3 Best Portable Camping Water Heaters

Hey there campers and welcome to my post where I will discuss my 3 best portable camping water heaters to warm the family this year. In many a day gone by, we just accepted that camping either entailed enduring cold baths or boiling some water and washing in a bucket.

Now for those of you who would prefer to rough it just a little less, the purchase of a portable water heater can mean a relaxing, warm bath or shower at any time. Not to mention hot water for doing the dishes etc. as well. So let’s check out some good water heater options for your next camping trips below…

My three recommended camping water heaters

I will review these in more detail below, but if you just want to get moving without all the carry-on, my recommended products are listed here for your convenience:

 Portable Camping Water HeatersPriceGet it
best portable camping water heaters - Gasland Tankless Water HeaterGASLAND Tankless Water Heater$CURRENT PRICE
best portable camping water heaters - Camplux Outdoor Portable Propane Gas Camping Tankless Water HeaterCamplux Portable Tankless Gas Camping Water Heater$$CURRENT PRICE
best portable camping water heaters - Hike Crew Portable Propane Water HeaterHike Crew Portable Propane Water Heater$$$CURRENT PRICE

What are portable camping water heaters?

A portable water heater is an easy-to-carry, low-cost outdoor equipment that allows you to bring the comfort and convenience of warm water wherever you go. A portable water heater has several uses that can help you when out camping including bathing your pet, taking an outdoor shower or warming up after a cold river swim.

The portable hot water system works similarly to a residential home gas hot water system equipped with a small burner that runs on gas or electricity, which warms up a heat exchanger. Water is pumped through the heat exchanger, causing its temperature to rise as it passes. This internal process is referred to as a continuous hot water system.

Portable water heaters are tankless when compared to their residential counterparts. Because they do not need to conserve heat for long periods of time, this feature saves approximately 24 to 34 percent more energy than tank heaters. It also means that you can get hot water right away.

Portable Camping Water Heaters - camplux option

What should you be looking for?

The following are some of the considerations to take into account as you look for a good portable water heater for camping…

  1. Energy source
  2. Heating efficiency
  3. Temperature rise
  4. Flow rate
  5. Safety features
  6. Size and weight
  7. Additions

Energy source

Portable water heaters can be grouped into two categories when it comes to where they draw energy from to commence their operations:

  1. Gas-powered: As the name implies, portable heaters in this category use gas placed in canisters to operate. Whether there are power interruptions or not, these portable heaters can still deliver what you expect them to provide. An area of concern for many for gas-powered portable water heaters is that the canisters they need to run smoothly are space-consuming.
  2. Electricity powered: To produce hot water, these water heaters can be plugged into your car battery, the campsite electrical outlet, or through your portable power stations. Compared with water heaters that use gas, electric-powered equipment is more convenient since no gas canisters can take up car space although unless you have a camping generator, they can use a bit of power from a battery that will need recharging if off grid.

Heating efficiency

This aspect is measured using BTU input, which stands for British Thermal Unit. Generally speaking, the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit is measured in BTUs. A higher BTU unit will be able to heat your water faster and more efficiently.

Temperature rise

Another factor that is critical to understand is the temperature rise of the system. By subtracting the groundwater temperature from the preferred hot water temperature, you will obtain the figure for temperature rise.

The groundwater temperature is around 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). If you want hot water at 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius), you’ll need a temperature rise of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius). As the temperature rises, you will consume more energy.

The time of year has an impact on groundwater temperature where obviously the summer months will require you to use less energy than in winter.

Flow rate

Buyers of portable camping water heaters should also consider the product’s flow rate which is the amount of water that flows through your water heater. Flow rate is measured in gallons per minute, abbreviated as GPM.

Flow rates for portable water heaters range from 1 to 3.5 GPM. A higher flow rate means you will be provided with more water at a faster pace, allowing you to take shorter showers or clean more dishes in less time.

Hike Crew Portable Propane Water Heater

Safety features

It is best for you to buy portable water heaters that include safety features such as:

  • An auto turn-off device to automatically shut down the machine(such as if the water temperature exceeds 167 degrees Fahrenheit/75 degrees Celsius).
  • Tip protection – Turns off once the device is angled too far or tips (approximately 45 degrees to the left or right).
  • Flame-failure devices to prevent excessive gas buildup.
  • Anti-freeze protection which means the heating system will not freeze in colder temperatures.

