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Best Camping Shower [2020]

Nemo Helio Portable Pressure Shower with Foot Pump
  • 22-liter black insulated soft tank
  • Pressurized by a foot pump
  • Lightweight and easily portable


Nemo is a fast-growing international brand in the camping and outdoor products industry. Their Helio LX represents the largest of their portable camp shower line, yet at 2-pounds 4-ounces it is very lightweight.

It has a 22-liter refillable water tank, that is pressurized by a foot pump bellows. This means you don’t have to hang it to let gravity feed the water like you would a traditional solar shower.

The black water tank is insulated, which means it absorbs heat energy and holds it for much longer than a conventional solar shower. Just bear in mind that the insulation itself will slow the solar heating process. For a “Hot Shower” you might want to simmer a gallon or two of 120-degree water to add to the tank.

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Simple Shower FBA Portable Camping Shower
  • Made in the USA from recycled materials
  • Attaches to 1 or 2-liter water bottle
  • Air exchange for a smooth flow


The Simple Shower FBA Portable Camping Shower embodies the term “simple.” Yet you shouldn’t let this lure you into thinking that it’s ineffective. When you really look at it, the Simple Shower FBA is a very convenient way to take the ability to shower with you when space in your pack is at a premium.

It is little more than a spray nozzle with a breather tube. It’s designed to fit on most 1 and 2-liter bottles. This means you could take a 1-liter water bottle with you in your pack. When it’s empty, you can fill it with warm water. Then secure the FBA nozzle and breather, turn it over and it’s ready to use.

The breather tube helps with the air exchange, so you get a relatively steady stream of water without the “Glug-Glug” delay of air to water replacement. It’s even made in the USA from recycled materials.

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Coleman Hot Water on Demand H2Oasis Portable Water Heater
  • Portable water heater with 5-gallon water container
  • Heats in under 30 seconds
  • Propane heated


Coleman is one of the strongest names in the outdoor products industry. So, you can trust that they put their best effort into the materials and design of the H2Oasis portable water heater.

It uses a propane flame and a submersible pump to draw and heat water up to 125-degrees in as little as 30-seconds. Even if you don’t have an available water reservoir of your own it comes with a 5-gallon collapsible water container.

The Coleman H2Oasis portable water heater can be set up to run on a small DOT 39 1-pound propane canister. This adds to its overall portability. Though it can also be set up with a secondary regulator to run off a larger 25-gallon propane canister.

How We Picked

Camp showers evolved in recent years to use heating sources that go beyond solar. Though there still are quite a few out there that rely upon the sun to heat the water, while also giving you the option of adding hot water simmered over the camp stove.

At the same time, it’s important to remember that camp showers can also be used for more than just showering around a traditional campsite. It’s a little-known fact that many of the best beaches are off the beaten track. This also means they rarely have facilities for rinsing saltwater off after a swim. Not to mention that a portable shower is a great way to rinse off a muddy dog before it gets a chance to track into the house.

With solar showers, you have the problem of gravity feed low pressure and the fact that it’s only on the sunniest days that you will get a truly hot shower. On a cloudy day, you might end up forced to choose between sleeping grimy and taking a cold shower.

With solar showers, we tried to keep an eye out for heavy-duty reservoirs of tanks that employed a little added innovation. If possible, units that could be pressurized by something like a foot bellows were also stood alongside gravity-fed solar showers. The ability to pressurize the water on your own can come in very handy in a situation where there isn’t anything substantial overhead to hang a heavy water reservoir.

Electric camp showers started out using four D-Cell batteries to drive a pump or lightly heat a small volume of water. People quickly got tired of chewing through expensive single-charge batteries. Fortunately, rechargeable battery technology has continued to evolve. Even if you don’t want to use battery power to run a pump, there are still many units that will run off a vehicle’s charging port, a 12-volt battery, or even the 120 Volt shore power offered at some campgrounds.

