When you decide to head off camping, away from a campsite full of amenities, staying clean can become a bit of a chore.
However, there are options to make this much more comfortable, and a portable camping shower is just the thing to make this happen.
After a long day trekking or spending some time on the water kayaking, there is nothing that can beat a shower to get rid of all the dirt and grime that could have accumulated.
There’s no need to leave all of the home comforts at home, and taking a look at the showers below, you can see which is the best quick shower for your days in the wilderness.
What is a Portable Camping Shower
A travel shower was made from some sort of bucket with a bit of a hose and a nozzle in days gone by. These were hung from branches of a tree, and gravity made the water flow.
Things are very different nowadays, and a portable outdoor shower is much more than a holding tank and a nozzle. They often come with some heating mechanism, usually either solar showers or portable hot-water heaters.
Some even come with their privacy shelter, but this does entail a bit more carrying to your campsite.
There are numerous types available, and the best type depends on the sort of camping you would be doing. Heating water is one of the most significant factors in making a purchase.
Some come with built-in heaters if you have access to power, but if you are off the track and nowhere near electricity, it would have to be a solar-heated travel shower.
After heating, one of the biggest challenges is how to get the water out of the portable hot water shower. This is where many of the portable hot showers differ.
Some come with powered pumps, some are again fed by gravity, or some require pumping the water manually to get it to flow from the storage tank.
Each of the models could suit any camping trip to keep you clean and fresh, but some are either too much hard work to pump the water, or in the case of battery-powered, the stream of water might end up being a trickle rather than a flow. (Find the Biggest Tent)
The best one would be a shower that can heat the water naturally and make a decent water flow.
The last thing that would help determine the best outdoor camping shower would be on your essential camping list without taking up unnecessary space or adding too much weight.
Top Portable Camping Showers Reviews
1. Camp Chef HWD5 Triton Water Heater
This is the closest thing to the shower you have at home. It uses a minimalistic design and is easy to use. It requires propane to be used to heat the water, so a tank is a requirement, and it is capable of pumping one and a half gallons per minute.
This also means it doesn’t come with a water tank, so it would take a significant water source close by to take advantage of it.
If used at home, it would be the garden hose, but in the middle of the wilderness, camping, even a river or a lake, or at least some way of storing a large amount of water isn’t sufficient as the water needs to be pressurized. It is a lot more effective than a simple heat shower head type of shower. (Read Best Way To Boil Water Camping)
The shower comes with four settings, from mist to jets, to cover all spray options. It can also be hung or left free-standing, which might be the best option depending on the propane hose and how close your tank would be to your outside shower for the camper area.
- 20-minute automatic shut off
- Adjustable heat and flow
- Heat automatically turns on when water starts (uses two batteries)
- Self-standing or hanging
- Water can cause the battery box to short
- Needs propane tank to work
- Requires nearby pressurized water source (min pressure 25-30 psi)
- Weight: 14.6 pounds
- Size: 12 x 4 x 15 inches
- Steel body construction
- 1.5 gallons per minute
- Four spray settings
- Power source: propane
- Warranty: 1- year
The Camp Chef heated shower can be ideal in the right situation. But, because it needs a pressurized water source, it limits where it can be used.
It would need to be on a campsite with hose access or is best used as an outdoor shower in the home.
This type of shower would most likely be purchased by the individuals who buy the best camping tents, but it won’t take long to see its limitations when camping.
But the features and performance it offers, the price of a little over $100, can make it a cheaper and more versatile option as a secondary shower than having one installed outside your home.
No other camping shower can match this in the right conditions, but the way it needs connections to water and propane, the best portable shower for camping, isn’t.
2. Advanced Elements 5 Gallon Summer Shower / Solar Shower
Although the water capacity isn’t the largest, this camping shower sets the ease of use and portability standards. Being solar heated can be warming water as you are away from the campsite and comes with a 5 gallon supply, which should be sufficient if only one or two people are using it for quick swill down.
The construction of the water bag is 4-ply, which helps to heat the water quicker, and it is also insulated, so the warm water stays that way longer.
There is a built-in temperature gauge so you can quickly see when the water has reached temperature and a side storage pocket to hold your washing gear. It might just be the best shower system for the money.
