Best Camping Shower for Your Campervan

While nothing quite beats the thrill of taking advantage of the fantastic sources of water around you like lakes, rivers, or waterfalls – from time to time, you just want a good ol’ hot shower. 

A camping shower can make you feel fresh as a daisy after long days on the road, or if you’ve found a local place you want to check out – and freshen up. 

Some people are vehemently pro-camping showers, while others can take it or leave it. If you’re on the fence or are about to take a trip that lacks fresh water along the way – this post is for you. 

Do you (really) need a shower in your campervan?

When you live, work, travel, cook and relax in your van – it’s not somewhere that you can skimp on investments.

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide me income at no cost to you if you decide to purchase a linked product.

While there are some upfront costs on having an indoor or an outdoor shower fitted, the button line is that, like everything in your van, you will get the value from it. 

The cost of the indoor or outdoor camping shower isn’t the only consideration, of course. A lot of the pros and cons for camping shower installation will come down to how you like to travel. For example, if you want to hit the road continuously or for long stretches, a shower is a no-brainer – a camping show at any time is a must. 

But what about those who don’t use the van full-time? Or perhaps only go for short breaks away? In that case, you might be hesitant – but in reality, you are more likely to miss the home comforts that you are used to. The novelty of no shower will soon wear off for lovers of the cities and creature comforts. 

If you typically choose to stay at sites that have top-rated bathroom facilities, then you might figure you don’t need it, but you are limiting your options by doing so. 

Camping showers offer convenience and freedom that lends itself to the van life, so the real question isn’t ‘do I need a shower in my campervan’? It’s ‘which shower suits my needs best?

What are the benefits of a camping shower?

Every item that takes up space in the camper van needs to be fit for purpose and give you plenty of benefits. Being clean as you travel is something that everyone wants – but how you do it might change. Portable camping showers are one of the most popular options, and they have many benefits for the user. 

Environmentally friendly 

Modern camping showers are made from environmentally friendly materials and use very little water and power. Meaning that they are ideal for eco-conscious van lifers. Many use solar energy to warm the water too. 

Installation 

Outdoor camping showers are easy to install anywhere. Designed for travelers who might stop at a campsite, but also those who might prefer to wild camp – they can attach almost anywhere. Built with sturdy handles and rugged materials, they are designed to last trip after trip. 

Simple

Many portable outdoor camping showers are easy to use and come with clear instructions. It means that campers can make the most of their water and their time without fussing over cables, wires, and other parts. 

Hygienic

Aside from keeping you clean while you are on the road, all outdoor camping showers will have features that mean that they are mold resistant and can be easily cleaned. 

In the end, an outdoor portable shower has all of the benefits you can enjoy from your home shower – with the added bonus that it can be folded down and packed away! 

What type of camping shower do I need?

Now that you have established that a camping shower is a must-have, it’s time to consider what type of camping shower you need. There aren’t too many considerations you need to make: 

Water tank

Over time you will become proficient in using less water, but in general, showers use a lot – even when you practice water-saving showering. Is your current campervan water system enough to cope with the extra needs of a camping shower?

How will you heat your water tank?

When the weather is warm, there is nothing better than a cold shower, but if you travel through the colder months – or are planning to live in your van full-time, it’s better to have the ability to warm your water. Look for outdoor portable showers that have solar power or have the possibility to attach a water heater. 

Space

When choosing your shower, you’ll need to think about the space you will put the shower in. Can the rest of your van layout handle it? There are some innovative options that mean you can have an indoor shower that is the size of a drawer! Check out van lifers on Instagram to see some genius uses of space. 

Electric

There are shower options that mean you don’t need electricity, but everything above the basic models will need it. Make sure that your system can cope with the extra demand. 

Once you have all of those questions answered and know what you need, it’s time to choose indoor or outdoor! Both have benefits to them, so you’ll be spoiled for choice. 

Are installed or portable campervan showers better?

The most practical choice for those who are in the middle of a van conversion or are planning on taking longer trips is an installed camping shower. If you spend less time in the van, then you might opt for a portable camping shower. 

One of the bonuses of the portable shower, you can collect rainwater or other freshwater if you want to. Aside from being small and easy to store, the portable shower is cheaper – but it doesn’t have the water pressure of an installed indoor or outdoor shower. 

