Best Solar Showers
Most people that are going on a camping trip with friends or family want specific luxuries while they are in the outdoors, and depending on the person will depend on what luxury they would like to bring with them from their city life. Most people can not live without a nice shower to keep them clean and feeling refreshed, but the problem is when you are in the outdoors, where could you possibly find a nice warm shower. The answer is simply a solar shower. Not only are these pieces of gear highly portable but they also rise in temperature via the radiant light and heat from the sun to ensure when you are ready for a shower it will be nice and warm.
Now if you have decided that you need a solar shower to bring with you on your next adventure as they are fairly light and easy to travel with, and you wouldn’t mind feeling clean and refreshed halfway through your adventure, then you have come to the right place. Below we have scoured the web and listed the top ten solar showers on the market, and explained why these are a perfect product to add to your arsenal of gear. So, check out the list below and feel a sense of refreshment on your next adventure.
- Advanced Elements
- Easy to roll it up
- Temperature gauge
- NEMO HELIO
- Foot Pump
- Stearns Sun
- Puncture-resistant fabric
- Fast heating
10 Best Solar Showers
When you fill this sack to its max potential, the 4-ply construction will ease your mind as you know it can take it. In addition to this, there is an insulator panel that allows the water to generate heat faster.
At five gallons, which is what most solar showers will be able to hold, this should provide enough water for multiple showers. Of course, it depends on how much water you use.
Because of the extra-large valve, with a screw cap to secure it, it is incredibly simple to fill this up with water when the time comes.
What is nice about the shower head is that it has an easy to use on/off function. Also, there is a side pocket that allows you to store your bathing accessories and also Velcro straps that can hold smaller items such as a washcloth.
When it is not in use, Advanced Elements has designed this solar shower to conveniently roll-up into an ultra-compact size, making it ideal for any trip or adventure.
In the world of solar showers, it just does not get much better than this. Typically, there is stiff competition but because of everything it combines, no other version really comes close.
- For storage and transport, you can easily roll it up
- There is a water temperature gauge and also a side pocket for accessories
- To fill it with water, it has a convenient twist-off cap and large valve
- A few users have reported that their Velcro strap broke within one month
For reliable handling and carrying, there is an integrated strong handle. In addition to this, it is crafted from a durable PVC. It also comes with a foot pump or extra pressure.
The eleven litre capacity on this shower holds will provide enough showers for the whole family if used in moderation.
Filling this shower up is quite easy and all you need to do is leave it in the sun for a couple minutes to get the warmth to the water. The longer you leave it, the warmer the water will be.
As with most others, the shower head integrates a handy on/off valve. The foot pump also is quite convenient as it allows you to give extra pressure if need be.
With all the components that go with a solar shower, this still manages to be an easy product to transport with. Without being filled with water, it weighs less than a pound.
Foot pump for pressure
Can only be used for showering, unlike some other multi-use products
Indeed, this is a major bright spot for this solar shower. The double-welded seams are practically indestructible and when you combine this with the tear-resistant fabric, leaking should not be a concern. Even more so, it sports a reinforced pipe handle.
Despite its high ranking on this list, it actually has a smaller capacity than most at four gallons. However, even still, if you use the water efficiently, this should account for four to five showers.
Both the twist-top valve and the twist-flow nozzle ensure a user-friendly experience. Plus, they both ensure that they seal as securely as possible.
Besides the fact that the shower head has an integrated adjustable flow control feature, there is a TempTracker indicator that shows you the internal temperature of the enclosed water.
To ensure that no damage is caused when you are traveling with this solar shower, it comes included with a mesh carrying bag.
Okay, it is fair if you fall in love with this model over the first-ranked solar shower. To be honest, its unbelievable construction and innovate design features are proof enough for that.
- Includes a TempTracker indicator to take the guessing game out
- Can heat the water, on hotter days, in around three hours
- Features double-welded seams and puncture-resistant fabric
- Due to the design of the shower head, it is difficult to operate with soapy hands
Thanks to the strong PVC handle, finding an adequate place to hang this is quite simple. Also, it is crafted with heat-locking material to warm the water quicker.
It has the capability of holding five gallons of water but then again, did you expect anything different at this point?
Coleman clearly thought through the process of filling up their sack with water. This is evident as the simple top-filling cap makes doing so a relative breeze.
Connected to the shower head is an on/off valve and this allows you to control just how much water you need for an individual shower.
At only 8.8 ounces, which is about half-a-pound, you could probably have your five-year-old child carry it and they would be fine. Of course, this is not factoring in the water.
About the only aspects, Coleman did not nail are the hose and the shower head. As many consumers have pointed out, they are both pretty cheap and certainly are not designed to withstand abuse.
