Are you looking for the best camping sinks for your next outdoor adventure? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
My husband and I have been backcountry camping together for close to two decades and we have had to wash a LOT of camping dishes!
We also own a “dry” cabin in Alaska – which means it doesn’t have running water so we haul water in – that we have lived at off and on for almost 20 years. We have tried almost everything when it comes to dishwashing in the outdoors!
Imagine struggling with inefficient water usage, makeshift containers that leak or collapse, and the frustration of not having a dedicated space for proper cleaning!
Without a dependable portable camping sink, you’re left with subpar hygiene solutions that can make your camping experience less enjoyable and sanitary.
From portable and collapsible camping sinks to wash basins with incorporated tables, I’ve got you covered with the best recommendations. So, whether you’re a camper, a boater, or an RVer, be sure to check out our list below.
Author note: I have personally used most of the portable sinks on this list and have recommended my favorite options that work for my family’s car camping, cabin camping, and backpacking needs. In addition, I have used my own extensive research and reader’s reviews to create this list for you!
How to Choose the Best Camping Sink for You
OK, so there are some key considerations I want you to think about when shopping for the perfect camping sink for you!
We all know there are many different types of camping so what works for an RV’er is not going to work for a backpacker or a minimalist car camper.
- Type of Camping: Are you going for a backcountry trip, car camping, or RV camping? The type of camping will influence the size and features you’ll need.
- Material: Do you want a heavy-duty cloth material, plastic, or metal?
- Size & Weight: Consider the weight of your sink and whether or not you need a collapsible sink. Do you have storage space for this sink? If you’re backpacking, you’ll want something lightweight and compact. For car camping, a larger, more robust sink could be more suitable.
- Ease of Setup: Always look for sinks that are easy to assemble and disassemble, especially if you’re frequently on the move.
- Drain Hole: A sink with a proper drain hole and plug can make dishwashing easier but not everyone feels that one is necessary.
- Portability: Handles and carrying cases can make transporting your sink much easier.
- Multi-functionality: Some sinks come with accessories like cutting boards, drying racks, or even a faucet. Consider what additional features could be useful for you.
- Water Capacity: Make sure the sink can hold enough water for your needs, whether it’s for washing dishes or personal hygiene.
- Price: Set a budget and find a sink that offers the best value for your money.
My Picks: Best Camping Sinks
💦 Best Camping Sinks
A camping sink is seriously a must-have for any outdoor trip where you will be preparing your own food. It is a must for keeping your campsite clean and organized.
A portable camp sink can make dishwashing and other chores a breeze. When choosing one, be sure to select one that is sturdy and well-made like the ones recommended below.
Also, be sure to choose a model with enough storage capacity for your needs and your group size. A small camping sink may be fine for occasional use, but if you plan on using it frequently, you will probably need a larger model.
🧽 Best Small Portable Camping Sinks
A small portable camp sink can be used for hauling water, dishwashing, and personal hygiene. A collapsible sink is ideal for car camping and canoeing while some even work for backpacking and bike packing.
Our family uses this collapsible sink for car camping and when camping at our cabin in McCarthy Alaska. It is GREAT!
Why is it our favorite? Well, we love its capacity, the bright color (it doesn’t get misplaced), and its ability to carry a load of dishes to the water source.
It is super durable and collapses with ease. It’s definitely a good camping sink for no-fuss dishwashing while car camping.
- Thermoplastic rubber (TPR) construction
- Folds down to 2″ high when collapsed
- Withstands boiling water temperatures
- 4.23 Gallon capacity
- Measurements: 18” H x 13.5” W x 7
This is a wonderfully lightweight AND compact camp bucket or sink and is available in several sizes depending on your needs.
Sea to Summit is one of my personal favorite camping gear brands and this very packable sink is a favorite of mine for outdoor travel! We used it on a camping road trip in New Mexico recently and it was one of my favorite pieces of gear.
Why do I love it? This basin stands freely when full. It is very sturdy due to the stainless steel stiffening ring that prevents the container from collapsing when full. It kind of feels like magic when you use it!
