15 Best Solar Showers for the Outdoors | 2020 Buyers Guide

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Anyone who has spent time in the great outdoors knows that there are instances where a great shower does wonders for your comfort and happiness. If you are not sure what a solar shower is or how it works and you love camping, hiking, or anything that has you spending days roughing it outdoors, be sure to check out our article called How Do Solar Showers Work?

Deciding to purchase a portable solar shower can be a huge undertaking. However, choosing the best solar shower for your outdoor adventure needs is never a walk in the woods. This is because you will find different types of portable solar showers in the market.

15 Best Solar Showers for the Outdoors
Image by Joe Kniesek from Pixabay

To be able to pick the best, you will need to determine what your shower requirements are.
Since you have a price range in mind, consider choosing a solar shower with features that make it more user friendly rather than more expensive.

Buyer’s Guide – What to Look For in a Solar Shower

There are many important factors to take into consideration before you buy your first solar shower. Sure, you could buy any solar shower and hope for the best, but to keep from wasting your money on a shower that you end up not wanting or being able to use keep some of the following points in mind. The following points should provide you everything you need to know so you can make an informed purchasing decision regarding these items, right now.

Water Capacity

When you are outdoors and need to get a shower, capacity is everything, especially when you are talking about more than one person. Solar showers come with a wide variety of holding capacities. These range from 1 gallon (5 liters) up to 10 gallons (40 liters) and some even larger.

To know what capacity you need, you will need to figure out what a minimum amount of water you would need in order to take a decent shower and how many people will be using it at one time. This number will vary depending on how much water comes out of the shower per minute. A good rule of thumb is to keep your showers to 5 minutes or less to conserve the water.

Portability and Versatility

Alright, you have the perfect capacity picked out and now what? Well, getting that shower from water source to shower spot can be a real issue if you are not careful. Shower portability features like a carrying handle make a huge impact on lugging that thing around. Keep in mind that a gallon of water weighs over 8 pounds (3.785 kg) thus a 10 gallon solar shower is a thrown out back just waiting to happen.

Oh, and let me not get started on the prospect of lifting that thing above your head to hang it just so you could even use it. Just the act of doing this will definitely have you taking that shower sooner than later. Another aspect of portability is how compact it is when not in use. A lightweight, compact form definitely helps when packing your backpack for those long hiking adventures.

Design

Capacity and portability are figured out now you take a look at the design of the solar shower. You may be asking yourself what I mean by shower design. That is simply whether it is easy to fill up, hanging it, the ability to easily control the water flow and the durability of the solar shower.

Having one that ticks the easy, functional and durable boxes is definitely a preferable choice in my opinion. There would be no point in getting a solar shower that is just going to frustrate you because you can’t figure out how to get the thing working.

Material and Heating Capacity

Next, you need to look for a solar shower that is made from material that is tough, durable, and quick-heating. Since the concept is to have the sun heat the water, the bag is usually thin so the durability of that material is important. You will find that most solar showers have one side that is clear while the opposite side has a dark colored backing.

When you place the solar shower with the clear side facing the sun, the thermal energy (sunlight) passes through and is absorbed by both the water and the dark-colored backing, increasing the heating efficiency. Of course, the other types of solar showers will vary on materials so choose the best one for your situation.

Price

Finally it will all come down to how much it is going to cost.  To put it simply, the more bells and whistles you want on the shower, the higher the price. Is the larger price tag worth it? That all depends on how often you plan to use it each year. Sometimes it is better to spend $20 or $30 for a decent solar shower that may last the year than spending nearly $500 for one that is mounted to your vehicle. There again, you may live on the road and that larger investment is more worth it over the long haul.

Can I Make a DIY Solar Shower?

Of course you can make your own solar shower, but what would you save considering how inexpensive they can be and you don’t have to be a handyman to do it. But, if you are still interested in building yourself one, then be sure to check out the video below. It is one of many tutorials on YouTube showing you how to make your own. 


Now before you go all Tim “The Toolman” Taylor, we recommend taking a look at the 15 different solar showers reviewed below before constructing a homemade version.

In a Hurry? Here is our top pick in each of the review categories below.

Advanced Elements 5-Gallon Solar Shower

Nemo Helio Portable Pressure Shower

Ivation Portable Outdoor Shower, Battery Powered

5 Best Gravity Solar Showers

For those of you looking for an inexpensive entry into solar showers then here is where you will find our picks for the 5 best gravity solar showers. You may be wondering what I mean by gravity showers. This means that it is gravity that is forcing the water through the hose and out of the shower head.

