Monday, February 22, 2016

My first shower

Yes - I'm a dirty bugger - this is my first shower ever. M'lady's water heater died yesterday so there was no hot water last night. Thus, this morning I went to the bus to get my shower equipment. I could have showered in the bus but as the shower base is being used to store screws etc, I didn't venture use the shower in the bus. Mind, I also need to install a shower curtain.

The good - I had a shower and managed to wash my hair, my body and came out clean. 

The bad - the shower unit is new (only been used once for testing) yet the hinge on the battery compartment has broken already. The hose connection from the pump unit to the output hose leaks pretty well.
I wasn't really expecting to have to fix the shower unit on its first real use. Thank goodness I didn't pay Amazon's rip-off price for it. I paid $18 rather than $35 because I bought mine on eBay. Same exact thing that Amazon charges more for. Having said that, duct tape is cheap and fixed the problem. I think a more permanent solution will be to put an external battery compartment.

It doesn't look elegant but it works which is the main thing. For the leaky hose connection, I suspect duct tape might not be the best answer. It's too flimsy to crimp the hose too tightly so I suspect the best would be to use a piece of soft copper wire and twist it slowly until it's barely tight. There might always be a leak there.

To use the shower, I half-filled my 3 gallon cooler with cold water then put a kettle full of boiling water into it. The result was luke warm - I could definitely do with two kettles of water. Having said that, I did manage to shower quite successfully. The key to good flow seems to be to mnake very sure there are no kinks in the hose. It definitely performed better today - with far more power than when I first tested my shower unit.

Showering like this definitely takes a while as it needs time to boil a kettle of water. The cooker works very well and the floor underneath does not heat much. I'd say the heat transfer is about on a par with the heat from my microwave.

The Coleman cooker cost me $18 from Walmart and the gas cannisters are $3 each. That's really not bad at all. The shower unit was $18 too. 

In terms of use, I used about a gallon and a half of water to shower. My hair is long and takes a while to shower. The key is to wet it, rub shampoo in quickly then work on rinsing it out before proceding to lower parts. Crouching in the shower worked well. Now if I was some bald dude then I can well imagine using maybe a gallon or less of water. I'm not a bald dude though!

I can honestly say that I really quite like this shower setup. I had thought it might be irksome or problematic but it all went together very nicely. The biggest improvement would be for the pump unit and the battery unit to be separated. Now I have seen some 12v versions of this which would work well enough if I had 12v in the bus. Right now, my unit runs off 4 D cells. 

In conclusion, the shower unit's construction quality leaves something to be desired. The efficacy is good. The cooler worked very well and works as a very handy limiter on the amount of water used. The gas cooker was slow and the kettle didn't hold enough water. The shower I had was very effective and quite pleasant though luke warm due to my cooking up only one kettle of water. The cooker needs some while to cool before being put in its box again. I can't imagine lugging the shower and the cooker if I was actually on a backpacking camping expedition but I suppose somebody woud. The nearest alternative is a gas-powered shower unit that costs $140 or over $100 more. This setup represents very good value and I'll keep using it.

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