Figuring out how to pick a camp shower can be frustrating or difficult if you aren’t sure what features should be essential. A camp shower can help you stay clean and refreshed when on the road or when you’re taking a trip off the grid. In this article, we will go over all the features a good outdoor shower has and how to pick the best camp shower for your needs.

Some of the best camping showers are easy to transport and easy to use, especially if you choose high quality.

Using portable camp showers are essential for travelers and families travel with kids or are traveling on a budget. You don’t want to take a cold shower and want to spend more time outdoors, than a hotel room. But nothing beats a warm shower at the end of the day.

We’ve searched and found a few shower systems (and avoid using that garden hose) that heat water, are packable so you can keep clean when camping or hiking. Check out the options below.

Choosing the Best Camp Shower

When planning your outdoor excursions, selecting the right camp shower can make all the difference. Consider factors like water capacity, heating mechanism, portability, and ease of use.

Solar-powered showers offer an eco-friendly option by utilizing the sun’s energy, while portable electric showers provide a quick and powerful rinse, powered by batteries or car adapters. Pump-action models require manual effort but are lightweight and easy to transport

How do you take a hot shower when camping?

Coleman 5-Gallon Solar Shower

Some people might not think camping showers are warm, but they can create a comfortable bathing environment just like the hot shower you have at home.

A Camping shower can provide warm water in three key ways.

1. Solar-Powered Showers Explained

Solar-powered showers are a popular choice for their simplicity and environmental benefits. By absorbing sunlight, these showers heat water naturally, offering a warm shower even in remote locations. While they depend on sunny conditions, their efficiency and sustainability make them a favorite among eco-conscious campers.

Camp travelers prefer solar shower because they don’t have to bring any fuel or worry about being plugged into a source of electricity. The device will have to be left in direct sunlight to provide warm water.

So, this might not be the best choice if you are traveling in rainy or cloudy environments. A sun shower sometimes also takes a longer time to hit up.

Many travelers like the Coleman Solar Shower because it’s simple to use. It’s a gravity-fed bag that can be rolled up and slipped into your tent or hiking bag. Additionally, it has a handle that you can slip over a hook and a valve that twists open whenever you’re ready to shower.

2. Gas

These usually are powered by propane tanks similar to ones you may already own to use with a camp stove or a small heater. Gas-powered camping showers are the fastest option for heating water. The gas camp shower connects using an AC/DC Adapter to Outlet or 12V Cigarette Lighter to your car for instant hot water.

Propane camp showers are usually a little higher-end and will be more expensive since they basically have more technology. From knobs to control water temperature to the hoses, hand faucets/spigots, and shower head attachments with adjustable spray patterns, these come the closest to a home shower.

3. Electricity

Electricity showers are powered by rechargeable battery or car. A solar-powered battery will provide you one options for camp showering. The second option requires you to connect via the cigarette lighter socket in your car. Batteries can be heavy to bring around, but they don’t rely on propane and with a solar charger, you can save the propane for your camp stove.

4. Pump-Action Camp Showers

Pump-action showers require manual effort to pressurize the water, allowing for a controlled and efficient portable camp shower. These models are especially suited for areas with limited water sources, as they maximize water efficiency. Their simplicity and durability also make them a reliable choice for rugged camping trips.

5. DIY Camp Shower Solutions

For the crafty camper, DIY camping shower solutions can provide a customized and cost-effective alternative. From repurposing garden sprayers to creating gravity-fed systems, the possibilities are endless. Remember, safety and environmental impact should always be considered when crafting your DIY shower.

How does the water come out in a camp shower?

Camping showers have a few different methods for bringing water out of the device. There are three main groups for most camp showers.

1. Electric

This will be an electronically-powered pump that you place into a bottle or body of water. Electric camp showers water travels through the power system, which makes it mobile and efficient. Electric camping showers are powered by solar, rechargeable batteries, or your car’s cigarette lighter.

