How to Choose the Best Camp Shower 2021

Figuring 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.

Camp showers are easy to transport and easy to use, especially if you choose high quality.

Finding a portable shower is essential for travelers who plan on budget traveling or want to spend more time outdoors than in hotel and resort rooms. It is also better for simple travelers that are just looking to stay clean when camping or hiking.

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.


How do you take a hot shower when camping?

Coleman 5-Gallon Solar Shower

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

Camping showers can provide warm water in three key ways.

1. Solar

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 take 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. 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. They connect 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.


How does the water come out in a camp shower?

Camp 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. The 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.

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


Where do you shower when camping?

Sea to Summit Lightweight Pocket Shower for Camping and Travel

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.

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

The Nemo Heliopolis Privacy Shelter 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 camp shower.

Construction

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.

Tank

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

Hike Crew Portable Propane Water Heater & Shower Pump – Compact Outdoor Cleaning & Showering...

“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.

Hike Crew Portable Propane Water Heater & Shower Pump – Compact Outdoor Cleaning & Showering...

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.

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.

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

Most people strap this to their car’s roof rack while driving to get direct sunlight.


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 that a battery-powered shower could be a good option. Ivation has a portable camp shower with a long-lasting rechargeable battery. You can use it for up to 65 minutes on a 2.5-hour charge.

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

Final Thoughts

A camp shower can be a great addition to your camping or hiking adventure. Experienced travelers have started using them because it is easier than finding a campsite 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 and give you a warm water supply in just a few minutes.

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Last update on 2021-06-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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