Solar showers offer a perfect way to stay clean while remaining off the grid. These products work by heating up stored water using solar panels. They are an excellent addition to any kit full of camping or hiking gear and just might make your next outdoor trip even better.
Advanced Elements 5 Gallon Summer Shower
Intex Portable Solar Camping Shower
VIGLT Solar Shower Bag Summer Shower 5 Gallons
Read on below for our list of the five best solar showers in 2019, the features you’ll want to look for when choosing the best outdoor solar shower for you, and our final verdict on which shower you’ll want to go with this year. (If you’re looking for some other great solar products, check out these cool solar pool heaters!)
- 0.1 1. Advanced Elements 5 Gallon Summer Shower
- 0.2 2. VIGLT Solar Shower Bag Summer Shower 5 Gallons
- 0.3 3. Trofoty Solar Camping Shower Bag, 5 Gallons/20L
- 0.4 4. CARTMAN Portable Solar Camping Shower
- 0.5 5. Intex Portable Solar Camping Shower
- 1 Features to look for in the best Solar Showers
- 2 Can I Make My Own Solar Shower?
- 3 Conclusion
1. Advanced Elements 5 Gallon Summer Shower
Sometimes it’s difficult to choose our Editor’s Choice in a category. That wasn’t the case this time. The Advanced Elements solar shower is such a clear front-runner in this area that our job was made especially easy. This product combines excellent capacity, functionality, reliability, popularity, and ease of use.
Over 570 customers have left reviews on Amazon and the results couldn’t be more decisive. An average review of 4.5-stars makes it clear that people are in love with this product. The entire product weighs one pound and four ounces (when drained) and can easily be rolled up into a compact package for simple storage.
The reflector, insulator, and solar panel work together to turn water from cool to warm in a hurry so that you won’t need to wait too long to shower on cold mornings.
Along with its base functionality, the Advanced Elements solar shower comes fully equipped with pockets and containers for all of your shower-related items (soaps, razors, etc.). It’s made of a durable, 4-ply material and comes with a water temperature gauge. Basically, Advanced Elements has thought of everything.
- Good value
2. VIGLT Solar Shower Bag Summer Shower 5 Gallons
The VIGLT Solar Shower Bag is one of the best values in the solar camping shower category. Coming in at under $20 per unit, you won’t need to break the bank to take a warm shower on a cold camping trip. As a result, this product wins our Best Value award and is a definite must-buy for those looking for a full-featured solar shower on a budget.
It’s made of tough PVC material and the included solar panel will heat water to 113 degrees Fahrenheit inside of three hours. If you fill the unit with water before you go to bed, you’ll have 5 gallons of warm water with which to shower in the morning (with plenty of time to spare).
The included plastic showerhead comes complete with two modes (“low” for a gentler flow of water, “high” for faster and more intense water flow). The solar shower bag comes with a pocket for your shower-related items, and a temperature gauge to show you how hot the water is inside.
On hot days, you’ll want to double-check the thermometer to make sure the water isn’t too hot. Strong sunlight can cause the water inside to reach over 50 degrees Centigrade.
- Amazing Value
- Pocket for shower items
- The plastic showerhead may not be as durable as the PVC bag
3. Trofoty Solar Camping Shower Bag, 5 Gallons/20L
This product falls somewhere between the first solar camping showers on this list and the following two items, which are more utilitarian and less feature-rich. I’ll describe first what this product is, then what it isn’t.
First, this is a well-made solar camping shower bag. It’s durable, watertight, has separate intake and shower valves (to reduce wear on the latter), and its handle is solidly constructed and suitable for hanging on a tree or carrying around. The shower also has a temperature gauge that allows you to see how hot the water inside has gotten. This comes in handy on extremely hot and sunny days when, like with the VIGLT product at #2 on this list, the water inside can reach uncomfortably high temperatures. Finally, this solar camping shower comes standard with a small pocket you can use to store your shower-related accessories, like shampoos and soaps.
What it isn’t is a product with a long-standing reputation. While it’s made an excellent impression on the Amazon community in the short time that it’s been on the market, it hasn’t yet had an opportunity to demonstrate that this product is as high-quality as the first two items on this list.
- Was just recently released
4. CARTMAN Portable Solar Camping Shower
Weighing in at only 14 ounces (when fully drained and completely dry), this lightweight solar camping shower won’t add much bulk to your camping gear. Lord knows you’ve already got enough heavy stuff to carry with you when you go camping. Much like the next item on this list, the Cartman Portable Solar Camping Shower eschews the little extra features like a temperature gauge and a shower accessory pocket in favor of an everyday low price.
It does have features where it counts though. The extremely durable construction extends to its handle (the part of the unit likely to experience the roughest handling) and shower spout. It also has a separate intake valve for filling, ensuring that the shower spout doesn’t see too much wear and tear.
