There’s nothing like getting far off the grid. Whether you’re camping or just off-roading - getting away from hustle and bustle is both rejuvenating and exhilarating. But as much as we love the thrill of adventure, we still need to take care of our basic needs, including personal hygiene. That's where a portable shower comes in handy. In this article, we'll explore the benefits of using a portable shower while overlanding or off-grid trucking.
The first thing we should discuss is what we mean by a ‘portable shower’. Also sometimes referred to as an ‘overland shower’, a portable shower, specifically for overlanding, is any pressurized portable water source that help you clean off when you don’t have access to water otherwise. Portable showers come in many different forms and operate in different ways, but despite the differences between them their primary function remains the same: to spray water.
So a true portable shower, while intended to be a shower, typically has uses outside of just showering off-grid. If you think about it, you use pressurized water for a slew of activities at home - and a true portable shower can serve those purposes when you’re off-grid too. So let’s look at some of the ways you can use a portable shower when you’re overlanding or camping, so you can better understand how much having one can help you when you’re out there.
7 Uses for a Portable Shower When You’re Overlanding
1. Personal Hygiene
One of the primary uses of a portable shower when overlanding is for personal hygiene. After a long day of exploring, hiking, or off-roading, a shower can be a refreshing way to clean up and feel rejuvenated. It also makes it much easier to sleep when you’ve cleaned off all the sweat and dirt from the day.
Portable showers can also be used as portable hand washing devices. When you’re cooking, eating or even handling equipment, it’s important to be able to wash your hands off-grid, and the other solutions - hand wipes, bottles of water, and towels simply don’t work well. A portable shower can provide you the water pressure you need to fully wash your hands off, so you can be comfortable handling food and touching anything.
2. Cleaning Gear and Equipment
Another use for a portable shower is cleaning your gear and equipment. Whether you're an avid mountain biker, kayaker, or climber, your equipment can get dirty and need cleaning. The right portable shower can provide the water pressure you need to knock the tough dried dirt and sticky mud off your gear.
The importance of cleaning gear can’t be understated. Especially with gear like mountain bikes, leaving dried dirt, sand or mud on a bike can severely damage the bike when you go to use it again. So being able to clean up with pressurized water while you’re off-grid could save you thousands of dollars, and may determine whether you get the fun you wanted out of your trip.
3. Washing Dishes and Cooking Utensils
If you're going off-grid, you’re likely going to be cooking at some point. When you’re out there using pots, pans, and utensils, inevitably, you’ll need to wash them off before and after you cook. While there are few options for this, there’s no better option than a portable shower.
Like your sink at home, a portable shower (should) have pressure. This pressure makes it so you can easily spray off dishes, you can spray water directionally (instead of just pouring it on) and you can actually conserve water by using it more efficiently. Alternatives to portable showers usually require you to fill up a tub with water and soap, let dishes soak and then wash them off, which uses a ton of water and also creates a lot of gray water.
4. Cooling Off
In hot weather, a portable shower can be a great way to cool off. Simply fill up the shower bag with cold water and take a refreshing shower to help you feel more comfortable in the heat.
Some portable showers have alternative water flow settings that can cool you off without you having to take a full shower. Some portable shower nozzles have mist settings, which are often better for cooling off, as you don’t have to get completely wet but can still wet your skin with a light mist. So if you intend to use your portable shower for cooling off, you may want to consider one that has a mist setting on the hose.
5. Cleaning Pets
What’s a real off-grid adventure without your furry friend? If you’re a dog owner, you’re probably bringing your dog with you on your adventure. When they’re running around enjoying nature, they’re inevitably going to get dirty. While you may be ok with them smelling and tracking filth into your vehicle, likely, you’d rather them be clean.
A proper portable shower can serve perfectly as a portable dog cleaning device. With the proper pressure, you should be able to wash the toughest dirt and mud out of your dog’s fur, so that they will not only not track that filth into your vehicle and tent, but they will smell better.
6. Putting Out Fires
If you’re camping, you’re probably going to start a fire. While it’s easy to keep a fire contained and safe, you never know what will happen - so having a water source nearby to put out any stray embers or to extinguish the fire at the end of the night is important. A portable shower is a perfect solution for containing fires, as with the proper portable shower, you can spray water directionally, so you can spray fire sources exactly.
7. Emergency Preparedness
Finally, a portable shower can be a crucial part of emergency preparedness when overlanding. If you become stranded or need to stay in your vehicle for an extended period, having access to a portable shower can help you maintain personal hygiene and stay comfortable during a difficult situation. Also, if you get any harmful substances in your eyes, cut or burn yourself, a portable shower can be good for cleaning out wounds or washing out your eyes.
