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The Best Camping Showers for 2024

The outdoors is a dirty place. Literally. There’s dirt everywhere. And if you spend any significant amount of time in the great outdoors, you’ll get dirty. Whether it’s dusty or muddy dirt, one of the best ways to rinse yourself off during a camping trip is a camping shower.

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When you hear the word “shower,” you probably imagine a shower head over a tub that spits out pressurized water. While it is similar to an actual shower, it can be more than just an outdoor shower.

They’re often intended to be used like a combination of a shower, a garden hose, and a faucet, so you can pretty much rinse off anything ranging from people to pets to dishes to outdoor or camping gear.

The ideal buyers of a camping shower typically plan their camping trip to last multiple days in remote areas, so they have little to no access to basic utilities like running water or public showers.

What camping showers have in common is that they’re portable and they are capable of pumping water from either a tank or a water source.

In this guide, we picked the Nemo Helio Pressure Shower as the best camp shower overall, because of its versatility and practical design. However, we also selected designs with a variety of features and prices, so you can buy the best camping shower for your needs.

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The Best Camping Showers

Best Overall – Nemo Helio Pressure Shower

best-camping-showers
Image by Nemo

Specs:

  • Pressure System: Foot Pump
  • Heating Mechanism: Solar
  • Liquid Capacity: 2.9 gallons or 11 liters

We picked the Nemo Helio Pressure Shower as the best portable shower because it’s a highly versatile design that’s extremely packable and offers consistent water pressure all for a reasonable price point.

The Nemo portable shower is equipped with a 2.9-gallon (or 11-liter) tank and a 7-foot sprayer hose, so you can set it up and rinse off pretty much anything. Water pressure is controlled by a foot pump and you can pressurize the tank for up to seven minutes.

Additionally, the device packs down to 5.5×8.5 inches and weighs 1 pound 5 ounces (without water, of course). Although there’s no heating mechanism, Nemo recommends if you want hot water that you fill the tank and put it in direct sunlight or fill it with hot water.

Best Budget: Advanced Elements Summer Shower

best-camping-showers
Image by Advanced Elements

Specs:

  • Pressure System: Gravity
  • Heating Mechanism: Solar
  • Liquid Capacity: 2.5, 3, 5 & 10 gallons

We picked the Advanced Elements Summer Shower as our best budget buy because it’s super inexpensive, especially when you consider its ability to pump out hot water. As far as solar camping showers go, the Advanced Elements Summer Shower is really impressive.

Advanced Elements equipped the Summer Shower with durable layered materials, so when you leave it out in direct sunlight, it warms up the water. Although the manufacturer says it heats the water in roughly three hours, you can also monitor the temperature gauge for good measure.

The main criticism of the Advanced Elements Summer Shower is that it doesn’t have great water pressure (they’re gravity-fed showers) and it gets heavy, which is a problem because you have to hang it from an elevated position.

Best Compact: Sea-to-Summit Pocket Shower

best-camping-showers
Image by Sea-to-Summit

Specs:

  • Pressure System: Gravity
  • Heating Mechanism: Solar
  • Liquid Capacity: 2.6 gallons or 10 liters

We picked the Sea to Summit Pocket Shower as the best compact because it’s a 10-liter camping shower that when packed, takes up less space than a 32-ounce Nalgene bottle.

The Summit Pocket Shower also might be one of the simplest designs. You just fill it up with water, hang it over your head, and let gravity do the rest. If you’re backpacking or have extremely limited storage, the Sea to Summit Pocket is a great option.

Best for Overlanding: Yakima Road Shower

best-camping-showers
Image by Yakima

Specs:

  • Pressure System: Pump
  • Heating Mechanism: Solar
  • Liquid Capacity: 3, 7 & 10 gallons

If you’re an outlander, the Yakima Road Shower is a pretty convenient option for a camp shower. However, to call it a portable shower might be a bit of a stretch.

The Road Shower is designed to be mounted to a rack on top of a vehicle. Still, it’s one of the most popular camping shower designs for vehicles.

The Road Shower is a long aluminum tank that comes in three different sizes (4, 7, and 10 gallons). After you mount it to your vehicle, all you have to do is fill up the tank with water and then pressurize using either a motorized pump or a bike pump.

After that, sunlight will warm it up and the nozzle will spray as long as it’s filled with water and air. The main criticism of the design is that the optional showerhead isn’t as nice as other camping showers, but you don’t have to buy it.

Best for Car Camping: Geyser Systems Portable Shower with Heater

best-camping-showers
Image by Geyser

Specs:

  • Pressure System: Electronic
  • Heating Mechanism: Electronic
  • Liquid Capacity: 3 liters

Coming in as the best for car camping is the Geyser Systems Portable Shower with Heater. Although it’s a bit bulky (it measures 16x9x6 inches) and a bit heavy (it weighs 8 pounds), it heats water in as little as 15 minutes. And it plugs into your cigarette lighter.

Best Value: Ivation Portable Outdoor Shower

best-camping-showers
Image by Ivation

Specs:

  • Pressure System: Electronic
  • Heating Mechanism: None
  • Liquid Capacity: N/A

We picked the Ivation Portable Outdoor Shower because, for $35, you get probably the easiest-to-use camp shower on this list. If you just look at the design, you already inherently know how to use it.

On the design, the shower head looks like something you’d see in a full shower. To make it even better, it comes with a hook and suction cup so you can hang the shower head and stand under it.

