One of the last, great ways to refresh your spirit, build bonds with your loved ones, and connect with the Great Outdoors is by going camping. Whether you prefer to camp simply with just basic gear like a tent and sleeping bag or you like to, stuff your car full of conveniences and cart along an inverter generator to bring your carbon footprint with you, one of the most fundamental ways to ensure a happy, healthy, and positive experience is by maintaining basic hygiene.
In decades long gone, camping enthusiasts struggled to stay clean on extended trips. Washing in natural sources of fresh water like streams, lakes, and rivers is only available during favorable weather and always poses an increased risk of contracting a water-borne illness or parasite. And, while some campgrounds do include showers, these can often be expensive, overcrowded facilities that offer little in the way of privacy, comfort, and a sufficient supply of hot water.
The best way to stay clean, maintain personal hygiene, and extend your trek in nature is to bring along your own personal portable camping shower. Portable camping showers come in a variety of styles and sizes, but all of them allow you to enjoy a warm, refreshing shower. Portable camping showers are designed to be easily packed in your backpack or other luggage, and will greatly enhance your experience of the Great Outdoors.
Things to Consider When Buying a Portable Camping Shower
While most of the technical specifications of portable camping showers are self-evident, it is a really good idea to make a checklist of what you need your portable shower to do before you go shopping for the ideal model.
Here are a number of factors to consider:
Whether you plan on camping solo or with several other people, it’s important to calculate the number of showers you plan on taking during a 24-hour period. For two people, it might be convenient to alternate taking a shower every other day, using the portable camping shower just once per day. For larger groups or campers with more frequent showering needs, a larger-capacity model is going to be more appropriate.
Another important factor to consider is how “long”, or how much water, involved with each time you use the shower. Individuals who want to enjoy leisurely, lengthy showers are going to require a higher capacity shower than individuals able to get satisfactorily clean with quick showers that use less water.
Water is the heaviest essential item that any camper will need during their stay in nature. Most portable camp showers are designed to be filled and used within close proximity of a water source, so what matters most when choosing which portable camp shower is how much it weighs when it is empty. Larger, higher-capacity showers will add more weight to your overall load, an important fact to consider when planning extended camping trips far from any modern facilities.
Remember that all showers must be hung or installed, so look for hooks, rings, and other fasteners on your portable camp shower that can safely accommodate the shower’s weight when full of water, and plan ahead on where and how you expect to use it during your camping trips.
All portable camping showers are designed to be packed and folded up when empty. For camping enthusiasts who prefer to pack light with a minimum amount of gear, it is essential to find a portable camp shower that only takes up a small amount of room. For camping trips with larger groups or for expeditions based near modern facilities, the amount of space that a portable camping shower takes up in your backpack is of lesser concern.
Some portable camping showers rely on batteries or rechargeable power packs to produce heat, so be sure to bring along extra batteries or make a plan for how you will recharge the device before heading out into the Great Outdoors. It’s also a good idea to learn how long it will take the portable camp shower to warm up the water, an important fact to consider when planning your day’s adventures in nature.
Depending on the model, some portable camp showers use solar systems for heating the water, something that is not always possible in certain areas and/or during certain seasons of the year.
Tankless vs. Tanks
Some portable camping showers have a pouch, bag, or storage tank to hold and heat water, a useful option when you might want to enjoy getting discretely clean a distance away from a source of water.
Other portable camping showers are designed to pump water directly from a bottle, basin, bucket, or other source of water, a more convenient option if you plan on using the shower for a variety of functions and you are sure that you can get access to a steady inflow of water.
Other portable camping showers feature special nozzles and wands for keeping pets clean, an important consideration for some campers. Some portable showers come with pockets to store bathroom items like brushes, soap, and shampoo.
Other portable camping showers come with their own filtration system to ensure the highest purity of water possible. Some portable camping showers come with just a single downward shower head while others have flexible attachments that offer greater cleaning convenience.
10 Best Portable Camping Showers Reviews
From one of the leading names in camping supplies, this portable shower from Coleman holds a generous five gallons of water when completely full. Weighing less than half a pound when empty, the Coleman 5-gallon portable shower can be easily rolled up and packed when not in use. The shower comes with a reinforced handle for carrying/hanging and a convenient on/off valve that is attached right to the shower head. The Coleman 5-gallon portable shower has a midnight black design that uses free solar energy to heat water to a comfortable temperature.
