How to Find the Best Portable Shower for Your Camping Trip
Having a portable shower is a great way to get out into nature and still lay a clean head down on your pillow at night. Certainly, roughing it during your adventures doesn’t mean you can’t keep yourself clean.
But, those who tent or trailer camp might not have access to a shower. That leaves them relying on the campground’s facilities.
We’re here to help with some tips for choosing plus reviews of some of the best portable showers.
Let’s dig in!
What Is a Portable Shower?
A portable shower allows you to take a shower wherever you go. These showers are generally compact and easy to transport. They use gravity or a pump to provide water pressure. A portable shower generally includes a showerhead, hose, and a bag or bucket to hold the water. Not all styles include a bag or bucket for water storage, so be sure to research whether you need to provide your own.
How Much Water Do You Need for a Portable Shower?
Typically, a portable shower will use up to five gallons in a single use. This number can vary based on many factors, including preferences. If you’re someone who enjoys long showers, you may need to bring along extra water. Some people go as high as 30 gallons. On the opposite end of the spectrum, those who use sparingly could spread out five gallons between multiple people.
How Long Does a Five Gallon Shower Last?
On average, a five-gallon shower lasts five to seven minutes. Your showerhead will utilize the available water more quickly if it isn’t designed to conserve water. Using a water pump versus gravity will also impact how quickly you use up your water. Some options that include a water pump can use 30 gallons of water for a 10-minute shower.
Pro Tip: We spoke to full time RVer Sarah Brandt about living and working in a camper. Learn more about her bathroom set up and her plans for a solar shower: I Live (and Work) in a 60 SQFT Camper.
Best Portable Showers for Camping
The right portable shower can make all the difference between feeling clean and refreshed or feeling frustrated and half-shampooed. Keep reading to find the best options for portable camping showers.
Off-Grid Solar Shower
About: The Off-Grid Portable Solar Shower can hold up to five gallons of water and uses leak-proof materials. It can heat water to 113 degrees for a pleasant shower experience. Included with the shower are a hose, shower head, and water tap.
Some options also provide a toggle switch to choose high or low water flow.
What We Love About It:
We love that this model doesn’t require power. You won’t need to waste any precious power banks or battery power to have a nice shower. Plus, you won’t have to set aside a lot of storage space for this portable shower as it packs down small for transport.
This shower isn’t without flaws. To achieve 113 degrees, it will need to sit in direct sunlight for three hours. If you forget to set it out, you’ll be stuck with a lukewarm shower at best. Additionally, you’ll need a high place to hang it as it depends on gravity for water pressure. Without nearby trees or poles, it could get tricky to make full use of your water.
Dr. Prepare Pressurized Portable Shower
About: Those looking for a compact yet powerful portable shower will love the Dr. Prepare Pressurized Portable Shower. It’s slimmer than a 16-ounce beer can, making it easy to transport. You can recharge it via USB, making it easy to charge even in a car. The spray nozzle features two spray modes so you can customize your experience.
This portable shower can hold up to four gallons at a time.
What We Love About It:
The Dr. Prepare Pressurized Portable Shower is going to give you excellent water pressure. This shower offers a more traditional shower feel than a gravity-fed system. The pump will automatically adjust the water pressure based on how much water is left to ensure you don’t damage it.
This shower might leave you feeling a bit chilly, depending on the weather. The water for your shower will be at room temperature. While this may not be an issue on a warm day, if it’s a bit chilly outside, you may have to quickly power through a cold shower. Additionally, you’ll need a power source. You may find yourself in a bit of a bind if the pump battery dies.
Hike Crew Portable Propane Camping Shower
About: The Hike Crew Portable Propane Camping Shower is the ultimate portable shower. Water temperatures can reach a steamy 125 degrees before the gas burner auto shuts off for safety. There’s a water temperature control knob, hand faucet, and shower head attachment. The unit itself doesn’t have a water capacity. You have to use a separate container, such as a bucket.
What We Love About It:
We love this shower because it directly and quickly heats the water. You’ll no longer have to wait for the sun. It also provides great water pressure through an electric pump, which won’t leave you with trickling water.
With on-demand hot water, you won’t have to wonder if your water will run out. Simply use a larger bucket. You could even use this unit for washing dishes.
Those looking for simplicity might be left feeling frustrated here. While you can achieve some seriously hot water with this option, you’ll need propane to do so, meaning you’ll have another thing to remember to pack. If your propane runs out, so will your hot water.
Another thing to consider is this unit’s size. It’s rather bulky, at 17.75 x 16.5 x 14.85 inches. It weighs 23.9 pounds, which certainly makes it a bit heavy to lug around.
Foot Pump Pressurized Portable Shower
About: The Foot Pump Pressurized Portable Shower might be slightly on the smaller side, but it’s worth a look. This portable shower carries three gallons of water in a leakproof, tear-resistant bag. You’ll use a foot pedal to provide water pressure, meaning you won’t need to find a tree limb or pole to hang it from. You can shower for about six minutes.
What We Love About It:
We love that this unit provides great pressure without needing power. You get the benefit of a water pump without the need to power it with anything other than your foot. It packs up small, as well. You won’t have to worry about excessive bulk when choosing this portable shower.
One reason you might find yourself frustrated with this unit is the three-gallon capacity. This is smaller than most portable shower options on the market. While it can be enough for an efficient shower, you may find yourself refilling it more than you’d like.
This shower also doesn’t have a water heating feature. You’ll be showering with room temperature water. If you’re camping in warmer climates, you won’t notice the lack of heat. Taking this on a cold weekend, you’ll quickly realize the convenience of a heating element.
Keep in Mind: Portable showers make washing on the road easy, but if you don’t have one yet here are 5 Shower Hacks for Road Trips.
Play Dirty, Sleep Clean
Getting out into the wild without the conveniences of a campground doesn’t mean you have to feel dirty and grimy from your adventures. Crawling into your sleeping bag with the day’s dirt still on you is never fun. Thankfully, portable showers can help ease that feeling. Have you made use of a portable shower during your camping experiences?
Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA
To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).
You should give it a try!
As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.
Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site!
We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below: