Tuesday, March 21, 2023


Campground shower house tips and etiquette for the best experience

I will always choose to shower in our RV, but we camp in as many state, COE and regional parks as possible that don’t have water or sewer hookups. Some folks just don’t use their showers and find them better for storage than showering. That means braving whatever condition the campground shower houses are in.

Have a simple shower kit

After years of RVing, we do have a system. We keep backpacks in the RV and find them versatile and very handy. We use them for lunches when hiking, visiting places for a few days, and for day trips in the car. Also, we load one up with crayons and paper for the grandkids when exploring. Most of all, we use them for carting stuff to and from the shower house.

Towels, water sandals, wash cloths, clothes, soap, shampoo and RV keys all fit in the backpacks and can hang on a hook rather than sitting on a dubious bench.

We carry our soap in easy, self-draining soap boxes. They can hang in the shower and with different colors we know which one belongs to who. We even have a different color for our granddaughter when she comes along.

My husband loves his body wash and he just squeezes it into his wash cloth before he leaves the motorhome.

Shower shoes are an absolute must! I don’t know who has been in the shower before or if their feet have been crawling with fungus—public shower stall floors can be nasty. That goes for the changing area too.

Braving a campground public shower house

I like to shower in the RV the best, but I will brave an RV park shower before a mini bucket bath. I am picky about cleanliness, and although I don’t bring Lysol spray in the backpack, I have thought about it.

Tips for a comfortable shower

  • Wear water shoes or shower sandals.
  • Hang your items rather than setting them on the floor or bench.
  • Turn water on right away to get hot water started.
  • Putting your elbows against the walls for balance instead of using flat hands picks up less “gunk.”
  • Check cleaning times and go after they have been freshly cleaned.
  • Go with the flow… literally! Everyone has a different definition of “clean.” The teenage kids hired for cleaning usually have a different sense of clean than the more experienced camp hosts. But not all the time…
  • If the shower house is really cold, I have been known to dress in the shower stall!

Shower etiquette

  • Leave no trace—that includes hair in the drain. Clean it up!
  • Keep it clean for the next person.
  • Take all your stuff out including bits of soap, clothing price tags, and empty bottles.
  • Make sure the water is completely turned off.
  • Be conscious of anyone waiting and get in and get out quickly—this is not the time for a luxurious deep steam clean.
  • Dyeing hair is frowned upon in public showers and is much better if you do it at home, in your RV or at your hairdresser.
  • If something is broken or the shower area is dirty, tell management.

I love to camp in spacious and natural public parks, and enduring a little bit of “public” is a small price to pay.




3.7 16 votes
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Steven R Clapp
18 days ago

Use info, never thought about puppy pads though. Walking into a shower stall seeing hair clog the drain is so gross; just saying.

18 days ago

I enjoyed your article. Just want to add that we have hosted in state parks in 4 states and never have seen high school kids cleaning bathrooms. In most cases hosts were assigned that duty and we are mostly Boomers who take pride in doing a good job. Showers are usually sanitized daily. That being said, I wear Crocs. Private RV parks may differ.

Last edited 18 days ago by Mary
18 days ago

I prefer to use our shower. But have used the showers at the campgrounds on occasion. We have found a few tricks as well that may be useful to others:
1. Carry a small plastic bucket with handle and small holes for taking back wet bottles, etc. if needed.
2. Use a lanyard to hold travel size bottles. Got one on Amazon with bottles for travel and it holds shampoo, conditioner, body wash and face wash.
3. Use a shower pouf instead of washcloth. Easy to hang to dry and dries quick.
4. Get as much done before going to shower as you can. I undress and use a large velcro wrap to walk to and from showers. Also, a pair of slides (sandals, Nike or other) help on wet floors.
5. I take one quick dry towel. Dry off body then wrap around hair for walk back. My small bucket is all I have to carry.
6. Take a small flashlight.
7. If you prefer to use bar soap, cut into slivers and keep in a soap box. Take a sliver in your washcloth or bucket to the shower. Great for single uses.

Andrea Vaughan
20 days ago

We’ve been camping for 30+ years, so we’ve encountered many campground showers. We don’t use our wet bath shower for 3 reasons, incl waste tank space, too tiny, and we don’t want to deal with the wet floor & moisture. I take shower shoes, and now carry a generic Chux to stand on as I dry off. (I didn’t go the puppy pad route because I thought some have an attractant in them for pups and the pads I got are a just right size) If it’s too cold, I just take a basin bath in the warm trailer, I can even wash my hair. I grew up in a time when we didn’t shower every day, and not all homes had showers. (My grandmother’s house didn’t have a hot water tank, let alone a shower until the early 70s.)
We also have huge body wipes, handy for backpacking & dry camping – they do a great job of removing sunscreen and sweat.