- Small and lightweight to carry
- Very easy to use on and off
- Effective at heating water
- Side storage pocket for soap and shampoo
- Very affordable
- Easy to fill – extra-large cap
- Highly durable
- Reflective shaving mirror
- Only 5-gallon capacity
- Short hose length
- Would need direct sun to heat up
- Weight: 1.06 pounds
- Size when full: 20 x 6 x 2 inches
- 5-gallon capacity
- 1-year warranty
Even with its limitations, this practical camp shower bag can take some beating. It is super easy to use and is as low-tech as you could wish on a camping trip.
With a guide price of around $30, it is a bargain for having some home comfort while you are well off the beaten track.
The hardest thing you can find with this shower is your water source, but once you have that, the extra-large filling cap makes it easy to fill this gravity shower.
All you need then is to lay it on the ground or hanging in direct sunlight with the stated side facing the sun, and your water will be ready for when you return from your trek. This could be the best camp shower you can have with the least amount of fuss.
3. Nemo Helio Portable Pressure Shower with Foot Pump
This shower is lightweight and portable and was designed with campers in mind. It comes with an 11-liter solar-powered tank that sounds a lot, but when converted to gallons, the tank size is actually small, so it is only suitable for one person to shower with.
The portable shower does come with effective solar heating, and its effective insulation means the water will be hot for quite a while.
This is a free-standing shower. There is no need to find a hanging place and all you need to hang in the showerhead. (Find the Best Shakespeare Rod And Reel Combo)
Water is pumped using a foot pump which is both good and bad. You can limit water usage, but on the other hand, using a foot pump and showering simultaneously takes some skill.
- Durable construction
- Light and compact
- Long 7ft hose
- Can give more pressure than gravity fed
- Strap not designed to carry the shower when full of water
- Very expensive for the feature set
- Hard to pump and shower at the same time
- Only 7 minute maximum shower time
- Small tank and filling cap
- Size when packed 8.5 x 5.5 inches
- Height when in use: 17 inches
- Weight: 1.5 pounds
The concept of this portable shower is close, but there could be some refinements that make it so much better.
As it is, the asking price of around $100 is way too much for something only suitable for one person to use. It is small and lightweight, and when you see the tank is only 11 liters (less than 3 gallons), it is easy to see why.
It is one of the most widespread showers on the market, but easier-to-use options are much more affordable.
4. Texsport 5 Gallon Outdoor Portable Solar Shower for Camping Hiking Backpacking
This is as basic as it gets for a camping shower. It is heated by the sun via the black construction of the water-filled bag. Although this can be effective on bright sunny days, it doesn’t do much if there isn’t the intense sun.
There is also the fact, there is no insulation, so if you return home after too long trekking, your water might be luke-warm at best.
One hand feature this shower does have is four mesh pockets for your showering items; this makes it easy to keep all your shampoo and soap off the ground.
The shower is durable and suitable for trekking and backpacking because of its lightweight and how small it can fold when not used. (Find the Best Outdoor Canopies)
Flow control is just an off on the switch, so you might be able to squeeze a second person in to have a shower with a bit of luck, but anyone who likes a lot of shampoo in their hair will take almost all the water.
- Good tank size
- Very cheap
- Limited water flow
- No insulation
- No solar heating apart from black attracting sunlight
- Hard to open the filler cap
- Weight: 1.25 pounds
- Size when full: 9.5 x 6.6 x 2.1 inches
- Black polythene body
The Texsport 5 gallon portable camp shower is insanely cheap at around $10, but this does reflect its effectiveness at heating and storing hot water. It is as basic as you can get and is a thick polythene bag that soaks up the sun’s rays.
For the price, it can be a viable option for backpackers and the like, but for longer camping trips, it might be a better option to look at other solar-powered showers as an alternative.
5. Texsport Instant Portable Outdoor Camping Shower Privacy Shelter Changing Room
While not technically a shower in its own right, this camping shower tent includes Texsport 5 Gallon Outdoor Portable Solar Shower. Still, any other solar power shower could be used either in conjunction or replace this.
The camp shower enclosure offers plenty of privacy, so there is no need to take a half-dressed shower.
The outdoor camping shower enclosure comes with four durable walls and a sizeable D-styled door. With two windows that let light in but uphold the privacy, they come with storm covers to keep any bad weather out. (Read Motorhome Propane Tank)
Once erected, the removable floor keeps your feet free from dirt, and all you need to do is hang your Texsport solar shower on the inside of the portable shower tent.
