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7 Best Portable Water Heaters for RV, Camping, and Van Life

7 Best Portable Water Heaters for RV, Camping, and Van Life

Hot showers are a welcome luxury after a day in the outdoors. A portable water heater gets the job done when you’re camping. If you’re a van lifer or RVer, keep reading to learn about the seven best portable options.

We discuss the benefits of using a portable water heater and provide some safety tips. And we look at the top features and any downsides to models on the market. 

Portable Water Heaters Can Pack a Big Punch

Portable water heaters offer more on-demand hot water than you may think. They can put out between 1.5 gallons and 3.18 gallons per minute. This type of performance can be a game-changer when showering and doing dishes on a camping trip. 

portable propane heater
We have used a portable heater to heat portable hot tubs!

Benefits of Using a Portable Water Heater

The main benefit of a portable water heater is the ability to shower or do dishes in remote places. Whether you’re camping, at the beach, or need an outdoor bath for your dog, having the ability to get hot water is a luxury that’s easy with one of these. In addition, they can be space savers in camper vans and RVs. And tankless water heaters are more energy-efficient. 

Of course, these are portable and not designed for full-time use, but to have hot water on the go.

7 Portable Water Heaters For Your Home On Wheels

We found seven portable water heaters that are a perfect addition to your home on wheels. Or, if you’re considering adding an outdoor shower, these will keep your water hot and flowing. So let’s take a look!

Pro Tip: Stay squeaky clean on the go with one of these 5 Best Outdoor Solar Showers for Getting Clean While Camping.

Person turning down temperature in water heater.
On the beach, in the mountains, or in a forest, a portable water heater can keep your showers toasty!

1. Eccotemp Portable Water Heater

About the Eccotemp: The Eccotemp is an outdoor tankless portable water heater. It’s small, lightweight, and easy to carry around. It runs on propane and has electronic ignition, powered by two D cell batteries. 

Hot Features: It can produce hot water with a water pressure of 20PSI and above. And it can reach temperatures from 50 degrees to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Downsides: Lack of warranty

Best For: Camper Vans, RVs, and Outdoor Activities

Eccotemp L5 1.5 GPM Portable Outdoor Tankless...
  • Lightweight, easy to carry, and compact, making it great for...
  • Runs on a standard 20 lb. Liquid Propane tank and is equipped...
  • Features a safety shut off that is activated when the unit runs...

2. Camp Chef Triton 5

About the Camp Chef Triton 5: The Camp Chef Triton 5 is an on-demand portable water heater. You can attach a garden hose to it to have a hot shower. And you can adjust the temperature and water flow. It runs on 2D batteries and propane and produces 1.5 gallons of hot water per minute.

Hot Features: It includes a showerhead with four settings, including off, mist, shower, and jet. The portable water heater also has a self-standing feature and brackets that allow it to hang on an object.

Downsides: You need to access it to turn it on, so proper placement, if used in a van or RV, will be necessary.

Best For: Camper Vans, RVs, and Outdoor Activities

Hike Crew portable water heater set up
No matter where you roam, always have a hot shower!

3. Gasland Tankless Water Heater

About the Gasland Water Heater: The Gasland Tankless Water Heater is battery and propane-powered. It’s portable and easy to carry with a mounting bracket. The maximum output is 68,000 BTU per hour with no preheating, and it puts out 3.18 gallons per minute.

Hot Features: It has a built-in safety feature to prevent freezing and overheating.

Downsides: It is on the heavier side, weighing 25.9 lbs.

Best For: Camper Vans, RVs, and Outdoor Activities

Tankless Water Heater, Gasland Outdoors Propane...
  • 𝟯.𝟭𝟴𝗚𝗣𝗠/𝟭𝟮𝗟...
  • 𝗚𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗳𝗼𝗿...
  • 𝗔𝗱𝘃𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗱 𝗦𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗳𝘆...
gasland water heater

4. Camplux Water Heater

About the Camplux Water Heater: The Camplus Water Heater is portable and tankless. Powered by propane, it has anti-freeze and overheating protection. The lightweight water heater is only 10 lbs and has handles for easy transportation, along with mounting brackets. Its maximum power output is 28,000 BTU per hour, so you get 1.32 gallons of hot water at any time without preheating.

