I will start by saying that Road Shower has partnered with The Pioneering Spirit. We have agreed to give them honest reviews of their product. With that out of the way, the honest review of their product is that it may be the best innovation for camping since the tent. In a nutshell, it allows for hot water washing no matter where you camp. You have hot water without having to burn fuel to heat the water. You have hot water no matter how long you have been in camp or on the trail, it heats right on top of your car, using energy from the sun. And on top of all that, you can pressurize the tank instead of relying on gravity to wash with. You can pull into a flat, treeless camp, and have a hot shower right after shutting off the car.
We received our Road Shower just before a weeklong camping trip in the desert in south eastern Oregon. We have never had a hot shower in camp while camping in this area, and were looking forward to testing the Road Shower hot water heater. After opening the box, we had the unit installed, and filled, in 15 minutes. The tank is designed with a groove in the bottom that holds the included carriage bolts while you secure the tank to crossbar on your roof rack. And that is all.
The next step is fill it with up to 5 gallons of water. To pressurize it, leave at least half a gallon of water out. The sun will heat the water. We found that water would heat from 60 degrees to over 110 on a 90 degree day, in about 4 to 5 hours.
We were camped in a canyon, and the direct sun hit the tank at about 9 AM. By 2 PM, the thermometer on the side of the tank read between 110 and 115 degrees. With about 4.5 gallons of water in the tank, we pressurized it with an air compressor enough to test the high pressure safety valve on the fill cap. This gave us enough pressure for both my wife and I to shower, including washing our hair. We did thoroughly run out all the pressure in the tank doing so, and finished rinsing my wife’s hair with gravity. That said, we had enough water left in the tank to pressurize it again for another shower, where we did not run out of pressure due to the extra airspace in the tank. The water was just as warm as it would be for a shower at home, and we both enjoyed the heated water in our remote camp setting.
Our conclusion, independent of our working with them, is that this is a welcome addition to our expedition gear. A warm shower, without needing to spend time or fuel in camp to warm water is fantastic. In the future, we plan on pressurizing the tank for one person to shower, then re-pressurizing the tank for the second. We also plan on fabricating some sort of actual shower head to attach to the hose, to facilitate one person operation.