solar camping shower

The Best Portable Showers for Camping 2018

One of the biggest downsides of camping is the lack of bathing facilities. Sure, rivers are handy, but they can be pretty chilly and somewhat dangerous if you have small children. Since bugging out is likely to have you in the wild, here are the best portable showers for camping and bugging out.

Camping showers may be a luxury when you’re headed for your safe location, but it’s something that will make you feel just a little closer to home. Showering is also important to help prevent diseases and maintain proper hygeine. Keep in mind that staying clean is going to be a big issue if you are bugging out and in the wild for more than a couple of days.

The following solar shower bags are a great option to add to your bug out bag and could change the way you camp, too.

The Best Solar Shower Bags

Ideally, a portable camping shower will fold up small and light, so it is simple to carry. You’ll also want something that will heat up in the sun. A warm shower is a thousand times better than bathing in icy stream water and a good solar shower bag will give you that option.

The main downside to these bags is that they need to hang in one place for a while in order to warm the water inside. Ideally, you’ll be set up for camp during the heat of the day to warm the water. If you are on the move all day, this may be difficult.

Green Elephant 2-in-1 Solar Shower & Dry Bag

 This stylish looking shower bag is actually a shower AND a dry bag all in one. Once you’ve used it for showering, you can store items in the bag while crossing rivers, etc.

Pros of the Green Elephant Solar Shower:

  • Durable material that holds up to extreme temps
  • On/Off shower hose
  • Works as a dry bag when not in use
  • Holds 5 gallons of water
  • Stands upright when full and can be used as a water tank
  • Large fill opening (easy to fill up)

Of course, everything has a downside and the Green Elephant camping shower is no exception. Here are the cons of this particular shower:

  • Slick lever makes it hard to turn water flow on and off when hands are wet
  • There is a learning curve to keeping the top sealed
  • Round design tends to roll if placed on its side
  • No temperature gauge

Is this the right shower for you? It gets four stars from us!

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Ruipoo Solar Shower Bag Camp Shower

 The simple bag design of this Ruipoo solar shower means it is easy to take with you when you bug out. It is made of nontoxic PVC and the material is designed to absorb sunlight for rapid heating of the water inside.

Wondering why you should consider this particular shower option? It’s super light and and easy to carry, with a fairly short hose to keep things simple. Here are a few other pros for the Ruipoo solar shower:

  • Holds 5 gallons
  • On/Off switch for the hose
  • Heats water to 45° in 3 hours of direct sunlight
  • Includes a thermometer to check water temp
  • Sturdy handles to hold the weight
  • Lies flat to heat

The Ruipoo shower bag is well designed, but it does have a couple of cons:

  • Hose is very short
  • Cap may leak while lying flat if not screwed in very tight
  • Smaller opening may be difficult to fill

Overall, this shower recieves four and a half stars from us. The fact that it can actually heat water to TOO hot is a big bonus when you’re on the move and need something warm.

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Advanced Elements 5 Gallon Solar Shower

This sleek looking solar shower from Advanced Elements is a very efficient and popular style of bag shower for camping. It’s also excellent for traveling and bugging out with. It’s slightly heavier than the previous shower, but the extra weight is worth it, since you can get hot water for ages.

Other awesome things about the Advanced Elements Helio shower include:

  • 4-ply construction with insulation to keep water hot for longer
  • Large fill opening (easy to fill!)
  • Plug screws in for utmost security and no leaks
  • Includes temp gauge to check water temperature
  • Includes pockets for soap, etc.
  • Has Velcro strips for washcloths and such

The overall impression of this sturdy camp shower is that it works very well and there are hundreds of people who have had wonderful experiences with it. However, there are a few cons, as well:

  • The hose is short and requires hanging above your head for a proper shower
  • The design is round and will roll on its side

With all the extras, this shower is a great choice for your bug out bag. However, it does weigh about 1.32 lbs, so that is a consideration when you are limited on weight. We give it a full five stars.

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Sportneer Solar Camping Shower Bag

 This simple looking shower is lightweight, but it still does the trick when you’re out camping. It’s still fairly light and folds up to fit into a mesh carrying bag for easy transport.