Trust me, it’s a great one. Also, the top ring can be folded down for a sturdier effect when using the 20L version.
I initially had trouble folding it back up into the bag it comes in but a helpful video online solved that for me! The line-drawn instructions on the bag didn’t cut it for me.
- 5L, 10L, and 20L sizes
- Strong handles for carrying it as a bucket
- Withstands water temperatures of up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit
- Small packable size with zip-up compact carrying case
- Can be hung to dry
This collapsible camping sink is extremely durable and folds with ease. It can also be used to hold water or ice without any leaking.
This container has the benefit of being clear so if it is used for holding food, ice, or beverages you can easily see what is inside.
When handling this sink I do worry about it getting pierced by something sharp due to its material.
- Collapses and folds up like a reusable shopping bag with a handle
- Includes a handy attachable mesh pocket for holding soap and scrubbers
- 4.7 gallon capacity
- 11.8″ x 11.8″ x 7.8″ Inches
- Must be left unfolded in the open air for a few days to dry completely
Pack this collapsible bucket with your go-to camping supplies on the way to the campsite. This camp sink is commonly used for holding ice as well as it is super sturdy. Get two for side-by-side washing and rinsing!
- PP/TPR (plastic/plastic rubber) material
- No handle but instead the thick rim is used for carrying
- Measurements: 14.75″ x 0.75″ x 5″
- Collapses down to 2″ high for storing
- Capacity: 10L (just over 2.5 gallons)
If you can’t wrap your head around a sink without a plug, this si the sink for you! This sturdy collapsible camping sink with a drain is sturdy and can really hold some weight.
While it is very easy to collapse and expand, this particular model is a bit noisy when doing so. The drain is definitely a convenient design choice that many people love. The handles are strong and functional.
- Thermoplastic rubber (TPR) + food-grade premium PP material
- Has a removable drain plug
- The non-slip design at the bottom can keep the bin steady
- Measurements: 12.4″ x 12″ x 7.9″
- Capacity: 2.4 gallons
- Collapses to 2.8 inches in height
This is another favorite design of mine because it has two compartments for washing and rinsing, so you only need to buy one.
It also folds down really small which makes it easy to store in your camper or car. It is not as sturdy as other options in rubber and plastic but will do the job just fine! It’s also a great portable sink due to its very convenient size.
- Constructed Out of Thick 18oz Vinyl
- Measurements: 11″ x 22″ x 7″
- Capacity: 25 L (6.5 gallons)
- Velcro handle makes it easy to hang from the tree to dry
This might be one of those luxury items folks are a bit jealous of on your next backpacking trip! With care and proper use, this is a fabulous addition to your gear for lightweight camping trips.
Just like the other Sea to Summit sink I love, this one will hold its shape when full. It also makes for easy packing for you!
- Made from Ultra-Sil Cordura nylon, fully seam-sealed and leakproof
- 10-liter (2.6-gallon) sink measures 15 x 11 x 6 inches
- Packs down to 4.75 x 0.75 inches
- Weighs 1.7 ounces
This portable camping sink that mimics a cloth bucket is foldable, lightweight, and easy to carry! The ability to gather water on the fly with a bucket and wash bin combo is priceless plus this basin is inexpensive. Get two while you are at it, one for dirty water and one for clean.
- Made of food grade PP with waterproof PVC layer
- Measurements (closed): 13″ x 9.85″ x 0.8″
- Capacity: 5.25 gallons
- Weight: 8 ounces
- Hang to dry after use.
💧 Best Portable Camping Table with Sink
If you are going to be staying put for a while or simply like to have some comforts that remind you of home, then a folding table with an incorporated sink may be right for you.
In addition, it is nice to know you will always have a clean work surface to use with a cutting board. Folks who prefer to sit while working or are confined to a wheelchair will definitely need a sink with a table.
This is a portable and foldable sink table with an equipped faucet. It is waterproof and super durable. It can be used as a fish cleaning station and is designed to serve this purpose.
A hose can be purchased and used as the water source and sprayer. Then, you can use a 5-gallon bucket to catch the draining water.
