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Reviews > Personal Hygiene > Showers > Rainburst Simple Shower > Test Report by Jamie DeBenedetto
Product Information Back to contents
Product Description Back to contents
The name says it all, the Simple-Shower is just that, a very straightforward, uncomplicated shower adapter designed to fit over the opening of a 1 or 2 liter bottle or a compatible hydration reservoir. Keeping with the simple theme, there are only three parts: The plastic shower head, which has forty tiny holes encircling it along with the air tube hole in the center. This part screws onto a funnel shaped piece that in turn screws onto the threaded mouth of the container of water. The manufacturer recommends securing the Simple-Shower firmly but not over-tightening as that action could crack the plastic funnel piece. The final part is the air tube, which cleverly aids the flow of water leaving the bottle by allowing air to displace the water in the bottle when turned upside-down, thus eliminating the need to squeeze the bottle. Two air tubes came with the shower. The shorter of the two is designed for 1 L bottles and the longer for the 2 L (68 fl oz) size. Apparently use of an air tube is not necessary for bladders. (We'll see about that!)
Arrival Condition and Informational Material Back to contents
My Simple-Shower arrived complete and in working order as far as I can tell. I did a few initial fit tests to see if it does in fact work with the water containers I have lying around. It does attach nicely to a 1 L Aguafina bottle, not quite as well (a bit lopsided in the threads) with a 1.5 L (50 fl oz) Crystal Geyser bottle, and perfectly well with my son's 1.5 L (50 fl oz) Platypus Hoser reservoir. Yes, I'm a rebel and tried it with a container size other than what the directions suggested. Really, it's because I don't own any 2 L (68 fl oz) bottles. I do have a 2 L (68 fl oz) Platypus Big Zip but the opening only accommodates the Platy drink tube so that would not work. If at some point I run across anyone I know who buys drinks that come in 2 L (68 fl oz) bottles I'll borrow one and give it a go.
The product did come with an informational sheet, which provided directions
on how to clean the shower, how to assemble it, directions for use, some tips
on using it, troubleshooting if there were to be a water flow problem, warnings,
contact information and finally, an explanation about why Simple-Shower doesn't
come with its own bottle.
Expectations and First Impressions Back to contents
At first glance the Simple-Shower looks really neat. It's small, it's light, it doesn't have a bunch of complicated parts that can get lost or gummed up and "gasp" it was made in the USA. Even better it was made from recycled material and it utilizes more would be plastic trash to do its job. I love that since I'm a bit of a recycle nut and I'm constantly on the lookout for ways to reuse items, especially plastic ones. Kudos to the manufacturer for making earth friendly choices.
I have two concerns right off the bat. First, how sturdy will the shower be? The directions recommend switching out the air tubes as infrequently as possible, I assume because the plastic opening will enlarge over time causing the tube to not fit as snugly. Given the somewhat delicate nature of the shower, I would not want to carry it in my pack assembled, yet, if it's constantly being taken apart and put back together every time I pack it away I fear I'm going to speed up the potential demise of the air tube connection.
Secondly, I'm interested to see how well the shower will function with "field" or not so clean water. The supplied instructions simply recommend using warm water, however, super filtered warm water isn't really very realistic in the backcountry. I will certainly use common sense with regard to the amount of material I allow to be floating around in the water I'm washing with, especially since I think any reasonable person would like to shower with relatively "clean" water, otherwise what is the point? Having said that, I will be watching for how quickly the shower head clogs and how easily those little holes can be unclogged.
I am planning to use the Simple-Shower to clean myself, my family and the multitude of different dogs I take care of for work. I will also use the shower to simply wet us all down as needed to stay cool over the dreaded summer months we are now fully experiencing here in the Sonoran Desert. I will try to use it with several bottle and bladder types and with different reasonably "chunky" water sources.
Collective Use and Field Conditions Back to contents
Over the course of this test I have used the Simple-Shower at least 30 times. The bulk of my use took place while in the field for work. These treks are usually in the Phoenix, Scottsdale, or Cave Creek areas of Arizona. The elevation of the areas I frequented fluctuates between 1,500 ft (450 m) up to 2,400 ft (730 m). Temperatures ranged between the upper 80's into the low 100's F (30 to 39 C).
On four occasions I made longer, non-work related trips where the Simple-Shower was used to wet clothing or skin or clean the feet, hands, etc. of my family members and myself. Info about these outings is below:
June - Two-day trip which involved hiking and water play near Cottonwood, Arizona. The weather was clear and hot with temperatures in the mid 90's up to a gross 102 F (35 to 39 C). This area has a mix of riparian vegetation down by the river and high desert or juniper scrub above. Elevation: 3,100 to 3,800 ft (945 to 1,160 m). I used water from both the Verde River and Beaver Creek as well as water I brought along in my vehicle.
Aug - Night hike at Lake Pleasant Regional Park in Peoria, AZ; elevation 2,400 ft (730 m). This happened to be the hottest day of 2015 here in the lower deserts so even though we started our hike well after dark the temperature was still above 110 F (43 C). The shower was used to wet my skin and clothing before, during and after the hike.