With these units, we tried to stay away from electric heaters that were included in the primary purchase. Some included electric heating elements as a secondary purchase. Ultimately, the power consumption of electricity and the time it takes to heat multiple gallons of water is inefficient compared to simply heating a large pot of water on a camp stove or over the campfire.

Propane heated camp showers are essentially borrowing from the concept of household tankless water heaters. They rapidly heat a small volume of water delivering it to a spray nozzle. While these models are the closest you will likely come to the shower in your bathroom at home, they usually require somewhat complicated installation.

With most propane heated camp showers, the word camp might be better replaced with “RV or “Rustic Cabin.” With these, it’s important to keep in mind that propane is a high-energy hydrocarbon. When something goes wrong with it or even if something is turned up a little too high, it can be the catalyst for other problems. So, we tried to keep an eye out for things like advanced safety features or preventative engineering.

Dr. Prepare Solar Camping Shower

Dr. Prepare Solar Camping Shower and accessories

Specs:

  • Solar heated shower
  • 4-gallon reservoir
  • Foot pump pressure system
  • Compact zippered bag
  • Large water inlet
  • Hand operated nozzle

The Dr. Prepare 4-gallon camping shower takes the concept of the old-fashioned solar shower and takes it a step or two forward. This starts with ultra-compact storage inside a single small zippered carrying bag.

Cleaning a car with the Dr. Prepare Solar Camping Shower

To use it, you unpack it from the small carrying bag and double-check to make sure all the connections are still tight. Then set up the foot bellows to pump air into the shower bag. At that point, you open the large water inlet and fill.

Dr. Prepare Solar Camping Shower in the garden

If you want to add preheated water that you simmered over the camp stove, you should make sure to put at least two gallons of cold water first. A large funnel will reduce the chances of spilling hot water. Ideally, you shouldn’t fill it more than 75% of the way.

With the water set up, you then use the foot bellows to pump up the shower bag. This will pressurize the interior as well as give it improved structure.

What We Liked

The Dr. Prepare 4-gallon solar shower’s pressure system allows you to enjoy modest water pressure, without having to rely on gravity. This makes it a great option for campsites where you might not have a stout tree or other structure to hang the heavy shower bag from.

Overall

This is a well-designed solar shower that creates its own pressure. Just bear in mind that the blue exterior of the shower bag and the insulation quality of air being forced into it means that the heat transfer from the sun will be less than a traditional black PVC gravity-fed solar shower.

To really get a warm, soothing shower, you will need to add some simmering water under 120-degrees, but not boiling water. Just make sure to include a large mouth funnel in your camping kit.

Sale
Dr. Prepare Solar Camping Shower

  • Compact travel size with zippered carrying bag
  • Pressurizing foot bellows
  • Can be used without hanging

Equipt Streamline Portable Camping Shower with Expandable 4 gallons Bucket

Equipt Streamline Portable Camping Shower with Expandable 4 gallons Bucket

Specs:

  • 4-gallon capacity
  • Collapsing hanging bucket
  • Accessory pump
  • Compact storage and lightweight

The Equipt Streamline Portable Camping Shower borrows a lot from its predecessors in that it is a collapsible bucket of sorts that can be hung from a tree. However, it also includes an accessory pump that increases pressure beyond what you get from a standard gravity-fed system.

Equipt Streamline Portable Camping Shower head

This pump allows you to also use the camping shower at times when there isn’t a stout tree to hang it from. Though you will inevitably get a better flow rate if you can also take advantage of gravity.

Equipt Streamline Portable Camping Shower on a tree

The collapsible bucket makes it very easy to transport and store. With a four-gallon maximum capacity, it could hold enough water to provide a frugal shower for two people.

Equipt Streamline Portable Camping Shower on a camping trip

Just bear in mind that it’s silver in color and may not absorb solar heat energy as well as its black counterpart. Still, you can always add your own 120-degree water heated from the camp stove.

What We Liked

The accessory pump is a nice touch for times when you might not have a strong tree or other structure to hang the reservoir bucket.

