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Have you always loved camping in the great outdoors, but often wondered whether there was a better way to shower than simply standing in the freezing cold rain and hoping for the best? Well we have great news for you - solar showers are a thing! You can bring a solar shower with you for camping, hiking and other outdoor adventures, so they’re a very useful and versatile possession. What’s more is that they can even be used during a power outage or emergency.
A solar shower may seem like a complex piece of equipment that is not worth the hassle, but it’s actually just a bag full of water that is heated up by UV rays from the sunlight. The bag absorbs the light and UV rays to heat up the water so that you can use it without fearing the freezing cold water hitting your back. Solar showers are normally also equipped with a nozzle which you can attach a shower head to, as well as a loop to hang it above you so you don’t have to hold it awkwardly.
Solar showers are an excellent way to keep you clean and warm while on your outdoor expedition. There’s also the option to keep your shower in your emergency kit to double as a water bucket, so this is a well rounded useful piece of gear. Below we’ll look at some of the best solar showers as well as things to consider before purchasing one.
Top Solar Showers Comparison
20 x 6 x 2 inches
15.7 x 5.9 x 2 inches
6 x 20 x 1.5 inches
Straps and pockets on the side for toiletries.
Comes with a quick dry bag and a five meter rope.
Built in temperature gauge.
4.3 out of 5
3.6 out of 5
4 out of 5
Number of Reviews
There are a number of solar showers on the market, however some are better than others. The last thing you want is a leaking water bag or a model that doesn’t even heat up the water, which is why we’ve done some research so you don’t have to. Below we’ll be looking at five of the best solar showers on the market today, all with different yet impressive features and varying price points.
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Best Solar Camp Showers Reviewed 2020 - Comparison Table
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Best Solar Camp Showers Reviewed 2020 - Reviews
This Advanced Elements 5 Gallon Summer Shower is an excellent choice thanks its number of impressive features and ease of use. The great features that come with this solar shower are the reason why this is our favorite solar shower on the market. This model is considered the most durable, high-capacity and usable solar shower, so it’s a great option to go for. Let’s get into why we consider this model to be our favorite, shall we?
Firstly, the water bag fits five gallons of water which is considered a lot of water in terms of camping showers (which are typically much shorter than normal showers). Five gallons is more than enough for one person to take a long five minute shower or two or three people to have a quick rinse.
The water bag is made from four layered fabric which makes it super durable and tough, ensuring it’ll be a difficult task to rip or break. The clear front of the bag lets ample heat in so that your water can be heated sufficiently and efficiently. Inside the bag is effective insulation and reflectors to keep the heat in and make sure it heats all the water so you don’t get cold spots.
Okay, the water won’t be as hot as your shower at home, but this model will give it a good bash. What’s more is it will definitely be warmer than that ice-cold lake you’ve been gearing yourself up to get into. An impressive feature of this solar shower is the water temperature gauge which allows you to know how warm the water inside is, so you don’t use it too prematurely and get a nasty surprise.
The valve used to fill up the water bag is large enough to use without a funnel, so you won’t have to fiddle around and risk spilling water all over yourself. The on/off valve allows you to adjust the shower without wasting any of the water, and the plastic loops ensures easy installation to a tree branch.
Finally, and these are the features which really swayed our decision, this solar shower has pockets on the side to hold your toiletries such as soap and shampoo. There are also straps attached by Velcro which can be looped around your flannels and towels, for example. These are very beneficial features which the other models on our list unfortunately don’t offer. You may be able to live without this, but it’s certainly very helpful and was the deciding factor for why this solar shower is our favorite.
- Velcro straps and side pockets for all your accessories and toiletries.
- Thermometer to tell you the current temperature.
- Large valve for filling the bag up.
- On/off shower head.
- Material made of four layers to keep it durable as well as sufficiently insulated.
- Durable and tough material.
- Temperature gauge built in.
- Side pockets and straps.
- The valve is difficult to adjust mid shower.
- Slight shower head leakage.
- The hose is only 16 inches long which is quite short for a shower.
Another great option is the Green Elephant 2-in-1 Solar Shower Dry Bag thanks to its interesting and unique features. Of course you’ll be able to use this model for taking a nice and warm shower, but you can also use it as a dry bag as well. Turn it inside out while empty and dry to create a waterproof bag which can be used to store anything you want protecting from potential poor weather. This cannot be said for any of the other solar showers on our list, which we think is a great unique selling point.
