Heading towards a camping means a few days of survival training, sweating and getting in touch with dirt. The toil of the outdoors may leave you craving for a refreshing hot bath. While this is an easy-peasy at home, it will be a mere wishful thinking out in the woods. A shower, that too warm, who’s going to arrange that outside of the home, right? The best solar shower can do exactly that for you.
Some savages among us can go days without a shower. I hope you’re not among them. Washing those putrid pits and dirt out of body will let you feel humane. But the water isn’t available all the time, or you might be too reluctant to jump on an ice-cold creek. Not only the solar shower bags are portable, they contain a significant amount of water and keep them heater under moderate sunlight.
What Is A Solar Shower
More often than not, you’ll feel the urge to have a warm bath out in the woods. You thought it won’t be possible without spending a significant amount of time and fuel, let alone enjoying a real shower. A solar-powered shower is a device that was made to address the problem of the travelers.
It contains a great amount of water, most often 5 gallons or 19 liters. While you are busy making a fire for cooking or simply enjoying the nature, these bags do their work. Best solar showers can warm up the water up to 50 degrees Celsius within 1-2 hours. You don’t even check it every 15 minutes, just come back whenever you need a steamy bath.
How Does A Solar Shower Work?
There are two types of solar shower, fixed and portable. The fixed ones are used by installing them on the wall or as a standalone on the ground. It’s the portable ones that come with amazing expediency and flexibility.
Fixed showers often come with a water heater solar panel along with a container. There are two main parts of a portable solar shower. A container where the water is stored and a showerhead. The solar shower bag is a user-friendly product and comes in dark color. The dark color helps absorb sun rays better. The shower head is attached to a hose, and the pressure of the water keeps the water flow rather imposing.
Usually, a regular shower uses around 2.5 gallons of water per minute. Which means a portable solar shower bag of 5 gallons will run out if you let it flow continuously for 2 minutes. This is where you need to be careful.
A standing solar shower on the other hand stores 10/15 gallons of water, facilitating a 10 minutes shower. But remember, the next guy would have to wait for an hour to get warm water.
How Long Does It Take To Heat Up The Water?
You have filled out the bag and kept it in an open place where sunlight can reach it. How long will the heating take? There’s no fixed answer, as that depends on several factors. The initial temperature of the water, ambient temperature and how clear the sky is, these are the factors that play a role.
Obviously, the best scenario will be normal water, a warm day and the sun glazing in full force. In the winter, it might take a while. But in the summer, you can expect the water to be bath-ready in 1-2 hours.
Our suggestion is, don’t come filling up the bag at the last moment. Fill it up in the morning, put it under the sun and go for your regular work. With a little patience and planning, you can enjoy a hot bath without disappointment.
Where Can You Hang The Solar Shower?
Obviously, you’re not thinking of holding it by your hands, or any others, right? Contrary to the popular belief, water is a pretty hefty thing. A gallon of water accumulates for 8.5 pounds, which means those 5 gallons water bags will be 50 pounds heavy.
Solar water shower bag works like a regular shower. You hang it somewhere, and the water flows through the tube and comes out like traditional showerheads. Which means you have to hang it higher and someplace that can withstand its weight. Usually, any old pole or a strong tree branch will do the trick.
Can You Use The Water For Drinking?
The structure of a solar shower may appeal many of us to use it as a water container. Where there are additional uses of solar shower bag, like cleaning dishes, drinking water isn’t one of them in most cases.
As a basic rule, you should read the manual if it suggests against storing drinking water. Even if you are certain that the material a bag is made is non-toxic, you shouldn’t store water in it unless you are completely assured about the water. Also, a solar shower isn’t meant to be a water filter, it will just heat the water up, not boil it. Do not use it to pasteurize your drinking water.
How To Dry And Clean A Solar Powered Shower Bag?
Most likely, there isn’t any other substance going to go inside of the bag instead of water, so the cleaning should not be much hassle. For cleaning, put some water into the bag and let it get warm. Do not fill it up because you’ll have to rush the water inside. After getting warm, add some soap, clean it and rinse thoroughly.
The drying process is also simple. Hang the bag upside down with the valves open. After a while, all the water should drain out. Keep it hanging under the sun so that the inside dries properly.