Overall

This camping shower is one step above the traditional solar showers. It’s especially handy if you aren’t camping in a mature forest, yet you want to shower up each day. Even still, sitting it on the roof of a vehicle might still buy you a little bit of extra gravity-fed pressure.

One minor complaint with this unit is the fact that there is no cover for the 4-gallon bucket reservoir. This could be a bit of an issue if you hang it all day to heat in the sun and suffer from bugs and tree debris, which could then clog the water pump. Ultimately, this shower might be better for heating water on a camp stove, than borrowing heat energy from the sun.

Equipt Streamline Portable Camping Shower with Expandable 4 gallons Bucket

  • 4-gallon collapsible reservoir
  • Can hang or use an accessory pump
  • May need heated water from the camp stove

GASLAND Outdoors BE158R Tankless Water Heater 1.58GPM 6L

GASLAND Outdoors BE158R Tankless Water Heater 1.58GPM 6L

Specs:

  • Tankless water heater
  • Requires some installation
  • Propane heated
  • 41,000 BTUs per hour
  • 1.58 gallons per minutes at full pressure
  • Low-pressure startup mode
  • Overheating protection
  • Anti-freezing protection feature
  • LED temperature display
  • CSA approved regulator

Gasland is a growing propane equipment company, who has admirably thrown their hat into the tankless water heater ring. In recent years tankless water heaters have been growing in popularity with homeowners who want a more efficient way to heat water.

GASLAND Outdoors BE158R and accessories

They are especially popular with large households who need enough hot water for multiple people to shower each day.

GASLAND Outdoors BE158R Tankless Water Heater on RV

Propane tankless water heaters are a relatively new invention. They are geared more for RV travel trailers, fifth-wheel campers, and rustic cabins where reliable electricity service isn’t always available.

This unit has a 41,000 BTU per hour maximum output and can generate up to 110 PSI. This is comparable to small household tankless water heaters, yet at a fraction of the price! It has a low-pressure start-up mode. Then it can operate at 1.58 gallons per minute.

GASLAND Outdoors BE158R Tankless Water Heater on a camping trip

The Gasland BE158R was also designed with safety in mind. It has an LED temperature display, as well as an overheating protection system. It was also designed with an anti-freezing protection feature for times when you might want to use it during the colder months of the year. The propane regulator has also been approved for safety by the CSA.

What We Liked

Looking past the bargain price for a tankless water heater, it’s really the safety features that stand out with the Gasland BE158R. Things like overheating protection, anti-freezing, and CSA approval of the regulator all speak to the manufacturer’s dedication to quality as well as user safety.

Overall

If you are backpack camping or even driving up to your campsite with a light-duty pickup truck, then this tankless water heater likely requires more installation than you can accommodate. If you have a rustic cabin or you are looking to expand the bathroom facilities of your camper/travel trailer, then the Gasland BE158R deserves to be on your radar.

GASLAND Outdoors BE158R Tankless Water Heater 1.58GPM 6L

  • Meant for RVs and rustic cabins
  • Multiple safety and quality features
  • 41,000 BTUs per hour and 1.58 gallons per minute maximum output

ADVANCED ELEMENTS SS762 5 Gallon Summer Shower/Solar Shower

ADVANCED ELEMENTS SS762 5 Gallon Shower

Specs:

  • 5-gallon capacity
  • Heated by the sun
  • Built-in water temperature gauge
  • Reflector panel and insulator panel
  • Extra-large filling valve
  • A side pocket for soap and shampoo
  • Hook and loop straps to hold washcloth or hand towel

The Advanced Elements SS762 5-Gallon Summer Solar Shower was designed to be highly portable, while also borrowing from the more popular aspects of a traditional solar shower. It has a maximum 5-gallon capacity, which is just about enough for two people to thoroughly rinse the saltwater off after a day at the beach.

ADVANCED ELEMENTS SS762 5 Gallon Shower thermometer

The reservoir is made from a special 4-ply polymer. It includes a reflector panel and a special insulator panel. You simply pour water into the extra-large port and leave it with the exposed clear side facing the dominant sun. A built-in temperature strip on the reservoir tells you how warm the water is when you want to use it.

