Naturist Camping with an Eye for Hygiene

If you have been following our latest travels on our YouTube channel, you’ve seen us camping with a van in some purely magnificent places on the Canary Islands. We’ve been camping right on the beach every single night. When the people staying in their fancy expensive hotel rooms with ocean views looked outside their windows, the first thing they saw was… our camper.

 

Needless to say that camping comes with some unique perks. We don’t only get the best spots, it’s also relatively cheap and we get to spend our time really close to nature. Of course, this also means that we have to give in on comfort. In the end, we are staying in a small box with a minimum of facilities. And one of the questions we’ve been hearing the most is how about hygiene?

 

 

Hygiene on a naturist campsite

Truth to be said, our lives during the last weeks would have been quite more hygienic if we had been staying at campsites. Especially our personal hygiene, because campsites have showers. This was not an option on the Canary Islands though, the very few campsites that do exist were all closed. And we probably wouldn’t have stayed there anyway because they are not naturist campsites.

 

One huge advantage of naturist campsites is that we think that they are a lot more hygienic than textile campsites. Because you don’t need to take your clothes inside a small cabin, they don’t get damp and can’t fall on the floor. Which means that they can’t pick up microbes. Many naturist campsites also have communal showers. We don’t know if there’s any proof that wide-open spaces are more hygienic than small cabins, but it definitely feels like that. And then there are the outdoor showers. Not only does it feel great to shower in nature, but we are also absolutely sure that this will be more hygienic than showering inside.

 

Not wearing clothes all the time also has the advantage that your clothes don’t get dirty so easily. You may recognize the scenario in which you wake up in the morning, smell yesterday’s clothes, and think “meh, good enough”. Not that they actually smell like roses, but just because you don’t want to spend a sunny morning doing laundry at a campsite. As a naturist, you probably haven’t been wearing those clothes all day yesterday, so it’s actually more likely that they are indeed still “good enough”.

 

 

Hygiene while wild camping

The comfort of decent showers and accessible laundry machines does disappear when you’re camping in the wild. And we have to admit, during our weeks of “van life”, there were times when we were a bit more smelly than usual. Especially at the beginning, because we still had to learn quite a lot.

 

Both the campers that we rented did have a water tank and a hose which worked perfectly as a shower. Nevertheless, this required some planning. On Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, it’s really not a big deal to be naked around your van, especially for the couple of minutes of showering. But it’s best not to do this when there are too many people around as there’s always someone who could be offended. So the best times are early in the morning or late in the afternoon. After sunset seemed like the best option at first, but once the temperatures start to drop, it requires a lot more commitment to get naked under a cold stream of water.

 

There are, of course, campers that have an indoor shower and they don’t have this problem. On the other hand, people who camp with a tent probably don’t even have the comfort of a personal water tank. There are a number of other possibilities though. Many beaches have public showers that the crowds use to get the sand off their bodies. Once most people left the beach in the evening, these can easily be used as a “real shower”. You can also often find showers at gas stations and truck stops. These come at a small cost, but at least you’ll have privacy and (most often) hot water.

 

 

Laundry and dishes

The water in our camper’s water tank is limited. This too is something we needed to learn. It’s very interesting how much we got used to an endless water supply. All our lives, we just open the tap and close it again whenever we’re ready. In our camper, we always needed to keep an eye on our water level. There were some options on the islands to buy fresh water, but these were less common than we had initially thought. Or hoped.

 

Most of the time, we only used our fresh water for cooking, showering, and brushing our teeth. For doing the dishes and laundry, we quickly learned that the ocean water works pretty well too. While we were camping on the beach, there was an endless supply of water right in front of us. And since we’re using products to clean our clothes and dishes, it didn’t really matter that the water was salty.

 

 

Number Two

Probably our biggest struggle at the beginning was not having a toilet. In our first van, we actually just did not have a toilet. In our second van, we did have one of those chemical toilets, but we didn’t feel much for using it. And especially not for cleaning it. So our options were quite limited. Luckily, there’s so much nature on the Canary Islands that you can always just dig a hole behind a bush and do your thing. But along the way, we found out that there are some more comfortable options.

