5 Best Camping Showers of 2021

Last Updated: December 2020

Quick Recommendations

Even though you might be roughing it on your camping trip, you don't have to slack off on your hygiene.

While people often think that camping is a dirty and messy activity, with the right camping shower, you can stay squeaky clean, wherever your adventures might take you.

But there are so many different kinds of outdoor showers, from solar showers to propane-heated models, that it can be hard to know which one is best for your needs.

To help you find the right option for your next trip, we've reviewed 5 of our favorite camping showers on the market today. 

Plus, we've even created your ultimate guide to choosing a portable shower so you can make the right decision the first time around.


Best Overall Camping Shower:  Nemo Helio Portable Pressure Shower

Important Specs:

  • Water Capacity: 2.9 gallons (11 liters)
  • Heating: Solar
  • Weight: 1lb 5oz (595g)

What We Like:

  • Long hose with sprayer nozzle is easier to use for showering
  • Can be pressurized with a foot pump so no need to hang it up in a tree
  • Easy to set up and pack away

What We Don't Like:

  • Expensive for a solar shower
  • Sprayer nozzle is handheld use only

The Nemo Helio is a game-changing solar shower. It features a sizeable 11-liter water carrying capacity that can provide up to 5-7 minutes of showering time in the mountains.

This shower is made with a burly PU coated polyester for added durability over years of use.

Unlike other solar showers, though, the Helio doesn't need to be hung up in a tree or slung over a boulder to create water pressure.

Instead, the shower comes with a nifty foot pump that can be used to fully pressurize the tank anywhere that your adventures might take you.

It also features a folding panel design that allows for a speedy set-up process on the go. The entire thing can be packed away in a ventilated carrying case in just a few seconds for easy packing during any camping trip.

Also check out: Ivation Portable Battery Shower

The Ivation Portable Battery Shower is an excellent alternative to the Helio for anyone that's looking for a more affordable option.

This model uses batteries to power the pump, so there's no need to hang the nozzle up in a tree. However, it doesn't heat the water for you, so you'll have to fill up a bucket with warm water first before you take a shower.


Best Budget-Friendly Camping Shower: Advanced Elements Summer Solar Shower

Important Specs:

  • Water Capacity: 3 gallons (11.4 liters)
  • Heating: Solar
  • Weight: 12 ounces (340g)

What We Like:

  • Lightweight option with a good water storage capacity
  • Affordable choice for backpackers
  • Built-in water temperature gauge to notify you when it is warm enough to shower

What We Don't Like:

  • Showerhead can be tricky to turn on and off
  • Must be hung up on a tree or boulder to create water pressure

The Advanced Elements Summer Solar Shower is a budget-friendly outdoor showering option. It is made from high-quality and durable materials that are layered for maximum performance in the backcountry. 

This shower has a built-in insulated panel and a reflector panel to help trap in the sun's warmth to heat up water faster, even on cloudy days.

It also comes with a water temperature gauge, so you know precisely how warm your water is before you start showering.

We also particularly like the shower's integrated pocket, which offers an excellent place to store both soap and shampoo.

The Summer Solar Shower also has a durable rubber handle, which makes it easier to prop up in a tree or carry around camp.

Also check out: Coghlan's Solar Heated Camp Shower

For an even more affordable camping shower, Coghlan's Solar Heated Camp Shower is a good choice. It can store an impressive 5 gallons (18.9 liters) of water and weighs just 14.5 ounces (113g) for maximum portability.

However, the shower is made using only a thin layer of PVC, so it's not durable enough to withstand very frequent use and is best for occasional camping trips.


Best Ultralight Camping Shower: Sea To Summit Pocket Shower

Important Specs:

  • Water Capacity: 2.6 gallons (10 liters)
  • Heating: Solar
  • Weight: 4.3 ounces (120g)

What We Like:

  • Made with a durable, yet lightweight 70D ripstop nylon
  • Packs down into a small stuff sack for maximum portability
  • Can also be used as a dry sack for transporting gear

What We Don't Like:

  • Doesn't produce as much water pressure as other options
  • Needs to be hung from a tree to function properly

The Sea to Summit Pocket Shower is an innovative take on the traditional solar shower design.

Unlike many alternatives, the Pocket Shower can be used for bathing, but can also function as a regular dry bag for protecting your gear in foul weather.

As far as showering goes, this model can provide up to 8 minutes of bathing time, thanks to its sizable 2.6 gallon (10 liter) water carrying capacity.

It has an easy-on-of twisting shower head that can be used to adjust the flow rate.

Additionally, this shower comes with its durable D-rings and its own paracord to make setting up your wash station as simple as possible.

Plus, the entire shower can pack away into a small stuff sack that weighs just 4.3 ounces (120g).