Hot Features: It has a 3.0 PSI water pressure startup with a magnetic water flow sensor. So it lights up when the water pressure is between 3.0 and 110 PSI, making the low pressure suitable for RV plumbing systems.

Downsides: It only puts out 1.32 gallons per minute versus other water heaters on our list.

Best For: Camper Vans, RVs, and Outdoor Activities

Camplux 5L Outdoor Portable Water Heater, 1.32 GPM...
  • CSA Safety Standard -CSA safety standard approved portable...
  • Lightweight Portable Design-Compact size weights 10 lbs with...
  • Instant Hot Water- Maximum power output 28,000btu/hour, you can...
Person showering in bucket with hose.
Hook up your portable water heater to a hose to enjoy a warm shower while on the road.

5. Dr Prepare Solar Shower

About the Dr Prepare Solar Shower: While not a traditional water heater, solar shower bags can be a very convenient free way to heat water. This 4 gallon bag is black and will get very hot when left in the sun.

Hot Features: Most solar showers rely on gravity to get water to flow, but this one is electric and has an air bladder to “pump” the water.

Downsides: This unit is best for filling at your destination and letting get hot in the sun. This of course means if there is no sun there is no hot water. It will also take time to heat, so its not available on demand.

Best For: Camper Vans and RVs

Dr. Prepare Portable Camping Shower, 4 Gallons/15L...
  • 【Rechargeable Air Pump】Slimer than a 16oz beer can, the new...
  • 【Constant Spray Nozzle】Redesigned for simple showers...
  • 【Easy-to-Refill Screw Cap】The enlarged screw lid makes...

Pro Tip: No shower? No problem! Learn more about Body Wipes for Camping.

6. Mr Heater Base Camp Shower System

About the Mr Heater Shower System: The Mr. Heater Base Camp Shower System is portable and battery-operated propane. It has an output of 12,000 BTUs and a matchless electric ignition. It also has anti-scald protection and a tip-over shut-off switch. 

Hot Features: The portable shower system is easy to move around with a carrying handle. 

Downsides: Six D-cell batteries are required to run the shower system. It only puts out about 0.6 gallons of hot water per minute.

Best For: Outdoor Activities

Mr. Heater F235300 BOSS-XB13 Basecamp Battery...
  • Portable battery operated propane shower system
  • 12,000 BTUs increase water temperature up to 35-degrees above...
  • Anti-scald protection and safety tip-over shut-off switch
Man using can missor to shave face.
#VanLife requires creative solutions to staying clean while on the go. A portable water heater makes life easier!

7. Hike Crew Propane Water Heater

About the Hike Crew Propane Water Heater: The Hike Crew has a 2-in-1 propane-powered pump system to heat and dispense water. It comes with an adjustable shower head with three spray intensities and a mount for hands-free showering. 

Hot Features: It comes with a carrying case, faucet-mount, a showerhead, pump hose, and plug. A built-in battery also allows up to 50 minutes of continuous use. 

Downsides: It’s heavy for a portable water heater, as it weighs approximately 28 lbs.

Best For: Outdoor Activities

Safety Tips When Using a Portable Water Heater

A portable water heater can get hot, so it’s essential to use caution and read the manual. Know what’s normal and abnormal when running your water heater. Look for models that have safety shut-offs. Anytime you’re using a water heater operated with propane, practice safety. Remove any potential fire hazards. 

You also want to make sure your portable water heater is properly ventilated. Install a carbon monoxide detector if you’re using it inside a camper van or RV. And be sure to test your valves and water pressure regularly. 

Are Portable Water Heaters Worth the Cost?

Portable water heaters are a relatively inexpensive investment to do things like have hot showers and wash dishes when you’re camping. So, we think they’re worth it. And if you’re not a camper, you may want one at the house for outdoor showers or washing the dog. You might be surprised at how handy they can be! 

What are your thoughts on portable water heaters? Tell us in the comments in below!

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About Mortons on the Move

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of The RVers, producers of “Go North” on Amazon Prime, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for and an Arizona travel guide.

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