Off-Grid Shower Systems

Off-Grid Shower Systems: Options You Should Know About

Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Off-grid living has dozens of advantages—and an equal share of disadvantages. One of these disadvantages is maintaining personal hygiene, which can be made difficult without easy access to electricity and water. 

Still, maintaining proper hygiene is one of the most important points of being off-grid, right up there with securing your food and water supply. This is because poor hygiene can lead to bacterial growth and frustrating skin conditions.

Luckily, off-grid shower systems keep seasoned adventurers and nature lovers squeaky clean. This article discusses some popular of the more off-grid shower ideas you’ll find today, as well as the importance of showering off-grid. 

Let’s get right into it! 

off-grid shower ideas

Importance of Showering Off-Grid

When going off-grid, food, shelter, and clothing are deemed the most important. Everything else—including showering—is considered a luxury, especially for a seasoned adventurer. But what if I told you that showering off-grid is just as crucial as the three aforementioned aspects? 

Showering plays an important role in maintaining personal hygiene while off-grid. It not only gives you that ever-needed boost of energy to tackle on the day but washes away bacteria and other irritants that can cause rashes and other ailments. 

Showering off-grid is essential to: 

  • Reduce muscle aches, pains, and swelling  
  • Increase blood flow 
  • Improve concentration 
  • Reduce negative feelings 
  • Improve alertness and wakefulness levels 
  • Lower stress levels 

How often you shower while off-grid is entirely up to you. Some adventurers shower at least once a day, while others shower every week. Just make sure that you shower enough to remove excess dirt and oils to maintain good hygiene. 

What Is an Off-Grid Shower and How Does It Work? 

An off-grid shower is any type of shower that works without electricity. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy; it could be a 5-gallon PVC bucket with a showerhead or a solar shower bag that soaks up daylight to heat water. 

Off-grid showers operate in different ways, so there’s no singular definition of how one works. Nevertheless, the primary function remains the same: to clean you with the use of water, pressure, and sometimes heat. 

Most off-grid showers work with the help of gravity. You’d fill a bag or bucket with water, heat it up with a battery-powered heater or solar energy, and set the reservoir above your head to clean yourself. Other off-grid showers use a foot pump or similar methods to transport water through the pipe. 

Another similarity off-grid showers share is that they’re portable. They’re small and can be moved around, allowing you to take showers wherever it’s convenient. 

How Do People Shower Off-Grid?

Here are some of the most common ways people shower off-grid:  

Gravity Fed Shower 

gravity fed showerAs the name suggests, gravity-fed showers rely on gravity for water pressure. They’re positioned above you, so there’s no actual pressure to speak of—it’s just water falling from a bucket, tank, or bag. 

The positioning of the shower bucket allows gravity to pull the water down, eliminating the need for a pump. 

Portable Hot Water Heater 

If you’re staying in an area with reliable access to water supply, a portable hot water heater might be a worthy investment. 

Portable water heaters are compact, mobile devices that produce hot water on demand that can simulate a hot shower experience outdoors. They’re equipped with internal burners that heat water as it passes through the machine. 

Most hot water heaters use propane as their energy source, but you’ll also find other power options like solar energy, electricity, or batteries for heating water.

Bucket Shower 

bucket showerBucket showers, also known as navy showers or safari showers, work by lowering a bucket to the ground, filling it up with a couple of gallons of cold or warm water, then hoisting it up to a showerhead level. 

A shower head is attached to the bottom of the bucket with a simple open-and-close mechanism to control the water flow. 

Water Pump Showers

Water pump showers are battery-powered water pumps that allow you to take outdoor showers on the go. Submerge the water pump in a bucket of water, hang it on a nearby branch, and turn the power on to spray water.   

Pressurized Off-Grid Shower 

Pressurized showers use a pressure-creating mechanism, such as a water hose, a portable tire inflator, a weed sprayer, or a foot pump, to release water. 

This is a simple shower solution but will be effective in the event you do not have access to a solar pump, an electric pump, or another energy-dependent shower system.

