Hot Showers??

Submitted: Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 17:02
ThreadID: 69756 Views:3458 Replies:16 FollowUps:19
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Hi Guys,

Just wandered what people use for showers when traveling. Am thinking either a portable one like the Coleman, Primus, or maybe the showers that hook up to the car like the Glind, Pirahna and Twine. Does any body have any info on how good any of these are and are they worth it?
At the mo i'm leaning towards the Glind, but that's only from half an our playing on the net...

Cheers Simo
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Reply By: Member - Cram (Newcastle NSW) - Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 17:23

Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 17:23
I have a primus. I have been lucky, crosses fingers, I have had not problems with mine but I know alot of people that have.

I reckon if I was buying again I would go Glind or similar. They take up no room, there always with you, you don't need gas and relatively speaking they are no more expensive.
AnswerID: 369686

Reply By: Tenpounder (SA) - Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 17:24

Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 17:24
Hi there. We've been carrying around a Primus 12v pump unit (drop the pump into a bucket of warm water; plug in and go). Not yet used it because my wife is quite happy with a 'top and tail wash', and I don't need showers (my body stops smelling after three days anyway).
Biggest issue once you have a shower system is whether or not to erect a shower tent as well, if so, that's more space occupied. And if privacy isn't a problem, then it's easy to strip off and have a wash with a couple of litres of water.
We've often had total water supply problems when away from 'civilisation', such that we haven't wanted to be profligate with scarce water e.g. in the desert).
Simplicity has prevailed in our case!!
AnswerID: 369687

Reply By: Member - daz (SA) - Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 17:26

Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 17:26
A big bowl of hot water, A good scrubbing sponge & away you go

Fresh as a a daisy in about three minutes


AnswerID: 369688

Reply By: Member - Noldi (WA) - Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 17:40

Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 17:40
We bought the Coleman, reliable and simple to use. Bought it because we saw some friends with one and thought it was a good idea. Unfortunatly we have used it 4 times in just over 2 years, very rarely take it with us anymore.

As we normally have a fire going I find a billy of hot water in a bucket of cold is easiest and just the right temp for showers. I have seen others with galvinised buckets on the fire which works well


AnswerID: 369690

Follow Up By: tim_c - Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 17:54

Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 17:54
So true... We saw some people with one of those setups - they even let us have showers since they had it all out and set up. It looked like a bit of a task to set up and was a fairly bulky thing. Like you, they said they'd hardly used it because it was a hassle to set it up and pack it away afterwards, etc.

A quick sponge down over a bucket of warm water is easier and works nearly as well, or a dip in a river (if available) just to freshen up.
FollowupID: 637104

Follow Up By: Shaker - Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 18:33

Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 18:33
It's far from a task to set up!

Drop the pump in a bucket of water & have a hot shower.
FollowupID: 637111

Follow Up By: OzTroopy - Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 00:33

Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 00:33
Better than galvanised buckets is the indian made stainless steel ones you can get from hardware stores - need to be ordered in some cases.

I have two 9l ones with lids ... damn things boil quicker than the billy. Normally camped near some form of water source so one sits near the fire all day and provides washing water as required.

Im not one for carrying lots of extras either ... so the 20l plastic solar shower bags which double as spare water carriers are my showering system.

Solar showers ??? No sun ??? ... 2 buckets of hot water poured in is very pleasant to soak under .......
FollowupID: 637175

Reply By: Member - Myles F (QLD) - Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 17:48

Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 17:48
G’day Simo & Stace,
When water supply is not a problem we use a canvas shower. It’s basically a 20 ltr canvas bag with a big brass shower rose in the bottom which when turned anticlockwise runs and turned clockwise is off. One billy of hot water and the balance cold is about the right temperature. Shower lasts for a good time and is rarely emptied unless you’re just enjoying the warm shower. I’ve used it for over twenty years.
AnswerID: 369693

Follow Up By: tim_c - Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 17:58

Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 17:58
I was given something similar to that (although it looks like only about 5L capacity). I haven't used it yet because it looks a bit small - how many showers do you get out of the 20L?
FollowupID: 637106

Follow Up By: Member - Myles F (QLD) - Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 18:48

Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 18:48
Easily two without having to rush too much. The only disadvantage I can see over the expensive gas hot water systems is finding somewhere to hang it. But even then, if there are no trees around, I lash a pole to my roof rack and hang it from that.... without filling it completely.
FollowupID: 637116

Follow Up By: Member - Troopy's Crew - Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 12:52

Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 12:52
We have made up and angled piece of metal with a notch in the top that slides into our roof rack to hold the shower bag up high enough. Its other use (working on the principle that everything has to have at least 2 uses) is to use when joining two snatch straps to stop them pulling together too tightly.


