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How the HOTTAP Portable Shower Works in the Wild

Imagine washing off the dirt and grime with a hot shower at the end of a wild day out in nature. Whether in winter, at night, or with your whole family in tow, the Joolca HOTTAP portable shower gives you endless hot showers on demand no matter where you are.

The HOTTAP camping shower is special because of its easy setup and functional design. The kit comes with everything you need, including a propane-powered heater, piping, quick-attachment fittings, and a shower head.

Table of Contents

The Joolca HOTTAP comes in three packages: the Essentials Kit, the Outing Kit, and the Nomad Kit.

  • The Essentials Kit includes the heater, shower head, piping, and connectors.
  • The Outing and Nomad Kits include a 12V pump for when you don’t have a pressurized water source.
  • The Nomad Kit comes with a sink and faucet so that you can wash greasy utensils with hot water. 
  • You can buy the Ensuite tent separately for privacy when camping with other people.

This guide offers an understanding of how the Joolca HOTTAP shower works and how to set it up for the best experience.

What Is the Joolca HOTTAP Portable Shower?

In technical terms, the Joolca HOTTAP is a miniature tankless water heater. It burns LPG gas to heat your shower water as it flows through pipes inside the unit.

HOTTAP water heater unit and its connections
Setting up HOTTAP

The heater is simple enough, but the kit also includes a shower head, pump, propane cylinder, and various couplers. Without proper design, issues of portability, ease of use, and safety can crop up. That’s where Joolca comes in. 

Many years ago, Joolca’s founder, Maciek Slodyczka, came up with the concept for what was then the world’s smallest propane heater. Apart from being small, it also had to be rugged and easy to set up. 

In the years since, our engineering team has refined the HOTTAP system from design to manufacturing to make it as user-friendly, safe, and efficient as possible.

Parts of the Joolca HOTTAP Portable Shower

The HOTTAP Essentials Kit consists of the heater, a propane delivery system, a shower head, and pipes, as shown below.

Basic components of the Joolca HOTTAP portable shower
HOTTAP Set up & Use

The numbered components are as follows:

  1. HOTTAP unit
  2. GasKnect snap-on fitting
  3. 1.2m Gas hose
  4. Lightweight feet**
  5. Shower-head
  6. 4m shower hose
  7. 1m shower hose
  8. Shower handle with switch
  9. Magnetic shower handle holder
  10. Hose coupling connector
  11. Three-way hose splitter

In addition to the heater kit, you also need to have an LPG gas cylinder and a water source to complete the system.

The gas is the same kind of propane cylinder that a BBQ uses, so you probably have one lying around already. You can hook it up to the standard 20lb cylinder, but the smaller sizes will also work.

The GasKnect snap-on fitting lets you connect and disconnect the regulator and gas pipes quickly and safely. This resource page has more information about the gas types and fittings.

For the water source, you can use anything from a garden hose to a water tank on your camper. However, it must deliver 1.5 to12 gallons of flow per minute at a pressure of 40 to 60 PSI to work effectively.

Unless you have access to pressurized water in the wild, we highly recommend getting the Outing Kit with the 12V pump. The pump can be run from your car’s cigarette lighter port or a camping battery pack such as a Goal Zero Yeti or a Jackery Explorer.

Joolca Off-Grid 12V pump with its hose and filter
Off Grid Plumbing Kit

There are a few more reasons why the Joolca pump is perfect for the shower kit:

  • It self-primes at heights of up to 6 ft
  • It can run dry without damage, so you can use it out of a jerry can
  • The pump turns on automatically using a single switch on the shower head
  • It is powerful enough to raise water from a vertical height of 6ft and a horizontal distance of 100 ft

The other components that come in the HOTTAP Nomad Kit are optional but very useful.

The kitchen sink doubles up as a storage tub that can hold everything else, including the heater and pipes. It also includes an omnidirectional faucet and a heavy-duty stand for the heater.

How Does the HOTTAP Compare With Other Brands?

To be fair, there is no shortage of portable camping showers. There are even solar-powered options that don’t require you to lug a propane tank around. 

Let’s compare some of these options and see how well they stack up with the HOTTAP.

The table below lists some types of camping showers and how our Joolca HOTTAP performs in comparison.

Portable Hot Shower Features How the HOTTAP Compares

Pressure Showers

Example: The Nemo Helio

  • These use pressurized air for pumping
  • Manual or solar heating is necessary
  • Most can hold up to 3 gallons of water
  • Use with or without a pump
  • Provides heated water on demand
  • Virtually unlimited showers

Battery-powered Showers

Example: Kedsum Portable Shower

  • Uses a battery-powered immersion pump
  • No water reservoir
  • No water heater
  • You get pressurized and heated water on demand
  • No dangerous battery to carry around

Solar Showers

Example: Advanced Elements Solar Shower

  • Has an insulated bag that heats the water inside
  • No pump required
  • Highly portable
  • The HOTTAP works in all seasons
  • Provides consistently pressurized water
  • Much more durable and convenient

Propane Camping

Showers Example: The Joolca HOTTAP portable shower

  • Requires a propane tank for heating
  • Can include a pump to source water from lakes, rivers, or ponds
  • No waiting for water to get warm
  • The HOTTAP’s modular design is more versatile
  • Use the system without the heater for cold showers, or without the pump
  • Extremely quick setup
  • With accessories like the Ensuite tent, the system is perfect for public places such as festivals

Compared to other portable camping showers, the Joolca HOTTAP provides the ultimate home-away-from-home experience. You don’t have to worry about the sun, recharging batteries, or how much water you use.