- To conserve the water, the shower head can be turned off and on
- Has a five-gallon capacity which is pretty much the standard-bearer
- Features a strong PVC handle for transport
- Both the hose and the shower head are kind of cheap
Instead of using PVC, this has been crafted with a PEVA water reservoir and while it is lightweight, it is durable. However, once again, leaking has been known to be an issue from time to time.
It is simply fitting that the last shower on this list also holds five gallons, given that so many follow this formula.
No, this will not simply fill up with water by placing it in water. A hose or large cup must be utilized. In addition, the water in the shower head is not powerful enough to flow upward.
Some people will truly appreciate the long hose and the push-pull valve that is located on it.
At just under one pound, this is another model that is ridiculously easy to transport around and the fact that you can easily fold it also helps.
Do you put your faith in the majority or the minority? Answering this will determine if you are willing to take a chance with this solar shower. There is the relative majority claiming it is a good product and the minority who are bashing it.
- It is an ideal design for hunters, campers and any other outdoor adventurists
- Features a long hose for easier operation
- The push-pull valve allows you to easily turn off the water
- Many users have had leaking issues
- Some have claimed it does not heat up water the greatest
Notwithstanding the fact that this is crafted from polyester and features a strong handle, consumers have reported issues of leaking from the seams which means you may need to reinforce them.
Instead of holding five gallons of water, KingCamp actually rates this as being able to handle up to 5.28 gallons of water. It may not seem like much but .28 more gallons can be beneficial.
On the bottom of this bag, there is a large valve that needs to be removed (via a twist-off cap) to properly fill this up with water. Thankfully, this is a fairly hassle-free process.
A handy on/off valve has been designed into the shower head that allows you to stop the water flow any time you see fit.
Do not worry about this taking up an excess amount of room as because of its nature, you can roll it up as compactly as you can get it.
Many may ponder how a solar shower that has notable leaking issues could possibly crack a top-ten list. Fair point but not all users have experienced this and plus, you can learn how to reinforce seams if it becomes troublesome.
- It holds 5.28 gallons which is a bit more than the others
- Thanks to the flexible shower hose with an on/off valve, operation is a breeze
- It can easily be rolled up for storage and transport purposes
- Several users have experienced leaking at the seams and the hose attachment
To make the durability superior, this specific version features multiple layers of fabric to enhance the leakproof design. Overall, this is only constructed from environmentally-friendly materials to guarantee that your health is safe.
Even though you do not have to fill it to the brim, as it does get heavier this way, if you needed its full potential then it could handle up to five gallons of water.
This solar shower literally opens as a gas cap would open. As such, it is ideal for you to either take a hose or a bucket to pour the water into the opening. If by a stream or lake, it will be difficult to fill it up by merely placing it in the water.
Not only can you shut the shower head off to conserve as much water as possible but you can also control the water flow. That is right, you can either opt for high or low. In addition, a temperature indicator is attached to the bag.
As with most other models in existence, this is designed specifically for transport. The combination of its lightweight nature and its ability to be folded, ensure easy portability.
If not for a few drawbacks, such as a soft hose that is easy to kink, this may have had a chance to leap over the top two models on this list. As it sits, though, it is a fantastic product with minor issues.
- Attached to the bag is a temperature indicator so you know when it is hot enough
- To enhance the leak-proof design there are deluxe multiple layers
- Features a shower head with both an on/off switch and low/high switch
- Because the hose is soft, it kinks easily
- A clamp on the nozzle hose would have been more efficient at keeping water in the bag
Most notable with the craftsmanship is the strong handle that not only is suitable when you are carrying it but also when you need to hang it up.
It almost seems like a cliché at this point but once again, this is a solar shower that can hold up to five gallons of water at its maximum.
Now, unfortunately, the design of filling this up with water is not the best. Problem is, the top cap can be quite a pain to open as it is a really tight cap. A twist-off design may have been a more efficient option.
A tap-to-control water yield design for the shower head is quite ingenious. In addition, there are four mesh pockets located in the front providing you with plenty of space for your bathing necessities.
For ease of transport, clearly, when water is not inside, this can easily be folded down. However, this also makes it incredibly convenient when storing it away.
In terms of pure convenience, this is one of the better designs out there. Of course, as the glass is not always half-full, a longer hose and a better-designed opening could have put this over the top.
- The black polyethylene exterior absorbs heat from the sun
- Features four mesh pockets on the front for storage
- A tap-to-control water yield has been integrated into the shower head
- The top cap can be a pain to open
- The shower hose could have been longer
While at first glance you may be skeptical in this area, due to the thinner plastic material that appears to be used, users have noted that it actually holds up quite well.
It is possible you have seen this movie before but guess what, this solar shower has been designed to hold up to five gallons of water.
Some solar showers only come equipped with a built-in handle for hanging it up. However, Solstice includes a rope system with their model and it branches the possibilities for you.
