The best camping solar showers

camping solar showers

Wirecutter” comparison. A portable shower heated by the sun allows you to wash up after a day of hiking, but also to clean your equipment at the beach. We compared portable solar showers from Advanced Elements, Nemo, Ivation, Coleman and others to find the most efficient and convenient to carry. By Franck Mée and Séamus Bellamy  Published on September 13, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. – Updated on December 02, 2021 at

Our previous favorite, the 19 liter PVC-free solar shower from Advanced Elements.  Our current top pick works identically Enjoy your journey by lots of things to do in spain .

Wire cutter / jeremy pavia

This test was conducted in the United States and was originally published in English on the Wire cutter site. You can read it here in its original version .

After a long day of hiking, we often dream of a good hot shower. Shower that can remain a fantasy if you don’t have running water. But if you bivouac on sunny days in a sunny region, the 19-litre Advanced Elements solar shower could well turn this wish into reality. After twelve hours of research and after having tested six different models, we concluded that it allows you to shower longer than its competitors, without limiting the water pressure or turning into a shapeless pocket, impossible to lift or fill. .

Our top pick

Robust construction and a threaded cap that does not suddenly open once the bladder is filled with water: this makes the Advanced Elements solar shower a stronger candidate than its competitors. In addition, a quick hook loop on the handle makes it easier to suspend it at a sufficient height to obtain adequate water pressure. It also comes with a small mirror pre-installed, a nice bonus.

The Helio shower has a foot pump to increase the pressure and it is compact: rolled up, it is barely bigger than a tin can.

A favorite of our beach testers, the Nemo Helio is a good choice if you are looking for a more practical product than a solar shower to be hung high up. The Helio allows you to pressurize its 12 liters of water using a foot pump: thus, it is easy and quick to pass a knob to clean the sand from surfboards, sandals, beach toys and children themselves. Its design has evolved in 2020: instead of standing upright, it now rests lying on its side, perched on four sturdy plastic feet. Note that we did not find any instability problem on the previous model. Capacity and hose length remain the same. We will test this new version as soon as possible.

Why trust us ?

Séamus Bellamy has been a professional tester for years and has used trail showers multiple times after long days of hitting the trails in Nova Scotia and Spain.

Chris Dixon conducted additional research. Editor of Surfer Magazine ‘s website when it was founded, he compared portable showers and sprayers for an old pool accessories guide .

The shower will be lukewarm rather than really hot, but the pressure is reasonable and the shower head is functional.

To use the Advanced Elements 19L Solar Shower , it must first be filled with water, from any source within reach (you can even fill it up before leaving the house). Then, to warm the water, simply leave the skin in full sun for a few hours, assuming the weather is right. The manufacturers of most of these showers warn that, depending on the outside temperature, the water in the tank can heat up to the point of scalding hot; you always have to be careful but, in practice, we have found that the risk of insufficient heating is much more common (we will come back to this).

When you’re ready to use the Advanced Elements shower, hang it somewhere above your head so water flows easily to the shower head. Pull on it to open the water inlet; push it the other way to interrupt the flow. It’s simple.

The Advanced Elements 19L Solar Shower runs for about 7 minutes – that’s enough to clean your gear after a dip in the ocean or to rinse off your kids before they enter the tent. The jet is strong enough to clear mud caked on hiking boots, but like most handheld showers, this one isn’t pressurized: you’ll need gravity to drive the water. Hang it high enough so that the 60cm hose hangs down over your head: that’s how you get the best drainage.

The Advanced Elements shower offers a few small bonuses, such as a mesh pocket for carrying toiletries and a small mirror. We are certainly not talking about earth-shattering features here, but these are very practical details.

Of course, the basic purpose of a portable shower is to enjoy a hot shower. And for that, according to our tests, the result varies according to the external conditions. All these models use the same heating system: just fill them with water and place them in the sun. So you need the sun. Warm weather also helps. We have found that on an afternoon above 25°C and after three hours in full sun, all the skins reach 38 to 40°C. It’s lukewarm rather than hot, and significantly lower than the 44 degrees some experts recommend for cleaning and comfort.

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