In spite of what soap companies want to implant in our minds, going outside and getting dirty isn’t going to be the end of us. Even eating dirt every once in a while can be good for us (seriously). If you’re trying to stay well-groomed and hygienic, however, you’re still going to have to clean off eventually — even in the great outdoors.
Whether you’re on the go, at a remote dispersed campsite in the middle of nowhere, or chilling in the beach parking lot after a morning surf sesh, a portable camping shower can be your best friend and get you clean with little effort. So, we rounded up some of the best portable showers of 2023. (Keep in mind that these aren’t just for showering yourself off either. Spraying down dirty kids, a muddy dog, or dirty dishes while in the front country are all easy enough with a portable hot water camp shower, too.)
Advanced Elements 3-Gallon Summer Shower
Best personal portable shower for camping
Don’t be fooled by the silver appearance of the 3-Gallon Summer Shower from Advanced Elements. Four layers and a reflective surface on the inside heat up the water to well over 110 degrees Fahrenheit after a couple of hours in the sun. The Summer Shower has an easy-on nozzle and a small pocket for soap or the included mirror. The 3-gallon size is enough for solo campers and manageable when it’s full of water, but there are 2.5- and 5-gallon versions available, too.
Coleman 5-Gallon Solar Shower
Best portable shower for camping couples
The 5-Gallon Solar Shower from Coleman is a simple take on the shower bag idea. Like the Advanced Elements bag above, you just fill the bag, hang it in a tree till it warms up from the heat of the sun, and let gravity handle the water pressure. A strong handle lets you carry and hang the bag. A quick twist of the nozzle releases up to five gallons of water — more than enough for up to three showers if you’re practicing good water management. For less than $20, it's affordable enough to buy several to hang up around the cabin or campsite.
FeChiX VIGLT Portable Shower Bag
Best budget-friendly portable shower for camping
For budget campers looking for an inexpensive portable camp shower, this solar-heated model from FeChiX is ideal. Just hang it in direct sunlight for around three hours, and the five-gallon capacity delivers a hot (up to 113°F) shower or two — no battery required. The best part? It's an off-brand alternative to the Coleman shower above for half the price.
Nemo Helio Pressure Shower
Best pump-powered portable shower for camping
The Nemo Helio Pressure Shower features a foot pump, a collapsible water container, and a spray hose. Fill the bag from any water source, pump it up, and you’re ready to go. Hold the button on the nozzle for on, let it go for off. When you’re done, the whole thing collapses down to a compact 17 inches by nine inches. If you haven’t tried the latest cold shower trend, then you’ll probably want to heat the water first by leaving it in the sun for a few hours.
Reliance Products Flow Pro Pressurized Portable Shower
Best budget portable shower for camping
At just two gallons, Reliance Outdoors’ Flow Pro Pressurized Portable Shower is one of the smallest camping showers on this list. But its myriad features, including a neoprene sleeve, trigger-action shower head, and mesh storage pouch (for stashing your camp toiletries), make it a great buy. Plus, at less than $60, it’s affordable to boot.
Ivation Portable Outdoor Shower
Most affordable electric portable shower for camping
The Portable Outdoor Shower from Ivation is a dead-simple, battery-powered pump attached to a hose and showerhead. It comes with a hook and suction cup to hang the nozzle so you have both hands to attend to your beauty regimen. The source hose goes straight into the water, be it a bucket or stream. While no heater is built-in, a filter keeps the dirt and grime out. The USB-rechargeable battery lasts for an hour — more than enough juice for even the most luxurious outdoor showers.
Simple Shower Portable Camping Shower
Most basic portable shower for camping
True to its name, Simple Shower’s Portable Camping Shower is hands-down the most straightforward option on this list. The kit turns almost any 1- or 2-liter plastic bottle (including collapsible water bottles and bladders) into a go-anywhere shower. The lightweight design couldn't be easier to use. Simply attach it to your bottle, invert it, and enjoy a steady stream of water.