For those seeking convenience and efficiency, portable electric showers are a standout option. These devices can quickly heat water and offer a steady water flow, making them ideal for quick, refreshing showers. The key is to ensure you have a compatible power source, whether it’s a portable battery, car charger, or solar panel.

2. Pump

Pump-style camping showers will involve either a hand or foot pump that you apply pressure to until the water can move up and through the nozzle, then out through a portable shower head. These simple showers may have less water pressure and might take you a bit longer to get fully clean.

Pump camp showers are available in both hot and soft constructions. Consider the Nemo Helio LX Pressure Shower if you are looking for a shower with a foot pump. This shower lets you have 7-10 minutes of pressurized water and is solar-powered. 

3. Gravity

Gravity camp bags will be the best portable hot water shower and minimalist option. It is a water-filled bag that you hang somewhere, possibly from tree branches. Then, gravity will naturally bring the water out at a steady rate to make you feel like you’re in a real shower.

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Where do you shower when camping?

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This will largely depend on where you have set up your tent and what part of the world you are traveling in.

If you are in a largely wooded area, you can hang up a blanket or curtain between two trees. Then hang your portable outdoor shower from a nearby branch and shower behind the makeshift covering.

Some people also make portable showers inside the back of the van or car they may be traveling in. You can open both of the van’s doors and hang a curtain or blanket between them.

Then, standing on the ground outside of the van, you can shower without anyone seeing you. Some campsites may also have small structures built intended to give visitors privacy while they bathe.

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Shower Tents

The more expensive portable showers will include a shelter or camping shower tent that lets you shower in private. These outdoor shower enclosures are are lightweight, portable and can be placed anywhere to serve as a pop-up shower tent.

The No products found. lets you shower without being seen. It’s a portable shower stall that also includes a battery-powered light so you can shower at night and a rack to hang toilet paper or towels.

REI Nemo Helios Shower Privacy tent
NEMO Helios Privacy Shelter -Camp showering in private

What features should I look for in a camp shower?

Look at the following specs and features when buying a camping shower.


Some showers come in a simple water bag, while others may have a whole unit or kit built-in. Both are great options; it just depends on what you prefer.

Make sure to choose a durable option. When you’re outdoors, you want to make sure the water bag cannot rip easily.

Sea-to-Summit Pocket Shower is known for having water bag showers that come in durable compartments. This model is made from 70D nylon with fully taped seams. The fabric also readily soaks up the sun.

Some portable showers may have a stiff side. These will usually be more pressurized and have a better water flow.

NEMO Helio Portable Pressure Camp Shower

If you choose a kit that has a popup shelter, make sure it is sturdy and can be pushed into the ground to be stable. The last thing you want is the shower to blow away while you’re using it and leave you stranded naked.


The tank will determine how many gallons of water your shower has. Most outdoor showers will be between 2.5-5 gallons.

However, there are heavy-duty options that have larger tanks. These are usually only necessary if you are traveling with the whole family.

When looking at tank capacity, you may be asking, “how long does a 5-gallon shower last?” A good-quality 5-gallon shower will last about 7 minutes.

Heating the water

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“How do you heat water when camping?” is a common question. If you have a solar shower, you will need to leave the bag in the sunlight for a few hours before you plan to shower. If you are in a tropical or hot climate, this is the best option.

Other times you may need a propane tank to help you get boiling water or water warm enough to take a comfortable shower. An electric shower will need to plug into your portable battery or car’s cigarette lighter to get warm water.

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Shower Size

The size mainly matters if you are hiking or walking for long distances. You will want a smaller liquid capacity bag if hiking. If you are road tripping or spending more time in the car, you can buy a heavier and more advanced shower system.

Portable showers may be a small bag with a hose, or they can be a whole unit that is the same size as a home shower. Consider how you will be using it and what makes you the most comfortable.