ADVANCED ELEMENTS SS762 5 Gallon Shower on a camping trip

You get the sense that Advanced Elements designed the SS762 to be used a little bit further off the grid. There is a sturdy strap to hang it from a tree, as well as other thoughtful features like hook and eye Velcro strips for washcloths, as well as a pocket for a small mirror and a pouch for soap or shampoo.

What We Liked

The Velcro strips, temperature gauge, and pockets make this traditional solar shower easy to use, while also keeping it from being too simple. Quality materials were also used to develop the reservoir and maximize their ability to hold onto heat energy from the sun.

Overall

For what could have been a simplistic solar shower, Advanced Elements came through with quality and thoughtful design where you want it. Just keep in mind that it is a 100% gravity-fed system, so you will need a tree or other overhead structure to hang it from.

Also, the 5-gallon maximum capacity is perfect for two people who need to rinse the saltwater off after a day at the beach. It’s probably not enough total volume for the pressure for those same two people to wash their hair and shower completely after a day sitting around a smoky campfire.

ADVANCED ELEMENTS SS762 5 Gallon Summer Shower/Solar Shower

  • Quality materials for a traditional solar shower
  • Velcro and pouches for bathing items
  • Gravity-fed and solar heated

Rinse Kit POD Portable Outdoor Shower Black

Rinse Kit POD Portable Outdoor Shower in Black

Specs:

  • 1.75-gallon maximum volume
  • Pressurized spray
  • 6-foot long hose
  • Quick-connect valve
  • Filled from a hose or laundry room sink
  • Heating element sold separately

The Rinse Kit POD is a little bit like a highly evolved garden sprayer. You fill it with water and seal it off the pressurize the chamber. It has a maximum capacity of 1.75 gallons which is just enough to thoroughly rinse you off after a day at the beach or to wash a large dog that you don’t want to bring indoors.

Rinse Kit POD Portable Outdoor Shower

Right out of the box it doesn’t include a heater. Yet you can fill it with warm tap water and the natural insulative quality of the chamber should keep it at a pleasant temperature for several hours.

Rinse Kit POD Portable Outdoor Shower used for cleaning a bike

If you like there is a heater accessory sold separately. It’s a nice addition if you want to take this camping shower with you on a trip where amenities will be in short supply.

Rinse Kit POD Portable Outdoor Shower

If you need more pressure than the unit provides on its own there is also a pressurized hand pump sold as a separate accessory. Being able to increase the pressure like this helps you make the most out of the 1.75 gallons of water, for things like rinsing shampoo and conditioner out of your hair.

What We Liked

The overall portability of this rinse camping shower is something that helps it stand apart from other camping showers in the same price range. It makes it easy to do more than simply rinse yourself off after a dip in the ocean. You could just as easily use it to wash down your dog after a muddy romp or to water flowers in a remote part of your landscaping.

Overall

If you are looking for a high-volume camp shower to deliver instantaneous hot water when you are living off the grid, this unit might not meet your expectations. If you need a lightweight portable way to wash off after a swim or keep your dog from tracking mud into the house, the Rinse Kit POD Portable Outdoor Shower might be right in your sweet spot.

Rinse Kit POD Portable Outdoor Shower Black

  • 1.75-gallon capacity
  • Highly portable
  • Camp shower, dog washer, garden sprayer, and beach shower in one

Simple Shower FBA Portable Camping Shower

Simple Shower FBA Portable Camping Shower

Specs:

  • Fits most 1 and 2-liter bottles
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Gravity-fed
  • Made in the USA
  • Recycled materials

The Simple Shower FBA Portable Camping Shower takes simplicity and thoughtful design to produce a very resourceful way to clean yourself at the beach or around the campsite. It’s little more than an attachment for a one or two-liter bottle.

