What Are Portable Showers & Why Surfers Should Have One

You can’t beat a hot shower after a session on the surf. The fresh water soothes those aching muscles, washes away the salt, sand, and dirt, and lets you continue with your day. That’s where portable showers come in.

Originally designed for camping trips, they have quickly become a new surfing favorite.

Rinsing yourself and your gear off after getting out of the water will ensure that your gear lasts longer and will save you from washing it when you get home.

Showing in warm/hot water will also keep you warm after those ice-cold winter surfs.

Portable showers come in a wide range of styles, offering different features which will fit right into your budget and give you the luxury of choice.

But first, let’s find out what a portable shower is before we get to the best portable showers for the beach.

What Exactly Is A Portable Shower?

A portable shower is a makeshift device used to shower outside and on the go.

That’s really all there is to it. It can be used anywhere that you feel like a hot shower but don’t have access to running/heated water.

Types Of Portable Showers

Let’s look at different types of portable showers

We have highlighted a few categories of portable showers to help distinguish features.

Some categories share some features.

Where this is the case, let price and water capacity be your guides, making sure you get the best portable shower for your needs.

Rack-Mounted Travel Showers

These are very convenient for those who drive to their surfing site.

A rack-mounted shower is a simple contraption that is mounted on the rack of your car and can be used to shower directly from your vehicle.

The simpler versions rely on gravity but better-quality products incorporate air compressors and other devices to introduce more water pressure.

Gravity Fed Portable Showers & Shower Bags

These portable showers are raised systems that rely on gravity to make the water flow.

They are the most basic option, but you can increase the water pressure by adding compressors.

Also referred to as camping shower bags, they are generally a kind of pouch or bladder that you fill with water and hang from an overhead support such as a tree.

The advantage of this option is that they are simple and cost-effective.

The disadvantage is that you might not have a support to hang your shower from when surfing.

Foot Pump Portable Showers

This is a very exciting option for portable showers.

It gives you a steady flow of water and is collapsible like the gravity bags. As the name suggests, water pressure is applied using a foot pump, giving you a pressurized shower that is sure to wash all of that surfing detritus away.

It can even be warmed in the sun, which is an added advantage.

Pressurized Compartment Portable Showers

These are the most convenient option, but they are also the most expensive.

This is a category of portable shower that does not rely on gravity.

Instead, it relies on pressurizing the water container to a point where the water literally bursts out of the showerhead.

These pressurized portable showers are the closest thing to your shower at home.

They are basically a combination of 1-part shower, 1-part hose, and 1-part warm water container.

They are the best option if quality is all you care about and you want high water pressure. But if you’re on a budget, you might be better off elsewhere.

Shower Off After Your Surfing Session

Whether they are advertised as “Portable Showers”, “Surfing Showers”, or “Portable Camping Showers”, these products all serve the same purpose. They are available from a number of retails and you have many different options to choose from.

We have highlighted some of the best ones below to get you started.

Portable Showers On Amazon

Dr. Prepare Portable Camping Shower

Described as being “slimmer than a 16oz beer can”, this is a streamlined, compact portable camp shower that’s easy to fill, store, and use. The shower water is heated via sunlight and holds the heat very well. It might not deliver a hot shower (unless it’s the height of summer), but you’ll always have at least a lukewarm shower to look forward to.

Dr. Prepare Portable Camping Shower, 4 Gallons/15L Outdoor Electric Camp Shower with Rechargeable Air Pump, Upgraded Screw Lid, Two Spray Modes, Solar Shower for Beach, Camping, Hiking Trip

See on Amazon

POMO Long Lasting

An industrial-strength portable shower that comes with an attachment akin to a garden hose. It can be used as a portable camp shower, surfing shower, and even as a quick and easy way to clean your dog after walks.

The trigger action showerhead delivers high pressure while the propane tank-style carrier is strong and durable.

POMO Long Lasting, Resistant, High Pressure 5L Outdoor Portable Shower, Camping Shower, Surf Shower, Dog Cleaning, Boat Cleaning, Road Trips, Diving, More. 1.5gal/5L Multi-use Spray, Hand Pump 45 PSI

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Vidalido Outdoor Shower Tent Changing Room Privacy Portable Camping Shelters

The Vidalido is easily one of the best portable showers on this list, providing you have the money, space, and patience to make it work.

