How to Use a Sun Shower

How to Use a Sun Shower
The sun shower is a great boon to campers and backpackers---what's better than a hot shower after a long day of hiking? With a little planning and some inexpensive equipment, you can enjoy this little luxury on your next outdoor adventure.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Sun shower
  • Soap and shampoo
  • Towel
  • Enclosure (optional)
Step 1
Assemble your gear before leaving home. This includes the sun shower itself, biodegradable soap/shampoo and a towel. A microfiber travel towel is very light, absorbs an amazing amount of water, and takes up very little space in your pack. You may want a shower enclosure too, but that's optional.
Step 2
Find a flat, sunny place for heating the water in the bag. If you're camping in a heavily forested area, look for a clearing where there will be more sun. It will take several hours for the water to heat, depending on bag capacity, air and water temperature, and the sun's strength (stronger in summer, weaker in winter), so account for that when choosing a site. It's a good idea to allow more time for heating than you think it will take.
Step 3
Fill the shower with water. Make sure the cap is on tight before moving the bag. The full bag will be pretty heavy, so lift carefully, and transport to your heating site. Alternatively, you can fill the shower in place but that generally means transporting the water in another container, and may require several trips. Place the bag flat with the clear side up (or as instructed by manufacturer), and go for a hike while you wait for the water to heat.
Step 4
Check the water temperature by testing with your fingers. If your shower has a temperature strip, it's even easier---just glance at it to see where things stand. Once the water's ready, hang the shower from a branch or pole. The height should be sufficient so you don't have to stoop or slouch. Remember the bag is heavy, so the support you choose should be adequate.
Step 5
Bring your soap, towel and clean clothes (if desired after the shower) with you. Undress, get under the shower, and turn the water on. Get wet (including your hair if you will be shampooing) and turn the water off, then lather up. Turn the water back on and rinse yourself off. Towel dry, get dressed, and you're done.

Tips & Warnings

Make sure you can lift the bag once it's filled. Water will start to cool as the sun goes down, so don't wait too long to use it.
Make sure you can lift the bag once it's filled.
Water will start to cool as the sun goes down, so don't wait too long to use it.
Always test the water temperature before showering to be sure it's not too hot.

Article Written By Peggy Hansen

Peggy Hansen holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from UC San Diego, Doctor of Medicine from UCLA, and completed postgraduate training at Stanford, Duke and Harvard. An award-winning writer and photographer, her work has been featured in Catnip, Herbalgram, Porter Gulch Review, and many online pieces. She's also a commentator for KQED-FM

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