If you’re going off the grid and worried about how you will take your daily hot shower, fear no more. Solar showers are an excellent option for survivalists because they’re low maintenance and much cheaper than other outdoor shower options.
Best of all, you won’t have to give up a hot shower while you’re away from power sources.
We’ve found the best solar showers, so take a look!
Our Top Picks
Advanced Element Summer Shower
Suvast Solar Showers, 3rd Generation
Coghlan’s Solar Heated Camp Shower
GigaTent Pop Up Pod Changing Room Privacy Tent
1. Best Overall: Advanced Element Summer Shower
The Advanced Element Summer Shower is a favorite off-the-grid showering system of survivalists worldwide. It’s no wonder why buyers love it with its many size options available and steady pressure to fit everyone’s showering needs, including those with long, thick hair.
If it’s just you and you’re not going to be far from water for long, you’ll be able to get away with a 2.5 gallon for extra lightweight. If you’re hiking with friends or you’re going to be away from water for a while, then you’ll appreciate a 10-gallon solar shower.
It’s also foldable when empty for easy storage within a backpack and comes with an added compartment for the essentials. Backpackers will definitely see this as one of the best solar showers.
- Four-ply construction with reflector panel and insulator panel for optimized heat retention and performance
- Includes a reflector panel, an insulator panel, a solar panel, and a water reservoir made from diamond ripstop fabric
- Easy-to-read temperature gauge
- Extra storage is included for holding toiletries
- Four sizes available: 2.5 gallons, 3 gallons, 5 gallons, and 10 gallons
- The temperature can reach up to 110 degrees in all three choices
- Rolls up for easy storage
- The mesh pocket is handy for holding soap, sponges, razors, and other items
- Velcro straps for washcloths or shampoo bottles
- The valve is difficult to close with wet, soapy hands
- A few complaints about the smell even after washing with baking soda, per instructions
2. Runner Up: Suvast Solar Showers, 3rd Generation
Suvast released its new third-generation shower just last year, and it’s impressive! For the same price point as the Advanced Element Shower, Suvast’s third-generation solar shower is durable and made from non-plastic, non-toxic material.
The upgraded material is expected to last three times as long as the second generation. So if you tried an older Suvast shower, consider giving the new generation a try.
- Holds up to four gallons
- Made from Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU)
- Simple on and off switch
- Equipped with two hoses, 37.4 and 13.8 inches long
- Heats to 110 degrees in three hours with direct sunlight
- Not made of rubber or plastic like many portable solar showers
- Money back or replacement guarantee
- Two ways to shut off the valve for your convenience—press and hold the valve by hand, or switch it on upward so you don’t need to continue applying pressure while showering
- Needs to be hung up to get better water pressure
3. Best Budget: Coghlan’s Solar Heated Camp Shower
If you’re just wanting something cheap for a couple of uses, then Coghlan’s Solar Heated Camp Shower is for you.
What makes this the best solar shower for budgets—and the reason it’s so popular—is you don’t have to deal with pesky valves like with other budget solar showers.
- Holds up to five gallons
- Includes a cord for hanging
- Hose to squeeze water from
- Best solar shower for budgets
- Squeezing the hose is easier to use than lever valves other cheaper models include
- Sprayer leaks if not clasped correctly
- Likely to rip at the handle, so you’ll need to avoid filling it to prevent this
4. KIPIDA Shower Bag
If you prefer a real showerhead, then you’ll appreciate the KIPIDA Solar Shower bag. The enhanced showerhead includes an easy on-and-off switch and the ability to adjust the pressure.
Buyers love it and say it truly gets hot—perhaps too hot for the summer months. You won’t have to wait long for a hot shower with direct sunlight.
- Holds up to five gallons
- Accessories included: hose, showerhead, and water tap
- Leakproof materials
- Heats up to 113 degrees
- Velcro straps keep the shower head from dragging
- Temperature indicator
- Many color options available to suit your preferences
- Adjust the pressure with the showerhead
- Turn the water on and off with the showerhead
- Easy to whirl water
- Mesh pocket for toiletries
- The product claims to be environmentally friendly but is made from PVC. PVC has contradicting research about its toxicity to the environment and humans
- You need two hands to turn the shower on and off
5. BONFOX Camping Shower
If you’re a glamper (or a fan of glamping products) looking to add a little luxury to your camping gear, you’ll think the BONFOX Camping Shower is the best solar shower on Earth.
