If you’ve ever tried trickling water from a drinking flask to wash the mud off your dog’s paws, get the sand off a surfboard or wash your hair while wild camping, we might have found just the answer – a portable camping shower.
Most of those sun-heated shower bags you fill and hang from a tree have left us chilly and desperate for more than a dribble of water.
However, there are now some portable camping shower options that will do a better job. And they’re good for cleaning off dogs, sandy feet, walking boots and more.
Our current favourite is the Colapz (of the collapsible bucket and watering can fame). These good guys have developed a portable pump shower that recharges by USB. Looks smart and neat (around £35 or £50 including a collapsible bucket).
The kit comes with a showerhead and a thumb-trigger spray attachment, plus charging cord, hanging thingy and instructions.
The pressure is surprisingly good and it’s easy to use. We weren’t so keen on the fact you could only turn it on and off once it was in the water and the removeable O ring gasket removed itself and got lost before we’d tried it for the first time. Great on this wild camp in the Lakes during Storm Gareth, though. Ask the freezing guinea pig!
Rinsekit is a 9-litre coolbox sized box with a handle. You simply fill it with water from a hose-tap. It’s then magically pressurised to 65psi (without needing electricity) to give you a pretty decent six-minute shower. It’ll hold pressure for at least a month.
If you want hot water (well, warm at least), the box is insulated and there’s a kitchen tap adaptor – you’ll probably need an adaptor too if you want to refill while camping, but there’s also a refill bag that you attach to a bike pump to pressurise the box when you don’t have a tap. And there’s a 12V heater module, too. Prices start to mount when you add all the extras.
The basic Rinsekit is around £80. The Lux at £150 is a 13.5-litre version, with an insulated bag, a tap adaptor and ports so you can use the heater and pressure booster pump accessories (sold separately) at the same time.
Did it work for us? We were impressed with how simple it was to fill and use. The shower head is a standard hose head, so it’ll be easy to get replacements as needed. We can see a use for many people, but you’d need to trade off the space it takes up with how likely you are to use it.
There are also lots of electric handheld showers that you use with a bucket of water. They all look very similar in how they work and the reviews (if they’re to be believed) are good.
You can’t get much more simple and packable than a gravity-fed solar shower. These are bags of water that use the sun to heat the contents. In the UK, you won’t get much more than lukewarm, but there’s no electricity needed and the pressure is good, considering it simply uses gravity.
Of the hanging bag type of shower we’ve tested, there are some that stand out as better than the others.
This CAO black camp shower costs around £10 and holds 20-litres (the biggest we’ve found). The Advanced Elements silver shower is a bit smarter with outside pockets and costs between £29 and £38 depending on size (9- or 11-litres).
At Decathlon, you can get a 10-litre Sea to Summit pocket shower that folds ultra-small and has the shower head built into the bag itself for around £18.