Simple Shower FBA Portable Camping Shower

To use it, you simply fill a previously used bottle with warm water. Then extend the air exchange tube and the spray nozzle. When you turn it over the gravity-fed system allows the water to pour out in a mild stream.

Simple Shower FBA Portable Camping Shower

The tube them equalizes the air pressure so you don’t get so much of the “Glug-Glug” pressure exchange from dumping a bottle upside down.

 

Simple Shower is also an ecologically conscious company. The FBA is made in the USA from recycled materials.

What We Liked

The fact that you can simply attach the spray nozzle to a water bottle is certainly a nice touch. Where the FBA separates itself is the air exchange tube which reduces the often-frustrating delay of air replacing water when you turn over most two-liter bottles.

Overall

This unit might seem a little basic at first glance, but it has all the engineering principles and frugality right where you need it. When attached to a 2-liter bottle you have enough water to wash the day off you or bathe a muddy dog. With a little ingenuity of your own, you might be able to secure it atop a privacy tent for a hands-free shower.

Sale
Simple Shower FBA Portable Camping Shower

  • Made in the USA from recycled materials
  • Attaches to 1 or 2-liter water bottle
  • Air exchange for a smooth flow

Nemo Helio Portable Pressure Shower with Foot Pump

Nemo Helio Portable Pressure Shower with Foot Pump

Specs:

  • 22-liter maximum volume
  • Soft tank
  • Insulated
  • Pressurized by a foot pump
  • 7-10 minute steady flow
  • 10-foot long hose
  • Very lightweight and portable

Nemo is an international brand that has been showing encouraging growth in recent years throughout the camping and outdoor products industry. Their Helio LX represents the largest of their portable camp shower line.

Nemo Helio Portable Pressure Shower head

It was designed to be ultra-lightweight. The 22-liter tank, foot pump, hose, and nozzle only weigh in at a combined 2-pounds 4-ounces.

Nemo Helio Portable Pressure Shower on the beach

The tank itself is black and insulated. This is a little bit of a double-edged sword, as it means that yes it will absorb heat energy and will hold warm water for far longer than a conventional solar shower.

However, the insulation itself slows the rate at which the water warms. If you want a truly hot shower, you might want to simmer a gallon or two of 120-degree water and add it to the tank after some lukewarm water.

What We Liked

The collapsible tank and pressurized foot bellows is sort of the next step that Nemo and a lot of their competitors are embracing. The benefit is the ability to shower at camp even if there aren’t any sturdy trees nearby to suspend the 40+ pound full reservoir.

Where Nemo sets itself apart from similar competitive models is in their insulation. While it does slow the solar heat exchange rate, it also allows you to put hot water in it, and trust that it’s going to stay warm for more than a few minutes.

Overall

If you need a camp shower that doesn’t rely on overhead gravity feed, then the Nemo Helio LX deserves to be on your list. Just be prepared to fill it with some 120-degree water from the camp stove to get a truly hot shower.

The reservoir holds enough for two to three people to shower down thoroughly and shampoo their hair. There might even be a little left afterward to wash the camp’s dishes.

Nemo Helio Portable Pressure Shower with Foot Pump

  • 22-liter black insulated soft tank
  • Pressurized by a foot pump
  • Lightweight and easily portable

Innhom Portable Electric Camp Shower

Innhom Portable Electric Camp Shower

Specs:

  • .9 gallons per minute
  • Powered by USB car charger or rechargeable battery
  • Filtered port
  • Requires separate reservoir or bucket
  • 1-year warranty

Innhom’s portable electric camp shower is essentially a lightweight portable electric pump, hose, and nozzle that delivers water from a separate water reservoir like a bucket. There are also several important accessories included in the initial purchase.

Innhom Portable Electric Camp Shower

This includes things like replacement filters, a hook for suspending the spray nozzle overhead and charger cables. You can operate the small, high-speed pump via rechargeable batteries or a USB cable with an adaptor to fit your vehicle’s cigarette lighter/charging port.

