Imagine yourself after a hot day of driving, hiking and setting up camp... you have trekked through desert dust and your muscles are tired and sore. What better way is there to wash and scrub up than under an invigorating hot shower. But you're in the most remote part of Australia
, so it must be a dream, right? Wrong - we're not talking about cold showers here, or even solar hot water showers but real hot showers with pressure that you can enjoy on even the most remote outback trip. Most of the components for these showers are installed under the bonnet of your vehicle and utilises the engines cooling system to heat up an external water supply. This supply may be water from a creek or water-filled container and is pumped to a Heat Exchange Unit and then back to your shower – nice and hot. So now you like the idea? Yes, most of us do, so let's look go over the common questions.
How Much Water is Used?
Typically, a 5 - 10L bucket of water is suitable for a shower for one person. Recycling shower water is a smart trick for showering the family. Simply, stand in a big bucket while you shower with the inlet hose taking the run-off back into the system. This way you can cycle the water through the heat exchanger continuously. Soap suds etc do not damage the heat exchange unit.
How long your bucket of water takes to empty depends on the pressure that your pump delivers the water and if any flow restrictor is implemented on your shower head. You can do the maths by working out how many litres of water the pump is designed to deliver. Some water pumps are designed to deliver around 4 litres of water a minute (4 LPM), whilst others may deliver up to 7 litres per minute (7 LPM).
Do I Need a Shower Screen?
The answer is one of personal preference. Consider that when you are in a place where you will actually use the vehicle shower, you will likely be in a camp that's fairly remote. If no one is there to see you, then there's no need to cover up. A shower screen or shower tent is quite bulky to pack and store for a non-necessary item so if you're planning long term travel, you probably don't need one. If you do prefer to purchase one, shower screens are available in most department stores and shower tents are available in many specialist camping stores Australia
Are Vehicle Showers Restricted to 4WDs?
Not at all, in fact 2WD family cars can easily be fitted with a shower system. A lot of small caravans don't have a shower so adding a shower system can mean you don't even need to visit caravan parks and instead spend the night at your favourite remote location. There are also many other uses not related to camping such as washing down the dog at the beach, or even the horse after a sweaty ride.
Full Kit or Components?Depending on the manufacturer, vehicle hot water showers can come in either kit form or sold individually as components. The complete kit will come with everything needed to setup the vehicle shower, including any additional cables, hoses and clamps. For those who like to DIY, then you can purchase maybe the Heat Exchange Unit and hose fittings from the manufacturer and decide on a specific shower rose and water pump of your choice later.