Is someone sniffling?
All about showering and hygiene when travelling.
Of course we don't smell! The daily shower is part of every road trip for us. Especially since we usually work up a sweat or two during the day with various sporting activities. Going to bed dirty is somehow yikes. The easiest way to solve the problem is to stay at a campsite and have barrier-free access to a hot shower. It's a different story if you're travelling in the wasteland and the next campsite is miles away. Or you have to spend the night detached to restore your driving ability.
There are three possibilities:
1. The motorhome has an integrated shower with grey water tank,
2. the camper is equipped with an outdoor shower or
3. one has a so-called solar shower (a dark plastic bag filled with water and, with sufficient foresight, placed in the sun during the day).
Eco shower gel
In the first case, one can quite comfortably achieve the desired hygiene. Provided you dispose of the grey water properly at a disposal point, there is not much to think about. In the latter two cases, however, care must be taken to ensure that one does not stand in any water or nature conservation areas when showering accordingly. The use of biodegradable shower gel is suitable here. Since the shower water is inevitably not "collected" but seeps away, this is a must. I make our own shower gel. This way I can ensure that neither substances containing mineral oil nor additives such as microplastics are carried into the environment. As far as water consumption is concerned, the two of us can easily get by with 30 litres for 24 hours. The estimated consumption is about 20 to 25 litres. That means cooking breakfast / dinner including washing up, brushing teeth in the morning / evening and showering for two people. Since we do not use any chemicals for the fresh water, the water does not stand for too long.
Besides the ecological aspect, which is still quite easy to handle, the infrastructure for showering sometimes poses a much bigger problem. In a world that is rather densely populated in our latitudes, a discreet spot, ideally sheltered from the wind, cannot always be found straight away. Fortunately, as time goes by, one is less and less hesitant, so that with the right parking angle, a shower in the curve of the Brünig Pass or on Christmas Eve just above freezing point at 2000 m. a.s.l. on the Etna plateau is also no problem.
The perfect spot
Basically, studying a satellite map is helpful when looking for a suitable spot. With the solar shower, you are almost more flexible than with the outdoor shower on the camper, as you can simply take your shower to a suitable spot. Otherwise, sports fields or recycling centres are usually located outside the settlement area and offer a good place to start. Even on hikers' car parks or in pass bends in general, proper parking can ensure sufficient privacy to shower in a reasonably relaxed manner. We are now hardcore and don't shy away from a shower even in winter, although as far as washing my hair is concerned, I simply can't do without warm water. While with a short hairstyle the cold doesn't seem to go to the marrow, with long hair you get an unpleasant chill. I help myself by having a washing-up bowl and boiling a pot of hot water in advance. With a mug as an aid, one can then pursue physical hygiene under humane conditions.
All in all, the need always depends on the time of year you are travelling and what you use to pass the time during the day. If you're near a river or lake, it might be enough just to take a dip in it - without shower gel, please! And depending on how remote you are, curious coincidences can happen. Once in September, when we were on the high plateau of Castelluccio di Norcia, a couple of very friendly locals got us hot water for our solar shower after dinner. It's rare to have such a great shower in the middle of nowhere! Apart from that, it's also worth looking for swimming pools. There you can usually "only" take a shower for a small amount of money. And if all else fails, wet wipes and homemade dry shampoo (recipe follows!) belong in every camper's toilet bag.
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