Advanced Elements 5 Gallon Solar Shower

We start off with the Advanced Elements 5 Gallon Solar Shower which is the best option currently available in the gravity solar shower category. This product marks high in durability, large capacity and ease of use.

Capacity: Let’s first look at the 5 gallons of capacity this solar shower holds. This is quite a lot of water when you look at the uses for this shower. It is enough water for between 5 to 7 minutes of continuous shower use, but if you take to turn off the shower when it’s not needed then you can stretch that time out longer. You could have multiple people take quick showers if done correctly.
This solar shower only weighs 1.4 pounds and packs up to about the size of an Ipad so it is an extremely portable option for trekking or boondocking with no modern facilities around. Once filled with water it has a large grip handle for easy carrying from the water source to the campsite.

Design: The design of the solar shower is well done. The best design feature of this shower is in the 4 ply construction, making it very durable. Other great features are the extra-large fill valve which makes filling it a breeze, easy on and off showerhead to conserve water when in use, pocket to store soap and shampoo, straps to hold washcloths. Last, but not least there is a temperature gauge on the shower so you can see how hot the water is before you shower.

Heating Capacity: In terms of heating capacity, you should be able to heat the water to a nice temperature in 3 to 4 hours, as long as you have full sun on the shower and warm ambient temperatures outdoors.

Features

  • 4 layer design with both reflector and insulator panels
  • Shower head with easy on/off switch
  • Extra large filling valve
  • Pocket to hold soap & shampoo
  • Straps to hold washcloths
  • Temperature Gauge

Pros

  • Bag is constructed of durable PVC plastic
  • Built in temperature gauge
  • Extra large filling valve

Cons

  • Length of the hose (only 16 inches long)
  • Shower head tends to come off
  • Shower head is a push/pull nozzle that is hard to adjust with soapy hands

ELECTRFIRE 5 Gallon Solar Shower Bag

Next up we have the Electrfire 5 Gallon Solar Shower which is a better value in price compared to the first solar shower we reviewed. As you would probably guess that by having a lower price point does mean that there are differences between this solar shower and a more expensive model.

Capacity: Like others reviewed on this site, the Electrfire comes in at the 5-gallon mark for water capacity. The solar shower while empty comes in at 1.1 pounds and folds up into a bag that is compact and easy to store in a backpack.

Design: The design is pretty standard for a solar shower. It is made from a single-ply PVC material and does share a lot of the same features as other gravity showers including the storage pocket, temperature gauge, and straps that can be used to hold your washcloths. The one thing that does set this shower apart from the others is the showerhead. The showerhead has an easy to use on/off valve that can be handled even with soapy hands.

Heating Capacity: With direct sunlight, water can reach up to temperatures of 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius) in around 3 hours.

Features

  • Non-slip handle for carrying
  • Mesh pockets to store toiletries
  • No leak water intake valve
  • Lightweight and fold-able design
  • Upgraded shower head

Pros

  • Upgraded nozzle is easy to use
  • Temperature gauge
  • Great for emergency preparedness packs

Cons

  • Hose can leak if not properly secured
  • Length of hose is very short

Outdoor Hygiene 5 Gallon Solar Shower

The Outdoor Hygiene 5 Gallon Solar Shower is the only gravity shower on our list that state they are eco-friendly. The reason they make this claim is that they manufactured the solar shower using TPU Food Grade materials. This means that, unlike other solar showers, you can also use this as a drinking water storage container.

Capacity: This solar shower has a capacity of 5 gallons of water. With an empty weight of 1.21 pounds, it is lightweight and packs down to fit easily in a backpack.

Design: The overall design of this solar shower mimics much of the others listed here in this in review. The difference is in the materials and extras this shower has that the others are missing. Let’s start off with the use of the TPU food-grade material because this really adds another usage that the others can’t compare to and that is being able to use this as a drinking container.

The extra-large water intake is the largest I have seen on these types of showers which means filling and cleaning is a lot easier. The other interesting and unique design feature is the water hose. Not only is it longer than others reviewed, but it is also a quick-release hose with a press and hold shower nozzle. 

Heating Capacity: You can expect for the Outdoor Hygiene Solar Shower to heat the water within the same amount of time as the others. Usually around 3 hours in the heat of the direct sunlight.

