Alan is our resident expert on all things wild camping. He loves nothing better than to get out of the house with just his ex-Army sleeping gear and a stove, and head off to the remotest spot he can find near his home on the south coast of the UK.
Do you love the great outdoors but hate the thought of skipping showers? We thought so! Solar showers are among the best types of camping showers, you can get as dirty and sweaty as you like, safe in the knowledge that there'll be a nice hot shower waiting for you back at camp!
After all, diving into a freezing lake doesn't sound very appealing during early spring trips when there's still a chill in the air. But with a solar shower, you can rinse off every day, then simply pack it up and take it back home.
But then comes the issue of choosing one. If you run a search online you're instantly met with a thousand different models from various brands. Which one do you choose? Which is the best one?
Don't worry, to make your decision easier we've rounded up some of the best outdoor solar shower models for you to choose from. Still not sure? Not a problem, we've put together a handy buyer's guide and FAQ section to answer those burning questions you may have.
Want to know more? Awesome, let's jump right in and discover what solar camp showers are and how they work.
What is a solar camp shower?
So what is a solar camping shower? A portable solar shower offers a convenient option for keeping clean and smelling fresh while you're on the go. They were created to meet the needs of everyone from hikers and backpackers to those living an off-the-grid lifestyle.
They're perfect for those wanting a portable, hot shower that won't burn through non-renewable sources of energy. Essentially, a solar shower is a specially engineered and durable bag that you fill with water.
How do solar showers work?
The majority of solar camping shower bags have an opening at the top of the bag where a spigot from your hose can be used to fill the bag up. Alternatively, you could use natural water sources and use a plastic bottle or similar to pour the water in.
At the base of the shower bag, you'll find a bendy plastic tube that allows you to direct the water flow whichever way you want. At the end of the tube, there should be a spigot that adjusts the water flow rate, turning it into a camping shower.
Solar shower bags should always be hung directly above the user, so that gravity can help produce the desired shower effect. They're ideal for easily hanging inside the best shower tents, once you've got the bag to full temperature.
You can hang the bag up before you shower to heat it in the sunlight. Or if you prefer, you can heat it in another spot then hang it up when you're ready to shower.
When the air is a minimum of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, your solar shower bag can heat water up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit for a pleasantly warm outdoor shower. This should take a maximum of three hours in direct sunlight.
Once the water has been heated to your liking, you simply stand underneath it and shower as you would do at home, don't forget the shampoo!
Choosing the right solar shower
You want your camping trips to be as enjoyable as possible, so choosing the right solar camping shower is super important. With so many models on the market, it can be confusing knowing which one to choose.
Below, we've picked out the top 8 best solar showers and listed the pros and cons of each product. For more information on each one, take a look at our top picks below!
Solar Camp Shower Comparison Table
|Product||Best For||Water Capacity (liters)||Link|
|Nemo Helio Pressure Shower||Best Overall||11||Check Price|
|Advanced Elements Solar Shower||Runner Up||20||Check Price|
|VIGLT Portable Shower Bag||Hiking & Summer Shower||20||Check Price|
|ELECTRFIRE Solar Shower Bag||Traveling||20||Check Price|
|Coleman Solar Shower||Multiple Showers||20||Check Price|
|PGYFIS Camp Shower Bag||Outdoor||20||Check Price|
|iDeep Camping Solar Shower Bag||Hiking & Climbing||20||Check Price|
|Funtalker Solar Shower||Portability||40||Check Price|
The Best Solar Camp Showers
1. Nemo Helio Pressure Shower - Best Overall
Our overall best pick goes to the Nemo Helio pressure shower. Traditional camping showers tend to rely on gravity, but this award-winning shower works from the ground.
This provides the ideal pressure you need to wash the dishes, rinse your hair or even wash your dog off if he insisted on rolling in the muddiest patch he could find!
The 2.9-gallon tank can be easily pressurized with a foot pump. With occasional pumps, you can keep it completely pressurized for up to 7 minutes of a continuous and strong jet.
Don't worry about too much pressure as the tank can't be over-inflated. Place the tank in direct sunlight to heat it or you can fill it with hot water for an instant warm shower.
2. Advanced Elements 5 Gallon Solar Shower - Runner Up
Our runner-up pick of the best solar shower is this Advanced Elements 5-gallon solar shower. With a huge capacity of 5-gallons, this model is ideal for a few short showers or a longer one if you're on a solo camping trip.
