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Best camping showers 2022: portable showers for cyclists, walkers, and weight-conscious van travellers

Man lathering hair and beard under camping shower
(Image credit: Getty)

The best camping shower will make your campsite feel just a little bit more like home, allowing you to stay fresh and clean (and maybe even warm).

A night sleeping outdoors is always going to be better than a hotel room, right? Except when it comes to the en-suite part. Sure, the most idyllic campsites might have a lake or sea shore that can eclipse the most swanky of infinity pools, but the water will be cold and – more importantly – none of us should be washing ourselves, or anything else, using soap, shampoo or detergent in or near natural water sources.

That’s where the best camping showers come into their own. Don’t think of them as providing a steamy hot deluge but rather as a smart way of keeping yourself clean while also intelligently managing water use in camp. And that’s the good bit. Being able to control the flow whilst water is raining out of a shower’s rose head means you can use your precious H2O in a measured way, rather than sloshing it all over the place. That makes a camp shower just as useful for savvy dish washing, cleaning your kit or hosing down a muddy dog. 

Some, like the Sea to Summit or the Lifeventure camping shower units are light enough to carry on the most weight-shaving trip, whilst the Ortlieb shower head saves weight by double-purposing one of their water carriers. For van lifers and boaters, a rechargeable electric pump shower can deliver a bucket full of warmed water for a bit of post-exertion comfort, whilst the Hozelock is hand-pumped to provide a good pressure shower, as well as jet options.

Solar heating comes into its own for taking the chill off, or actually warming up, water. Decathlon’s Solar bag employs a black bag to absorb maximum heat from the sun and like all solar showers if you put it out when the day is hot it’ll retain appreciable – and appreciated heat – until needed at the end of the day. And that comes pretty close to providing five-star hotel luxury, no?

If you're looking for a bargain, we're rounding up all of this year's best Amazon Prime Day camping deals, including showers and everything else you need for clean and comfortable camping.

Best 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

List price: $34.95 / £24 | 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

Lightweight
Single unit
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. 

Best solar-heated camping showers

Decathlon Quechua Solar Shower camping shower

(Image credit: Decathlon)

Decathlon Quechua Solar Shower

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

RRP: $23 / £22.99 | 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

Efficient at storing heat
Compact when emptied and folded
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

List price: $23 / £22.99 | 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

Hose between bag and head
Thermometer
Good capacity
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.

Best lightweight camping showerheads

Ortlieb Camping Shower Head

(Image credit: Ortlieb)

Ortlieb Shower Head

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

List price: $9 /£4 | Weight: 5g/0.2oz | Capacity: Fits bags of various capacities | Materials: Polyamide | Shower head type: Rose

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

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

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

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

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.