The Best Solar Showers for Camping and Adventuring


Luke Cuenco 04.25.22

Squeaky Clean: The Best Solar Showers for Camping and Adventuring

I’ll be the first person to admit that I don’t feel quite right unless I get a good shower at least once a day. Although bathing and getting yourself clean from dirt, mud, dust, and other surface contaminants have been around probably longer than man has been walking upright, showering is actually a fairly recent concept in the grand scheme of things with the first patent for a shower being granted in 1767 by William Feetham who was at the time a stove maker in London. Another interesting fact about showers is that they are actually more efficient than baths and on average about 50% less water than a bath does. Basically, a ten-minute shower (which in my estimation is quite a long shower) uses on average about 25 gallons of water while a full bathtub can use upwards of 50 gallons of water or more. All that being said, Staying clean while camping is not only important to your health, it will also keep you feeling refreshed either first thing in the morning or late in the evening after you’ve gotten yourself nice and dirty from the day’s adventures. Today we’ll be taking a look at the best Solar Showers you can take with you on your adventures to keep yourself squeaky clean off-grid, or if the power just happens to go out where you live and you’re left without hot water .

Solar Showers harness the power of the sun to heat the water so you’re not having to bathe in freezing cold water. Solar showers can be as simple or as complex as you want to make them so there is often a wide variety of them to choose from for different levels of compactness, function, and complexity. Best of all, Solar Showers can be set up virtually anywhere and have their water heated in just a matter of hours in the right conditions. If you’ve got more questions about Solar Showers, check out our FAQ section at the end of this article for more common questions.

Squeaky Clean: The Best Solar Showers for Camping and Adventuring

Squeaky Clean: The Best Solar Showers for Camping and Adventuring

1. Coleman 5-Gallon Solar Shower

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Coleman 5-Gallon Solar Shower

The Author’s Pick

My dad always taught me that a good method for tackling any problem or obstacle is often the KISS method (Keep It Simple Stupid!). With that in mind, I really like the Coleman Solar shower for its simplicity and affordability. The Coleman Solar shower is a lot like Coleman’s other camping products and gives you a simple yet durable design that just works as long as you keep it maintained. No extra frills here. The Coleman Shower uses a simple on/off valve that lets you control the flow of water and also features a very durable carry handle that you can use to hang the shower to heat the water and give you both hands-free. The Coleman shower takes about 3-hours to heat up and can handle temperatures of up to 120°F,

Pro/Affordable, Simple, and Durable

Cons/None unless you’re looking for something specific

Bottom Line/The utilitarian choice for solar showers

2. Triple Tree Solar Shower Bag

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Triple Tree Solar Shower Bag

The Triple Tree is pretty universally reviewed well by casual campers and even fishermen who want a nice convenient and warm source of water to use while out in the wild. While the triple tree is roughly the same size as the Coleman, it features a different shower head that is more suitable for rinsing off the soapy water and also features a longer hose so you can get a better rinse. The Triple Tree Solar Shower bag packs down very small and is made from durable PVC materials and includes a nice buckled hanging or carrying strap.

Pro/Nice Shower Head for better water coverage.

Cons/The hose is kind of flimsy and could easily break if you’re not careful

Bottom Line/A very affordable option with a few extra frills for comfort

3. Nemo Helio LX Portable Pressure Camp Shower

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Nemo Helio LX Portable Pressure Camp Shower

The Editor’s Pick

Nemo’s lineup of camping gear is generally not only super durable and super innovative, but it’s also super cool! The Nemo Helio portable pressure camp shower doesn’t need to be hung up as other solar showers do, instead, it uses an integrated pump to pressurize its 5.7-gallon tank which allows you to have a nice strong continuous spray. The Helio also comes in a 2.9-gallon version which is much smaller but still gives you about a 5-minute shower. This one is great not just for showering and rinsing gunk out of your hair, but it could also come in handy for washing camp dishes or spraying away caked-on mud or grime from camp equipment or clothing too.

Pro/Pressurized so that you get a better stream of water and don’t need to hang the tank up

Cons/Expensive

Bottom Line/A great option for the serious camper and still quite compact!

