Camping showers wash off the sweat and grime after a fun day of camping and outdoor activities. They’re a small piece of luxury that can help everyone stay happy and stink-free. These showers are made with a variety of designs, from battery-powered or hand-pumped to solar-heated and gravity-fed. There are compact designs and those that include a full portable shower stall for privacy. How, where, and with whom you camp can help determine the right type of camping shower for you. But how can you know which are the best camping showers to choose from?
Our expert adventurer weighed in on the products that made it onto our best-camping showers list. The list includes different types of showers, with some that work for car camping or washing a pet at home and those for use while you’re off the grid. The Nemo Helio Portable Pressure Camp Shower wins top marks for its portability and convenience. Available in both 11 liter (2.9 gallon) and 22 liter (5.8 gallon) sizes, this shower is pressurized by a foot pump, comes with a 7-foot neoprene hose and packs down into a compact and lightweight bundle.
Camping showers can easily turn into an integral part of your camping gear, becoming as essential as your tent, sleeping bag, or hiking boots.
Our Expert’s Top 5 Camping Showers
Here are the top picks from our outdoor expert. We’ve provided the information you need to compare the ratings and features of different models.
|Expert’s Picks||Model||Rating||Battery-Powered||Solar-Heated||Bladder Size|
|Best Overall||Nemo Helio Portable Pressure Camp Shower||2.9 or 5.8 gallons|
|Best Budget||VIGLT Portable Shower Bag||5 gallons|
|Best Private Camping Shower||Texsport Instant Portable Outdoor Camping Shower||5 gallons|
|Best Solar Camping Shower||ADVANCED ELEMENTS 5 Gallon Shower||5 gallons|
|Best Multi-Purpose Camping Shower||Riigoo Portable Caming Shower||[none]|
*Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 and based on reviews, feedback, and opinions of actual customers.
In This Article
Who Should Buy a Camping Shower
- Families with kids and/or pets – Kids and pets quickly get dirty and sticky. A camping shower provides a way to rinse everyone before bedtime.
- Car campers – If you don’t want to use communal campground showers and worry about overcrowding, your own camping shower will keep you clean away from the crowds.1
- Backpackers – If you hit the trail for days on end, a lightweight camping shower can keep you from smelling (and looking) like something left trailside. Emphasis on the “lightweight,” however. Most backpackers opt to leave the shower at home.
- Outdoor families – Camping showers come in handy whether you’re camping or not. The best camping showers can turn a bucket into an instant shower that’s perfect for washing pets, muddy kids, or the car.
Who Should Not Buy a Camping Shower
- Non-campers/outdoor avoiders – If the outdoors hold absolutely no appeal for you and a camping trip has never graced your calendar, you probably don’t need a camping shower.
- Dirt and sweat lovers – If dirt and sweat don’t bother you one bit, a camping shower could easily turn into unneeded gear you don’t want to carry.
Research Tips from an Outdoor Expert
As an outdoor enthusiast and gear head, I often get asked how to decide on a camping shower. Be sure to do your research. Talk to friends and family who used or purchased their own camping shower to gain personal insight before you buy. Here are a few tips and things to consider when narrowing down your camp shower choices.
- Bladder size – Most people need at least two gallons of water for a quick shower. That’s also about how much water you’ll need for battery-powered models that don’t have a bladder.
- Power source – Is your shower pressurized via foot pump? Is it gravity-fed? Is it battery-powered? Each style comes with its own advantages. Foot pump showers will never run out of power so are great for longer trips, but may offer less pressure than battery-powered alternatives, for example.
- Battery life and charging type – Battery-powered models need at least 15 minutes of life, although most provide around 30 to 45 minutes. Models that can use a USB cord to charge offer greater versatility in use because they can plug into a car adapter, perfect for use at the beach, car camping, or at the trailhead.
- Accessories – Adapters like hanging hooks, suction cups, and connectors help you hang the shower in a variety of usable configurations.
- Heated water – Solar showers and some large propane-powered showers heat water for you. Battery-powered models have pumps that you must submerge in water. If that water is cold, your shower will be too.
How Much Do They Cost?
Between $10 and $300
For most camping showers, you can expect to pay between $10-$100. However, models that come with a portable shower stall or connect to a propane tank to heat the water can cost between $100-$300. Solar heated showers are the simplest and usually cost under $50. Some battery-powered models also fall into this price range. Battery-powered showers with larger batteries, pumps, and extra connectors creep up toward $100 or more.
The Best Camping Showers: Full Reviews
Unlike many other camping showers, the award-winning Nemo Helio Portable Pressure Camp Shower doesn’t need to be hung overhead. Instead, it rests on the ground and is pressurized with the included foot pump. It can then provide a pressurized stream of water for up to seven or ten minutes, depending on whether you’re using the 11 liter (2.9 gallon) or 22 liter (5.8 gallon) tank respectively.
