In designing the Deluxe Tent Shower, I had several objectives. They were:
- Take care of my wife – something she would use
- Easy to store and transport
- Conserve water - a precious and limited resource
- Pressurized hot water
- Safe and easy to use
- Captures and drains water
- Durable – low-tech
To shower in warm weather is not a big deal. For years I have simply set up an enclosure outside, used my pressurized tank and stood on a shower platform. I heated the water economically in shower bags that were placed on the hood of my truck. If there was no sun, I heated water on my propane stove. But to take a comfortable shower in a tent in the winter is a real challenge.
Take care of my wife – My wife is a reluctant camper. Anything that I can do to make her more comfortable, within reason, I will do. (No, we can’t take a recliner with us. There isn’t enough room in the trailer). Being clean is very important my wife. I am a country boy and long-time scouter. It doesn’t take much for me to get along. But there is no way that sponge bathing for months during the winter is going to work for my wife and the other women in my family.
Over time, I have learned, a very important lesson - that what is important to my wife is important to me. Thus I have been working on a tent shower solution for several years and it has finally come together. She can now take a comfortable, private shower in the winter while living in a tent.
Easy to store and transport - Must be compact and light weight (space and weight are always considerations in our preps) The Deluxe Tent Shower weighs only 27 lbs. and fits in a box 12”x24”x36” for shipping. There are six components that you can store separately or together – tub, enclosure (includes shower curtain and rings, and water capture system), tank with sprayer, bamboo shower platform, drainage hose, and shower rod (1/2” wooden dowel).
Conserve water – Includes a 3½-gallon tank. This is enough for three showers for my family. Since the water is not constantly on like our showers at home, you only have to get wet, soap up, and rinse off. The sprayer nozzle has a button right where you hold the nozzle. You don’t have to reach down to the tank to turn the water off and on. Having the on/off button at the nozzle instead of on the tank is something users really like.
Pressurized Hot Water- It was important to have enough water pressure to quickly rinse off our body and rinse out hair. My wife and daughter both have thick curly hair. The pressurized tank provides plenty of pressure. If the pressure gets low, just pump it up again.
Hot water – I heat the water for our shower in the water tank(s) on our tent stove. The shower tank has a wide mouth that fits nicely under the spigot on the water tank of the tent stove. We have the longer legs on the stove. If the stove is in use, which it will be in the winter, there is always hot water available. BTW, I have a water tank on each side of my stove, so I always have 10 gallons of water available. If you heat water in a pot over a fire, the wide mouth of the tank makes it easy to pour the water from the pot to the tank. Plus you never have to lift a water container over your head.
Safety - There is nothing heavy to lift. The water tank is on the ground. The only thing lifting needed is to move the tank to the shower. A shower bag is really not a good solution to use in tent. There are several problems with a shower bag – It has to be hung up high. Water weighs a lot. If you put three gallons in the bag, that weighs 24 lbs. For younger people it might not be a problem, but for older folks that is a dangerous proposition-trying to get that bag up and down whenever they want to take a shower. There isn’t much water pressure, making it difficult to rinse out hair and rinsing off areas of our body where you needs to spray upwards. A plastic shower bag is not very durable and is susceptible to developing a leak. I have 6 shower bags in my gear and will use them for heating water on sunny days during the warmer months.
Water Capture – the Deluxe Tent Shower not only has a tub that is 36” x 24” x 8”, but it captures all water from the shower by having a vinyl drape around three sides of the enclosure and a shower curtain in front. The water in the tub then drains through the hose attached to the tub and ends up outside the tent. After taking a shower, there no heavy tub filled with water that you have to figure out how to get outside to drain. If you only have a tub, but no method of capturing all the water that splashes off your body, you will end up with some water on the floor of your tent. With the Deluxe Tent Shower, not only do you avoid standing in your own dirty water, but there is no water buildup from multiple showers that you would stand in until the tub was emptied. If someone wants to save the water for secondary use, just plug the hole where the hose is attached.
BTW, I recommend that the hose be brought inside your heated tent after a shower so that water doesn’t freeze and clog the hose. If needed, cut a 1” hole in your tent to facilitate the hose when in use and stuff an old sock in the hole when not in use.
Comfortable – The Deluxe Tent Shower provides complete privacy and comes with a bamboo shower platform for the bottom of the tub so you aren’t standing in water while showering, not even the water from your own shower.
Multi-purpose - The enclosure is designed so that the tub can be tipped up when not in use. This provides plenty of space for other uses where privacy is needed – potty or dressing room. Plus, the enclosure is big enough 4’x4’ that a chair can be placed inside next to the tub while showering. This makes it easier to dress/undress.
Durable - This is a low-tech solution. It utilizes the resources we will have in a wilderness setting and doesn't require propane or electricity. The only moving parts to this setup are the pump sprayer and the pump bulb. The Deluxe Tent Shower comes with a top of the line metal pump sprayer. The pump bulb is top quality, not a cheap part from a discount tool store.