This solar camping shower will lighten your pocketbook by less than ten dollars, an almost unbelievable deal. If a low price is your main, or even your only, goal when buying a portable shower, you need look no further. If, however, you’re looking for a more full-featured unit, you may wish to look at one of the showers higher up on this list.
Lastly, there are some durability issues with this item. Perhaps as a reflection of the very low price, some users have highlighted what we noticed as well. You may have some leakage issues and some problems with the shower hose.
- Incredibly low price
- Gets the job done
- Not as durable as some of the items on this list
5. Intex Portable Solar Camping Shower
The Intex Portable Solar Camping Shower is the no-frills version of the items on this list. This solar shower does not come with a pocket for your shampoos and soaps, nor does it include a temperature gauge. It’s basically a solar panel, a bag, a hose, and a spout for showering.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with the foregoing. The result of Intex’s rejection of the little extras is to keep the price extremely low. This solar camping shower costs less than $14! That low price hasn’t led to any reductions in customer satisfaction either. Over 100 users have given an average 4.5-star rating on Amazon to this handy little shower.
It’s one of the most popular solar camping showers on Amazon, likely because of its durable construction and rock-bottom price. People love a good deal and they’ve definitely found one on in the Intex Camping Shower. Its five-gallon capacity is more than enough for a person to take a quick shower. In fact, more than one person should be able to make use of this product before emptying the reservoir.
- Amazing price
- Durable construction
- Lacking some of the features of the other camping showers on this list
Features to look for in the best Solar Showers
When you’re choosing the best solar showers for you, keep the following features in mind.
You’ll want your solar shower to hold at least five gallons. All of the items on this list hold exactly that, which is no coincidence. No one wants to run out of water in the middle of a shower, covered in suds and slippery with soap. Much like solar lighters, this is a product that can’t be allowed to fail when you’re using it. Five gallons may not sound like a lot, but keep in mind that these aren’t used like regular showers. You don’t simply turn the water on and let it pour until you finish washing. You’re intended to use the water intermittently to limit your use of it. At this rate, five gallons will last you a long time. Like a solar fountain, water capacity makes a big difference.
The proper construction of a solar camping shower is absolutely essential. After all, there’s no sense in taking the time to fill and heat up five gallons of water if it’s just going to leak out before you can use it to shower. All of the items on this list should meet a bare minimum of quality standards, especially at the beginning of their lives. However, keep in mind that camping and hiking gear is bound to be treated roughly. It will be carried through the wilderness, slung over rough-hewn trees, and otherwise abused. The better your solar camping shower is constructed, the longer it will last. (Looking for some other solar products? Check out these solar sun rings for your pool.)
How feature-rich do you want your solar camping shower to be? Some people will be happier with the latter items on this list. Those solar showers are basically just bags and hoses, with a solar panel to heat everything up. Remember, the fewer things attached to the bag, the less that can go wrong. Others, however, will desire a few creature comforts. A pocket to hold their shower accessories, like shampoos, soaps, razors, and combs. A temperature gauge to communicate how hot the water inside has gotten overnight. If this is you, take a close look at the features offered by the solar camping shower you’re looking at, focus on the first few items on our list, and be prepared to spend a little bit extra. (Have a pool? Try out this neat solar liquid blanket to keep it warm!)
Can I Make My Own Solar Shower?
Yes! While a full do-it-yourself solar shower guide is outside the scope of this article, rest assured that you can make your own fully functional solar shower. You’ll need to be a bit handy, and possess some basic tools and craftsmanship skills, but the idea is not complicated. Essentially, you need to create a container that will hold water. We recommend at least five gallons but, if you’ve found that you need more or less, feel free to use that amount instead. The container will need some way of converting solar energy into thermal energy. This is a fancy way of saying convert light to heat. The simplest way to do this is just to ensure that the material the container is made of is black, the color that is best at absorbing light and turning it into heat. After that, you’ll just need to include a hose and showerhead and you’re good to go.
If you’re looking for a more complete guide to making your own DIY solar shower, click that link and our friends at REI will show you how to make your own durable, effective solar shower.
A solar camping shower can be of tremendous use in the wilderness on a camping or hiking trip. Eliminating the need to stay close to an inconvenient (and frequently unpleasant) campground shower, these items increase your effective range and the comfort with which you’ll travel. You should also take note that they do not need to be saved solely for full showers. There’s nothing wrong with using solar camping showers to wash your feet and hands after wading around in a beach, for example.
If it isn’t yet clear from our language above, we wholeheartedly endorse the Advanced Elements 5 Gallon Summer Shower. It has all of the features a person could want, is durably constructed, holds five full gallons of water, and even looks nice. It’s one of the best solar showers on the market today. If, on the other hand, you’re more budget-oriented, you may prefer the VIGLT Solar Shower Bag. It’s less expensive but doesn’t fail to provide many of the same features as the Advanced Elements product. (Looking to make your own passive solar heater? Click that link to find out how!)