Best camping showers 2022: portable showers for happy (and clean) campers

Collage of the best camping showers
(Image credit: Future)

The best camping showers give you one of the modern world's most taken-for-granted luxuries for your backcountry escapes: the warmth and reinvigoration (and hygienic benefits) of a shower.

We all love to get away from it all, whether it's camping, bikepacking or heading off for the hills in a van. Of course, we happily swap the creature comforts of home for the experiences and excitement of back to basics adventure. After all, if everything was easy on an expedition, they'd quickly loose their appeal. Nevertheless, the ability to indulge in one of the best camping showers can make a big difference to any trip.

The best camping showers allow you to manage your water intelligently in camp and can also be used for getting dirty dishes spick and span, giving your muddy hiking boots that bit of TLC or for hosing down a mucky pup. Our guide to the best camping showers features various approaches to the solution of handy washing at the camp site, from USB rechargeable and solar powered options to lightweight single units and screw-on shower heads. 

As well as the selfish reasons for wanting to enjoy a warming shower, using the best camping showers is also good for the environment. Using soap, detergents and other cleaning products in natural water sources is a big no-no. Just as when you pitch your best camping tent, you should aim to leave no trace when showering too.

Rechargeable camping shower

best camping shower: Colapz 12v Portable Rechargeable 3in1 Travel Shower

(Image credit: Colapz)

Colapz 12v Portable Rechargeable 3in1 Travel Shower

A compact electric pump shower that provides a strong head of water for van or boat campers

Specifications

Weight: 719g/25.5oz
Capacity: Dependent on water container
Materials: Assorted
Features: USB rechargeable battery powered pump
Shower head type: Comes with interchangeable shower rose, jet nozzle and trigger head

Reasons to buy

+
Can be charged from USB
+
One charge provides up to an hour of pump time
+
Folds small into carry bag

Reasons to avoid

-
Careless use will empty water supply fast

For car campers, van lifers and small-boat sailors, a compact, powered shower has many uses other than just hosing the day’s travel grime from your body (although they’re excellent for that too). The two obvious advantages are having a strong jet you can direct where needed, and being able to use a variety of water supply options. 

The Colapz gives around an hour of use from its USB rechargeable battery, and is rated for water up to 60°C, which means it’s good to pump from a tub of warm water for a better-than-basic shower experience, or out of a bucket of hot water for tough cleaning and rinsing jobs, such as doing the dishes or washing off bikes, boots or running shoes. It has a flow rate of 3-litres a minute, which is excellent, but be careful not to use up all your water supplies at once. The complete unit comes with three heads: rose, nozzle and trigger jet.

All-in-one camping shower

Sea to Summit Pocket Shower camping shower

(Image credit: Sea to Summit)

Sea to Summit Pocket Shower

The best camping shower all-round – compact, convenient, and easy to use

Specifications

Weight: 120g / 4.25oz
Capacity: 10L / 340floz
Materials: 7D nylon
Features: Comes with a 6.1m/20ft cord and D-rings
Shower head type: Rose with twist control valve

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight
+
Single unit

Reasons to avoid

-
Head attaches directly to bag
-
Relatively expensive

Everything you need in a camp shower in one compact lightweight pouch. A roll top closure for easy filling, D-rings to suspend it with the provided cord from something high up, and a really practical spout tap that lets you suit the flow of water to the job in hand.

At the rate you need for a good shower you’ll get around seven minutes of washing time, though it'll last longer if you turn off and on again between stages. The black bag will absorb heat if left propped up in the sun and out of the wind at base camp. The wide opening means you can also use this as a dry bag if needed, or as lightweight water carrier. 

Solar-heated camping showers

Decathlon Quechua Solar Shower

(Image credit: Decathlon)

Decathlon Quechua Solar Shower

A large-capacity solar camping shower for off-road warm water washing

Specifications

Weight: 300g / 10.5oz
Capacity: 10L / 340floz
Materials: Main fabric 100% ethylene vinyl acetate
Features: Handle and hanging loop, transparent panel
Shower head type: Rose with on/off button

Reasons to buy

+
Efficient at storing heat
+
Compact when emptied and folded

Reasons to avoid

-
No graduation in water flow between on and off

Designed to absorb the maximum heat from the sun, the Quecha solar shower holds enough water for a very adequate shower, and if placed out of the wind in a sunny place for three to five hours it’s capable of raising its content’s temperature to a pleasing blood temperature or more, which is enough to encourage a bit of lingering in your ablutions.