Installed indoor showers offer privacy and ease of use, which often means they are the preference, but you will need a separate waterproof space, drainage, and water heater tank. 

The outdoor portable camping shower isn’t ideal when you are trying to shower in busy areas with lots of people, but it is excellent if you are off the beaten path. 

Are there different outdoor camping shower options?

There are many outdoor and portable shower options for campers who are concerned about saving space and hoping to have the best of both worlds. 

Portable hot water systems

Many of the perks of an indoor shower, but will portability is the portable hot water system. Mobile hot water systems offer high-pressured, long-lasting, and warm showers. They rely on 12v power to work but are budget-friendly. An investment that is worth it. 

Solar shower

Using what nature provides to heat the water up using sunlight and filters to filter almost any body of water. Giving a warm source of water but a considerable saving on space. The downside is that if you travel outside on warmer days, you won’t be getting warm water. 

USB/12V Shower

The onboard power source is used to pump water via the shower head in these external showers. Some types may also be capable of heating water, albeit their efficacy may be restricted.

Outdoor shower options for your campervan

Here are our top picks for the best outdoor shower options. 

Innhom Portable Shower for Camping

One of the most simple outdoor shower options. An electrical pump shower that works directly from the vehicle battery, or you can use the rechargeable battery that is supplied. A great feature of this shower is that you can put the filter in any water source, and it will clean and heat the water for you. 

Top Features

  • 6-foot hose length
  • 300 shower guarantee
  • 45 minutes of use per time 

Pressurized Portable Shower

For those who like to pack light and not overload the van with too many extra items, this portable pressurized shower is ideal. You don’t need to hook this portable shower up to any electrics. Add water, use the pump, and you’ll be clean in no time. 

Top Features

  • Holds 2 gallons of water
  • Works with hot and cold water
  • An easy-to-use valve that maintains the water pressure

Camperig Portable Outdoor Shower

The Camperig Portable Outdoor Shower comes with a filter and pump that can be placed in any water. It comes with a lot of ties and attachments so that you can attach it anywhere. A huge positive is that it has a bunch of different water pressure options. 

Top Features

  • Waterproof electrical components
  • It can be totally disassembled to remain lightweight
  • Many rechargeable options

Camplux 5l 1.32 GPM Outdoor Portable Propane Tankless Water Heater

The Camplux Tankless Water Heater is one of the highest recommended camping showers for those who would prefer not to rely on the vans for water. Although you don’t need electricity, you do need propane hookup or LP gas to heat the water. Unlike some of the other models, this one comes with many different safety features. 

Top Features

  • Has energy-saving technology
  • Easy to install and use
  • Low water pressure protection 

OYOOQO 5 Gallons Portable Outdoor Camping Shower

The OYOOQO 5 Gallon Portable Outdoor Camping Shower is perfect for people who are avid campers but don’t want to commit to an indoor installed shower. It holds a lot of water, and not only that, it has ten different outlet modes and is battery-powered. The installation for this device is straightforward and has varying pressure levels. 

Top Features

  • Long-lasting battery
  • 7 feet of range
  • 90-watt pressurized component to provide 

Nemo Helio Portable Pressure Camp Shower

The Nemo Helio has an innovative, award-winning pressure system that filters and has moderate pressure. The water is controlled with a foot pump; the solar-powered unit absorbs sunlight and heats the water inside. 

If you have a kettle, you can put hot water directly inside the unit if you would prefer to shower at speed. 

Top Features

  • It comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Holds 3 gallons of water
  • The foot pump offers 7 minutes of shower time

FeChiX Solar Shower Bag Portable Camping Shower

The FeChiX offers an adjustable pressure, makes it easy to control the flow of the water, and is designed to be a very durable option. The outer materials are covered in an environmentally friendly plastic that not only keeps your water clean and hygienic but also keeps hazardous contaminants out of the camping area. A filtration system absorbs water from any source and generates clean, hot water for up to an hour at a time.

Top Features

  • Budget-friendly 
  • Adjustable pressure
  • Reinforced handle for easy hanging

PGYFIS Solar Shower Bag Camping Shower

Another one in the affordable range is the PGYFIS; this simple-to-use shower bag holds up to 5 gallons of water, has a leak-proof handle, and is a reinforced bag. What makes this one a great option is that it is designed for lightweight travel. 