This shower can hold up to five gallons of water at a time, meaning you’ll have around five minutes of shower time to be enjoyed and shared out between one or two people. Remember, if you’re camping with friends and another has to shower after you, don’t take too long!
The material of the water bag is PVC which is both thin and high quality, ensuring it is fully waterproof and very tough. Of course the front is clear to allow the UV rays to penetrate the water and heat it through, while the black far side is excellent at attracting the light. The high quality PVC allows the water to retain the heat instead of losing it all almost immediately.
Filling the water bag will be a breeze thanks to the sturdy flat bottom so you don’t have to awkwardly hold it steady between your feet as you’re trying to pour the water in, and the opening at the top is fairly big so you won’t waste any water while doing so.
The shower head offers reasonable pressure so it won’t feel like you’re standing underneath a trickle of water, and it includes a super simple mechanism to start and stop the water flow. What’s more is the handle is very durable and easy to install, keeping in tone with the rest of this very durable and impressive solar shower.
- Water can heat up within three or four hours on a particularly sunny day.
- Five minutes of continuous water.
- Water bag can be used as a waterproof dry bag.
- Durable PVC material used.
- Wide and sturdy base to help with filling the water bag.
- You can fold it up neatly and nicely.
- Comes with its own rigging.
- The PVC body is very durable and reliable.
- Doesn’t come with an off putting plastic smell.
- Not all the water can be released from the bag as the spout is positioned slightly too high.
- Water leaks if you don’t hold it properly or lay it on its side.
The Coleman 5 Gallons Solar Shower has been designed and created out of the most durable materials to ensure you won’t be left in the lurch while camping with this model. The weight capacity is impressive and the bag won’t be tearing easily. Sure, this doesn’t mean that you should start throwing it around near sharp branches, but it should be able to withstand rough conditions with no problem.
The bag has a clear front with a black back to allow the heat to be attracted to the backing while bringing the UV rays through the clear plastic and water. This will heat it nicely and the black backing should keep the heat in so there’s no rush to use the water as soon as it becomes slightly warm. The water will be able to heat up to an impressive temperature, giving you the opportunity to enjoy some much welcomed warm showers.
This solar shower comes with a durable loop to hook it up above you as well as transporting it around. Moreover, you’ll also get a shower head that can be turned on and off swiftly. While this isn’t the most feature heavy solar shower, it’s a simple and no-fuss model that does the job well. You’ll get around five minutes of warm showers out of one full bag of water.
- The valve on the shower head turns it on and off.
- Great for off the grid camping or emergency situations.
- Uses sunlight to heat the water.
- Durable handle for transporting and using.
- Affordable price point for a five gallon shower bag.
- Easy to use.
- Reasonable water pressure from the nozzle.
- Can’t adjust the temperature.
- Difficult to clean.
- Slight leaking may occur from the shower head.
The Stearns Sun Shower 4 Portable Shower is another great choice of solar showers. The main difference of this model compared to the others on this list is that this shower actually only holds four gallons of water, while the others hold five. While this isn’t as much water as the rest of the showers on our list, it is still a reasonable amount and will suffice for two people needing showers lasting in total around four minutes.
Despite this slight drawback of a smaller water bag, this shower offers great heat retention properties thanks to the materials used to make it. Unlike the other solar showers on our list, this model doesn’t have a clear bag. Having said this, the material used has been specifically designed to allow heat in and absorb it greedily, as well as retaining it well. We guarantee you’ll be surprised with how hot the water can get with this solar shower. What’s more is that there is also a thermometer built in so you can see whether it’s up to your preference yet.
The handle to carry this model and hang it up before using is very strong and durable so you don’t have to worry about a heavy bag of water falling on you mid shower. It’s also reasonably big to allow you to hang it on almost any branch so you don’t have to scour the woods for an acceptable tree to hang it off.
While refilling the water bag, you can use the screw valve to prevent any water leaking out the other end. Much like the Coleman 5 Gallons Solar Shower, this isn’t the most impressive solar shower which boasts a load of additional features, but it certainly gets the job done easily and efficiently. If you’re looking for a no fuss model, you can’t go wrong with this one.