Looking for a hot shower? You can either pour hot water into the tank, or if you’re not in a hurry, you can leave the tank in the sun and allow it to warm the water inside. It also comes with a generous seven-foot neoprene hose, so everyone in your family can enjoy a shower – regardless of their height! A see-through end-cap allows you to see how much water is remaining, and once you’re done, it packs up quickly and easily into a compact package weighing less than one and a half pounds.
- Long, 7-foot hose
- Compact and lightweight
- Tank holds hot water
- Easy to set up
- No battery required
- May take a while to warm in the sun
The VIGLT Portable Shower Bag keeps outdoor showers basic and simple. The five-gallon bladder is made of a black PVC material that absorbs solar energy, heating the water inside. It takes about three hours of direct sunlight to warm the water to 113°F. The bladder has a strong plastic support at the top of the handle to strengthen the bladder when hung. There’s also a rope and hook to hang it and the entire shower is lightweight and comes apart for easy portability.
An on/off spout on the bottom of the bladder controls the water. You can attach the hose and sprayer to the spout for a shower or leave them off and use the spout directly to wash or rinse. If you turn the water on and off while washing, the five gallons is more than enough to get you (and possibly one more person) clean. Though this camping shower requires more work than some, it won’t break your budget and easily packs away when not in use.
- Black, 5-gallon PVC bladder
- Folds down to a compact size
- Requires 3 hours to heat water
- Requires sturdy object on which to hang
The Texsport Instant Portable Outdoor Camping Shower provides a warm solar shower plus some privacy. If you’ve got a little extra room in the trunk, this shower/shelter combo includes a five-gallon solar shower that’s designed for attachment inside the four-walled shelter. The walls of the shelter are opaque, with two windows and skylight openings at the top to provide light. It also includes a rain fly for weather protection.2 The privacy stall measures 4’6″ by 4’6″ and stands 87 inches tall.
The solar shower attaches to the top of the shelter, which means you don’t need a sturdy tree. Like other solar showers, you fill the bladder with water and lay it outside so the black material can absorb the sun’s heat to heat the water. On the side of the shelter, there’s a mesh caddy to hold soap, shampoo, and a razor. A floor mat comes with the shelter, so you don’t have to shower in the mud.
- Black, 5-gallon PVC bladder
- Tall, 87-inch shelter with a hook to hang the shower
- Mesh caddy for showering supplies
- Requires 3 hours to heat water
- Takes up a lot of trunk space
The ADVANCED ELEMENTS 5 Gallon Shower has a few extras, like a built-in temperature gauge that take it above and beyond the regular solar shower. It’s made with a four-ply (2-layer) construction that includes a reflector and insulator panel. A strong, adjustable handle and extra-large filling valve hold the bag and water-secure when warming and in use. The valve holds tight so water doesn’t leak out and is large enough that it’s not hard to fill the bag.
This shower also includes a mesh pouch for travel-sized shampoo or soap. The pocket also holds an attached mirror for shaving. Velcro straps on the bottom hold the sprayer or a washcloth. The overall design works well. With the extra features, it’s convenient and easy to use for regular use.
- 5-gallon bladder with insulation and reflector materials
- Built-in temperature gauge
- Mesh pocket with attached mirror
- Velcro bottom straps for sprayer or washcloth
- Large valve opening
- Takes a while for the water to heat
- Valve is difficult to manage with wet hands
The Riigoo Portable Camping Shower includes two ways to charge the batteries, boosting the versatility of the shower. The two lithium-ion batteries can charge using an included mini car charger and USB cord. You can also plug the USB cord into an adapter, laptop, or power bank. Each battery lasts approximately 45 minutes and takes 2 to 5 hours to charge.
The Riigoo also features two connectors—an S-hook and suction cup—to rig up the shower for hands-free use. All water goes through a small filter, removing the worst that’s in the water. (Note: The filter does not make the water drinkable.) Take it with you to the beach and rinse off kids or pets before getting in the car, or use it to water the garden. The dual power options open the door to a wider range of uses with the same convenience.
- Two power options, a mini car charger and USB cords
- Two connectors for hands-free use
- Built-in filter
- Does not make water drinkable
- Limited hose length
Frequently Asked Questions
Are camping showers any good?
How do you take a hot shower using a camping shower?
How much water do you need for a camping shower?
How do you fill a camping shower?
Adventure Daily uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
- Craig CA. Camping, glamping, and coronavirus in the United States. Ann Tour Res. 2020;103071. doi: 10.1016/j.annals.2020.103071
- Hewer MJ, Scott DJ, and Gough WA. Differences in the importance of weather and weather-based decisions among campers in Ontario parks (Canada). International Journal of Biometeorology. 2017; 61: pp. 1805-1818. Published on May 10, 2017. Accessed on May 12, 2021.