Is There Any Chance Of Mold Forming Inside?
Solar shower bags aren’t something you use very often, especially when you’re staying home. During this time, proper storage is important. Many of you might wonder if there will be alarming issues like forming mold. Sadly, the answer is yes, but that comes with a catch.
The relation of forming mold is with moisture, humidity. If your solar shower bag is wet inside when stored, not the only mold will form, but also a bad smell will emit from inside. To prevent that, wash the bag properly as described above, and make sure the inside is dry before storing. Finally, avoid storing it in damp places, keep it somewhere dry.
Best Solar Shower Buying Guide
According to Home Water Works, an average American uses 17.2 gallons of water during a shower, which takes almost 8 minutes on average. Obviously, you cannot have that kind of shower during camping.
Camping, picnic or RVing usually include lots of loads, as you’re going to live without the comfort of home for a few days. If you are sure about the weight capacity you can carry, you’ll be able to determine the capacity of your intended solar shower bag. Even 2-3 gallons of water is enough for someone careful not to waste water. However, most of the bags come slightly larger than that, i.e. 5 gallons. They can get a little heavy, but the bags are pretty secure against wearing and tearing.
If the place you intend to go has natural water resources, you can just take the bag and fill out the water from the source. If you’re sure about the place you’re going to visit all the time, a larger bag won’t hurt.
While solar shower bag is an effective tool to have a warm bath, you shouldn’t expect heating like the heaters installed in your home. Solar bags are supposed to increase the temperature of the water by a few degrees, which should suffice to have a relaxing bath.
Also, portable solar showers don’t come with solar panels. They use a rather simpler method, a bag made of insulating materials. The materials retain the heat received from solar power to gradually increase the water temperature. In an ideal scenario, it should take from one hour to several hours depending on the solar shower model.
However, some models eliminate the guessing game. They come with a transparent body and a built-in thermometer to show the contemporary temperature of the water and how much water is left. When you are satisfied with the temperature reached, hop under the shower.
Additional Storage Options
You’re taking a bath in the middle of the woods, but that doesn’t mean you should leave your little luxuries out of the equation. Some solar heated outdoor showers come with mesh lining on the outside, so that you can store toothbrush, gel, shampoo even a scrubber. The additional storage will help to keep them all in a place and you won’t have to pry every time you need them.
This is another feature to look into. As solar showers are mainly intended to use outside of the home, they have to be portable. Any awkward design won’t blend in with your goods well and at the end, the hassle will outperform comfort. Quality solar shower bags usually come in backpack size which is easy to carry, some even come with an additional handle to help carry them.
Most of the bags are made of plastic, but this is durable, wear-resistant plastic we’re talking about. They usually go for a long time and do a good job retaining the water.
A quality solar shower bag should come with tear-resistant fabric or plastic and double stitched so that it can withstand some abuse. The product won’t feel thin on the hands. Also, pay close attention to the seams. Double welded reinforced seams tend to last longer.
Then there is the installation. People who usually go camping alone might find it difficult to install a heavier bag. Sometimes it might need 2 people, which is certainly not possible if you go alone. In these times a lighter solar heated shower bag will come handy.
Quality solar shower bags come with twist cap on top instead of shut and zip feature, which is a good addition as that securely retains the water and decreases the chance of leakage. The bigger the cap the quicker it will be to fill it.
Nozzles are the path the water comes. Having a nozzle difficult to operate will ruin the wonderful showering experience. That’s why, make sure the nozzle comes with easy on/off options, preferably with a twist key. The water you get from a shower bag is scarce and you don’t want to waste time trying to shut down the water flow. A twistable and easy reaching key will make the work easy for you.
Also, the nozzle should be extendable. You will probably be hanging the solar shower bag on a tree branch or a pole, an extendable nozzle will help set the shower head right upon your body.
This is purely an additional feature, but a nice one to have. We’re not talking about nozzles here, we’re talking about shower heads that can control the flow of the water. Sure, nozzles can control the turning on/off feature, but if controlling the flow will save up much of your hard water.
Some solar shower comes with a ball valve to control the flow. When the valve is fully open, the water will come out in full force. However, you should open the valve bit by bit to control the flow from the start.
