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Spending time riding your personal watercraft is great, but having to pack up and get back in your tow vehicle sandy, sweaty, and covered in sunscreen isn’t so awesome…especially if you value your car seats or don’t want your floor to start to resemble a sandbox. Ride in the ocean or coastal waters and you can add saltwater and salt residue to that list. Hop in without rinsing and before long your car won’t just look like a sandbox, it will start to smell like low tide. Yuck.
The challenge, of course, is that outdoor showers at your beach or launch ramp are a rarity. Over the years I’ve tried other solutions, from bringing along a jug of water to do a quick rinse of passengers and gear to even following a friend’s suggestion to try one of those camp shower bags (you know, the kind that hang overhead and deliver a spray of water via gravity). The contents of the jug never seem to last long, or go where you need it. The camp shower just proved a big hassle looking for a place to position above your head, and the water pressure it delivers is anemic at best.
Nemo’s Helio Pressure Shower promises to change the experience. Like the camp shower, the Helio’s got decent capacity. Unpack the main polyurethane-coated polyester reservoir from its compact 8.5 x 5.5” ventilated carrying bag and it expands to resemble a 17” tall, cylindrical dry bag, with just under three-gallon water capacity. An attached 7’ hose with kitchen-sink-style sprayer delivers the water. The best part, however, is you don’t have to hoist it overhead and let gravity do the work. Instead, the Helio can be pressurized via a simple, soft foot pump.
I filled the Helio before leaving the house, secured the plug at the top of the tank, then threw it in the car for later use. Hours later, I hauled it out after an afternoon of riding, stepped on the pump for about 10 seconds, and watched as the top of the bag puffed out dome-style from the pressure building up within. Then I simply grabbed the sprayer and hit the trigger. A steady flow of fresh water showered over me rinsing away the day’s crud. As the pressure eased, I simply gave a few more presses on the foot pump.
Nemo says the 2.9-gallon capacity is enough to provide five-to-seven minutes of steady water pressure. I was surprised to find that more than enough to thoroughly rinse several people, including riding gear like shoes and PFDs. I’ve since put the Helio to work after cycling events, standup paddle board sessions, and spraying off sandy kids after a day at the beach.
Negatives are few. When filled, the Helio promises to be freestanding, but I noted it occasionally tipped over. Best to lean it up against something, especially when packed in your car. In fairness, even when it did tip that snug top cap held firm, preventing any leaks. My only other minor quibble is drying the Helio out between uses. It’s easy to drain, but some moisture stays inside leading me to worry about mildew over time if you were to pack it away wet. I’d suggest handing it upside down by the bottom strap to speed drying.
All in all, however, the Helio Pressure Shower works as advertised…and also has plenty of uses beyond personal watercraft riding. Price: $99. Visit NemoEquipment.com for more information.
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