 

As we didn’t have wifi or an abundance of electricity in our van, we regularly needed to spend some time in a bar to get some work done. This was always a unique opportunity to use a real toilet as well. We also learned that most shopping malls and supermarkets on the Canary islands have free and pretty clean toilets. Something we wished we had learned a lot sooner was to use the toilets of big hotels. The people at the reception desk have no clue who’s actually staying in their couple of hundreds of rooms. So when you walk in looking as if you know where you’re going, nobody will ask questions. Inside the hotels, you’ll always find the cleanest toilets around.

 

 

Adjusting to the new normal

The “new normal” is a term that has been hyped during the COVID pandemic, but it actually applies to any new lifestyle you’re adapting. Living in a van (or a tent) is totally different than living in concrete buildings with water pipes, power lines, and real toilets. But it’s definitely something you can learn if you’re willing to adjust your habits. Along the way, you learn all the tricks to live a quite comfortable life in quite a nonconformist setting.

 

Living the “van life” also doesn’t mean that you are forced to stick to your van all the time. We did rent an apartment once for a couple of days, just because that seemed like a good option for the place where we wanted to stay and it gave us the opportunity to use a real hot shower. We also showered once at a friend’s Airbnb in Fuerteventura and did our laundry in another friend’s laundry machine in Lanzarote.

 

Nevertheless, we acquired quite some new skills in the limited time that we lived the wild camping life. And what we got in return was a sense of freedom that we would probably never have found staying in a hotel or Airbnb.

 
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7 thoughts on “Naturist Camping with an Eye for Hygiene”

  1. What about just getting into the sea? Do you still need a shower after that?

    Well, I can answer for myself, I’ve done it in the summer, and yes, it’s better to get a shower after the getting in the sea, if you can. But if you can’t, well, getting into the sea is still better than no shower at all.

    Reply
    • We often shower after swimming in the sea, just because we don’t really like the stickiness of the salty water. But we agree that a swim in the sea is better than no shower at all.

      Reply
  2. We’ve owned a van in Australia for six years now but we’ve camped here for many more years than that.

    One very useful technique for keeping clean is a “bird bath”. You can boil up half a kettle of water, mix with some cold in a bowl, use a flannel (face washer) dipped in the water to wet down, soap up, leave the soap to do its work for 20 seconds or so and then mop the soap off with the wet flannel. This can be done inside the van/tent if you’re shy or its cold out, but it’s much less cramped and more pleasant to do it outside, especially on an empty beach with a fabulous view. Something we have a huge supply of here in Western Australia!

    This technique is water-efficient and energy efficient, generally important in the modern world, but especially so when you’re travelling off grid

    Reply
  3. As for the comments above using a bowl and face cloth.
    I’ve done this for years on a small boat of Motorcycle Camping it’s a great way to freshen up and water efficient!

    In warm weather those inexpensive solar showers work well if you fill them in the morning at the petrol station and leave them in the sun. The even work just left in a hot van.
    The key to using them is wet down soap up and rinse off.
    You should have enough water for the two of you.

    Reply
  4. I’ve been considering getting a camper van, or small motorhome, for some time. It would not only be useful for nude recreation but would actually be quite useful for my main profession.

    As you must know now from my comments in various parts of your blog, I’m not a resort or club person. I much prefer less formally designated places.

    With a camper van or preferably a small motorhome, I’d have the freedom to leave my house, drive for however long to a beach (for example) and spend two, three four, five days, or a week or even two weeks without ever having to put clothes on, staying nude all the time. I already drive in the nude if I’m going to a beach, so with a van or motorhome I could live nude 100% of the time while on my trips.

    Some of the work I do is online, so with careful planning I could work from the van/motorhome too.

    The other alternative Ive considered is a canal boat. Here in the UK we have an extensive network of canals, mostly through the countryside. And with our laws allowing public nudity it would be no problem to live nude most of the time on a narrowboat.

    Reply

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