If you don’t get desired flow with the ball valve fully open, you should check if there’s any clog hindering the flow. If there’s no clog and you are yet to be satisfied with the flow, changing the shower head will yield better performance.
This is one key preference for campers and travelers. There are some water bags that can fold, there are some that can be rolled. Either of them is good, as long as the size shrinks to tuck them nicely on your backpack. However, the one you don’t want to have is non-collapsible shower bag. They’ll take away unnecessary space when you still have lots of important things to pack.
The price depends on many things, the capacity of the shower, the materials used, how fast it can heat the water and additional features like carrying handle, thermometer. However, if you are on a tight budget, you should prioritize your choices, and the capacity and durability will come first.
There isn’t much difference between high-end shower bags and cheap ones. If you have some extra bucks to spare, always go for products from reputed brands. They come with better after-sales service. And they’re going to be more cost-effective in the long run.
Best Solar Shower Comparison Chart
|Advanced Elements 5 Gallon||20 x 6 x 2 inches||1.25 pounds||5 gallons||Strong and Durable, 4 Layer Construction, Temperature Gauge|
|Coleman Solar Shower||8.7 x 6.5 x 2.2 inches||8.8 ounces||5 gallons||Cheap, Lightweight, Fast Heating|
|Sportneer Solar Camping Shower||11.8 x 5.9 x 2.8 inches||1.2 pounds||5 gallons||Robust Structure, See Through Back, Solar Panel.|
|Advanced Elements 3 Gallon||18 x 6 x 2 inches||12 ounces||3 gallons||Compact, 4 Layer Construction, Temperature Gauge, Solar Panel.|
|NEMO Helio||8.5 x 5.5 inches||1 pounds 6 ounces||3 gallons||Usable on Ground, Multiple Use, Quality Foot Pedal.|
|15.7 x 5.9 inches||1.2 pounds||5 gallons||2in1 Shower and Dry Bag, Additional Rope, Transparent Back.|
|Green Elephant Pop Up Utilitent||6’ 10.7” height x 3’ 11” width x 3’ 11” length||5.5 pounds||Not applicable||Ergonomic Camping Tent, Additional Storage and Hangers, Highly Popular.|
Best Solar Shower Reviews
1. Advanced Elements 5 Gallon Summer Shower
With an impressive rating and hundreds of positive user reviews under its belt, we consider it the best solar shower for camping. This is not just a bag full of water, it takes the technology of solar shower up a notch. First of all, the huge 5-gallon capacity is plenty for your outdoor shower.
The cap on top of the bag is a screw type one, so there’s little chance of countering leakage problem like many other cheap models on the market. The handle is a convenient one, which snaps shut when pulled out. It evenly distributed the weight and let the solar bag stay level when hanged.
This solar shower bag is made to work quite simply. Just leave it under the sun. The insulation panels and reflective panel material works faster than traditional solar shower bags. However, don’t just expect miracles, but it’ll certainly convert those chilly waters temperature up to some degrees. There is a thermometer attached to the bag to eliminate uncertainty, you can monitor the temperature and hop under the shower when you see fit.
What I like most though, is the side pocket to stash additional items. You can keep shampoo, loofah, and soap to reach them easily when bathing. You can use the Velcro straps coming with the bag to keep your wet clothes. Operating is very easy, just turn on/off the switch. However, it doesn’t have a mechanism to control the water flow.
What We Like
- At 1.25 pounds, this is a lightweight solar shower bag. This is portable and the handle makes sure you can carry it easily. Without any water, the bag can be rolled easily, slipped into your backpack.
- The water leakage is not an option with a tight twisting cap at the top. The 4-ply construction makes the shower bag sturdy and durable. This isn’t just some cheap plastic, you’ll find it dependable when you take it on the hands. The construction allows the bag go for a few seasons even with some rough use.
- The hose is expediently 1.5 feet long. The temperature gauge helps stay you out of the dark. You can leave the bag under the sun, go to your work and check the temperature once in a while. With a 1-year warranty, you can rest assured having a good after sales deal.
What Could Be Better
- There isn’t any valve to control the flow of the water. However, after 2-3 rounds of bathing, you’ll find a balance in using that on/off button more efficiently.