Yakima’s Roadshower is popular for road trips and people who don’t need to travel light. It has 4 gallons of water and a built-in thermometer to let you see the temperature of the water.

hosing down boots how to choose a camping shower
Yakima Roadshower 10 Gallon best portable camp shower locks to your roof rack to delivery pressurized water for a hot, sun-heated shower

Most people strap the Yakima Roadshower to their car’s roof rack while driving, to take advantage of the direct sun solar heating the black tank.

How will you be using the shower?

Take some time to think and plan how often you will be using the shower and how many people will be in the shower. If you are going to be entirely off the grid, you should probably go with a solar-powered shower. Even better would be one that you can set up around your car.

If you are at a campsite where there may be other people, consider buying a shower tent or other covering so people can’t see you.

Many campsites have an electric supply so a battery-powered shower could be a good option. Ivation has a portable camping shower with a long-lasting rechargeable battery. You can use it for up to 65 minutes on a 2.5-hour charge.

The fewer amount of people, the smaller tank or liquid capacity you’ll need for camping showers capacity.

Maintaining Your Camp Shower

To ensure your camp shower remains in top condition, regular cleaning and proper storage are key. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and drying your shower before storing it away. Address any repairs promptly to avoid leaks and malfunctions on your next trip.

The Best Camp Shower Accessories

  1. Water-Resistant Shower Caddy: Keeps your soap, shampoo, and other essentials organized and within reach.
  2. Portable Shower Tent: Offers privacy in open spaces, making your shower experience more comfortable and secluded.
  3. Solar Shower Bag Stand: A sturdy frame to hang your solar shower bag from, especially in areas with no trees.
  4. Eco-Friendly Soap and Shampoo: Biodegradable products that are gentle on the environment and your skin.
  5. Microfiber Towels: Quick-drying and compact, these towels are perfect for camping.
  6. Collapsible Water Bucket: Ideal for transporting water or storing used water if you need to carry it away from natural sources.
  7. Portable Hot Water Heater: For those who can’t do without a hot shower, this device can be a game-changer, heating water on-the-go.
  8. Foot Pump: For pump-action showers, a foot pump can make it easier to build pressure, offering a more consistent water flow.
  9. Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker: For those who enjoy a little music during their shower.
  10. LED Shower Light: Enhances safety and convenience for showering in the dark.

These accessories not only make your camping showers more efficient but also add a layer of comfort and luxury to your outdoor hygiene routine.

Frequently Asked Questions FAQs

Can I use regular soap with my camp shower?

It’s best to use biodegradable soap to minimize environmental impact. Regular soaps can harm the ecosystem, especially in natural water bodies.

How much water do I need for a decent shower while camping?

Around 2 to 5 gallons should suffice for a quick, efficient shower. It depends on your water conservation techniques and the shower equipment you’re using.

What’s the best way to dispose of used water?

Dispose of used water at least 200 feet away from any water source to avoid contamination. Use biodegradable soap to minimize environmental impact.

Are camp showers worth the investment?

Absolutely! They enhance your camping experience by ensuring you stay clean and refreshed, no matter how remote your campsite is.

How can I ensure privacy while using a camp shower?

A portable shower tent is your best bet for privacy. These can be set up quickly and provide a secluded spot for you to shower away from the eyes of fellow campers.

Conclusion: The Joy of Camping Clean

A camping shower can be a great addition to your car camping trip or hiking adventure. Experienced travelers have started using them because it is easier than finding a campsite for your inflatable tent or hotel where you can rinse off.

Some people also use them to help rinse off dirty gear or a pet when traveling. Whatever the reason for needing a camp shower, most are very convenient, dry off quickly, and give you a warm water supply in just a few minutes.

Embracing the best camp shower for your needs can transform your camping experience, allowing you to enjoy the great outdoors without compromising on cleanliness and comfort. By selecting the right shower, maintaining it properly, and following eco-friendly practices, you can ensure your adventures are both enjoyable and sustainable.

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Last update on 2024-04-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API