Letter Re: Bathing in a World Without Electricity

Good Morning;
My wife and I were once again looking at our list of to-do’s in our quest to prepare. I was looking at the list and noticed she wanted to find a wash tub that we could bathe in. Fortunately we live about one hundred feet from a year round creek and water will not be a issue. I started looking around  the house and my eyes fell on the woodstove and the 2.5 gallon water tank on the side. Now that water gets very warm obviously and I thought ok well that solves the hot water problem. Well, wait a minute. That is only 2.5 gallons out of about 10. Dang! I asked her why we couldn’t use the regular bathtub and she said “What if there is no water and it would be a lot of work to haul water back and forth”. Well that’s reasonable. So as I was taking a shower the next day I looked up and I got my one idea a year. I went out to the trailer that holds all my camping equipment. I grabbed our Solar Shower and filled it up and then placed it by the woodstove. It heated up within an hour to a temperature that was good for showers. I thought to myself that worked well. I then went into the attic space and reinforced the ceiling above the bathtub. I mounted a 4×4 post to the rafters and then placed a large eyehook into the 4×4. The eyehook extends down about 5 inches from the ceiling.  I placed the bag on the hook and it worked great. I bought three 2.5 gallon bag showers and then three 5 gallon bag showers. With those on hand, we will have no problem with bathing now.     Thanks, – David W.

JWR Replies: Solar shower bags are a very good suggestion. FWIW, when I spent some time in a small back-country hunting cabin that had spring-fed running water but that didn’t have hot water coils in the stove, I simply put every large pot and kettle on the stove and heated them to near a boil. Then I positioned a large wash bucket (aka “gut bucket”) next to the stove. I decided to use it right there rather than back in the bathroom, to minimize the distance that I would be carrying containers of scalding hot water. The air temperature was also more comfortable, close to the stove! By starting with a couple of gallons of cold water in the gut bucket and adding the hot water, I was able to achieve perfect bathtub temperature. A crouching position seemed to work best. (A 60 gallon galvanized stock tank would have been more comfortable, but I was “making do.”) After each bath, I used a 25-foot garden hose the siphon the water out the front door, and down hill a short distance. That way I didn’t have to bail out the tub and carry any buckets or pans.