It’s basically a portable shower tent that offers a shower and privacy in one. If you’re worried about showering on a busy beach and want complete privacy, this could be ideal. It can also be used as a private changing room. Shower tents are not as convenient, though.

Vidalido Outdoor Shower Tent Changing Room Privacy Portable Camping Shelters (White+Green)

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RINSEKIT® POD

The RINSEKIT® POD got its big break following an appearance on Shark Tank. It’s a solid product that is portable, pressurized, and contains 1.5 gallons of water. The water container is durable and its large size means there’s enough water for two.

Rinse Kit Portable Outdoor Shower | 1.75 gallons of Water | Pressurized Spray for 4 Minutes | No Pumping - No Batteries | Camping, Surfing, Pets, Sport | BPA Free (RinseKit POD)

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OYOOQO Electric Pressure Outdoor Shower

The OYOOQO is an impressive portable shower. At 5 gallons, it’s not exactly a “pocket shower”, but if you want something big and powerful, and you don’t mind paying a little extra, it’s worth it.

OYOOQO Electric Pressure Outdoor Shower, 5 Gallons Portable Camping Shower and Rinse Kits for Surfing,Diving,Fishing,Road Trip,Caravan Trip,Pet Shower,12V Car Wash Outdoor Shower

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Sea to Summit Pocket Shower

The Sea to Summit Pocket Shower is a shower bag made from 100% nylon. Just hang it, open it, and shower. It’s easy to use and transport and contains 10 liters of water, enough for over 8 minutes of showering.

Sea to Summit Pocket Shower

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Nemo Helio Pressure Shower

The Nemo Helio Pressure Camp Shower comes in two varieties: 11 liters and 22 liters. It is a pressurized shower bag, so it doesn’t need to be hung and can simply be placed on the ground.

There is a foot pump to pressurize the water and it comes with a 7-foot neoprene hose.

Nemo Helio Pressure Shower (Dark Verglas)

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Portable Shower FAQs

How Easy Is It To Setup And Use A Camp Shower System?

You need to pick a system that is convenient for you and has relatively easy assemblage. The ease of use differs greatly from one shower to the next, so pay attention to the product descriptions and reviews before you buy.

What Is The Water Capacity Of The System?

This means basically 2 things: the volume of the water and the total shower time.

Make sure you pick a system that will give you longer shower time for less water.

Generally, portable showers will list both their volume (in liters or gallons) and expected shower time.

How Heavy Is The System Once Filled?

This is a factor you will need to consider in the case of the portable shower bags as they will be lifted.

The rack-mounted water storage systems also add to the overall weight of your car and pressure on your roof, so you should consider that.

What Portable Showers Are Most Durable?

Generally, simple solutions are the longest-lasting.

Electronic parts are likely to break down, especially if not sourced from a reputable brand.

Some options use simple nylon or neoprene bags and hoses, along with cheap plastic parts. Others use hefty tanks that are built to last and withstand whatever you—and the great outdoors—can throw at them.

Let us know the portable shower system you end up choosing and how it works out for you.

How Long Does A Portable Shower Last?

Usually, you will get anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes with a portable outdoor shower. It varies depending on the volume.

Are Portable Showers Worth It?

Portable showers can save a lot of wear and tear on your surfboard and wetsuit. They also give you a chance to clean up before getting in the car and driving home.

If you live a short walk from home, don’t have to go to work after surfing, and prefer to have a nice long and hot shower, they might not be worth it. If you have a long drive home or just want to clean up, they definitely are.

How Do Portable Showers Heat Water?

A solar shower relies on heat from the sun, which means the water temperature is dependent on the season and the heat of the day. Others use batteries or your car to generate heat.

How Much Does a Portable Shower Cost?

You can buy a portable shower starting at about $40, but the best options can go anywhere up to $200. It really depends on what you’re looking for and whether you’re opting for a simple bag shower, a portable unit with a large tank capacity, or a complete privacy tent.

We reviewed the best portable showers for surfers to help you make an informed decision.