Showers & Ensuites

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Showers & Ensuites

Postby ScottH » Fri Jan 16, 2009 12:06 am

Well I've got SWMBO hooked on the camping and fishing holidays, but always at somewhere with amenities. Now it's time to convince her to make the next step and try somewhere without permanent hot showers. The trade-off is that I must provide a suitable replacement showering system.

So without further ado I seek you suggestions on all things shower-related, such as solar shower bags, gas shower systems and ensuite tents.

Taking a look on eBay I've found some Gasmate gas shower systems for ~$150 that seem to provide a reasonable solution, but has anyone actually tried one?

The other option is to try the ~$15-20 solar shower bag, but this seems to create it's own problem as it seems they need to be hung quite high to be able to shower under them (gravity feed). I'm also concerned about how effective they are in heating the water, and whether you really need to leave them in the sun for 3+ hours to get any substantial heat.

Back when I was camping with my brother in WA, we had a canvas bag with a metal shower rose and a simple twist on/off mechanism. We'd fill it from a nearby waterhole, throw a rope over a tree branch and "wash the stink off" underneath. If you needed to warm up, you could boil the billy and add that to the cooler water. Unfortunately none of the camping stores I've tried have anything similar these days.

The final part of the challenge is providing a suitable showering enclosure so the wildlife can not peer at her nudity. I have no qualms lathering up the tackle in front of an audience, but SWMBO does not have the same attitude. The pop-up enclosures seem a bit flimsy, and I doubt they'd support the weight of a 15-20l shower bag. I've seen a couple with fibreglass & steel poles, but none of the camping store staff will confirm they're strong enough to support the solar-bag style showers.

So what do you use to keep clean when camping?
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Re: Showers & Ensuites

Postby markannab » Fri Jan 16, 2009 6:48 am

I once used a home-made unit supported from a tree branch (and a large tarp wrapped around three or four trees for walls). I took two $1.00 buckets, drilled multiple holes in the bottom of one. That was the "shower". It then sat in the second bucket without holes (the second holeless bucket, we shall call the on/off "tap" :grin: ). The handles of both buckets were clipped over a wire hook hanging from a tree. To turn the shower on, the holeless bucket was unclipped and removed and to turn it off, it was clipped back up. Worked very well actually as long as the person can reach the on/off switch and provides a fantastic flow of water (cold or warm).
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Re: Showers & Ensuites

Postby stevo. » Fri Jan 16, 2009 7:22 am

If your wife is used to normal showers and has never showered in the bush before i think she would not be impressed with the solar bag, and yeah you may not have time to leave it in the sun, or there may not be any sun!. I think they are great but i have low standards.

The ultimate would be the Glind heat exchanger, but the down side is that is costs money and you have to install it in your car. Check out the site here: http://www.glind.com.au/

Or you could get one of those 12v water pump shower thingys, probably from BCF pretty cheap, and just warm up some water on the stove.
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Re: Showers & Ensuites

Postby J`CRUISER » Fri Jan 16, 2009 8:02 am

we have 2 types. one is a primus hot water system. this does a good job but i find that we use a heap of water and if you turn the water flow off at the head the pilot light goes out. the other problem is taking an extra gas bottle for the unit. i have only used it twice and thinking of getting rid of it.
the second type is what we are using more and more. we use one of our 20 lt containers for the water. boil half on the bbq in a big pot, (without the plate on bbq), and add it back to the 20lt container. take a 12v car jump starter with an aux 12v socket and plug in a hand held shower that we picked up from bcf for $15. the 20 lt does all 6 of us. we just wet down, turn water off, soap up, then rince off. i usually shower with 3 of the kids and the wife with the youngest. on our last trip we had 10 at the camp and 2 lots of the 20lt was plenty for everyone.
as for shower tent we have the oztrail ensuite mega. we find this good as it has heaps of room and a seperate zipped up area to hang the towels. in this seperate area we also have our chemical toilet.
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Re: Showers & Ensuites

Postby Redback » Fri Jan 16, 2009 9:36 am

The Coleman hotwater on demand system is probably the best system of the stand alone shower systems at the moment, vehicle shower like the Glind that Meeky mention are very good also, although they don't seem to work as well on the new turbo diesel vehicles, as well as the Glind there is also the Helton (the cheapest of all of them) the Pirana and the Twine, all of these are very similar and work very well in most vehicles.

I think that ebay unit your looking at is this Primus unit, they retail for $430.
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There is also this unit
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http://www.rvdirect.com.au/?Nav=Pdt&product_id=153975&category_id=21&sub_category_id=438&PageID=8&wp=8

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Re: Showers & Ensuites

Postby scottyboy » Fri Jan 16, 2009 4:03 pm

Like most things in camping - the options are endless!

Can't help you with the pop-up enclosure - we have a a shower annex on our camper trailer.

We have had one of the Coleman Hot water on demand for about 2 yrs I think. Suits us perfect. Charge it at home (for the pump) - last trip that charge lasted us for about 5 nights for 2 adults and 2 kids (not overdoing the shower though). I know its not cheap though.

I like it cuase the only thing you have to organise when you get to camp is the water - everything else is ready to go - no boiling water etc.. I dont think any option is perfect. The Coleman has its drawbacks but suits us best. If you want to know any tips about the coleman and negatives .. just let me know. Oh and my wife loves it - especially having a steaming hot shower while camping in winter!!

I am also interested in the car mounted showers ... for fishing trips with a swag and no family!