With the included valve on the shower handle, simply turning it will turn it on and then to turn it off, merely turn it back the other way.
Due to the design, when all the water has been removed, it can be laid flat for storage or even folded up when you need to conserve as much room as physically possible.
There really is a lot to love here including a rope system to suspend the shower, it's a simple to use shower head and even the suitable capacity of five gallons.
- Complete with both a rope system and a hanging bar
- Several users have raved about its ability to heat the water
- Can easily be stored and transported
- When filled with water, the plastic tube that supports the bag does curve
- Several reviewers stated that their hose was crimped
Green Elephant Combination
Given that this can be used as a dry bag, which is waterproof, you know it has a high-quality construction. This is accomplished with thick PVC material that prevents both water leakage and infiltration.
When filled with water, it can hold five gallons which is suitable for a multitude of showers. As a dry bag, it will be large enough to hold most of your essentials.
Thanks to the wide opening, it is very simple to both fill it with water and empty it. Of course, the transparent panel is also a nice touch and allows you to monitor the current water level.
By turning the shower head, it can be turned off to conserve water. But, clearly, this section is headlined as its dual-use as a dry waterproof bag. As most dry bags are, that makes it a suitable place for your small accessories and belongings.
When folded down, this will resemble a rectangle and overall, it is compact enough for any adventure that you can possibly think of. It should fit with ease in most backpacks.
A solar shower and a dry bag in one, what could possibly be better? Well, a better spout design would have been appreciated. But, at the end of the day, it is hard to argue with the convenience here.
- Can be used as a dry bag
- Has a capacity of five gallons
- Features thick PVC material
- The spout is located too high and as such, there will be left-over water that can’t be used
Criteria Used For The Evaluation
Durability and Construction
In pretty much anything you will ever invest in, not including daily foods and drinks, the durability and construction of a product will always play a pivotal role in your decision process. It is simply no different with a solar shower. There are a few factors you need to consider and address and the first is the durability of the fabric and its ability, or lack thereof, to withstand some abuse. Clearly, tear-resistant fabric that has been double layered will be able to handle an accident or two.
Next, pay attention to the seams. A few versions of this list have had this issue and even though it is possible to reinforce them yourselves, it can be an inconvenience on your part. As such, double-welded seams and those that have been reinforced will increase the likelihood that leaking will not be an issue. However, the overall strength of the bag is important also. Most will have a section built-in that acts as the handle and this is what is used to suspend it in the air. When it is filled to the brim with water, the weight can become quite immense and the solar shower needs to be able to take it.
If this list is any indication, you can roughly expect a solar shower to hold around five gallons of water. However, just because several have this capacity, does not mean they all do. According to Home Water Works, the average American shower will use 17.2 gallons of water for a shower that lasts 8.2 minutes. Now, remember, a home shower is going to run continuously without stopping. No matter what you do, you will not be able to take as long of a shower with a solar shower as you do at home. Plus, chances are, you are just wasting water when you are showering.
The key to using a solar shower is to be efficient with the water. At home, it is irrelevant to you how much water you use because you have an over-abundance of it (other than jacking up your water bill). With a limited amount, though, you will be forced to understand the term moderation. Even with five gallons, you could feasibly get three to five showers. Simply, turn the hose off when you are cleaning yourself and turn it on to rinse yourself off.
At their cores, solar showers are some of the simplest products out there. After all, there is no integrated technology that you need to become accustomed to or complex machinery involved. Instead, you simply fill them with water, allow the sun to heat it up, and then suspend it on something sturdy to shower. However, this section is mostly focused on the first step of that process. The last two are self-explanatory but, not every single solar shower will be easy to fill up with water.
The best designs are those that incorporate a twist-off cap on the very top of the solar shower. Also, the bigger the better as it is easier to pour water down that way. One important aspect to note is no matter the design, it will be very tough to merely fill one up with water by dunking it in a lake, stream, etc. Overall, if several users are griping about the difficulty, that should be a red flag.
Solar showers in and of themselves are convenient devices, bottom line. But, besides this being prevalent because of the nature of their design, you can also find several that are loaded with a boatload of convenient features. For starters, how about mesh pockets or side pockets that provide a place for your shampoo, conditioner, body wash, washcloths, etc.? Having those necessities at your fingertips is key. Also, how about a temperature indicator? Instead of guessing if the water is warm enough, you can monitor the exact temperature at a simple glance. Speaking of which, a see-through back is also a bonus as you will know at all times the current water level. Plus, you could keep tabs on how much water is actually being used per shower.
This is also where the shower head comes into play. Besides incorporating one, most will be designed, in some fashion, with the ability to turn it on/off at will. While a valve makes this process easy, some will be designed with a turning mechanism. Thus, with soapy hands, it can be nearly impossible to turn the shower back on. Lastly, some heads will have additional features such as the ability to control the water flow.