Garden Hose 

garden hoseIf your campsite, RV, or cabin has a faucet, you can connect the garden hose over the end and twist until the hose is firmly attached. Turn on the tap and enjoy your shower. 

Propane Heated Showers

Outdoor Propane Shower SolutionPropane-powered heaters are the most popular type of off-grid shower solutions because they don’t rely on electricity to heat water. Propane heaters warm water with propane-heated coils and use pressure to push water through the external hose and the shower head. 

Portable Camping Shower

Portable camping showers are pressure showers that feature a built-in heating system, a water tank, and a shower stand for all your showering needs. Some camping showers use a foot pump to transport water, whereas others rely on gravity to expel water. These camping showers are often paired with a zippable shower tent, giving you the privacy you need while showering. 

Solar Shower Bags

solar shower bagAs you might expect, solar shower bags are portable showers that heat water through solar power, allowing you to take warm showers even without the use of electricity. 

Alongside the solar panel, solar showers come with a water bag, a tube, and a showerhead. 

DIY Water Storage Tank

Instead of spending hundreds of dollars for a portable shower, why not make your own DIY water storage tank? 

Fill up a 10 to 15-gallon galvanized tank, install a water input/output port, and add in a shower hose and shut-off adapter. You can then use the tank to fill up a bucket, hose, or water bag to take a shower. 

You can heat the water temperature by using solar power, a propane heater, or an electric heater to enjoy a nice hot shower.

RV Shower

DIY Plumbing 

If you’re a seasoned DIYer, consider building a DIY plumbing system for your cabin, camp, or RV. You’ll only need a few items: a water pump, a hose, fresh and gray water tanks, and some plumbing hardware. The water pump keeps the water system pressurized at all times, allowing you to shower with a garden hose or a shower head.  

Soaps for Off-Grid Showers 

For those planning to go off-grid, we recommend going all natural. Commercial soaps tend to remove the protective layer of oils from the skin, leaving it exposed to the elements and forcing it to produce more oils to compensate. 

Natural soaps do the opposite. They’re made of organic plant-based oils and ingredients, which not only protect but repair your skin. They’re also safer for the waterways. 

Some of the best off-grid soaps include: 

  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar 
  • Locally produced natural soaps 
  • A mixture of sea salt and coconut oil 
  • Essential oils like eucalyptus, chamomile, and peppermint

To use baking soda for showering, simply mix it with a bit of water to create a loose paste. Use this paste to scrub away the dirt and kill bacteria. Vinegar and essential oils can be used on the skin as a toner or astringent, while sea salt and coconut oil can be used as a scrub.

Outdoor shower


Whether you’re planning to camp out for several weeks or live off the grid indefinitely, an off-grid shower will keep your personal hygiene in tip-top shape. 

Some of the most popular off-grid shower systems include bucket showers, gravity-fed showers, water-pump showers, and pressurized showers. If you’re looking for something long-term, you may want to consider investing in a solar-powered shower or a propane water heater. 

Still, if you are looking to make a full transition off-grid, you will need to rely on a plumbing system that is not connected to municipalities. We have covered this topic in detail, and if you are interested in learning more about these topics, we have covered off-grid toilet solutions in great detail and picked our favorite composting toilets for this purpose.

People Also Ask

How Do People Shower Off-Grid in the Winter?

In the winter, people who live off-grid shower with a propane or battery-powered water heater. They also heat water on a wood stove or propane range top and use the heated water to shower.

How to Wash Hair Off-Grid?

Washing hair off-grid is relatively simple. You’ll need around two to three bowls of water and organic shampoo or baking soda.
Add the cleaner of your choice to the water and submerge your hair in the bowl. Once it’s thoroughly wet, lift your head up and massage the product into your hair. Repeat two to three times, then rinse your hair with clean water.

How Do Off-Grid Homes Get Water?

Off-grid homes get water through the well, rainwater harvesting, or a body of water, like a spring, lake, or river. Once collected, it is important to take the extra step to purify water before using it to shower. Fortunately, there are many methods to purify rainwater at home.

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