Oct - Day hike near Prescott, AZ; elevation 5,200 ft (1,600 m). Terrain
in Prescott is a jumbled mess of high desert, chaparral scrub and woodland
with temperatures in the low 70's (23 C).
Long Term Conclusions Back to contents
Having used the Simple-Shower quite a lot these last few months I've grown to think of it as an indispensable piece of my kit. It was straightforward to use, easy to clean and worked well for my needs. Mostly I used it for cleaning the dogs I take hiking after they rolled in mud or swam in the ponds we frequent. I also used it to wet the dogs down to keep them cool on the really sweltering days, which was pretty much all of July and Aug. For this type of use I felt the shower's best quality was its versatility. I know it's designed to pour water out quickly, which is does very well, but I found by taking out the air tube I could slow down the flow a bit and just squeeze out the amount I needed in little bursts. Both options had their place depending on what I was doing. Some of the dogs I walked are not overly keen on water so I had to go a bit slower with them and having the option to do so was helpful. Other times I wanted a faster, more powerful flow. Either way, the shower did the job.
These two pics are a before and after of my Pitbull/Pig mix who loves mud! (Of course she's not really a pig mix, that would be silly.) The Simple-Shower along with copious amounts of creek water returned her to an acceptably clean state.
Another way I used the shower was on my family and me (yes, I do occasionally hike with humans). We all found it very helpful for cleaning feet, hands, faces, etc . after hikes to freshen up and keep the wilderness out of my vehicle. I regularly put it to work cleaning off our hiking boots especially after creek hikes when they were full of sand and other debris. The shower performed beautifully for these tasks. The faster flow of water was perfect for cleaning our shoes and again, if we wanted it to run out more slowly I could always remove the air tube. The picture below is my youngest child using the shower to wash my husband's hands after our Prescott hike. Maybe this should be Rainburst's new slogan, "So simple an 11yr old can do it!"
From a practicality of use perspective I had zero problems with the shower head unscrewing from the bottle during use or even during storage. Conversely, the air tube dropped out of the air tube hole quite a lot during storage. It rarely was a problem during use because I would always check that the tube was securely affixed in the air tube hole before screwing the head back onto the bottle and pouring out the water. The pouring process, especially with a 1 L bottle goes fast so there's not much time for the tube to dislodge on its own.
Carrying the Simple-Shower around with me was a mixed bag. The shower head and the funnel piece are pretty solid. They are small and could be tucked into any little nook of a pocket. The air tube on the other hand was a little more difficult to keep track of and keep unbent. Storing it attached to the head piece was a lost cause because it separated from the hole with very little effort and was more easily bent if I put it in a pocket with other items. I also lost it once because it found its way out of a drain hole in the bottom of my pack that I forgot about. Thankfully I did find it, which leads me to my first improvement suggestion; I'd love to see the shower offered in a bright color option.
Sometimes I would leave the whole Simple-Shower attached to an empty 1 L bottle inside my pack. This method kept all three parts in one place and ensured the security of the air tube, unfortunately, it's not very practical. On the one hand I don't always have the pack space to lug around an empty 1 L bottle. On the other hand, it was risky (and usually wet) to attempt carrying water in a bottle with the Simple-Shower as the only lid since there is no way to close the holes in the shower head.
As far as my concerns from my Initial Review I think the shower put all of them to rest. Regarding the sturdiness issue, it held up fine despite my near total disregard of the manufacturer's directions to disconnect the air tube as infrequently as possible. To be fair, I wasn't doing it blatantly, it just needed to happen for storage. The tube is a bit looser than it was to begin with but as I mentioned previously it still stays in place during use so that's all that really matters at this point.
Regarding how well the little holes in the head would handle "field" water, they did as well as can be expected. Obviously they are tiny so any floaties I scooped up weren't able to pass through but in all it wasn't a problem. Flow rate was still sufficient and cleaning out the head piece didn't take much effort.
Lastly, I never found a 2 L bottle to use but I did try the shower
with .5, 1 and 1.5 L bottles as well as affixed to a collapsible hydration
bladder. The bladder turned out to be the biggest surprise of the test.
Initially I wondered if the flow rate would be compromised without the
presence of the air tube but actually I think it was faster with the
reservoir than with the bottles. Isn't that weird? Not sure why it worked
that way but I will keep that in mind for future needs.
Final Thoughts Back to contents
My experience with the Simple-Shower was mostly positive. It was adaptable enough to meet the cooling and cleaning needs of both sweaty humans and several hot, muddy dogs. Its simple design makes operating and carrying it relatively easy, as long as I was careful not to bend or lose the air tube. I didn't have any malfunctions or durability problems along the way. Finding a bottle or reservoir with the proper opening size wasn't too difficult, although I'd love to see the manufacturer add a couple of other wide mouth choices to their selection in the future. My only nit was the color, which really isn't an issue unless you have butter fingers like me and tend to drop things or if you have a habit of putting stuff in holey pack pockets!
My thanks to Rainburst Inc. and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to be a part of this test series. -Jamie J. DeBenedetto - 2015
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Reviews > Personal Hygiene > Showers > Rainburst Simple Shower > Test Report by Jamie DeBenedetto
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