Camping Shower – Stay Clean In The Field!
For anyone who camps, whether it’s for two nights on a weekend canoe trip or a week long stay on Grandpa’s land in the north country, one issue that will come up is bathing.
While a camping shower might seem like a luxury item to some, especially for those shorter duration outings, it can be an indispensable comfort for many of us.
The most basic of these camping showers are simple bladder – type bags ranging in size from just a few liters to as much as five gallons, some have a short section of hose with a shower head at the end – others have the head attached directly to the bottom of them. Most are dark in color to absorb heat – you simply set them out or hang them in a sunny location for a while and soon you’ll have a warm camping shower. Some of these simple showers, like the Sea To Summit Pocket Shower, which retails online for about twenty-seven bucks, are designed so they can double as a dry bag until you’re ready to use them as a camping shower. This particular model weighs only a few ounces and holds 10 liters of water, giving you about 8 minutes worth of continuous shower time.
For those who spend a lot of time camping and don’t mind spending a little money for the convenience and comfort of an instant hot shower there are other options available.
For about one hundred-fifty dollars you can purchase the Hot Tap Travel Camping Shower, made by Zodi. This unit has a stainless steel burner powered by standard 16.4 once propane cylinders. It’s soft-sided carry case doubles as a four-gallon water reservoir, which will provide about a ten-minute shower per fill-up. The water is pushed through an eight-foot hose via a battery-operated pump (four “D” cells). The manufacturer claims around sixty gallons of water can be heated up and delivered between propane and battery changes. When broken down this system all fits into it’s carry bag and is about the size of a hiking boot. Pair it up with the Zodi Hut camping shower enclosure for another ninety bucks or if you really want to go for it, check out the Texsport deluxe camping shower/shelter, which is a four-and-a-half foot square full enclosure with rain fly and no-see-um panels and even comes equipped with a corner rack for your camping shower supplies and an external towel bar. With either of these you’ll have a pretty luxurious and private camping shower by camping standards anytime and anywhere you want one.
When a more permanent set-up is what you’re after, say for seasonal campsite or other location where you actually have access to a water hook up, take a look at Cabela’s Outdoor Camping Shower. This one hundred-eighty dollar unit is an in-line water heater that hooks up to a twenty-pound gas cylinder. It can be mounted just about anywhere including the outside of a camper – just hook it up to your water supply with a garden hose and it will deliver up to eighteen hours of hot water per cylinder fill-up. It comes with an eight-foot hose and a showerhead, which has four spray settings.
Selecting The Right Camping Shower For You
You must consider several factors before you buy a camping shower. First of all, you must consider about the heat. If someone in your group doesn’t like cold water, then you must get one with heater. These camping showers can heat up the water within a short period and give a pleasurable shower at the end of the day.
Next, you must consider the type of flooring where the camp shower is to be installed. Finding a camping site that offers heavy mesh flooring which is easy for cleaning up. Another consideration you must make is the ease of setup. Anyway this is not a problem as most of the brands in the market now provide a comprehensive instruction manual and also components that are not difficult to put together. There are camp showers which don’t use even a screw to put it up.
Last but not least, basic features such as shower heads, weight and water capacity must be considered too. Big shower head can let you achieve high water flow while high water capacity can provide more water for shower during camping. This is really up to you and your group of camper friends.
7 Features You Must Look For In Your Camping Shower
1. Pop up design for fast assembly
A pop-up shower tent design can be a great option if you’re in a rush at the campsite. These tents don’t take as long to set up, so they can be a huge convenience. Camping shower reviews note, though, that these tents are often less sturdy, so look for a design that gets good reviews for the best results.
2. Interior mesh pockets
Mesh pockets on the inside of a camping shower tent are a great way to keep your shower supplies available but out-of-the-way. You want to ensure they are “mesh” though to allow for proper drainage & drying. All the best models typically have them, so this is definitely a feature to look for.
3. Cross ventilation
If you’re using your shower enclosure with anything but a solar shower bag, chances are likely that your tent could get pretty steamy. This is why it’s important to have good cross ventilation. Some models have it at the top, and others have it at the bottom – just make sure there’s some ventilation available!
4. Detachable floor
A detachable floor will make showering in your tent more pleasant, not only because it will prevent standing in your own self-made mud puddle, but because it will also allow you to direct waste water away from the campsite. Plus, a detachable floor can turn a shower tent into a privacy hut over a dug-in latrine when pulling double-duty as a camping shower tent.
5. No-see-um mesh windows
Having mesh windows in a camping shower tent provides adequate ventilation without letting the mosquito’s, bees, and pesky no-see-ums in. Just make sure people can’t see in the mesh of the windows as they walk by!
6. Exterior towel racks accessible from inside
Having an accessible towel rack on the outside of the tent is one of those features that are often over-looked, until you’re actually ready to take a shower. Though a make-shift towel-hanger can usually be fashioned together for even the simplest camping shower tent – having this seemingly small feature built-in can make a big difference in how convenient your shower tent is. Unfortunately only the best models come with this feature.