A clear panel shows how much water is inside, and a supporting sling bag with straps makes it easy to hang from a tree, van roof rack or boat boom. The bag’s mouth opens fully to make it easy to fill from a tap or by immersion in a lake or similar, though it’s more fiddly pouring water in from a bucket or container. You’ll find innumerable uses around camp for the Quecha Solar shower as a way of providing controlled amounts of water for washing dishes, rinsing your best hiking boots and kit, or quickly cleaning your hands, even if there hasn’t been enough sun or time to heat up its contents.

Easy Camp Solar camping shower

(Image credit: Easy Camp)

Easy Camp Solar Shower

A solar water bag camping shower with built-in thermometer

Specifications

Weight: 300g / 10.5oz
Capacity: 10L / 340floz
Materials: Main fabric 100% ethylene vinyl acetate
Features: Handle and hanging loop, transparent panel
Shower head type: Rose with on/off button

Reasons to buy

+
Hose between bag and head
+
Thermometer
+
Good capacity

Reasons to avoid

-
Not very robust

There are numerous basic black-bag solar showers on the internet but the Easy Camp model has a design and features that make it a good budget choice. There’s a reasonable length of hose between bag and head which makes for good flexibility when it comes to hanging the bag in one place and being able to direct the water somewhere else; that makes it ideal for rinsing items or hand-washing in camp.

The tap allows the flow of water to be adjusted making economising on precious water easier. The built-in strip-thermometer goes up to an optimistic 50°C (122°F), though good position in hot sun could get you close to that.

Lightweight camping showerheads

Ortlieb Shower Head

(Image credit: Ortlieb)

Ortlieb Shower Head

The best camping shower if you're travelling light and sticking to a tight budget

Specifications

Weight: 5g/0.2oz
Capacity: Fits bags of various capacities
Materials: Polyamide
Shower head type: Rose

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight
+
Double-purposes a water carrier
+
Fits all Ortlieb water bags

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn't fit all non-Ortlieb containers

This is a boon for super-lightweight travel as it weighs almost nothing itself and makes Ortlieb (and some other manufacturers’) water bags even more useful. Ideally pair it with the top-opening 10L Ortlieb water bag as they’re easier to fill, and you can also leave an air gap to speed up flow when needed. The showerhead screws directly onto the bag’s outlet, which allows the twist closure to control the flow of water, whilst the many small holes in the rose give a good wetting without wasting water.

Because the shower head screws directly onto the bag, we found it really needs to be suspended directly above whatever you want to wash – whether that’s yourself, dishes or the dog – though it can be hand held and squeezed for a more pressurised soaking. Pair it with a black bag, and squeeze out excess air, and you’ll increase the amount of solar heat the water inside will absorb. And a tip: keep the head attached to the bag with its loop or put it in a specific place when not in use as its small enough to misplace easily.

Lifeventure Bottle Shower Head

(Image credit: Lifeventure)

Lifeventure Bottle Showerhead

A simple idea for a quick and easy shower anywhere; just screw it onto a water bottle and you're ready to go

Specifications

RRP: £10.99 (about $15)
Weight: 36g/1.25oz
Capacity: Fits 2L drinks bottles
Materials: Polyamide
Shower head type: Rose

Reasons to buy

+
Recycles a disposable bottle
+
Air pipe ensures good flow of water
+
Relatively cheap

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn't fit all disposable bottles

A simple idea for weight-skimping camping or travel, especially if you’re already carrying a drink bottle. Designed to fit into most narrow-necked disposable bottles, ideally a 2-litre size, the unit has a pipe that allows air into the container so you get a decent flow of water from the rose head, though a squeeze can increase the pressure when needed. A hanging cord allows you to suspend the bottle from a branch or hook at head height, and each litre will provide a bit over a minute of showering time.

During our tests, we found that the Bottle Shower really came into its own as a handy source of rinsing water around camp; keep it next to your kitchen set-up and it’s handy for a quick drizzle of water over dishes, to wash your hands with or to damp down a fire that’s getting too hot for cooking. And, of course, it’s good to get a secondary use out of what should never be just a ‘disposable’ bottle.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Best camping showers comparison table
ShowerRRPWeightCapacityFeatures
Colapz 12v Portable Rechargeable 3in1 Travel Shower£49.99 (UK) 719g/25.5ozDependent on water containerUSB rechargeable battery powered pump
Sea to Summit Pocket Shower$34.95 / £24 120g / 4.25oz10L / 340flozComes with a 6.1m/20ft cord and D-ring
Decathlon Quechua Solar Shower$23 / £22.99300g / 10.5oz10L / 340flozHandle and hanging loop, transparent panel
Easy Camp Solar Shower$23 / £22.99300g / 10.5oz10L / 340flozHandle and hanging loop, transparent panel
Ortlieb Shower Head$9 /£45g/0.2ozFits bags of various capacitiesSimple screw-on shower head
Lifeventure Bottle Showerhead£10.99 (about $15)36g/1.25ozFits 2L drinks bottlesSimple screw-on shower head

How we test the best camping showers

Each of the showers featured in this guide have been used and comprehensively tested in campsites and other outdoor scenarios. 