2. Coleman 5-Gallon Solar Shower
When it comes to affordability and effectiveness combined, no other model can beat Coleman 5-Gallon Solar Shower. This one has been proudly popular on the market for quite some time now. With 5-gallons capacity, a rather careful person can go double rounds of the shower out in the woods.
You can fill up bag up any way you see fit, be it under a water hose, or submerging the bag into a water source. Once the filling is done, you can hang the bag by putting the clear side towards the sun. Depending on how the glazing the sun is, it can take from 1 to 3 hours to warm up the water.
The bag comes with a handle, thus easy to carry around. The handle also aids in hanging the shower bag from anyplace higher. The solar shower bag comes with a fairly long nozzle and a shower head attached to it.
The Coleman solar shower reviews are full of praise. It comes with a durable finish, so you can drag it anywhere you want. At such a cheap price, the material used and the heat-trapping capacity is impressive. Although the filling cap comes slightly undersized, the bladder being 22.5 inches by 18.5 inches wide compensates for that.
What We Like
- Despite being cheap in price, this one doesn’t fall short in heating capability. It heats the water up fairly faster. Under a full sun, the temperature might rise up to 20 degrees.
- With 5 gallons of capacity, you’ll be able to shower 2-3 times if you use the water carefully. Even better, on a camping trip, several people can use it without having to wait for 1-3 hours to get warm water. This bag is designed to hold water up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The price is very cheap. Yet it is constructed of heat locking material that works quite well even in a relatively cooler day. The handle is suitable and sturdy to carry the bag, hang it anywhere. Easy to assemble, the on/off valve helps to control the use of valuable water.
What Could Be Better
- Some users were somewhat disgruntled with the quality of the cap. It’s small and it tends to loosen up sometimes. This might not be the issue with your purchased one. Also, the bag doesn’t come with any temperature valve.
3. Sportneer Solar Camping Shower Bag
Sportneer solar camping shower bag is one of the best solar shower bags on the market. Its durable, lightweight and fairly affordable. The bag is made of durable PVC material, so can take one or two abuses during camping trips. The material is known to be non-toxic and eco-friendly, that’s something we can cheer for.
The construction of this bag is a state of art. The strong strapped handle is cushioned and distributes the weight of the bag evenly when hanged. Large filling valve helps to refill the bag in a zippy. The bag is equipped with a hose and shower head, which accumulates to 1.5 feet length. The front pocket of this bag is designed to keep soap, shampoo, loofah even a mirror, you know, in case you need it.
There is a Velcro strap to attach the shower head to the bag. The shower head is designed to ensure steady water flow, which is something exceptional comparing traditional shower bags. The 5-gallon bag provides a steady flow of water for 6.5 minutes. With the on-off valve, you can extend the time and facilitate several bathing sessions.
This outdoor solar shower comes with dimensions of 11.8 x 5.9 x 2.8 inches. The bag weighs only 1.2 pounds when empty. You can fill it up from home or you can roll over the bag and tuck it within your gears. It comes with a compact mesh carrying-bag of its own to help carry and space-saving storage.
What We Like
- The Sportneer solar shower bag comes with see-through back. You can actually see how much water is remaining. This is particularly helpful when aiming several shower sessions. The army-green color the bag comes with looks good and blends with the surroundings easily.
- This is one of those few solar shower bags that come with a solar panel for quick heating. The temperature gauge helps to determine the temperature the water’s currently at. You don’t have to play the guessing game, just check the gauge and decide whether the temperature is good to go.
- Sportneer has been very active and helpful when it comes to customer experience. Upon your dissatisfaction, they claim to get back to you within 24 hours. With 30 days money back guarantee and 1-year warranty, you should have your after sales service pretty much covered.
What Could Be Better
- Some users weren’t content with the quality of nozzle it comes with. However, if that’s the case, you will find the after-sales service useful.
4. Advanced Elements Summer Solar Shower - 3 Gallon
Tired of seeing all 5 gallons bag on the market, and want something more compact, fitting for singular bathing experience? Well, Advanced Elements Summer Solar 3 Gallon Shower can be the answer for you. This is a portable, compact, backpack-like solar shower bag. With careful use, you can use this for more than one shower.
