8 Van Life Shower Ideas to Stay Clean On the Road



8 van life shower ideas to stay clean on the road

Living in a camper van comes with its ups and downs. One of the first problems van lifers face when they make the switch is figuring out how to stay clean while living on the road.

Luckily, after spending years on the road between living in RVs and vans and overlanding in a rooftop tent, we’ve discovered the best van life shower ideas for you.

Let’s talk about how to avoid stinking too bad during life on the road!

Table of Contents

1. Solar Shower

Solar shower

A solar shower is typically the most common way to get a regular shower while on the road.

Using a solar shower isn’t hard to do at all! Simply fill it with water, leave it in the sun for a few hours to heat up, and bam! You have decently warm water and a way to shower!

However, van lifers have complained that the shower bag itself can tear after a few uses (which can be slightly problematic when you’re boondocking and don’t have access to a camp store).

Interested in learning more? Here are some pros and cons to solar showers:


  • Lightweight – When you don’t have water stored inside, these weigh next to nothing! With water, there is a bit of weight, but it’s definitely nothing you can’t handle.
  • Holds up to 10 gallons of water – More water = longer showers! Who doesn’t want that?


  • Can break easily – Whether you accidentally tear the bag storing it or you fill it too much and it becomes weaker overtime, these solar bags can be unreliable.
  • Hard to clean & dry – Because it’s a literal bag, it can be hard to clean the inside of it. Overtime, mold could grow inside of the bag (depending on how often you use it / how you store it after being used).

There are some solar showers that live up to the hype, however! We’d recommend using this one:

2. Battery-Powered Outdoor Shower

Battery-powered outdoor shower

Don’t want to wait for the sun to heat up your water to take a shower? We don’t blame you! In cases like this, we’d recommend a battery-powered outdoor shower!

You’re able to charge these outdoor showers with your car’s cigarette lighter. All you have to do in order to use this shower is stick it into a bucket of hot water, and voila! You’re able to take a nice, hot shower.

Here are a few pros and cons to think about:


  • Up to 10 mins of shower time with a 5-gallon bucket – Say goodbye to less than 5 minute showers and hello to longer options! 10 minutes is more than enough time to get clean while on the road.
  • Portable – Unlike an awning shower (as mentioned below), you’re able to bring this outdoors shower with you anywhere. Want to go into the woods to shower? You’re able to with this model!


  • You have to wait to shower until the device is charged – Because the batteries will die pretty quickly (depending on how often you use this and for how long), you’ll have to wait for a good charge in order to use it again. This can sometimes take more time than waiting for the sun to heat up a solar bag, too.
  • You need a bucket to use this shower, which takes up space in a van – While this isn’t a huge deal (unless you’re really tight on space), you’ll have to save room for a bucket inside of your camper van while this isn’t in use.

Interested in getting a battery-powered shower for yourself? Here’s what we recommend:

3. Pressurized Awning Shower

Pressurized awning shower

Have you ever seen a camper van driving around with a long, black PVC-type pipe along the edge of the roof rack? If so, you’ve seen a pressurized awning shower before!

These are pretty easy shower systems to deal with (as all you have to do is park your camper van in the sun for a few hours to let the water heat up). Once heated, you have a shower ready to go!

Some of these models come with a thermometer on the side so you can tell just how hot (or cold) the water is.

Check out the pros and cons to these pressurized awning showers:


  • Solar heated – Simply park in the sun and wait for hot water.
  • Easy to mount – Most models come with instructions, making installing this a breeze.


  • You need a roof rack to be able to use these – If you don’t have a roof rack (and don’t care to get one), you won’t be able to use this water system.
  • These can be expensive – These are a bit pricier than other van life showers but they tend to last a bit longer than other models!

Want to get a pressurized awning shower for yourself? Here’s what we recommend:

4. Geyser System’s Portable Shower

Geyser system s portable shower

While this is a more expensive van life shower, it’s a great investment (and even greater product).

The Geyser System’s portable shower is one of the coolest shower options we’ve seen for van life. All you have to do to get a hot shower on the road is add 2 liters of cold water and 2 liters of boiling water to the tank.

With this van life shower you’re able to get reliable, consistent water flow with no pressurization needed. There’s also an LED dashboard that tells you the water temperature and a water level sensor that tells you when it’s time to stop.

Here are some pros and cons to this awesome van life shower:


  • Uses less than 1 gallon of water for 15 minutes – portable showers can run out of water pretty quickly, but with this van shower, you’ll notice it lasts a lot longer!
  • 16 ft. long power cord –  Don’t feel like you have to stand right next to your camper van to take a shower with this! Opt to get an outdoor shower curtain and enjoy outdoor showers a little more in nature.


  • One of the more expensive van life shower options – This model costs more than $200 (but it’s well worth the extra cost if you’re able to swing it).
  • A bit larger than your typical road shower – While this portable shower is small, it does take up a bit more space than others.

Want to get this van shower for yourself? Here’s what we recommend:

5. Install a Tankless Water Heater

Tankless water heater

A tankless water heater heats water through a heat exchanger only when you plan to use it (rather than needing to fill a hot water tank to hold warm water).

By doing this, you won’t run out of hot water while showering or washing dishes and you’ll also be able to save some space and weight in the process!

