How Much Water Do I Need for My Camping Shower?

Shower running

The maximum amount of water that a camping shower can hold only reaches up to 5 gallons. Also, the showerhead capacity and water pump power substantially influence how fast the water will be entirely discarded. We suggest you learn about the features and specs of your shower and how the shower works to know its capacity beforehand.

In this article, we will be discussing the definition of GPM, the amount of water you can use for a certain time for a shower, and how you can save water during your camping escapade.


Staying clean is an important aspect of camping. Just because we’re away from bathrooms and running water does not mean that we have to stay filthy. Lucky for us modern nature enthusiasts, camping showers exist. We tested numerous products and we came up with a list of the best camping showers available in the market today.  


How does GMP affect your shower?

Before we proceed to tackle the amount of water you can use for a specific time, let’s discuss Gallons Per Minute (GPM) first. GPM measure your shower’s water flow in each gallon for 1 minute. It is a factor that will give you an idea of the flowability of your showerheads.

For example, in 10 minutes, 25 gallons can be provided by a shower with accustomed GPM, while showerheads with a weak flow can consume 18 gallons in the same period. The standard structure for showers is 2.5 GPM, and 1.5 GPM for washing the dishes. But, this was only tested in showers in houses.

Based on our experience, the lower the GPM, the bigger chance to save water. For camping, a 1.3 GPM showerhead is already enough for your needs.

Let’s proceed to the amount of water you can use with camping showers.


How much water does a 10-minute shower require?

If you are planning to go camping, there are things you need to prioritize. One of them is the amount of water you are going to use. Usually, we bring water to utilize when camping since we can’t really be sure whether the place is located near a river or lake.

To clarify, when we say “shower,” it involves equipment specific for camping use. However, this can also apply to your beach and other outdoor activities. You can also check our reviews of the Best Camping Showers to find what best suits your needs.

Be cautious if you want to bring these kinds of gear because some camping showers require you to spare spaces inside your backpack, which may increase its weight.

Now, let’s talk about the amount of water you can possibly use in a 10-minute shower. Based on the experiences of some campers we interviewed, they need a minimum of 30 gallons of water for constant water flow to achieve a complete shower of 10 minutes. However, bear in mind that this still depends on the shower’s flow or GPM.


Camping showers are a wonderful invention that allows us to freshen up even when we’re in the middle of the woods. There are different kinds of camping shower that you can purchase and they all work in different ways. Read our article to learn more about how camping showers work


Showerheads and bath time

There are different types and sizes of showerheads. Some of them can be adjusted into strong or weak sprinkle action, but some showers don’t possess this feature. It’s estimated that they use about 2 to 3 gallons every 60 seconds, when using a small showerhead with low flow.

Thus, if we compare this to showers we have at home. A normal capacity for a complete bath also reaches a total of 30 gallons in a 10-minute shower. Therefore, this is similar to the amount of water you can use for camping.


How much water does a 20-minute shower require?

Since we have mentioned that a 10-minute shower can utilize about 30 gallons, if we are going to double the amount of time spent in the shower, then we’ll just need to double the gallons of water. Note that these numbers are only based on our experiences and that there is a proper measurement for the GPM, but let’s approach it easily.

The total possible amount of water that we need for a 20-minute shower is around 60 gallons. This measurement is also similar to that for the shower you use at home. It sounds like you certainly need to bring huge containers or tanks for you to get a full shower.

What we can conclude is that you may not be able to take a long shower on a camping trip. Indeed, most portable showers cannot hold more than 10 gallons, so their main purpose is modest cleaning only.

Besides, we advise you to practice saving your water during your outdoor activities. You can only bring a limited amount of water when camping. If you are transporting your equipment in a vehicle, then that’s another story, as you’ll be able to bring more water in that instance.


How to save water when camping?

You can apply these tips for dry camping or with your recreational van (RV). You don’t have any electric or water connection in this type of camping, so you really need to save water, especially if you are going to camp for more than a day.

How to save water while camping?

  • Bath

    We suggest you use a cloth to wipe your body for cleaning. You won’t be using much water this way. Also, change your showerhead into low-flow ones as it can help you reduce your use of water. Finally, use dry shampoo so that you don’t need to rinse it off with water.

  • Kitchen

    You should bring clean water, like bottled water or water in containers. Although you have water in your RV, we do not advise you to consume it, but rather to use your drinking water to cook as it will taste better than using the water from the RV tank. We also recommend you use disposable utensils and plates so that you won’t need to clean them. But, if ever you have some dishes to wash, use a basin tub. You can use the water for your toilets afterward.

  • Gather waste or gray water

    After you wash something, make sure to gather it on any container. This wastewater can be used for toilet flushing.

  • Bring a hygiene kit

    Using alcohol, wipes, tissues, and sanitizer will cease you from cleaning your hands with water. Using alcohol in such situations is somehow the same as washing your hands with soap, and is another great way to save water.

  • Use spray bottles

    Aside from your shower, you can use spray bottles for cleaning. Indeed, you are not allowed to bring your shower everywhere, so spray bottles will work as your portable shower.

Plastic wares or disposable materials are the most suggested stuff to gear up for this activity. Going out with limited water requires you to save it for future use. Biodegradable soaps are also recommended so that the wastewater you gather up while using this can be used to clean your RV’s bathroom.

Lastly, make sure that the water is connected to your tank because a small leak can result in depleting all of the reserved water.


Showering will consume a lot of your water reserve. If you’re camping for an extended period of time, it is important that you make your water supply last as long as your trip. To help you save water, we’re sharing with you a few tricks to stay clean while camping even without a shower


Final thoughts

Water is the most essential substance that humans need. Apart from the advantages that you can get with our discussion, this is also a considerable way to save water. Just like we said, you cannot bring tons of water or tanks in your vehicle, let alone carry them around in your backpack, although you can have a water tank in an RV.

The amount of water you use will affect the number of days you will spend on the road or camping. It is safe to prevent the careless utilization of water because it may be consumed completely before you end your camping trip, and that is a red flag. So, be vigilant about this.

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