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hot water and showers for campers


  • whilst commercial caravan parks and some National Park camp grounds do offer hot water and hot showers, most camp grounds do not offer this and for those who are camping near their vehicles for more than a few days in the colder areas of Australia, a portable hot water system and shower may be desirable
  • the systems with built-in water heaters are very convenient but come at a not so insignificant size and weight which may just be too much for those in a car only.
  • NB. 1kg LPG propane provides 49MJ thus for most of these hot water burners, this equates to just under 2hrs of max. heat output per kg of LPG
  • this is to outline the various options and pros and cons of each

Portable gas hot water systems

  • these require propane gas to heat the water and depending upon the model, it may use cannister propane and/or connection to propane bottles
  • they generally include an automatic piezo burner starter which allows it to start as soon as you turn the pump on and you can generally select the output temperature
  • if not connected to a water mains (some will connect), you will need a 12V power supply and 12V water pump
  • water pump rates may vary from 2L/min to 8L/min depending upon model
  • others will require submersing the pump at the end of a supplied hose into a water container
  • most have shower heads which incorporate an on/off switch

examples in 2021 in Australia

  • Kickass 8L system
    • connects to a LPG gas cylinder via G1/2 inlet and uses up to 28MJ/h
    • G1/2 threaded water intake connection with connector for garden hoses
    • need to also buy a 12V self-priming water pump (eg. Kickass 6L or 12L/min pumps) if not connecting to a water mains
    • G1/2 water outlet connector plus 1.5m shower hose and shower head
    • LCD water temp range 0-50degC
    • 2 x D Cell Batteries
    • 490 x 300 x 150 mm, 5.3kg $AU219 without the pump
    • the Thermomate Outdoor system appears to be same or very similar
    • brass snap on fitting for gas
    • garden hose plastic snap on fitting for water, includes 3 way garden hose splitter so can connect to shower hose and sink faucet at same time
    • LPG gas cylinder connection; 27,000-BTU (28.4MJ/hr) burner;
    • up to 6L/min max 50°C
    • includes the $AU69 Joolca Ensuite Plumbing Instant-up Shower Kit (I presume this is the equivalent replacement kit)
    • no pump in the essentials kit - need water mains supply
    • $AU399 plus $AU79 for the optional carry bag if you don't go for the Nomad kit
    • HOTTAP Outdoor kit includes easy clean 2 stage water filter so you can use water direct from a river and IPX3 rated pump self-primes to 1.8m and can push water up to 30m up an incline from a stream to camp) $AU519
    • HOTTAP Nomad kit is the Outdoor kit plus a sturdy plastic storage container which doubles as a kitchen sink with faucet $AU599
    • 4.3L/min flow (up to 6L/Min with a 6L/min pump); Pumps up to 10m with maximum 3m rise
    • heats to 35°C above ambient to 55°C Maximum; 28 Mj/h max; 3/8“ SAE gas fitting;
    • 2m hoses;
    • 2.5m 12V DC cable with alligator clips; 2 x D Cell for Ignition;
    • garden hose input connector;
    • 30L x 15W x 37H cm ; 4.5kg; $AU299
    • similar to Lite but larger and heavier and can heat to 42deg above ambient
    • 30L x 15W x 44H cm; 5.3kg; $AU349
    • 6Lpm pump version is $AU379
  • Companion Aquacube Digital
    • built-in pump but no mains water option so need a 12V power input (5m cig lighter cable supplied)
    • uses 468g BOM cartridge at 412gm/h at 100% output (52°C max or 30°C above source water temperature)
    • 2m shower hose giving 2.5-4.5L/min
    • 2.5m water pump hose
    • 245(L) x 310(W) x 300(H) mm, 6kg $AU479, $AU309 on special plus opt. carry bag $AU45 on special
  • Companion AquaHeat Rechargeable Lithium
    • similar to the Companion Aquacube Digital (built-in pump but no mains water option) but:
      • adds a built-in 40-60min run time rechargeable lithium battery than can be recharged in 4-5hrs from flat via 5m DC lead or optional AC adapter
      • BOM connection for cartridge or can run off LPG cylinder via hose
      • water heating lift 30˚C on max/10˚C on min to max 50°C using 18.57 Mj/h at max.
      • 2L/min flow
      • 1.5m pump hose
      • 2.5m shower hose
      • 442L x 163W x 360H (mm), 6.5kg, $AU525 but $AU374 on special
  • Coleman Hot Water On Demand H2Oasis Elite (incl. lithium battery and USB out)
    • heats water up to 30°C above ambient temperature, reaching a maximum of 50°C
    • powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery (12V DC and 240V AC charge adapters included), also operates on direct feed power and has USB ports to charge most USB compatible devices
    • can use one Coleman Lightweight LPG bottle to heat up 150L water
    • quick connect brass fittings for gas
    • 8ft non-kink silicone hoses with quick connect fittings and for connection to garden hose
    • flow rate 2.3L/min and can run for 80min on a full charge
    • can be a bit finnicky to use apparently
    • 47cm L x 17cm W x 36cm H 8.5kg $AU549 but $AU299 on clearance sale - presumably new model coming