Plus, you operate it simply by pushing a button. Additionally, it’s equipped with a rechargeable battery. All you need to provide is a bucket of water.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Camping Shower

When you’re shopping for a camping shower, you have to take into consideration what you want.

Do you need a lot of warm water or hot water? Are you ok with just cold water? Do you like taking hot showers? Does everyone need a hot shower? Will you be bringing water with you or will you be using a water source?

The reason you need to consider these questions is if you need lots of hot water, you’ll limit your options and should expect to pay hundreds of dollars. Whereas, if you’re okay with cold water and using any available water source, you could get away with paying less than $50.

Pressure System

What makes a camping shower different than say dunking your your gear into some water is water pressure. Camping showers typically have some water pressure so you have an easier time controlling water flow and rinsing the dirt or mud off of you, your gear, pets, or kids.

To get that water pressure, there are two types of shower systems: gravity and pressure.

Gravity showers are exactly what they sound like. You mount the shower head to an elevated position and when you turn it on, water comes out of it. It allows gravity to simply pull water toward the ground.

Other camping showers use pressure to push water out, which creates greater water pressure than a gravity shower.

The most common way to pressurize a water tank is by either using a foot pump or an air pump. With a foot pump, you step on the pump and squirt out individual blasts while other designs allow you to attach a motorized pump (or bike pump) and store the pressure inside the tank.

Heating Mechanism

The heating mechanism in your camping shower will determine if you get a hot shower, a warm shower, or just a cold shower.

Simple designs that might not be much more than a pump and a hose or a bag with a shower nozzle won’t have any heating mechanism. Whereas others might have an electric heater, a solar bag, or use propane tanks to fuel the heat.

Still, most camping showers are called solar showers, meaning you put the water tank under direct sunlight until it reaches a desired temperature. While it may sound primitive, water inside of a solar shower can reach temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Simple camp showers will be easier to store and carry as you can fill them up with water from a nearby lake and use them as needed whereas the ones with complex heating systems will need to be mounted to something like a vehicle or an outdoor shower tent.

The point is that the more luxurious camping showers are typically bigger and heavier.

Liquid Capacity

The liquid capacity (or tank size) of your portable camp shower depends on how long you plan on being in the field and how many people are planning to use it.

The answer to the former depends on if you have access to water. While the water you use in your camping shower doesn’t need to be potable, it does need to be clean and free of debris.

With that said the frequency with which you use your camping shower should dictate how much water you need. If you have more people at your campsite, you’d obviously want a tank that holds enough water for everyone.

However, you shouldn’t just buy one that holds lots of water. Instead, you should buy one that holds enough hot water and stores enough pressure so everyone at camp can enjoy a nice hot shower.

While you can find portable camping showers that hold as much as 10 gallons of water, experts say it’s better to go with the smallest capacity you can get away with. This is because it’ll be easier to heat five gallons of water – and keep it warm – than it is 10 gallons.

Mounting Options

If you’re on a backpacking trip, mounting options probably won’t be much of a concern for you. You’d just need a portable camping shower that you can stuff in your bag and use as needed.

If you’re on a primitive camping trip, car camping, or overlanding, you will have more options for configuring a camping shower system. Some designs are meant to be mounted in a fixed position on a vehicle or in a semi-permanent spot on a shower tent.

Price

Less than $150

Camping showers costing less than $150 are extremely portable. They’re often hand-held options meant to be stored either in a pack or inside of a vehicle (as opposed to mounted to the outside). Heating and water pressure systems are limited.

$150 to $250

For $150 to $250, you’ll find similar camping showers to the less than $150 category in that they’re hand-held and meant to be stored inside a pack or vehicle. However, with the higher price point, you get a greater liquid capacity and water pressure system.

More than $250

The price of a premium camping shower starts at $250 and can get as high as $750 at retailers like REI or Backcountry.

While you can find options with fairly large liquid capacities, you’ll also find better heating options such as camping showers that use propane tanks. Additionally, these are camping showers meant to be mounted to a vehicle for car camping.

FAQs about Camping Showers

How long does a 5-gallon camp shower last?

Obviously, it depends on how long you shower and how much water the camping shower pumps out, but some manufacturers say it’ll last roughly five minutes. Compared to a full shower — we use approximately 17 gallons of water — a 5-gallon camp shower is really short.

Do solar showers get too hot?

The answer ultimately depends on preference. In to a full shower, the water temperature usually ranges from 95 degrees Fahrenheit to 105 degrees. However, you can’t always control the temperature of a camp shower heated by direct sunlight, so you get what you get.

Some reviewers say the water in their camp shower reached temperatures as high as 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, you should always check the water with a temperature gauge before using it.

Are camp showers worth it?

Absolutely. If you’re out in the field, a camp shower is a convenient way to rinse off your body, wash your hair, and clean gear given that you get greater water pressure and control with the water than other options like wet wipes.

How We Tested Camping Showers

For this guide, we narrowed our focus to camp shower designs meant to be portable as opposed to other camp showers, which need to be fixed in a permanent structure with some form of plumbing and heater.

While ones of our recommendations need to be mounted, it’s still portable. We also focused on products offered by online stores like Amazon, Backcountry, and REI because they have the widest selection of camping showers. For performance, we relied on various online guides, reviews, and social media posts.

The Best Camping Showers

We stand by our recommendation of Nemo Helio Pressure Shower as the best overall, as it’s incredibly versatile and packable. It might not be the best for backpacking — for that, you’d probably want the Sea to Summit Pocket — but it would serve every function you’d need from a camping shower.

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