Which portable shower is best?
A portable shower is a versatile and highly useful accessory for camping and hiking trips, festivals, days at the beach or for freshening up after outdoor activities. They come in various designs, from high-tech, pressurized storage vessels with hot water to compact, gravity-fed showers that can be set up in a matter of seconds.
When choosing a portable shower, it is important for buyers to think about their needs in terms of weight, capacity, setup time and ease of use vs. the overall quality of the shower it provides. An excellent all-around option is the Nemo Helio Portable Camp Shower. It consists of a foldable storage vessel made from polyurethane-coated polyester and a 7-foot neoprene hose with a compact showerhead. It uses a small foot pump to pressurize the tank and holds enough water for a seven-minute shower.
What to know before you buy a portable shower
Types of shower
There are many different designs of portable showers for different uses. The most basic is a simple head that screws onto a 2-liter water bottle. This style is lightweight and compact but rather unsatisfactory in terms of performance. Gravity camping showers are slightly better and usually involve a durable storage vessel that can be suspended at the desired height and a flexible hose for showering.
A pressurized portable shower is much more satisfying. Some use a foot pump and are still lightweight and compact enough to be carried in a backpack, whereas the most advanced of these require a power supply and have rigid storage vessels that can be attached to a vehicle or a motor home.
How you intend to use a portable shower will determine the type and size you need. For day trips to the beach or for outdoor activities, a compact shower that can quickly be set up and packed away likely will be sufficient. If you need to carry the shower in a backpack, then its overall weight and size when stowed will be important considerations. If you travel with a vehicle, then a larger, heavier showering system with a pump and heater will yield the best results.
Showering in the great outdoors needn’t be a primitive experience, as there are many ways to generate hot water. Some portable showers may incorporate a heater that runs off a vehicle, a battery pack or propane. The drawback, however, is that these tend to be quite bulky and heavy. Lightweight camping showers heat the water through solar energy without the need for any additional equipment.
What to look for in a quality portable shower
The weight of a shower is a key consideration, as this affects how portable it is. Rigid storage vessels are the heaviest and are usually designed to be permanently mounted on a vehicle. Showers with a foldable storage vessel are lightweight and can be stowed away and carried in a backpack. The larger the storage vessel, though, the heavier it will be when filled with water, so buyers also should consider how and where it will be filled and how far the shower will need to be carried when full.
The materials used contribute to the shower’s durability and performance. Rigid storage vessels are usually made from aluminum or plastic, which are both lightweight and corrosion-resistant. Foldable storage vessels need to be rugged enough to survive a few scrapes without puncturing or splitting.
The speed with which a portable shower can be set up and packed away is a key factor. If you expect to stay in one location for several days, then a larger system with a power supply will provide several people with an invigorating, powerful shower. Conversely, If you will be hiking or changing locations frequently, then a simple system with easy setup will be preferable.
How much you can expect to spend on a portable shower
Portable shower prices vary significantly. Compact foldable showers can be found for less than $20. For a shower with a storage vessel and a flexible hose, expect to pay $50-$150. A pressurized shower with a rigid storage tank can be as much as $500.
Portable shower FAQ
How much water does a portable shower use?
A. This depends on whether the shower is pressurized or gravity-fed. Gravity-fed showers generally will use 1 to 2 liters per minute. A pressurized model can easily require double that. Most portable showers hold enough water for one or two showers at a time.
What else can a portable shower be used for?
A. Portable showers have a multitude of uses beyond showering. They are also ideal for any situation where you need a water supply, such as washing dishes, cleaning pets or doing laundry.
What’s the best portable shower to buy?
Top portable shower
What you need to know: This versatile shower is compact and lightweight. It is available in two sizes.
What you’ll love: It has a built-in foot pump for pressurizing the water storage tank and comes with a long, flexible showering hose.
What you should consider: It can be tricky to fill and empty.
Top portable shower for the money
What you need to know: This budget-friendly battery-powered shower uses a miniature pump to supply pressurized water to a handheld showerhead.
What you’ll love: It is designed to be submerged in a bucket of water and can run for 60 minutes on a full charge.
What you should consider: It is impractical for extended use in areas without electricity.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This high-tech showering system has an aluminum storage vessel and is available in three sizes.
What you’ll love: It can be pressurized using a hand pump or an electric one. It has a black powder-coated finish that heats the water via solar energy.
What you should consider: It is relatively heavy and needs to be mounted on a vehicle.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Chris Gillespie writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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