Best Portable Water Heater & Camp Showers for Van Life

Last Updated on 1 year by Todd

Are you afraid of taking chilling cold showers on your friends’ camping trip? If that’s your story too, then here is good news for you. You can now enjoy hot sizzling early morning showers even on your road trips. Thanks to the amazing invention of a portable water heater, which can be taken easily on your RV so that you can have hot water for washing dishes and even for washing a few of your clothes.

A portable hot water heater gives you a constant supply of hot water during your adventurous trip. Their work is really amazing. They require propane gas to burn the heater. So you need to carry a propane gas cylinder along with it. So that you can enjoy your trip with water heating camping.

These camping hot water heaters are really helpful in maintaining day to day hygiene, which normally people afraid of in chilling winters. That’s why a majority of the heater comes with a showerhead so that you can enjoy an instant hot water shower every time you need it.

There are very limited brands that are manufacturing portable water heater. Also, people have very limited information about them. That’s the reason we decided to review some best portable water heaters and camp showers for van life. So that next time you won’t have to freeze in your annual family rod trip.

So let’s begin with the reviews!

Best Portable Water Heater & Camp Showers for Van Life

Here are some of the best portable water heaters with showers for camping.


1. Hike Crew – Best Portable Propane Water Heater & Shower Pump

Hike crew has got the ultimate solution for your outdoor adventure. Now no more dirty dishes and dirty clothes even on your trip with Hike Crew portable water heater.

Hike Crew Best Portable Propane Water Heater & Shower Pump

Well, this water heater is the best product for you. It works on a propane gas tank to heat water so that you can enjoy a hot and relaxing shower on your trips. Besides this, it needs access to AC or DC. It comes with an AC adapter for regular outlets and a cigarette plug for 12 V batteries.

 Washing dishes, cleaning hands, and doing other tasks in chilling cold weather is not more a problem now!

This is a vital piece of equipment for us while living in an off-the-grid home. During the first use, we had to restart it a few times because E3 errors occurred. After that, we put it so that the wind wasn’t blowing directly through the vents, and we didn’t have any problems.

We didn’t have any problems with the water becoming scorching hot or getting dialed in to a perfect 105-degree shower. This will be part of our long-term plan, which will include an outdoor shower enclosure.

The water pressure is adequate enough to fully wash all of my long hair in one pass – I’m ecstatic about that! We utilize a 240wh Jackery and a 5 gallon shower consumes around 1% of the battery.

The hike crew portable heater comes with a showerhead attachment that you can attach at the back of the unit to convert the spigot into the handheld portable hot water shower.

Interestingly, the hike water heater has got automatic temperature sensor. This sensor will switch off the burner once the temperature reaches to 52C. Similarly, it will switch on the burner as soon as the water temperature drops to 35C.

Also, it features a water flow sensor which saves the unnecessary utilization of propane gas. The water flow sensor actually extinguishes the burner when the water supply is compromised. Not only this, it will relight the burner when the water supply resumes. Isn’t it amazing?

Indeed it has got superior safety features.

When it comes to its design, it’s so compact and space-saving. Also, it can be carried easily along with you on your traveling trips. So no matter how long your tour is, you will get a constant and instant hot water supply throughout your trip.

Hike crew portable propane water heater comes with adapters, hoses, attachments, and different accessories. A propane gas cylinder is not included you have to purchase it on your own.

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There are numerous things that I like about it, but let me tell you the best one, which will surely admire by you as well.

  • Its compact and convenient design makes you able to keep it anywhere in your RV.
  • The safety features are just like a cherry on the top. It can be easily connected to a cigarette plug for Ac supply.
  • Indeed it is one of the best portable water showers for camping.


You do have to have an electricity supply to plug it into work. 



2. Mr. Heater F235300 – Best Battery Operated Shower System

Well, Mr. Heater base camp B.O.S.S is the first hot water system that is using D-cells to gain CSA safety certifications.

Yes, you read it right!

It uses 4 D- cells to turn on its hot water generator.