- Thermometer built in.
- Valve to turn the shower head off and on.
- An excellent piece of equipment for camping or an emergency kit.
- Durable and large handle for ease of use and transportation.
- Thick and sturdy material used.
- Attractive price point.
- Easy to use nozzle, even with wet hands.
- Can reach temperatures of 98°F under four hours on a very sunny day.
- How much water is released can be adjusted with the nozzle.
- There is no rope included to tie it all together.
- It’s quite hard to clean inside the water bag as the fill hole isn’t very large.
Another solar shower with a five gallon water capacity, the PGYFIS Solar Shower Bag offers enough warm water for up to three people to have reasonably quick showers, or one person to have one long shower, if you’d prefer to use it all yourself. A smaller solar shower may be easier to transport and carry around, but this is great for those days where you’re soaked through from a rainstorm and need a five minute shower to warm back up (seasoned campers will know how often this is needed).
This solar shower is made from environmentally friendly materials and is completely safe to humans. The material is layered making it all the more durable and leafproof. You won’t find any holes in this bad boy! Much like most of the other models on our list, one side of the bag is transparent and the other is blacked out to ensure as much sunlight gets through the water as possible.
What’s really impressive about the PGYFIS Solar Shower Bag is that the water can heat up to around 113°F within three or four hours of bright sunlight, so if you’re a lover of hot showers and are likely to need a warm shower to relax your muscles from a freezing cold day, this may be your new camping best friend.
A temperature gauge is added so you can see what temperature the water is at before setting up your shower. Imagine thinking the water must be warm enough by now, and getting under the nozzle to an ice cold stream of water. No thank you! Other great additions to this solar shower are the valve to turn the waterflow on and off, and the durable handle which takes the hassle out of installation and carrying it around.
- Very quick water heating capabilities.
- On/off valve to control how much water comes out.
- Lightweight at only 0.8 pounds.
- Thermometer built into the bag.
- You can control the flow of water with the on/off valve.
- Super lightweight which is impressive considering the water capacity.
- Hose can come detached somewhat easily.
- Water may leak from where you fill the bag up.
Best Solar Camp Showers Reviewed 2020 - Buyers Guide
We know that solar showers are a fantastic invention and it is difficult to stop yourself from buying the first one you see, but there are a few important factors to consider before committing to one model. None of us want to waste money, so take a look at the below factors to ensure the solar shower you’re about to purchase is the best model for you.
By choosing a solar shower after reading these considerations, you’re more likely to receive a model that you’ll get a lot of use out of and that won’t break after the first couple of uses.
Material and Heating
No one particularly wants a cold shower, especially while in the great outdoors. Solar showers with high quality heating materials can really help here, so it’s worth looking into whether they’re durable and sturdy or not. The water bag on solar showers is typically quite thin, so the toughness has to make up for this to make sure it doesn’t rip at the first sign of trouble. Moreover, the bag needs to be thick enough to withstand the mere weight of the water. The last thing you want is cold water pouring down your back thanks to the bag ripping while being transported.
Solar showers are heated by the sunlight, so the bag should also be made of materials that can absorb the heat easily. The most effective way to make the most of the heat from the sun is to choose a solar shower which is clear on the outside with a black backing so the sunlight can travel through the clear side as it's attracted to the black backing. This will maximize the efficiency of the heating.
Solar showers come in a range of materials, from PVC to aluminium water bags. As long as the model you choose can absorb heat well and efficiently, you’ll be able to get a warm shower without a hitch. However, bear in mind that some materials work better than others, so if you’re in the mood for a hot shower choose a more absorbent material.
Different solar shower models offer different water capacities, ranging from around 5 to 25 liters. The water capacity of the solar shower you choose will be dependent on how much water you need to get a decent shower. If you want a long, luxurious shower with scrubs and moisturizers, you may want to get a larger capacity. Alternatively, if you’re more of a get-in-get-out person, a smaller capacity should suit you fine.
This will also depend on how many people are going to need to shower with one water bag, as the more people needing to use it, the larger the water capacity will have to be.
Looks aren’t everything, but when it comes to the design of your solar shower, you’ll want to pick a good one. The design should be easy to use in terms of filling it up, carrying it and hanging it up before having your shower. Essentially your shower needs to be functional and actually be able to aid you during your trip, otherwise you’ll just be left with yet another hindrance. Camping is already difficult, so you’ll want a shower that is going to lighten the load, not to add to it.
