Hobobo Guide to Finding Showers on the Road

bathroomMost hobobos know keeping up appearances is important for not actually looking homeless. And there are many advantages to looking presentable, namely not drawing attention to yourself. This enables you to continue exploiting your urban camping skills freely.

So how do you get a cheap or free shower to keep the stink off and prevent your hair from dreading? This depends on how off grid you are. Below are some of the best options we’ve come up with.

Public Pools

Even small towns tend to have public pools with extensive hours and fairly cheap day use fees. Some even have hot tubs and saunas and nearly all have what you’re after, a shower. In our experience a day’s entry to the public pool will usually run you $2-$5.

Gyms

If you’re on the road and hankering for some exercise and a shower a good option is finding the local gym. A day pass is usually between $5 and $15 will enable you to get some time working out and allow you full use of the facilities including showers.

Large chain gyms even offer free passes to any of their locations for up to 7 days if you sign up online. A little bit of planning will gain you access to exercise equipment and showers for a limited time. You might have to listen to a sales pitch, but maneuvering your way through the process is all part of being a skilled hobobo.

RV parks

The RV park showers are usually the least expensive and easiest you’ll find. They will range from $2 to $7 and allow you quick and easy access though quality and cleanliness varies widely. Many facilities will also have free wifi and coin-op laundry so you can spend a little time getting things done without much effort.

Truck stops

If you’re covering a lot of ground trying to get to your next destination you’ll likely find yourself passing by some truck stops. While this might seem kind of sketchy I can assure you most showers are clean and acceptable. The price will vary between $7-$15 which is pretty expensive, but there are many reward programs that are free to sign up for.

For example the Flying-J offers a free shower with a 50 gallon fill up. You’re going to be putting gas in the car anyway so this is another way of getting a little back on your costs.

Campgrounds

We have found campgrounds to be progressively more expensive these days. If you are camping at Forest Service or BLM campgrounds the services will vary. Some will only have a pit toilet with no water while others can range from full service with showers, general store and places to do your dishes. Of course you will be paying more for the amenities.

If you just need a shower many campgrounds will offer showers a la carte for about $2 to $5 which is pretty affordable.

Solar Shower

If you are free camping, chances are you will be isolated enough to take a shower with nature. You don’t really need a solar shower to do this but it makes it more convenient to be sure and will be warmer. A solar shower is usually between $8 and $30 depending on the size and quality.

Ours sprung a leak which makes it a challenge to transport when full. So getting a quality solar shower is worth the investment when you will be spending a lot of time off grid. A 5 gallon solar shower is more than enough for two people to shower. Two could probably manage with a 3 gallon but it would be tight.

If you have any more suggestion about ways to find cheap and free showers while on the road give us your tips in the comments below.

7 Responses to “Hobobo Guide to Finding Showers on the Road”

  1. Mat said:

    University sports facilities!
    for free, usually.. at least in europe


    July 21st, 2011 at 8:57 am

  2. Sam Z said:

    Hey guys! So- while on the road this summer one of my favorite urban shower options was going to a hot yoga class. Has to be HOT yoga- they almost always have complementary showers. The trick is to find a studio with promotional offers aka. fist class free. This means not only do you get a free shower, but you get free yoga too!


    February 23rd, 2012 at 11:42 am

  3. Briana said:

    Sam, that’s an awesome tip! Thanks!


    February 23rd, 2012 at 12:00 pm

  4. David said:

    Gotta agree with Sam! My gf is a yoga instructor so I’ve found this to be a good help. Most studios have a shower regardless of the temp, which is good for me bc I dread hot yoga.


    April 11th, 2012 at 6:26 am

  5. Fred said:

    While traveling in Alaska and the northern US we found that laundromats had showers.


    January 22nd, 2014 at 12:03 pm

  6. RVR said:

    I’m going to plug a gym chain here: Planet Fitness offers monthly memberships around $10/mo with a pretty marginal yearly fee of ~$40 annually. My work partner has a membership, and it they have been cool with his bringing a guest each visit. It definitely pays for itself pretty quickly, when compared to the $12 it costs for a shower at the Pilot. You can also ride the bikes, pretending you actually work out, while looking at the TV playing the news in silence, because you forget your headphones each time.


    March 8th, 2017 at 8:55 am

  7. lance said:

    Thanks for the info! I’ve been living in my truck because of the oil prices and all the cut backs. I just wanted to let you know you could add 3 to 5 bucks on all those prices in Canada pools are 7 to 10 and gyms are 8 to 11 again very helpful information


    April 12th, 2017 at 9:02 am

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