Geyser Systems Portable Hot Shower
Best compact electric portable shower for camping
At roughly $300, the Geyser Systems Portable Hot Shower seems outrageously expensive compared to its competition. It stands out among the other portable showers on this list, however, for its clever design that maximizes your hot shower with minimal water usage. It delivers a hot (95-degree), seven-minute shower using less than a gallon of water without pressurization. Just plug it into your vehicle’s 12V socket or a backup battery bank like a Jackery and scrub away.
RinseKit Cube Portable Shower
Best premium portable shower for camping
This all-in-one powered cube might be the swankiest portable camp shower of the year. It features a built-in four-gallon reservoir and a beefy battery bank for even, on-demand water pressure. Just fill it up, power it on, activate the nozzle, and hose down. Built with overlanders and car campers in mind, it's all contained in a rugged, road-ready housing that can stand up to the rigors of outdoor living. Add on RinseKit's compatible HyperHeater for on-demand hot water anywhere, anytime.
Mr. Heater BOSS-XW18 Basecamp Battery Operated Shower System
Best propane-powered portable shower for camping
Mr. Heater’s Boss line of portable camping showers uses a propane burner (fueled by standard, one-pound canisters) to heat your shower water and an integrated lead acid battery to pump it. The XW-18 is the midrange model in the lineup, delivering up to 0.8 gallons per minute with up to 40 minutes of runtime. The 12,000 BTUs of power fires up with electric ignition, heating the water up to 42 degrees Fahrenheit over the source water temperature. Pair it with a portable shower tent for
Most portable showers feature a similar design, including a water reservoir and a means to deliver that water, be it by gravity or a dedicated pump. Here are the five main styles of portable showers for camping:
- Hangable portable camp showers: A bag of water hanging from a tree is the simplest way to shower. You’ll just need to choose what size and kind of nozzle you want.
- Pump-powered portable camp showers: Out in the woods, hanging bags of water that weigh over 40 pounds can be tough. Just hoisting a bag shower into a tree can prove to be a workout. By contrast, pump-style camp showers pressurize the water in a standalone ground reservoir and then squeeze it out via a nozzle. Don’t expect a “Super Soaker” water gun level of pressure, but it’s often more than enough to clean off salt, mud, and whatever else you like rolling around in.
- Portable electric camp showers: From bicycles to surfboards, everything has a battery now, so it’s no surprise that even portable showers are getting electrified, too.
- Propane camp showers: Sometimes cold showers are great. But, nothing makes you feel human again in the woods like a long hot shower. Propane is the perfect way to achieve that.
- Portable camp shower attachments: These clever attachments turn ordinary water containers or jugs into legit portable camp showers.
Whether setting up camp in the front- or backcountry, space is at a premium for most campers. You don't even need a portable shower stall for camping. Having gear that pulls double- or even triple-duty is a great way to keep your loadout to a bare minimum. If you’d rather not carry a separate
If you’re a hardcore, no-frills sort of camper, your Nalgene bottle and a bit of biodegradable camp soap are all you’ll need to scrub down. But, if you’re looking for a slightly more luxurious solution that feels more like your shower at home, it’s not hard to build your own portable camping shower for backcountry use. From our list above, the simplest solution is to use something like the Simple Shower Portable
For a more elaborate alternative, LifeSaver’s Jerrycan Shower Attachment attaches to most jerrycan-style water jugs. If you’re the fancy sort who needs a legit hot shower, even off-grid, Coleman’s 5-Gallon Camp Shower is a straightforward plastic bag that uses nothing more than the sun’s rays to deliver a nice hot shower.
Most modern household showers deliver around two to three gallons of water per minute. That means the average 10-minute shower uses up to a whopping 30 gallons of water. Common portable showers, however, are designed for far more modest water usage. The showerheads are typically much smaller with pin-sized holes, so showering with a portable shower for camping might feel more like a trickle than the refreshing blast of water you’re used to at home.
Even the largest portable showers hold a maximum of five gallons of water. For amateur campers, this is typically enough for one person to take a relatively decent shower with enough time to soap up and rinse off. More experienced campers might be able to stretch those same five gallons to two or even three showers. The key is to be ruthless about turning the showerhead on and off (i.e., the ultra-efficient "Navy shower"). The key is to never let it freeflow. By using the navy shower method, you can cut your water consumption — both in the wild and at home — by up to 95%.
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