Also Check Out: Simple Shower Portable Camping Shower

The Simple Shower is easily the lightest model in our review at just 0.9 ounces (25g). It is also perhaps the most unique option as it's designed to be used with nearly any 1 or 2-liter water bottle.

To use this shower, you simply have to attach it to the top of a water bottle and turn it upside down to create water pressure. It can't heat water for you, but it is a quick, easy, and lightweight solution to backcountry showering.


Best Camping Shower for Car Campers: Gasland Tankless Shower

Important Specs:

  • Water Capacity: N/A
  • Heating: Propane
  • Weight: 15 lbs 9oz (7.1kg)

What We Like:

  • Can heat water very quickly
  • Easy to attach to the outside of a vehicle
  • Full control over water temperature while showering

What We Don't Like:

  • Very expensive
  • Needs to be used in conjunction with a bucket of water or hose

The Gasland Tankless Shower is a premium option for car camping adventures. It is designed to be hung up on the outside of a vehicle for a more convenient showering experience.

One of the main benefits of the Gasland Tankless Shower is that it offers you complete control over the temperature of your water.

It uses a propane-powered heating system to produce hot water on-demand using its high-powered 41,000 BTU burner.

For added safety, the shower has an automatic gas supply shut off system that will turn off the gas supply if the flame goes out.

Additionally, it comes with hot water protection technology that will stop water from getting above 167ºF (75ºC).

Also Check Out: Rinse Kit Portable Outdoor Shower

The Rinse Kit Portable Outdoor Shower is another solid choice for car camping. This shower is unique because it can create an impressive amount of water pressure, making it a good option for both showering and cleaning off your gear.

Although the Rinse Kit doesn't heat water on its own, it can be combined with the Rinse Kit Heater for a more comfortable showering experience.


Best Camping Shower for Families & Groups: Hike Crew Portable Propane Shower

Important Specs:

  • Water Capacity: N/A
  • Heating: Propane
  • Weight: 23lbs 14.4oz (10.9kg)

What We Like:

  • Heats up water quickly using a propane heater
  • Auto-shutoff technology for safety and protection from burns
  • Easy to use LCD display for control over water temperature

What We Don't Like:

  • Heavy and bulky
  • Needs to be used with a tub of water

The Hike Crew Portable Propane Shower is a fully-featured camping hygiene system. It comes with an intuitive LCD display system that allows you complete control over the temperature of your water. 

This shower uses propane to heat your water and plugs into either an AC/DC or a 12V outlet to operate the pump mechanism.

It comes with a handheld nozzle that can be adjusted to control the flow rate and spray pattern for a better bathing experience in the outdoors.

Alternatively, you can redirect the water flow through the shower's sink outlet for washing hands and doing the dishes in camp.

Finally, the Hike Crew Portable Propane Shower is built with an automatic shut off system that cuts off the propane supply if the flame goes out.

It also has a temperature regulation system to prevent the water temperature from going above 125ºF (52ºC) to avoid burns and injuries.

Recommended Alternative: Mr. Heater Boss Basecamp Shower

The Mr. Heater Boss Basecamp Shower is a more affordable option for people who don't need all the bells and whistles that come with the Hike Crew Portable Propane Shower.

This model is powered by a propane heater and has a pump that runs off of 4 D-cell batteries.

It is smaller and more compact, though it has less of the customizable controls that you can find on other camping showers.


Camping Shower Comparison Table

Name

Type

Capacity

Weight

MSRP

Rating

Solar

2.9 gallons

1lb 5oz

$99.95

None

N/A

1.7lbs

$49.99

Solar

3 gallons

12oz

$24.99

Solar

5 gallons

14.5oz

$9.99

Solar

2.6 gallons

4.3lbs

$34.95

None

N/A

2oz

$14.99

Propane

N/A

15lbs 9 oz

$299

None

1.8 gallons

7.4lbs

$129.99

Propane

N/A

23lbs 14oz

$249.99

Propane

N/A

7lbs

$169


Camping Shower Buying Guide

Camping showers are surprisingly complex pieces of gear, so you must understand what you should look for as you're shopping around.

Now we will get into the nitty-gritty (pun intended) outlining some of the most important things to keep in mind as you choose your next camp shower:

Types Of Portable Showers: Heat Source

Camp showers can be heated in one of two ways: by propane or by the sun. This is what you need to know about both kinds of showers:

Solar Shower

Solar showers, as the name suggests, are heated by the sun. Essentially solar showers are large water-carrying bags with a nozzle that can be opened to release water for bathing. 

To heat them up, you simply need to place the bag in the sun for 2-4 hours.

The major drawback to solar showers is that they can take quite a while to warm up.

Additionally, they will not be able to create water that's as hot as what you can find at home.

