One thing that makes camping a lot easier is having hot water for either cleaning up dinner or having a nice warm shower at the end of the day. There are many alternatives to having a shower at camp but none so are as easy to setup than the Coleman Hot Water on Demand.
Before we purchased the Coleman Hot Water on Demand, we would simply boil water over a gas flame to heat water up for the dishes. As for showering, we would only do small overnight camps, not shower or stay at Caravan Parks. The option of jumping in a creek in the High Country to clean off isn’t very appealing.
We investigated different options such as the Glind hot water system that worked by using the heat from the vehicles motor but that meant that showering had to be done near the car with the motor running. Another alternative was the cheap solar showers but I had read on forums that the water temps couldn’t be controlled and that it was possible to be scolded by the hot water. We needed something safe and simple to use and finally found what we were looking for at a camping show where the Coleman Hot Water on Demand was on display. We were sold.
The HWOD can be setup anywhere. You don’t need to use a large gas bottle as smaller gas canisters can be attached within the HWOD. There is also a hose available to connect to a larger 2kg or 4kg gas bottle if you like. I started using the larger gas bottles because I was afraid that the smaller ones would run out quickly, however I need not have worried. Now we use only the smaller canisters with one in the HWOD and a spare one. I also have a special valve that can refill the smaller gas canisters from a larger gas bottle if needed.
The HWOD uses a rechargeable battery so it doesn’t require a connection to 12 volt. This has its advantages and disadvantages whereby its great that the unit can be charged and placed anywhere. However its not appealing if you’re halfway through soaping up your body and the charge runs out. No good quickly connecting to 12 volt either because the HWOD cannot be used while charging. You just need to make sure its fully charged before having a shower.
To get around this, one option is to heat the water up in a bucket using the HWOD then have a shower using a cheap 12 volt shower unit which can be purchased for around $30.
Primus make a 12V shower that are easy to store and quick to setup and operate. The flow is around 4 litres per minute which means that you can have a hot 2 minute shower from a 10 litre bucket of hot water. The trick is to wet yourself down, turn off the water flow, soap yourself up and rinse off.
The Primus shower has and inline water resistant switch and only pulls 1.5 Amps per hour.
Another option is by changing the internal wiring to bypass the battery in the HWOD. Not advisable but apparently its an option that can be found in camping forums.
When smaller kids come along with us, we take a larger bucket that they can bath in. Just heat the water up, add some bubble bath and put the kids in and they will come out clean until they get back into the dirt the next day.
The HWOD comes with a collapsible 19L water bag however we just tend to drop the pump in a large bucket of water. We either recycle the water in the bucket to heat it up quicker or pump the hot water into the wash up container ready for the kids to do the dishes.
The temperature is fully adjustable with the turn of a dial which you simply push in and turn to start up the pump and gas. You will hear the pump working then the gas igniting. Charging and low battery warning light is displayed on the HWOD.
We purchased the accessories that included the Shower kit, garden hose connection and the Carry Bag. All the accessories as well as the HWOD fit into the carry bag.
Tips and tricks using the HWOD
Dont undo the temperature knob with a screwdriver. There is a very very good chance you wont get it back on correctly.
If you are using a gas bottle, the gas line pressure may need releasing before starting the HWOD back up. Simply push the valve in the end of the hose to release the gas. Turn off the gas bottle prior to doing this!
Put your hand over the HWOD to determine when the gas has ignited
Charge the battery up on 240V when arriving back home from camping
Drain all the water out from the unit when not in use
Dont pump water directly from the river as it will most likely contain fine particles of sand and dirt
Price $399 but often on sale for around $299
Coleman advise that the gas cyclinder will heat 150 lts of water
The kit includes 240V and 12V charger leads and a 19L collapsible water bag
The temperature of the water can reach 71 degress celcius so its hot enough to make yourself a coffee or cup of tea.
Shower kit $19.95
LPG canister $6.95
Carry Bag $69.99
Connection to garden hose $29.99
For more about the Coleman Hot Water on Demand, click here.