Innhom Portable Electric Camp Shower

The pump produces an impressive .9 gallons per minute. Just bear in mind that this unit requires you to supply the reservoir, which typically comes in the form of a 5-gallon bucket. If you want a hot shower, you will need to add simmering water to the bucket to get the ideal temperature.

What We Liked

The .9 gallon per minute rate of the electric pump is pretty impressive for the size and price. The little extras that come with it like the optional hanging hook, replacement filters, and O-rings are also something you don’t always see with the most direct competitors.

You also can’t turn your nose up at the statement of quality they make with the 1-year included warranty.

Overall

If you need the ability to shower up while at camp, but you don’t want to bring a big bulky system with you, then the Innhom Portable Electric Camp Shower deserves a good hard look. Just bear in mind that you will need to supply your own reservoir or bucket.

While the filters are handy, you shouldn’t be cavalier when it comes to sourcing water. Even a modest amount of small debris from an unfiltered natural water source can start to clog up the filters, which will tax the pump, slowing the water delivery rate.

Sale
Innhom Portable Electric Camp Shower

  • .9 gallon per minute electric pump
  • Dual power sources available
  • Filters, O-rings, and hanger clamp included

Coleman Hot Water on Demand H2Oasis Portable Water Heater

Coleman Hot Water on Demand H2Oasis Portable Water Heater

Specs:

  • Can run off a DOT 39 1-pound propane canister
  • 30-second heating cycle
  • Up to 125 degrees
  • High power submersible pump
  • 6-foot non-kinking hose
  • Mesh storage bags
  • Includes collapsible 5-gallon water carrier

Coleman is a giant in the outdoor products industry and they specialize in propane appliances that are meant to make the camping experience convenient. So, it’s no wonder that they come in with all guns blazing on their H2Oasis tankless, portable water heater.

Coleman Hot Water on Demand H2Oasis Portable Water Heater

It has a high powered submersible pump that can draw from a reservoir like a 5-gallon bucket. With this unit, Coleman includes a collapsible 5-gallon water container and a mesh storage bag.

Coleman Hot Water on Demand H2Oasis shower head

The water is then drawn up to the H2Oasis water heater, which can be set up to run on a small DOT 39 1-pound propane canister. If you prefer it can also be set up with a secondary regulator which would allow you to keep it hooked up to a larger 25-gallon propane canister.

Coleman Hot Water on Demand H2Oasis on a camping trip

It only takes the Coleman H2Oasis 30 seconds to heat water up to 125 degrees. It is then delivered to the nozzle via a 6-foot non-kinking silicone hose.

What We Liked

This propane camp shower is essentially a portable tankless water heater that doesn’t require the installation and technical details of some of its nearest competitors. It makes the H2Oasis portable as well as practical.

Overall

The Coleman H2Oasis might just be at the forefront of a revolution in camping water heaters. It’s as equally at home in an RV or a cabin as it is in a drive-up campsite. Your only real concern is being able to keep it fed with a reliable source of clean water to both showers the entire family and still have water left over for washing dishes.

Sale
Coleman Hot Water on Demand H2Oasis Portable Water Heater

  • Portable water heater with 5-gallon water container
  • Heats in under 30 seconds
  • Propane heated

Buyers Guide

A common complaint amongst many novice campers is the inability to take a warm shower, or just to keep clean day in and day out. Depending on where you are, a chilling dip in the nearby lake might be enough to get by. Still, there are many campgrounds and primitive campsites where there isn’t a viable source of water around.

A decade or two ago the answer to this was the “Solar Heated” camp shower, or “Scottish Shower.” This was a little more a big black bag. You would hang it in a sunny spot in the morning, where the sun can warm it throughout the day. Some units were sold at the retail level, but there were many campers who would simply sacrifice a heavy-duty black garbage bag every evening with a couple of quick slashes. Sometimes you could even multi-task the rope from the campsite’s bear hang.

In recent years improvements in water heating technology and materials have spurred on new innovations in camping showers. Today manufacturers offer a wide range of options, which can be broken down by the heating method, as well as how the water is delivered.

