What Makes a Good Campground Shower?

You know a campground shower sucks when you’d rather shower in your RV.

Our walk to the showers in Banff National Park

(This was the amazing view as we walked to the showers in the Banff National Park campground)


RV Shower

The best RV shower is when you are in a campground with full hookups, so there is no restriction on how much water you can use (up to the 6 gallons in the hot water tank), and you can dump your gray water tank right at your campsite.  In this case, you can take about a 4 minute shower with a semi-decent flow, and use the electric space heater to ensure the bathroom is nice and hot. 

The worst RV shower is when you are in a campground with no hookups and outside the allowed generator hours.  In this case, you must conserve the amount of fresh water you use and the amount of waste water your generate, and you cannot use the space heater.  Thus about the best you can hope for is a 2-minute dribble shower, and dry off quickly in the chilly bathroom when you finish your shower.

Dispersed camping showers are in between.  We have to conserve water, and thus must take a dribble shower.  But we can run the generator at any time, and a 1500-watt space heater can do wonders to make up for the lack of hot water flowing over your body.

There are a few advantages to showering in your RV instead of in the campground.  In your RV, you are already “home.”  You don’t have to gather up your clothes, towel and toiletries in a gym bag.  You don’t have to walk or drive in the cold over to the centralized campground shower.  And you don’t have to worry about catching athlete’s foot (which is why we wear flip-flops in public showers).

Campground Shower

After a few days of dribble showers in your RV, a campground shower with plenty of hot water rushing over your body can seem like a real luxury.  But not all campground showers are created equal.  Just like there are varying quality campgrounds, there are varying quality campground showers.  And the most expensive campgrounds don’t always have the best showers, and vice versa.

About half the campgrounds we’ve visited had showers (primitive campgrounds typically do not).  Of the campgrounds with showers, we typically check out the shower, and if it looks good, we’ll try it at least once.  But only if the shower is free; we can’t see paying for a campground shower when we can shower for free in our RV.  If the campground shower is good based on the qualities listed below, then we may shower there every night for the rest of our stay.  Otherwise, we’ll just shower in our RV.

Good Campground Showers

Following are the qualities that make a good campground shower:

  • Water is hot  (It’s best when you actually have to turn down the heat a little)
  • Shower room is warm  (You’d be surprised how many campground showers have little or no heat)
  • Shower is free  (Some campgrounds charge up to 25 cents per minute)
  • Shower is clean  (‘Nuff said)
  • You can adjust the water temperature  (Some campground showers have only an on/off button)
  • Showers stay on until you turn them off  (Some showers require you to push a button every 10-20 seconds to keep the water flowing)
  • Good water pressure  (Water flows evenly out of the shower head and doesn’t spray hard or dribble soft)
  • Individual, lockable stalls  (Like in a public restroom)
  • Each stall has a shower area and a changing area, separated by a curtain  (The curtain keeps you warm and your clothes dry)
  • There are multiple shower stalls  (Some campgrounds only have 1-2 stalls, which can mean waiting around for a shower)
  • Shower area has a shelf  (So you don’t have to put your shampoo and soap on the floor)
  • Changing area has a bench  (So you don’t have to balance on one leg while putting on your pants)
  • Changing area has a few hooks  (For your coat, clothes and towel)
  • Drain isn’t clogged  (Gross!)
  • Showers are open 24-hours
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