Features

  • Heavy duty handle
  • Extra large water intake
  • Quick connect hose
  • Premium quality hose
  • Mesh pocket for storing toiletries
  • Reinforced seams for added durability
  • Press & hold shower nozzle

Pros

  • High quality accessories
  • Food grade materials
  • Upgraded shower nozzle
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Risk of bursting if overfilled
  • Quick release valve can leak

Stearns 4 Gallon Sun Shower

The Stearns Sun Shower is the smallest capacity on this list at just 4 gallons, but is a good, inexpensive option if you are in the market to pick up a solar shower. Even at a lower capacity there is still enough water to take a couple of showers.

Capacity: As I just stated, this solar shower comes in at 4 gallons which means less weight to carry when full, and with it coming in at 1.34 pounds, it is still light enough to carry around on your outdoor adventures.

Design: This one is a bit on the basic side so fancy features will not be found. You will see that the design of the reservoir forces the water to funnel to the hose ensuring that you are able to use all the water in the container. The fill valve is small which means filling is a bit more challenging and cleaning near impossible. 

Heating Capacity: Since it has a smaller capacity, it warms up faster because there is less volume of water to heat so it should only need a couple of hours to be ready.

Features

  • Strong handle to reliably hang the shower
  • Push/Pull shower head
  • Temperature gauge

Pros

  • Small size for easy portability
  • Heats quickly
  • Sturdy handle for hanging

Cons

  • Can leak at the nozzle and cap
  • Short hose
  • Push/pull shower head hard to adjust with soapy hands

Sportneer 5 Gallon Solar Shower Bag

Rounding up our best 5 gravity solar showers we have the Sportneer Solar Shower Bag coming in at a whopping 5 gallons. The features on this solar shower are equal to some of the others we have reviewed.

Capacity: We are back up to the 5-gallon size with this solar shower so you can get back to those long Hollywood showers again. The unfilled weight for this is around 1.2 pounds making it comparable to the others in both weight and portability. 

Design: The Sportneer has a lot of the same features seen in the other bags such as net pocket for storing your toiletries, large water inlet, temperature gauge and push/pull shower head. 

Heating Capacity: It will take around 3 hours to raise the temperature enough for a decent shower.

Features

  • Upgraded shower head
  • Made from durable PVC material
  • Storage pocket to hold toiletries

Pros

  • Excellent customer service
  • Comes with extra hose

Cons

  • Leaks at the cap, connector and shower head at times
  • Handles rips off after some uses
  • Velcro stops working

5 Best Pressurized Solar Showers

For those of you who don’t want the hassle of lifting a 40 pound bag of water over your head, but still want to have the ability to take a shower, a pressurized solar shower could be your solution. These types of showers use air to pressurize the water so it flows out. This is accomplished by an air pump that is attached to the shower to pressurize it. Let’s explore the 5 best pressurized solar showers.

Nemo Helio Portable Pressure Shower

The Nemo Pressure Shower is a great option for users who want to have a versatile and very portable piece of solar gear. Just like other showers you will see in the category, the Helio is pressurized using human power.

Capacity: This shower comes in at just 2 gallons (11 liters) which compared to others in this review is quite small. Something to keep in mind is that even with this small of capacity, because of it being pressurized you will get around 5 to 7 minutes of steady water flow. Also with the shower’s carry weight at only 1.43 pounds and its small pack size, it is a great size to toss in with your camping gear.

Design: The Nemo Helio Portable Pressure Shower is constructed with polyurethane coated polyester and sports a neoprene hose that is almost 7 feet in length. To cap the hose you will find a nozzle that is very much like your kitchen sink sprayer. Attached you will find a small foot pump that is used to pressurize the Helio during use.

Heating Capacity: When placed in direct sunlight, it will warm up the water in about 2 to 3 hours in warm outdoor temperatures.

Features

  • Insulated for heat retention
  • Great water pressure
  • Versatile uses 
  • Light, compact design

Pros

  • Compact and durable design
  • Great water pressure
  • Convenient foot pump to pressurize

Cons

  • Water inlet cap difficult to close properly
  • Can leak around the hose
  • Foot pump can fail

Dr. Prepare Camping Shower

Our next pressure shower is the Dr. Prepare Camping Shower which is also pressurized using a foot pump.

Capacity: This shower comes in at 4 gallons (15 liters) which is plenty of water for showering, washing dishes or even your pet. When packed away, the shower weighs just shy of 2 pounds and its compact size and custom carrying case make it an easy item to bring with you on your outdoor excursions.

