7 Best Camping Showers of 2019 (Buying Guide)
Camping can be a great escape from our everyday lives, but it also means leaving behind a few modern conveniences. Camping showers give you the best of both worlds. Warm showers can be a blessing after a long day of hiking or hanging out at your campsite.
These seven camping showers have made our camping trips so much nicer!
1. Advanced Elements 5 Gallon Summer Shower
- Medium capacity
- Temperature gauge
- Toiletry pouch and Velcro strips for washcloths
- No water flow adjustment
- No foot pump
This bag shower from Advanced Elements uses the power of the sun to heat your water. It’s a simple shower with a capacity of five gallons, which is enough to take one long shower or for several campers to take shorter soaks.
What makes this bag stand out to us is the number of extra features that other solar showers just don’t match. It has a temperature gauge so you can tell exactly how warm your shower will be, as well as a pouch for all of your showering toiletries.
Need somewhere to hang a washcloth while you rinse out your hair? The Advanced Elements 5 Gallon Summer Shower has you covered. There are Velcro strips where you can easily stick even wet washcloths so you can have your hands free.
Water pressure from the shower head is consistent throughout your shower, as it uses gravity to deliver your warm water. You’ll need to have this bag elevated quite a bit to use it, and there is no water flow adjustment.
Finally, it’s called a Summer Shower for a reason. Though the bag is insulated to keep your water warm while you’re using it and beyond, warming up the water in colder temperatures might take a while. You can always heat the water on your camp stove and feed it into the bag, though!
2. Coleman 5-Gallon Solar Shower
- Great value
- Can handle multiple short showers
- Keeps the water warm for a while
- The handle can be flimsy
- Only uses gravity to pump water
- The valve can leak easily
Coleman’s 5-Gallon Solar Shower presents you with a durable solar bag and adjustable water flow, which is always a nice feature! This shower is made with multiple campers in mind, as the five-gallon capacity will last for a few shorter showers.
You can turn the shower head on and off via a valve attached to the shower head. This makes it convenient to adjust because you’re going to need to hang the shower high in a tree or on a stand to get comfortable water pressure.
The front of the bag itself shows you a handy chart for how long it should take your water to heat in the sun, depending on the temperature and amount of water you’re using. In most cases, water should be warm enough for a comfortable shower in about three hours.
Coleman makes the perfect middle ground in all of their camping equipment. You’ll pay a bit more than the least expensive option, but their gear is also reasonably durable. The same can be said for their solar shower. The handle could do with some reinforcement, but otherwise, this is a bag that will last you a few seasons.
For the warmer months, this is a great solution to keep you clean and refreshed during longer camping trips. It’s compact and portable enough to take with you to remote sites, as well.
3. Ivation Portable Outdoor Shower
- WARNING: ONLY CHARGE THIS DEVICE WITH A 5V ADOPTER OR LESS. DO NOT CHARGE IT WITH AN ADAPTOR THAT’S MORE THAN 5 VOLTS! - INDOOR/OUTDOOR HANDHELD SHOWER - Transforms Sink or Bucket of Water Into...
- Can recharge almost anywhere
- Suction cup support for easy handling
- 60 minutes of use from one charge
- You need to provide a hot water source
- The on-off switch can be difficult to get to with wet hands
So far, we’ve seen a few solar showers on our list. The Ivation Portable Outdoor Shower works a bit differently. It’s a battery-powered hose with a water pump, which delivers warm water from a bucket or other water source of your choice.
The pump has a rechargeable battery, which is one of the nicest things about this portable shower. You can plug it into the power supply at your campsite if it has one, or charge it with your car’s adaptor or your laptop. It doesn’t take much to get the pump to a full charge, and then you get 60 minutes of continuous pumping.
You can use it just about anywhere because it’s extremely portable. Using it near a flat surface will allow you to use the suction cup feature on the back of the showerhead, giving you a hands-free shower system. It’s a great touch that only makes this shower more convenient!
While this shower is great for car camping, having access to a water heating system and water source are almost essential. This portable shower doesn’t include a heating mechanism, so you will have to warm the water yourself. However, it also doesn’t have a set capacity.
This means that you can take longer showers than solar showers allow if you have access to a water source and warming system. Plus, it’s extremely lightweight, so you can take it just about anywhere!
4. Ozark Trail Instant 2-Room Shower
- Includes 2-room privacy tent and shower bag
- Toiletry and washcloth pockets
- Includes a rainfly
- The floor can be slick when wet
- Can be difficult to get the shower into the tent
This two-room luxury shower by Ozark Trail stands out to us because of how private it is. So far, the shower mechanisms on our list haven’t come with a shelter or tent of any kind, so you’ll have to shower in a swimsuit out in the open.
However, with this Ozark Trail 2-Room Instant Shelter, you can create your own private space to get cleaned up. Not only does it have a shower room with a drainable floor and privacy coating, but you also get a second room that’s ideal for toweling off and changing clothes.