Solar Showers

On paper, the old fashioned Scottish solar shower still does exist. Though liner materials and quality connections have allowed it to evolve beyond the old garbage bag days.

The bag is still black of course, to help absorb thermal energy given off by the sun. Though now it’s made from special polymers or heavy-duty PVC materials with welded seams. The liner is then securely connected to a delivery hose with some type of shower fixture to produce a low-pressure spray, rather than simply dumping a stream of water.

They can range in volume from 2.5 to as much as 10 gallons. The more people you need to shower in your family, the larger the capacity you will need to target.

Of course, the downside here is that you are completely reliant on the sun to heat the water. Cloudy days or days outside of the peak of summer might leave you with a lukewarm to straight-up cold shower at the end of a long, dirty day.

There are also some places where there simply isn’t a viable place to hang a solar shower. To put it in context a gallon of water weighs 8.3 pounds. If you fill it with 10-gallons of water it will ring in at 83 pounds. This is the kind of weight you want to hang from an oak tree, rather than bending down a spindly willow sapling.

Battery Or Electric Powered

This is the next step in the evolution of camp shower technology. Different manufacturers put their own little spin on the overall design, though they all work on the same set of principles. An electric current is passed through a resistor which safely heats up. It has a waterproof relationship with a water reservoir. As time goes on the heat energy from the resistor warms the reservoir.

This is a situation where volume is also a factor. The larger the volume the greater electric demand it will take to heat it. Four D cell batteries might get you by with a small volume electric camp shower. If you need to heat a larger volume, to wash up every member of the family each night then you might want to look for a more powerful source, such as a 120 Volt power post or a portable generator. There are even some that will work from a 12-volt source like your vehicle’s cigarette lighter.

Propane Heated

Propane heated camp showers have become increasingly popular in recent years. Especially when you consider that many camping enthusiasts already bring propane with them to run things like camp stoves and gas lanterns.

These units tend to be more like tankless water heaters that you see gaining traction in modern homes. They tend to be geared more toward RV travel trailers and remote cabins than they are for drive-up campsites. Many require some rather lengthy installation, and in the case of a cabin, there might be even building codes to be mindful of.

However, there are a few out there that are essentially portable propane water heaters. They usually need to draw from a secondary reservoir like a 5-gallon bucket or an Aquatainer. Then the internal propane fire rapidly heats the water and delivers it to the nozzle via a long hose.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I Use A Camping Shower For Other Things?

A: Camping showers need not be limited to camping trips. In fact, many beachgoers who enjoy remote locals for their privacy will often bring a portable camping shower with them to rinse off the saltwater. They are also a great option for bathing a particularly dirty pooch. There are even some people who will double up smaller models to help water flowers and other landscaping features around their yard that aren’t easily reached by the garden hose.

Q: Can I Add Boiling Water To The Reservoir?

A: With some camp showers, like solar showers, the temptation is to boil up a gallon or so of water over the camp stove and dump it into the reservoir. While this can heat up the volume of water by a few degrees, you will likely find the end results to be underwhelming. Not to mention that hauling scalding hot water overhead can be a serious safety issue.

Q: What About Privacy?

A: Let’s face it, not all campsites are remote and hidden away in the forest. Some sites, like those you find in drive-up campgrounds, can be a little exposed. Depending on the density of the forest and other landscaping features around, you might be able to create a sense of privacy.

Another more convenient option is to buy a pop-up privacy tent. Not only can they be used for bathing privacy, but they can also come in handy for keeping the camp toilet. Check out these privacy tents WolfWise Pop-up Shower Tent, EAGLE PEAK Flex Ultra Compact 4’x4’ Pop-up Changing Room, GigaTent Pop Up Tent, and VIVOHOME 7FT Height Privacy Shelter before consider buying.

Q: How Do I Know If The Water Is At A Safe Temperature?

A: With a lot of solar heated camp showers, the sun usually can’t drive the heat sink capabilities of water into an unsafe temperature range. Most of the time the concern is that the water coming out is a little on the cool side.

