Portable camping showers

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.

If you can't shower under a waterfall at Cathedral Cove, read on...

Colapz shower

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 £40 or £50 including a collapsible bucket).

The kit has just been resdesigned and now comes with a showerhead, a thumb-trigger spray attachment and a jet nozzle. There’s a charging cord, hanging thingy and instructions – all in a neat carry case.

The pressure is surprisingly good and it’s easy to use. You can use the Colapz bucket, the Colapz utility bags or any standing water (bucket, lake or whatever).

The original version was great but the new one has the advantage that you can turn off the shower from an attached unit that isn’t in the water. The pump section is neater and fits through the hole in the lid of the collapsible buckets. Slightly more bits to connect, but we love it.

Great on this wild camp in the Lakes during Storm Gareth, though. Ask the freezing guinea pig!

Rinsekit

Rinsekit is a nine-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. 

Power showers?

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.

If you’re really in need of a reliable shower, though, we’d choose the Colapz. Neater and well-designed (plus it doesn’t say “More smaler” on the box!).

Karcher portable cleaner

The OC3 portable shower is good for dogs, people, bikes and outdoor gear, though it’s pricey at just under £100.

It’s lithium battery-powered with a low-level indicator. The 4-litre water tank is a bit small and you may need to top up part way through a wash, but the pressure is high and it’s neat. The spiral hose packs away inside. Accessories available too.

Pumped water

Decathlon do their own pressurised (by hand) solar shower with hose and shower head for around £35. Though it only holds 8 litres, you can leave it on the ground rather than having to hang it up.

Garden sprayer?

The Hozelock Portashower is a 7-litre adaptation of a garden sprayer. You’ll get around three minutes of spray and you need to pressurise it by handpumping. At around £30, it might just be good enough for a quick clean-up.

A stand for your shower?

This is the Karcher folding shower stand. It comes with a lance and shower head and you can connect to a garden hose. Could be useful to use with other showers, but we’ll need to check the fittings before we can absolutely recommend it. Let us know if you’ve used one.

Simple solar camping showers

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).

For the ultimate in packability, go for the 10-litre Sea to Summit pocket shower that folds ultra-small and has the shower head built into the bag itself (around £18).

If you want the full bathroom experience, have a look at our guide to camping toilets, which also includes our recommended toilet or utility tents that could double as shower cubicles.

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2 Comments

  1. These are great suggestions! We were originally going to build a shower in our Converted Sprinter Van, but after hearing some horror stories decided against it! This article was perfect to help us figure out what our options are – thank you!

  2. If I was wild camping I think I would park the van next to a river or lake

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