By Jean-Luc Théberge, author of the Guide du petit campeur québécois
Taking a shower at a campground can be a real ordeal, especially with young children! But you can make it much more pleasant with a few precautions.
We’ve all forgotten a towel, the soap or even our cellphone in a comfort station at some campground.
Many young children take their first shower when camping! So you’ll have to be patient and clearly explain to them how it works.
When you arrive at the campground, take a minute to visit the comfort station to make sure it’s well maintained and whether it is free or paid. This will also help reassure young children. There are different shower systems; some are pay per use, and the amounts vary from one campground to another. It isn’t always obvious, for children or even adults, how they work.
Proper planning and some little tips can help ensure that all goes well.
So here are things to keep in mind:
A large beach bag just for shower items is a good way not to leave anything behind when you head for the shower. If it has a little zippered pocket inside, so much the better. You can put your cash and other valuables in there, and keep everything in the one bag. Pay per use showers, incidentally, are a good way to save water.
The bag should contain:
• A change of clothes for returning from the shower (pyjamas are fine for children)
• A washcloth
• Waterproof sandals (unless you are already wearing them) en français, “tongs” devrait être “thongs”
• A towel – not too thick, so that it will dry quickly
• Coins (quarters and loonies in the little zippered pocket)
• A (working!) flashlight
• A hair dryer for long hair.
It’s a good idea to check the bag one last time before heading for the comfort station.
Each family member should have their own little bag, and another little bag for personal items.
Your personal bag should contain:
• Coins for the showers
• Shower gel for use as soap and shampoo is ideal; otherwise, soap and shampoo
• Shaving cream
• Contact lens case, if applicable
• Prescription drugs
This is often when young children will take their first shower alone – with supervision, of course. It can be quite an experience for them! Children always love a chance to do grown-up things, and this will give parents a bit more free time, too (always a bonus).
Coming back from the showers can also be an adventure! It may be light when you go in, but dark when you come out. So make sure you pick a reference point when you first arrive, to guide you back home later. And a flashlight, naturally, will be indispensable.
The whole campground can take on a different appearance when darkness falls. There is often very little lighting, especially in parks. So it’s quite easy to leave the comfort station by a different door and get completely lost. Leaving a lamp lit on the picnic table and the RV’s outside light on can be a great help in finding your way back to your site!