The solar shower bag, as the name suggests, uses solar energy to heat the water, and the plastic tube fits into any water – to give you a comfortable, warm outdoor shower. 

Top Features

  • Filters well in any type of water
  • The water heats up very quickly
  • The bag has storage pockets

Ivation Portable Outdoor Shower

A battery-operated portable shower that is designed to be super simple, light, and minimalist. The rechargeable showerhead and filter offer steady hot water that can last for hours. The very compact design means that you can carry it with you or store it away, even in a van that doesn’t have a lot of space. 

This portable outdoor shower option has a USB charger, so you can use a different power source if you need to. 

Top Features

  • Powerful enough to filter several gallons at a time
  • Suction cup to attach to many surfaces
  • Charges via USB or a car battery

VIGLT Portable Shower Bag for Camping

If you want to have an outdoor shower that is military-grade, the VIGLT is the one for you. It’s designed with functionality and durability in mind. Sunny days will offer a comfortable flow of warm water. When folded down, it takes up as little as a few inches. 

Top Features

  • Very sturdy vinyl material
  • No pressure loss between bag and nozzle
  • Strong hanger to hang up the bag anywhere

RoadShower

The RoadShower is attached to the top of your trailer or vehicle and heats up using the sun’s rays. This outdoor shower can work with either the electric pump or hand pump – so that you can control the pressure. The RoadShower also has a large top cap so you can fill up the unit easily and quickly – as well as a garden hose adaptor. 

The small RoadShower holds 3 gallons, and the large one is over 5 gallons. 

Top Features

  • Comes with a stick-on thermometer to check the temperature
  • Two water outlets at either end
  • Locks to the roof rack

Advanced Elements Solar Shower

If you are on a tight budget and still want to have an outdoor shower, then this is one of the best for the price. Using solar energy will heat the water inside; it has a large handle to make it easy to hang. Despite its size, the Advanced Elements Solar Shower holds 5 gallons, but one common complaint is that the showerhead is on the small side too. 

Top Features

  • 4-layered construction for durability
  • Extra-large valve for quick filling
  • Easy on/off shower head

Riigoo Portable Camping Shower

If you like to keep your shower time short and sweet, then the Riigoo Portable Camping Shower is one of the best options. It is a USB portable electric water pump with a shower head. While the unit is minimalist, you can get 45 minutes of continuous flow once it is fully charged. The downside here is there is no heating component. 

Top Features

  • Custom LED lighting
  • The pump and filter work simultaneously 
  • Very lightweight 

Zodi Outback Shower

Unlike many of the others on the list, with the Zodi Outback Shower, the 18l container goes on top of the stove or even next to a campfire. You create water pressure from the hand pump and hoop the 6ft shower hose anywhere you like. 

The stainless steel design means this unit is very robust, but it does mean it is a little heavier than some of the other models. 

Top Features

  • Good for longer trips
  • Very robust 
  • Simple 

Rinse Kit Pod

One of the most highly-rated ultra-portable hot water outdoor showers. Designed for ease of use and functionality, the RinseKit POD holds 1.75 gallons of water, fills up quickly from a hose or a sink, and is compatible with pump and heater accessories. 

Top Features

  • Pressurized spray for 3.5 minutes
  • Quick fill from a spigot
  • Ultra-portable

How do outdoor camping showers work?

Camping shower arrangements range from simple watering cans strung from a tree limb to more elaborate vehicle-mounted, battery-powered showers. The majority of these configurations will have a showerhead, tubing, and a water container. A propane cylinder gas tank and a water pump are standard features of heated mobile camping showers.

You’ll have the showerhead and the bag up and follow the product instructions to get warm water. 

Do I need to prepare the soil for drainage? 

When deciding where to put your shower at your campground, consider the grade of the land and pitch your shower downhill from the rest of your site. Water discharge is therefore steered away from your other camping items. 

Avoid putting your shower on plain soil since it will rapidly turn to mud and negate the purpose of cleaning up. Instead, look for sandy terrain or land with grass and leaves.

To comply with the requests for proper water disposal, you should consider a wash to capture the water. The run-off is known as grey water, and even when at a campsite that doesn’t have rules about the grey water, being respectful of the location is a must. 