Size and weight

Portable heaters should be easy to transport and should not be that space-consuming. For this reason, they come in compact shapes and sizes. The systems are also lightweight so that they cannot be a burden for you as you lift them.

However, some portable heaters with additional features will become heavier than those offering fewer options. If this is the case, be sure to purchase products that fit your outdoor needs.

Additions

Other potential additions include:

  1. LED display: This helps provide you with the information you need about the heater’s operation. It displays the temperature of the water coming out, ignition indicator, battery charging, etc.
  2. Faucet outlet: This installation on the machine provides a steady stream of water via spigot for hand washing or filling a receptacle; it also connects to a shower head attachment.
  3. Freestanding stand: This item allows the equipment to have a secured stance as you lay it on the ground.
  4. Portable bag: The equipment is placed inside the portable bag for ease of movement.

My three recommendations broken down

So based on the information above and my own experience, I recommend the following options:

1. GASLAND Tankless Water Heater

The first product is a gas-powered portable heater that is compact and lightweight in design despite having multiple uses. With a maximum power output of 41,000BTU/Hr, you can quickly access instant, endless hot water wherever you are. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: GASLAND
  • Energy source: Gas
  • BTU: 41,000 BTU (Maximum)
  • Flow rate: 1.58 GPM
  • Weight: 15.67 pounds
  • Dimensions: 11.8 x 6.1 x 17.3 inches

Other inclusions:

  • Instruction manual
  • Garden hose fitting
  • Shower hose (5 feet)
  • Fixing kits such as washers, wood screws, and water tape

Why have I chosen it?

With a maximum power output of 41,000BTU/Hr this product can deliver 1.58 gallons per minute of hot water on demand. This means that you will not have to wait for the water to preheat as well as the unit being capable of providing you with the desired water temperature upon turning it on. This unit’s main burner and propane water heater are built with cutting-edge combustion technology which aids in optimizing the heater’s overall performance.


2. Camplux Portable Tankless Gas Camping Water Heater

This next portable heater has a freestanding stand for a stability. It is convenient and easy to assemble with great heating ability and outflow. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: Camplux
  • Energy source: Gas
  • BTU: 34,000 BTU (Maximum)
  • Flow rate: 1.32 GPM
  • Weight: 19.56 pounds
  • Dimensions: ‎11.42 x 4.33 x 14.8 inches

Other inclusions:

  • Freestanding stand
  • Quick connect gas regulator
  • Showerhead (11.5 feet)
  • Portable carry bag
  • Garden hose

Why have I chosen it?

Aside from giving you a cozy and warm shower, the garden hose can also be used for washing dishes and gear. It has impressive safety features such as overheat, dry combustion, anti-frozen, low water flow, flame failure and high water pressure protection. This is a great option for family campsites especially where there are kids running around.


3. Hike Crew Portable Propane Water Heater

This last heater is like an on-the-go appliance considering the multiple uses and useful features it offers. Aside from giving you warm shower water, it comes with a faucet, faucet flow control, and spray pattern control. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: Hike Crew
  • Energy source: Gas
  • BTU: Not indicated
  • Flow rate: 0.58 GPM
  • Weight: 23.9 pounds
  • Dimensions: ‎17.75 x 16.5 x 14.85 inches

Other inclusions:

  • Showerhead attachment
  • AC/DC adapter
  • High temperature sensor
  • Exhaust panels
  • Faucet outlet
  • Carry bag

Why have I chosen it?

The water heater can heat water to temperatures of about 125°F (52°C) after which it automatically shuts off. It’s as simple as pressing a button and ideal for a family of four to six people for hot showers and dishwashing. It includes a digital display for monitoring water temperature as well as essential safety features such as a water flow and high-temperature sensor.

Conclusion

There you have it, my three best portable camping water heaters for your bathing and washing needs in the great outdoors. I would be pleased to know how this article helped you, and as usual, let me know of your experiences with them.

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, corrections, or would like me to check anything else out for you.

Until next time

Have fun

Paul

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Hi, I'm Paul

I am a passionate fishing, camping and four wheeled driving hobbyist who researches, tests and educates around issues and equipment relevant to them.

I am by no means a professional however my passion is to assist you in making informed decisions about buying and using awesome gear that will give you the best chance of success at whatever you are doing for the best price.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.

Paul