Nemo's Helio outdoor shower delivers pressurized hot water all over the outdoors
By C.C. Weiss
May 1, 2012
In an attempt to reach out to potential campers and backpackers that don't like the idea of goin' natural for days on end, tent and gear manufacturer Nemo Equipment has developed the Helio shower. Lying between bulky powered systems and basic portable gravity showers, it uses a lightweight, manual pressure system to give you a warm clean-down in the wilderness.
The most advanced camp shower systems on the market employ large equipment like propane tanks and electric water pumps to deliver showering experiences comparable to what you'd get at a hotel. Those systems may be great for an after-hike shower, but they're only practical for car camping, where you have a vehicle to haul them. The lightest, most basic portable showers are essentially black dry bags that rely entirely on Mother Nature - the sun is the water heater and gravity the water pump. Those systems are light enough for back country camping, but they can be lacking in the effective showering department.
The Nemo Helio Pressure Shower attempts to split the difference, maintaining the light weight of the latter with a little of the comfort and convenience of the former. Instead of an electric water pump, Nemo equips the Helios with its Nemoid Foot Pump. To get an even-pressured stream of water, you simply stomp on the Nemoid a few times throughout your shower. Thanks to this pressurization, it's versatile enough for things like washing dishes and spraying your gear down.
Other than that, the Helio is basically the dry bag type of shower. It relies on the sun for heat and packs small and light - around 2 lbs. (.9 kg) and 5.5 x 8 inches (14 x 20.3 cm). You can use it for backcountry camping nearly as easily as car camping. The 11-liter bag gives you about 5 to 7 minutes of shower time before it's time to refill.
The Helio will be available for US$100 in June.
Those interested in the Helio may want to also consider Geiggerig pressurized hydration packs. While they're not designed specifically as showers, they offer a similar manual pressurization system that can give you a shower-type spray.
Source: Nemo Equipment
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