Camping and Hygiene can be a bit of an oxymoron. Many see getting back to basics as not washing and letting the smell from your clothes provide a natural insect repellant.... In fact some even revel in it, displaying their dirtiness as a badge of honour in campsites around the world. However, there are those, myself included, that like to remain relatively clean when out and about in the wonders that nature has to offer... and for us hardy souls prepared to undergo a shower whilst camping there is the Yellowstone Camping Shower - 20 Litre
The first time I purchased one of these was for the boat. Along my travels up and down the east coast of the UK, there were plenty of occasions where access to a shower was either limited or non-existent. A solution to this was the Yellowstone Camping Shower, purchased on ebay for a fiver including delivery but available on Amazon for 5.34 including shipping.
How it Works
Quite simply, the sun heats up a black plastic bag that is filled with water. The direct sunlight heats up the water and you can hang the bag from a tree, post, boast mast etc and a simple twist of a tap and hey presto - 20l of hot water cleansing you.... Well that's the theory anyway!
Does it Work?
Yes and No!. Firstly 20litres of water is very heavy so the hanging has to be right. The handle of the solar shower is not as robust as it should be and I can see that if not carefully hung, the handle could rip right off. The bag heated up quite well in the English summer sun and after 2 hours mid-morning sun, the bag was relatively warm. Concerned about the weight of 20 litres on an aluminum mast, I never filled this bag more than half (10 litres), such is the concern about the handle ripping. A half bag will give you a single shower and will take about 2 hours to heat up. The flow from the tap is decent enough and for a quick, no fuss shower, it just about does the job.
I was given a Gelert camping shower as a birthday present and found this more durable and warms up quicker. The Yellowstone camping shower is ok for the money but it is worth spending an extra fiver and getting something which is noticeably better. The Yellowstone camping shower was sufficient for an occasional shower and very good for providing warm water for washing up but overall I would recommend paying extra and getting something better if a camping shower is what you want.
After hearing the muddy tales of a few people who had previously attended the glastornbury festival, I decided to have a quick look around on the net for portable showers before I made my visit. I quickly found this shower and decided that I had found real value. I quickly ordered it and was very pleased with the product, it allows you to camp in the real outdoors, or at a festival, whilst remaining nice and clean throughout your trip, rather than being avoided by everyone because of your stench only a few days in! All my friends used this too and we were very happy with the product and the fact that we could be fairly clean and on the move.
The Yellowstone shower consists of a large bag, a pipe and a nozzle, so it is fairly basic in its design but I think that improves a product. Why complicate life with lots of difficult pieces and attachments, that just makes it nice and easy to use.
The bag is made from plastic with a hole at the top so that you can hang it up into a more natural showering position. At glasto we had a fence near us so we just hung it on that. The idea is that the sun heats it up during the day so that when you get home you have a nice warm shower to clean you off from your day in the mud.
The bag is filled via a removable plug on the front of it and you can take that out to fill the bag full of water from your tap. It is nice and big so that you will easily be able to get your tap inside it to quickly fill it to the top. It holds 20L in total, so that can take a while to fill.
It worked very well. We started using it at the end of the second day and by then it was nice and warm. It was then used regularaly and we filled it back up and left it 24 hours and once again it was nice and warm, so it fills quickly. It is not boiling, but it is warm enough.
A good shower that can make camping easier.
This product has a very limited market. You wont find many campers who like to be so isolated from facilities for such a long duration that a shower is on their list of priorities. For trips longer than one night myself and many others have many use of wet wipes and copious amounts of deodorant to keep fresh and if worst comes to worst a cold wash in a stream is taken.
This portable shower is a very simple design, a plastic bag which incorporates a hook so you can have it elevated for the shower, a filling nozzle and a shower nozzle.
The idea is that you fill the bag with water, leave it in the sun all day and then you can have a warm shower at the end of the day. So completely free to use assuming you are close to a supply of water. The issue is that in the UK the chances of a day of reasonably consistant sunshine isn't something you would like to rely upon.
There are a few flaws in system. Take a typical day of wild camping. you fill up in the morning leave outside the tent to warm whilst you go off for a day of adventure. As the sun moves the shadow of your tent or nearby trees moves across blocking the sunlight getting to the pouch so you have to make sure its in a position to get all day sun which can lead to it being placed away from your pitch. If your adventures mean you dont get back until 7pm then the water is way below the maximum heat it reached around 2 in the afternoon.
You can gain more heat by using your stove to warm the water but wild camping usually consists of minimal fuel so unless you have an open wood fire going thats not really an option.
The shower is very much a weak trickle of water, and as the bag empties the flow is reduced from the loss of hydrostatic head.
Being a 20l capacity, when full this weighs in at 20kg. Finding a branch to support this weight at the right height with no other greenery at your feet can be tricky in some parts of the country, then you have the fun of trying to get the hook on. Trying to manipulate a wobbly 20kg bag, above your head, onto a tree, without puncturing is not an easy task.
The bag is quite robust although any small scratch from poor handling or spiky trees can easily lead to it breaking under the pressure of water.
