We’ve all had an occasion where a portable shower would be great. Maybe it is getting out of the water after an epic surf session or it’s trying to get the mud off the dogs after a trail hike. I’ve also had a case where the water pump in the RV went out and I really needed a shower!
There are many types available, from gravity bags to pressurized hot water tanks. These are the ones that we considered and you might be surprised who impressed us the most.
The Big Kahuna Portable Shower – it comes in 4.7, 8- and 13-gallon capacities and run $147 - $199 each. There are some things to like about the Big Kahuna, besides its name, like the durability of the product and it works as described. You do need to plug it in to get it to work via 12V plug. Also, it does have an option for hot water, but it’s kind of complicated. You need to fill it with water, put the heater element in, when heated (they recommend a temperature gun to find out temp) you need to take the element out, replace with standard lid and shower. Oh, BTW, you need to keep the heating element somewhere cool so its re-sets itself. For us, this seems more like a construction site shower or maybe at a community campsite. The size of each of the units does not make it very portable or storage friendly and you’re not going to mount it on a car rack.
The RISEPRO Solar Shower Bag - $18.90 The relatively simple portable shower holds 5 gallons and although their version of solar is placing the bag in the sun, it does have a temperature indicator so you know what’s inside. It is gravity flow, so low pressure and it really does not hold very much so it will be a short shower. It’s inexpensive and you’ll get what you pay for with this one. We’d suggest a jug of water would do better. You could use the Malo'o suction cup here to hold the bag to the side of your rig.
Rinse Kit Portable Outdoor Shower - $99.99 - $150.00 – Most everyone has seen one of these at one time or another. They were really big with the surfing scene for a while to rinse your wetsuit. The low-end model of rigid plastic holds 2 gallons and will spray for us to 6 minutes. The key to the Rinse Kit is its hard-plastic center bladder. You fill it with a garden hose and that creates the pressure inside that fuels the shower spray. They also make heater and pump accessories for more pressure. The nozzle head has several settings which is nice. Although it is portable, the kit is sizable and not easily stored. We have 2 dogs, and 2 gallons is just not enough to shower them off. The Lux Soft Tote container is nice, but it still doesn’t collapse. If you have the room and want a durable shower with limited capacity, Rinse Kit will work for you.
Reliance Flow Pro Portable Shower - $32.99 – It holds 2 gallons of water and has a nice cover. It just reminds me of spraying the aphids off the bushes in the backyard. You put water inside, pump the top and spray like you would your bushes. Maybe it would be a little more fun as a couple’s shower, where you take turns washing each other, but for 33 bucks, it works. After showering, you can take care of those pesky pests!
The Geyser System - $220.00 – The is a brand-new solution, it’s just now on Indiegogo and Kickstarter. Basically, it’s a new take on the outdoor shower. They have 1 one-gallon container, that you pressurize by plugging it into a 12v outlet and then instead of a shower head, it feeds a sponge head. Water flows through the sponge/mitt as you use it, and in fact the water is now all in contact with the body and not splashing on the ground. Since it’s not out yet, we have not been able to test it, but seems like it would work for a personal shower but not very good for cleaning the dogs or other gear, it’s also a bit pricy!
The Road Shower 4 – $299.95 – $499.95 If you always have your vehicle with you, this might be for you. It holds 4, 7 or 10 gallons and mounts to your roof gear rack. You can fill it with your garden hose and it pressurizes like the Rinse Kit. This one might fall outside of our “portable” title, but it does go where your car goes and is designed to mount to your car rack. The largest unit holds 10 galls and has 14 minutes of pressurize water. This one screams “Van Life” to us. If you spend a lot of time traveling in your van or car and camp with your vehicle and don’t have room inside, this is a good option. I know most of the Van Life community love tankless water heaters but they need to have a water supply somewhere. Maybe the Road Shower 4 is a good backup.
Nemo Helio LX Portable Pressure Shower - $149.95 - This is a 5.8 g/22-liter monster with great water pressure for 7-10-minute shower. It has a 10’ hose and includes foot pump, spray nozzle and compact carrying case. When packed it is 10” x 6” and 2.4 pounds which makes it very portable. We like that it has a large opening for filling, so hoses work but also a stream or lake. Leave it in the sun and you have the “solar” feature but we think the size and ability to increase pressure with the foot pump while you are showering makes it a winner. There are a lot of knockoffs of this design on Alibaba and others in the $30-$40.00 range but don’t be fooled. The seams on the knockoffs will come apart and the foot pump is usually the first to go. For portability, capacity and utility, this is pretty good.
The Surf Jug - $39.99 – Is about as simple as it gets. 2.6 gallons, fill it and then turn it upside down on yourself. It does have a neoprene cover to keep the water warm inside. Again, more in the personal shower category as I’m not sure the dogs are going to hold still for this one.
WaterPORT Day Tank - $219.96 – It’s a 3.8-gallon shower with 6’ hose and nozzle. It has a large filling cap so you can add ice or fill from the steam or lake or you can pressurize with garden hose. The most interesting part of this set up is how it mounts. It can mount to a trailer hitch, or car rack or even foot rails. It also lifts off so you can take it with you. So, if you want to have your shower with your vehicle most of the time, like the Road Shower 4, this is a good option, as it also unhooks and can be portable.
So, there you have it. These are our top portable showers for you to add to your cool camping gear. So, whether you are going to use this as an RV accessory or part of your fish & game set up and just want to get the salt off of you, you have some choices. Each has its value depending upon whether you need real portability and compactness or pressure and volume, one of the above will fill the job. Once your rinsed, remember your drying rack!
If you have a favorite or want us to add one, please leave comments below.