Shower Me

I’m not gonna lie.  I’m the girl that can go well over a week without a real, modern, fully functioning bathroom.  Yep.  I can go without a shower.  I can go without a toilet.  I can do what I have to do when I’m in remote areas, “ruffin’ it”.  When it’s just me and the great outdoors?  No problem.

But I am also the girl that absolutely needs to have access to a shower when I’m not in the backwoods.  If I am going to be mingling with my fellow humans, I don’t want to stink.

Shower0When I arrived to Florida December 1st, I’d been on the road for 5 days without a shower.  And then it was another 2 weeks before I finally broke down and took a shower.  Yes, two weeks.  In this beautiful paradise farmstead, there is only one rustic option for a bath—an outdoor, cold water out of the well, shower.  Yup.  Cold water piped right out of the ground through some PVC, and out a shower head.  Turn the sprocket and there ya go.  So I bit the bullet and got in there when I finally couldn’t stand my own self any more.

OHHHHHH baby, that was one helluva refreshing experience!

Once.

Then, I tried combining a “Sun Shower” full of hot water with my cold-out-of-the-well water-shower.  What a pain THAT was.  Shower2Scalding hot and freezing cold water sources that just plain refuse to work together.  The idea that this would be an ongoing situation broke my heart.

I wanted so badly to have a real shower.  There had to be a way to get a hot shower here on the farm.

Well, I came to learn about a way to have a hot shower without using electricity.  Without trying to hoist a huge bag of hot water over your head and then have to hold a dinky little nozzle of super-hot water into the blast of cold water while trying to suds up and rinse off.   I found out about propane driven hot water heaters.

The water heater itself runs about $100.  Then you need a 20 gallon propane tank, some miscellaneous PVC for in and outbound water flow out of the water source, a couple shut off valves, and a pressure gauge and hose to control the propane entering the heater.

A very astute and kind man who shall remain nameless actually had a brand new hot water heater (still in the box) that he wasn’t currently using, and he let us have it.  We were able to gather up all the additional parts over the course of a few weeks.  Then the amazing Jeff came and installed everything.

Lo and behold, we now have the ability to have a hot shower at the farm.  I am not exaggerating in the least, how cherished an experience it is to be able to have a nice hot shower after 70 degree days on a working farm.  Truly priceless!  And I’m sure the public we deal with, and other people I meet with all appreciate it just as much!

Shower4So here is how it works:

Step one–open the shut off valve to allow the water to run.  It will be cold water.

Step two–turn on the propane.

Step three–this step basically takes care of itself.  The igniter switch operates on two AA batteries, and doesn’t even have to be flipped each time you use it; turning on the propane ignites it automatically. Within just a minute or so, the water begins to heat up to the perfect temperature.

Shower3There is also a temperature gauge in place to control how hot you want the water.  One 20# propane tank will provide many showers for us.

But wait, there’s more!  After several months of enjoying hot showers, we have tweaked the “system” to be more accommodating.  Jeff made improvements to allow us to simply turn on one shut off valve located IN the shower to start the hot water, without having to go back and forth through those steps.  What more could a girl ask for?

My favorite time to shower has become late night.  Taking into consideration the open air design, mosquitos are gone by 9ish, and the stars are totally out and shining bright.  When there is a big moon, it’s simply an enchanting experience to suds up to the call of the owls.Shower5 Nothing compares.  What a grand treat!

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to have a hot shower but there is no electricity, you may want to check out the idea of a propane powered hot water heater!

 

You can read about all kinds of products, places and services I’ve found to be exceptionally great, or exceptionally not great under my “Whats New” blog category—along with many of my own handy little DIY ideas. I look forward to your comments!  And please feel free to share this post with others that would find value in learning about this information, and PR Brady AdVentures.

 

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Comments

  1. Oh the things we take for granted! I cherish my showers so much…I can’t imagine losing the opportunity to take one every day. I’m so glad you found a way to make yours enjoyable.