Before you go out and purchase a tankless water heater, take a look at some pros and cons:


  • Unlimited hot water – If long showers are your thing, a tankless water heater is your new best friend. As long as you have a way to power your rig, you have hot water (this means longer hot showers)!
  • Propane efficiency – You don’t need to leave the power on all the time with a tankless water heater.


  • A tankless water heater can be sensitive to water pressure – Tankless heaters depend on water flowing through them. Water pressure can vary from campground to campground, which can be difficult for RV tankless water heaters. If you purchase an RV water pump or an RV water pressure regulator however, that could help resolve the issue.
  • Temperature regulation – You might like the water as hot as it can be, but someone else using your tankless water heater might want it lukewarm. You can’t just add cold water to tankless heaters because it’ll confuse the system.

If you’re interested in purchasing a tankless water heater for your van build, we recommend this one:

6. DIY Bug (or Weed) Sprayer Shower

Diy bug sprayer shower

It’s no surprise that many van lifers are pretty dang crafty. When we first heard about this DIY weed shower sprayer by Livin Lightly, we were blown away!

Want to make a DIY version of this shower yourself? Don’t purchase a used weed (or bug) sprayer tank. The chemicals can stick around for a long time, even after thoroughly washing it!

This tiny shower can fit into a small space in your camper van, too! Here’s what you’ll need to make your own DIY outdoor shower:

Diy off grid shower parts

Here are some pros and cons to this van life shower:


  • Affordable DIY option – Depending on the materials you get, this camp shower could be one of the cheaper options for van life.
  • Lightweight – Even when you fill this portable shower with water, you’ll notice that it’s not that heavy!


  • Limited shower time – According to Livin Lightly, they’re limited to around 7 minutes of shower time. If you don’t have access to public showers and don’t mind a quick shower, this might not bother you!
  • You have to attach the pieces yourself – Not only that, but you’ll have to make sure you purchase the correct pieces. For example, a low flow showerhead gives you 2 gallons or less of water flow per minute which might not seem like enough water for you. A standard showerhead can deliver up to 8 gallons of water flow per minute.

If you’re interested in getting crafty, here’s what we’d recommend to get the job done:

7. Build an Interior Van Shower

Interior van shower

If you feel like the best thing for you is to have an indoor shower, this is the best option for you.

While you won’t be able to have a full bathroom or a “real shower” (you’ll most likely need to install a wet bath) you’ll be able to shower inside your camper van, completely eliminating the need to find public showers.

So, what are the pros and cons to this van life shower? We’re glad you asked!


  • Get the privacy you want – Being able to shower inside your camper van eliminates the need to find a safe spot outside when it’s time to wash up. Indoor showers are a safer option for van life, too.
  • This van shower is incredibly convenient – Is it humid outside? Maybe it’s raining? With an indoor van shower, you don’t really have to worry about the outdoor elements in order to wash up.


  • Takes up a lot of living space in a camper van – While this van shower is a great idea for those wanting more privacy, it does take up a decent amount of space. If you’re someone who doesn’t need a ton of space while traveling, this might not bother you!
  • You’ll need a gray water tank – The water needs somewhere to go, afterall! While this isn’t a huge deal, it can be a pain in the butt. PS, if you’re not sure what grey water is, click here!

If you’re interested in building a wet bath inside of your camper van, check out this step-by-step guide from Van Life Outfitters. 

Note: There are some camper vans with bathrooms you can purchase if you don’t want to build one yourself!

8. Find Public Showers Near You

Campground showers

If you’re not interested in purchasing a portable shower (and you don’t want to make a DIY shower), you can always opt to find public showers while on the road!

Using the Public Showers Directory is a great way to find stops around the country. However, you could also use TheDyrt app or the AllStays Travel App!

Between gyms, truck stops, or a beach with public showers, you have more options than you might think.

Check out our guide on how to find public showers near you here.

The Best Shower for Van Life: Geyser System’s Portable Shower

Geyser portable shower

Out of all the van life shower ideas we’ve shown you, the Geyser System’s Portable Shower is the best way to stay clean while on the road (if you ask us).

While this is a more expensive van shower, it’s well worth it (especially if you’re going to be traveling in your van for an extended period of time).

So, what made us pick this above all of the other van life showers we’ve mentioned?

A solar shower bag can be punctured, an indoor shower (such as a wet bath) isn’t accessible for every van lifer, some people aren’t interested in DIY, and some people don’t want to install a pressurized awning shower on their roof rack!

While you could use wet wipes, body wipes, or dry shampoo to stay clean, they’ll only work for a limited amount of time. Eventually, you’ll have to shower!

A hot water heater isn’t necessary when using this product and you don’t have to compare different shower heads when purchasing the Geyser System’s portable shower (as it comes with one)!

Check out this video to learn more about the Geyser System’s portable road shower:

​​How To Use Your Geyser System – The World’s Most Advanced Hot, Portable Shower

Note: You can also charge this van life shower with a 12-volt outlet (we use our Jackery Portable Power Station for this).

Other Van Life Content

What was your favorite van shower we talked about today? Do you have one that you’re using? Let us know in the comments below!

Want to read more van life content? We’ve got you covered:

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