Before buying a camping shower enclosure, there are a few key things to consider when deciding on the best one for you. Unfortunately there are many privacy shelter tents on the market being advertised as “shower enclosures” that are not actually designed for showering at all.
Many of them make excellent camping toilet tents and privacy tents (for changing clothes) but lack the appropriate features necessary for a proper shower tent.
With that in mind, here’s a quick camping shower enclosure buyer’s guide to help you understand what to look for to ensure you get the best model for your intended use.
Solar Shower Bag Support
One thing to look for is whether or not the enclosure you are looking at is designed to support the weight of a filled solar camping shower bag.
Regardless of if you intend to use a solar camping shower bag or not (vs. a propane camping shower, or tankless camping shower), knowing that the model you are considering is designed to support the heavy weight of a filled bag is the first clue to whether or not it is “truly” designed for showering.
If the product description or features list does not mention that it will support the weight of a solar shower – you’ll be best off to assume it doesn’t.
A removable floor is essential for a camping shower enclosure. Many privacy tents and camping toilet tents do not have a floor, for sanitation reasons. For showering, however, a floor becomes quite important. Without a floor, you’re showering on bare ground (dirt). What do you get when you mix water with dirt? Precisely, you get mud. A proper camping shower enclosure will come with a floor that will not only keep your feet clean while in use, but will allow you to direct the drainage water out to prevent building your own personal mud bath.
Durability is obviously an important consideration for any camping equipment that is going to be subjected to the elements of outdoor-use and the rigors of constantly packing & unpacking. This becomes even more important with camping shower enclosures because you’re introducing water to the equation, which means you need to consider corrosion & rust potential of the components.
With different manufacturers using different materials it can be tough to pick out the truly “durable” from the duds.
I mean seriously, there’s not a manufacturer out there not claiming that their product is “durable”. Can you see their advertisement if they were really being honest… “Our product will only last you 1 or 2 camping trips, if you’re lucky – it’s designed to sell to you cheap, not to last. Our product is made in China, it uses cheap material, and cheap components, so we can sell it to you, cheap”.
Unfortunately they aren’t typically that honest.
We’ve done a lot of research here picking out the best enclosures and posted the results for you. You can see them here at best camping shower enclosures where we compare the top models side-by-side for you.
Ease of Setup & Teardown
Setup & teardown ease is important for any camping tent. How many people does it take to set it up? how much time? and how complicated? – all questions you, the consumer, need to know. Fortunately tent technology, in general, has come a long way over the years and setup couldn’t be simpler these days. There are still some older, out-dated designs that will require assembling poles, but the newer ones typically use shock-corded fiberglass or aluminum poles. Some even have built-in integrated poles that allow you to simply pull the top of the tent up for instant assembly. And then there are even a few low-end pop-up designs around being sold as “shower enclosures” that allow you to literally “toss” the thing in the air and watch it spring to shape (beware of these though).
The ones to avoid are the “toss-em-in-the-air” models”. True, they make good privacy tents for quickly changing clothes at the beach or park, but they are not designed for camping shower enclosures. They lack floors, they won’t support the weight of a solar camping shower bag, and though their design makes them quick to pop-up, the slightest breeze will send them sailing.
For most modern camping shower enclosures you can expect it to take anywhere from 2 – 20 minutes to assemble – depending on the model of course. See our Best Camping Shower Enclosures to compare the actual setup times side-by-side.
If you’re planning on packing your camping shower enclosure in on your back, weight is going to be a huge consideration. If, instead, you’re only intending to use it near the car, weight will be less of an issue, though still one to consider. The best camping shower enclosures tend to range between 10 – 19 pounds.
Useful Camping Shower Enclosure Features To Look For
There are a number of excellent features some of the best camping shower enclosures offer that may not be absolute “requirements”, but they can sure make for a more pleasurable experience.
Internal Storage Pockets
Having a convenient place to put your shampoo, soap and shaving cream is one of those little things you don’t think of until you’re actually in the shower. The best models feature a number of convenient internal storage pockets just for this.
External Towel Rack with Access
Having a place to hang your dry towel (and keep it dry while you shower) is another easy afterthought. Unfortunately only the best camping shower enclosures offer an external towel rack. And of those, only a few provide easy access to it from inside.
Clear Panels for Solar Shower Heating
This really only applies to you if you’re intending to ever use a solar camping shower bag. If so, one of the biggest inconveniences is filling the bag, leaving it out in the sun to heat all day, and then having to carry it into the shower tent when you’re ready to shower. To make this a little easier, some enclosures have clear panels in the rainfly which allows the sun to heat the bag in the enclosure. The nice thing about this is that when you are ready to shower you just step in and turn it on – without the need to lug the bag in and hang it.
Compare the Best Camping Shower Enclosures Side-by-Side
These are the things to look for when choosing the best shower enclosure for your camping. After a ton of research and testing of this year’s models, we’ve sorted out the top 5 for you and compared them side-by-side to help you quickly & easily determine the one for you. See our side-by-side comparison of the best camping shower enclosures here.