Cleanliness might be next to godliness, but if you spend a little time out in God’s country, you can bet that you’re going to get filthy. It’s the nature of nature to cause campers to get some grit under their nails and a layer of protective grime on their bodies, but it doesn’t need to be that way. With a simple camp shower you can have an apparatus on hand that will keep you fresh as a daisy and ready to slide right from a night under the stars to a day in the boardroom.
Picking the right shower for you is about how luxurious you want it to be. Poke some holes in a bag full of river water and you have yourself a shower, but it isn’t going to be much fun. We found some options that go from a basic rinse and scrub shower to a few options that will use the sun to heat your water, or give you the privacy you crave when far from civilization. However you prefer to reduce your filth, one of the 8 best camp showers will bring you closer to God.
Rainburst Simple Shower
Pro: Works with nearly any bottle you have available
Con: It’s a stick and a shower head. Period.
Bare Minimum: The Simple Shower doesn’t even come with a solar bag for you to use. The benefit is all you need is an empty 2 liter bottle and you’re ready to get wet. You hook it into whatever standard bottle you have handy, tilt it up, and look at you, you’re showering! Naturally this isn’t going to give you loads of pressure or even heat your water up (though it will get warmer if you leave it in the sunshine for a while). Instead it is just going to give you a rapid, simple, packable way to clean off.
Advanced Elements Summer Shower
Pro: Lightweight and simple to operate
Con: Nozzle can be slick and difficult to work with wet hands
Bag Man: Here’s your standard, classic solar camp shower from Advanced Elements. You’ll not find a single frill, bell, or whistle anywhere on the Summer Shower. What you will find is a sturdily constructed 4 layer bag that can go anywhere and take up less room than a tangerine when compacted down. In sizes that range from 2.5 to 10 gallons, you can find one that can slip into your hiking backpack for rinsing off without needing loads of accessories. The size is ideal for survival kits or bug out bags since there’s minimal moving parts and about as low-tech as you can get.
Ivation Handheld Shower
Pro: Can be charged from a car, outlet, or laptop
Con: Pump is underpowered
Sump Pump: This easily rechargeable little darling is the opposite of a solar bag shower above. Rather than giving you a reservoir it gives you the pump portion without any container. Employing a rechargeable battery inside a basic water pump, you can drop this into any bucket or lake and have an instant shower. Sadly, it doesn’t do any heating in line so you’re stuck with whatever temperature the water is; but for quick convenience and an actual pump that doesn’t weigh the same as a small donkey, you can’t go wrong.
Pro: Requires no special equipment
Con: Can be difficult to shower and pump simultaneously
Person Powered: The Helio is a literal mixed bag. Instead of just being a standard bag shower that you dangle overhead and rely on gravity to bring the water to you, it has a foot pump that allows you to get consistent pressure without the use of electronics. That means no complicated machinery or the need for batteries, just your own muscles and a little time. The holding tanks is 11 liters attached to a rugged neoprene hose that bends and flexes easily without kinking or wearing thin at any spot.
ZODI Outback Gear Zip
Pro: No heating time required
Con: Requires propane and 4 D cell batteries to work
Mobile Heat: Outfitted with a propane tank similar to those that heat camping stoves, with the Zip you don’t need the sunshine to get a hot shower. You dump the pump into a clean water source, ignite the propane, and you’re ready for water to flow through the heating chamber and straight onto your soiled body. So long as you have propane in the cylinder and water to pass through it, you have a hot shower that’s ready to go in seconds.
Camp Chef HWD5 Triton
Pro: Automatic shutoff after 20 minutes
Con: Water can short out battery box
Just Like Home: This is simplicity itself if you’re seeking a portable shower that is nearly as good as you would get in your own house. Using a very minimalist design, ignited propane produces a gallon and a half worth of hot water each minute. It’s pumped out to the included shower head which bears four basic settings, ranging from mist to jet. You can hang it if you desire, or allow it to stand on its own for a versatile deployment that doesn’t rely on the terrain. It is BYO Propane to get this up and running.
Ozark Trail 2-Room Shower/Changing Shelter
Pro: Includes towel rack and toiletry holder
Con: Does not secure sufficiently to withstand high winds or inclement weather
Premium Privacy: Among camp showers, the ability to strip down to your bare essentials and get really clean requires a little more than they provide. If you simply cannot rinse yourself without proper modesty, then the Ozark Trail shelter will let you be as demure as a Victorian lady in waiting. It comes equipped with a 5 gallon solar shower bag that can easily be replaced by your favorite shower accessories for an entirely enclosed experience.
Road Shower 2
Pro: Can be pumped with a bike pump or compressor
Con: Does not work well away from the car
Car Camper: This curious device is ideal for the person who prefers to hit the road with a rooftop camping tent or maybe just the back of their station wagon for comfort. It attaches to a car’s upper rack like a roof mounted cargo box. Once in place it can be used as a sprayer nozzle or portable shower for quick rinses. Water is heated via solar absorption and can get up to 100 degrees for a true scalding clean. Made of matte black aluminum it is discreet and saves space on the interior.