It’s the only solar shower on this list that features a pump to retrieve water. Perfect for hands-free showering or washing your dog.
- Glamping outside solar shower allows for maximum pressure via an extra-long foot pump hose
- Extra long foot pump for pumping air for pumping while hanging the bag or sitting on a table
- Solar bag included
- Nozzle with a matte finish for durability
- Includes 19.5-inch hanging strap
- Hang the shower bag or shower standing on a table—it’s your choice
- Higher pressure for your shower at any time
- Perfect for washing your furry companions
- The solar bag stands upright with no trouble when filled with water and air
- Transparent top so you can see how much water is left
- Made from Polypropylene plastic, which is durable and safe
- The pump system can take some time to get used to
6. RISEPRO Shower Bag
If you liked the style of the KIPIDA Shower Bag, then you’ll appreciate the RISERPRO Shower bag too. The features of the two solar showers are very similar. However, the RISEPRO is slightly lower priced.
The biggest difference, though, is that it appears the RISEPRO’s showerhead is easier to turn on and off, so it might be worth saving a few bucks.
- Holds up to five gallons
- Heats up to 113 degrees in three hours with direct sunlight
- Temperature indicator included
- Front pocket for travel-sized shampoo and toiletries
- Multiple layers for preventing leaks
- Easy on-and-off switch on the showerhead
- Low-and-high pressure switch on the showerhead
- Similar to the KIDIPA Shower Bag, but a little cheaper
- Hands-free showering
- Good for washing dishes, food, fruit, and raw fish in remote areas
- The product states it is made from environmentally friendly materials, but it also states it is made from PVC material—PVC is a controversial material in terms of whether it is toxic or not
- The showerhead is not sturdy and tends to leak
7. GF Garden Sunny Style Premium Solar Shower
The GF Garden Sunny Style Premium is the closest portable solar shower you’ll find to the real thing. It features vertical adjustable height, so you can feel like you’re taking a shower at home in the wilderness.
This shower also can produce more water than any of the others on this list, making it the best solar shower for families or friends venturing into the wilderness together.
- Comes with a 33-foot hose
- Mixes hot water from the base with cold water from the tap so you can have the perfect shower temperature
- Detachable showerhead
- Adjustable height from 4-foot-6 to 6-foot-9
- Easy to clean feet with detachable showerhead and swivel as needed
- Connectable to hose or water hose for use, for optimal pressure
- Modern shower appearance
- Provides 16 gallons of water at 86 degrees with continuous use
- Cold water coming in ensure your shower isn’t too hot on the warmest days of the year
- Far pricier than any of the others on this list
- Requires a water hookup, so not ideal if you’re off the grid away from a hose or tap
- May be awkward to transport for backpackers, but not impossible
8. Sea to Summit Pocket Shower
This simple Sea to Summit Pocket Shower is perfect for backpackers. When it’s not being used as a shower, it can be used as a means of transport for clothes or a sleeping bag.
Survivalists also use this bag to wash their hands, clothes, and dishes.
- Made from 100% Nylon and Polyurethane coating
- Holds up to 2.5 gallons
- Allows for a seven-minute shower
- Twist mechanism for turning on and off as well as flow adjustment
- Environmentally-friendly materials
- Comes with 20 feet of Nylon cord for hanging anywhere
- Multi-use: You can also use it as a bag for transporting a sleeping bag or clothes
- Includes carrying pouch
- The twist mechanism may be difficult to close
- Small weight capacity, so not ideal if you’re going to be far from a water source for long
What to Look for in Best Solar Showers
The standard weight capacity for the best solar showers is five gallons, but you will find some that are larger and some that are smaller.
Consider the following factors when deciding how heavy of a solar shower you need: how many people will be traveling with you, how long you will be away from a water source, and—most importantly—how much weight you can carry comfortably.