20 days ago

I have showered many times in a facility similar to a public shower and no privacy either. The military does provide hot water and bench’s for dressing. Usually about 10-25 shower heads in the room. One doesn’t give much tho’t to getting any bugs – that’s what the soap is for. I don’t think much about getting into a public shower – if it is in decent condition. I have used the shower in the motorhome and my wife has used the tub – however the hot water delay and blast of cold water between soaping and rinsing is most unpleasant. We do as Carl W (Below) does.

20 days ago

Love all the suggestions, like puppy pee pads but the {bleeped}-lic showers not in our repatoir. The onboard shower with unlimited hot water in our bare feet is a must.

Bill Fisher
20 days ago

We very rarely use the campground showers because we use the shower in our Montana, but I recently read a tip by the Long Long Honeymoon folks to use a pet pad on the floor of the dressing area of the shower, then after finishing dispose of it in the trash on the way out.

Charlie Sullivan
20 days ago
Reply to  Bill Fisher

Wife and I have been using puppy pee pads for years when we use the public showers. They’re great to stand on so you can dry off completely, then put your shoes on and get dressed. When finished, they’re disposable..

Thomas D
20 days ago

Wasting water by turning on ” to get started”. That extra gallon or so could mean someone is getting a lukewarm shower or even a cold one. Plus the fact water is running low in many western states.

Gary W.
20 days ago
Reply to  Thomas D


Neal Davis
20 days ago

My in-laws took a two-month long trip with grandson #1 a few years ago. We joined them for a week in the Canadian Rockies. DW and I used the bathouse a couple of times at one of the campgrounds. It was not a bad experience, but it remains the only time that I have done so.

20 days ago

YUCK! If I can’t use my RV shower, I will quit RV’ing. This is one of the reasons I bought a “house on wheels”, because I want to be in my house!

20 days ago

Another shower tip: those disposable puppy training pads make a nice “bathmat” to stand on when you slip out of your shower shoes. (Credit to YouTubers Long Long Honeymoon)

Last edited 20 days ago by TechiePhil
Neal Davis
20 days ago
Reply to  TechiePhil

Great idea! Thanks! 🙂

Bill Semion
20 days ago

Please add: no hacking spitting or blowing your nose in a shower. After hearing someone do that repeatedly I couldn’t stand it and told whomever it was that I didn’t want to step into his diseases that he had just put onto the floor at Florida Oscar Scherer state park. Has no one learned anything from COVID?

Charlie Sullivan
20 days ago
Reply to  Bill Semion

Wow, you were lucky that you were there to hear him. How do you handle the public showers when you’re not there to hear the person before you?

Gary W.
20 days ago

Or peeing in the shower…

Selene Montgomery
20 days ago

I work at a campground, and checking or cleaning the showers is one of my jobs. To add to the “Leave no trace” point – make sure there are no soap suds or shampoo left on the shower floor or walls. Floor suds or shampoo can lead to serious slipping or falling.
Make sure the shower curtain is closed so water doesn’t flow into dressing or walking areas.

20 days ago

No problem using public showers. Compared to the cramped quarters in our shower, although we do use it, and…..not just for storage! I love using this bath deck(?), once I remove my bath sandals. You can carry some items inside of it, the one I have also has a handle. Highly recommend…the bamboo one, has lasted for years.


Michelle Traynor
20 days ago
Reply to  Michelle

Correction: the wood is cedar, not bamboo.

20 days ago

We use the campground showers routinely and have similar habits to yours. One thing that really helps is to bring 2 or 3 metal over-the-door hooks, because we, too, prefer to hang everything. There are never enough hooks in campground showers.

20 days ago
Reply to  mimi

…or they’re broken.

Mary Beth
20 days ago
Reply to  mimi

Brilliant! Thanks for the tip, Mimi😉👍

Carl W
20 days ago

Although I rated the article “5” because I found the author’s shower preparations well thought out, I see a tinge of paranoia in it. Swimming in a lake can expose one to {bleeped} many “hazards” as a campground bath house.
Personally, I put on a pair of fast dry (nylon-like) shorts with soap container in pocket with shower shoes on and towel around my neck and head to the shower house. Essentially, I get mostly “undressed” in my trailer and return to it to put on my day’s clothing. My spouse does the same thing wearing a bathrobe and carrying a small bag, though not a backpack, with her essentials. If it is cold, we hustle back to the trailer where it is warm, clean, and the floors are fungus-free.

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