The Sportneer shower bag may look like the Ruipoo, but the shape and color are really the only similarities. This bag has a few neat features that will make you happy you chose it.

Pros of the Sportneer solar shower:

  • Holds 5 gallons
  • Uses solar panels for faster heating
  • Clear back shows water level while showering
  • Temp gauge to show water temperature
  • Folds into a tiny packet
  • Includes storage pocket for soap and washcloths
  • Sturdy hanging strap and design

For the average camper, this is an excellent option for camp showers, but it’s particularly good if you are bugging out, since it folds into the little mesh bag. Of course, there are a few downsides, though:

  • Made of non-toxic PVC, so not suitable for drinking water
  • Hoses kink easily, blocking water flow
  • Water pressure is minimal unless hung very high

Overall, this bag gets four stars from us.

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Nemo Helio Portable Pressure Shower

Looking for something with a bit more pressure? This is the bag you want. The Helio solar shower has a foot pump so you can blast the water on yourself once it’s heated up. That’s a big plus for anyone wanting something besides gravity trickles.

Pros of the Nemo Helio portable pressure water shower include:

  • Foot pedal for extra pressure (and no hanging necessary)
  • Regulate the flow with the foot pump
  • Includes a 7 foot hose for maximum reach
  • Lightweight at 1.6 lbs, including the foot pump
  • Excellent customer service if you have any issues
  • Holds up to repeat use

While this shower gets our vote as one of the best on the list, there are a few things you should be aware of:

  • 11 liter capacity (2.9 gallons) means it’s smaller than other shower bags
  • Narrow fill hole requires care or a funnel to ffill
  • Round shape means it rolls if tipped

This shower gets five gold stars from us and is the shower we’d most recommend!

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Which solar camping shower caught your eye? These are all excellent options for bugging out, but which one you select will depend on your budget and your weight limits.

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10 Replies to “The Best Portable Showers for Camping 2018”

  1. Shane Black

    Hi Genesis, 

    Very informative post… I didn’t even know that it was possible to have a portable shower for camping! It was definitely my wife’s biggest complaint last time that we went camping… no showers. 

    So how do these showers actually work? Do you need to hang them in the sun to warm up the water?

    • Genesis

      Most of these showers heat faster if you lay them in the sun. I like to put mine on the hood of the car in a sunny spot, then you just hang it up when you’re ready for a shower.

  2. Hong

    This is a very interesting post. I have been wanting to get a small rv that my car can tow.That also means I can only get a rv that’s without the bathroom. Not being able to shower in the rv is one thing that has been bothering me lately. I know this may sound crazy. But I am glad I came to you website. I didn’t know there is even a thing called portable shower. I was fascinated when I saw the title. You have listed several products. Which one is your top one recommendation? Thank you.

    • Genesis

      That would be a great way to travel! You can easily get a portable screen to make a shower and then use one of these. I recommend the Nemo Helio as the best shower on the list.

  3. Fran

    Excellent choice of products!  Wish I’d had one of these on my homestead here in Alaska.  I’ve used a type of portable shower occasionally when camping, and they are very, very nice to have along.  Five gallons of water is quite good, too, as it gives you plenty of water for a quick wash.  Valuable information — thanks for putting it out there!

  4. Victor

    I found your  article to be extremely interesting. I would have never thought of solar shower bags. It is a very creative product and I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit tempted to get one.

    My sister bought a RV and I’m sure this can be a good addition to it (she rents it to campers in my area). I will definitely pass on your post to her. Great post!

    • Genesis

      They are super handy to have! My dad used to make his own with a garbage bag, but those are basically one time use, so I like these better.

  5. Shannon

    This is an awesome review and I think this would help me when I do my haircuts outside for the homeless, and I need water for shampoos. When the water is heating up is that done by direct sunlight on all of them or is there a heating mechanism in some of the bags?

    These seem to be of good quality, and which would you recommend for the user that is planning to frequently using the port a shower? This was a great a review and I can’t wait to pick one up and begin my travelling work!

    Thanks for sharing,


    • Genesis

      The Nemo Helio portable shower is the one I’d recommend for frequent use. I hope you find it helpful with your work with the homeless!

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