If you really feel the need for a shower when wild camping then this is the best you'll get and at under £7 it may be worth a try. For me it's a lot less hassle to make do with a dry wash or suck it up and get in a river then wrap up warm.
When we go camping its normally to a cool camp site where there are showers, toilets and entertainment so never need to take that much camping equipment with us. I always fancied taking the kids and dogs camping out in the wild for a few nights to rough it and get the real camping experience.
On the 3rd of july ,this month we decided to go to cumbria camping in the woods with some friends that come from around that county, I took a few home comforts and also bought a yellowstone camping shower to aid in our basic hygiene for our trip.
Yellowstones camping shower was cheap to purchase at £6.00 from our local go outdoor store. Can be bought from amazon uk, millets, and base.
Yellowstone camping shower consists of a bag, a clear pipe with a nozzle on the end that acts as a shower head.
The bag is made from tough plastic, it has a small hole at the top of the bag for hanging it up. One side of the bag is clear and the back is black i guess the black helps attract the sun drawing heat into the bag to heat the water up.
The bag can heat the water up to 40 degrees depending on the heat of the sun of coarce. You can leave the bag laying out in direct sunlight for as little as one hour to heat up the water.
The bag can be filled via the plug on the front of the bag, it has a pop cap lid that comes off and the water can be put in to fill the water bag up, the hole is quiet big and my bathroom slandered tap can fit in the hole. It takes around ten minutes to fill the bag full of water and the cap can go back on, I found the cap fits well and there was no leaks of water always a good sign.
The bottom of the bag has a small leaver tap like the kind you get on the cardboard wine holders and a small part under this to attach the pipe too. I found it simple to push the clear hose pipe to the tap on the bag and fits nice and tightly.
The shower bag holds 20 Litres of water, we cheated and filled the bag up with fresh clean water from our bathroom taps before leaving.
Finding a tree to hand the shower bag from was the hardest part of using the yellowstone camping shower. After a few hours of my partner climbing trees to hang the shower up he found a good branch. The tree we used only a few meters from our tent and required him to cllimbe the tree and tactfully hang the bag up. The problem is the bag has to be hung well above your head so the shower hose pipe can hang down over your head and body otherwise you will be crouching down on the ground trying to get washed.
After leaving the shower bag all day in the sun I got to test it out that night washing my face and hands. The water was nice and warm not exactly the 40 degrees but my guess would be at least 20 degrees witch is warm enough to use as a shower. Pushing the leaver tap to the side the water started running out the end of the hose pipe sprinkling enough water to get washed but don't be expecting a power shower.
I loved the yellowstone camping shower. The water stays warm through the night. It is easy to use once the fiasco of the hanging is out the way. You have to add the soap on the body before turning the shower on so not to waste the water in the bag. It is reusable and I will be taking it on my next trip. Having the shower was a god send for simple things like rinsing dirty hands and cups.
Yellowstone camping shower I highly recommend it.
Now if you've read many of my reviews you'll know I like my fake tan, my make up and my pampering products.... So this review might come as a little bit of a shock to any of my avid followers out there! Last weekend my boyfriend and I decided to go camping... now when I say decided it was probably more a case of him persuading / forcing me into it by bribing me with the fact that it'd not only be cheap but as the weather was going to be so good I'd have a chance to top up my tan! Now for all of those of you that think that camping is a bargain holiday think again... during my extensive preparations for the trip I actually spent a small fortune and could probably have nearly afforded a week abroad on what I spent!
One of the products that I was adamant on purchasing was a portable shower, now you may well wonder why we didn't do the "normal" thing and go to a campsite that provided such minor luxuries but my boyfriend (who fancies himself as a bit of a Bear Grylls it would seem) was determined to go back to basics on our camping trip. There are some things that I just had to put my foot down on as you may well have guessed! The thought of not showering for a whole weekend almost had me breathing into a paper bag and so I decided to invest in my own shower. After a slightly hurried shopping trip online I ended up purchasing the Yellowstone Camping Shower at the reasonable price of £6.40 (who said camping wasn't cheap)!
The portable shower arrived a couple of days later and, I must admit, I was rather disappointed when I saw it packaged up very neatly into a small cardboard box - I'd clearly overestimated quite how much luxury this shower was going to provide me with! Upon opening the box my heart sank even further and I started to regret agreeing to a camping trip! The shower consists of a black plastic bag which holds the water and a clear plastic pipe which dispenses the water - not quite the power shower I'm used to! At the top of this is a small hole which allows you to hang the shower bag up to aid when actually showering. The pipe wasn't actually attached but came separately and was quite narrow with a nozzle to turn the water on.
Although the shower didn't really seem much more than a plastic bag with a nozzle (I could have made one I felt out of an old wine box!) it did boast some rather impressive claims... Firstly it has a 20 litre capacity meaning it can hold quite a substantial amount of water which is arguably enough for two quick showers. Secondly it can be heated by the sun up to forty degrees in just three hours... presumably the sun would have to be quite bright and hot for this to occur as I doubt you'd get those results in the middle of winter! Obviously the main advantage of this shower is that it's solar powered which means you do have complete freedom with where you choose to use it... not that I'm suggesting a shower on the hard shoulder!