Most of the best solar showers simply are not portable. They’re intended for backyards, pools, beaches, etc. Every single shower on this list has been verified as being portable.
Be certain that if you’re planning on taking your shower in the wilderness with you that it’s designed to be portable.
After you’ve confirmed it is portable, pay attention to how much it will weigh to carry.
A five-gallon solar shower weighs approximately 42 pounds. If that seems like it would be too heavy on top of your other supplies, then you’ll need to bring a stronger friend with you or buy a lighter one.
Of course, you always have the option to carry it empty and fill it up at your nearest water source. Ask yourself if you’ll be comfortable showering near the water source, though. If the answer is no, then you’ll either need to bring a lighter one or get creative with how to transport the water.
The best solar showers can get scorching hot. This is especially important to remember for the hottest months of summer in the deep south. Some showers come equipped with hose hookups to help mitigate the heat.
Most don’t, though. Luckily, most solar showers do come with temperature gauges, so you’ll know the temperature before you shower.
You can always add cooled water to the solar bag for a more comfortable temperature.
The most common materials used in the best solar showers to permeate the water with heat are plastic, TPU, PVC, and nylon.
It’s important to pay extra special attention to when a retailer claims their product is environmentally friendly.
As we saw in two of the examples above, you should always check the product description for manufacturing specifics about materials to determine if it is actually approved by environmentalists. Never assume the marketing is correct, especially if you’re trying to reduce your carbon footprint like many survivalists.
Plastic tends to leave a chemical smell that isn’t pleasant to the nostrils. However, some types of plastic are better than others.
Thermoplastic Polyurethane is approved by environmentalists, is durable, and has high liquid resistance.
PVC is frowned upon by most environmentalists and has mixed reviews about whether or not is safe for human use. If you’re concerned about the safety of the products you’re buying, it’s best to avoid products with PVC.
Nylon is another safe, unreactive material.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Solar Showers
What are the pros and cons of using a solar shower?
A huge pro is that solar showers tend to be cheaper than other off-the-grid shower options. They’re also great for survivalists who don’t have 24/7 access to fresh water for showering, washing hands, doing dishes, etc.
The biggest con is that they can be unreliable in terms of durability, temperature, and water pressure.
It can also be difficult to find a place to mount shower bags that require to be hung up to provide steady pressure. You have to be extra cautious of where you hang them, too, because they are quite heavy.
Also, most solar showers do not come with shower tents like other off-the-grid shower ideas. So you should consider adding a shower tent to your budget.
How long do solar showers last?
A typical solar shower will use approximately two to three gallons of water per minute. You can elongate this process with most of the best solar showers on this list by using a stop-and-go approach, where you turn the shower on for a little while, then turn it off while you scrub.
If you’re wondering how many uses you’ll get, note that durability depends on the material it’s made from.
How long does it take for the best solar showers to get hot?
The answer to how long it takes for a solar shower to warm up is dependent on the weather that day and the size of the solar bag. On a warm 80-degree day, a five-gallon one could heat up in about an hour in direct sunlight. Cooler days may take up to three hours.
Can you use a solar shower in the winter?
You can use a solar shower in the winter, but it might not be safe.
Seasoned survivalists recommend boiling the water before adding it to the solar bag to ensure warm water. It will cool after being exposed to the elements. On a sunny day, it’s possible the bag will heat on its own but check the thermometer before showering.
You’ll also want to make sure you have a warm place to shower, as the risk of frostbite is increased after getting wet in freezing outside temperatures. You may wish to shower in a toga or other garment to retain body heat.
How do you clean a solar shower?
Cleaning a solar shower isn’t hard, and your new product should come equipped with specific cleaning instructions.
You need to clean it after each use to prevent the growth of bacteria. Fill the bag with two tablespoons of bleach and one quart of water. Allow the mixture to soak for a few minutes, then rinse thoroughly and allow the solar shower bag to dry.
Wrapping up the Best Solar Showers
You can prepare yourself for the best solar shower of your life with the Advanced Elements Summer Shower or any of the showers listed above.
If you’re not sold on the idea of solar showers just yet and want to consider other survivalist showering options, you’ll want to read 11 Off Grid Shower Ideas for Survivalists.