10 Best Portable Hot Water Shower Heaters for Camping and Van Life

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Are you going camping soon and want to stay clean after a long day in the woods? Our list of the best portable hot water showers available on the web will have you covered. Let’s dig into the specifics of which models offer what and what else you should bear in mind when you’re about to buy a portable hot shower.

And since we’re serious about telling you everything there’s to know about portable hot water showers, we’ve also included an FAQ at the end of our post.

Shall we?

Woman having a hot shower outdoors

What are portable hot water showers?

In most cases, it’s basically a showerhead that is linked to a water heater. That means the majority of models will require you to buy water and gas (typically propane) tanks and a water pump as well.

A few showers do come with a built-in water tank, while others are electricity-powered. And at least one model has a sort of sponge on one end instead of a showerhead.

What are the different types of camping hot water system?

All systems will have you pump in cold water and pump out hot water, which doesn’t say much. What changes between different models is the power source for that process to take place.

The majority of showers you’ll find on the market are propane-fueled, but some let you hook up the heater to your car or another source of electricity too.

It’s also possible to have a hot shower with no hot water system at all by heating the water yourself and pumping it into your shower. That’s what you’d do with simpler models, which is not the case with the ones we’ll be discussing here because we’re oh so fancy.

Portable Hot Water Showers

1. GASLAND Tankless Water Heater and Shower

Let’s start off with this classic model by Gasland. Now portable hot water showers aren’t the cheapest camping item ever, yet this one is pretty affordable compared to more powerful showers.

That doesn’t mean this isn’t a great heater+shower, though! In fact, it’s equipped with several mechanisms aimed at making it as safe and efficient as possible, protecting you from freezing, overheating, flame failure, dry combustion, and irregular water pressure.

Just make sure you have two D batteries to power it, a source of propane to fuel the flame, and of course a water tank and you’ll shower for as long as you want. A LED temperature display and a flame-viewing window ensure you’re never in the dark.

Check the price of this portable hot water shower.

Key features:
  • Lightweight and virtually silent
  • Designed to save gas
  • Equipped with overheating protection

2. Geyser Systems Portable Shower with Heater

This is by far the most innovative model on our list — which does come with a hefty price tag. That said, it’s been specially designed to help you save fuel and water, so it’ll make an awesome investment in the longer run.

The built-in tank holds up to 3 L (101 fl oz.) of water, which the heater takes between 15 and 45 minutes to heat up. For faster results, supply it with 1 L of boiling water and 2 L of cold water and you’ll get to shower in less than five minutes.

The coolest thing about this portable water heater and shower is that you’ll only need to hook it up to your car or RV or connect it to a deep cycle battery. No propane involved!

Check the price of this portable hot water shower.

Key features:
  • Sponge instead of showerhead will have you save water
  • Heats water in 15-45 minutes
  • Automatically shuts off when temperature reaches 35°C (95F)
  • User-friendly LED dashboard

3. Mr. Heater Battery-Operated Shower System

Granted, this isn’t the most potent camping hot water heater: it raises the source water temperature by up to 5.5°C (42F). Still, it’s definitely good value for money, as the internal battery lasts between 40 and 60 minutes of runtime on high.

It’s equipped with a water pump that boasts a filter system aimed at preventing a buildup of debris. The impressive water pressure will guarantee the best outdoor shower of your life.

Do buy a cylinder of propane to fuel the flame, though.

Check the price of this portable hot water shower.

Key features:
  • Powered by both a built-in battery (pump) and propane (heater)
  • Battery lasts for around 40-60 minutes of runtime
  • Increases source water temperature by up to 5.5°C (42F)

4. Hotaitai Portable Propane Water Heater

This offer by Hotaitai is all about premium materials. The 6-liter (27.3-gallon) water tank is made of pure copper, whereas the burner is stainless steel.

It weighs a mere 5 kg (11 lbs) and is another battery-powered pump and propane-fueled heater.

There’s a reduced risk of getting burned with this guy, as it will shut off if the water gets hotter than 75°C (167F) and activate the low-pressure mode whenever you don’t have enough water coming in. That’s a win-win, given it will also help you save fuel.

Check the price of this portable hot water shower.

Key features:
  • Turns off automatically if temperature hits 75°C (167F)
  • Heater adjusts its own power according to water flow
  • 12-month warranty

5. Hike Crew Portable Propane Water Heater & Shower Pump

Like no. 3, this model is convenient in that it can be placed on the ground instead of hanging somewhere. Yet this one can run entirely on electricity in case you don’t have a can of propane.

Its average water flow (2.2 L or 74.4 fl oz. per minute) rivals that of a regular shower.

What’s more, the showerhead has three different spray patterns. The display is user-friendly and easy to operate, while all the sensors it’s equipped with guarantee a safe experience. It will shut off whenever the water hits 52°C (125F) and turn on again if it falls below 35°C (113F).

Check the price of this portable hot water shower.

