Zak and I built a shower in our van, but we primarily use our Anytime Fitness Membership to shower. Getting a gym membership to shower is a very common thing to do in Vanlife. A lot of people have either Anytime Fitness or Planet Fitness. Some people even have both memberships. The benefits of having an Anytime Fitness membership are that the facilities usually are cleaner, and they have a barbell instead of just machines. The downsides to Anytime Fitness are that it is more expensive and there seem to be less locations than Planet Fitness. For our instagram video about how we shower at Anytime Fitness, click here.
When Zak and I are near big cities, getting to any Anytime Fitness is no-big-deal. However, we have been in Montana for the last 3 weeks or so, and we have been in relatively rural areas. When we are in more rural areas, we do sometimes go swimming in lakes or rivers, which can help. The last time we went to an Anytime Fitness was in Billings, MT. Since then, we have driven up and through Glacier National Park, and down through Missoula and Bozeman. Luckily, Zak has had 1 shower and I have had 2 showers since Billings, but that’s probably less than it ought to be…
Campgrounds tend to have the most reliable showers that we come across (besides Anytime). We don’t stay at campgrounds too often, because we feel like we spent so much money converting the van that we would prefer to park for free whenever we can. However, campgrounds give us the ability to dump our grey water and toilet, get drinking water, have showers, and even do laundry. We go to campgrounds when we need a little recharge. So, with all of that being said, Zak and I both have gotten one shower at a campground in/ around Glacier. But, since our showers at the campground –for Zak, this was last Monday 9/26, and for me, it was Friday, 9/30– we haven’t showered at all.
So, I’m sure all of you are thinking:
1. That’s absolutely disgusting.
2. You literally just said you had a shower in the van… Why the heck aren’t you using that?!
First, yeah, we’re feeling pretty gross. We have some wipes to get off some of the grime, and I try to brush and braid my hair every day, but these little fixes are not a replacement for the real thing. (I’m sure you figured that out on your own though.) Although, I will say that if you ever need something quick, these wipes are pretty great. They mostly have water and essential oils in them. They smell good, and I cut them into pieces so they seem to last forever! If you’re interested, here’s the link.
There are a few reasons why we don’t really use our shower:
First, when we were building the van, we didn’t put a grey water tank under the shower. In truth, it’s probably not a huge deal. Obviously people wash their cars in their driveways and I’m sure that soap is a lot more toxic than the soap we’re using. However, it isn’t nice to see water streaming from the bottom of a van and into a parking lot. It feels uncool. We could talk to someone about installing a grey water tank under the van, but it feels like more work than it’s worth? Who knows.
Secondly, and more importantly, we have a 30 gallon water tank, which we like to have last us about a week. Water is not always easy to come by, and it’s not always free, so we try to conserve as much as possible. Even if we each take a 2.5 gallon shower, that’s still 1/6 of our tank gone that we could have used for drinking or dishes.
Lastly, we tend to use our shower as a glorified closet. It is filled with all sorts of stuff right now: the toilet, our pee jug, a coat, a spare part for our fridge, some soaps, the toilet paper, shoes, coolant for the car, our gym bag.
So, all in all, Zak hasn’t showered in 11 days and I haven’t showered in 7 days (and I have gone on 6 runs in that time). Plug your nose when you pass us.
With much (stinky) love,
Zak, Fal, and Auggie (who never showers)
Want to hear more about our journey? Make sure to check out our Vanlife Journal for more!