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Follow Up By: tim_c - Monday, Jun 15, 2009 at 11:19

Monday, Jun 15, 2009 at 11:19
Hmmm, not sure that I'd recommend the second use... I was told to use a roll of newspaper for that purpose - if something goes horribly wrong during snatching, I'd rather have a rolled up newspaper hurtling through the air than a piece of angle steel! If you want two uses from your angle, perhaps use it as a wheel chock or a billy stick?
FollowupID: 637423

Reply By: Member - Ian H (NSW) - Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 17:50

Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 17:50
We have a twine fitted to the 80 series and it is fantastic but you need to know the best way to plumb it in. There is a better way to what the instructions say.
If you fit one ,MM me and i will tell you.
AnswerID: 369695

Reply By: Cruiser .- Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 18:00

Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 18:00
I just use the shower in the caravan.

Before the caravan we tried the canvas bag, the big bucket and a face washer as well as a 12v pump in a mix of hot water and cold.


Cruiser .
AnswerID: 369698

Reply By: Motherhen - Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 18:30

Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 18:30
Like Daz, only a small bowl of warm water, flannel and soap. If you're really grubby, another litre of water for a rinse. Even with a shower in the van, the tub bath is sometimes chosen because it is quicker and easier and saves water.


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AnswerID: 369706

Reply By: Member - Peter STONE @ groges- Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 18:55

Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 18:55
Simo : I used to go up to Tamala Station every year. A lot of those electric showers you buy don't last long.
I made a very reliable shower out of a Bilge pump .Connected a couple of alligator clips got a little motor bike battery, hooked up to some garden retic
hose screwed on a rose and Bob's your uncle.

The showing water up there wasn't the best, didn't want to put in caravan water tank so used to heat up water on the old outdoor fire (could use gas)
tipped it into a 20 ltr bucket in the shower recess, with the bilge pump in it,
switch it on...........

You could use it for outside , put pipe into river/whatever (connected to bilge pump of course.Submerge bilge pump in a bucket and put in river,creek,dam.

A bit long winded but hope it helps.
AnswerID: 369711

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 18:56

Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 18:56

It probably gets down to how often you intend to use it as to how much you are prepared to pay.

When we are bush camping, we find we only have (need) a shower every third day or so, otherwise you need to be close to a supply of water.
When carrying a hundred litres of water (or less) you need to ensure you don't run short using the precious supply to wash daily.

We use a $30 battery operated portable shower and have no problems at all.


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AnswerID: 369712

Reply By: Member - Kim and Doug (QLD) - Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 19:11

Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 19:11
We had a glind unit in our GU patrol and it was great .
when we got to a camp site was simple to plug in the shower unit near the front left wheel power it up in the cig lighter, bucket of water and the shower tent and away you go.Managed to do 2Adults/2k ids with 20lt bucket
Now we have an off road van and 480lts so its as long as you like in the shower now.
AnswerID: 369714

Follow Up By: Simo & Stace - Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 19:29

Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 19:29
We have a 1999 GU patrol as well, are they hard to fit and do they take up much room? We are traveling oz for about 12 months soon and space is quickly filling with all sorts of stuff, but i do like my showers!!
FollowupID: 637122

Follow Up By: Tenpounder (SA) - Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 19:38

Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 19:38
Yes, but Kim and Doug are talking about half a tonne of water (480 litres) avaiilable in their on-board tanks, Long trips seem to show up very quickly that no vehicle ever built is big enough for all the things we would like to take. And, after the event, half the stuff we have squeezed in wasn't worth the effort! And even 20 litres per day for showering still adds up quickly enough.
FollowupID: 637125

Reply By: Ian & Sue - Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 20:24

Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 20:24
Good old solar shower here! Folds nice and small doesnt need heaps of water, nothing really to go wrong and if there's no sun we heat a bit of water on the stove and add that. Two can shower with the one bag and that includes me washing my hair, (Ian is somewhat folicularly challenged so doesnt have the problem with hair washes). We love bushcamping and so conserving our water is a must.

