Current Retail: $34.95
Historic Range: $24.99-$34.99
Reviewers Paid: $25.00-$30.00
Light and compact enough for backpacking. Best if you're hiking to a base camp and plan on spending a couple of nights. If you're thru-hiking, get clean in lakes and streams.
- Can leak
- Solar qualities are debatable
If there are times in the backcountry when nothing but a warm shower will make you feel better, get the Sea to Summit Pocket Shower. Just keep in mind that if you want a HOT shower, you're going to need to heat some water on your stove and add it to what's already warm in the bag.
I've had this shower for about the last 4 years. It's held up, not without some leaks and the cord breaking, but all in all it's been durable. I've not only used it for a shower but as HWM pointed out in his/her review, it also works great as a dry bag when you need to hang your stuff out of reach of pesky critters.
As for solar heating, I've never been able to hang it where it gets enough rays to really heat the water up. And yes, it needs to be in direct sunlight ALL DAY in order to take a comfortable shower, especially at high altitudes where daytime temps might hit 70°F if you're lucky. I've found that filling it, removing all the air (the bag must make FULL surface contact with the water), then placing it on its side while you're out exploring/fishing works much better. Just make sure you place it where it will get direct sunlight all day though, and don't fool yourself into thinking it will heat up very much if at all on cloudy days.
Bkuti's review mentions the cord: yes, it's crap so ditch it and use paracord. When filled to capacity, the shower weighs over 20 lbs. and hoisting it high enough over a branch that you don't have to crouch chews up the cord it comes with. The cord on mine broke but luckily the bag didn't suffer a blow out.
I've had a couple of small leaks and 1 small puncture but Sil Net seam sealer fixed the problem. I also found that the shower head can leak if there's any debris lodged in it, so make sure it's clean and closed properly.
At around $30 USD, I think it's a bit pricey, but the luxury of a warm wilderness shower might justify the expense. The bag holds enough water that two people can get a decent shower (not at the same time), possibly making the price even more of a non-issue.
I spent $30 on it and every time I use it, it seems I get a little more of a return on my investment. Nothing beats a long day spent fishing, coming back to camp for a great meal, scrubbing myself down with Dr. Bronner's Eucalyptus soap under a warm shower, then snuggling down into my bag. Ahhhh!!!
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $30 USD
For me this is a multi purpose item. I use it as dry bag, a shower and a "washing machine".
As pointed out in another review the supplied cord isn't very good, so I replaced it with some extra guy line from Hilleberg I had lying about. As a dry bag it performs just as a dry bag should, it keeps dry stuff dry when hiking in wet weather, or keeps wet clothing from making other stuff in my pack wet. As a "washing machine" I just add water, some mild detergent, close the bag up and shake it for a few minutes, leave it in the sun for a while and repeat the shaking, before rinsing my clothes out. This strategy works pretty well for me since I only carry one extra pair of t-shirts, boxers, socks etc, and do my laundry after showering. The clean and dried clothes goes in the shower/dry bag. Even on 5-6 week hikes I have had no problems.
As a shower it works pretty well, except for the fact that if laid out in the sun it heats water with the efficiency of a really small candle. This might be due to the fact that I hike in Norway, where the sun isn't as strong as elsewhere in the world. Instead I use my Primus EtaPower EF to heat water. Nothing like a hot shower after a few long days of hiking. Why don't I just jump in a stream or a lake you might ask? Well, being an epileptic, that is not such a great idea :)
I give it 4,5 stars because of the useless cord.
Price Paid: can't remember
This is a light, compact item to throw in the pack for the trail. It may not seem like much, but this shower goes further than you would think. I don't feel rushed when using it, the water comes out at a good pace, but doesn't overdo it. The control valve is nice, and can be set at different speeds.
I don't know if I didn't let it sit in the sun enough or what, but I never had it be a warm shower. The water temp stays the same.
In my experience, the cord that is provided is not good for the job and would use something more durable. Sea To Summit swears by this cord but it has snapped on me, sent the shower crashing, and opened the seam up, not enabling me to fill it all the way. It was still slightly usable, but I used a better cord to hold it up.
When I contacted Sea To Summit about the issue, they asked me to send the shower and cord to them. Unfortunately, I threw out the garbage (broken cord) and sent the shower back to them. Because I didn't save the broken cord (the garbage), the only way they honored their guarantee was to send me a used shower back, with more of the same (garbage) cord, that I won't be using.
All in all this is a good item to keep in the pack in the summer, it comes in handy. My only beef with it is Sea To Summit's customer service, the way they handle their guarantee. I don't think I'll spend another $25 on another Sea to Summit Pocket Shower when the time comes. There are other brands/ways to have a compact shower in the pack.
And remember, get a better cord!
Update: June 8, 2010
I want to re-write my opinion about Sea To Summit's customer service. There was a miscommunication between them and I, but we figured it out and worked it out. I have faith and trust in Sea To Summit's customer service and their products, and you should too! They really did put in time and effort to satisfy my issue, and that is well appreciated.
And, as stated, the Pocket Shower is a great thing to have in the pack, with multiple uses such as: a shower, to rinse dishes and such, as a stuff sac, etc.
Price Paid: $25