When it comes to keeping up personal hygiene on Pretirement, the bar must be lowered. It is easy to find running water at rest areas, visitor centers, and fast food restaurants, but it is harder to find hot running water and showers can be few and far between. On Pretirement we have taken advantage of rest areas/visitor centers at night, which we find to be typically empty, to brush our teeth and wash our face (same goes for early morning). When we are unable to make it to a place with running water, we fall back on using oxy-wipes and body wipes to “freshen up.” While I have not used these so far, you can also use dry shampoo and waterless shampoos. But no matter if you have running water or wipes, the odds of you going to bed still feeling a little sticky, smelly, or dusty remain high – a small, but seemingly sometimes large, price to pay for being on the road.
Some state parks and campgrounds have showers, but typically you will pay more to camp in these campgrounds and these showers can be closed seasonally (typically closed Labor to Memorial Day). For Pretirement we purchased a 10-gallon solar shower, which is basically a black collapsible water bag with a hose and a “shower” nozzle that you can turn on and off the water. The idea is that you fill it up, put it in the sun, and then you have warm water. So far on Pretirement, we have yet to get all of those steps completed, resulting typically in colder, albeit, wonderfully refreshing hose downs. We have noticed that both of us can shower with washing our hair with around 5 gallons total of water. So far, the places where we have showered have been so remote as to not need to worry about onlookers. For busier places we have a shower curtain which can be strung between two hiking/ski poles that stick horizontally off of the top of the van. The solar shower sits on top of the van when in use. Pros of the solar shower: it gets plenty of flow for washing, it can heat up quickly, 10-gallon size allows for plenty of water, but you can also fill it with way less if need be; Cons: Very difficult to move around, can leak, the hose that comes with it is only about 2.5 feet long. We have also relied on taking showers whenever we see friends and family. When all those fail, a hotel is never far away.