So as you can see, a portable shower can make a huge difference when you’re overlanding. It can keep you clean, keep your dishes sanitary, help you cool off, clean your pets, and it can help you keep safe when thing go wrong. To say that a portable shower can greatly improve your overlanding experience is an understatement.
Choosing a Portable Shower
Now, many of the functions of a portable shower that we’ve mentioned above are only possible with certain portable showers - as all portable showers are not created equal. Different brands of portable showers have different forms and functions - and some are better for certain activities than others. Now let’s look at the different types of portable showers to see which may be better for the functions we’ve mentioned above.
- Gravity-fed portable showers: This type of portable showers rely on gravity for water pressure. They typically come in the form of a bag that is hung up or held up above the user. Due just to the sheer fact that the bag is higher up, the pressure comes from gravity pulling the water out through a small opening, typically a hose. They can provide hot water if left out in the Sun, and due to their shape, they are often called solar showers or bag showers.
- Easy to use
- No pumping required
- Can provide hot water if left out in the Sun
- Low pressure
- Must be higher up than the user
- Must have something to hang it on
- Hand pump Portable Showers: Hand pump portable showers work by using a hand pump to pressurize the air inside of a tank. Using the hose nozzle lets the air release from the tank which pushes the water out with pressure. Unfortunately, with the way this system works, as more water is used, the pressure decreases, as the compressed air becomes less compressed. Therefore, these have to be repumped or repressurized frequently.
- Easy to use
- Don’t rely on gravity to work
- Super portable
- Inconsistent pressure
- Have to be repressurized
- Small capacity
- Alot of work to pressurize
- Propane Heated Portable Showers: This type of portable shower is technically just a portable water heater with a pump. This variation does not have an onboard water tank, and as a result, they require an external water source to be used. They have an electric pump that pumps water from that external source, and then cycles the water through the heater that heats it with a propane powered flame. The end is a hot, but usually lower pressure shower.
- Quickly heats up water
- Complicated to set up and use
- No onboard water source
- Typically low pressure
- Requires propane
- Lots of external parts
- Electric Portable Showers - The most modern form of a portable shower are battery pressurized portable showers. How they work is the battery powers a diaphragm water pump. That pump creates powerful, consistent pressure that stays the same even when water flows out of the tank. They are also the easiest portable showers to use as a result, requiring only a power button to be pressed.
- Strong, consistent pressure that doesn’t decrease as water is used
- Super easy to use
- No pumping or re pressurizing required
- Self contained with onboard water tanks
- Heating accessories available
- Cannot be overpressurized
- More expensive
- No built in heater
Now, after reviewing the options above, you may still not be sure which type of portable shower is best for overlanding. The thing is, if you want a portable shower that can perform all the uses that we listed at the beginning of this article, you likely want to get a battery powered portable shower. They’re easy to use, dynamic, high pressure, and can hold a lot of water. If you’re going to get a battery powered portable shower, we highly suggest you look into RinseKit.
All RinseKit portable showers are battery pressurized. In fact, RinseKit was the first portable shower company to create battery pressurized portable showers. We did that because for years, we created portable showers using the self-pressurization method that we described above.
We discovered over time that that type of pressurization is prone to failures and leaks, and that the pressure can be inconsistent. So, in the light of improving our products and the category as a whole, we switched to only selling battery-pressurized models.
That battery technology has allowed us to innovate new forms of portable showers while maintaining the pressure and consistency needed to take a solid shower or wash the toughest grime off your equipment. We’ve been able to create different shapes and capacities of portable showers that can be mounted or strapped down, or fit in tight spaces. This makes it so depending on your rig, we have a portable shower that can work for you.
RinseKit is the superior portable shower for overlanding for the following reasons:
- Battery Pressurized - Means strong and consistent spray pressure, and makes it super easy to use.
- High Capacity - Allows for up to 5 minutes of showering / spraying
- Compact and Portable Design - Makes it easy to carry and store
- Heating options available - For hot water anywhere.
- Hose Design - Has multiple spray settings including Jet, Mist, Shower, Flat and Center so it can be used for a variety of things.
As you can see, a portable shower can be an incredibly useful tool when overlanding. Not only does it help you maintain personal hygiene, but it can also be used for a variety of other tasks, such as cleaning gear, washing dishes, and even emergency preparedness. So if you're planning an overlanding trip, don't forget to pack a portable shower in your gear, and when you’re researching portable showers, make sure to include RinseKit in your search.