- Measurements: 45″x 23.6″x 37.4″
- Weight: 23 lbs
- Very weather proof
- Easy to clean and fold and pack up
This sink table has sturdy folding legs, twin basins, extendable drain hoses, and a chrome rotatable faucet with good clearance. Easy set up and it can connect to a garden hose for running water.
It comes with drain hoses that you can run into 5-gallon buckets for waste. It’s definitely another table that is obviously made for cleaning fish but works just as well for boondocking.
- Measurements: 40″ L x 26″ W x 32.25″
- Weight: 22.5 lbs
- Very weather proof
- Slot for attaching a trash bag
- Connection from the hose to the faucet can be a bit fussy
This deluxe cook station with sink gives you all the cooking space that you could ever want!! The entire cooking area is made of aluminum so that you can put your portable grill on either side. Rain and water spills are not an issue due to the material.
This portable folding outdoor cook station with a counter and storage space is all you need for your camping stove or grill, cooking utensils, and cookware.
- Folds flat for storage, easy to fold
- Includes a soft-shell sink with drain
- Measurements: 22″ x 70″ x 68.3″
- Weight: 22.4 Pounds
- Can be little wobbly and benefits from heavy items resting on top to stabilize it.
🚰 Best Camping Sink With Pump
This type of portable camping sink makes water easily accessible outdoors. Some styles empty the gray water back into the same tank the faucet runs from so choose wisely.
This camping sink offers handle-free operation by just stepping on the foot pump to get a stream of water. It’s great to be able to wash hands and do some dishes with a pretty similar sink to what one is used to at home.
The Kleankin sink provides 4.5 Gallons of water that is readily available for use in each refill. The built-in handle and wheels make it easy to move, especially when empty at only 8.8 Pounds.
- Important info for this 33″ Model: the water is supplied from the smaller 4.5-gallon tank and is directed away into the larger 6.3-gallon tank for storage and easy emptying.
♨️ Best Portable Camping Sink with Hot Water
13. Water Boy Camp Sink
This incredible unit by Trail Kitchens is able to deliver cold drinking water yet also allows for instant hot water for dishes and hot showers when using the option portable propane heater.
It provides pressurized and filtered water that mimics what you have at home. A full battery charge will provide 50-70 gallons of pumping power.
- Use one of the portable sink options or a basic plastic tub alongside this unit.
- Weighs 23 lbs
- Measures 19.75” W x 12” D x 8.5” H
🔧 DIY Camp Sink Options
Sometimes you just want to be self-sufficient, use some supplies of your own, and make a DIY option!
Many dry cabin dwellers (cabins without running water) in Alaska use this simple setup. Set a jug on a ceramic base with a stainless steel faucet (not plastic, they don’t last) and use it with the clean 5-gallon jug that you fill up at home or at a spring. Use your basic wash basin below to catch water.
15. Find a FREE Sink, a Table, a Faucet, a Hose, and a Bucket for Drainage
This is the down-and-dirty cheap but effective DIY option! People are often times giving the items away on the side of the road that you need for this project.
If you have a backcountry cabin of your own or plan on camping out for a long time but don’t have the funds for a fancier setup, scrounge for these items and make your own table sink!
You will need to be handy will tools or know someone who is, but with the right items, you will have a sink close to what you might have indoors.
This is actually my sink set from when our family lived in a tent while building our house in Vermont. I enjoyed washing dishes outside with the view, at least until the cold October air hit. The hose is hooked up to the faucet. Water is heated separately for the initial washing of dishes.
Below is also a really great DIY idea for a handwashing station and one can simply use a wash basin below to catch water and then rinse dishes.
🧼 FAQS: Wash Basins and Dishwashing on the Go
If you are new to camping you may have some questions regarding camping sinks. Hopefully, your questions can be answered below!
What is a camping sink?
Camping sinks provide a reusable place for handwashing and dishwashing in areas where traditional sinks are unable to be present. You can use a simple basin such as the one below or a more purposeful option that is solely meant for dishwashing.