The size of the hole used to fill the water bag should really be reasonably large to prevent you having to add extra effort to get the water in the bag. Different solar showers on the market offer varying sizes of this feature, so make sure you check this before commiting to one. Although manageable, a model with a smaller filling hole may require the use of a funnel to prevent you wasting a load of water. If you don’t fancy carrying a funnel around with you as well as all your gear, look for a solar shower with a larger hole.
What’s more is that the design has to be durable, as a broken shower after one use is of no use to you out in the wilderness. Bear this in mind before choosing a solar shower and make sure the materials are durable, reliable and functional.
The main use for solar showers is using them outside when you don’t have access to hot, running water. This means that you’ll need to choose a model which offers easy transportation features such as being lightweight, compact and small. You don’t want to be carrying around a model that actually feels like you’re carrying a real shower about, so the weight and size is a very important consideration to take into account before committing to one model.
The price of the solar shower is going to be dependent on the quality of the model. Although we would all love a great deal on a durable, versatile, large and easy to use solar shower, unfortunately these models are always going to be more expensive. The higher your budget, the more features you will be able to get from your solar shower, so choose a budget depending on how many features you think you’ll realistically need.
If you’re going to be using this solar shower all the time for all your camping excursions and hiking adventures, your budget will most likely be higher as you’ll know you’re making a good investment. On the other hand, if you’re only going to be using this as a one off shower or to sit in your emergency kit until it’s needed, you may decide that your budget can be on the lower end of the spectrum. Don’t fear though, as we have included a number of great solar showers which all vary in prices so it is possible to get a high quality model while on a smaller budget.
Solar showers need to be hung above you to mimic a normal shower that you’d have at home, meaning they need a loop to attach over something high up, such as a tree branch. Some solar showers are easy to install while others have you questioning every choice you’ve ever made since you were ten years old. Moreover, larger models may even need two people to install it and a very sturdy branch. On the other hand, a smaller model doesn’t hold as much water but is often easier to install. Try to find a happy medium between ease of installation and water capacity to get the most out of your solar shower investment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make my own solar shower?
It is entirely possible to DIY your own solar shower, however this can be much more hassle than it’s worth when solar showers on the market don’t cost that much as it is. Having said this, if you’re trying to be zero waste or prefer a challenge, all you need is a watertight bag with a black backing to attract the sunlight, a loop to hang it over a branch, a hose or shower head and an on/off valve to ensure you don’t lose any water. If you have all of this lying around spare, then you’ll have no problem creating your own solar shower.
Once you’ve gathered all your supplies, you’re going to need to figure out how to attach it altogether and keep it watertight so you don’t find your water leaking from every joint as you’re walking to find your rest stop. You’ll also need to find a place to hang it and ensure that your loop is as durable as the ones you can find on professional manufactured solar showers. We don’t know about you, but this sounds like a lot of hassle and we would recommend one of the five models above rather than going to all this effort.
While you could definitely make your own solar shower and it would be mighty impressive, we don’t think it would be worth the time and effort. If you have to go out and buy the materials, we don’t think you’d find it much cheaper than purchasing one of the models above. The last thing you want is your family and friends relying on you for their shower, but instead of it working properly it leaks and delivers cold water to everyone's heads. Consider our five favorites before committing to becoming a master plumber.
Well, there we have it - the top five solar showers and what to consider before committing to your purchase. If you didn’t know any better, you may think that they’re all the same product and it doesn’t matter which one you go for, but hopefully you can spot their key differences thanks to our buyers guide. In our opinion, we’d probably go for either the Advanced Elements 5 Gallon Summer Shower Green Elephant 2-in-1 Solar Shower Dry Bag if we wanted a lovely, refreshing shower after a long day hiking or camping - but the one you go for will all be dependant on your personal style and which features you need most.
Whichever model you choose to go for, just keep the considerations listed in our buyers guide at the back of your mind while choosing and you should end up with a great solar shower. As long as your model is durable, has good heating capabilities and is easy to use and install, you can’t really go wrong with any of the solar showers on the market. Of course, it also needs to be able to carry enough water for your showers!