memorable boondocking trip is selecting the right location. Look for a spot that provides the necessary amenities, such as access to water, level ground, and a clear view of the sky for satellite communication. Be mindful of any local regulations and try to minimize your impact on the environment.

Prepare for Self-Sufficiency

Boondocking requires a certain level of self-sufficiency. Before setting off, make sure you have all the necessary equipment, including a reliable water source, portable shower, and a means of communication. Consider packing a first-aid kit, fire starter, and other essential supplies to ensure your safety and comfort during your trip.

Embrace the Great Outdoors

Boondocking is all about immersing yourself in nature. Take the time to explore your surroundings, observe wildlife, and appreciate the beauty of the great outdoors. Engage in outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, or stargazing to fully experience the joys of boondocking.

Plan for Convenience and Comfort

While boondocking offers a rustic and authentic experience, it’s essential to plan for convenience and comfort. Consider packing a portable stove, refrigerator, or other conveniences to make meal preparation easier. Invest in a comfortable tent or RV to ensure a good night’s sleep. By taking these steps, you can enjoy the benefits of boondocking without sacrificing comfort.

Be Respectful of Your Surroundings

Lastly, be respectful of your surroundings and fellow campers. Leave your campsite better than you found it by packing out all trash and minimizing your impact on the environment. Be considerate of other campers by maintaining a respectful distance and keeping noise levels to a minimum. By practicing these simple courtesies, you can ensure a positive experience for everyone involved.

By following these tips, you can create a comfortable and memorable boondocking trip that will leave you with lasting memories and a deep appreciation for the great outdoors.


1. What is boondocking?

Boondocking is the practice of camping or parking a recreational vehicle in areas that are not designated for camping, such as remote wilderness areas, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands, or dispersed camping sites.

2. How do you shower when boondocking?

There are several options for showering when boondocking, including using a portable shower, taking a dip in a nearby body of water, or using a water jug and a washcloth.

3. What is a portable shower?

A portable shower is a collapsible, compact shower that can be filled with water and used anywhere, including in the great outdoors. Portable showers come in a variety of sizes and designs, and some even have built-in solar panels to power the shower.

4. How do you use a portable shower when boondocking?

To use a portable shower when boondocking, first find a level area to set up the shower. Then, fill the shower with warm water and set it up according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the shower is set up, simply step inside and wash yourself as you would with a traditional shower.

5. Can you shower in a nearby body of water?

Yes, you can shower in a nearby body of water by simply submerging yourself in the water and using soap to wash yourself. This option is great for those who enjoy swimming and being in the water, but it may not be practical for those who prefer a more traditional shower experience.

6. How do you wash your hair when boondocking?

To wash your hair when boondocking, you can use a portable shower or a water jug and a washcloth. If using a portable shower, simply rinse your hair as you would with a traditional shower. If using a water jug and a washcloth, wet the washcloth with water and use it to work up a lather, then rinse your hair with the water from the jug.

7. How do you conserve water when showering when boondocking?

To conserve water when showering when boondocking, try to take shorter showers and use a water jug to rinse off instead of taking a full shower. You can also use a water-saving showerhead or a portable shower, which use less water than a traditional shower. Additionally, try to use biodegradable soap and shampoo to reduce the amount of wastewater that is produced.

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