We Review The Best Camping Hot Water Heaters That Will Get You Through Winter

man showering with best water heater

Camping is such a great way to spend some time outdoors. It is incredibly relaxing and fun to get out with your friends and family to enjoy some fresh air. Sadly, camping is usually lacking one major thing that we are used to and that is the ability to take hot showers.

A hot shower is absolutely necessary after a long day of being outside to rinse off all the dirt and sweat you have collected on your body. But how in the world are you going to get a hot shower while you are camping? The answer is simple: a water heater designed for camping.

Portable and instant boiling water heaters have been developed over the years to make it as easy as possible to get a nice, hot shower during your camping trip. In this article, we will be going over the best camping hot water heaters on the market right now.

TLDR; Our Favorite Camping Water Heater Propane

The best portable camping water heater is the Camp Chef portable hot water heater. This camping water heater doubles as a portable shower with the included shower head. You just need to hook it up to a running water source and you will get 1.5 gallons per minute of hot shower water.

You can easily control the water temperature and pressure with the water flow sensor knobs on the front of the heater. You will be pleased with the instant boiling water that comes out of the shower head.

The Camp Chef is the best portable camping water heater because it is lightweight and easy to move around. You can take it on all of your adventures with ease.

man showering with best water heater

What Is A Tankless Water Heater?

A tankless water heater is an even simpler way to provide you with hot water for your camping showers. All you need to do to get a tankless water heater to work is hook it up to the closest water source you can find. The cold water from that source will then flow into the unit through a pipe.

As the water is flowing through the heater, an electric or gas feature will heat the water. This will provide you with portable hot water and it will keep a constant supply of hot water. This means you won’t need to wait between showers for the tank to fill back up with boiling water because there is no tank!

Advantages of Camping Water Heaters

The first advantage of having a portable water heater is the instant and constant supply of hot water. They are great for situations where you won’t have access to boiling water when you need to shower.

Portable hot water heaters are also compact and light, making it easy to travel with them. They don’t take up much space so you can easily pack it up in your car or RV for a camping trip.

You can also save water with the use of a portable hot water heater. It heats the water up instantly, so you don’t use any more water than needed. You don’t need to worry about letting the water run in order to heat up. This also saves you from having to store a bunch of hot water in a tank just to get rid of what you don’t use.

These hot water heaters are also incredibly energy-efficient. The only use energy when they need it because they don’t need to keep water warm over a period of time. When you are not using your portable hot water heater, it will not be using any energy at all.

A portable water heater is also really easy to use. They are made with the thought in mind that you will be moving it around constantly. You just need to hook it up to a water and power source and turn it on! It could not be any easier than that.

Disadvantages of Having a Camping Water Heater

The biggest disadvantage of buying a portable tankless water heater for camping is the upfront cost you will pay. It is a pricey investment.

Another disadvantage is the fact that if you do not have a power source to plug in to, you will not be able to use your tankless water heater.

Roundup of the Best Camping Hot Water Heaters

Now we are going to take a look at the best water heaters for you to take camping with you.

Camp Chef HWD5 Triton Water Heater

Camp Chef Summary

This portable water heater is by far one of the most popular on the market. It was first introduced back in 2008 and has a great track record with so many positive reviews.

This portable heater also doubles as a portable shower with an attached shower head. It is also super easy to use because it only has two knobs – one to control the water temperature and the other to control the pressure.

There are three connections on this tank that allow you to get 1.5 gallons per minute. The three connections include a place for a propane hose, a water inlet hose, and a water outlet hose. The best part is you don’t need to worry about lighting a pilot because there is a built-in electronic ignition that is powered by two D cell batteries.

You must have a pressurized water source for this portable tankless water heater, so you will bot be able to take it camping in a remote location.

Package Dimensions

12″ x 15″ x 4″; 15 pounds

What We Like

  • Easy to use, endless supply of heat
  • Powerful heating (34,000 BTU)
  • Several mounting possibilities

What We Dont Like

  • No manual ignition
  • Needs a pressurized water source

Ecotemp L10 Portable Tankless Water Heater

Ecotemp Summary

This portable water heater by Ecotemp uses propane tankless water heater to heat water. It is one of the largest, but most powerful, heaters that you can take camping with you. If you are planning a long camping trip, this will be perfect for you and your family for showers, to wash dishes and feel at home.

This unit is powered by a propane gas tank and 2 D cell batteries. Just like the Camp Chef water heater, this one also requires a pressurized running water source because it does not have an included water pump.

You can enjoy convenient and easy features such as the battery powered ignition and a 20 minute shut off timer. This heater and shower head combo offer you a great amount of pressure for your camp showers.