However, this option is best for backpackers and others who need a lightweight and portable option for bathing outside.

While they won't produce a luxurious hot shower, they can make enough warm water for a quick rinse off in the backcountry.

We recommend the Nemo Helio Portable Pressure Shower or the Advanced Elements Summer Solar Shower.

Propane Shower

Propane showers use propane and an integrated burner to heat water for your shower. Usually, these devices are quite large and heavy, so they're best used for front-country camping trips. 

When it comes to overall comfort and convenience, propane showers are hard to beat. They can generally produce water that's as hot as what you'd find at home, so they're an ideal choice for car camping trips or large groups. We recommend you check out the Gasland Tankless Shower and the Hike Crew Portable Shower.

Types Of Portable Showers: Pressure Type

Portable showers can also be categorized based on how they create water pressure.

There are three main types of showers, each with their unique advantages and disadvantages:

Gravity

Gravity-fed showers use the power of gravity to force water through a small nozzle to create water pressure. The vast majority of solar showers are gravity showers, and they must be hung up in a tree or over a boulder to produce enough water pressure.

The main benefit of this type of shower is that it requires no electricity. Gravity-fed showers tend to be very lightweight and portable, making them an excellent choice for backpackers. 

However, they usually can't produce as much pressure as some of the other available options. Additionally, finding somewhere to hang up the shower can be a tricky and time-consuming process.

Battery/Electrical Hook-Up

If a gravity shower isn't for you, there are plenty of electrical-powered options out there.

Most propane showers use batteries or electrical hook-ups to power their water pumps. Alternatively, there are quite a few battery-powered handheld showers that are very portable for use at any campsite. 

The drawback of these battery-powered handheld showers is that they usually don't come with a water container or any way to heat up water. So, if you want to use them, you'll need to get a bucket and fill it with hot water to be able to bathe comfortably outside.

Foot Pump

Foot-pump powered showers, like the Nemo Helio, are some of the newest options available. They combine a lot of the great lightweight and portable features of a gravity-powered shower, but they don't require hook-ups or batteries to function.

Additionally, since they use a foot pump to create pressure, instead of gravity, these models can produce a better flow of water. They are also more convenient because you don't have to find a place to hang them up before you take a shower.


Camping Shower Buying Considerations

Here are some of the most considerations and features to pay attention to as you select your next portable shower:

Intended Use

The first thing to consider before buying a camp shower is what you plan to use it for. If you're looking for something that's going to work well on a backpacking trip, a solar shower might be your best option.

Car campers, on the other hand, might find that a propane shower is a more efficient and practical choice. So, your intended use will significantly impact the type of shower that's best for your specific needs.

Water Capacity

If you're looking to buy a solar shower, you must consider how much water they can actually hold. The capacity of a solar shower is directly correlated with how long you can bathe for, so it's usually best to have a large capacity model. 

However, a larger water carrying capacity usually translates to a bulkier and heavier piece of gear. That being said, if you want to maximize the amount of water you have available for your shower, water capacity is of the utmost importance.

Flow Rate

The flow rate of a camping shower is essentially another way to talk about the amount of water pressure that a given shower can produce.

The higher the flow rate, the more water pressure. For reference, most residential showers in the United States have a flow rate of 2.1 gallons/minute (7.9 liters/minute). 

When you have a limited amount of water available, though, such as in a camping situation, higher flow rates are not always ideal. This is because a high flow rate will cause you to use up your available water faster, limiting your showering time.

So, while a high flow rate shower is lovely, comfort-wise, it's not always the right choice for the outdoors. Thus, a shower with a flow rate of under 2 gallons/minute (7.6 liters/minute) is generally the best option.

Portability

Portability is more of a concern for backpackers that need to carry their camping shower into remote environments. In these situations, a solar shower is generally the best option because they are lightweight and can pack down to a small size.

However, car campers also need to be aware of the size of their camp shower. Many propane models are quite bulky, so they take up a significant amount of room in your vehicle. It's important to be realistic about how much storage space you have in your car before you commit to buying a large camp shower.

Ease of Set-Up & Use

No one likes to spend hours setting up their shower. Thus, gravity-powered solar showers, while highly portable, are sometimes inconvenient because they need to be slung over a tree branch to create water pressure. They also need to be left out in the sun for a few hours before you shower to warm up your water.

That being said, propane showers tend to be the most convenient option because they can create hot water nearly instantly. They also require minimal set-up, so they can be used whenever you want to take a shower.


Final Words

Camping showers are a great way to avoid olfactory abuse when enjoying the outdoors.  There are plenty of great models on the market. So, if you know the different types and your own needs, you should be able to find the best camping shower for you.

For other ways to stay fresh, check out our article on 5 Ways to Stay Clean While Camping.

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