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What is it About Outdoor Showers That Makes Us Feel So Free?

While on a Temazcal assignment in Tulum, Mexico, I stumbled upon many outdoor showers at most beachside hotels. The primary purpose of these outdoor showers, of course, is for a fresh water rinse off after swimming in the crystal clear balmy waters of the Caribbean Sea. Most of these outdoor showers are modestly tucked away, allowing for nuding up and ringing out of Troxers or a bathing suit, then with a simple towel wrap one is completely cleaned off, feeling free in the fresh breeze…. ahh… who needs an indoor shower, anyway?

Outdoor Showers Are:

  • Simple
  • Easy
  • Effective

And contain no bullshit like curtains, doors, towel racks, or products from Walgreens. Whether hooked up to a garden hose outside one’s backyard sauna or at a beachside hotel, outdoor showers help wave the flag of freedom. Just as we need more Sauna Talk, we need more outdoor showers.

Step in. Hit it. Towel off. And keep going. Perhaps a metaphor for doing anything in life?

Outdoor Sauna Shower Tips

There’s something hugely liberating about taking an outdoor shower. Perhaps a nod to nature, or non-conformity – an outdoor shower is, in my view, like waving a flag of freedom.

A shower (or lake plunge) is critical to a sauna round. A thorough clean rinse after a session in the hot room is critical to help clean out the pores, washing away sweat, toxins and dirt. All regular sauna enthusiasts do the clean rinse. Most of us aspire to sauna by a beautiful lake, where the clean rinse is implicit with a simple dive off the dock. But a backyard sauna clean rinse can be easily had by installing a simple $15 garden hose attachment. My backyard sauna shower, dangling over a tree branch, is detailed here.

Cold Water Only

A cold rinse is much more exciting and purposeful than a warm shower. I am not sure why, but both women, men, and kids all scream like girls on a roller coaster when they first encounter a cold outdoor shower between sauna rounds. Yes, the body is hot. Yes, the mind is expecting warm water, but my advice is to embrace the cold. Don’t think about the cold water on your skin, think about how good it feels in your core. Think about its function, the clean rinse, and helping close your exposed pores, helping your body start to equalize.

Rinse Like it’s Your Last Rinse, Every Round

It’s the right thing to do. What’s up with those folks who come out of a sauna, dripping sweat, reaching for their towel to dry off? This writer struggles to think of anything more yucky. A towel should be used to dry off extra clean water from the body. Not sweat. Skin needs rinsing, not drying.

Chill Out

Arguably, the best part of a sauna round is just after the clean rinse. The body and mind go through an expansive endorphin rush. This is when any negative thoughts (money, work, sore back) literally wash away. This is when you reset. This is when you don’t rush the moment but sit down or stretch out and enjoy the cool down process of your sauna round. This is when you are open to new ideas. New insight and opportunities. This is when the moon casting its shadow is most beautiful, when a friend’s joke is most funny, and when the misty garden all wet with rain sounds most like poetry.

$15 Outdoor Shower for your Home Sauna


I’ve seen outdoor showers for $150 in catalogs. Granted some have nice walls around them and a soap dish, but you can build a nice private surround on your own. They all hook up to a garden hose, so I got to thinking, why buy something fancy? So here’s what I did. I think it functions better, and feels more natural than a free standing unit.

DIY Outdoor Shower: Follow These 9 Easy Steps

  1. Locate a tree or overhang where you want the shower.
  2. Measure hose length needed from shower head to shut off valve (about waist high) along the length of the tree:
  3. Find a hose from the garbage or scrap piece somewhere. Or, if necessary, buy a 15′ hose at Home Depot for about $12.00. I used a gray hose and it blends in nicely with the tree trunk.
  4. Cut one end of your hose to size.
  5. Go to the hardware store and have them attach a fitting to the cut end ($3.00).
  6. Attach a hose nozzle, set on “shower” or “center” mode (do not use “jet” mode unless your body is thick with rust).
  7. Secure your hose along the tree branch with a few twisty ties.
  8. Attach the other end of the hose along the base of the tree to this shut off valve, from any hardware store ($5.00).
  9. Connect the other end of this shut off valve to your garden hose, et voila!
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6 thoughts on “Outdoor Sauna Showers”

  1. I use the same system with a hose from my house to the corner of the building. Say, Seliga canoes, it’s just the spelling. I have one and have almost 20 trips into the Quetico under my belt, some with an Old Town OTCA in the earlier years (1960’s). Love your site and love those wood burning stoves. Kraig

  2. Glenn,

    Just came across your website: great stuff! I’ll definitely be using your recommendations/designs when building a sauna-and be sure to add the cold shower as well!


  3. We have one too. Nice to use post surfing session or hot tub. Either way, nude up and freshen up.
    And now we see them as add on accessories with RVs.
    Less need to ensure hoses are clear of water year round as you obtain changes in latitude / attitude.
    What a GREAT post.

  4. Yes. Outdoor shower is key for those of us not lakeside. My sauna is in detached, in my yard and in the Canada where much of the year is below freezing. I’m still trying to figure out a way to design the shower so I’m not dealing with freezing pipes. Always keen to hear about novel ideas

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