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Do you really need a shower in your 4X4? And is the Bushranger unit the right one for you? We take a closer look at the Bushranger Portable Gas Hot Water Shower Kit.
We all want the modern creature comforts of home but at the same time we’re all conscious of how much weight we’re carrying. And that’s a good thing, but it makes things hard when trying to justify what we need versus what we want. With my own personal vehicle, I’ve got the room and payload available to do a fair bit of accessorising, and the one thing that I miss on long trips, is a nice warm shower to start or end the day. I decided to start looking into what was available on the market.
I started with a cheap hang-up solar shower that you just fill up with water, hang in a tree to capture sunlight while it heats up, and then you simply twist a nozzle to, quite frankly, have the worst shower you will ever have. A solid idea, but an even more solid yeah-nah from me.
I then investigated under bonnet showers, which I like the idea of, but didn’t really want to start cutting into my vehicles cooling system. More importantly, I wanted to keep whatever unit I decided on as a portable unit. Next…
This left me with gas-powered units, of which there are a fair few styles and models available. I decided to go with the Bushranger unit ($295) for a few reasons, it is affordable coming in at under $300, and selfishly, it fits perfectly in a space at the back of my canopy, making for easy and safe transport when not in use. After six-months of testing, I’ve made a few solid conclusions on the unit, and can once and for all answer the question… do you really need a shower in your 4X4?
WHAT’S INSIDE THE BOX?
The kit from Bushranger, is complete, even down to included D-cell batteries required to ignite the unit. I didn’t need anything else to hook the unit up to my vehicle, other than a gas bottle and water tank that is. There are several different options for powering the unit, you could hard-wire it, or use the supplied 12V plug or alligator clips, as I’ve done, if you want to keep the unit portable.
You get a gas connector, shower rose, water line, 12V pump and the shower unit itself, all of which fit neatly in an optional carry bag, which sets you back an extra $40… and is money well spent. Another option, which I decided to go with, is a high-flow 12V pump kit, which will set you back $155. This certainly isn’t necessary as the included pump does a decent job. But if you are anything like me, and crave solid water pressure from a shower, even in the bush, it’s a worthwhile investment.
IS IT SAFE?
Yep, this unit is as safe as it comes… just don’t use it inside your house or caravan, it needs to vent, and carbon monoxide poisoning is not something you want. So, this is an outside-use only unit, okay.
In terms of safety features though, the Bushranger portable gas hot water shower offers an impressive array of sensors, which considering you are playing with gas, is great to see.
- Water flow and temperature sensors;
- Maximum water temperature shut off, meaning the unit will shut off if temperature exceeds 50 degrees;
- Tilt switch, so if the unit it bumped or knocked over it will automatically shut down;
- Flame failure safety device; and
- Automatic electronic gas ignition.
GIMMIE SOME SPECS
- Uses 6L of water per minute (It’s a legit shower);
- Easy to setup and operate, everything is labelled and obvious;
- Connects to a standard BBQ style gas bottle;
- The unit offers instantaneous hot water, once you turn the shower rose to on, the water is basically hot and will heat up to 360L of water per hour;
- Operates completely off the grid, you only need gas, water, and 2xD cell batteries;
- The unit will last for 14 hours at maximum settings on one 9kg gas bottle, so it’s very efficient; and
- I find, to have a proper shower, a 20L jerry can of water is more than enough. And I mean a proper shower. If you just want a rinse, you can get by with much less.
GAME CHANGER OR WASTE OF SPACE?
I don’t think having this shower unit has completely changed the way I camp. It’s great, don’t get me wrong, but it’s also another thing to have to setup and carry. What I can say though, is my wife absolutely loves it. And anything that makes her want to spend more time in the bush, is fine by me. It is a tad bulky, so you will need storage space for it, and it is a bit awkward, as you need to find somewhere to set it up when in use. But being 100% honest, this shower from Bushranger is damn near as good as the one in our house performance-wise. And it will come on every camping trip we do from now on. No more roughing it for a week without a rinse, this is something the whole crew lines up for at the end of the day. It also comes in handy when doing the dishes of an evening, making it a multi-purpose device.
It is easy to operate, and once you get over the bulkiness of the unit and having to lug around a gas bottle, it’s a painless affair. I guess what I’m trying to say it, it’s like having a fridge over an esky. An esky does a fine job of keeping drinks cool and will do so for a few days. You don’t need a fridge to go camping. But once you have a fridge, you’ll never take your esky camping again. Once you have a shower in your 4X4 or camper, you will never go back the old wet wipe shower or shower in a can.
So, do I recommend the Bushranger portable gas hot water shower kit? Yep, I do, 100%. It’s solid, been completely reliable, and is a nice-looking unit too. And it’s come in handy at home more than once as well, like when our water heater exploded. Sure, it’s another thing to have to setup and carry with you, but I can assure you a proper hot shower after a long day on the tracks, is priceless. Well, I shouldn’t say that… for under $300, you too can have that feeling.