The Advanced Elements 5-gallon solar camp shower has been efficiently designed with a 4-layer construction that holds heat in for much longer, making sure there's enough hot water to go around.
Simply fill it up, lay it clear side down and then enjoy a warm shower after a few hours. The bag has a reflector and insulator panel that collects the heat and stores it efficiently. The shower head also has an easy-to-use on/off switch to save more water.
There's also a side pocket for storing shampoo and soap, a velcro strap for a washcloth, and a large filling valve to make it easy to use. There's even a mirror for hairstyling and other beauty and skincare routines.
The Advanced Elements 5-gallon shower bag only weighs 1.32 pounds and it rolls up super tightly so it's easy to pack away when not in use. Ideal for hikers, backpackers, camper groups, or anyone else on the move who needs quick and easy access to a shower.
With this VIGLT shower bag, you get a massive 5-gallons of hot water! This means if you're camping solo, you'll get four showers out of one fill. It's ideal for campers, travelers, and hikers.
Made from non-toxic, high-quality PVC, this shower bag is eco-friendly, tough, and durable. Additionally, the handle is reinforced so you don't need to worry about it ripping halfway through your shower.
The bag has velcro straps which are better and more convenient than zips. There's also a small pocket to keep shower accessories such as shampoo and washcloths.
The hose is removable and it doesn't crinkle which means the water flow rate won't be affected. It also has an on/off function on the nozzle so you can control how much water you use.
This upgraded solar shower has an easy-to-use open and close switch attached to the showerhead. This allows you to control the water pressure, giving you a more enjoyable outdoor shower.
The ELECTRFIRE 5-gallon solar shower allows you to wash anywhere as well as being equipped with a see-through rear and a temperature gauge. This allows you to check the water temperature and availability.
The ELECTRFIRE solar shower bag can heat the water to 94°F in just 3 hours. Green users will be pleased to know that the bag has been created using non-toxic and environmentally-friendly PVC.
This means it can absorb heat from the sun without it becoming a contaminated source of heat. It also includes a handy storage pocket that's great for holding shampoo, toothbrushes, and other shower kit essentials.
For those campers looking for an ultra-lightweight shower, the Coleman 5-gallon solar shower bag is perfect. Weighing less than a pound, this solar shower is the perfect choice for backpackers and campers needing to pack light.
Although it's a basic design, it's very sturdy and durable while still being lightweight and easy to carry. Tried and tested by outdoor enthusiasts, the Coleman 5-gallon solar shower bag has a strong handle that makes it easy to carry even when it's full.
It's able to heat the water to 120°F, making it perfect for Spring and Fall use. It's also capable of trapping the heat in, keeping the water warm for longer. The on/off valve allows you to turn it off when you've finished, helping to conserve more water.
Our next top solar shower pick is this 5-gallon solar shower bag from PGYFIS. Made from environmentally safe materials, this deluxe version has multiple layers that provide a leak-proof and durable outer.
The huge 5-gallon capacity will provide enough for several quick showers and the improved showerhead has an on/off switch so you can control the water pressure and flow.
The temperature indicator shows the water temperature in both Celsius and Fahrenheit so you get the perfect outdoor shower experience.
The strong handle means you can transport it without fear of it breaking, and the reinforced plastic tube means it's even more durable. The front pocket provides handy storage for soaps, shampoo, and other essential shower products.
The iDeep solar shower bag has been designed to hold up to 5 gallons of water, enough for several showers making it a convenient choice for campers, hikers, and other outdoor lovers.
This outdoor solar shower bag is available in two colors and it rolls up easily and tightly to make it more convenient to carry. It also features a smart heat locking design that can heat the water to 113°F (45°C) in just 3-4 hours of direct sunlight.
You'll also benefit from the handy storage pocket, perfect for shampoo, toothbrushes, and other essentials. Not only that but the showerhead also has an on/off switch featuring low to high water pressure.
You can strengthen the shower bag further with the plastic tube, giving it a stronger holding position. It's also made from tough PVC materials that are non-toxic and eco-friendly.
Heading out on a group or family trip? If so, the Funtalker solar shower bag is a must-have! With an enormous 10 gallon capacity, there will be more than enough water for everyone to have a quick shower.
The Funtalker solar shower bag only takes three hours to heat the whole 10 gallons to 100°F which is the perfect temperature for a comfortable shower, especially on chillier days. Your purchase includes one nozzle and two nylon hooks, making it more convenient.
