After days spent in the wilderness, a rinse off in the lake just isn’t cutting it. You need a real (sort of) shower, one that can leave you feeling fresh, clean and ready to get back out on the trail. With portable outdoor showers, campers get the amenity of a shower head without having to head into town. Depending on how much water you think you’ll need will change the size and type of portable outdoor shower you choose. Read on for which showers will keep you best refreshed and rinsed clean.
Best Overall: Advanced Elements Summer Shower
Made from a four-layer construction to heat up as quick as possible, the Advanced Elements Summer Shower will be your best option for warm water. The three-gallon bag has a reflector panel, insulated panel, solar panel and then the water reservoir to heat your shower up fast. It comes with an on/off shower head, a water temperature gauge, a large filling valve and a wide, rubber carry handle for comfort. Hang the bag overhead, stash your toiletries in the outside pocket and get showering. When you are done, roll up the bag made from rip-stop fabric and store until your next shower. Empty, the shower weighs 12 ounces and measures 18 x 6 inches.
Best Splurge: Nemo Equipment Helio Pressure Shower
Although the Nemo Eqipment Helio Pressure Shower is more expensive than other portable outdoor showers on the market, the upside to this three-gallon shower is that it doesn’t use gravity for flow, meaning you don’t have to lift it over your head or find a place to hang it. Instead, the Helio Presser Shower is filled from the top, then uses a foot pump to get the pressure built to get a stream of water flowing that has more strength behind it than gravity showers. Even if you keep pumping, the bladder and shower are not able to over-inflate. Use the super long, seven-foot hose with a spray nozzle to rinse off you, your gear or your pets. The shower provides five to seven minutes of steady water. When in use, the bladder is 17 inches high and 8.5 inches wide; when stuffed into the breathable stuff-sack, the bladder is 8.5 inches wide and 5.5 inches high.
Best Budget: Coleman 5-Gallon Solar Shower
The Coleman five-gallon Solar Shower is a basic, minimalist portable outdoor shower that will get the cleaning job done with a larger carrying capacity and a 20-minute run time. It is another gravity-fed shower and has a a sturdy handle, as well as a shower head with an on/off valve. The fill valve is smaller and does have a tendency to unplug. Unlike the other gravity-fed showers, the Coleman Solar Shower does not come with a temperature gauge or a pocket. It does heat up in the sun slightly faster than other outdoor showers, with a recommendation of two to three hours in the sun to get a desired, warm water temperature. The bladder is 22.5 inches tall by 18.5 inches wide.
Best Minimalist Shower Head: Ivation Battery-Powered Handheld Portable Shower
This shower head is just that — a shower head that you can use car camping or in the wilderness if you have a lake by you. The Ivation Battery-Powered Handheld Portable Shower Head uses a rechargeable mechanism that siphons water into the hose when the machine is placed in a body of water, such as a filled bucket or a lake. You can stick the shower to the side of a car while car camping with the provided suction or hang it from a tree with the provided S-hook. The 6.5-foot hose is long enough to use in a variety of places, and the on/off switch means water won’t leak when you aren’t using it. The pump is rechargeable by plugging into a USB port or a car adapter; with a full charge, the shower runs for 60 minutes of continuous use.
Best Shower and Shelter: Texsport Instant Portable Outdoor Camping Shower
With the Texsport Outdoor Camping Shower and Shelter, you get a five-gallon solar-warming shower bladder, plus a full shelter to shower or change in privacy. The shelter comes with four durable walls, a removable rip-stop floor and a rainfly. It has a D-style front door, two mesh windows with storm covers, four mesh roof panels, a hanging towel rack for the outside and a mesh shower rack for the inside. Simply hang the shower bladder from the top of the shelter and use the on/off valve to start the water running. The complete set up comes with stakes, poles and a carry bag. The shelter is 7.25 feet high, 4.5 feet wide and weighs 20 pounds.