For more details, see how Advnture tests products.

How to choose a camping shower

The best camping showers come in various shapes and sizes, and the ideal model will depend on how you intend to use it, whether that’s purely for showering yourself, or for a range of things, including washing up and rinsing your bike or dog down. Some are lightweight attachments for water bottles (perfect for backpacking, bikepacking and fastpacking, when you’re travelling light), while others are complete units, ideal for setting up in your base camp. The following are factors you should consider before making a purchase.

Uses

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A camp shower’s value, and its worth as extra weight increases hugely if plan on using it for more than just giving yourself a refreshing shower after a days’ hiking or pedalling, nice though that is. Washing and rinsing dishes with a shower, especially if the water is warm, saves significant amounts of water and does a better job, whilst spot cleaning dirt off clothes or kit, as well as getting mud off boots and bikes is far easier with a controlled, pressurised source of water. Oh, and if you hike with a dog, being able to rinse off its paws before it bounds into your tent will help it in staying your best friend.

Camp shower systems

Most dedicated showers, especially the solar models, come with their own attached water reservoir. Ten litres is the norm, giving roughly eight minutes of showering, though that can vary depending on the rose and the size of its holes, or how much you open the tap. Remember, though, that a major advantage of a dedicated camp shower is being able to turn the flow off or down between soaping and rinsing to save water, and that way one can get several showers out of one fill.

You’ll need to raise gravity powered bag showers high to get pressure and a good flow, and so they need hooks, a hanging handle or a sling system. Pump units create their own pressure and so can be operated from the ground, using a bucket or bowl as a reservoir. Stand-alone showerheads which fit any bottle, bag or container that has a compatible neck and/or thread size are a lightweight option, especially if one can use them with a water carrier that’s already on your kit list.

Showerheads

Critical to the efficiency of any camp shower is its delivery system. An effective off-on tap, with a rose or spray head to widen the water’s application, is what separates a good shower from just pouring a bucket of water over your head. If, as well, you can control the amount of water coming out then even better, especially when it comes to saving water.

Bag showers are gravity fed so the higher you can get them the better the pressure. A hose between bag and showerhead helps in getting more elevation, and allows you to direct the flow of water more precisely, which is great for spot cleaning things. Pumps – electric or manual – can give a lot more force, and some come with extra heads to take advantage of this; a jet spray will laser mud off boot treads in seconds. 

Heating

Solar showers can work well under ideal conditions, though the paradox is that a sunny day that’s hot enough to heat water is when you least need that heated water. Actually, that’s not quite true, as the water will retain warmth at least into the evening when there are numerous washing needs. Still, if you think of solar heating water in a bag as a way to take the chill off the water for you evening ablutions you’ll be pleased with the up-tick in comfort.

Gather the most heat by laying the bag out of the wind, with the maximum surface area receiving the sun’s rays and ideally on a surface like concrete or stone that has already absorbed heat. If you’ve got fuel enough then warming up some water to add to the bag – best with the ones with wide mouth openings – can make a wash pleasant enough at any time of the day or night. Most manufactures advise that water, however heated, shouldn't get much above 50°C/122°F.

Price and value

With camp showers running from little more than a simple black bag with a tap controlled head through to heavier, multi-featured pump units, it’s likely that your main consideration when choosing what to buy is how much weight you want to, or even can, carry on your trip. Hikers and cyclists are well served by simple, feather-weight options that deliver the kind of basic hygiene on the move that makes life, (as well as anyone you interact with along the way), more comfortable.

Van campers have more choices, and more uses too, for more pressurised shower units that can clean bikes, kayaks and other outdoor kit as well as providing a basic bathroom experience. Whichever end of the spectrum you’re at, toting along a dedicated camp shower will be far more weight efficient and pleasant than carrying in gallons of heavy water to waste in uncomfortable, sloshing bucket washes.

After a wild childhood in west Cork, Jasper Winn began embarking on long cycles, walks, horse journeys and kayak trips across five continents – adventures he’s decanted into books, magazine articles, radio and television documentaries. Keen on low-tech but good gear, Jasper is an advocate of slow adventures by paddle, pedal, saddle, boot and sail. He has circumnavigated Ireland by kayak and cycled across the Sahara. Twice. Having ridden north-to-south across Algeria he discovered the only way to get back was to turn round and pedal north again.

With contributions from