ScottH wrote:... I have no qualms lathering up the tackle in front of an audience
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Re: Showers & Ensuites

Postby ScottH » Fri Jan 16, 2009 4:50 pm

The Primus unit was the one I've been watching on eBay. Interesting to know that the pilot light goes out when you stop the water - seems like that could be a real PITA. How hard is it to relight each time?

I'm starting to lean more towards the 12v shower pump and pre-heating water on the stove/BBQ. Seems like it might be the best interim solution until I can afford a Quinni or the all-in-one RV Direct unit mounted on the trailer. Just got t work out how much water she needs, as I'm going to have to carry it in with me, and refill every couple of days.

Now I'm off to Bunnings to look at the push-fit aluminium box section with the plastic joiners/corners. Thinking that might be the best way to make my own lightweight shower enclosure.
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Re: Showers & Ensuites

Postby J`CRUISER » Sat Jan 17, 2009 7:47 am

ScottH wrote:The Primus unit was the one I've been watching on eBay. Interesting to know that the pilot light goes out when you stop the water - seems like that could be a real PITA. How hard is it to relight each time?

I'm starting to lean more towards the 12v shower pump and pre-heating water on the stove/BBQ. Seems like it might be the best interim solution until I can afford a Quinni or the all-in-one RV Direct unit mounted on the trailer. Just got t work out how much water she needs, as I'm going to have to carry it in with me, and refill every couple of days.

Now I'm off to Bunnings to look at the push-fit aluminium box section with the plastic joiners/corners. Thinking that might be the best way to make my own lightweight shower enclosure.


dont know if the primus unit pictured above has the same problem with the pilot light but my model is this type http://www.4x4store.com.au/Primus-Porta ... 68531.html . dont get me wrong it does a fantastic job its mainly that we use a fair bit more water and i dont really like having to drive all the time to get the water containers filled up.
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Re: Showers & Ensuites

Postby steve&Kate » Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:46 pm

Hi

I use a 12volt shower from BCF and a large container of hot water, same principle as the the colemans and primas, the three pump the water but the primus & coleman heat the water for you while I use a billy to boil the water and tip into the my container, one billy boiling water to five billies of cold, heaps for a shower.

Comparison, $300 plus for the primas or coleman or $25 for the 12 volt, I figure for $300 I'd have to take a lot of showers to re-coup my money.

Cheers

ps: just another suggestion.
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Re: Showers & Ensuites

Postby Derek Bullock » Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:58 pm

steve&Kate wrote:I use a 12volt shower from BCF and a large container of hot water, same principle as the the colemans and primas, the three pump the water but the primus & coleman heat the water for you while I use a billy to boil the water and tip into the my container, one billy boiling water to five billies of cold, heaps for a shower.


Kate, my son bought one of those. Used it over a week long trip with three of us using it. Three showers from a 20 litre bucket. Great for the price.
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Re: Showers & Ensuites

Postby steve&Kate » Sat Jan 17, 2009 6:03 pm

Hi Derek,

$300 plus is a lot of money to boil water to my way of thinking.

Cheers

PS: Just about to go over to www.aussiecampovenforum.com now and check the new posts.
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Re: Showers & Ensuites

Postby ben... » Sat Jan 17, 2009 7:40 pm

price aside, for a family friendly solution the coleman is the go. the primus is really a 2 person job to work it plus it needs a 12v source (well the one i used did not sure if they come as a rechargable one now??), and they do tend to go out if you change the water flow or turn it off and on quickly. The coleman is a quick family friendly (wife friendly) solution and has its own power source which means you dont need a battery or a car close by. I have seen them on special for not a bad price. The problem for me atm is the 12V pump and 20ltr hot water bucket isnt suited to small children and has its hazards. Great for older familys or just when its adults only.

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Re: Showers & Ensuites

Postby steve&Kate » Sat Jan 17, 2009 8:48 pm

Hi Ben,

I understand what you are saying about children, better to safe then sorry.

The 20 litre container I have has a big black screw lid, when the shower is completed the lid gets screwed on so no creepy crawly things can get in, think the lid would be pretty hard for a child to undo, the lid is about 8 - 10" in diameter.

Cheers
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Re: Showers & Ensuites

Postby ScottH » Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:39 pm

Well I just picked up two solutions which we'll try out on the long weekend at Mungo Brush.

First is the solar shower, which has already had negative comments about the size of the shower rose. Second is a Gasmate heater/pump unit that looks like this:
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For under $140 shipped to my door, it was worth a shot. Ultimately I'd love to get a fully plumbed, built in unit on the trailer but that can probably wait until after I get a tent on it ;)

I read a good tip on ExplorOz to stop the pilot light going out - add a diverter switch to the shower line, and when you've got wet and are lathering up, turn the switch to divert the water via a return line back into the bucket. The unit will keep recirculating the water and heating it until it reaches it's temperature limit, then the burner will cut out. The water should stay hot enough for the next few minutes while you rinse off. Worth a try, and extra piping should be cheap. If it truly sucks, then I'll put it back up on eBay for some other sucker :evil:

The only remaining challenge now is the ensuite enclosure, but hopefully a trip to either Amazon or BCF tomorrow will solve that.
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Re: Showers & Ensuites

Postby YouAndI » Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:06 pm

Here is what we use for primitive/off road camping.

Shower Unit: ZODI Products (Extreme Shower)
Click Here: ZODI Products

Note: We use a bulk hose adapter & bulk propane tank with the Extreme shower/burner unit
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