Package Dimensions

28″ x 17″ x 6.5″; 25.7 pounds

What We Like

  • Large 10 liter capacity
  • Powerful heating (74,500 BTU)
  • Easy set up
  • Mount or hang with ease

What We Dont Like

  • Needs a pressurized running water source
  • Large and bulky
  • Hard to move and transport

Camplux 5L Portable Propane Water Heater

Camplux Summary

This portable boiling water heater is perfect if you are new to the concept and you are looking for something low-tech. The design features minimal knobs so it is easy to make sure you are using the right one.

This tank is battery powered and uses a propane tank to heat the water. You will find that all of the connectors you need already come with the water heater so you do not need anything extra. It also comes with a gas regulator.

You can easily connect to a propane tank with the use of a propane hose. This is how you will power your water heater, so you don’t need to worry about not having a power source.

Package Dimensions

11.42″ x 4.33″ x 14.8″; 14.08 pounds

What We Like

  • Small, ideal operating range for campers
  • Lightweight
  • Portable, propane powered heater
  • Connections included

What We Dont Like

  • Not recommended for use above 2,000 feet elevation

Gasland BS264 Tankless Water Heater

Gasland Summary

This portable water heater is ideal if you are traveling as a family with small children. There are safety features put in to place to prevent scalding water. The tank will automatically shut off any water flow if the temperature reaches 167 degrees, so you can let your kids shower without worrying that the water is too hot.

The lightweight and compact design makes it easy to transport this portable water heater just about anywhere. This is another propane water heater, so you will need to make sure you have access to propane to use it.

Package Dimensions

21.7″ x 13″ x 7.1″; 22 pounds

What We Like

  • Safe for young children to use, flame failure device
  • Energy-saving hot water output
  • Everything you need included
  • Powerful heating (68,000 BTU)

What We Dont Like

  • Needs pressurized water

EcoSmart ECO Electric Tankless Water Heater

EcoSmart Summary

This is a great option if you are looking for an advanced water heater to heat your camp shower. It has a sleek design so it will look good anywhere. You can use the digital temperature control on the device to closely monitor the temperature of your camping shower.

The advanced technology of this portable camping water heater regulates the amount of energy that is needed so no energy will go to waste.

Package Dimensions

3.63″ x 17″ x 17″; 10.98 pounds

What We Like

  • Stylish design
  • Digital temperature control
  • Lifetime warranty

What We Dont Like

  • No shower hose

What To Look For

When you are looking for a portable outdoor water heater that you can take camping with you, there are some features you need to keep in mind.

Size and Weight

You want to choose instant hot water heaters that are small, lightweight, and easy to move around. You also want to pick a water heater that can provide you with the right amount of water per minute for your shower.

Most portable outdoor heating units weigh about 15 pounds, so be sure to choose one that will be easy for you to carry.

Temperature Ratings

If you like your showers to be nice and toasty, you will want to choose a unit that has an efficient temperature rating. The temperature rating, known as BTU, is the amount of energy used to heat up one pound of water by one degree.

A unit with a higher BTU will heat up water quicker and more efficiently than those with a lower BTU. The typical range is anywhere from 10,000 to 84,000 BTU.

Gas or Electric?

A gas or liquid propane powered instant boiling water unit is capable of producing more boiling water than electric systems. This makes it a better choice if you are camping with your family or a larger group of people. It also has the ability to run without being plugged in to a power outlet.

An electric hot water unit will have to be plugged in to a power outlet in order to work. They are typically cheaper than gas powered heaters, but they are not as convenient if you are camping in an area with no power hookups.


What is the power/fuel source for Camping Hot Water Heaters?

You can power portable water heaters with electricity or propane gas depending on the unit you purchase. There are also battery powered options, but you usually need a power hookup to back it up.

Do Portable Heaters Provide Adequate Water Pressure?

Most units will allow for you to adjust the flow rate and pressure of the shower water. The average flow rate varies between 1 and 3.5 GPM (gallons per minute). The higher the flow rate, the higher the water pressure.

How Long Can I Have A Shower For?

The run time for a shower using a portable water heater varies by the unit, but typically hovers around the 30 to 40 minute range.

How Long Will It Take Till The Next Person Can Have A Hot Shower?

With a tankless water heaters, there is no down time between showers. Everyone can take showers back to back and have endless hot water because tankless heaters provide a constant flow of hot water. For example, if each person took a shower shorter than two minutes, you could fit in 25 showers back to back if you are using a standard liquid propane tank or a good power origin.

Wrapping Up

A camping water heater is a great way to make your camping experience even better. With access to hot water, you can take a shower after a long day when you feel gross and just need to be clean.

The best camping water heater is the Camp Chef unit. This is because it is lightweight, includes a shower head, and extremely easy to operate. The shower head has four settings, so you can adjust the flow rate for your comfort.