For campgrounds with multiple close sites (and especially on busy weekends), it doesn’t get much better than this. The frame is pre-attached to the walls, so you can set it up in just a few seconds at your campsite. Add a portable camping toilet and you can have your own private bathroom in the great outdoors!
One of the best parts about this shower shelter is that the shower comes with it. It includes a five-gallon solar shower that will quickly heat up your water with the power of the sun. Getting the full bag of warm water into the tent can be a bit of a challenge, but once you do, this is a luxurious experience!
There are toiletries and washcloth pockets inside the shower stall so that you have access to everything you need. There are windows and vents along the top that you can close up or leave open for a unique outdoor showering experience.
5. Intex Portable Solar Camping Shower
- Great value for a few uses
- On/off switch to control water flow
- Sturdy handle
- 5-gallon capacity
- Slow water flow
- Not the best shower head
- Not insulated, so use your warm water quickly
We considered several factors when choosing the best camping showers for our list, and the Intex Portable Camping Shower is a top pick because of the value. This is hands-down one of the most cost-effective portable showers on the market.
It’s a great bag for shorter, infrequent trips. If you want to maintain hygiene on a budget, this is absolutely the camping shower that we recommend. It’s great for several shorter rinses due to the 5-gallon capacity. Water can heat up to 118 degrees for a comfortably hot shower.
The shower head isn’t the greatest, but for a quick, inexpensive solution, this bag will do just fine. It can last you a few seasons, depending on how much you use it. It’s lightweight, portable, and doesn’t take up as much room in your gear because it isn’t insulted.
That means that you’re going to have to use your warm water quickly once it reaches your preferred temperature. The shower head does have an on-off valve as well, so you can control your water flow as well. That’s a nice touch!
If you are looking for something that you can use on multiple trips over multiple seasons, it might be worth dropping a little more money on something more durable and insulated. For a quick solution, though, it doesn’t get much better.
6. Nemo Helio Portable Shower (With Foot Pump)
- LONG-LASTING HEAT - The high capacity, insulated 11-liter soft Helio tank heats water using sunlight; Heated water stays piping hot for hours so you can clean up on your schedule
- Doesn’t use gravity to deliver water pressure
- Can be used for more than just showers
- Lightweight and portable
- Includes foot pump for great pressure
- Only holds 3 gallons of water
- Still requires solar heating
- Recommended for shorter showers
The Nemo Helio Portable Pressure Shower is yet another type of camping shower that you can choose for your outdoor adventures. While it is still a solar shower, it includes a foot pump that you can use to conveniently adjust your water flow.
The included shower head works with the foot pump to deliver consistent pressure that is much like the pressure from your shower at home. The water container holds about 3 gallons (or 11 liters) of water and is insulated so that the water remains hot for a while.
The hose is seven feet long, giving you enough room to move around and rinse off. It’s a versatile system that also allows you to wash dishes, rinse off your pets, and clean around your campsite as well!
We love how many things this pressure shower can be used for, and the control over the pressure is a nice feature. The smaller capacity means that you’re only going to get about 5-7 minutes of water. There are larger capacities available at an increased price.
We love that there are different colors available as well. You don’t have to hang it like solar shower bags, which is great for shorter campers or camping in environments without trees or other hanging points.
7. ZODI Outback Gear Extreme SC Hot Shower
- Hot water shower designed for backcountry camping and hunting
- Heats water up to 100 degrees
- Includes a 10,000 BTU burner that you can use for cooking
- Pressurizes via hand pump and without batteries
- Comes with a gear bag and temperature gauge
- Small 3-gallon capacity
- Heavier, bulkier, and less portable than a solar shower
- Requires a fuel bottle
The final type of camping shower on our list is this hot shower system by ZODI Outback Gear. This shower uses a fuel canister on a 10,000 BTU burner to quickly heat up to 3 gallons of water.
It’s faster than a solar shower, but the capacity is far smaller. It also doesn’t require gravity to feed or a battery but instead uses a hand pump to deliver warm water through the shower head. This can be a bit awkward to get used to, but once you get it down it’s quite refreshing.
You can use the burner that is used to heat the shower canister for cooking or other heating uses, so it gives you another piece of useful gear. It also comes with a gear bag to pack everything together.
However, it is a bulky system and isn’t as portable as some of the others on our list. Still, if you prefer the idea of a quick, hot shower without having to hang a solar bag, this might be the best choice for you.
How to Choose a Camping Shower
We based our decisions on a lot of different factors, including:
- Materials: Since your solar shower is going camping with you, it needs to be durable. We chose materials that wouldn’t puncture or rip easily, allowing you to use your solar shower over and over again.
- Included Parts: We ranked these portable showers based on what comes with your purchase. Showers that include a privacy tent are, in our opinion, a better value. Nearly all the showers on our list have a shower head included, which is always a nice feature.
- Weight: No one wants to carry a heavy portable camping shower with them to a remote campsite. We considered the weight of each portable shower for different types of camping, including backcountry camping and sites you have to hike to.