MUQU Foldable Collapsible Washing Up Bowl

To prevent your soaps, shampoos, and other things from leaking into the environment, use a washing-up bowl to capture the water so that you can safely dispose of it. 

Are there different indoor camping shower options?

Aside from a range of product options, there are a few options for the type of indoor campaign shower that you can choose. 

Retractable

Suppose space is a concern; a retractable internal campervan can be a great option. When the shower is not in use, it retracts away. You will still have a subtle drain, a shower screen, or a curtain. A retractable indoor shower in the campervan is a budget-friendly option for those who wish to have the benefits of an indoor shower – without compromising on the space in the rest of the camper. If you choose this option, keep an eye on moisture levels, and ensure you have good drainage ventilation and sealants. 

Fully enclosed

For those who have no issue with giving up some space in the camper for the luxury of a private shower, then a fully-enclosed shower is as close as you can get to a home shower. It is a permanent fixture and there whenever you need it. 

You’ll need to dedicate about 8 square feet of space available and enough headroom so that you can comfortably stand. 

Indoor shower options

Installed indoor showers are a more robust and long-term solution to the topic of showering in private when traveling. Keep in mind you’ll need an onboard water system. The indoor shower is often a DIY project.

However, there are other options to make indoor showering a possibility. 

Tiled wall & Nebia Shower Head

If you spend days or weeks or are full-time van lifers, then you will need a dedicated space for showering. A tiled wall can offer a simple way to deal with water splashing. Installing a Nebia Shower Head means you’ll use less water too. 

Having the floor, wall of the van, and a half wall to prevent splashing creates the illusion of a much larger space but also protects your space from damage. 

Top features

  • The shower head provides 2x regular coverage
  • Spray technology for effective showers
  • Reduces water usage

Shower in a drawer

If there is one thing that van lifers are good at, it is making the most of any space that they have. With any of the drawers already in the van, waterproof and treat the inside and outside. Attache some hooks or pegs so that you can slip a shower curtain in it, and make sure all the water is directed into the drawer. Use one of the recommended outdoor showers mentioned above, and you have an indoor shower – without the fuss. 

Once you’re finished, you dry everything down and pack it away. 

Bench shower

Most campervans have some form of a bench, and usually, they are used for storage. However, you can make your bench more useful by fitting a waterproof base (shower pan), shower curtain, and even the rest of the shower in there. 

What can I do to increase the privacy and comfort of an outdoor shower?

Outdooring showering can be one of the most luxurious showers you’ll ever have; here are some products that can make your outdoor camping shower even more enjoyable. 

Bamboo Floor Mat 

A bamboo floor mat can serve a few purposes; the main one is that you can clean your feet properly, and if the weather is excellent, you can stand for a moment while you drip dry. 

You can step off the bamboo floor mat straight into your shower slides or flip-flops and not worry about muddy feet. 

Top Features

  • Easy to clean
  • Mold resistant
  • Portable 

Room divider

There are several ways that you can take a little bit of cover from prying eyes or simply give yourself a little bit of space. A room divider is easy to store, and, most importantly,  can be used at other times during your travel. 

Top Features

  • Easy to store away
  • Lightweight
  • Multifunctions

Portable camping shower tent

The portable camping tent is multi-function and can be used as a toilet cover, a dressing room, or a shower space. This HUVE portable privacy shower tent blocks UV rays and folds down into a small bag for easy storage. 

Top Features

  • Portable carry bag
  • Blocks 95% UV rays
  • Easy setup

MOSTOP Waterproof Lamps

After a long day, the last thing you might want to do is have a shower in the dark. Or, for those who like to be up before the sun, these MOSTOP waterproof outdoor lamps are great for offering an outdoor shower with some light. 

Top Features

  • Magnetic
  • Rechargeable
  • Three light modes

That’s a wrap

Outdoor and indoor portable camping showers offer people who spend days, weeks, months, or even years on the road the ability to have a much-needed shower when they want it the most. Each of the shower options has a variety of features, so there is something to suit every type of vanner. 

The answer to the question do you really need a camping shower is a firm ‘yes,’ (or at least some way to keep clean on the road!). All you need to do is choose the one that suits your lifestyle best. 

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