We needed this for a little while, while I was doing a full rehabilitation on a 100-year-old home I acquired. I expected to need it for three to six months, but it ended up being used nearly two years because it is my main shower. The Mr. Heater Boss-XB13 has never let me down. I live in Massachusetts and even in the dead of winter (before permanent heating system installed), when the house is chilly (before permanent heating system installed) this device was almost always kept on only medium heat or I would have been burned.

I’ve been using rechargeable batteries since the beginning, and I go two weeks without charging before buying new ones. I’m looking forward to camping with this system one of these days. All I can say is that if you’re searching for a good system at a fair price, don’t hesitate to get this one.

 Now you don’t need to look for AC or DC power supply to have some warm water on your trips. 


Mr. Heater F235300 Best Battery Operated Shower System

These 4- D cells are completely chargeable. They charge via Ac power supply. So before leaving for any adventurous trip, it is advisable to keep many chargeable 4 D-Cells with you. So that you may have an uninterrupted hot water supply on your trip. These 4-cells are designed to operate the pump for a good 40 minutes.

Using Mr. Heater BOSS base cam portable water heater is just a cup of tea for everyone. All you have to do is to insert the D cell batteries into the power pack, drop the pump in a water bucket, flip the ignition switch, and dial your desired temperature for a great shower. That’s it. 

You know what; you can even enjoy a hot cup of coffee on your camp life with your base camp battery operated shower system.

You don’t need to have so many complicated tools and equipment to operate this. You will have to have a water source, a 1 lb of propane cylinder and D- cells batteries. 

Impressive! Isn’t it?

Interestingly, it has some safety-related features such as 

  1. Over-temperature cut off which will protect against scalding of water.
  2. Flow detector which will cut off the propane supply when the water supply is compromised.
  3. Tip switch which will cut off the propane supply if the unit flips over.

As far as the flow rate of Mr. Heater BOSS portable hot water heater is concerned then it’s not much impressive. It can deliver 1.18 gallons per minute, which is not as powerful as a home shower. But never mind, something is better than nothing, especially when you are on road trips.

Mr. Heater BOSS comes in the form of a complete kit, which includes, single outlet with a quick connect shower head and pump assembly. Keep in mind that you need to buy a propane gas cylinder separately. This is not included in the kit.


Mr. Heater camping hot water heater is one of the best choices that will be loved by every camp or van life lover. There are so many features that I love about it, especially the rechargeable D cell option. This eliminates the need for an electricity supply.

All you need is a 12V outlet to charge these batteries, which can be charged by the car cigarette plug. Besides this, its showerhead has an on/ off integrated switch which can be used to shut off water temporarily. Above all, it is portable and compact enough to be placed anywhere easily. Also, it is UL/CSA certified. 


It requires initially 5-10 seconds to get hot water. So this means 5-10 seconds of wasted water. But that not a big deal, you can wash multiple things in those initial 5-10 seconds instead of wasting water. 


3. Coleman H2Oasis – Best portable hot water heaters for van life

The next one on my list of Best Portable Water Heater & Camp Showers for Van Life is from the house of Coleman, which is known for manufacturing high ends equipment for camp life.

Coleman Hot Water on Demand h20Asis Portable water heater

Coleman hot water portable water heater is indeed the best product when you need to have hot water for washing dishes or even taking bath on your road trips.

It’s a battery-powered portable water heater, which uses lithium-ion batteries. The worth mentioning part here is, these batteries are completely rechargeable, all you need to do is to connect its charger to the car outlet charger. That’s it.

The most critical aspect is that the core water heater components have stood the test of time. The temperature we selected for showers has not changed throughout numerous camping excursions.

The Waterfall 1000 is also adequate for a do-it-yourselfer looking to extend the amount of shower time. The addition of a water flow bypass re-circulation hose from the shower head back to the water container (A simple restrictor valve at the shower head that reduces or eliminates water flow will cause the burner to switch off automatically as soon as the internal heat exchanger’s water temperature gets too high) adds significant value. If you’re pumping from a limited supply of water, this is a major improvement.

Besides this, it uses a propane cylinder to heat up the water. It requires a minimum of 30 seconds to dispense hot water up t 125 Fahrenheit.

This means you can enjoy a hot cup of coffee on your chilling camping nights.

