7 Camp Showers To Stay Feeling Fresh Outdoors

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest in a particularly outdoorsy family, I would consider myself an avid camper. It wasn’t until 2015 after a full week camping in the desert for Burning Man, however, that I discovered portable camping showers and how essential they are for enhancing the camping experience. Since then, most of my extended trips into the wilderness have always included packing a camp shower.

If you don’t know anything about the annual arts festival, know that it takes place in Black Rock Desert, a stretch of inhospitable “playa” in Northwestern Nevada that’s prone to frequent dust storms, soaring temperatures and a variety of conditions that can leave revelers, well, absolutely filthy. After a few days in this kind of environment, you can imagine how refreshing and necessary it would be to have a way to rinse off and feel a bit more comfortable.

Granted not every outdoor adventure takes place in such extreme climates, but I have found that portable shower systems can come in handy for a number of uses like cleaning off sandy feet car-side after a trip to the beach or washing hands when there’s no access to running water.

And if you’re thinking that the mechanics of a portable shower seems all too much work to bother, they are actually pretty simple and low-effort. Depending on which tier of shower you choose, many of the more straightforward designs (like the one I have, the Summer Shower) are just a sprinkler-type shower head and hose attached to a hangable bag that’s made with heat-inducing material so the water inside becomes warm after a few hours sitting in the sun. Then you just re-fill your bag with your potable water as needed.

The higher up in price you get, you’ll find more high-tech models that allow for pressurized water flow and even automatic heating systems for real at-home shower experience — these might be better options for camping in colder climates and seasons. You can also pair your camp shower with a pop-up privacy tent, and note that it’s important to know the waste water disposal policies of your specific campground.

If you’re interested in taking your upcoming camping trip to the next level of comfort with very little effort on your end, take a peek at the upcoming selection of portable camp showers for every budget and need.

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A fast-heating five-gallon shower

The Summer Shower might be one of the better-known camp showers out there and it’s also the one I happen to have. Its straightforward and easy-to-use design hasn’t failed me thus far and it actually heats up water to a comfortable temperature in about an hour of sun time, depending on the weather. The five-gallon bag features a four-layer design, including a reflector panel and an insulator panel to offer quicker warm-up time and better heat retention. At the front of the pack there’s a small toiletry pouch to keep shower essentials off the floor and on the back there’s a temperature gauge so you can read when your water is hot enough to shower.


A battery-powered shower pump system

This portable and battery-operated pump-style shower uses an immersion system to emit a pressurized water flow for up to 120 minutes of runtime per charge. Just submerge the pump component in a one-gallon bucket of heated water (up to 120 degrees) and turn the motor on to operate. The battery component sits separate from the pump and outside of the water for a safer operation and the system comes with two different interchangeable shower heads to fit your needs.


An interchangeable and rechargeable shower

Equipped with a six-foot long hose and an pressure-adjustable nozzle sprayer, this camp shower by Coleman can be great for anything from washing hands to spraying off dirty camping gear or camping surfaces. The three-gallon basin is collapsible for easy transport and is connected to a rechargeable battery system that can also power a variety of Coleman outdoor gear like a cordless speaker and fan. The charging base can juice up your phone and other essential devices.


An affordable and simple shower

The most affordable option on our list, this over 5,700 5-star camp shower functions virtually the exact same as the Summer Shower and offers similar features like the external temperature indicator and solar-powered operation. The heat-absorbing design claims to warm water up to 113 degrees in three hours of direct sunlight and can be hung from tree limbs, rearview car mirrors or the interior of your pop-up privacy tent.


A shower system with integrated heater

For anyone who partakes a lot of winter camping, mountainside expeditions or just wants a camp shower with all of the bells and whistles, the Geyser shower system might be the best options thanks to the integrated heating element that transforms up to two liters of cold water into perfectly hot shower-ready H20 in just five minutes. The electric operation allows users to adjust water pressure, leaving room to conserve water if needed, or enjoy a high-pressure blast. The hose is attached to a reusable, dual-sided and interchangeable sponge so this could be a good option for cleaning dishes as well as your body. A non-heated version is also available for $319.95.


A high-capacity pressure shower

This 22-liter shower promises quick pressurized water flow for up to 10 minutes of strong continuous spray with just the occasional pump of the foot — no electric power sources needed. The neoprene hose measures seven feet in length to easily allow for overhead showering and the standing design of the tank means you don’t need a designated area to hang the shower for it to produce water flow.


An ultra-compact “pocket shower”

The Sea to Summit Pocket Shower is the most space-conscious camp shower on our list and works using just the force of gravity to allow for water flow. Just hang the 10-liter bag overhead, twist the attached nozzle at the bottom of the sack, then twist shut when you’re done showering. It’s made with a black and weather-resistant nylon fabric that attracts heat and folds up pocket-sized when not in use.

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