7. Camping Shower Types
Solar Camping Shower And A Bag Hanger – You can modify your use of most showering tents to work with just about any type of shower, but if you’re going to use a solar shower bag, make sure your tent includes a hanger for it. Also, make sure camping shower reviews note that the tent is actually sturdy enough to hold up a full solar shower bag, since many models are not.
Advantages of the Solar Camping Shower Bag
Weight: The solar shower bag can be one of the best camping showers if you’re looking for a lightweight option to take on your camping trip or backpacking expedition. When they’re empty, they weigh just ounces. Of course, a full solar shower can get heavy, so you won’t want to lug it around when you when it’s full. If you’re backpacking, look for the lightest weight bag possible, which probably means a solar shower with just enough water for one shower.
Ease of Use: These are the best camping showers if you don’t want to mess with batteries, pumps, or propane. Just fill them up, let them get warm, hang them, and have a shower. You won’t get lots of fancy features, but you’ll be able to have a warm shower without a lot of fuss, too.
Environmentally Friendly: Many of these portable showers are now being made with eco-friendly PVC-free ingredients, which means they’re friendly for the environment. Plus, they encourage you to use less water, since you have a limited amount in the bag. Also, these bags are eco-friendly because they don’t require power from a plug-in or battery source, and they don’t use fuel like propane to heat the water.
Propane Heated Options – If you’re looking for a truly hot shower at the campground, propane-powered options are going to be the best camping showers for you. They’re definitely not lightweight, but some can double as your camping stoves, so at least you have to haul less gear. Typically, they will have a battery-powered pump that pulls water from a source (albeit a bucket, a stream, or a lake), and then runs it through an in-line water heater and on out to the showering head. The best models in this category truly offer hot-water-on-demand and have fine-tuned heat controls to easily adjust the water temperature to your exact preference.
Tankless Camping Shower – These showers are mostly meant to be used with garden hoses and internal plumbing systems in RVs and camping cabins. They don’t include a pump like propane showers do, so they need a water source that will provide pressure. Like the propane-powered models, Tankless options give you the convenience of instant hot water. The best tankless camping showers can be used with standard 16.4 oz disposable propane tanks and regular garden hose connectors. Most are designed to be hung from a tree branch or something similar, but a few, like the Camp Chef Triton, also offer a self-standing option that allows you to also set it up on something like a picnic table.
Battery Powered Shower – Battery powered camping showers are really nothing more than simple water pumps that just pump water from point A (a bucket, cooler, lake, or stream) to point B (the shower head). These options don’t heat up the water, so you can get a cold shower from a natural source or a lukewarm shower from a bucket of water you’ve left sitting out all day or heated yourself with a camp stove. The best camping showers in this category are lightweight, high quality, and easy to use.
8. Camping Shower Enclosure
There are tons of different enclosures on the market today, and they all offer different features that can make the whole outdoor shower experience more pleasant for many campers. Although it might seem silly to buy even more outdoor showering gear, you may need a shower tent for several different reasons. Here are just a few to consider:
- If you’re traveling with mixed company – A group of all men or all women may not have too much trouble showering in the open in a backwoods area, but if you’re traveling in mixed company, a shower enclosure for camping can make things more comfortable for everyone. Since most enclosures double well as a changing area, too, they can just make everyone in the group more comfortable with the entire showering experience when you’re at the campground.
- If you’re camping near other groups – Even if you don’t mind your camping partner being able to see you when you’re showering off, other groups nearby might have a problem with it! If you’re going to be camping where you might be even remotely nearby to other camping groups or hikers, a camping shower enclosure is definitely a good investment.
- If you’re traveling with children – It’s always best to use a shower enclosure when you’re traveling with small children in the group. Older kids will be more comfortable showering in the open if they feel like no one can see them, and larger shower tents allow parents to help kids get squeaky clean without a bathtub around.
- If you may not have another place to hang your shower – Even the best camping showers need a place to hang from, most of the time. If you’re going to be in the woods, it’s usually no trouble to hang your shower or shower head from a nearby tree. When you’re traveling in less wooded areas, though, you may need a camping shower enclosure just to hang your camping shower up somewhere so that you’ll get proper water flow.
- If you need to dispose of your water properly – If you’re using non-eco-friendly showering products at all, a shower enclosure can help you dispose of your water properly. Many of the best showers have floors that are meant to catch runoff so you can put it in a bucket and dispose of it down a proper drain, instead of spreading your toxic chemicals all over the environment and into the groundwater.
The best camping shower enclosures are made of high quality material and are designed to last many camping trips. The setup easily and will not be blown over in moderate wind. There are plenty of low-cost options on the market to choose from, but you’ll want to be cautious of many of them – particularly the “no-name brands”. It’s always a good idea to do a little research on the user reviews of any particular model you are interested in before making your final decision.
No matter what type of camping you do, if a shower is something you just can’t live without, do a little research and you’re sure to find one that will suit your needs perfectly.
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