Posts Tagged ‘survival shower’

PostHeaderIcon Off grid bathing compared to a long hot shower

I have been fully off the grid now for about 3 months. I provide my own heat, electricity, water and waste disposal. It was quite a challenge at first and a total life adjustment. When you do not have unlimited electricity and water at your disposal, the way you live needs to change some. But on the other hand, when storms knock out power to thousands of homes, life goes on as usual in the off grid home.

I have seen people around here loose power two times in three months. In the country with a lot of trees and lightning strikes, storms take out power quite often. Almost every family has a backup generator on hand. It is a nice feeling to head into town to do some shopping and see that a storm took out the power and I did not even know it.

But one thing that I do miss is a long, hot shower. Having 30 gallons of hot steaming water gushing all over you is so nice. This weekend I stayed at a friend’s place and took my first shower in months. It was so awesome! Dont get me wrong, I have been clean. Maybe even cleaner than ever because I have to wash by hand now instead of letting the water do the job for me. In the off grid camper I heat up water on the stove top. Then I fill a 14 inch square container with water in the sink and pour the heated water in to warm up the water temperature.

Here is the process of off grid bathing. Dunk the head in and wash your hair. Rinse hair with a cup, pouring water over your head while you work the soap out. Then use a wash cloth for the rest of your body. Work from the top down. You can stick your feet in the water last to get them nice and clean.

In this way you can get bathed off the grid on about a gallon of water. Having grown up camping, this is nothing unusual or uncomfortable. It does take some getting used to at first though if you have never done it.

In the Army I bathed with a single quart of water most of the time when we were out in the field on maneuvers. Pour a tiny bit of water on yourself to get wet. Lather with soap. Rinse very carefully and slowly, making sure to get the soap out well. Pour the water over your head, letting it rinse you off.

Another option is to fill up a camp shower with hot water and have a real shower if you prefer. Coleman sells a camp shower for about $7. It is simply a black rubber bag with a shower head on it. You can fill it and leave it out in the sun to heat it up for free. Or you can put hot water in it if you prefer not to wait. Anyway, you can get a shower with a gallon of water. The easiest way is to simply hang the camp shower in the camper or RV shower stall so all the water goes down the drain neatly. Or you can set up a portable outdoor shower room, also available at camping stores.

I am working on an idea to have running water in my off grid shower. I plan to set up a sort of water filter and an insulated storage tank with a water pump. The pump will push water through the normal shower head. The drain will be routed to drain water into a water filter. Then a pump will push the water back up and through the shower head. In this way you could shower as long as you like as long as the water stays reasonably warm.

An upgrade to this would be to have the ability to heat the water back up as it travels through the circuit. Maybe route the wood stove water boiler heating pipes back to the shower area and use a heat transfer coil to heat the shower water. That would allow unlimited shower times with about a gallon of water.

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