My New/Hopefully Improved Shower

Regular readers know that last year I spent all of June housesitting for friends in the city. During that time I became corrupted by the pleasures of the flesh: Their house has one hell of a decadently wonderful shower.

I have lived in the boondocks for the better part of 14 years now, and for most of that time there was no infrastructure specific for bathing at all. Okay, Landlady’s house has a big tub and she has said I may use it, but she has had the same problem keeping a water heater going as I do. I find the process of actually filling a bathtub with warm-to-tepid water more trouble than it’s worth. Ergo, there have been a lot of sponge baths at the kitchen sink in my past. It … works. Sort of.

But oh, that shower. I had forgotten.

When I returned I suffered shower withdrawal pains for a month or so and then decided that a little of something was better than a whole lot of nothing. It wasn’t a perfect solution, but it was a shower of sorts.


Better than a sink bath to be sure, though the preparations got kind of elaborate. But there was an added layer of growing hazard…


The bag is suspended with a nylon strap that passes through a stiff plastic pipe that in turn passes through a loop in the plastic bag. And late last summer one end of that loop started to split.


And the split has grown measurably over the past couple of showers. So I’m expected to sit under a heavy blunt object that not only could but inevitably will eventually fall on my head.

Also, I found out yesterday that the UV radiation through the shower window has been having its way with the plastic of the valve…


…as the ears broke right off in my hand, one after the other.

Good timing as it turns out, because (being concerned about that whole ‘the bag will fall on your head’ scenario) about a month ago I decided to try something new and that something finally arrived today.


An electric pump connected via flexible tube to a shower nozzle, and just stuck in a bucket. And we’ll see how well this works. Haven’t tried it as of this writing. I think I’m going to want a longer tube but I can get that locally – might even have some in the powershed – and this really should be a big improvement.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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7 Responses to My New/Hopefully Improved Shower

  1. Kentucky says:

    Weren’t you working on a whole new shower concept recently?

  2. Demented Guy says:

    Can you install a barrel in the loft? For a gravity shower. Would it fill from the main water supply? Or maybe a 12 volt pump to pump water to a container in the loft?

  3. Joel says:

    I just received the last parts I need for a new water heater, or at least a new heat exchanger. It would take rather a lot of effort to plumb that into the cabin, so one thing at a time.

  4. Norman says:

    “New heat exchanger” implies you have some sort of combustion-driven water heater; what is it? I’m in the market for a small-to-small medium propane-fired water heater principally for use as a portable shower but also as a general campsite limited hot water supply. I’ve got a 1-burner Zodi but need to step up a notch or two.

  5. Mark Matis says:

    Be careful when you do solar. Check the thermature before fully stepping into it. Getting scalded in the remoteness of the Lair would not be good for survival…

  6. Ben says:

    Anti-scald valves are commonly available these days, and aren’t even terribly expensive because they are a code-required item in some places. I do question if one could stand up to Joel’s water though.

  7. Wyowanderer says:

    Joel,
    I’ve been using seven and four gallon Reliance water containers for YEARS while camping. The valve used for dispensing water unscrews from the lid, allowing the use of a 90 degree barb fitting, some hose, and a solar shower head, and makes for a wonderful time (when it’s dark, anyway).
    Your bucket and pump method is even better, since you don’t have to lift the whole thing higher than your head to get wet.

To the stake with the heretic!