Key features:
  • Interactive interface lets you easily control water temperature
  • Comes with a built-in propane tank
  • Pump runs on electricity

6. FOGATTI Tankless Water Heater

Fogatti’s portable hot shower offers an average water flow of 7.2 L (1.58 gallons) per minute, which is a little more than half that of a regular shower. That might not sound like much, but at least you won’t be wasting any of your precious water.

At 6.9 kg (15.3 lbs), this is also one of the lightest portable hot water showers on the market.

It comes with several built-in safety mechanisms, including a shut-off switch that makes it turn off if it’s tilted more than 45 degrees. 

Check the price of this portable hot water shower.

Key features:
  • Knobs allow you to adjust between winter and summer modes, flame level, and water flow
  • Equipped with protection against overheating, high and low water pressure, and low battery
  • Weighs only 6.9 kg (15.3 lbs)

7. Camplux Propane Gas Water Heater

Camplux’s heater+shower will have you save up to 11.5% of energy, thanks to the design of its heater exchanger and main burner. This one runs at 12 L (2.64 gallons) per minute, which means you’ll have no complaints at all about its water flow.

It’ll shut off automatically too, although at an unbearable temperature (80°C or 176 F) so watch out. You’ll need two D batteries for this model’s pump and a cylinder of propane gas for its heater. It won’t work in highly windy conditions, however.

Check the price of this portable hot water shower.

Key features:
  • Automatically adjusts water pressure to temperature
  • Turns off when hotter than 80°C (176 F)
  • Weighs a mere 10.4 kg (23 lbs)
  • Designed to help you save energy

8. Thermomate Tankless Water Heater

The affordability of this model makes up for its relatively low water flow (6 L or 1.32 gallons per minute).

You’ll have to be careful with this heater too: it shuts off when the water reaches 85°C (185F), which is obviously very hot.

Yet it’s equipped with a magnetic water flow sensor, which allows it to keep running at a low water pressure, as well as anti-freezing and flameout devices. All that turns this camping hot water system into a fantastic investment.

Check the price of this portable hot water shower.

Key features:
  • Magnetic water flow sensor lets it to work at low water pressure
  • Will save you up to 50% on water heating
  • More compact than similar models

9. Flame King Tankless Outdoor Water Heater

Flame King is indeed a suggestive name, as this model’s water flow (12 L or 2.64 gallons per minute) will have you forget you’re roughing it outdoors. Both its outer case and hose are made of stainless steel for larger durability.

In addition to a digital temperature display, it comes with three knobs that let you adjust between the season mode and the gas and water flow. Bear in mind it requires a can of propane and two D batteries to work properly.

Check the price of this portable hot water shower.

Key features:
  • Equipped with a digital temperature meter and three knobs for winter/summer mode, gas setting, and water flow control
  • Made of stainless steel for an increased lifetime
  • Built-in flame failure device and protection against overheating and freezing

10. Gooble Tankless Water Heater

Our last offer boasts a built-in pure copper heat exchanger and an alloy steel case. You won’t have to wait for it to heat up: water goes in cold and comes out hot instantly thanks to its automatic ignition.

This model is equipped with flameout and water pressure sensors and both anti-freezing and dry water protection.

As with other models, it requires propane and D batteries to work. It’s perfect for a more rustic camping adventure, but it can be easily installed in your RV too. It will shut off automatically whenever the water gets hotter than 75°C (167 F).

Check the price of this portable hot water shower.

Key features:
  • Weighs around 7.1 kg (15.7 lbs)
  • Equipped with dry combustion and overpressure protection
  • Turns off if water temperature hits 75°C (167 F)

FAQ

How do you choose the best camping water heater for you?

Apart from pricing, which is the thing most folks will look at first, and customer reviews, which are also key to buying anything, do consider a few other aspects before committing to a camping hot water shower.

Some of these include the showerhead water flow, the type of power source, the minimum and maximum temperatures, and the size and weight of the whole system.

Portable hot water shower head

How much water do portable hot water showers use?

That obviously varies between one model and the other, yet most of the showers that come with a water tank hold about 20 L (5 gallons) of water. That should last for around 15 minutes, depending on how good your showerhead and pump are.

Where does the water go after you shower?

Unfortunately, unless you’re showering in the sand or on a slope, you’ll have to set up a draining system or it will of course puddle up. That shouldn’t be too complicated, though.

Using either a shower floor deck or mat or a portable tray (which is more expensive because of the outflowing hose) will keep you out of trouble.

You can try pairing a deck and a hoseless tray as well, then throw the water away into a proper disposal vault (or pour it onto the soil if that’s not banned in your campground).

Conclusion

In case you’re used to campgrounds with great infrastructure, you might do away with getting one of the portable hot water showers we’ve covered here.

Otherwise, they’re one of the most basic items you have to pack if, just like me, you need a nice hot shower to recharge your batteries.

That’s even more important if you’re planning to go camping during fall or winter. Regardless of the season, though, don’t forget to get a privacy tent alongside your shower to ensure you won’t shock your neighbors or catch a cold in the process!

Oh, and if you’re not done setting up your outdoor bathroom, check out our list of portable bucket toilets that will make you feel at home as you use them!

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