The heat wave enveloping most of the country at the moment is an indication of even hotter weather to come this summer. You need a cold shower.
Surprisingly enough to some, there is a large market for cold showers. Anyone who has done any desert camping or found themselves in the great outdoors during a hot spell will attest to a cold shower being essential for survival – in some cases quite literally.
A number of showers cater for hot conditions. The Big Kahuna Shower, for one, is a popular portable shower which has no heating system incorporated in the device. For conditions at sea or on a lake in summer, hot water is definitely NOT a big requirement. For me personally, sand, sea and sun calls for clean and cold water every time I hit the beach or especially when sea fishing.
Solar shower bags also can be used effectively for lukewarm or cold showers. Fill them from streams or local water supply points or from your own water containers. Fill them just before they are needed for lower temperatures or just keep them out of the sun – they won't heat up higher than the ambient temperature and will provide a comfortably cool shower. Spraying down the area of your camping site will also help to drop temperatures in the immediate vicinity and keep dust down – just sling your solar shower bag over your shoulder and take a walk through the camp site with the shower nozzle in your hand, spraying lightly as far as you go. Of course, propane portable showers, such as those from the Zodi shower range, can also provide cold showers – simply don't heat the water.
What is too hot? Well, Health and Safety regulations define 85° F as the threshold for “moderate work” for someone unacclimatized to local conditions. That temperature drops quickly if high humidity is added. Most of us travel to areas far from home when we are camping – and most do quite a bit of hiking too. That qualifies as more than just “moderate work”.
There are a number of unexpected health benefits to taking cold showers. It improves circulation, conditions both the skin and hair and is attributed to increasing the brain's production of nonadrenaline – a chemical that fights depression. Ancient samurai warriors followed a ritual of pouring cold spring water over their heads every morning for spiritual renewal – the fact that the Japanese have the longest lifespan in the world is linked by some researchers to the common practice of daily cold friction showers. If you need any more convincing, recent medical research shows an increase of testosterone and fertility in men.
We would like to hear about your experiences with hot weather on camping trips, so leave a comment and you'll be entered into our draw for a prize for a Stearns Sunshower 5 Gallon shower bag and a Zodi Extreme SC Hot Shower as the grand prize.