- Capacity: Capacity is important for your solar shower. If you’re a solo camper or hiker, a smaller bag is fine. Most of our favorite shower bags hold five gallons, which is great for your family.
Please note that it’s best to use any of the showers on our list in the warmer months. Solar showers might not heat up as quickly or at all in colder weather, and extreme temperatures might cause water to freeze inside the container and ruin the equipment. Keep temperatures in mind while considering the use of your camping shower.
What’s the Best Portable Shower for You?
There are multiple considerations to take into account when choosing a camp shower. Ideally, you should take a look at all of these different factors before you make your decision.
- What type of camping are you doing? Car camping, hiking, or tent camping at remote sites all require different types of camp showers.
- Are you concerned about size and weight? Some of the showers on our list are a bit bigger or bulkier than others, so consider how much room you have available when making your decision.
- Will you have access to water on your trips? Larger capacity is better only if you have water available where you’re camping. Often, water becomes a premium at more remote sites, so smaller showers are probably best. Camping near a river or lake? A submersible pumping system can be great!
- What will the weather be like? If you are camping in a relatively sunny spot that has trees or hanging points available, a solar shower bag can be a great option. Shady spots or cooler weather might require you to take a shower you can heat.
- Do you want a privacy tent? You can, of course, purchase shower shelters separately if you want to spend the extra money. Camping closely to other families might prompt you to choose a shower with a shelter included.
- Will you have access to power? Battery-powered portable camp showers like the one by Ivation require power to be recharged. If you are camping away from your car, hiking, or won’t have access to power, this probably isn’t the best option.
- How long do you prefer the hose to be? Hose length is something else to consider, based on your height and where you will be using your camp shower. Solar showers that you suspend to use will generally have long enough hoses. For all overs, choose a hose length that allows you a full rinse without frustration.
Ask yourself these questions before committing to the purchase of a camping shower. There are so many different types of showers available that it’s simple to find one that fits your camping style and location!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I use a camping shower?
A: Camping showers can be a bit complicated, and each different type will have a different operating procedure. Solar showers like the Coleman or Advanced Elements bag need to be heated on a flat surface or hung in a tree or other high point to heat. Then, gravity feeds the water through the shower head. The bag has to be high off the ground.
Water pump devices like the Ivation Portable shower need a container or body of water. While the Ivation doesn’t heat your water, there are some expensive, luxury pumps that will. Remember to take the pump out of the water when not in use.
Finally, we come to hot showers like the ZODI Outback Gear Extreme SC. This shower needs gas to heat the water, which means you’ll need fuel and a stove if one isn’t included. This can be quicker but requires more components.
Q: Do solar heated showers really work?
A: They do, but perhaps not as well as showers that heat the water quickly. How well these solar showers work depends on the time you have to allow it to work and the location where you’ll be camping.
Your water might not get as hot it will with a heated pump or system, so if you prefer a piping hot shower, you might choose a different option. However, for a lukewarm rinse to get cleaned off at the end of the day, solar heated showers can be a great option.
Q: How do I maintain my camp shower, and how long should I expect it to last?
A: Different types of solar showers are maintained differently. Most include instructions, so follow the guidelines provided by the manufacturer so your shower keeps performing at its peak. However, there are a few general guidelines for all solar showers.
First, make sure that you completely drain and rinse out your solar showers after use. Before storing, make sure all containers and hoses are free of water. Make sure that you are always using the cleanest water available, and regularly check the hoses and connections for mold, mildew, and signs of wear.
When you maintain your camp shower correctly, using common sense and the manufacturer’s instructions, you can reasonably expect your shower system to last a while. More durable systems can last for years, while solar bags can last for a few seasons and multiple uses.
Q: How many people can use my portable camping shower?
A: This depends on the capacity of the shower, as well as how long each person prefers to shower. Five-gallon shower systems allow for multiple people to take short rinses. When you take into account hair-washing and longer showers, showers will need to be spaced out to accommodate more people.
Q: How long will the hot water last?
A: Insulated containers will allow your hot water to stay hot over a period of time. If you are using a heated shower system, heating the water immediately before you intend to shower will give you the best results.
Make sure that you monitor the temperature of the water in your portable shower to get the experience that you prefer.
Whether you’re relaxing at camp or returning from a day hike, nothing quite beats a warm shower. Being clean while enjoying the outdoors is a luxury and all of the camp showers on our list will help you get comfortably clean at the end of the day.
From my own experience with camping showers, the Ozark Trail Instant 2-Room Shower is a great option. I value privacy, and on my last long camping trip, it made all the difference. Having my own clean bathroom was exciting and convenient.
I’ve used solar shower bags on trips before, and the Coleman 5-Gallon Solar Shower is also a great option, even without a tent. Five gallons is enough for a thorough soak, with even enough water to wash and rinse my hair! Plus, it’s extremely portable and easy to take with you to remote campsites.
All of these options are great, but the choice is yours. Whether you spend a few dollars or a few hundred, having a camping shower can only enhance how much you enjoy the outdoors!