  2. I love that you are “ruffin’ it” out on a farm. We live out in the country too, but we have an indoor setup, and are spoiled beyond belief. When we first started working with animals though – getting our own eggs from our own chickens? I was literally one of those “High Heels in the Chicken Coop” kind of gals, and needed to work my way into muck boots. I’ve gotten used to mucking out stalls now, and helping mama goats birth babies. There is lots of yuck to deal with on a farm, but also lots of glorious moments of watching babies jumping around, or taking their first precious steps with mama nudging them gently along the way – and eating the food from our garden. Swoon. This is the life. But, wow, what a ride for you, and a long time before being able to enjoy something we take so much for granted.

    • Yeah, the “one step forward, two steps back” day to day lifestyle is oddly, totally worth it—especially when you get to find creative ways to be self sufficient. There’s something to the whole “prepper” gig, although I do need my conveniences too. But absolutely love the farm life!

  3. This is cool. So you are living on some land for a bit then? Sounds like quite an adVenture!! Showers are great, but I do really prefer them HOT as well. Super hot. Good luck with that! Yikes!

  4. Wow! Kudos for you all for finding a way to a hot shower! That is the one thing I need… a hot shower. I tease that I can sleep in a chair or in the car etc., but I need a hot shower in the morning.

    I enjoyed seeing your photos of the process. Best of luck to you for warmer weather and warmer water.

  5. I had a job selling propane hot water heaters for a week (technically I gave away free tickets to sales pitches for them.) I was very bad at it and didn’t sell a one. Since then, I don’t do phone sales.

  6. Hello Patty,
    I’ll be honest here….I have never camped or lived outdoors. But after reading this post of yours I feel I might have to do so sometime soon. I can see am missing out on a lot. I want to experience showering outdoors like ypi mentioned with the stars above my head…
    Good to learn about Propane Water Heaters. Thank you for your post:)

    • Hema, introducing people to the outdoors is what I love to do! I can help you have a great experience–check out my website and reach out if you want to set something up!

  7. While roughing it isn’t my preferred style, I could so get behind a moonlit shower – sounds fabulous. And I’m glad you’ve worked out a solution that’s right-fit for you.

  8. Michelle says:

    I am JUST like you! I could so live off the land, with no running water, electricity and oh how I long for days with no phones or internet! You shower looks AMAZING and I too have enjoyed outdoor showers in the evenings under the stars. THAT is the sweet life. Can I come visit? 🙂

    • Indeed you can! Perhaps you’d be interested in venturing north to the BWCA this summer? Or south to the Suwannee River this winter? No phones, no internet, no electricity, but lots of fresh air, nature, and rugged wilderness. Do you canoe? Message me through my website and we can talk more!

  9. I’m very familiar with propane showers….living in a fifth wheel full time has certainly been in education. Normally the issue in an rv is the hotwater tank is small and quickly depleted. We were lucky enough to have one of the first ‘on demand’ systems available on our rv. Love it….as I never run out of hot water! Our refrigerators also can run on either propane or electric….so when we are out in the boonies we can have both hot water and cold storage! LIfe is Good!

    • Oh my, I didn’t realize you were living in it FULL TIME….! Well, I guess I’m getting there with mine as well. Funny thing is, I too have those amenities in my RV Toy Hauler. But My bathroom has become my closet, and so far, I’ve always been in places where I could use the facilities where I was at. This time, the water was so terrible, I absolutely dreaded the thought of running it through my rig. I did toy with the idea of using my RV’s outside shower, but since the shower on site was already there, why not make it better for everyone?

  10. I actually think that I would struggle withoput a shower, but when on a mission of great adventures- I don’t mind. Great ideas here.

  11. Sounds like you had an interesting experience. It can be amazing how often we take for granted unassuming pleasures. Glad you got it all worked out. 🙂

  12. Ok so how is it that I’ve not become a subscriber to your blog? Silly me. I’ve gone and joined up so now I’ll get a diet of you on a regular basis. Yay! This shower is just the coolest. Wow. My brother has an outdoor shower and swears by it. I’m going to try it the next time I pop in for a visit. Love how you hung in there and made it work for you. Your instructions are also very clear. Bet there’ll be a run on propane driven hot water heaters …

    • lol—trust me I was driven to get’er’done…..there was no giving up! It’s one thing to have the option available on an RV, where all of the plumbing and hook ups have been done by a professional. It’s an entirely different experience to put something together “off the grid” so to speak. But I do love that Petticoat Junction look, and miss that outdoor shower now that I am back up north! Thanks for signing up!

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