- Gives lots of privacy
- Plenty of height inside
- Comes with carrying bag
- Expensive just for a basic shower for one person usage
- 5-gallon shower included
- Size: 87 x 54 x 54 inches when erected
- Weight: 20 pounds
- Rust-resistant poles
- Two no-see-um mesh windows
- Four no-see-um mesh skylights
- Flame retardant material
If it is the privacy you are after, then this outdoor shower kit for camping could be a great option. Depending on where you are camping, you could even locate it close to an RV and rig up a better-powered shower than relying on the 5-gallon sun-heated bag they include.
Other uses are on the beach, and although strictly designed as a camp shower tent, it could double up as a beach tent until your water has heated up.
For around $75, it is a lot to pay for an enclosure that includes the most basic of solar-heated showers, but if privacy is your concern, you might find it to be a worthy addition to your camping gear.
What to Look For When Buying a Portable Camping Shower
It isn’t a requirement to have a camping shower to enjoy the outdoors, but it is nice to stand under some running water occasionally. It doesn’t only have that clean feeling, but a sizeable hygienic element that comes into it also.
With all this in mind, there are a few things to consider when looking for the best camping shower, and some of this depends on the type of camping you are going to be doing.
This comes in three types, but the easiest and cheapest form of heating is on the list.
these will be not only the cheapest but also the most simple shower to use. They are a bag filled with water, and they take the sun to heat the contents.
Cheaper variants consist of a black bag, and if it is sunny, these can work. But, in conditions that aren’t bright, fully solar-powered showers come into their own.
This type of handheld portable shower is a bit of a double-edged sword, you might get a better flow rate than a solar-powered shower, but a battery-powered camping shower is nothing more than a portable showerhead connected to a battery-operated pump.
Camping hot water for these showers does need to come from another source. This equates to double the effort and double the cost.
Portable showers for camping powered by propane are the closest thing you can get to the shower at home.
It might give plenty of comforts, but for backpacking, they are nowhere near suitable. They will be heavier in the construction of the unit, and they need two other things to make them work.
One being a propane cylinder, and the second is they need a pressurized water source such as a garden hose. If the situation was right, these could be the best addition to a camping shower enclosure.
There are other things to consider apart from how an outdoor camping shower will heat the water. These are as follows.
Ease of use – a good camping porta shower should need no more than filling the tank and then a means of getting the warm water from the tank.
Any shower that takes more effort than this is exactly that, too much effort. Foot-powered showers being a prime example. These you need to pump at the same time to make the water flow. A gravity shower is hung, and then the tap releases the water.
Tank capacity – many camping showers say how small and lightweight they are; however, it is easy to see why they are light and small when in real-world use.
They can only hold a couple of gallons of water. Anything less than around 5-gallons of water will give a few minutes under the water. Time this wrong, and you could find you are still covered in soap.
Weight – This is a factor when you are backpacking. The too much extra weight and your walking
soon take a turn.
Any powered outdoor camping shower will have a weight premium because of plastic or metal body construction and batteries to carry. Solar-powered camping showers can be folded up to next to nothing and easily stored in a backpack.
Durability – Although a campsite shower might not do too much work, the repetitive filling can take its toll on the construction.
The simplest shower bag type of construction is polythene so that weak spots can be found after time. The foot-powered shower also uses because pushing with a foot pedal soon wears out plastic parts and springs.
An excellent solar shower would be designed to place no stress when carrying total water or hung ready for use. The body of this type is also multi-layered, so there won’t be any weak spots in the shower body.
After quite a few hours of portable testing showers, camping enthusiasts might search for them. We looked at all the showers that were reviewed and scored them according to different criteria.
We then compared them from a price to performance viewpoint to come up with a winner.
We decided the best portable shower was one that could be carried easily, was easy to use, offering the best temperature of water (using heating) and capacity. We then looked at how all this tied to the price of the shower.
It was clear there was only one winner, and this was the Advanced Elements 5 Gallon Summer Shower / Solar Shower.
We liked this, aside from it being one of the easiest to use and fill and carry. Manufacturers often overlook this, and 5-gallons of water isn’t the lightest thing to carry.
We also liked the temperature gauge that was built in. This gives a clear indication of water temperature, and with all the others, you had to guess.
Water tank size was one of the largest, and the only other giving more capacity is one that requires connecting to a hose.
The Advanced Elements is the most natural and most effective portable shower for camping; it also happens to be the one that delivers the very best price to performance ratio out of all the showers tested.
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