Review: A Pressurized, Collapsible, Thoroughly Badass Post-Surf Portable Shower

NEMO HELIO 2020
Nemo

For some, the time-honored gallon jug filled with scalding water is the absolute pinnacle of post-session rinsing. Gallon jugs are cheap, readily available, highly effective at their task of holding water in the back of your car and are more or less indestructible (well, unless you’re one of those unreasonably-hip individuals who use glass jugs—no one cares that your surf jug looks like table water at a third wave coffee shop, people!). There’s nothing wrong with the trusted gallon jug. The technology is sound. It is proven—since the stone age, if not the dawn of time.

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However, for those who want to enhance their post-surf rinse, to move beyond caveman technology, to get a little taste of the highlife, there are portable pressure showers. There are a few decent options out there, most notably the RinseKit, which is probably the most common in the surf community. And it makes sense, as the RinseKit holds a decent amount of water (five minutes worth) and provides great pressure—a truly thorough, hair-parting rinse. But it also comes in a big, bulky plastic block, and if you forget what number you’re on when you’re timing the fill, you’re toast—leaks will be sprung, pressure will be lost, suddenly your nearly-$100 purchase is less useful than that $0.99 plastic jug from before. Of course, if you are better at following instructions than some members of the SURFER staff, RinseKits are pretty great.

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But RinseKit isn’t the only game in town when it comes to elevating your desalinization ritual. NEMO is an outdoor brand known for making quality camping gear like tents and sleeping bags, but their portable pressure shower is at least as well suited for post-surf rinses as it is for woodsy excursions. When filled up from the top port (unlike other pressure showers, it doesn’t need to be connected to a hose or faucet), the heavy-duty plastic container becomes a fairly-compact, 9” x 17” cylinder. Attached at the base is a neoprene hose connecting to the shower head and what looks like a whoopie cushion—repeatedly stepping on this thing is what creates the pressure (and you can stomp away, as here’s no risk of over pressurizing—it’s SURFER staff-proof). Once pressurized, a few repeated pumps with your foot will give you 5 to 7 minutes of steady flow. When it’s deflated and bagged, it takes up a little less space than a stack of three frisbees.

The Helio is beautifully simple, blissfully idiot-proof, and will run you $99 for the new, updated 2020 version pictured above, though you can still find a few of the original Helios online for $49 here. If that’s not simple or cheap enough, you can find a plastic gallon jug in your local grocery store, if not your refrigerator. As for the glass ones, don’t even ask.

Thus article originally appeared on Surfer.com and was republished with permission.

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