Life on the road means cleanliness can take a back seat. But that only works for so long. No one wants to feel (or smell) like they’ve been outdoors for days – or weeks.
A shower in your van might be the way to stay clean. But those can be pricey, so we also offer a few less expensive options to maintaining a clean #vanlife.
Indoor shower: A shower in your van is best, but they’re expensive. Inside-van showers mean you won’t have to trek to a public restroom to clean up. But, in addition to being expensive, in-van showers require large graywater tanks that increase the van’s weight and reduce space. They also can be prone to leaks.
Adventurer Kristen Bor decided that an in-van shower was the say to go and installed an enclosed shower in her Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van for extended trips into the mountains.
Shower wand: If you want the convenience of a shower without sacrificing space and payload capacity, use an extendable shower. You’ll still need a water-storage tank, but a wand takes up a lot less space than a shower stall. And outside shower head options are available.
Portable showers: These are the least expensive, and they don’t require graywater storage tanks. Instead, water is stowed in a tank or bag, and a hand-held nozzle – or one that can be hung from the van or a tree – is used. Some portable showers work without electricity.
Hitch-mounted rear deck: Attach a cargo carrier tray to your van via the trailer hitch and add a rear deck. The deck will provide a steady platform on which to rinse yourself, your dog or your bikes with a shower wand.
Some decks have grated floors that allow the water to drain or be captured for graywater use. Surfer Eric Lizerbram installed a rear deck on his outfitted Sprinter van to allow a quick rinse-off after a morning session.
On-demand air: You don’t always need water to get rid of unwanted messes. A compact air compressor can provide a swift blast that blows sand and dirt off the van’s floor. It will even do a decent job of getting such substances off your feet, arms and legs.