So, you’ve been visualising your dream van. It’s got the dreamy, warm-toned ambient lighting. It’s got the decorative, artistic tapestries. Maybe you’ve even planned out the shelving units and the storage components.
But, have you given that same level of thought to your #vanlife outdoor shower setup?
If not, look no further. Today we’ve compiled a fab selection of our favourite DIY and exterior van showers that will make cleaning up and scrubbing down on the road a dream.
Whether you want something portable and discrete or luxurious and indulgent, we’ve got you covered.
Why Outdoor Van Showers are Awesome
There are many benefits to setting up a DIY van shower outdoors. When taking into consideration space and budget constraints, an outdoor shower often makes more sense than setting up an indoor shower.
They allow you more freedom with your van’s floor plan and will significantly reduce your conversion costs.
There are tons of affordable options for outdoor van showers, including solar shower bags, tankless water heaters, and gas-powered instant water heaters.
Many affordable and effective hand-pump shower heads can be set up and torn down quickly.
In many cases, all you need are a source of water, a makeshift outdoor shower curtain, and a bucket.
But don’t take my word for it – read on for a taste of inspiration so you can get one step closer to making your dream van a reality.
12 of Our Favorite Van Life Outdoor Showers
Aesthetic PVC Solar Van Shower
Sophie from @_advanture_ has an aesthetic, stunning set-up that is affordable and convenient for all you van lifers out there.
She uses a solar shower, which is a PVC bag that heats up when it is left out in the sun. Although there are climate and weather limitations with a solar shower, they retail for under $15 and they are easy to store.
Not only is this an eco-friendly option that conserves water, it is also ridiculously portable and lightweight.
Practical Luxury Van Shower
Charlie and Dale from @climbingvan are the authors of The Van Conversion Bible. They travel full-time in an ex-DHL delivery van named Ringo.
Their sleek and simple outdoor van shower uses a gas-powered instant water heater (the Camplux 5L). Their shower uses 2L of water per minute for a total of about 5-8L per shower.
To conserve water they turn off the supply while shampooing. A gorgeously crafted shower curtain hook creates a layer of privacy and luxury on the road.
Their set-up is visually attractive and recreates an atmosphere of home comforts on the road.
The Ideal Exterior Van Shower Curtain
Ruben and Emma from @good.vans are travelling in their second self-built van, a Fiat Ducato named Nell.
Their portable outdoor shower curtain creates a discrete and cute nook in which you can shower in peace and solitude! It offers protection from both wind and wandering eyes.
The shower curtain is suspended from a bar that can be easily set up, torn down, and stored. They use a portable propane water heater that taps into their 80-litre tank.
Artistic and Eye-Catching Outdoor Van Shower Curtain
They’ve figured out an artistic, aesthetically eye-catching solution to the outdoor shower dilemma. Not only is the shower curtain ideal for less-than-private campgrounds and roadside stops, it also serves as a lush background for photos or as a cute interior design fixture!
This is a clever, low-stress option for design-minded van lifers.
Discrete and Flexible Ford Transit Van Shower
Brittany and Drew from @Mrandmrsadventure are travelling in their fourth van conversion, a 2001 Ford Transit. Theirs is another fabulous example of a PVC solar shower bag used to great effect.
When set up against the side of your van you can take advantage of the extra coverage and shower with a bit of discretion.
A small plastic bucket is a great option for protecting your feet while you shower, or for those days when you’re covered in dirt and sand from your adventurous van life afternoons!
Bohemian and Beach Ready Exterior Shower
The epitome of a surf-based van lifestyle, Philip and Lidia from @_gypsytribe_ converted their white and blue 1976 Chevy motorhome into a beach lover’s paradise.
Their shower set-up reflects the ease and playfulness with which they live their lives. Lidia has affixed the shower head to the rear sink for a quick and foolproof scrub.
This option makes for easy storage and is ideal when you need to hose down in a pinch. No sand is getting in that van!
Communing with Nature During your Van Shower
Mimmi & Andrej from @followmimmi have been travelling and living an outdoors lifestyle in their Toyota Hiace 4×4 van.
For those who want to commune with nature during their soak, this outdoor shower option is the perfect compromise.
By attaching the shower head to a tree, you can look out on the solace and majesty of the forest while you wash up. A small plastic bucket ensures that you can control your water usage and be mindful of your ecological footprint.
For a hot day, the couple fetches water from a nearby lake but for those chilly evenings, they heat the water on their wood-burning stove for a cosy experience.
Eccentric and Fun-Loving Exterior Shower Setup
Brenda and her dog Ranger make up the team behind @theroadthroughmyeyes. They cohabit in Brenda’s Cooper 2012 Ford E350.
Brenda conveys her irreverent and eclectic style through her van’s outdoor shower setup. The playful cactus design also ensures insta-approved photos, proving that your van shower can be as pretty as it is practical.
Her DIY portable shower uses about 2 gallons of water. She uses a portable bamboo mat to keep her feet clean while showering on the dirt and forest floor.
Sturdy and Reliable Long Term Camper Shower
Dan and Chelsea from @living.simple_van are travelling Australia in their 1991 Toyota Coaster bus. They are advocates of the outdoor shower, emphasising the extra living space it affords them.
Their external shower also ensures that they don’t have to worry about moisture buildup in the van.
They use a @kickassproducts outdoor shower, which is reliable and sturdy- making it a wise choice for long-term #vanlifers or those who want to try and make their van a permanent home. What better way to enjoy a ford transit or sprinter shower than overlooking the scenery behind your home on wheels?
Beautiful Views With Your Sprinter Van Shower
While Nat and Abi from @letsplayrideandseek have been travelling in a Sprinter Van around the United States with their two dogs Bear and Peluche.
While they can definitely deliver on the aspirational aspects of van life (see the luxury outdoor shower below) they also know the value of having a quick and convenient set-up for their sprinter van.
As Nat mentions, her exterior shower setup allows her to take in stunning views along her travels.
The outdoor shower allows her a moment of reflection, rather than rushing through it as one would be apt to do at home.
She also emphasises the satisfaction that comes from sourcing the water herself and using earth-friendly, biodegradable products.
This is an outdoor van shower you can feel good about!
Flower Shower Power
Jordan from @jordanbentley__ has been travelling Europe with her long-term partner in Bluvie, her Vauxhall Movano 2.5.
Jordan does things a little bit differently… using the hyper-convenient Flower Shower. It is easy to store and can be pumped and set up in a pinch.
This option is wonderful for those days when you want to shower away from your van, perhaps in search of a more beautiful view or more privacy.
The Flower Shower allows you the flexibility to wash on your own terms. It is also convenient for couples who might want to use two showers at the same time.
There is no reason to stress or spend a fortune in outfitting your van’s outdoor shower set up.
Rear Sink Faucet Vanlife Shower
Lindsey and Danny from @lindseyanddannyvanlife have been living in their Promaster Camper van while maintaining careers and a long-term relationship.
They are the first to admit that van life isn’t all sunsets and glamour. Lindsey tackles the grittier, but unapologetically real, side of van life.
Their mindset? You make do with what you have on hand! And what better way to reflect that philosophy than to use a swivelling faucet head from your van sink!
While this may not be the most luxurious option available to long-term van lifer’s it is certainly one of the most low-fuss and intuitive.
Honestly, this is probably one of the best portable shower ideas for low-stress van living.
Vanlife Outdoor Shower? Easy!
Hopefully, our list of the best portable showers for van life has provided you with some insight into how many options there are for washing up on the road.
From solar PVC bags to Flower Showers there is no reason to stress or spend a fortune in outfitting your van’s outdoor shower set up. Happy trails!