Of course I am always trying to steer the Jeep toward the warmer climates whereas my much loved hubby prefers to go South, something to do with the fact he works in the northwest for weeks at a time and doest want to go back on days off. Dont get it myself :-)

AnswerID: 369727

Reply By: Trevor R (QLD) - Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 20:28

Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 20:28
G'day Simo,

I got a Glind on one of the GU's, it is about 12yrs old and been on 4 vehicles. It is still as good today as it was when I 1st bought it. You can get a very good hot shower from it but the problem I have with them is if you need to stop/start your shower. The initial water temp when you re-start your shower is scalding hot to the point of burn factor 10, they are very dangerous in this situation. Most showers in the bush require you to stop/start as water is precious so it is a bit annoying in this manner.

I also have a coleman and think this unit (now about 1yr old) is also very good and probably a better option than the glind for us (2Adults 2Kids). The Glind rarely gets used now but it has well and truely paid for itself over the years. I hope I get as good a run out of the Coleman as I have had from the Glind.

I also had a much cheaper immitation Coleman and it was cr@p so I would steer clear of these if they are still available from Super Cr@p Auto stores.

Cheers Trevor.
AnswerID: 369729

Follow Up By: Member - Ian H (NSW) - Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 08:55

Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 08:55
Trevor, there is a simple, cheap way to avoid scalding with on board showers. MM if you are interested. Ian
FollowupID: 637179

Follow Up By: Trevor R (QLD) - Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 20:04

Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 20:04
Hi Ian,

I have seen your rig pic and tried to understand what you have done with your bypass setup on your shower but it seems a bit above me to work it out :-(( I have actually looked at it a few times but still no luck.

I seem to recall a post on this exact subject from you many years ago but even then I didn't understand it. Maybe if you explain it again, this time I will get it? If you do not wish to explain it on this thread and would prefer to send it via MM that would be great.

Have been very much in the mood to fix long term annoying problems I have had with my setup lately so this may well be the next fixed item.

Thanks again Ian,
FollowupID: 637263

Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Sunday, Jun 14, 2009 at 14:53

Sunday, Jun 14, 2009 at 14:53
I also had trouble trying to understand how the bypass set-up would work... Seems like more plumbing to me.

Instead, we just have the bucket of water in the shower tent with us and leave the shower flowing all the time. We simply drop the shower head into the bucket whenever we aren't actually using it. So, jump in, wet down, drop rose into bucket while soaping up/shampooing etc, get rose out and rinse off, drop rose back into bucket.

Doing it this way also means that the bucket of water actually heats up as the water is constantly circulating. It gets to the point where I have to shut the motor off and just leave the pump running (it's wired independantly off the batteries).


FollowupID: 637322

Follow Up By: Member - Ian H (NSW) - Sunday, Jun 14, 2009 at 18:51

Sunday, Jun 14, 2009 at 18:51
Roachie, If you would like a picture and explanation just MM with your email and I will oblige.
FollowupID: 637352

Follow Up By: Trevor R (QLD) - Monday, Jun 15, 2009 at 08:12

Monday, Jun 15, 2009 at 08:12
Yeah Roachie we do exactly as you described it, when using the Glind.

I also have heard of people using pressure pump garden sprayers with success as a shower. Fill container with warm water, pump it full of pressure and away you go. In theory this sounds OK as a shower to me but have not seen or tried this setup first hand.

Cheers, Trevor.
FollowupID: 637399

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 21:05

Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 21:05
Just my opinions over the past 30 years:

#1 We have a bird bath using about a litre of water from the thermos every day anyway, so the shower is only used every 3-4 days.

#2 Solar showers sound clever, but you can't use them in the morning, they take ages to heat up and you can't regulate the temperature, and the bags are a pain to fill.

#3 Fancy Heat Exchangers like Glind and Twine: I used one for 3 years - that was long enough. They are good with an unlimited supply of water - you can have a decent shower on continuous flow. But if you try to conserve water, you'll get a boiling hot/cold shower, unless you simply use it as a water heater. And warming up a diesel motor takes ages at idle rpm.

