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What Is a Camping Shower? (Explained for Beginners)

Are you an adventurer whose love for the great wild cannot be quenched? But is the thought of not having a warm shower giving you a dilemma? There is a tool made for campers just like you!

What Is a Camping Shower?

A camping shower is a portable shower for campers who are out adventuring. It has different designs, from motorized water pressure to simple bag-style ones with storage. Some even optimize the heat from the sun to warm the water. It’s a must for those who are traveling far away from water sources.

Camping showers are portable systems with water storage and a shower-head. It’s for campers who don’t go to popular camping sites, as they tend to have bathrooms or water sources nearby. 

This is for when you’re thinking of venturing someplace where you won’t be near water for a few days. Around day two or three is when you start building up the sweat and grease.

A camping shower can help you wash it off. It also offers the luxurious experience of a shower that many travelers miss on their trips. And if you’re willing to spend more, you can even get one with a heating system.

How Does a Camping Shower Work?

There are several designs of camping showers made by different manufacturers. There are 4 main types that we’ll talk about. 

Firstly, we have the most popular choice: a bag-style storage shower. It’s a bag full of water that connects to a pipe. The pipe connects to the shower. Most have a battery that pushes out the water.

Cheaper models require you to hang it over a height for gravity to pull the water. It can store up to 5 gallons, so it’s highly usable as well as portable. Some models also connect to a gas system to heat the water inside. Some use solar. 

Secondly, we have a similar bag-style shower, but it also has the functionality of pulling up water from lakes, rivers, etc. The battery power allows it to make the most use of the environment.

Thirdly, we have a heavy-duty camping shower that can be powered by your car, truck, etc. It also requires you to be near a river, lake, etc. A pump of water will pull up the water from the river or lake. Then, you have to turn your vehicle’s engine on.

The truck or car’s engine will then heat up and push out the water through a nozzle connected to a pipe. If you’re a big group of campers or you don’t have an issue with lugging around a huge weight, this is for you.

Finally, we have the simplest of the bunch: the garden water-can style camping shower. It works just as you would think. You fill it up and let it rain on your head like you would with a bucket.

You might question why not get a bucket itself. It’s because a bucket can’t mimic the feeling of a shower of water. This is the cheapest and will add the least weight to your luggage. So, for backpackers, it’s perfect.

What Is the Average Size of a Camping Shower?

The average size of a camping shower ranges from 2 to 5 gallons. For five gallons, you can expect about 5-7 minutes of running water. It might not seem like a lot, but it’s a blessing while camping. There are also 7 and 10-gallon options for heavy storage.

How Much Does Camping Shower Cost?

The average price of a camping shower is in the $200 to $300 range. It starts at $50 and can go up to $500 and more depending on your needs and region. 

How to Set Up Camping Shower?

Depending on the shower you have, setting up a camping shower will be different. However, some general rules apply to most camping showers. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Fill up the storage container with water

Step 2: (If heatable) Let it warm up

If it’s solar-powered, find a good spot to let it rest out in the sun for the recommended time by manufacturers.

If it’s powered by a gas tank or your vehicle’s engine, connect it per the device instructions and wait for it to heat up. This will be faster, so don’t leave the area for too long.

Step 3: Let gravity/your hand do the work

Hang a gravity shower over a branch. For battery/engine showers, open the nozzle of your water hose/pipe and use it.

How to Use Camping Shower?

The first thing you want to do when using a camping shower is to plan ahead. Fill it up hours before usage, so it has enough time to heat up through solar or battery power. When it’s your desired warmth, rest it over a tree branch if it’s dependent on gravity.

Ones heated by vehicles or gas tanks can be used like a hand-held shower. So, guide the water with your hands. 

The most important thing to keep in mind is efficiency. You will only get a few minutes of water so, make sure you go through your motions fast enough. Don’t rush and sacrifice on hygiene, though. After a few times of usage, you’ll find a good rhythm.

How to Make a Camping Shower?

This is a DIY hanging camp shower you can make easily! Try it out by following our guide.

What you’ll need:

  • Durable plastic water jug with a side handle (your choice of size)
  • Strong rope
  • A shower-head the size of your jug cap (If you can’t find one, use a spout from a watering can and attach it to some plastic with holes, etc. You will need to attach this with hot glue.)
  • Glue machine
  • Scissors
  • A lighter
  • Black water-proof paint (Optional)

Step 1: Measure the length of your rope

This will be a hanging shower, so measure the length from the tree branch (or the place you will hang it from) to the height you want your shower to be. Double this length. 

Then, measure around your jug (from one side of the handle to the other). Add this length to the first. Keep a few inches off for precaution, and you’re good to go.

Step 2: Rope around the jug

Now, fix your rope through the handle on one side with a few knots. Do the same on the other. Make sure the rope stays in place by using hot glue.

Step 3: Connect your showerhead

Cut off the middle part of your cap. So, the only part remaining is the one you use to screw it onto the jug. Connect your showerhead device to the cap of the jug. Use a hand-held lighter to seal in the two parts.

Step 4: Now, load up the jug with water

Don’t fill up all the way to avoid the first gush of water. Fill up to 90%.

Step 5: Secure the rope around a branch

Make sure you tie it across the branch. This way, when the jug is almost out of the water, you can tip it towards you.

Step 6: (Optional). Paint the jug black

The color black is known to absorb the most heat from the sun. If you put out a black water jug in the sun, you will likely have some lukewarm to warm water to shower with. You can also get a black jug in the first place if you want to avoid this step but still want the warmth. Covering with black tape is also an option.

How Much Water Does a Camping Shower Use?

Commonly, camping showers use about 8-18 liters of water. In gallons, this is about 2 to 5 gallons. Some heavy-duty ones will use 38 liters (10 gallons) and above.

How Do You Heat Water in a Camping Shower?

You can heat the water in a camping shower in one of the following 3 ways:

Through Solar Power

Solar power is the most eco-friendly for heating camping showers. The black coating or special plastic will be able to glean out the heat from sunlight. You should leave this out in the sun for the appropriate time.

Through a Gas Tank

A propane or butane gas tank attached to the shower will heat up the water for you. Turn it on when needed.

Through a Vehicle Engine

Your car’s engine is more versatile than you might think. By connecting the pipe and water container to an engine, the water will absorb the heat using the engine as a source. Use the shower’s instructions to attach it to your engine, and you should be good to go.

Most heated camping showers come with thermometers. So, make sure you keep an eye on them. You’ll avoid overheating and ruining the gear by accident, as well as any mishaps.

Camping showers will be your best gadget when you’re missing the warm pattering of water while adventuring. There are many types of camping showers with different water capacities and pricing.

Setting them up for use also differs from type to type. Find the one for you, and then it’s off to more adventures!

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are Campfire Ashes Good for Gardens?

Are Camping or Enamel Mugs Microwave & Dishwasher Safe?

Does Campfire Smoke Keep Animals & Bugs Away?