A hot shower is something we all enjoy, even when camping most of us still like a few creature comforts. We take you through 3 of the most common options available when it comes to portable hot water solutions:
Portable “Water Cubes” or “Hot Water On Demand” units:
Basically these styles of water heaters are box-shaped units that require a connection to an LPG bottle or the use of a disposable canister. Once you connect a water source to the unit, you use the controls to regulate the temperature and flow of the water. A small internal rechargeable battery operates the pump and the electronic controls. You can use these units to dispense water for cooking and washing from the spout or connect a shower rose directly for an instant hot shower. Usually they cost around $300 plus any extra attachments if required.
- almost Instant Hot water
- Adjustable temperature and flow control
- Bulky, so you will need to have space to carry it
- You will need to carry enough LPG or canisters
- You will need to recharge the battery periodically
Solar Bags (Water Bladders):
Solar bags are a simple concept where you fill a water bladder or canvas bag with fresh water and let it soak up the sun’s rays. The idea of the black colour is so it attracts and absorbs the suns heat more effectively. After the bag has heated the water to your preference- it’s ready to use. Some models include a shower rose attachment so you can hang it up from a branch or tent pole and take a shower directly underneath. Costs vary depending on material (PVC or canvas) between $10 and $50.
- very compact
- Doesn’t require any extra components
- Relies on the sun (not always reliable)
- Limited by the capacity of the bag
- Takes a few hours to heat up (depending on the weather of course)
Vehicle mounted heat exchange system:
These units install under the bonnet of your vehicle, in-line with your vehicles radiator coolant hoses (usually your heater hose). The hot coolant constantly passes through the exchange unit whilst the engine is running. Fresh water is passed alongside the internal coils containing the hot engine coolant and the heat transfers to the fresh water. These make a great option if you have the space under the bonnet and are probably more suited to 4×4 vehicles. Variations of these units retail for around $300 to $400 depending on size and design.
- Simple concept, no moving parts
- Space saving and reliable
- Shower straight from your vehicle
- All in one unit- just need a bucket of water and a pump (some units come with a pump)
- Not suited to all vehicles due to space under the bonnet
- Not quite instant hot water
- Requires installation
Of course there are infinite ways to heat your water for a shower or washing- keep it as simple as you want! After all there is nothing wrong with a good old billy on the campfire.