If you don’t know anything about the annual arts festival, know that it takes place in Black Rock Desert, a stretch of inhospitable “playa” in Northwestern Nevada that’s prone to frequent dust storms, soaring temperatures and a variety of conditions that can leave revelers, well, absolutely filthy. After a few days in this kind of environment, you can imagine how refreshing and necessary it would be to have a way to rinse off and feel a bit more comfortable

Granted not every outdoor adventure takes place in such extreme climates, but I have found that portable shower systems can come in handy for a number of uses like cleaning off sandy feet car-side after a trip to the beach or washing hands when there’s no access to running water. 

And if you’re thinking that the mechanics of a portable shower seem all too much work to bother, they are actually pretty simple and low-effort. Depending on which tier of shower you choose, many of the more straightforward designs (like the one I have, the Summer Shower) are just a sprinkler-type showerhead and hose attached to a hangable bag that’s made with heat-inducing material so the water inside becomes warm after a few hours sitting in the sun. Then, you just re-fill your bag with your potable water as needed.

The higher up in price you get, you’ll find more high-tech models that allow for pressurized water flow and even automatic heating systems for real at-home shower experience — these might be better options for camping in colder climates and seasons. You can also pair your camp shower with a pop-up privacy tent, and note that it’s important to know the wastewater disposal policies of your specific campground.