I am a year into retirement and my wife retired many years ago! We (and the dog) have bought a VW T5 camper van and intend to initially complete a tour of England and Scotland before heading south through France in the autumn. Most of you will appreciate that a T5 is not a motorhome and it will be a bit of a tight squeeze to take everything that we will need.
We aim to keep costs as low as possible by using the 'Aires' but of course our biggest problem will be showering. Most of these stopovers do not have showers and I would like some advice about how experienced travellers get around this problem. Do people who do not have showers on board their motorhomes pay to use the local swimming pools and use the facilities there? (perhaps you can pay just to shower in these places, I don't know).
If it turns out to be a major problem then we will just have to use campsites which provide the facilities we need. I am sure that there is a wealth of experience on this site and I am looking forward to hearing some of your suggestions.
No personal experience but we've seen lots of smaller campers on our travels and it seems there are various options.
As you say most Aires don't have facilities so a visit to a campsite is the way round that one. But once you're in warmer climes there are other options.
There's a thing called something like shower in a bag which is a black plastic/rubber bag which heats by attracting heat from the sun when left outside your van. At the end of the day you just sit it on your roof and open the tap and shower under it.
River and beach side locations can be popular for washing using the natural resources
I would imagine it would be worth calling into campsite to see if you could use their facilities only for a few Euros...
Hopefully there'll be some other suggestions coming along.
When my water tank sprang a leak last year ... I booked onto a site every two days or so ... I was lucky that the weather was not too hot, so a strip wash in the camper was OK ... not sure my dog thought so ... but I was not asked to leave any pubs
Or you could do what we did when camping ... we each stood in a washing up bowl and soaped up ... then the other one poured water over to wash it off ... the bowl was so we did not kill the grass ... Oh, and in case you were wondering we wore out swimming gear ...
Hi everyone, thank you for your suggestions and stories about past experiences; standing in washing up bowls sounds a bit extreme but I suppose it would be practical if you could find an out of the way spot! I quite like the idea of the solar shower and I have also looked at the containers you can buy which are similar in principle to a garden chemical spray which you pump up by hand; Hozelock do one which has a rigid tank, but is a bit bulky to store in a camper van. I have also found one called 'Madness Shower' which has an inflatable tank, so it is possibly easier to store; more research on that one.
Tom1, I will keep it a secret about casually wandering into a campsite and using the facilities, but it has also crossed my mind as a possibility! I hadn't thought about gymnasiums, so that is a good suggestion.
In this modern age we take it for granted that showering is an everyday activity, but of course most of the older generation will remember the time when it was a bath once a week. I am sure that we can go a day or two by having a strip wash in the van.
Keep the suggestions coming because someone will have a brilliant suggestion tucked away up their sleeve.
I have just found this bit of kit on Amazon: It is a shower head with a submersible pump powered by a rechargeable 12v battery; they claim that it will run for 60+ minutes on one charge which is more than adequate for our needs. It can be recharged via USB off the van system. This may be the answer for showering in warmer climes and it is very compact.
I am now looking at how to rig up some sort of shower curtain across the back of the van with the barn doors open!! Oh the joys of camping and the outdoor life. I bet that some will be saying "for God's sake man, get yourselves a bigger van with everything included inside it' ... but I do like a challenge and have always wanted to own a VW. More to follow...
In the 90s I had an old Commer with no bathroom. I had a summer solution and a winter one ..... summer .... 2 big plastic bottles (ginger beer as they are brown and get warm quicker) placed behind windscreen all day. I would just pour half a bottle over me to get wet, shampoo and soap, then use a bottle and a half to rinse. I found this much easier than the shower bag thingy of a friend that I used a few times. I did this either in the wilds (lived in and only toured Scotland at the time) or sometimes in public toilets early or late when quiet, if there was a drain in the cubicle. Later I got very inventive and used an old shower curtain on a hula hoop attached to the top of the back door on the van. In winter I just had a bucket that I would fill with hot water, and a big plastic mug to scoop warm water and pour over myself. I actually found both these methods more effective than most showers! Must say though that I am very glad to have an onboard shower now ....
When we did a trip across the Sahara in Morocco in our Land Rovers we booking into campsites every couple of days to clean up. In France a lot of the motorway pull in places also have shower facilities. Usually cost about 0.50€
Great suggestions! The more I think about it the more I think that with a bit of planning I will get away without having anything resembling a shower on board the van. From the answers here it seems that there will always be somewhere to nip in for a shower even if it is not every day. A smile, a bit of dosh or even a bit of daring will get you in most places.
Me, my wife and our Border Terrier set off on our first trip (around the UK) next week so we will soon find out how things go. The van will allow us to travel on holiday with Rags... we have never used kennels; holidays abroad have been so difficult in the past but come September we will be off to Europe. Thanks all, your ideas have been entertaining!
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