Cheap DIY Indoor/Outdoor Shower for Vanlife and Camping

There are a billion methods to avoid the funk of vanlife:

  • ($) Baby wipes or actual ($$$) bathing wipes from drug stores (look in the elder care section for the latter)
  • Using a basic sink/kitchen setup for bird bathing ($)
  • But my favorite method is this DIY shower. I could have ordered a solar shower from a big box store, but Lord knows I freaking love a project. Also, the solar shower can be limited to, well, the sun. Here’s something that gives a little more flexibility.


Time it took me to complete this project: 8-12 minutes

Here is a pressurized garden sprayer that I picked up for the cost of a personal pizza. I cut off the nozzle and attached a kitchen sprayer using a ¼” barb hose adapter. Legit insert Tab A into Slot B. That’s it! This is not a complicated thing.

I give the thing a few pumps and I have a strong, pressurized flow of water. I use this:

  • inside for washing dishes
  • outside for washing the van
  • outside for washing muddy shoes/pets/strangers
  • indoors and outdoors as a shower
  • Bonus: Since I only carry potable water, it provides backup drinking water

For ideal bathing temp, I do half boiling water and half room/air temperature water.

How I use this outside: Grab a tarp. Using heavy-duty magnets, I attach the tarp to my open back doors. This is my privacy screen.

How I use this inside: Again using my tarp and magnets, I attach the tarp to my ceiling via the tarp’s eye-hooks and magnet hooks. You’ll also need a basin or bucket the size of an oil change catcher-thing (my super cheap option is a 2ft kiddie wading pool from Dollar Tree). Make sure the bottom of the tarp (or shower curtain) falls within the basin. After clamping both side edges of the tarp together, I have an enclosed shower inside my van. REMEMBER, this only works if the tarp is long enough to go from the ceiling into the bucket.

Total cost and supplies:

I got the idea from AdventureVanMan on Youtube. Click his name to link directly to the video.

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3 responses to “Cheap DIY Indoor/Outdoor Shower for Vanlife and Camping”

  1. i made my first one of these about 20 years ago. They are great. I have used it while traveling, rafting (although a river bath is my first preference, in my wall tent while hunting (its great to take a hot shower inside the tent standing next to the wood stove) and we just dig a small trench for the waste water and the best is using it in a Walmart parking lot. I just open the truck doors and attach a tarp with spring clamps and shower away. I keep the tarp about shoulder height so I can wave and talk to folks.

    Liked by 1 person

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