Design: The Dr. Prepare Camping Shower is constructed of a durable waterproof PVC material very similar to the majority of the gravity showers we have reviewed in this article. The hose is around 6.5 feet in length, making it easy to reach from head to toe. This also comes with an attached foot pump so you can keep the bag pressurized while your hands are free.

Heating Capacity: Heating of the water will take from 2 to 3 hours in direct sunlight. You can of course speed up the process by adding in some hot water.

Features

  • Foot pump for great water pressure
  • Squeeze type nozzle for easy water control
  • Waterproof material and protective belt for the lid
  • Zipped storage bag
  • Versatile usage

Pros

  • Compact size for travel
  • Great pressure

Cons

  • Sprayer can leak 
  • Pump fills with water and leaks

Giantex Solar Heated Shower

We are taking a step away from portability with this review. The Giantex Solar Heated Shower is a stand up pressurized shower that is used in the backyard or by your pool. 

Capacity: This comes in both a 5.5 gallon and a 9.3 gallon-sized internal tank. This shower is solid and stands at over 7 feet tall so portability is definitely not going to be a strong point for this solar shower.

Design: Overall the Giantex Solar Heated Shower seems to be well made with PVC construction and freestanding design. This shower uses a standard garden hose in order to fill the tank and pressurize the shower. It comes with a rain shower head, adjustable temperature control, and foot shower.

Heating Capacity: Typically heats in around 3 hours in direct sunlight and warm to hot ambient temperatures.

Features

  • Large water capacity
  • Free standing design
  • Easy Refill
  • Easy Assembly

Pros

  • Adjustable temperature gauge
  • Large shower-head
  • Foot shower

Cons

  • Plastic parts can break internally
  • Can leak
  • Needs to be mounted to use

Waterport 3.8 Gallon Self-Pressurized Water Tank

Up next we have the WaterPort 3.8 Gallon Tank. This one is on the list because of the 9 pattern spray nozzle that comes with this product and the fact that it is a pressurized system that can be used as a shower.

Capacity: As stated in the name, it is a 3.8 gallon capacity.

Design: This is made from food-grade polyethylene plastic which means that this can also be used to carry potable water. It does have a carry handle built-in so it can be portable, but it also comes with a mounting bracket for a 2-inch tow hitch for mounting.

This tank also comes with a nice 8-foot hose so you can definitely wash yourself from head to toe easily. In terms of pressurization, you can either use the built-in pump cap or it also has a Schrader valve that will allow you to use bike pumps or compressors.

Heating Capacity: The container is a dark color and insulated so it should heat the water up in a few hours and hold that heat longer than the non-insulated showers in this review.

Features

  • Built in pump cap
  • Large fill cap
  • 8 foot hose
  • Convenient 2 inch tow hitch mount
  • Schrader valve for pressurization
  • Ergonomic handle

Pros

  • 2 inch receiver hitch
  • Durable build quality
  • Portability

Cons

  • No water level indicator
  • Mounts are just on one side
  • Built-in pressure cap is slow to pressurize the tank

Nemo Helio LX Pressure Shower

The last on our pressurized solar shower list is the big brother to the Nemo Helio. The Nemo Helio LX Pressure Shower provides a larger capacity for those looking to do more with your solar shower.

Capacity: The Nemo XL comes in at 5 gallons (22 liters) of water capacity. When packed up for portability, this shower weighs only 2 pounds and is small enough to fit in your camping bag easily.

Design: This shower is designed to sit on the ground and it uses a foot pump that is attached for the water pressurization. It has an extra-wide opening for ease of filling and also cleaning. The hose that is attached is a long 10 feet in length which is a welcomed design for those who need that kind of reach. 

Heating Capacity: Like the others listed, it takes about 3 or more hours of direct sunlight to reach a warm temperature.

Features

  • Hands-free foot pump
  • Extra long hose
  • Insulated for heat retention
  • Great water pressure
  • Versatile uses

Pros

  • Convenient foot pump to pressurize
  • Great water pressure

Cons

  • Cap seal can fail
  • Leaking
  • Foot pump can fill with water

5 Best Water Pump Solar Showers

Our last type of solar shower usually comes in 2 pieces, but provides the greatest ease of showering of the 3 types. The water pump solar shower uses a powered water pump to pull the water from a separate storage container and out of the shower head. It is now time to take a look at our pick of the 5 best water pump solar showers.

Ivation Portable Outdoor Shower

The Ivation Portable Outdoor Shower is a battery powered rechargeable handheld pump. This is compact and extremely portable when you are outdoors.

Capacity: That is up to you since it can work in any sized container you have available. Be it a 5-gallon bucket or a 50-gallon drum.

