For many years, throughout my youth I attended that well known musical festival held in Somerset each year. Carrying – and drinking – your own body weight in cider as well as not washing for the duration was part of the rites of passage.
So you can imagine our shock, when one year one of our buddies pulled a solar shower out of their pack. It was met with many derisive comments and snorts, and many more followed when our hapless buddy attempted to use it later in the day. It didn’t really produce a stream of water worthy of being called a shower and it was freezing cold. So an utter fail, and 15 years later we still mock – although not as much as we mock the friend who forgot to pack any knickers…. anyway, I digress.
When the bottle shower landed on my doormat I did rather view it with the same somewhat cynical view as the aforementioned solar contraption. My days of festival going have long gone, I’ve just got too anti-social and need more personal space as I’ve got older. So this little contraption has come with me on a few camping trips – both overseas and here in good old Blighty.
So how does it work – well you simply grab a bottle of water, remove the lid and screw the tube/lid assembly on. That bit was easy – it also comes supplied with a hanging cord – and this was a bit more fiddly to attach and finding a suitably sited and right hight tree/pole was a tad more tricky. Personally I found it was easier to just get a friend to hold/point the bottle at you.
The thing really does work (yes- I was surprised!) you get a decent flow and spread of water to fully wash yourself – including your hair. The kit we were supplied with came with two separate tops that give you two different rates of flow and both performed as intended. Leaving the bottles of water in the tent during the day in the summer was sufficient to make the water a pleasant showering temperature.
If you are a rufty tufty camper who beds down under canvas during cooler months you’d have to make do with a cold shower – but I suspect that won’t bother the hard core types. However a discussion about this gadget with fellow campers resulted in various musings.
- Firstly wouldn’t a rufty tufty camper just stick their head in the nearest stream for a freshen up? Cue various further ponderings about water versus ground pollution.
- How sustainable/environmentally friendly is buying a plastic bottle of water for the luxury showering.
- Lastly, the blurb we received with our sample promoted the merits of this widget for disaster relief situations. However if we had a bottle of water and were in a disaster area we were not sure that showering with it would be a priority – drinking it would be.
Many of my fellow campers then simply came to the conclusion that despite it being a niftily designed bit of kit they couldn’t really see the point.
I decided in fairness to the Bottleshower that a little bit of further research regards the disaster/relief scenario was required and I can now understand the benefits of being able to shower – it reduces disease, stops spread of illness and being clean does general make you feel better – something I imagine not to be underestimated if you find yourself in a situation where you’ve lost all your worldly belongings.
I can also see the Bottleshower finding an audience closer to home…the aforementioned festival types – where you can drink your bottle of Evian/Buxton to hydrate from the previous evenings cider excesses and then simply refill the bottle from a standpipe for the washing part.
Wild campers – A few years back now I enjoyed a month camping in some of the beautiful wild camping spots in New Zealand where all that is provided is a composting toilet and a great view.