#4 The stainless steel bucket. Buy an 8 or 10 litre crockpot from CheapAsChips for $10. Fill it with water, sit it next to the fire or on the stove and 5 minutes later, it is perfect temp for a shower. Drop in the $20 electric pump and you can have a great shower - to stop wasting water, just drop the shower head back into the crockpot. Wet yourself for the soap up, then rinse off. If the $20 pump were to stuff up (usually after 12 months of camping) then use a coffee cup. We actually find this works better!!!!

AnswerID: 369734

Follow Up By: Member - Brenton H (SA) - Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 09:40

Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 09:40
Ditto all the above....Plus

#If you take a Coleman/ Primus unit they are bulky and heavy. I have enough junk with me now without that extra.

#Also one down side of the Glind type unit is the car has to be where you want to take the shower. If you need privacy in the daylight (not a lot of trees in the desert) it's not always easy to drive off over the hill with the car if your offsider also needs it to prepare dinner, get a cold beer and set up camp etc

FollowupID: 637189

Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Sunday, Jun 14, 2009 at 15:04

Sunday, Jun 14, 2009 at 15:04
G'day Phil,

As I've mentioned above, we do use an under-bonnet shower (Helton exchanger actually). Using the same principal as you do (as regards dropping the shower head into the bucket whilst lathering-up etc), we don't waste much water.

The glossy ad's fro Twine, Glind etc all show the (usually shapely woman) standing under the fixed-position shower rose, showering in such a way that she'd probably use 200 litres of water!!! These ad's don't do the supplier any favours in my mind, because they sow the seed in the mind of the buyer that you "must" have a pole on the bullbar and have the water running non-stop; most of it being wasted.

This is not the case at all.

We are a family of 5 and quite honestly, we can all have a scrub using the one 20 litre (nappy bucket) of water. We only do this every 3 days or so and if on a desert-type trip, this can get extended to 4 or (dare i say?) even 5 days!!! PHEW!!!! hahahahaha

FollowupID: 637324

Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 21:21

Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 21:21
Gday Roachie,
If you had more daughters and fewer sons, you're water usage would go up heaps :-))) Something to do with hair!

We ended up using ours as a water heater - use the exchanger to heat up a big tub of water and then turn the engine off. That way the temperature would be constant and they can take as long as they like having ashower. Then when I got the 79series I was keen not to cut into the cooling system and space under the bonnet was limited, and I tought thestainless steel pot next to the fire was a bit simpler. Our kids gave up camping once they turned that magic age of 13ish!

BTW, we just got back from a few days R&R at the cabin on the Horsehoe - I think you were there a few years back. Missed out on driving the tracks because of the rain - had to walk them instead. Tracks were still difficult - ended up on my backside coming down after Stokes Hill......
FollowupID: 637901

Reply By: Member - Jiarna (NT) - Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 22:53

Friday, Jun 12, 2009 at 22:53
We use a 12V Primus shower which is just a pump and a hose with a shower head. The water is heated in a stainless steel bucket on the fire of the gas stove, then the pump is dropped in. My wife now doesn't mind bush camping. I looked at the continuous hot water ideas such as the Coleman unit and the ones plumbed into the vehicle's cooling system. In the end I went for the simplicity of the pump and bucket.

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AnswerID: 369754

Follow Up By: Member - Tony S (WA) - Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 01:56

Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 01:56
Agreed we have a 20l hydochloric container and a primus pump if you work it right 4 showers. you can sit the container by the fire or, put a litre or so in a container on the fire , then tip it into to the container.
Have a hot water system on board - never use it!

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Reply By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 08:17

Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 08:17
I've heard of baby wipes or similar being used for top and tail. Haven't tried it myself. Would sure save on water.
AnswerID: 369763

Follow Up By: Tenpounder (SA) - Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 10:26

Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 10:26
Yes, works fine, just as long as you get the order right!! Tail-and-top has some disadvantages. Baby wipes with an alcohol hand cleaner is also great for 'after toilet' hygiene. It means that a couple of litres of water per day will be enough if you need to.
FollowupID: 637200

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