This bag comes with everything a premium solar shower bag should come. The temperature gauge is something that puts the stress of waiting out of your mind. The twist cap on top of the bag is secure, big enough to fill the bag within minutes. The rubber carrying handle is strong enough the stand and distributes the weight evenly.
This Advanced Elements Solar Shower very lightweight, only 12 ounces when empty. The bag is made of 4 layers. A reflector layer, an insulator layer, a solar panel and finally the rip-stop fabric. Not only this construction makes the bag durable for several seasons, this facilitates in quicker heating of the water.
The front mesh pocket is something that’ll help you keep your little luxuries tucked into. The nozzle is strong and comes with a showerhead. The shower head can be pulled easily to on/off the water flow.
What We Like
- This one here is a portable solar shower bag for outdoors, picnic, camping, hiking anywhere you want to go away for a few days. This bag can be rolled nicely and tucked into your backpack.
- It can be suitable for those who find the 5 gallons version cumbersome. The manufacturer offers a 1-year warranty, which resembles their confidence in the product. The 4-ply construction makes sure the water is warm enough within 1-3 hours. The suitable hanger type handle lets you hang it on the tree.
- The product holds a high rating on Amazon, along with hundreds of positive reviews. My take is users found its portability and rip-stop durable fabric really useful. Also, the 1.5 feet hose it comes with allows the users stand right under or a little apart, whichever they prefer.
What Could Be Better
- Some users found it a bit excessive considering the capacity. But a highly rated portable shower bag with every important feature, the price doesn’t seem unmerited.
NEMO Helio Portable Pressure Shower with Foot Pump
The NEMO Helio Portable Pressure Shower belongs to the higher price tier among solar shower bags and justifiably so. Unlike other portable showers, you neither have to find a tree branch to hang it nor need to person 2 lift that. This 3-gallon shower doesn’t use gravity to splash water on your head.
Rather, this outdoor solar shower comes with a foot pedal that creates pressure to divert the flow of water upwards. Believe me, it’s fun. The foot pedal is made in a way that even if you don’t stop pumping, the bladder won’t get too much inflated. The seven-foot hose makes sure you get 5-7 minutes of steady water supply.
The tank of the Nemo Helio shower comes with 11 liters of capacity and uses sunlight to heat the water. The tube is insulated and made of high-quality materials that can keep the water warm for hours, so bath on your own time. There is a side clip that keeps the nozzle and shower head attached when not in use. This way they stay out of the way when not used, yet ready to use when needed.
The shower bag comes with a dimension of 17 x 8.5 inches when full. While folded, the compacted carrying case retains the size within 8.5 x 5.5 inches. With 1 pound 6 ounces, this is the best portable solar shower, and as lightweight as a high-end shower can get.
What We Like
- This shower bag doesn’t need to be hanged of lifted to a higher place, which will come useful especially when you are on a solo journey. Also, this awesome feature gives you the freedom to go places without having to worry about suitable tree branches.
- The water bag was designed not just to rinse dirt from your body. It was made keeping many more applications in mind. The good water pressure and allows washing dishes, bathing your pet, watering plants and even rinse of clothes, gears.
- The Nemo Helio shower reviews are impressive. The shower head ensures uninterrupted water flow, just like the one at home. The material used is durable, and ready to cope with some of the abuses of a long trail. The convenient design and versatile applications made it ideal for camping, picnic, backpacking, festivals, and rafting trips.
What Could Be Better
- It’s more like a reminder instead of a con. You shouldn’t open the bag under pressure. No, that it’ll hurt you, but it’ll make a mess.
6. Green Elephant 2-in-1 Solar Shower Dry Bag
When you are heading towards the wilderness, make sure you are ready for everything. Green Elephant 2-in-1 Solar Shower Dry Bag is something that is comparatively newer on the arena, it has already won the trust of many. The 4.5+ ratings on Amazon don’t say wrong, after all, it was rated by the users like us, right?
