Best Shower Tents

Updated December 2021
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Buying guide for best shower tents

On those long camping trips — or maybe just the intense ones — chances are you want a quick and convenient cleanse after a hard day on the trail. A shower tent provides a private shelter in which to change, lather, rinse, and repeat, making your outdoor adventure just a little less rugged.

A shower tent looks a lot like a regular camping tent, but it’s positioned vertically so you can stand up in it rather than horizontally for sleeping. It has four walls of material fixed around a frame that is meant to be put up, broken down, packed away, and carried with relative ease. Shower tents are ventilated, and some have a ceiling and floor that can be removed. Many also have hooks, shelves, and pouches for hanging and storage.

Shower tents vary greatly in price, quality, durability, size, and versatility, so it’s important to assess your current and future camping needs in order to figure out which one is best for you.

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The tent is waterproof, but it still needs to dry before being packed up. Air-dry the tent to avoid mold and mildew problems.

Key considerations

When looking around for a shower tent, it’s important to keep in mind that companies advertise these items in a variety of ways. Shower tents may also be known as privacy tents, changing tents, or toilet tents because they can serve those purposes, too. They may also be referred to as camping shelters or camping showers. Utility tent is another name that’s often used, and it’s a bit more accurate because you can use these tents for multiple necessary activities. Ultimately, what the company calls it is less important than what it can and cannot do.

Before making a final selection, you want to check the size, shower method, ease of setup, and stability of the shower tent.

Size

Check all the dimensions of the shower tent carefully. You want to be able to stand up and move around inside it. There are some tents that are simply too narrow or short for those people who are a bit bigger and/or taller, but there are larger options available. There are also shower tents that have two rooms, with a partition in the middle that can stay in place to allow two people to use the tent in private at the same time or be removed to let one user have more space to change and shower.

Shower method

There are a few different ways to take a shower while camping, but not all shower tents facilitate all those ways. Some campgrounds have showerheads installed for campers to use. You can use a shower tent under the showerhead for more privacy and convenience, but only if the top of the tent can be removed.

If you’re using a water bag, first make sure the tent can support the weight, and second find out what apparatus is used to hang the bag. Some tents have a designated shelf for a shower bag, while others have hooks and may require some effort to attach the bag.

Setup

Pop-up: A pop-up tent is a great option for those looking for something quick and easy. As the name indicates, these tents essentially pop into shape almost instantaneously and are easily collapsed back into a compact bundle to carry. There is no assembly or dismantling required. However, these shower tents tend to be lighter in weight, a little less stable, and in some cases less durable.

Standard: You put some shower tents together in the same fashion as putting up a camping tent. Poles are inserted into fabric sleeves, and the unit is assembled, positioned, and staked to the ground. This may require two people to do and a bit of time as well. This type of shower tent is usually more stable and durable than the pop-up variety.

Stability

Regardless of the primary use of the tent, you want to avoid having it fall over while you’re inside. Some shower tents include stakes, hooks, ropes, and guy lines, while others just have the means to tether without including the other necessary items. Many shower tents aim to be lightweight in order to be easy to transport and set up, but this also means they’re more susceptible to the elements, especially wind. You might not always need to secure your shower tent, but you should have the tools and knowledge to do it if required. Some manufacturers include sandbags for extra stability if needed.

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Expert Tip
A shower tent doesn’t have to be used for camping. A cheaper one can make a fine outdoor changing room by a backyard pool or at the beach.
STAFF
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Shower tent features

Pockets, pouches, and compartments: These go by a lot of different names, but their job is the same: keeping your personal belongings dry and safe while you shower. These tents have any number of pouches, both inside and outside, where you can place electronics, valuables, and clothes to keep them from getting wet or damaged.

Clothesline: Essentially a short rope hung inside the tent, a clothesline allows you to hang your clothes off the floor and away from the water. In shower tents that have more space, the clothesline can be in a second room.

Privacy: Shower tents have mesh windows for ventilation high on the tent walls, so only the head of the bather is visible to those outside. Many tents give you the option of covering the windows for added privacy.

Mesh floor: Perhaps the ideal type of flooring for a shower tent, detachable mesh allows the water to run out of the bottom of the tent without you having to stand in water or mud. Some tents have no floor, while others have a solid one that can be detached.

Color: Most shower tents come in one color that the manufacturer has chosen, but some companies offer tents in various colors, including green and blue. It’s worth noting that identical tents may be different prices depending on the color.

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Expert Tip
Shower tents make great toilet tents as well. Just note that the toilet apparatus is not included, and depending on which type you use, you might need to relocate the tent before showering.
STAFF
BestReviews

Shower tent prices

Inexpensive: Shower tents that cost $35 and $50 are the least expensive, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the quality suffers. In this range are small or average-size tents big enough for one person, but you can find pop-up tents in this category, and some come with accessories, including ropes and stakes for stability.

Mid-range: Spend between $50 and $90 and you can find a wide variety of shower tent options. Removable tops and bottoms are readily available, as well as a shower bag shelf. The choices in this range also include roomier tents that can fit two people or double tents with two rooms.

Expensive: Spend more than $90 and you can find larger, more elaborate, and more durable shower tents. If you’re looking in this range, the tent should include all the features and accessories to make using a shower tent easy and enjoyable.

Tips

  • Choose the right spot. When setting up your shower tent, make sure to put it in a place where the water runoff won’t disturb your campsite or that of anyone else. Look for a grassy spot that will absorb water; dirt will quickly turn to mud.
  • Look for UV protection. Just because you’re inside doesn’t mean the UV rays can’t reach you. You can still get burned through mesh and even some tent fabrics. Most shower tents offer some UV protection, but check to make sure.
  • Set up the tent at home first. Before you trek into the wilderness, make sure you know how to pitch and strike your shower tent. Do a trial run at home, putting it together, trying it out, and returning it to the case. It’s best to be prepared.
  • List the items you’ll need in the tent. Try to envision how many pouches, shelves, and hooks you may need. Where can you place soap, toilet paper, towel, and even a light if you need it? More storage options mean more convenience.
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Expert Tip
Invest in environmentally friendly and biodegradable soaps and shampoos when camping so the shower runoff won’t harm the flora and fauna.
STAFF
BestReviews
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Solar shower bags heat up in the sun, but cold showers are great, too, promoting good circulation, lower stress, and better sleep.

FAQ

Q. Does a shower tent need to be secured?
A. Some pop-up tents don’t need to be tied down, but most shower tents should be at least staked or stabilized. If the weather is calm and the ground is level, some tents should be fine without being secured.

Q. How much does a shower tent weigh?
A. The weight differs from tent to tent, but it’s worth making sure you know the weight before you head out on your trip. Depending on how much hiking you intend to do, every ounce counts. For more casual camping or car camping, the extra weight may not be an issue.

Q. How heavy can the shower bag be?
A.
Shower bags come in different sizes and thus different weights, and a lighter shower tent may not be able to support the extra weight. Check the tent specifications carefully before you spend any money.

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