Coleman water heater is equipped with a high power submersible electric pump with brass hose fittings. This way it maintains reliable and robust water flow irrespective of weather conditions.

Not only this, it features a multi-position shower head holder which can be adjusted in any height or any direction. The shower holder has a 6 ft non-kink, silicone hose which is for the convenience of its users. 

Coleman camping water heater also features an Instastart ignition that gives automatic lighting. So you don’t need to carry a matchbox with you on your trip.

Not only this, with the help of PerfectFlow technology Coleman provides consistent performance, no matter how extreme the weather would be.

Coleman portable propane shower is so easy to use, all you have to do is to connect the pump to its 5-gallon water carrier, connect the hoses, dial in your required temperature, and your water will be heated up to 54C. Indeed it’s ideal to be used for washing and bathing purpose.

One of the most worth mentioning points here is, you will get a water carrier with it that has 5 gallons of water holding capacity. You must be thinking that it would be quite difficult to carry. No, not at all, it’s so easy to carry all-around. Thanks to its mesh storage bag, in which you keep its all parts. Also, the water gallon is collapsible, so storing Coleman’s portable water heater is not a big deal.


  • Well, Coleman camping water heater on-demand water heater is incredibly simple and easy to use.
  • Also, it has got rechargeable batteries that can be easily charged even when you are on the go.
  • The best thing is, its rechargeable cords can be stored inside the heater, and there is a dedicated compartment for this.

I personally like these features, as it will keep your charging cable safe and secure. 


Every piece of equipment has some good and bad points. The bad point about Coleman on-demand water heater is, its temperature dial knob is so clumsy and breaks easily. Well, it’s the complaint that I came to know by reading a few customer reviews. But, yes other customers are happy and satisfied by using Coleman’s camping hot water heater. For them, it’s the best product that they have ever used.


How do you heat water in a camping shower?

A camping shower is a great option for campers who want to enjoy a relaxing shower experience without having to worry about having to use hot water. A camping shower is made with a sturdy plastic base that has a waterproof coating.

You can use a camping shower for two reasons. You can use it to take a bath in the outdoors and you can also use it for washing your hair.

Solar power is probably the easiest way to heat water in a camping shower. Simply install solar panels that convert sunlight into energy and connect them to the shower head. Then, you just need to plug it in and wait for the water to start heating up.

Can you use a portable shower in a campground?

You can take a portable shower when you are camping because it’s small and light. It can fit in the trunk of your car or on your back when you hike.

There are many different models of portable showers and they all vary in size, price and features. It’s important to look at all of these details before purchasing a portable shower because you don’t want to spend too much money and you don’t want to buy something that you won’t use.

You can use a portable shower in a campground if it meets certain requirements. You can use a portable shower in a campground if the shower is not more than eight feet wide, it is made of fiberglass or plastic, it has a maximum flow rate of 20 gallons per minute, it doesn’t have a pressure relief valve, and it is not connected to a water source that has been approved by the state.

How do you make a camp shower?

To make a camp shower, pour water into the bottom of a plastic or metal container (one gallon works well), add some disinfectant (e.g., vinegar), cover the container with a piece of plastic, and add some gravel for traction. Then put the plastic container in your shower.

The key to making a shower is getting water pressure. In order to achieve a steady stream of water, you’ll want to set up your pump and hoses far enough from the shower so they won’t get damaged by the flow. Hose length depends on the amount of water needed and the distance between the pump and shower.

Final words:

Camping hot water heaters are quite simple and easy to use. Our Recommended product is Hike Crew Portable Propane Water Heater & Shower Pump. They are not recommended to be used in a closed room for long. The reason is, burning of propane gas releases carbon monoxide that can be dangerous. So it is recommended to use it in a well-ventilated room. A portable water heater is indeed the best invention that releases your tension of early morning bathing. They provide you with an instant hot water supply so that you can also enjoy hot beverages on your trip. So next time when you plan a road trip, don’t forget to keep this useful gadget with you.


what is the best portable water heater?

  • Hike Crew Water Heater
  • Mr. Heater F235300
  • Coleman Water Heater

Is a portable water heater safe?

Lack of ventilation can produce carbon monoxide which is dangerous. The portable water heater comes with safety warning signs.

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