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The 4 Best Shower Bags for Outdoorsman

There’s nothing quite like taking a warm shower when you are camping. Water can be scarce when you are out on the trails, and hot water is even more so.

Luckily, you can get ingenious camp shower designs that enable you to bring this small creature comfort to the backcountry. Continue reading to learn about the best shower bag for the outdoors.

Best Shower Bag for Outdoorsmen

Our Top Picks

Best Overall:
NEMO Helio Pressure Shower

Best for Backpackers:
Sea to Summit Pocket Shower

Best Budget:
Coghlan’s Solar Heated Camp Shower

Best Overall

NEMO Helio Pressure Shower

The NEMO Helio Pressure Shower takes the top spot in this breakdown for unique features that offer an amazing showering experience. This solar camp shower is lightweight, durable, and pleasant to use.

The Helio features a built-in foot pump bag with an emergency release valve. You can maintain optimal water pressure throughout your entire shower without worrying about damage from over-inflation.

The three-gallon reservoir combined with a low-flow, high-pressure head provides seven minutes of refreshing shower time. Plus, the seven-foot water hose makes it easy to wash from head to toe without crouching.

This is the best shower bag for campers who want a bit of luxury out on the trails without hauling a bunch of extra weight. It is just over a pound when empty and doesn’t require batteries or fuel.


  • It provides excellent water pressure lasting up to seven minutes
  • The pump bag eliminates the risk of over-inflation
  • This durable shower includes a lifetime warranty from NEMO


  • It is somewhat expensive

Best for Backpackers

Sea to Summit Pocket Shower

Minimalist backpackers require lightweight gear that doesn’t take up much space. The Sea to Summit Pocket Shower is the best shower bag that is compact enough to fit in your pocket.

Even though it’s small when packed, the reservoir expands to fit three gallons of water. The black fabric heats up quickly in the sun, so you can get a warm shower anywhere.

To cut down on weight, this unique gravity shower doesn’t have a plastic lid. Instead, you must twist and fold the top of the bag to keep the water inside.

This camping shower is the right choice for backpackers looking to save space and weight. As a bonus, REI offers a replacement guarantee if you encounter any issues.


  • This pocket shower bag is extremely lightweight, weighing only five ounces
  • The large-capacity three-gallon vessel rolls up into a tiny package
  • The adjustable shower head lets you control the water flow


  • It is prone to developing pinholes when used on rough surfaces

Best Budget

Coghlan’s Solar Heated Camp Shower

Coghlan's Solar Heated Camp Shower, 5-Gallon, Black

Do you need an inexpensive shower bag for occasional use? If so, you might be interested in Coghlan’s Solar Heated Camp Shower.

This basic solar gravity shower will provide warm off-grid showers without any hassle or complicated setup. The five-gallon vessel provides enough water to last two quick showers before needing a refill.

The black plastic shell heats up quickly in the sun, allowing you to get a steaming hot shower in only a few hours. Be wary of overfilling it, since the handle can break when it gets too heavy.

This is a great option for casual campers and those on a budget. It also makes a fantastic emergency shower for stowing in your off-grid survival pack.


  • This option is very inexpensive
  • The large reservoir holds enough water for multiple showers


  • The seams are not very durable after heavy use
  • The plastic smell can linger even after regular rinsing

Advanced Elements Summer Shower

ADVANCED ELEMENTS 10-Gallon Summer Shower Silver/Black, One Size

If you want a simple hanging shower bag with no frills, the Advanced Elements Summer Shower might be your perfect choice. This is a reliable solar gravity shower trusted by outdoorsmen everywhere.

The Summer Shower features a specialized four-layer construction that improves performance and durability. Even though the outer layer is silver instead of black, the water heats up faster than many other solar showers.

The insulating middle layers transfer heat inwards while preventing it from escaping, while the reflective liner concentrates solar energy into the water. The heating performance of this solar shower is unrivaled by cheap lookalikes.

This shower is ideal for individuals who need a straightforward solar utility shower for the outdoors. Ensure you don’t overfill it, which could put excessive stress on the handle leading to damage and leaks.


  • The four-layer wall design provides excellent durability
  • It features a built-in water temperature gauge
  • The reflective inner layer heats the water quickly


  • The handle can break when the vessel gets overfilled

The Outdoorsman’s Best Shower Bag Shopping Guide

There are key features to consider when you are seeking the best shower bag for backpacking and camping. While the concept is similar among various options, factors like the material and pressure make significant differences in your showering experience.


The materials used to construct a shower bag greatly impact the durability, weight, and cost of the final product. Finding the perfect travel shower depends on evaluating and balancing these factors.

Budget camp showers are generally constructed of a single layer of black plastic. This is an inexpensive way to get hot water from the sun, but it comes at a trade-off.

When the plastic gets heated by the sun, it can degrade over time. This leads to an increased risk of tearing and may leach harmful chemicals into your water.

The best shower bags have multiple layers of highly-engineered material for optimal performance and durability. This usually includes rugged, dark-colored outer, insulating middle, and reflective inner layers.