This solar hot shower is a multipurpose 2 in 1 bag. Which means not only it will hold water without any leak for your bathing sessions, it won’t let any water leak when used as a storage bag for your gears. Yes, you heard it right, this is both solar shower bag and dry storage bag at the same time. After the shower, just flip the bag inside out, and use it as a storage bag. The see-through window helps you to take a quick look inside.
The handle is flexible enough for comfort, yet strong to carry the loads. The bag is only 1.2 pounds in weight. Save space and money in the outdoors, as the back shrinks to 15.7 x 5.9 inches. The nozzle comes with a superior shower head that can be rotated to on/off the water flow.
What We Like
- The bag comes with an amazing build quality and superior strength, being the best camping solar shower. The dense PVC and safe roll-top keep bag are impervious when to need it dry and leakproof when filled with water.
- This shower bag lets you enjoy a warm shower anywhere, anytime. Given 1-3 hours’ time, the temperature reaches to a comfortable, warm temperature. With 5 gallons of water reserve and a moderate nozzle flow, you can get an uninterrupted 5 minutes water stream.
- This product comes with a 16’5” inches rope, which is completely free. The rope helps hang the bag and set up a seamless shower for your kids. The bag is super portable and can be rolled to keep it inside your backpack, or better, use it as a backpack!
What Could Be Better
- The spout should have been placed a little lower to drain out all the water with ease. However, when it reaches that point, move the bag around a little, all the water will drain out without any problem.
7. Green Elephant Pop Up Utilitent
The last item on our list isn’t a solar shower bag. You might wonder, what is a shower tent doing on this list. Well, with solar shower, one thing definitely comes is a shower tent, especially if you want a little private place. And, the Green Elephant Pop Up Utilitent is nonetheless the best camp shower tent out there with an impressive Amazon rating under its belt.
With Not only for the shower, you can use this tent for changing clothes, even for toilet purpose. The structure comes with all the convenient setups, shower opening, towel and clothes hanger, toilet paper holder, flashlight holder, additional storage pouch, even a tent carry bag! With only 5.5 pounds, you’ll break no sweat to carry this camping tent.
The camping tent can stand on its own. It takes up 6’ 10.7” height x 3’ 11” width x 3’ 11” length when opened. With a gradual wider base, you can move freely within the tent. The steel frame and high-quality polyester coated PU make this tent durable, while the 4 sandbags that come with hooks help stand this tent on the ground firmly.
If there’s some wind, you’ll find tent pegs and guy lines with tensioners quite useful. The water-resistant material it’s made of, strong zipper and dependable stitching will keep you safe even in rainy weather. This pop-up tent expands and folds instantly, allowing you a quick setup whenever needed.
What We Like
- The design is ergonomic and made keeping comforts of an adult in mind. When you’re not using the rain cover, the mosquito net at the top of the tent will aid in air circulation. The no floor design helps to keep this tent clean and dust-free.
- Made for modest people, this is a clean, private, easily accessible tent whenever you use your solar shower or change clothes. No matter wherever you are, on a family trip, or a college picnic, a festival, you can change clothes in a zippy. It can also perform as a dressing room in apparel trade shows.
- The accessories it comes with, that too at such a price, is incredible! Multiple hangers for different items, rain cover, hassle-free setup and ability to stand on the ground even in the windy situation, all of them directed to the popularity of this amazing camp tent. And yes, we are talking about hundreds of satisfied customers here.
What Could Be Better
- It’s nothing most of the people will complain about. As the tent comes with no floor, it has its advantages and drawbacks. The drawback is your feet can catch mud when bathing inside. However, you can just buy a rubber mat if you want to avoid that.
Wrapping It Up
Solar showers help you stay fresh, hygienic and clean during outdoor trips. When you pack your bag, the solar shower is the one among the prioritized items. However, the best solar shower may differ according to your needs and the nature of your trip. For example, if you’re going with a truck or your RV, you can go with bigger sizes, even more than one bag if you see fit. In case of hiking or trekking, size matters as you have to carry the weight on your shoulders.
Then there are the additional features. An additional pouch, temperature gauge, weight, transparent back, of/off switch can add more to your comfort while adding a little price too. Our suggestion is, go for the quality, even that means sparing a few bucks. Because out there, you’re on your own, and a quality solar shower bag can be the closest confidante you can get to feel human again!