View Full Version : Mini Shower & Laundry on the Trail

Wander Yonder
12-24-2002, 01:53
After reading all the stories about people not having showers for days on the trail, especially in summer, I have decided to take a 2 liter sunshower with me (weighs 3 ounces).

I have used it a lot camping and you can really feel clean that way. I mix camp soap in my drinking cup with water for shampoo, and have my cooking pot filled with warm water. I open the shower and just wet my hair, then turn it off, and pour the soapy water from my cup onto my hair. There's enough in there to get two good latherings. Then I rinse my hair with the shower. Next I put camp soap on my cotton hankie, dunk in the water in the pot, and wash down with that, then rinse with the shower. There's just enough water in the shower to get all the soap off.

It makes me feel like a new person -- and really lifts my spirits!

You could wash up without the shower, but I find that I usually end up skipping the shampoo when I don't have the shower. And clean hair feels SO good.

I also ordered a 6 liter food bag (weighs 3 oz.) from Campmor, which is basically just a heavy plastic bag with handles. I will use it to carry water and also as a laundry basin to hand wash shorts, shirts, socks and undies when the weather will permit drying.

I think those two items will make the hike a lot more pleasant for me.

The shower and food (water) bag together weighs about what a package of Wet Wipes weigh and they are reusable.

Hope these ideas are useful.... but I guess the 6 ounces means it won't do for ultralighters! :D

12-24-2002, 02:11

It sounds great on paper (or "on forum"??)! I have to say though that it will be interesting to see how long you carry that set up and how often you actually use it. If you are thru-hiking and doing 20+ miles a day I suspect you will be mostly too tired to bother with cleaning up that much. I could be wrong though! Maybe you can make your trail name "Cleaning Lady." :D

You will probably find that a quick dip in the creek will leave you pretty well refreshed feeling. And if you can go one day without a shower or shampoo, you can do 18..it's just a few one day, no shower days done back to back. :eek:

You'll have fun regardless of your shower frequency though I am sure!

12-24-2002, 03:06
might just as well take a dip in the creek cause if your hiking all day there really isnt any way to keep the sunshower in the sun long enuff to heat up. so you could prolly get away with just using the waterbag since your gonna be water in it anyway. Streamweaver

Wander Yonder
12-24-2002, 04:02
Well, if it doesn't work, it won't be the first plan of mine that didn't pan out in real life!

But it's such a nice idea! :D

12-24-2002, 08:37
For what it's worth, I didn't see anyone with a solar shower on the AT.

Myself, I sure enjoyed a quick dip in the creek, stream, or pond. I really looked forward to this on a daily basis (and sometimes twice a day) while hiking Maine in August.

12-24-2002, 11:58
Hi Sharon,

Hey girl go for it, it is your hike and don't let others discourage you. I did not see anyone else with a shower either but then I did not see anyone else shave out beside the tent either like I did. Or for that matter I never saw any others getting a haircut in town but I know some that did besides myself. At any rate, hike your own hike and do it your way.. You will not be sorry for doing it even if others don't... That is what I like most about hiking everyone is different and you can be as you want to be and do as you want to do.
Even though you will find quickly that most do not do their own hike, they get into a crowd and sort of follow along, which is to me a waste of time, since I am out there to get away from the crowd and all the social gatherings and parties. Just my 2 cents.... others will have their own ideas and that is ok.... Just do it your way and enjoy the trip of a lifetime. Sincerely, Ed Happy Trails....

Wander Yonder
12-24-2002, 12:38
Peaks, I don't plan to pass ANY decent looking streams in summer! Kind of like getting to be a kid again, isn't it? :)

Ed, I think a mini shower would be a special treat at the end of the day, even if I dunked in streams along the way. I am really working to make this hike a special thing for me. I am planning to soak in as much of the scenery as I can, concentrate on enjoying the journey itself, and am not worried about high mileage days.

I'm 54 and will turn 55 on the trail, so to me just getting out there is a biggie, and I am counting on the "tortoise and the hare" principle getting me to Katahdin!

I also want my hike to be basically a solo thing, but I do hope I meet a few good friends to hike with occasionally. I know that if I don't keep my goals in mind, I might end up with a group who isn't into the wilderness "mystique" and miss what I am going out there for.

If the people on this board are any indication of the people I will meet on the trail, it is going to be wonderful.

12-24-2002, 13:42

That sounds great and I am sure you will have a wonderful time. I am 55 already and still hiking and love it. I thru hiked the AT when I was 52 and it was the most rewarding experience of my life. Yes, most of the people here on this board are typical of the ones you will meet along the trail and they are a special breed for sure. I do hope your hike will be all you expect and then some. Mine was and I will never be the same again. It does take a lot of commitment and determination to make it, probably the most difficult thing you have ever attempted but you can do it if you hang in there. It was the most difficult thing I had ever done, even beyond 18 months in southeast Asia where I first learned about a backpack. At any rate, it is more of a mental challenge for a thru hiker, the physical will be difficult for the first month or so, but then it is mostly mental and all the sacrafices you are making to keep going. It is difficult but you can do it, I am sure.. If you have any questions and concerns post them here and I am sure you will get plenty of answers. Happy Trails. Sincerely, Ed

12-26-2002, 10:33
The only one I saw on the trail was being carried by a guy named Double Stuff. He had just sold two dot.coms for good money, dropped everything, and went to an outfitter. "Hi, I'm going to hike the AT, what do I need?" I think the the salesguy licked his lips and sold him one of everything in the store giving him his nickname. He hiked from Big K to Moson with a 70-80 lb pack. Dropped some stuff there, but he still had the solar shower when we met up with him 1 day South of Monson. Not sure if he finished, caught his name in a register in the Shennies on our drive back home though. HIs pack was down to 30 lb. I'm sure the Solar Shower was not part of it.

01-06-2003, 17:27
when weather permits I bath along the trail regularly...In the past I carried a collapsable plastic bucket...I would fill this at the h20 source and make sure that I moved well away..would take my cooking pot and use as a dipper and just dump the h20 over my head...soap up with a small amount of doc bronner's starting at the top and washing down..then use the cooking pot to dip and rinse ..or just pour the rest of the bucket over my head...cold and refreshing...lots of folks would borrow the bucket and go scrub up themselves..we even made CHOCOLATE MARSHMELLOW of 2000 take abath before we let him in the shelter for the night...I now carry a 6 liter platypus tank which should work as well as the bucket...also good for transorting water from spring to kitchen area..for cooking ...and camp use ...well worth it's weight.