Even better, it folds down tightly to just 12 x 6 x 2 inches for compact storage. It also features a hose that's more than 2 feet long, making it easier if space is limited or you have to position the bag awkwardly.
Made from super strong black PVC, this camp shower bag easily captures and retains the heat for longer.
To get the most enjoyable outdoor shower experience, it's important to pick the right solar shower for your needs. But what do you look for? Which features are important?
Below, we've outlined some important things to look for when buying your new camping shower. Check out the sections below for more information!
Ease of use
The best outdoor solar shower will offer great portability, so it's important to look for a design that's easy to pack. Look at the dimensions and weight when it's folded or rolled up as this will tell you whether it will be easy to transport or not.
Most of the time, the size and weight won't be a problem as solar showers are usually ultra-light. But some can be quite bulky and might be more suited to campers using a car, rather than backpackers who are traveling on foot. If your DIY skills are up to muster, why not consider making your own portable shower?
You also need to think about how easy the solar shower is to set up and use. Most shower bags have integrated hooks or a handle to hang them up. Others will have a spigot, add-ons, or other additional options that make them more convenient.
Probably the most important factor is the material quality. These days more and more people are trying to be eco-friendly. Many solar showers are made with a non-toxic PVC material that is environmentally safe.
Solar showers that are manufactured from strong, good quality materials will also last longer and work better. For even better results, look for a solar shower that has multiple layers, as these have better heat-retaining abilities.
Ultimately, you want your shower to last as long as possible, so good-quality, sturdy materials are essential. Look for solar showers that have high ratings and good reputations for quality.
Although solar showers may look the same at a glance, they're not all created equal. As mentioned before, some of them have dual or even multiple layers which retain the heat for longer, leaving you more time to shower.
Many manufacturers will use a PVC material, however, some use different materials, some of which may be more pricy. Good quality materials will feel thicker and more durable. The handle is also an important part, as a weak design means the shower bag is more likely to rip.
The best solar shower will offer a showerhead and a hose pipe. Detachable ones are even better as they allow you to fold the bag up for easy storage. Another helpful design is a control valve. These are usually connected to the showerhead and allow you to increase or decrease the water flow.
It's a good idea to look for a solar shower that has an on/off switch as well. This means that you can turn the shower off when you're applying shampoo or soap to prevent water from being wasted.
Lastly, be sure to check the length of the hosepipe too. If you need to hang the solar shower up high to get better water pressure, a short hosepipe would make life very difficult!
The water capacity is also an important factor. Take into account how many people will be using it and how often you'll have to heat the water.
Many solar shower models provide 5 gallons of water but you can get smaller ones that are perfect for backpackers and people camping alone.
On the other hand, there are larger capacity showers that are ideal for big groups all hoping to grab a quick shower. Common capacity sizes you may come across are:
2.5 -3 gallon solar showers
These smaller shower models are perfect for solo campers or couples. They're ultra-light and small, so they're extremely easy to pack up and carry. Particularly handy if you need to pack light.
4-gallon solar showers
These solar showers are ideal for up to three campers who can shower quickly, or for one camper who wants to enjoy a longer shower.
5-gallon solar showers
A solar shower that provides 5 gallons of water is ideal for up to four people so they're perfect for family camping trips. They may take slightly longer to heat up, but the difference isn't too much.
10-gallon solar showers
Going on a big group camping trip? Then you'll need a 10-gallon solar shower. Perfect for up to 6 people, these showers will ensure there's enough hot water for everyone.
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Another big factor is how hot the water will actually get. If you're going hiking all day and setting your camp up in the early evening, you'll probably want to fit a shower in soon after. This means a solar shower that is capable of heating the water in just a few hours is a must.
Similar to needing hot water more quickly, you'll need a shower that will lock the heat in long enough so that everyone can get a quick wash. If you can hang the bag to heat up where you'll be taking your shower that would help, but most of the time this won't be possible.
Many solar shower brands make products that are capable of reaching 113°F, however, some may be able to reach higher temperatures. Another thing to keep in mind is that once the shower bag has been heated it will be very hot.
This may not be an issue with a small 2.5-gallon bag, but if you're solo camping and you're trying to handle a red hot 5 or 10-gallon bag, be very careful that no hot water spills and scalds you.
Be sure to look out for any additional features the shower may have. Extra features are designed to make camping life a little easier. A good example is a see-through back that lets you check how much water you have left.
This is a very handy feature to have as it tells you how quickly you need to shower before you run out of water. This prevents water waste and saves time.
