Off the grid, Colorado backcountry ski cabin. Fall means getting ready for winter. Cutting down dead-fall, burning slash — hot grimy work done in anticipation of cool crisp days when we’ll sip hot tea after a day of glissing down our favorite snow covered peaks.
Bone weary after a day of hauling timber, splitting logs, and stacking wood, anyone’s bouts of insomnia will be cured by the hard labor. As night falls, the thought of crawling into bed is as delicious as an ice cream sundae except for the itchy dried sweat that is caked on your body like the salt on a margarita glass. The thought of a hot shower makes you salivate. Helio’s pressure shower quenches that thirst.
Taking the camp shower to the next level, Helio introduces a pressurized system with a hand held spray nozzle. On the day we tested it, cottony cumulus clouds floated across the sky, so our water never got hot from the sun. So we heated water on the stove until the temperature was perfect, which turned out to actually be a reasonable way to get a hot shower, since the Helios does a good job of not over-using its water supply. Imagine standing on a porch in the middle of a huge aspen forest, rising moon outlining the surrounding peaks. Coyotes call, wind whispers through the trees. A gentle spray of warm water washes off the day’s dirt. Clean and refreshed, you crawl into your sleeping bag for a deep night’s sleep. In a word, bliss.
We’ve used a gravity feed ‘sun shower’ before this. While such showers work, the spray dribbles out compared to the nice drenching you get from the Helio under max pressure. We did expect perhaps a bit more pressure (especially when we saw the promo shot of washing a bicycle), but more pressure would use water faster. As it is, you can get three or even four short showers out of one Helio fill, so in that sense the pressure and flow are perfect. Another tricky thing we found is that the fill hole (same as hydration bladder with smaller cap) is somewhat small for filling from a bucket. Instead, for filling you’ll need a funnel, or something with a tube on it. Our big sun shower worked perfectly as a filling device, as we first dumped our hot water from a big kettle into the sun shower bag, then used the sun shower tube to fill the Helio. A big funnel would have worked fine as well, or a large hot water kettle with a spout that would fit in the Helio fill cap.
Weighing less than a full Nalgene®, the freestanding Helio™ Pressure Shower comes in a small, neatly nested kit. The 11 liter water tank is pressurized by a foot pump creating a spray of water unlike the slower flow from gravity-fed hanging shower systems. Numerous WildSnow thumbs up.
Volume 2.9 gal/11 L
Weight 22 oz / 650 g (pump, tank, hose, head)
Packed Weight 25 oz / 710 g (with stuff sack)
Packed Dimensions 5.5″ x 8.5″ dia / 14cm x 22cm dia
Inflated Dimensions 17″x8.5″ dia / 42cm x 22cm dia
Fabric PU coated polyetester, TPU, neoprene tubing