We loved having our solar-powered shower bag with us when camping, but it may not be practical for every camping trip - find out why!
We kicked off our camping trip on August 24th, 2020, and had about three weeks of campsites booked - almost none of which had showers. So, we decided to invest in the Advanced Elements Summer Shower solar-powered shower bag to ensure we always had the option to shower wherever we were.
Overall, it was really handy and I'm glad we had it with us, but depending on the type of camping you're doing and where you'll be camping, it may not be practical for you. (Everything has pros and cons, right?) Let's dig into it.
The temperature of the water
PRO: It heats up well
So, the whole point of having a solar-powered shower bag is so that you can have a shower that isn't freezing cold water from a nearby stream. It was a little bit hard for me to believe that the sun could effectively heat up a 5-gallon bag of water, but honestly, the Summer Shower did a really good job. Obviously, the temperature likely won't be what you're used to showering in at home, but the water in the shower bag certainly can reach a comfortable temperature.
CON: You need warm and sunny weather
The thing is, it needs to be warm (and sunny) outside in order for the Summer Shower to heat up the water inside. As we headed north to Montana and Idaho around the beginning of September, the weather began to fluctuate like crazy. If it was cool outside, that meant that not only would the water in the bag become too cool to be comfortable, but also that it was too cold outside to want to take a shower anyway!
The size of the bag
PRO: It's big enough for two showers
5 gallons doesn't seem like very much, but you really can squeeze in two showers from just one five-gallon fill. Granted, it does take a little maneuvering. The water pressure/flow is surprisingly strong (for a shower bag), but leaving the nozzle flowing will make the water run out quickly, not to mention create a big muddy puddle underneath you. So to conserve water, your best bet is to wet your body with water and close the nozzle while you lather up, then rinse away!
CON: When filled, it's difficult to pack
One thing to consider about a shower bag is how much space you have to pack it. Of course, it's easiest to pack when it's empty because you can fold it up really small, but that might not always be a possibility. Water can oftentimes be a scarce commodity when camping and if your shower bag is filled, you might not always want to dump it out just so you can pack it. It's definitely not huge, and we didn't have a problem squeezing it into our Volkswagen Jetta, but packing is just something to consider!
PRO: Clip makes it easy to hang
The buckle clip on the handle makes it easy to hang; you don't have to slide it all the way down a tree branch or anything like that. Simply unbuckle it and attach it wherever you can.
CON: It's heavy to lift
While the clip makes it easy to hang, when it's filled with five gallons of water, it's heavy. It was definitely difficult for me to lift on my own and not only that - there's never really a guarantee that you'll have a place to hang it anyway!
Is it practical for a shower?
PRO: Great for washing hands or dishes
The cool about the Summer Shower is that it comes in really handy for washing hands and also washing dishes! Despite its name, it can be used for more than just showers. Even though we didn't use it much for actual showers, we still liked having it; the nozzle made it easier for us to wash our hands and do our dishes than if we poured straight from a gallon jug.
CON: Rarely had enough privacy for a full shower
So, while I really loved the Summer Shower overall and thought it was valuable, the issue we repeatedly ran into was the fact that we rarely had enough privacy to take a shower! Of course, the sort of privacy you have at your campsite will depend on where you camp. But, you could easily solve that problem by bringing along one of these pop-up shower tents! (I really wish we would have thought of this because we would have used the shower way more)!
Overall, I love the Summer Shower as a product. It's helpful, durable, and works really well. But that doesn't mean it's practical for every person or every camping trip! Take into consideration the pros and cons outlined here and the details of your camping trip to determine if the Summer Shower is worth it for you!