Best Camping Shower [2020]

Dr.-Prepare-Solar-Camping-Shower-1024x648.jpg

Nemo is a fast-growing international brand in the camping and outdoor products industry. Their Helio LX represents the largest of their portable camp shower line, yet at 2-pounds 4-ounces it is very lightweight.

It has a 22-liter refillable water tank, that is pressurized by a foot pump bellows. This means you don’t have to hang it to let gravity feed the water like you would a traditional solar shower.

The black water tank is insulated, which means it absorbs heat energy and holds it for much longer than a conventional solar shower. Just bear in mind that the insulation itself will slow the solar heating process. For a “Hot Shower” you might want to simmer a gallon or two of 120-degree water to add to the tank.

The Simple Shower FBA Portable Camping Shower embodies the term “simple.” Yet you shouldn’t let this lure you into thinking that it’s ineffective. When you really look at it, the Simple Shower FBA is a very convenient way to take the ability to shower with you when space in your pack is at a premium.

It is little more than a spray nozzle with a breather tube. It’s designed to fit on most 1 and 2-liter bottles. This means you could take a 1-liter water bottle with you in your pack. When it’s empty, you can fill it with warm water. Then secure the FBA nozzle and breather, turn it over and it’s ready to use.

The breather tube helps with the air exchange, so you get a relatively steady stream of water without the “Glug-Glug” delay of air to water replacement. It’s even made in the USA from recycled materials.

Coleman is one of the strongest names in the outdoor products industry. So, you can trust that they put their best effort into the materials and design of the H2Oasis portable water heater.

It uses a propane flame and a submersible pump to draw and heat water up to 125-degrees in as little as 30-seconds. Even if you don’t have an available water reservoir of your own it comes with a 5-gallon collapsible water container.

The Coleman H2Oasis portable water heater can be set up to run on a small DOT 39 1-pound propane canister. This adds to its overall portability. Though it can also be set up with a secondary regulator to run off a larger 25-gallon propane canister.

How We Picked

Camp showers evolved in recent years to use heating sources that go beyond solar. Though there still are quite a few out there that rely upon the sun to heat the water, while also giving you the option of adding hot water simmered over the camp stove.

At the same time, it’s important to remember that camp showers can also be used for more than just showering around a traditional campsite. It’s a little-known fact that many of the best beaches are off the beaten track. This also means they rarely have facilities for rinsing saltwater off after a swim. Not to mention that a portable shower is a great way to rinse off a muddy dog before it gets a chance to track into the house.

With solar showers, you have the problem of gravity feed low pressure and the fact that it’s only on the sunniest days that you will get a truly hot shower. On a cloudy day, you might end up forced to choose between sleeping grimy and taking a cold shower.

With solar showers, we tried to keep an eye out for heavy-duty reservoirs of tanks that employed a little added innovation. If possible, units that could be pressurized by something like a foot bellows were also stood alongside gravity-fed solar showers. The ability to pressurize the water on your own can come in very handy in a situation where there isn’t anything substantial overhead to hang a heavy water reservoir.

Electric camp showers started out using four D-Cell batteries to drive a pump or lightly heat a small volume of water. People quickly got tired of chewing through expensive single-charge batteries. Fortunately, rechargeable battery technology has continued to evolve. Even if you don’t want to use battery power to run a pump, there are still many units that will run off a vehicle’s charging port, a 12-volt battery, or even the 120 Volt shore power offered at some campgrounds.

With these units, we tried to stay away from electric heaters that were included in the primary purchase. Some included electric heating elements as a secondary purchase. Ultimately, the power consumption of electricity and the time it takes to heat multiple gallons of water is inefficient compared to simply heating a large pot of water on a camp stove or over the campfire.

Propane heated camp showers are essentially borrowing from the concept of household tankless water heaters. They rapidly heat a small volume of water delivering it to a spray nozzle. While these models are the closest you will likely come to the shower in your bathroom at home, they usually require somewhat complicated installation.

With most propane heated camp showers, the word camp might be better replaced with “RV or “Rustic Cabin.” With these, it’s important to keep in mind that propane is a high-energy hydrocarbon. When something goes wrong with it or even if something is turned up a little too high, it can be the catalyst for other problems. So, we tried to keep an eye out for things like advanced safety features or preventative engineering.

Dr. Prepare Solar Camping Shower

Specs:

  • Solar heated shower
  • 4-gallon reservoir
  • Foot pump pressure system
  • Compact zippered bag
  • Large water inlet
  • Hand operated nozzle

The Dr. Prepare 4-gallon camping shower takes the concept of the old-fashioned solar shower and takes it a step or two forward. This starts with ultra-compact storage inside a single small zippered carrying bag.

Cleaning a car with the Dr. Prepare Solar Camping Shower

To use it, you unpack it from the small carrying bag and double-check to make sure all the connections are still tight. Then set up the foot bellows to pump air into the shower bag. At that point, you open the large water inlet and fill.

Dr. Prepare Solar Camping Shower in the garden

If you want to add preheated water that you simmered over the camp stove, you should make sure to put at least two gallons of cold water first. A large funnel will reduce the chances of spilling hot water. Ideally, you shouldn’t fill it more than 75% of the way.