A camping topic that doesn’t get discussed enough is privacy. In some cases, you can take a squat behind a tree or rinse off in a river. But often finding a secluded spot to yourself is inconvenient if not impossible. That’s where camping shower tents come in.
While they are often referred to as shower tents, and we’ll call them that here for shorthand, what they really are is camping privacy tents. They can serve multiple purposes as changing rooms, restrooms, and, yes, showers.
For car camping and overlanding, where you don’t have access to shower and restroom facilities, a portable shower tent will make your experience far more civilized. Typically, they are used with portable camping toilets and/or camping showers, which are used within the tent.
There are a TON of shower tents on the market nowadays, but many are of suspect quality, especially the popup variety. We personally own the one pop up with note below, the WolfWise, and have had good luck with it. You can find many cheap options online, but we’ve identified quality shower tents from reputable manufacturers that are well reviewed by hardcore campers and overlanders.
Below are some factors to keep in mind in choosing a portable shower tent.
How to Choose a Shower Tent
If you are planning to use your tent for the occasional weekend camping trip, you probably don’t need to invest in a bomb-proof model. On other hand, if you’ll be camping in a place that gets a lot of stormy weather or you’ll be using your tent for long or frequent trips, look for a durable model that can hold up to the abuse. If you need a tough model, look for rip-stop nylon fabric, sturdy poles, and the possibility of staking it down. If you plan on hanging a water-filled gravity shower from the tent, look for one that can support the weight.
Some models are bulkier than others when packed down. Heavier duty models are typically less compact, as are larger tents. Even if you’re carrying your gear in a vehicle, it’s worth keeping it as light and compact as possible — as long as it meets your needs.
Ease of Assembly
Spending a tone of time setting up your campsite can be a drag. Models that popup on their own are convenient and save time, but they may be less sturdy than those with sturdy poles. The trade-off in sturdiness might be worth the extra time it takes to put up a more weatherproof model.
Each tent will have a center point on the roof. If you are tall, pay particular attention that you are getting a tent that is tall enough for you. Some tents are larger than others, which can be nice if you are willing to carry the extra weight/bulk with you. Theoretically, two people could use these double stalled tents at a time, which could come in handy for a large family or group camping together.
Ventilation is particularly important if you plan to use the tent to house a toilet. It can also help if you will be camping in a cold area and want to let the moisture evaporate so it won’t freeze. Some tents with mesh tops come with rain flies which can be added when needed.
Shower Tent Recommendations
NEMO Heliopolis Privacy Shelter& Shower Tent
The NEMO Heliopolis Privacy Shelter is a bomb-proof shower tent from a well-respected outdoor equipment maker. This is the tent to buy if you plan to do lots of camping in areas with inclement weather. The tent’s external frame is sturdy enough to support the weight of a portable shower and withstand wind, when the tent is staked down. The inside of the tent features a number of helpful storage areas, including an overhead towel rack and TP holder. It comes with a battery-powered light, stakes, guy cords, and a storage bag.
- Full dimensions: 84 x 48 x 48 inches
- Packed size: 27.0 x 7.0 x 7.0 inches
- Weight: 9 lb 7 oz
- Tent fabric: Polyester
- Frame material: Aluminum
WolfWise Pop Up Privacy Shower Tent
WolfWise Pop Up Privacy Shower Tent is an affordable option and has the advantage of a really quick set up time. This instant tent has no external poles, instead of coiling up into a loop for storage. When you pull the tent out of its bag and let it go, it automatically unfurls. Mesh fabric on the top provides ventilation and a removal rainfly keeps you dry in inclement weather. It isn’t as sturdy as other models but the conveniences may make up for that if you don’t need a more weatherproof tent.
- Full dimensions: 74.8 x 47.2 x 47.2 inches
- Folded dimensions: 23.2 x 23.2 x 1.4 inches
- Weight: 4.4 Pounds
- Tent fabric: Polyester
- Frame material: Steel
This video shows how to set up and take down the tent:
Tuff Stuff Shower Tent
The Tuff Stuff Shower Tent, produced by an overlanding gear maker, is a terrific option if you are looking for a vehicle-mounted tent that is quick to set up (1-2 minutes). For overlanders, who want to keep their camping gear integrated into their vehicle, this might do the trick. It folds out a heavy-duty PVC case and is supported by metal bars mounted to the roof rack. It comes with an LED light strip and a power cord with a USB plug. The bottom of the tent can be staked to the ground to keep it from flapping around in windy conditions. It doesn’t have a floor or a roof, which could an issue if you are camping in wet or cold weather. The other con for this tent is the price is higher than the other tents featured here.
- Full dimensions: 68 x 36 x 36 inches
- Weight: Not listed
- Tent fabric: Rip-stop nylon
- Frame material: Aluminum
The shower tent features above should cover a few use cases, from setting up quickly to more sturdy options that can withstand rough weather. A privacy tent that serves multiple purposes, from showering to housing a portable toilet is a worthwhile investment, particularly if you’ll be camping off-the-grid away from facilities.