It finally came to using it on Saturday evening and luckily the sun had been out for most of the afternoon so I hoped the water would be quite warm. We'd filled it up from a passing stream (I did worry initially that I might catch something from this water but my boyfriend said as long as I kept my mouth closed I'd be fine... I'm not sure if this was more for his benefit!) and hung it off a tree branch... this was where the first problem occurred. Twenty litres is quite a hefty weight and the first tree branch we hung it off couldn't take the weight and snapped, it took us about five minutes to find a suitable branch to hold the weight. I then stood, nervously shivering in my bikini awaiting the onslaught of the water...
The water was surprisingly warm! Sadly it was not anywhere near the forty degrees that it could have reached but it was quite bearable. It came out quite slowly which wouldn't have been ideal for washing my hair but I suppose this does mean that water is conserved rather than wasted. The pipe is also quite narrow so it comes out in an rather narrow stream meaning that you do need to position yourself right under it or you might miss it. The nozzle was really easy to turn on and off as well, and once it was off not a single drip came out either which I liked. Altogether I managed to last for about a minute under the shower before I gave up and there was easily about ten litres left in the shower bag after this.
Despite my initial concerns when this shower first arrived on my doormat I'm actually quite pleased I invested in it... not quite pleased enough to suggest a camping trip anytime soon mind you! It's currently priced at £6.40 on Amazon and also offers free shipping so it really is quite a bargain. I've only used mine twice so far but have been really pleased with it, even if it only lasts for a couple of camping trips it's still a worthwhile investment in my opinion. The advantages to this shower are easy to see in that it's portable, it's easy to store (I've kept it in it's box), it's easy to use (providing you've got access to water), it's cheap and it allows you to shower when there's no other option (a massive bonus in my opinion)!
However the downsides are also evident in that my friend also purchased one last week but hers split down the seam the second time she used it (she also had the misfortune of going camping this weekend). In the future I probably wouldn't risk filling mine quite so full, although it advertises a capacity of twenty litres I'm thinking fifteen litres may be a safer bet. We did struggle to hang it anywhere and did worry that the plastic would give way so I do think they could design a sturdier option for hanging the bag upright - maybe some sort of hook would be stronger. All in all I'm giving this four stars, it was actually surprisingly good at doing its job but I do think it could be made a little more robust really.
Thanks for reading!
This Yellowstone camping shower is a must for all campers, that is if there is no access to a real shower obviously if your on a site as I know most do provide facilities now, But if you are out roughing it this is a great camping tool, it is capable of holding twenty litres of water and if left out in the sun it will warm the water up to forty degrees, which is more than warm enough to wash your self or pots and pans etc, it can be hanged up anywhere, on your tent or on a tree branch if it is more suitable, the point being is it is very versatile in that aspect, I paid £9.99 for one but have seen them as cheap as six pounds in some independent camping stores which is real value for money for the usage and helpfulness of the product, the water flows out at a nice rate and the bag itself feels really well made, so there is no excuse for stinking next time your camping with a genius little product like this on the market.
As you may have been able to tell from a series of my reviews as of late I am a bit if a camping nut and am always away for nights here and there in my faithful tent. Also as a bit of a gadget nerd this leads to a costly obsession with trying out all the newest camping gear. Anything I see I haven't tried Ill go for. This when I saw this Yellowstone camping shower online I had to try it. Obviously getting washed and staying clean is one of the reasons many are put off camping, and some shower blocks are not too appealing to counter that, so this could be an interesting product!
Basically this is a 5 gallon/20 litre bag with a shower pipe attached that can be hung anywhere around your tent, obviously on the outside. The bag is designed so that it heats by the sun and the bag claims it can reach 40 degrees heat in three hours. Of course being so small its easy to transport and store which is always ideal for camping outings where you carry more items than your back wants you to!
I took this away in the middle of last month and being as sad as I was I was quite looking forward to using it. As soon as the tent was up I hung this on the outside and after going for a walk and a cheeky pint came back around 5 hours later to have a shower before heading out for the night. Like a kid on Christmas morning I had my new toy and turned the nozzle to let the water flow and was I satisfied? In fact I was. It was a mild night and I noticed straight away that the water had heated well. Whether it was as high as 40 degrees or not I am not sure but it certainly had heated up and gave me a warmth throughout. A few other times I have used it it has been the same but what is also handy is that on hot days you simply can insert cold water and have a cool relaxing shower down.
The 5 gallons lasts to give you a decent shower. Obviously you are not going to be standing in it for as long as you may in the house but there is more than enough to give you a good wash down. The water flows out strongly and without a break in the flow and the pipe is long and flexible to make sure you can reach all those hard places.
The shower is also ideal for washing items as its basically a hose. We used to to get the thick of muddy boots, give the dog a good bath and clean pots and pans with the heated water. Saves trips to the wash house too!
Therefore at such a cheap price of around £7 this is an essential camping item that will not only wash yourself but can also be a multipurpose source of water for your camping outing!
For those who want to keep some home comforts when one with nature this easy solar shower is a great environmentally friendly way to keep clean. The sun heats up the water inside the shower and the shower nozzle provides an effective stream of water. All you need is a tree or someone to hold it up for you!