Overlanders spend a lot of time hiking on dusty trails, so staying clean is essential. That means washing away dirt, grime and sweat before retiring to your tent for the night.

Overlanders have two options for showering while on the road: propane camping showers and solar water bags. Which option works best for you depends on how far away from civilization you’re traveling and your budget.

In a Nutshell: Overlanders & Showers

Showering while overlanding can be a bit of a challenge, but there are several options available depending on your preferences, location, and available facilities. Here are some ways to shower when overlanding:

  1. Public facilities: When accessible, overlanders can make use of showers at campgrounds, RV parks, truck stops, or recreational centers. These facilities often provide hot water and a comfortable place to clean up.
  2. Portable camping showers: Many overlanders carry portable camping showers, which consist of a water container, a hose, and a showerhead. These showers can be heated by solar energy or connected to a propane stove or vehicle’s heating system. They can be hung from a tree or mounted on a vehicle, providing a convenient and private shower option.
  3. Solar showers: A solar shower is a bag made of heat-absorbing material that is filled with water and left in the sun to warm up. After a few hours, the water can reach a comfortable temperature for showering. Solar showers typically come with a hose and a nozzle, making them an easy and eco-friendly option.
  4. Battery-powered showers: These portable showers use a small, battery-powered pump to draw water from a container and push it through a showerhead. The water can be heated beforehand or left at ambient temperature, depending on your preference.
  5. DIY vehicle shower systems: Some overlanders create custom shower systems integrated into their vehicles. These can include built-in water tanks, water heaters, and showerheads mounted on the exterior of the vehicle. These setups can provide hot showers and privacy with the use of a shower tent or a privacy screen.
  6. Wet wipes or sponge baths: In situations where shower facilities or water is scarce, overlanders can use wet wipes or a damp cloth for sponge baths to clean themselves. Biodegradable, unscented wet wipes designed for camping are a practical option for a quick and water-efficient cleanup.
  7. Natural water sources: When in remote locations, overlanders may use rivers, lakes, or streams to bathe. It’s essential to use biodegradable soap and keep a safe distance (at least 200 feet) from the water source to minimize the impact on the environment.

Regardless of the shower method chosen, it’s crucial to be mindful of water conservation and the environment. Overlanders should use biodegradable soaps, practice good hygiene, and adhere to Leave No Trace principles to ensure they minimize their impact on the areas they visit.

(1) Propane Camping Showers

Propane camping showers provide overlanders with the luxury of having access to a warm, fresh shower without having to leave their vehicle. Furthermore, these showers enable them to wash their kit and gear both before and after camping – something not possible with other types of camping showers.

These units can be powered by propane, butane or even a battery. Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on your intended use; in general however, propane models tend to be the most convenient and durable options.

They’re lightweight and portable enough to take with you on an overland trip if you plan on doing a lot of hiking or camping. Available in various sizes, you’re sure to find one that meets all your camping needs.

Most of these showers operate off a 1lb propane canister and typically last two hours at their highest setting. It’s important to remember that the amount of propane needed per shower depends on its length and intensity.

Another consideration when making your choice of fuel is flame temperature. Butane and propane gas have different flame temperatures, so the one you select should depend on the environment in which you plan to burn it.

For instance, butane is the better option if you plan to work in colder climates since it burns more efficiently and doesn’t produce as much carbon dioxide. Furthermore, propane may be harder to find in certain places where butane is more prevalent.

No matter which option you opt for – butane or propane – make sure that you have an adapter hose for your device. These hoses attach on one end to your device and on the other to a full-sized fitting on a propane tank. They typically come in lengths of 3-5 feet and are made out of rubber or stainless steel materials.

Some of the best camping propane showers feature a sink faucet, so you can wash dishes or boil water for oatmeal or other foods while on-the-go. They also feature scald protection to keep kids and family members safe while camping. Overlanders who want easy access to clean water while traveling should consider investing in one of these great products.

(2) Solar Water Bags

After a long day on the road or camping in the wilderness, taking a hot shower is an ideal way to refresh and get back to your camping or hiking plans. Unfortunately, if you’re not at a campground with amenity blocks that offer showers and toilets, getting clean can be tedious.

Solar water bags are a convenient and space-saving way to take a quick shower outdoors. Not only do they take up minimal space, but they’re easy to set up as well. Plus, if you want even more room, simply roll them up before packing them away.

Most solar shower bags are constructed of black materials which absorb heat from the sun to warm your water. These containers often come with enough capacity to provide a shower for several people, and some models even feature temperature indicators that indicate how warm the water inside is.

They’re simple to use, too. After filling the bag with water, hang it up in direct sunlight for around an hour to begin heating the water. You may add cool water if necessary if the temperature becomes too warm; just be sure to check first!

These solar water bags are the ideal solution for overlanders who want a hot shower without having to deal with propane camping shower hassles. Plus, they’re much cheaper than showers that require propane fuel.

Amazon is the ideal place to shop for solar showers, offering an expansive selection and numerous customer reviews. Plus, with your Amazon Prime membership you’ll get free shipping on orders over a certain value with no hassle.

Another great option is visiting your local shopping mall, where you can touch and examine products before making a purchase. Plus, the staff may give you discounts or promo codes upon request.

One of the most essential steps when using solar bags is choosing one with a clear window that lets sunlight shine through. Doing this allows your water to heat up faster.

(3) Pop-Up Shower Tents

Showering is often overlooked when camping. Though you may think you don’t need it when you’re outside, taking a nice hot shower will refresh you and boost your confidence on the road.

One way to achieve this goal is with a pop-up shower tent. These lightweight tents are easy to set up and pack away, providing you with an efficient way to stay clean while on the go.

The ideal shower tents are durable and abrasion-resistant, designed to withstand the elements without breaking down quickly. Look for premium sturdy poles made of rustproof steel. Additionally, make sure the fabric is waterproof and breathable so you can use it in any weather condition.

Finally, a quality shower tent should offer ample storage space for all of your gear and supplies. Some come equipped with pockets for toothbrushes, combs, soap, while others feature hanging rope or rails for towels and clothes.

KingCamp offers this pop-up tent, spacious enough for two people to take a shower comfortably. It comes complete with plenty of accessories like a hanging towel and toiletry pocket for easy portability. Plus, it folds up into its own carrying bag for convenient transportation.

It’s essential to note that this tent serves primarily as a privacy shelter, so it lacks many of the features found on shower tents designed specifically for this purpose. Nonetheless, it does have a roll-up door and zippered window.

On the outside of this tent, you’ll need a hook or hanger to hang towels or clothes lines. However, it isn’t difficult to do so since its ceiling is made up of fine mesh for air circulation – helping eliminate dampness and prevent odors from accumulating inside.

The GigaTent Pod is the ideal option for overlanders seeking a single-room shower tent that’s simple to set up and take down. Crafted from durable polyester fabric, its six-foot center height makes it perfect for taller campers who need the ability to stand in their showers. Plus, at an unbeatable price point, this tent comes complete with its own carry bag!