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Refreshing Freedom: Showering Off the Grid

Power loss, natural disasters, camping, broken water lines and more, are all reasons why you may need to take an off grid shower.

Bathing off-grid or without electricity can be tricky, see what we do for ideas on how to stay clean. 


Whether you live off-grid or recently found yourself without electricity, there are several ways you can stay clean and take a shower.

Of course, none of them will be as luxurious as your own private bathroom with a cast-iron claw foot tub and telegraph showerhead (<< can you tell I miss my old bathroom?).

But my solutions will get the job done in a pinch.

Can You Take A Shower Without Electricity?

Yes, it is possible to take a shower without electricity by using alternative methods such as solar showers, gravity-fed systems, or heating water on a stove or fire.

How do I know these will work? Because my family of five has put them to the test, including our teenage daughter.

If you can pass the teen daughter test, then you should get a gold standard double-blind test approval. Just saying.

How Can I Make My Shower Hot Without Electricity?


There are several ways to make your shower hot without electricity. You can heat water using a stove or fire, utilize solar water heating systems, or install a gravity-fed shower system that relies on the pressure difference to provide hot water.

Additionally, some off-grid solutions include propane-powered water heaters or innovative heat exchanger systems.

If you would like to learn more about heating water without electricity, we have 5 Methods For Heating Water Off-Grid you can read about.

Use A Solar Shower Bag For Your Off Grid Shower


After we moved to our new land, our property didn’t have water nor indoor plumbing to the cabin. A friend of mine sent me two outdoor solar shower bags so we could take a shower while we built our home.

Another friend who came to visit gifted us another solar shower bag so we now have three.

We have tried and tested all three outdoor shower bags pictured below, the Sun Shower, Summer Shower 2.5 Gallons, and the Summer Shower 5-gallon bag.

Our family of five, four adults and one child, have used these bags for over six months and they are worth their weight in gold.

Perfect for a power outage, camping, boating, living off the grid, or an outdoor shower.

I wrote about the pros and cons of the two different shower bags and which one we liked the best.

#2 Take A Cowboy Bath/Shower In Emergencies

When we lived by the ocean in South Carolina, we would lose power for days, sometimes weeks, after a hurricane. The outdoors were flooded and it made taking an outdoor shower impossible.

The cowboy bath was our only option. We would heat water on the grill and pour it over ourselves in the tub. We’d use a small pot from the kitchen to dip out the hot/warm water.

Now that we live off-grid in the mountains, it gets a lot colder than we’re used to. The solar outdoor shower bags aren’t as enjoyable as they were during the warmer months.

Not to mention the rainy days when there isn’t sun to warm the bags. The cowboy bath is the only way we can bathe on cold, rainy days unless we run into town.

Never heard of a cowboy bath? Let me explain. Picture sitting on a shower bench or stool, heating a big pot of water on a wood fire, then taking a smaller pot and dipping it out of the larger pot and pouring the hot water over your head.

A cowboy bath is the perfect solution for an off grid shower when it’s cold outside.

#3 Use A Garden Hose For An Off Grid Outdoor Shower


Remember playing with the garden hose when you were a kid? Running around spraying everyone, getting a tarp and adding a bottle of dish soap to make bubbles? Yeah, it’s nothing like that. But it could be if you wanted to have fun while you bathed.

We have a 100ft black garden hose. During the warmer days, we would lay the hose out in the yard to warm in the sun.

Our garden hose holds roughly four gallons of water, which is more than enough for one adult to wash completely, shampoo and condition.

During the summer, it only took about thirty minutes in the direct sun to heat up, so within just a couple of hours, all five of our family members could take hot showers with the garden hose.

#4 YMCA, County Community Center, GYM or Recreational Building

Moving to the mountains, we knew we wanted to buy raw land and that meant not having a bathroom right away. So we located the closest community center and bought a family pass.

Our community center has an indoor pool, basketball court, gym, and full shower facility.

Not only is it a great place to get spiffed up, but we can also have fun AND get in shape.

Whenever we want to make the thirty-minute one-way drive, we all load up and go to the center for a little recreation and a hot shower.

Yes, it’s a lot to go through just to take a shower, but have you ever lived in a tiny home with five people? Trust me, the drive is worth it.

#5 Shower House

The locals here tell me, not too long before we moved here there was a local shower house. You can go and take a nice, hot shower for $2.00 per person.

Unfortunately, some big company bought the property and got rid of this valuable amenity. However, shower houses are still located all over the world.

#6 Truck Stop For Showers

Truck stops have amazing shower houses. Although some are kind of pricey, I’ve heard they are well worth the investment.

In addition to truck stops offering bathing facilities, but some also offer laundry facilities as well. So you can wash your dirty clothes and body at the same location.

#7 Go To The State Park or Campground For A Off Grid Shower

We moved from a state (South Carolina) that charged almost $100.00 for a state park pass to a state that has free admission to all their state parks. Free is always a good thing. 

State parks with campgrounds offer shower houses for their campers as well as outdoor showers by the picnic shelters.

This is one alternative to using an outdoor shower that also provides the opportunity for adventure and entertainment.

State parks have nature centers and trails that the whole family can enjoy before, or after, taking a shower.

Do you have ideas to take an outdoor shower that I didn’t mention?

Or do you know of other public bathhouses? If so, please comment below or email your ideas to me so I can share them with others.