February 21, 2018

Van Life 5: Shower & Toilet


I have explored all the toilet ideas from a bucket with garbage bags in it, to the Incinolet which lights your poop on fire.  I don’t want the weight of a grey water tank and fresh water tank, and I’m not sure what the Incinolet uses to create fire, but whenever there is fire there usually is propane, deisel or something.  I’m trying to go all electrical in my van.

So, it may cost a bit, but I like the Dry Flush Toilet.  It is a more sophisticated translation of the bucket and garbage bags, and comes with a 12 Volt battery and a battery charger.  It weighs 26 lbs.  Cost is $480.00.  I want to poop in peace!

Videos on how the Dry Flush works.



There are so many ways to create a shower.  Since I will be in cities and parks in Canada and the USA, or in Central America where there are few parks, I want a shower system that I can do completely indoors.  Whenever possible, I will probably use campground showers, but I want to have that ability in-house.  Central America is hot and I will need to shower often when not swimming regularly.

I will also use Olay Moisturing Wipes, and adult wet wipes (the kind used in nursing homes) for sponge baths.  Or I can go old school and use a bucket with soapy water and a sponge for a “sponge bath”.  🙂

I have decided to aim for 5 gallons of water with which to shower.  Most solar shower units are 5 gallons.  A typical home shower uses 17 gallons on average, so my shower system will be to wet myself, turn off the water, soap up, and then turn water on and rinse.  I have decided that I want the following system:

  • I will have a 42 cup coffee urn (2.5 gallon) placed above my kitchen sink to make boiling water ($40)
  • I will have a 5 gallon dedicated shower container (5 gallon jug) to transport water to the van and use it for my “clean water tank”. ($20)
    • Then I will fill the coffee urn from it
    • When the water is boiled I will refill the 5 gallon container with boiling water
    • the room temperature 2.5 gallons of water will still be in the container to cool the boiling water
    • adjust to preferred temperature
  • I will use a Stansport Battery Powered Portable Shower unit to bring pressurized water from the jug to my shower stall ($90)
  • My shower stall will be a plastic tub–the Sterilite 151 Liter Black Wheeled Industrial Tote.  ($30)
  • When in an appropriate place, I will wheel my tote outside to dump it, and any leftover water in the 5 gallon clean water jug will be used to clean the tote.
  • My shower walls will be a shower curtain surrounding and tucked into the plastic storage tub.
  • I will probably make a shower curtain rod/stand from PVC pipe to sit inside the the plastic storage tub and go up to my desired height.  Or a hoola hoop attached to the ceiling above the shower space.

I have not yet decided how I will make a “room” for the shower/toilet.  I’ve narrowed it down to three choices:

  • build a shower room from the “foam insulation sandwich” with a curtain for a door.  It would have a place for the shower tote when not in use.  A place to store the 5 gallon shower container.  And when not showering, the room will house the toilet.
  • The IMA Folding Shower Screen from Rapsel can be folded away for when I am travelling myself, or erected in the “bathroom area” when I have company.
  • Make my own fold away cloth enclosure

Because I will be travelling alone, I don’t really care about how contained to the “room” I am when I am using the bathroom, getting dressed, etc. Those times that I am travelling with someone, well, one person can just go outside (or sit in a Starbucks) or sit in the front part of the van (I am keeping the bulkhead between the front and back of the van) while the other person gets cleaned up.  The toilet is mostly for night time anyway, as during the day we will use public toilets.  Unless we are hiking or doing sweaty things, a sponge bath will suffice.

About Angela

Angela Fiebelkorn is a non-denominational minister, and a New Consciousness Teacher affiliated with the Crimson Circle. She has been teaching classes on spirituality and metaphysics since 1996.

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