The best camping showers are those that are great investments because they're made to last. The problem, though, is that you might think you're getting one of the best options out there when you're really only getting a great option that does not fit your actual needs. There are so many types of camping showers, from bags to tankless models to battery-powered options that you may have a hard time choosing if you've never looked at all the options and what each type is actually designed for.
So, before you spend money on a portable shower for your next camping trip, learn about the best options by checking out the different types available to you. Here are the main choices and basic “types” of portable showers for camping:
These are the best option for those who want to really travel light and are OK sacrificing hot water for lukewarm water on those colder, cloudy days to do so. Solar camping showers are best for backpackers and hikers due to their minimal weight and compact size. Essentially, you just fill the bag up, let it heat up in the sun, and use it to take your shower later in the day. Solar bags come in lots of different sizes, from a one-person two-gallon size to larger five-plus gallon options that can squeeze out two or three showers from one bag of water. The key with these is to look for the little extra features, like extra insulation and easy-to-use nozzles, that make them more user-friendly.
Propane Heated Options
If you're looking for a truly hot shower at the campground, propane-powered options are going to be the best camping showers for you. They're definitely not lightweight, but some can double as your camping stoves, so at least you have to haul less gear. Typically, they will have a battery-powered pump that pulls water from a source (albeit a bucket, a stream, or a lake), and then runs it through an in-line water heater and on the out to the showering head. The best models in this category really offer hot-water-on-demand and have fine-tuned heat controls to easily adjust the water temperature to your exact preference.
Tankless Camping Showers
These showers are mostly meant to be used with garden hoses and internal plumbing systems in RVs and camping cabins. They do not include a pump like propane showers do, so they need a water source that will provide pressure. Like the propane-powered models, Tankless options give you the convenience of instant hot water. The best tankless camping showers can be used with standard 16.4 oz disposable propane tanks and regular garden hose connectors. Most are designed to be hung from a tree branch or something similar, but a few, like the Camp Chef Triton, also offer a self-standing option that allows you to also set it up on something like a picnic table.
Battery Powered Showers
Battery powered camping showers are really nothing more than simple water pumps that just pump water from point A (a bucket, cooler, lake, or stream) to point B (the shower head). These options do not heat up the water, so you can get a cold shower from a natural source or a lukewarm shower from a bucket of water you've left sitting out all day or heated yourself with a camp stove. The best camping showers in this category are lightweight, high quality, and easy to use.