As modern consumers, we’re spoiled for choice in most of the things we buy and today’s portable camping showers are no exception. Although for some the term “camping shower” may conjure up an image of a perforated tin can slung over a tree branch, the fact is that the products on the market today are efficient, portable and provide hot showers in seconds. In other words, there’s no excuse to go camping without one.
In choosing from the wide range of models available, there’s a number of factors to consider: portability, output, durability and of course price. Leaving aside the question of price for a moment, the best way to address the other three factors is to simply identify the kind of camping you’ll be doing.
So, let’s figure out where you’ll be going and what you’ll be doing. Does your trip involve hiking at all? Then the last thing you want to do is drag around a propane tank on your back. In this case, a solar shower is right for you. Solar showers are extremely light, easy to use, and pack up into a small tidy package that will take up very little space in your backpack. The major drawback of solar showers, however, is that they’re dependent on the sun as a heat source, so on a cloudy day, you’re out of luck. But if portability and simplicity are top priorities, a solar shower can’t be beat.
If hiking is not on the agenda and instead you’ll be camping out with the family in one place for a few days, cooking meals and cleaning the mud off the kids in the evenings, then it’s time to consider something with more power. Propane tankless water heaters have the ability to heat water in seconds and many are equipped with battery-operated water pumps that provide great water pressure. With a limitless supply of hot water, you can wash the dishes and then immediately turn the hose on the kids or anything else in need of a good scrubbing.
Or maybe your next camping trip will include not only the family but also the in-laws, the neighbors, and a few friends. With mountains of dishes and a long lineup for the evening shower, the obvious choice is a portable water heater that packs a big punch, such as the Eccotemp L5 Tankless Water Heater. It comes equipped with an on/off shower head, an LP regulator hose that connects to a 20lb propane tank and features 1/2″ NPT water fittings that plumb easily into standard American fittings. It provides a whopping 1.5 gallon of hot water per minute and can last around 18 hours on an 20 pound propane tank.
Camping showers have come a long way since the days of perforated tin cans and although the wide range of choice may seem overwhelming at first, it is simply a matter of identifying the kind of camping you’ll be doing and then choosing accordingly. Once you’ve done that, all that’s left to consider is how much you’d like to spend and you’re ready to go. In the end, whether you go with a simple solar model or a high-powered propane heating unit, you next camping adventure will be all the better knowing you can look forward to a hot shower in the outdoors.