4. Advanced Elements Summer Solar Shower

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Advanced Elements Summer Solar Shower

Give yourself a hot shower anywhere you go! Simply fill and layout in the sun clear side up and you will have a hot shower in no time! Designed with an efficient 2-layer construction for optimal heat retention and performance, the Summer Shower 5-gallon solar shower has unique features to fit your needs. Whether it’s in camp, at the end of a long trail, or on the deck of your boat, a hot shower is a pleasure to have.

Pro/Integrated Temperature Gauge and Tolitires pouch

Cons/Valve isn’t very good (but it can be replaced)

Bottom Line/A nice upgrade from the coleman that heats up very quickly and is very durable

5. The Yakima RoadShower

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The Yakima RoadShower

The Ultimate Road Warrior Option

This one can do anything and everything and is super tough to boot. The Yakima RoadShower is a must have for off-roaders or those who work out of their trucks in remote locations. No need to complicate things by lugging around a plastic bag full of water, simply just leave your truck parked in the sun, come back later and enjoy a nice hot shower courtesy of the sun. The RoadShower is available in smaller sizes with 4-gallon and 7-gallon options taking up less space on your roof rack but I honestly think the best option is the 10-gallon since it’s already pretty efficient when it comes to space. The roadshower comes with a stick-on thermometer, two water outlet ports, a large top cap for filling, and can be pressurized by hand using the included hose adapter or an aftermarket electric pump up to a 55 psi max. This really is the ultimate road companion for overlanders.

Pro/Simple design and extremely durable construction combined with a high capacity 10-gallon tank

Cons/Extremely Expensive and requires a roof rack to install

Bottom Line/This is a great option for backcountry car campers or overlanders

How long do Solar Showers typically take to heat up?

This largely depends on the weather as you could expect but in general, on an 80-degree day most solar showers can heat up to “warm” water in about an hour and relatively hot water in about 3 hours. This is why many solar showers feature thermometers so that you can gauge how fast your solar shower tank is heating up. Some solar showers are capable of handling pretty hot water and oftentimes campers will opt to heat up some water over the campfire and then fill the bags up – just check to make sure your solar shower is rated for hotter water if you choose to do this!

Larger solar showers can take all day to heat up, especially if the weather isn’t too warm or you accidentally put the tank in the shade. On hotter days, solar showers heat up pretty quick but take caution to make sure you don’t overheat the bag which could damage the polymer components.

How long does a Solar Shower Last?

Your average Solar Shower will have a roughly 5-gallon tank that you then hang or pressurize to give you good water flow. Depending on the nozzle type your average 5-gallon tank will last you about 5 minutes or so if you’re conservative with the water and aren’t just sitting in the water without actually cleansing yourself.

Are there other options that would give me a more comfortable or longer shower?

There certainly are! If you know you’re going to set up camp in a remote location for a while or the weather is going to be consistently cold, solar showers may not be the best option. The Mr. Heater BaseCamp BOSS is a propane battery-operated pressurized shower that can draw water from almost anywhere and heat it up to a comfortable temperature using its onboard 12,000-BTU burner.

This gives you more consistent access to warm water and can run up to 40-minutes using a standard 1-lb propane cylinder and 6 D-Cell batteries. This is a great option for luxury camping or setting up at a deer camp that doesn’t have a shower. It’s also quite affordable too all things considered!

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Luke Cuenco

Luke is currently a full-time writer for TheFirearmBlog.com, OvertDefense.com, AllOutdoor.com, and of course, OutdoorHub.com. Luke is a competitive shooter, firearms enthusiast, reloader, outdoorsman, and generally takes an interest in anything that has to do with the great outdoors. Luke is also a private certified pilot and is currently pursuing his commercial pilot’s license in the hopes of becoming a professional pilot. Some of Luke’s other interests include anything to do with aviation, aerospace and military technology, and American Conservancy efforts. Instagram: @ballisticaviation YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/BallisticAviation thefirearmblog.com/blog/author/luke-c/ overtdefense.com/author/luke-c/alloutdoor.com/author/lukec/

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