Yes, You Need an Outdoor Shower

Why would anyone want an outdoor shower?

I know what you're thinking.  "Am I really going to be taking showers outside, in front of my house?  Won't my neighbors (a) complain, (b) call the police, and/or (c) send me creepy fan mail?"

While I imagine that there are few things more exhilarating than exposing oneself in the great outdoors, I freely admit that I have never used my outdoor shower for showering.  But I have used it for a bunch of other things.

1. Spray off muddy/sandy feat before going back in the house.

2. Dog baths.  Way easier than trying to get the pups to stay put in our tiny shower inside a bathroom that's not much bigger.

3. Easy outdoor access to hot water for washing.  Clothes, cars, you name it!

4. Convenient spot for a low point drain.  It's much easier to winterize your plumbing if it all slopes down to a drain.

Does it sound like a difficult project?  Good news, it isn't.

The Easiest Way to Add an Outdoor Shower

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If you want to cut a big hole in an exterior wall, you can use a commercially available RV outdoor shower.  I'm not a huge fan of these, since they're plastic, and require chopping a big hole.

My outdoor shower is just a hot and cold frost-free spigot installed in the old battery box of our Airstream.  There's no reason it has to be inside a compartment aside from aesthetics.  The battery box is just worked best for our build.  Since it's a frost-free valve, the closed valve keeps the water inside the heated envelope of the structure, and it's safe for the outside parts to be outside in freezing weather.

I bought an adapter to connect the hose bib to the shower head.  There's lots of different thread types—you're looking for female hose bib (FHB) by 1/2" male iron pip size (MIP).  Pick your big box hardware store flavor: Orange or Blue.

If you don't mind doing some minor plumbing, adding a frost-free spigot is an easy retrofit to an existing tiny home.  Just find a spot where you have access to your hot and cold water lines running along an outer wall, drill two holes through your exterior wall, mount the spigot, and connect to your water lines from inside.

For bonus points, you could suction cup a shower head holder on to the outside of your house, put a teak shower mat on the ground, and spoil the neighbors' view with a privacy screen.  But I'll just be happy to hose the dog down before going inside after a muddy day at the dog park.

Portable Showers

If you have a space without plumbing to hook up to (like a van), or you'd just rather avoid doing plumbing work, we've got you covered.

Most of the vanlifers we've met have some sort of small pump sprayer on board for showers and dishes, but a tiny sprayer doesn't quite cut it for a real hot shower.  If you're looking for a more satisfying solution, check out the NEMO Helio Portable Shower.  It's great for washing dishes, spraying off sandy feet and dirty dogs, or taking actual showers.

The Helio shower has soft sides, so even with its nearly 3-gallon capacity, it packs super small.  It uses a foot pump to pressurize and a thumb-trigger sprayer like the one on your kitchen sink.  You don't need to hang it from a tree like a gravity bag shower, and you get 5-7 minutes of great pressure out of a fill.  Since the shower uses the sun to heat up the water, get the darker color, so it'll get your water hotter faster.