Few portable showers on the market are as compact and lightweight as the Ivation handheld shower. Using a rugged hose design, the Ivation does not contain a holding tank of bag, instead drawing water from a bucket, sink, basin, or other source of fresh water. Simply place the intake end of the Ivation in a source of water and use the built-in S-shaped hook to place the shower head in a convenient location. The rechargeable 2200mAh battery will pump a limitless amount of filtered, warm water through a lengthy 6.5-foot hose anywhere that you want to shower, clean pets, or wash a car. The battery on the Ivation portable shower is recharged via a USB port on a computer or can be attached to a car’s 12-volt battery with an adapter (not included).
For camping enthusiasts searching for a way to minimize the bulk and weight of their equipment, the portable shower from Simple Shower truly lives up to its name. By placing one end of the shower in a bucket, basin, sink, or source of water, the Simple Shower will deliver a comfortable stream of water anywhere that you need to get clean. The Simple Shower does not have a heating element or system, but can be conveniently used with two-liter bottles filled with water and left to be warmed by the sun.
Ideal for backyard clean-ups, fishing trips, boats, and camping expeditions, the Pure Clean portable shower comes in an elegant and lightweight design. Using an innovative rechargeable pump system, the Pure Clean works by placing the intake into a bucket, basin, sink, or other source of water and sending it through the unit to deliver a powerful spray through the shower head. The Pure Clean is 100% waterproof and designed to be recharged via USB connection using the included cable. The Pure Clean comes with a holder and hook attachment for added convenience.
If your idea of camping is to bring along all of your modern conveniences with you, the ZODI Outback Hot Tap is the right shower for you. The ZODI attaches to a propane tank or cylinder to instantly deliver water at up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The ZODI is a completely self-contained device with a four-gallon storage capacity that can be used anywhere you want to enjoy a refreshing hot shower. The ZODI comes with a rugged pump powered by four D-cell batteries (not included) and a flexible eight-foot hose to deliver instant shower luxury anywhere you want to stay clean.
With your choice of either silver or black design, this rugged shower from Advanced Elements has a convenient on/off valve at the shower head and a generous intake spout for easy filling. Designed to be warmed by the power of the sun, the Advanced Elements shower has a rugged 4-ply construction and comes with both an insulator and reflector panel for faster heating times. The Advanced Elements shower comes with straps for wash cloths and a side pocket for soap, shampoo, and other personal hygiene essentials.
Using an innovative tankless design, this shower from Eccotemp is designed to connect to a liquid propane fuel source for rapid heating of water. The ignition uses two D-cell batteries (not included) and can deliver a minimum of 0.3 liters of warm water per minute. Ideal for boats, off the grid housing, and camping, the Eccotemp can rapidly and safetly heat one gallon of water per minute. The Eccotemp comes with adapters to conect the shower to a standard garden hose nozzle and a propane tank (propane and tank not included). The Eccotemp also comes with a water filter for enhanced purity.
Ideal for eco-friendly campers who want plenty of hot water, the RISEPRO uses the power of the sun to heat up to 10 gallons (40 liters) of water. An innovative design allows the RISEPRO to heat water up to 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45 Celsius) in as little as three hours when placed in direct sunlight. A convenient temperature gauge lets you know the condition of the water and the RISEPRO comes with a very generous 25″ hose complete with hanging strap/hook for outdoor showering in any location.
Ideal for camping enthusiasts who are traveling with an automobile, the Suaoki is powered by a connection to a standard cigarette lighter. Lightweight and portable, the Suaoki weighs less than a pound when empty. Simply connect the Suaoki to a basin, bucket, or other source of water and enjoy one-touch powered showering via the 1.8-meter flexible hose. The Suaoki comes with an S-hook, suction cap, and a three-meter long power cord for maximum versatility.
One of the most compact camp showers when empty, the Coughlans portable shower uses the power of the sun to heat up a non-toxic PVC 5-gallon pouch for convenient cleaning at campsites, on boats, or anywhere you want to enjoy a shower. The Coughlans shower comes with both a convenient carrying handle and a hanging cord for use in any environment. When empty, the Coughlans weighs approximately one pound.
A sturdy pair of boots, appropriate clothing, and an open appreciation of the great outdoors are essential for making the most of a camping experience. But beyond food, clothing, and perhaps a quality camera, one of the best ways to add additional enjoyment and comfort to a camping trip is by using a quality portable camping shower.
Whether you decide on a smaller, lighter model or a more sophisticated shower with instant heat and a large capacity, you’ll definitely appreciate Mother Nature a lot more when you feel refreshed, relaxed, and clean.