One of the great things about our tent camping setup is that your destination is really only limited by the capacity of your vehicle to get you there and back. That means you could be without shower and toilet facilities from time to time and need to set up your own camp bathroom.
While the comfort of established bathroom facilities is tempting, if you are well prepared, you can keep clean and fresh without them and without the need to lug a whole lot of extra gear around with you.
Here are our simple and easy tent camping bathroom ideas:
Your mobile camp bathroom
Camping bathroom options in the context of trailer-free camping won't be particularly luxurious, but you can still have a level of privacy and comfort when you are "getting down to business".
Ensuite tents are becoming very popular with campers who don't have their own bathroom facilities onboard say an RV or caravan and want some privacy. They can be used either for a shower or toilet, or you can buy a double / duplex version for both purposes.
They typically have a separate ground sheet to allow the shower water to disperse over the ground.
If you want to enjoy free camping and don't have shower facilities, simple portable showers can give you a perfectly comfortably wash:
Pump style shower
Compact and lightweight pump style showers are also available in camping stores, some powered directly from a 12V or 240V power source, and others via a rechargeable battery. You will also need a bucket full of warm to hot water, some soap, shampoo etc and, if you prefer, a sponge.
You can place the bucket on a table and shower with one hand holding the shower head. Alternatively, you could hang the shower hose from a tree or shower room (if you have one) or get someone to hold the showerhead for you.
Solar Powered Shower
In the absence of shower facilities, a solar power shower in the shape of a hot water bottle is a viable option. They are a great and inexpensive option to heat your water up for a shower.
While these products are designed to heat the water by sitting them out in the sun for several hours, they can also be filled with warm water heated on the stove – a much more reliable and accurate heat source.
For many, a bowl or bucket of warm water is all they need to keep clean and fresh. Add to that a sponge, some soap / shampoo as required and a bowl to ladle water for a great freshen up.
Probably the most vexing challenge when setting up a campsite is establishing appropriate toilet facilities when they are not otherwise made available, and then responsibly disposing of the waste afterwards. Your options include:
A Porta Potti
The use of a porta potti is probably the most comfortable and convenient option, but it does require privacy, such as the ensuite tent pictured above.
They don't take up a huge amount of packing space, but still may not be viable if space is limited. The portable toilet can simply be emptied into the many dump points available.
A shovel / spade and trowel
The next best option if you are tight for space is to bury your waste if permitted. Add toilet paper, hand sanitiser and a folding toilet seat and you have basic facilities. If this arrangement doesn’t suit your style, then get a porta potti (above) or stick to campgrounds with provided facilities and everyone will be happy.
Toiletries or shower bag
Your choice of toilet or shower bag should really be any type of bag that has more of a flat rather than round shape and, dare I say it, is not too big. The one we personally use can hang from a hook to keep it up and out of the way but accessible and dry.
You can check out our camping checklist for tips on bathroom items to take with you camping.
Towels can take up a lot of space in your car, particularly in summer when each person not only needs a bath towel, but a swimming or beach towel as well. Thick towels can take up even more space and will also take longer to dry, which is a particular inconvenience in wet or cold weather, or when you are touring and you have wet towels on board.
So you can see we have two good reasons to avoid the nice big thick fluffy towels. We suggest you select a thinner, standard sized bath towel for each member of the family, and keep them separated from your home towels, or with your camping gear, ready to go. To avoid getting these towels mixed up with the others in the wash, we suggest you mark them, say in a corner, with a permanent marker pen so they can be easily identified when you are sorting through your laundry at home.
Likewise with beach or swimming towels, it's nice to have a full wrap around beach towel for general use, but the bigger they are the more problematic they will be for camping. So again, buy a smaller thinner beach towel for each person, and permanently mark them for camping.