If you are adding simmered water from the camp stove to the reservoir, or you are using a unit that draws from a bucket, you might want to double-check the temperature of the water before stepping into it. While you might be able to get a ballpark guess by dipping your hand, it might not be 100% advisable.

One way to know the temperature is to use a non-contact, instant-read infrared thermometer like NLGToy Infrared Thermometer Gun or Infrared Thermometer GM320r. You simply point and click. A little red laser beam tells you the surface temperature. Not only will it read shower temperature, but you can also use it for grilling and all sorts of other cooking applications.

Q: Does A Filter System Matter?

A: Chances are you aren’t going to be drinking from the same water sources as you are bathing from. However, filters come into play in those desperate moments when you are drawing water from a natural source like a stream or a pond. Even the cleanest looking of these can still have tiny pieces of debris that can wreak havoc with camp showers that have a motorized pump.

If you are going to be using water with any risk of sediment or debris, you need to make sure to always have a clean filter installed in the intake. If you notice the pump struggling or losing water pressure it might be a sign that the filter is clogging up, and you will need to either take it out and thoroughly rinse it or replace it.

Q: What’s The Best Way To Source Water?

A: One of the things that draw many outdoor enthusiasts to camp showers is the convenience of at-home comforts, even when you are perhaps a little “Off the Grid.” If you take a moment to think about a “Hypothetical” family of four.

Four reasonably hot showers, and enough left over to wash dishes and perhaps freshen up some camp towels, can all add up to a lot of water. Of course, no one wants to spend their camping adventure trekking a mile or two to haul back buckets of water like a Medieval peasant.

You should only really turn to things like pond water and streams if you are desperate. Algae, mildew spores, mold spores, tiny bits of organic matter, and even pathogenic microbes can linger in these sources causing their own host of problems.

Five-gallon buckets are convenient and cheap. If you are staying at a cabin with a hand pump well, or a campground with access to a water spigot, you can go back and forth at a reasonable distance. Otherwise, a five-gallon bucket of water isn’t really the sort of thing you want to load into the back of your SUV for a bumpy drive down a gravel road.

If you are going to be traveling somewhere that doesn’t immediately have water access available, you might want to invest in a sealable water container.

The Reliance “Aquatainer” is one of the more well-known established brands.

However, there have been some new players like Saratoga Farms 5-Gallon Stackables and WaterBrick Tan Water Container emerging in the water storage niche who have come up with convenient ways to minimize the space your water reserves take up in the back of an SUV or pickup truck.

Q: How Can I Reduce Spills When Filling A Camp Shower Reservoir?

A: You are using a hose or a simple kitchen faucet, then filling a camp shower water reservoir is relatively easy. If you are out in the bush and you are filling it from a hand pump well or you are simmering a gallon of water on the camp stove, then pouring it into the reservoir can be a little bit of a challenge.

To reduce your chances of spills, and accidental hot water burns, you should turn to a funnel. There are a few options to consider. A standard funnel will make due, but if space is an issue, there are some collapsible units that won’t eat up a lot of room in your pack. Here are a few ones: XGCMY Collapsible Funnel Set and COOK With COLOR Set of 2 Silicone Collapsible Funnels.

Conclusion

Like a lot of camping products, how you will use it most factors heavily into the one that is the best value for your money.

If you have a motorhome, RV camper, or a rustic cabin, then you might lean toward a propane tankless water heater. Though many of these units require a level of installation at water sourcing that doesn’t always make them a great option for drive-up or backpack camping.

If you are going to be off the grid, taking a long hike to camp, or simply looking for a way to rinse the salt off after a swim at the beach, then a simple solar shower might suffice. Most of the time you only need a gallon or two of water to feel clean and hold enough in one batch to wash up two people.

If you have a family, and you need the ability to wash up three of more people on a daily basis, then you might be looking for something with a higher capacity. In some of these cases, an electric shower pump that can be dipped into a bucket of hot water for people to take turns washing up behind a screen or privacy tent.

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