shower delivery systems without heating included

  • to gain hot showers with these systems you will need to heat the water by a separate method such as leaving the water in the sun or boiling it with your usual camp set up and then mixing with ambient water to gain a desired 30-50degC shower

gravity feed system

  • there are many plastic bag type reservoirs with a shower spray outlet at the bottom
  • Sea To Summit Pocket Shower with Cord
    • 10 Litres capacity to give 7 minute “shower” (max recommended water temp 60degC)
    • 6m cord to hang from tree branch etc
    • 120g; ~$AU40
    • 20L tough black PVC to optimise solar heating with transparent back to view water level
    • 7 minute shower via shower hose
    • $AU15
  • Companion Deluxe 20L Portable Solar Shower
    • 600D heat welded ripstop polyester and clear PVC giving better durability than PVC alone?
    • 460g; 20L; shower hose 8 minutes shower; includes water temp gauge and front pocket for soap/shampoo;
    • $AU28

manual hand/foot pump pressurised sprayers

  • Nemo Helio Pressure Shower Black/Dark Verglas
    • $AU189

12V DC powered pumps

  • Companion 12V High Volume Camp Shower
    • 12v DC 2.5amp input, 5m power cord
    • 3 different settings of shower head: massage, spray and shower
    • 6L per minute (avg)
    • 2m hose
    • $AU59 on special

lithium powered water pump system

  • CAOS USB Rechargeable Camp Shower
    • 3.7V 2850mAh lithium battery gives 60min use (charged via USB charging port takes 2-5hrs)
    • removable filter
    • 2.4m hose plus suction cap to mount on your vehicle's window
    • just drop the pump into the water and press the on switch and you get avg 2L/min flow - NB. the battery is in separate compartment on then hose - not submersible!
    • compatible with jerry cans
    • $AU59
  • Companion Rechargable Camp Shower
    • 3.7V 2200mAh Lithium-Ion battery gives 60min use (charged via USB charging port takes 2-5hrs)
    • 2m hose length + suction cap
    • avg 2L/min flow
    • will be destroyed if you submerge in water and forget to have the power supply port properly seated in its closed position
    • $AU69 on special
  • Generic USB chargeable lithium shower
    • 3.7V 4400mAh battery;
    • 3 models - one has a digital thermometer
    • works in as low as 1cm of water; quieter; removable filter;
    • ~$AU71 on Ebay

recirculating water shower tent and 12V pump

  • EverShower Recirculating Water Ensuite Tent V2
    • just need about 80mm deep water in base of shower tent and you can have as long a shower as you want re-using the same water, or alternatively open the drain to not recirculate and use a separate water tub to immerse the pump (water should be particle-free to avoid clogging the filter)
    • tub can be emptied via drain hole or by turning on the pump and directing it outside
    • If the water does become too dirty or soapy, it can be drained and replaced, mid-shower, to rinse and continue showering. It is recommended to run fresh, non-soapy water, through the pump after each shower to avoid shortening the life of the pump.
    • A vinegar solution can also be periodically pumped through the system to help keep the inside of the hoses and shower head clean.
    • The roof can be partially or fully removed
    • When overhead points of attachment are available it can be erected without the frame
    • Should not be used in very windy situations
    • 12V submersible electric pump delivers 25L/min (connect to 12V DC cig lighter)
    • Base Dimensions: 50.5cm x 50.5cm x 15cm
    • 220cm high and 110cm wide at the top supported with pole frame and has a carabiner to hold the hand set
    • pegs and guy ropes for outdoor use
    • Packed Size: 52.5cm x 52.5cm x 16cm 6.8kg
    • water can be heated by either:
      • filling tub and leaving it in the sun
      • using hot water from camp fire or LPG water heater (eg. can be used to recirculate water via the Smarttek water heater)
    • $AU389
australia/hot_water.txt · Last modified: 2024/01/07 20:19 by gary1

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