Another important feature is a strong handle for hanging the shower up. A sturdy handle will stop the bag from ripping as this is where it's most likely to suffer damage.
This is especially important with larger capacity showers. When they're full they become extremely heavy, and the last thing you want is for the handle to fail!
A water temperature gauge is also a useful feature that you should look for. A gauge tells you how hot the water is and helps to ensure the water is at a comfortable temperature.
Of similar importance to the quality is the budget. As our list of solar models shows, you don't have to spend a fortune on a good product. Many budget-friendly models have the same features that the higher-priced showers have.
Obviously, budgets vary from shopper to shopper, but, the most important thing to look for is materials that are thick and durable. A PVC material is the most commonly used material in solar shower manufacturing as it's strong and long-lasting.
You want your shower to last as long as possible and reading reviews is a great way of determining whether the shower is good-quality or not.
If you already have all the camping gear you need then you won't have to worry about the cost of a portable shower as much. But if you still need to buy a tent, sleeping bags, and a solar-heated shower, you may have to tighten your belt a little.
As with many purchases, think about what you can comfortably afford and what you need rather than what you want. With that said, every shower on our list offers everything you need for an enjoyable outdoor shower experience.
What is the best camp shower on the market?
Deciding which is the best camp shower depends on a few different factors. If you're camping alone, a small 2.5-gallon portable shower is a good option. You can refill it whenever you need to, heat it in the sun for a few hours, and enjoy a nice, warm shower.
On the flip side, if you're on a group trip, you'll need a bigger bag to accommodate everyone. Another factor is how long you'll be camping.
If you're only going away for a weekend then a small capacity shower is a good choice. For longer trips, you'll want to consider other size options.
Unfortunately, there's no single answer as to which is the best solar shower. What makes a great shower for one person might be a hassle for someone else. An example of this is the capacity of the shower.
While a big group of campers will probably love a 10-gallon shower bag, a single person may wonder how on earth they're going to heave it around on their own. Think about your individual camping needs and circumstances.
How long are you camping for? Do you really need a bag with a huge capacity? Once you've answered these questions, you'll know which is the best solar-powered shower for you.
Are solar camp showers worth it?
Yes! If you love camping but hate having to miss showers, getting yourself a solar-powered shower is essential. The great thing about a solar shower is that it can be used wherever you go. Just fill it up, leave it in the sun for a few hours, and voila, your shower is ready!
The more direct sunlight that the bag is exposed to, the warmer the water will become. Solar energy is also incredibly eco-friendly and sustainable as long as the sun is out every day.
Not only that, but a solar-powered shower will use less water than a shower at home or even on the campsite. Showers tend to waste a lot of water, which is one of the planet's most vital resources. An eight-minute shower can use up to a whopping 17 gallons.
Unlike a solar shower which typically only uses 5 gallons and can be used several times before it needs to be refilled. Even better, most solar energy showers have an on/off switch so you can conserve the water while you're shampooing or applying soap.
How do you use a solar shower?
Using your solar energy shower couldn't be easier. You simply fill the bag with water using the valve at the top and leave it in the sun with the see-through side facing up. As the name suggests, the bag will then absorb the heat from the sun and the water will heat up.
Most shower bags are made from a durable PVC material and many have clever heat-retaining technology, that stops any heat loss and prevents contamination to the environment.
Leaving the bag in direct sunlight for around 3 hours will ensure it heats up enough, with 113°F being a good temperature to aim for. To get the most heat absorption, try placing the bag on a metal surface or rocks, as these soak up heat well.
As for hanging the bag, this is also a simple process. When you want to take a shower, use the water temperature gauge to check how hot the water is. If it's hot enough, hang the shower bag on a tree or another similar place that can hold 5-gallons of water.
This may be easier said than done, so if you're struggling to lift the bag, use a rope to hoist the bag up into position. Once your bag is in the desired position, switch the showerhead on and adjust the pressure to your liking.
Do solar showers work in winter?
Generally, it's not advisable to use portable solar showers in the winter. The ambient outside temperature will have a huge impact on how fast the water heats up and how hot it gets.
Although the bag will heat up in direct sunlight, even in winter, the issue is the wind and low or even freezing temperatures. If the temperature outside is below 35 degrees Fahrenheit, it's unlikely to be warm enough to heat the water sufficiently.
This could be hazardous to your health, as water that's below 70 degrees Fahrenheit can quickly cause hypothermia. For this reason, it's best to only use them in the summertime!
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