Is there anything better than a shower at the end of a long, hard work day? Well, maybe someone else making you dinner but hey, we can’t have it all. Let’s just work with what we’ve got and lately… that’s not a lot. Oh how little you know Wikipedia…
A shower is a place in which a person bathes under a spray of typically warm or hot water. ~Wikipedia
Please indulge me as I stray from that lovely shower I started with as I venture into doing without. Our dry camping experience has really had an effect on the members of 5 Dog Farm. Our work efforts are approached with determination and desire to finish with no consideration about the time because there’s a television show we must watch. Our evenings are filled with laughter and cook-outs, not TV and people inside four walls not communicating. Bonfires, skill sharing, nature watching, thoughts and ideas about “how to do what” are the de rigueur of the night (since that’s the time of day we are all typically together). I wanted to offer the great things that have transpired so that as I bemoan the lack of an amazing shower, you will understand that the pros far outweigh the cons.
We’ve owned a Cabelas camp shower for years. Visiting state parks and camping was always on our list of “to do’s” but our city life never left much time for us to go camping. As in never. We are definitely making up for lost time! I am ever so grateful that we had this pop up shower on hand.
It was super simple to set up. I grabbed a square piece of discarded plywood that we had laying around and used that for the “floor”. Since it was being set up on our gravel camping area I didn’t want the large rocks to tear through the tarp-like flooring and standing on jagged rocks doesn’t make for a pleasant experience either. The kit had snap together poles and easy instructions.
One set of poles criss-cross over the top while the others are the legs that stand it up. The covering has a rain guard and plastic “windows” up top for sunlight. Two zipper windows are provided along with a towel holder and several mesh ditty bins inside for holding your shower supplies.
The flaw, as we see it, is the camp shower bag. With a vinyl discharge tube that reaches from here to Texas, I found myself having to sit on the floor to shower. Ew. So I took out my pocket knife, cut the hose down, removed the shower head end and refastened on the shorter tubing. Now I would only have to hunch over to shower. Swell. At 6′ tall this was no consolation to Mr. Bluejeans.
What was our solve? We refill used water jugs with water we obtain from a friend and place these on the top of an open air shelving unit. As the bottles sit in the sun, they warm up wonderfully and depending on the weather you can choose from cold, luke warm, hot and too hot at certain points in the day. Merely using a jug sans camp shower bag has proven to be easiest. Just hold the jug over head and pour over yourself. Easy Peasy! Hair washing has become much easier and we kid each other about the amounts of water we use. So far Sammi and I range between 1.5 to 2 jugs. Nothing better than some friendly competition to help conserve water.
After showering we simply sweep out the water, at the bottom of the camp shower, through the 5” mesh screen that joins the floor and sidewall. That’s it! I’m not a bath person so filling a tub and soaking will never be missed by me. However, there are others here that do miss that luxury. I’d rather splash around in a pool that we plan to have in the future.
The best part is the camp shower building doubles as our outhouse. We have placed a compost toilet system in the shower area and it has worked perfectly. Never again will I have to plunge a toilet. Our last home was constantly having toilet issues (related to the septic system) and it was a constant battle of us vs. overflowing commode. I will not miss this fight one bit.
I was intrigued by the idea of a compost toilet after reading The Humanure Handbook but I wasn’t sold. There’s nothing like trying something out to change your mind. This is an easy system that unbelievably doesn’t have an odor. Even on our hottest days! We will be using compost toilets in our home. Gigi has decided to use a incinerator toilet system in her home and I will cover that in another blog post once it’s up and running.
Not having a lot has really made us change our minds in big and small ways about what is important to us. I asked everyone to share what effect or epiphany this has had on them:
- Niki Dee: I have found that creating something from nothing has been enjoyable. Using what we have on hand to build a guinea hen brooder box or using an Eco Stove to cook meals outside using pieces of scrap wood and pine needles has appealed to my sense of adventure and creative spirit.
- Mr. Bluejeans: One area rapidly evolved over a condensed time frame: water. From taking it for granted to learning how different it is to not have it instantly available, which led to carefully pouring water to not lose any (like a scene in a dozen disaster movies) – to understanding that there really is plenty, as long as we prepare ahead to capture rain, prioritize a well and not waste it.
- Gigi: Spending more time with the family has been my favorite part of this adventure. Learning new ways to do things I took for granted has been an eye opener.
- Jamie: Doing without has made me appreciate the small things like hot showers!
- Sammi: I didn’t know if I’d like a “rugged” lifestyle but I’m really having fun and learning so much.
Have you gone without something, which in the end, you really didn’t miss?