How to Make an Easy and Affordable Hand Washing Station
Proper hygiene and an emphasis on keeping your hands clean has always been a critical part of preventing the spread of illnesses in group camping situations like multi-day river trips. So it’s no surprise that rafting outfitters have perfected how to make an effective hand washing station for use out in the field. OARS typically provides two or three of these in camp for both the “kitchen” area and the “bathroom” or groover area, along with soap and hand sanitizer.
It’s not just wilderness river trips where a portable hand washing system might come in handy though. With the new realities that we’re all facing in the COVID-19 era, a do-it-yourself hand wash station is a creative, everyday solution that can be used in a variety of environments like car camping trips, festivals, summer camps, schools, small businesses, etc.
In our latest video, OARS Moab assistant manager, veteran Cataract Canyon guide and master of all trades, Steve Haase (with the help of his 14-year-old daughter Natalie who’s behind the camera), shows you how to make the simple and affordable hand washing system that we use on our trips.
DIY Hand Washing Station: What You’ll Need
2 – 5-gallon buckets
1 – lid for bucket
~80″ 5/16″ vinyl tubing
~30″ 5/16″ copper tubing
5 – hose clamps
1 – spring clamp
1 – primer bulb (with 5/16″ barb ends)
~ 6″ x 8″ piece of old cutting board, wood, etc.
4 – long zip ties
2 – large nuts
Assuming you have a couple of 5-gallon buckets on hand (one with a lid), you can pick up the rest of the supplies at your local hardware and auto store for about $25. If not, it will add approximately $40 to the cost of the set-up, but it’s still very reasonable compared to other portable hand washing options available online and in stores. Not to mention, you can assemble it in less than 5 minutes with nothing more than a hand-held drill.
Watch along as Steve builds a hand washing station from start to finish at home in Moab, UT and provides step-by-step instructions so you can make your own. He also shares helpful pointers to help ensure your system will function properly. For example, add a few large nuts on the bottom of the draw tube so the end of the hose is weighted and will remain on the bottom of the bucket where you’re pulling water from. And don’t forget the soap!
Good luck! If you build one, we’d love to see how you’re using it out in the real world. Send us your photos at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.