Do I need a camping sink?
In most situations, yes. If you’re looking for a way to keep your campsite clean, a camping sink is a must-have. Not only do they make it easy to wash dishes and hands, but they also give you a place to store dirty water until you can dispose of it properly.
Do dishes get clean in cold water?
As long as no greasy residue from oil or butter is on your pot, pans and dishes, yes, dishes can come clean in cold water. Use good dish soap such as Dawn when you only have access to cold water as the more natural versions simply won’t cut it, I speak from experience!
⭕️ Please do not be tempted to wash dishes in a lake or any body of water to make it less of a chore!
How do you sanitize dishes while camping?
As I mention above, I am a fan of using boiling water and pouring it over my bin of dirty dishes, initially, and then adding cool water until my hands are comfortable enough with the temperature to wash the dishes.
⭕️ PLEASE BE CAREFUL and do not put your hands into boiling hot water!
Are portable sinks sanitary?
If you keep camp sinks clean after each use, they are sanitary. The final item you will wash with soap and rinse each dishwashing session is your collapsible sink. If you are low on water, keep it as clean as possible and deep clean when you are back at home.
Also, keep collapsible sinks out in the fresh air to dry before folding them back up to store or you risk them becoming moldy.
How to Choose The Best Camping Sink
✔ Plan to have your camping sink for a long time and invest in something that works for your personal budget, the number of people you travel with, and the ease of carrying and moving the particular style you purchase.
✔ Consider if you are buying a collapsible sink with handles for dipping into a lake to gather water if you can carry that much water. If not, perhaps a smaller option is better or a folding model that you fill using a smaller camp bucket.
✔ Cheaper models may leak or tip over, so it is worth spending the extra money on a quality product. Ask yourself: is it sturdy when full and can you carry it?
How Do You Wash Dishes Without Running Water?
Unless you are at an established campground with a wash spigot or a sink, many places do not have access to running water. Very few campgrounds have designated dishwashing facilities and drain water basins but if they do, use them!
⭕️ DO not use a marked drinking water spigot area to wash your dishes.
Depending on the location you are camping in you will use one of two options:
- Haul in your own water to use to wash dishes in 1-5 gallon capacity jugs.
- Fill your camp bucket or collapsible sink with water from a spring, lake, pond, or river. Only use this for washing and not drinking unless it is from a reputable spring.
How to Wash Dishes While Camping
✅ Eat your food! Cleared-off plates make this process much easier! Scrape food remnants into your camp trash.
✅ First, fill your pot or tea kettle with water and start to heat it over the campfire or your camp stove.
✅ Have your biodegradable soap and scrubber on hand. Use biodegradable soap, one that cuts through grease. I use the most organic earth-friendly soaps at home but when camping I use Dawn out of necessity.
✅ Add cool water to one camp sink or basin while continuing to heat the water in the pot until boiling.
✅ Place your dirty dishes in your other camp sink. Add the hot water to the pan with your dirty dishes and add a small amount of soap to the same basin.
✅ Add some cool water, enough to make the water tolerable to touch.
✅ Wash each dish with the scrubber or sponge in the soapy water and then dip it in the second pan to rinse. Lay rinsed dishes on a clean dish towel to dry.
✅ Scatter the dirty water at least 200 feet away from open water sources and also away from your campsite if bears are a threat.
🌎 You should always wash your dishes at least 200 feet away from any nearby natural water source. As a result, any contaminants that come off your dish, such as grease, will not end up in the open water.
⭐️ Check out the UST Collapsible Sink! Grab two and use one for washing and the other for rinsing. It is sturdy, brightly colored, and stores easily!
🏕 Final Thoughts: Best Camping Sinks
Whether you’re looking for a collapsible or portable camp sink, folding sink table, or DIY option, we hope this list has helped you find the perfect camping dishwashing solution.
Don’t leave home without bringing a sink camping – because cleanliness and convenience should never be compromised during your outdoor activities.
Also, do you have a favorite camping sink that didn’t make our list? Let us know in the comments below and we might just add it in! Happy camping!
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