6 Free Ways to Bathe While on the Road

  • November 9th, 2014

This post is part of the Run & Reflection series – where I reflect on running, or a completely random topic. Or sometimes, a little bit of both.

While I was up in Burlington, VT – I had a meeting with a friend by the name of Michael Adams.

Michael is both an amazing marketer and entrepreneur – with a work ethic so solid it could only be developed stirring up delicious mustard through cold Vermont winters.

He and I chatted a lot about what we wanted out of a life of entrepreneurship. A few days later he posted 7 Life Lessons I Learned from My Friend Who Lives in His Truck about the thoughts that came out of our conversation.

I am grateful, flattered and even a little surprised that someone (a friend even) would be inspired by my lifestyle decisions. And while Michael’s post is a must-read that touches on important high level themes, I thought it’d be fun to write a very practical post about living in your vehicle. So here it goes – 6 Free Ways to Bathe While on the Road.

Six Free Ways to Bathe on the Road

As a runner and someone who spends about 50% of their nights sleeping in the bed of their truck, one of the hardest things to take care of is bathing.

The benefit can be huge travel expense savings. One of the major reasons to stay at a hotel/motel/hostel/etc. is to have a place to shower or take a bath.

There are a few methods I have found work – to varying degrees:

1. Gas Station Bathroom

My least favorite option.

Splashing water on yourself from the sink is not the most effective method of getting clean – but sometimes it is necessary.

The big pro here is it is very easy to find a public bathroom. The big cons are you don’t get all that clean – and you leave a huge watery mess for some poor attendant to clean up.

2. Lake / Pond / Ocean / River / Any Big Clean Body of Water

If you are near a large, clean lake or pond – this can be a great way to bathe.

Cold water may not be as soothing as a hot water shower can be – but it reduces inflammation and facilitates muscle repair. Great for runners and athletes!

Houghton's Pond - Blue Hills Boston, MA

Houghton’s Pond – Blue Hills Reservation Area, outside of Boston

Oceans are salty – but beach towns come with ways to bathe six to nine months out of the year.

Living in Boston – a large body of water is not always the best way to go. Bathing in the Charles River, for example, could be pretty detrimental to your health.

3. Hotel Pools / Hot Tubs – Indoor or Outdoor

This way is one of the sketchier methods – because obviously, you are not a guest at the hotel.

When I visited Jackson Hole this year, I slept in a rented minivan. Several afternoons after running I would use an outdoor hot tub at a lodge off of Highway 89. It worked great and no one ever noticed.

Hotel Fitness Center - Boston

A Hotel Fitness Center & Swimming Pool – I didn’t get in

That being said, I went to use an indoor pool recently and was not able to even gain access. And there were more employees around than guests. Not worth trying too hard.

4. Pocket Shower

Works great in a pinch.

Pocket Shower

Pocket Shower – it will get the job done

I happen to be a huge exhibitionist (if that wasn’t painfully obvious by now) so using a hand shower in a parking lot is not big deal to me (I wear shorts!) – however you may want to find somewhere deserted.

5. Truck Stops

One thing I have learned is many truck stops have showers. I recently used a Pilot stop in Bow, New Hampshire. The cost was $12.

It was clean – and as I waited for the shower I watched WWE Raw on a comfy chair with a couple of truckers. Not too bad. However, $12 is a lot for a shower in my opinion.

WWE Raw at a New Hampshire Truck Stop

Watching some WWE Raw while waiting on a shower in Bow, NH

6. Gym / Health Club

I screwed this one up for so long – having an expensive membership to a one location boxing gym that happens to be probably the only gym in Boston without showers. Oops.

But one of the biggest assets to a health club membership is shower / hot tub / sauna access. You can really increase your value by getting a all-locations membership to a chain. Boston Sports Clubs, for example, has locations throughout Boston.

If you are traveling, a guest pass can work as well. Many gyms will look to entice you to sign up, and give you a free guest pass for the day. Knock off a few pull-ups or something, then enjoy the showers.

In conclusion

There are a few ways to inexpensive ways of bathing on the road. If you can utilize a few of them – you are free from one of the major draws of hotels/motels/apartments/homes. It’s worth considering as it can cut your travel expenses greatly.

Do you have a method? Please share by leaving a comment! Thanks!

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5 responses to “6 Free Ways to Bathe While on the Road”

  1. Adam says:

    Yep…..planet fitness it is for me! hahah.

    • Erik says:

      Ha – yes Adam, me too! Just recently joined with their Black Card membership. Doesn’t get a ton of use but comes in handy!

  2. Benjamin says:

    When I was traveling around and sleeping in a mini van I had a small 14″x12″ plastic container that was probably meant for dishes. I also would have a gallon bottle of water and a bar of soap and a washcloth. I just dumped some water into the plastic tub, wetted myself down, used some washrag and soap on myself, and then used more water to wash off the soap. Had a towel to dry myself off. Basically what is probably like your pocket shower. Would then typically go into a McDonald’s bathroom to brush teeth and use the toilet.

    • Erik says:

      Hey Benjamin, that sounds like it worked pretty well. I also carry a huge 5 gallon water container in the back – mostly for drinking water – but that could be used for your setup as well.

      Thanks for sharing!

  3. […] This effectively put an end to the experiment. I did not move into another apartment and therefore, I had no kitchen and no permanent place to stash groceries. Instead, for the next several months, I spent roughly 50% of my time living in the back of my truck. […]

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