Water Talkers

Camping with no running water

Amy Hunter
Amy Hunter | Feb 28, 2015 | in Water Appreciation Society

We do quite a lot of family camping in places with no running water on tap, sometimes (in scotland) you can use the water from the river to wash and also drink from (without even boiling and wow it tastes good) but things like bathing and washing up present challenges.. Since the water is cold, you can't get rid of grease very easily so we have to wipe everything as clean as possible using moss first. I quite enjoy doing this as it really cuts down how much time you spend getting your hands wet and the grease burns well in the fire. Its also amazing how clean things get just by wiping them (my mum used to let the dog lick the plates clean before putting them into the dishwasher)

Self washing is also reduced to a daily 'cracks and sacs' flannel job and a once or twice weekly plunge.

If we're on a campsite where you have to collect the water from a distant tap in bottles, you have to be sparing with water in a whole different way but often the loos and showers etc mean that it's only the cooking and drinking water you have to think about.

If I had to half the water I used at home in the city (current average is 290 litres), I would plant different plants  (less water dependent) in the garden, get another water butt and figure out a way to fill it with shower water from my daughters excessively long showers.

If we had a water strike or something and were only given 20 litres a day or therabouts, my priority would obviously be cooking and drinking, and personal washing. I would probably minimise loo flushing and use gray/ waste water to do that- and wear natural fibre clothing that doesn't get smelly.

Chloe Booker Feb 28, 2015

Thanks for your post. Your family camping trips sound idyllic. Great photo too. Nothing like having limited supplies and a distant tap to make you appreciate water. 

Excessive daughter showers! David who is tagged here has complained of the same issues. Have you any tricks or advice on how to persuade them to limit their shower time? 


Users tagged:

Roland Harwood Feb 28, 2015

What a beautiful photo! And yes there is nothing like going off grid to appreciate the basics in life like water and warmth.

Amy Hunter Feb 28, 2015

Well it's worse after Christmas when my daughter has lots of fancy new soap to use- the showers get longer.... 

I guess the biggest problem is how long our hot water takes to reach the taps- we waste a LOT of water that way and if we were organised we would save it and water the garden etc but to be honest I just don't have that sort of commitment to the cause! 

i think this is because our boiler ( gas combo) is on Eco setting. This means it doesn't keep a bit of water ready and hot all the time so doesnt keep firing up all the time. It might save on gas but I'm pretty sure that water consumption cancels that out. 

katie@100open.com Feb 28, 2015

Hi again Aimless, just wanted to say - I'm a recentish convert to the flannel for quick but thorough wash - it doesn't half save on water. Maybe the flannel should have it's own post, if you don't fancy posting up the flannel - I can do, let me know.  (private message me - top right on your profile bar squrare speech bubble). Looks like teenage appreciation of the long shower should have a post too...

Amy Hunter Mar 1, 2015


Jim Samme Mar 1, 2015

When camping I like a shower. I purchased a 12 volt shower and was amazed I could shower and wash my hair using just a kettle of water and a washing up bowl. The small amount of water used is surprising considering how much I use at home to complete the same task.

Janet Bradley Mar 2, 2015

I confess I have a caravan.. with a shower!!

Louis Allen Mar 2, 2015

lovely the picture fantastic

George Richardson Mar 3, 2015

The title of course is for the townies interpretation of running water,as of cours their needs where met by  Mother natures natural running water,Well done aimless on your article.

Louis Allen Mar 3, 2015

very good, there are many ways to get water when camping

carol potts Mar 4, 2015

I have a teenage granddaughter living with me and she is the exact opposite of most teenage girls. She has a phobia of water and has to be forced to bathe. Her showers last only a couple of minutes so she is saving the planet and also saving me quite a bit of money too as my water supply is connected to a meter.

katie@100open.com Mar 4, 2015

hi carolp,  good for her!  thanks for this comment, your granddaughter is more than welcome to join this crowd if she'd like to.  

Amy Hunter Mar 4, 2015

Yeah my teenager was pretty smelly for a while- struggling to get her to wash at all and now I look back on those blissful, cheap days!. When she gets back from her trip I'll ask her what has changed!


Bob Matthews Mar 5, 2015

An excellent post, in  most Eorpean countries we are blessed with having a good clean water supply. Whe I was in the RAF I was often posted on detachment where clean safe, water could only be produced by using water purification  tablets. I have drunk water in amny different countries and there is nothing more refreshin than water from an ice cold mountain stream miles for our hectic busy liives.

Denise Bennett Mar 5, 2015

When we stay on our narrow boat we have to be a bit frugal with water as the tank is only so big, and sometimes taps along the canal are few and far between. We recycle water, always have a kettle on the range for tea  and washing up and washing ourselves, saves a lot of gas, and we manage very well.When we went camping in the Lake district we had no water, but were next to a stream, this provided us with beautiful clear tasty water, it was ideal.