Like all solar-powered items, solar heated showers can be very useful when you’re boondocking off-the-grid. They’re easy to use: simply fill them up, leave them out in the sun for a few hours, and then hang them from a tree when they’re ready.
They also conserve water and are much better for the environment than regular showers in campground bathhouses. These are all of the great benefits that solar showers offer.
You can use them off-the-grid.
Solar showers can be used anywhere you are. Just leave them out in the sun for a few hours to soak up the warmth. The more direct sun they get, the warmer your water will heat up.
They’re better for the environment.
Solar energy is well known to be eco-friendly and sustainable as long as the sun rises and sets every day. Not to mention, solar showers use significantly less water than your average shower at home or at the campground.
Showers are like toilets (another reason to switch to a composting toilet) in that they tend to waste a lot of water, one of our planet’s most important resources. On average an eight-minute regular shower can use up to 17 gallons—as compared to solar showers which hold five gallons and can be used multiple times before refilling it. Most solar showers come with an on/off valve so you can conserve water while you’re lathering up soap and then turn it on to rinse.
They can be used for more than showering.
Solar showers also work well for washing dishes or rinsing off pets or muddy shoes outside. Most hold about five gallons, so you can usually get more than one shower/use out of it at a time.
They roll up for easy storage.
Unlike portable showerheads, solar showers roll up very compactly to stow away. When empty, they’re also lightweight at only about a pound and four ounces.
There are a few solar showers from different manufacturers on the market. The best bang for your buck is the 5-Gallon Solar Shower made by the popular Coleman brand. It’s only about $9 and has a handle for carrying/hanging and an on/off valve. Coghlan’s Solar Shower is about the same price with a similar design and includes a cord for hanging.
We also love the design of the Summer Solar Shower. It’s more expensive at about $38 but it comes with pockets to hold your shampoo and soap, Velcro straps for washcloths, and a temperature gauge.
Also—if you like the idea of a solar shower but you’re concerned about privacy, consider getting a pop-up tent like this one made by Guide Gear. They can additionally be used with portable toilets.