Solar showers were not designed to be used in your home, that is what you have a traditional shower or bath for. Not that you could not but the purpose is to provide you with a shower in situations where you would not have one otherwise. This could include camping, backpacking, hiking or even hunting. With this in mind, you would be hard-pressed to find a solar shower that is not portable. Besides their lightweight nature, most can easily be folded up or even rolled up to be as compact as possible.
But, also remember this, when the bag is filled with water it will be both heavy and an inconvenience when traveling. Yes, that is why they are equipped with handles but at the same time, five gallons of water is heavy (one gallon of water is around 8.5 pounds).
Q: How Long Does It Take to Heat Up the Water?
Alright, so you have done everything you have needed to properly fill up your solar shower with water and it is now sitting in the sun. Now, the issue becomes how long does it take to heat up to an adequate temperature? Problem is, this question requires a lot of variables and all of them are dependent on the time it takes. This can include the current temperature of the water that is being filled into the sack, the ambient temperate and how much sunlight is shining down. Clearly, the best scenario is to have lukewarm water to start, a warm to hot summer day, and the sunlight blistering down without a cloud in the sky.
However, it is ignorant to expect this to happen all the time. In the winter time, this process can take a while. Also, without the heat and light from the sunlight, you could be in trouble.
Q: What Can You Hang a Solar Shower On?
In case you have been wondering yes, a solar shower is intended to be used when suspended in the air, much like a traditional shower. At first, you may think anything can hold a solar shower as they weigh one or two pounds, maybe less. But, when you factor in the water, it becomes a different ballgame. For every gallon of water, you put inside the bag, you are adding around 8.5 pounds to it. Factor in a full five-gallon bag and it will nearly be 50 pounds when it is all said and done.
What this means is you must find something that is rated and suitable to hold this amount. For example, this could be a very sturdy tree branch or even on a sailboat (if you camp with one). Basically, a flimsy old pole is not going to do the trick and you need something that provides structural strength.
Q: Can You Hang It Inside of a Tent?
This plays directly off of the last question but it is one that gets brought up more than a few times. First off, you need to understand that a standard tent is not going to be designed for this. After all, most are designed to keep water out not allow it in. What you may be interested in, however, is a shower shelter. As this guide is not focused upon these, a little research will be required on your part. Just know, though, these are specifically designed to handle water spray.
But, as was mentioned before, you will need one that is rated to hold the full capacity of your solar shower. If it is only rated to hold 2.5 gallons, which would equate to roughly 20 pounds, and you want to suspend a five-gallon solar shower, it will not suffice.
Q: Should You Use the Water as Drinking Water?
There are other functions that a solar shower can have for you past providing you with proper bathing. For one, it could be used as a way to clean and rinse off your dishes. But, especially if in the manual it abides against it, you should probably avoid using it as drinking water. Even if a manufacturer designs their solar shower without BPA material or other toxic materials, do not store it as drinking water unless you are 100 percent certain the water you put inside is not contaminated.
Which, is another point, a solar shower is not meant to filter the water that is put inside of it. Instead, it is only designed to heat the water up so you can use it accordingly.
Q: How Do You Dry and Clean a Solar Shower?
There are many reasons why you want to dry and clean your solar shower, which will be further addressed in a minute. Still, you may be pondering how you are going to accomplish it. In terms of drying it, the best method to go with is by hanging upside down with both valves open. Once the water stops draining out, allow the sun to dry the inside thoroughly.
Pretty much the same process is going to happen when you want to clean the inside. First off, allow the water inside to get warm and then add a bit of soap. Do not use too much water that way you can whoosh it around. The only substance that will go inside is water so it should not be too dirty, to begin with. After which, rinse it out and then dry it as was explained above.
Q: Will Mold Begin to Form Inside If It Is Stored for a While Without Use?
Due to their design, solar showers will need to be stored as they are not going to be utilized very often. Unless, of course, you live in your camper for the summer. But, for most, they will be a “once in a while” type product. When you do need to store it, will mold be an issue for you? Yes, it will. Do not freak out, it will only be a nuisance if you improperly store it. So, how do you do that?
It is simple, as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency points out, the best way to control the growth of mold is to control moisture. Moisture, that is the key. Never store your solar shower when it still has water inside. Hence, why drying it is so vital. But, avoid storing it areas that are prone to moisture, also. Simply, pack it away in a dry location.
It seems like a stroke of genius that someone thought of a portable shower that gathers its heat via the light and heat from the sun. Yeah, it is pretty ingenious. What is also nice is generally, speaking, most models are very affordable. So, what are you waiting for? Stay clean and relaxed on your next adventure with your new solar shower!