How To Build An Outdoor Shower

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Knowing how to build an outdoor shower should be a survival skill. Find out why and what your options are!

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How to Build an Outdoor Shower for Camping

Practicing Good Hygiene and Preventing Infection While in the Wilderness

Having the knowledge of how to build an outdoor shower is extremely important whether you’re camping, hiking, or just exploring the great outdoors. This is because maintaining basic hygiene skills is also a form of maintaining health, especially while outdoors.

Infection from injury or abrasion is likely to happen without proper medical tools or supplies available. Access to fresh running water may become limited, especially as adventuring takes you further into the wilderness.

Therefore knowing how to gather an appropriate amount of water from lakes and other large bodies of water are of extreme importance. Here are some outdoor shower ideas for camping:

Black Construction Bag Outdoor Shower

The shower bag is an excellent survival shower for those who are limited in supplies. If you're going out in the wilderness for a day or two, you can carry one or more of these lightweight construction bags.

Construction or trash bags are capable of holding a minimum of 13 gallons. You may also bring a boxful as there are other survival uses for construction trash bags other than for an outdoor shower.


A roll of trash bags can also be placed directly in a backpack and takes up very little space. Although the color of the bags does not matter, dark or black-colored bags are preferable.

They absorb heat better to warm the water inside of the bags under the heat of the sun. You can even build an outdoor shower enclosure for privacy with a large construction bag.

Follow the instructions below to make your own outdoor shower DIY from construction or trash bags.

How to Build an Outdoor Shower with Trash Bags

  1. Place two to three trash bags inside one another and fill the inner bag with the appropriate water needed.
  2. Tie off the innermost trash bag then tie the others into a knot as to reinforce the whole shower bag.
  3. Using a tree branch or another object slightly above head level tie off or hang the shower bag ensuring that the bag is secure from the weight of the water.
  4. Either allow time for the water to warm up in direct sunlight or poke holes in the bottom of the shower bag using a small knife to begin showering.
  5. The small holes will allow for slow drainage, giving you time to soak, wash, and rinse.

The Bucket Shower

While the shower bag works well when camping out in the wilderness, it's disposable since a small tear can render it useless. For long-term use outdoor showers, and for camping closer to civilization, a bucket shower will work better, for sure.


All you need is just a few supplies and you're good to get this outdoor camping shower project going:

  • Five-gallon bucket with lid with carrying handle
  • Spigot
  • Drilling tools such as a screwdriver or electric drill


How to Build an Outdoor Shower with a Bucket

  1. Begin by drilling a small hole at the base of the five-gallon bucket for the spigot. Make sure the spigot fits the hole you will drill.
  2. Once the spigot feels firm, fill the five-gallon bucket with water and allow time for the water to warm up in direct sunlight.
  3. If gathered in the morning, the water will be at a decent temperature by midday.
  4. Make sure the carry handle included on the five-gallon bucket is sturdy enough to hold roughly 50 pounds of weight as the bucket completely filled should not weigh more than this.
  5. If the carry handle seems weak in any way, be sure to reinforce it using additional materials and reinforcements.
  6. Once confident the five-gallon bucket is ready, all you need to do is hang the bucket from a tree or an object slightly above head level, then turn on the spigot.

Natural Alternatives

Naturally, it is always recommended to take advantage of the first source of natural running water. Whether it be a waterfall, spring, river, or a clean large body of water, use these sources as the first alternative to our manmade outdoor showers here.


Although the temperature cannot be adjusted, the amount of running water will help to better ensure all basic hygiene needs are met. You can better rid or control infection and further complications with the abundance of running water.

Importance of Basic Hygiene While Outdoors

As mentioned before, maintaining basic hygiene while outdoors is of extreme importance, as this is the number one step to preventative medicine. Skin abrasions, cuts, and rashes can become worse if basic hygiene needs are not met especially while outdoors.

Open wounds can become quickly infected if not cleaned and treated immediately. This is why knowledge of basic hygiene and building a survival shower is of utmost importance.

Do not let what it took our ancestors thousands of years to master end your adventures.

This video from Adventure Van Man will show you how to make an outdoor portable camp shower:

Just because you're living off of the wild or experiencing the wilderness, doesn't mean you have to put hygiene your very least priority. In fact, it should be one of your priority in the wild more than ever.

Well, now you know you have these options to keep yourself clean, protected, and comfortable while out camping.

Which of these outdoor shower ideas have you tried or willing to try? Let us know in the comments section below!

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***Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.***

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on January 15, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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How To Build An Outdoor Shower

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