Design: This water pump is designed with portability in mind. It is rechargeable so you don’t have to be tied to a power outlet to get this to work. Fully charged you can get from 2 to 5 hours of use and takes anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes to charge and you can recharge it using a solar battery charger. The hose is 6.5 feet in length which is plenty to use length to use it effectively.

Features

  • Rechargable
  • Great water pressure
  • Filtration built-in
  • Small form

Pros

  • Hose length
  • Easy to charge
  • Better water efficiency
  • Great during emergency

Cons

  • On/Off switch and USB charge port on the pump
  • On/Off switch can stick
  • Pump can break down

Hike Crew Portable Propane Water Heater & Shower Pump

The Hike Crew Portable Water Heater & Shower Pump uses propane to heat the water and 12V power to run the pump. This system allows you to have nearly on demand hot water to use for your shower or water for some hot cocoa.

Capacity: The water capacity is up to your imagination. This does come with a large carrying bag that you can pack in your vehicle for your outdoor adventures. Without the propane tank the pump comes in at 13.2 pounds which is not too difficult to carry around.

Design: It has a small form design which is helpful and the LCD display is extremely helpful in seeing the water temperature. The set up is simplistic because all you need besides this device is a bucket full of water, a small propane tank, and a compatible power source (RV outlet, generator, car lighter).

Features

  • LCD display
  • Temperature control knob
  • Automatic safety shutoff
  • Compact design

Pros

  • Heats rapidly
  • Carrying Case organizes everything

Cons

  • Setup and Breakdown times are long
  • Reliant on having AC or 12V power
  • Has had issues with errors

Iron Hammer Portable Shower

Next we head back into the rechargable world with the Iron Hammer Portable Camp Shower. This is a battery operated, fully rechargeable portable shower.

Capacity: Based on the size of the container.

Design: This portable shower is a battery-operated submersible water pump. It has 5 feet of hose which is shorter than the Ivation, but it is used to take a shower. It can be recharged using the USB cable and a solar phone charger so it is very portable. Charging time is about 3 hours and it has an indicator light telling you when the power is low.

Features

  • Good for Indoor/Outdoor uses
  • Great warranty
  • Convenient charging
  • Built-in water filtration

Pros

  • Water pressure switch on handle
  • Water shut off valve
  • Holds charge well

Cons

  • USB charging cover could fail
  • Can loose pressure at times
  • Can leak at the handle

Equipt Streamline Portable Camping Shower

The Equipt Streamline Portable Camping Shower is the first we have reviewed that includes a water bucket as part of the package.

Capacity: This comes with a 4-gallon bucket, but you are free to use any container of your choice.

Design: This shower is a battery-operated, rechargeable pump shower. What sets this apart from some of the ones previously reviewed is that the battery is in a separate container that does not get submerged. This is a great feature because there is no risk of water getting inside the electronics which can be a problem. It packs up nicely that it will easily store in your camping gear or even in your vehicle.

Features

  • Easy to Use
  • Versatile usage
  • Included 4 gallon bucket
  • Easily recharged

Pros

  • Battery life is great
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Requires full charge to work properly
  • Bad bucket design
  • Battery case is not waterproof

Portable Outdoor Handheld Camping Shower

Our final review is for the Portable Outdoor Handheld Camping Shower. This is a shower that runs off of a 12V cigarette adapter.

Capacity: Capacity is up to you.

Design: The shower uses a 12V power cable that needs to be plugged into a cigarette adapter or a portable charger with a 12V cigarette adapter plug. The power and on/off switch is separate from the pump mechanism which prevents water damage to the pump’s power. There is a toggle switch on the showerhead that will allow you to adjust the water pressure coming out of the sprinkler head.

Features

  • 12V water pump
  • Compact design
  • Easy to use
  • 6 foot hose
  • Built in filtration

Pros

  • Switch is waterproof
  • Good water pressure
  • No self-contained battery

Cons

  • Shower head leaks
  • Mechanical parts can break
  • Has to have access to 12V power

Conclusion

Whether you are a weekend warrior or a die-hard outdoor enthusiast, having a solar shower in your pack is a must. If you are curious about solar power and would like to learn more then I would suggest starting with our Beginner’s Guides. Be sure to check back to the site often as we are regularly adding new content for our readers.

James Adams

Just a geek with a passion for saving the planet with solar technology...Or at least my little corner of it. Researching tech is something I really enjoy doing so my joy became this website. Hope you enjoy the content!

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