The average American uses close to 30 gallons of water for each ten-minute shower. Transporting that much water is next to impossible when you are in the backcountry.

The Best Shower Bag for Outdoorsmen

The best shower bags utilize advanced engineering to deliver decent pressure from a small amount of water. Most camp shower tanks can store two to three gallons, with the largest-capacity models holding up to ten gallons.


There are a few different ways to heat water for bathing when you’re on the trail. Most shower bags use solar energy, while others may use electricity or propane.

The overall temperature of your shower can vary depending on how you are warming it. Solar showers can get pretty hot on a sunny day, but they might not cut it in cold, cloudy climates.

If you are a minimalist backpacker, you probably want to leave heavy heating units behind. On days when the sun doesn’t shine brightly enough to heat your solar shower bag, you can still get a warm shower with a little extra effort.

Simply start a campfire or stove and heat the water in a lightweight camping pot before adding it to your shower bag. You can either heat it to your preference or mix one part boiling water with three parts cold water for the perfect bathing temperature.


Adequate water pressure is crucial for washing away dirt and grime. Hanging shower bags generate pressure through gravity, but this can leave a lot to be desired.

The best shower bags use pumps combined with narrow outlets to achieve excellent pressure for a refreshing shower. These features can increase the cost, but they are worth the investment.


Modern camping showers come with a variety of add-ons that can elevate your experience to the next level. Sometimes these are included, but you might need to purchase them separately.

Optional attachments include:

Do you want all the best features in one package and don’t mind spending a little extra upfront? If so, explore the Geyser Systems Portable Shower with Heater as a bag-free camping shower option.

How to Use a Camping Shower Bag

The best shower bags are easy to use and designed with the camper in mind. A more basic option might initially feel unwieldy, but you’ll get the hang of it after a few uses.

Don’t fret if you are wondering how you can possibly get clean with a shower bag. Follow this simple, step-by-step guide to learn how to get the most out of your off-grid shower:

Step 1: Fill the Bag

Fill your shower bag with clean water that is free of debris. Check the included instructions to ensure you don’t overfill it, which could compromise the structural integrity.

If you are using a solar shower during cloudy or cool weather you might need to preheat the water. To do so, add three parts cold to one part boiling for the ideal water temperature for bathing.

Step 2: Heat the Water

If you added cold water in the first step, you probably want to heat it before you shower. There are a few ways to do this, depending on which gear you brought along.

Leave a solar shower in direct sunlight for a few hours. This could take as little as two hours on a hot day, to upwards of a full day when it’s cold outside. Test the water temperature before you proceed to ensure it is comfortable.

When using an external heater, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions. You can usually plunge an electric immersion heater right into the bag, but propane water heaters require some extra setup.

Step 3: Hang or Pressurize

You need to generate water pressure to get the most out of your shower. There are a few ways to accomplish this among different camp shower styles.

A hanging shower uses gravity to build a decent amount of pressure. Hang it up higher than your head for the best results.

Camo Shower

Many of the best shower bags include hand or foot pumps to achieve more pressure and consistent flow. Simply pump until the vessel is taut and repeat as it decreases throughout your shower.

Step 4: Pre-rinse for 30 Seconds

How can you get clean using such a small amount of water? The trick is splitting your shower into segments in a method called the Navy Shower.

Open the outlet valve or switch on your automatic pump and thoroughly rinse your body for about 30 seconds. Shut it off when you are fully drenched.

Step 5: Lather and Scrub

Lather up and scrub your hair and body while the water is off. This helps to prevent wasting water that you aren’t even using.

Step 6: Rinse

After you finish washing, turn the shower back on to rinse away the suds. If you are battling a lot of dirt and grime, rinse for one minute then repeat steps five and six until you feel clean.

You might experience decreased water pressure while rinsing if you are using a manual pump. To remedy this, simply reinflate your shower bag until it reaches the desired pressure.


How does a hanging shower bag work?

Many of the most popular camp showers are hanging models. A hanging shower bag relies on gravity to move water instead of internal pressure.

When you suspend one of these vessels above your head, the weight of the water shifts against the outlet valve. Opening this valve allows the water to flow freely so you can take a cleansing shower.

What is a Navy Shower?

A Navy Shower is a type of segmented bathing method that conserves water. This style has been widely used by Navy sailors deployed off-shore since fresh water is an invaluable resource at sea.

The shower routine is split into the following three distinct segments:

  • A 30-second pre-rinse
  • Washing with soap while the water is off
  • A one-minute rinse phase

This method can enable you to get squeaky clean using less than a gallon of water.

The Ultimate Guide to Outdoor Shower Bags

We hope this in-depth shopping guide answered all of your most important questions. You should now feel confident purchasing the best shower bag for your next camping excursion.

Do you want to read more guides to outdoor cleanliness? Visit our Hygiene and Sanitation hub to learn about tools and tips for staying clean when you are off-grid.