Man taking a hot shower on a snowy day with the HOTTAP portable shower
Source: Joolca Facebook

So, we know that the HOTTAP burns propane gas, and it has a handy pump. But how exactly does everything hook up together in the Joolca HOTTAP Kit to give you the fantastic experience it is known for?

Joolca HOTTAP Kit

Step 1 - Set Up the Heater and Connect the Propane

When setting up the HOTTAP for the first time, there are a few extra steps you will take.

First, install the two D-batteries into the bottom of the heater. These power the HOTTAP’s LCD screen that indicates water temperature, flame status, water pressure, and battery level.

Secondly, set up the heater on its sturdy plastic stand or hang it using its handle. You can even get a car mounting bracket for it.

The third step is to connect the gas. Connect the regulator to the propane tank; the exact method will depend on the type of regulator you’re using.

Then, use a spanner to connect the GasKnect fitting to the gas hose. You won’t have to repeat this step.

The standard propane hose we supply with the HOTTAP portable shower
Gas Types & Usage for HOTTAP

After the first setup, you will need to check for leaks by coating the hose and fittings with soapy water. Look out for bubbles, then turn off the gas and tighten everything if you spot any. Subsequent setups will be much quicker because of the GasKnect fittings.

Expert Tip: Set up the heater at least 3 ft or 1 meter away from any combustible material. That includes the gas cylinder, your camper’s rear tires, or dry brush.

Step 2 - Connect the Water

If you already have a pressurized water tank in your vehicle, camper, or RV, this step should be easy. The HOTTAP has universal quick-connect hose couplers that you can just snap into place. The blue hoses are for cold water and the red ones are for hot water to the shower and sink.

If you need to use the pump: 

  1. Connect the filter unit to one end of the short inlet hose. The filter has a detachable collar that keeps it from the soil at the bottom of ponds or rivers. Throw the weighted filter into the water source.
  2. Connect the other end of the hose to the pump. The pump has an arrow showing the direction of the flow of water.
  3. Hook up the long hose from the pump’s outlet to the blue coupler on the HOTTAP heater.
  4. Use the power cable to connect the pump to a 12V battery or your car’s cigarette lighter port, but don’t turn it on.

How the water intake components of the HOTTAP portable shower connect
HOTTAP Set up & Use

For the hot water, connect the red outlet hose to the red coupler on the heater. The red hose goes to a splicer/coupler joint. In the Nomad Kit, this splicer lets you split the flow between the sink and shower head.

From there, the red outlet hoses snap right into the shower head and sink faucet.

Expert tip: The heater and pump come with red caps from the factory. Don’t throw these away, they can stop water from dripping from the system when you pack them up.

Step 3 - Use the Shower and Kitchen Sink

Once you have everything set up, using the shower and sink is easy.

  1. Make sure that the switches on the shower head and faucet are off.
  2. Turn on the switch on the pump, and let it prime (until the noise dies).
  3. Turn on the gas on the regulator with one full anti-clockwise turn.
  4. Once that is done, the switch on the shower head or faucet turns the entire system on or off automatically. That includes the burner and pump.

To control the temperature and flow of water, use the dials on the HOTTAP. The red dial controls the amount of propane coming through and how hot the unit burns.

The blue dial controls the flow of water. A hot flame and low water flow result in the hottest water, while a low flame and high water flow give you a warmer temperature.

Drifta, one of our partners in Australia, created the fantastic video below showing how to set up and use the HOTTAP portable shower.

The shower head has a magnetic stem that clamps easily to your car or camper. We recommend the Ensuite tent that provides privacy and an easy hook-up system for easy showering.

Expert Tip: Check out this detailed guide on how to pack up everything when you break camp. If you don’t have the Nomad Kit, we recommend getting the HOTTAP carry bag instead. The bag is durable, padded, and waterproof, making it very easy to tote the whole kit around.

Take Us With You on Your Next Camping Trip

The Joolca HOTTAP has proven itself in the Australian Outback. All things considered, we know that our portable shower has revolutionized camping for good. 

Don’t just take it from us; here’s what one of our happy customers said:

testimonial from Lesley D

Now, the upgraded HOTTAP V2 offers even more convenience. It uses a rotating shower head as a switch and has pre-installed quick-connect brass fittings. For the full Joolca experience, we highly recommend getting the full suite of products.

Joolca HOTTAP Portable Nomad Kit

This Joolca Kit includes the pump and a kitchen sink.

Joolca Ensuite Double shower tent

The Ensuite shower tent is available in single and double sizes.

Joolca Quick-Release mounting bracket

For quick mounting, add this bracket to your car or camper.

We’re so confident that you will love our HOTTAP Kit that we’re willing to give you a 30-day money-back guarantee with free shipping and returns.

So, stop imagining a world of comfortable camping and get your Joolca HOTTAP V2 portable shower now.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Joolca HOTTAP work? 

The HOTTAP portable heated shower uses a propane burner to heat water for showering or washing dishes. The system includes a 12V pump in case you need to source water from a river or pond. So long as you have a propane tank and a source of water, you can take hot showers with the HOTTAP.

Is the Joolca HOTTAP a good portable shower? 

The HOTTAP propane-powered portable shower is better than most. Its many advantages include the following:

  • A modular design that allows you to use it with or without the pump or heater.
  • Quick-connect fittings ensure fast setup in just a few minutes.
  • The full set of products, including the kitchen sink and tent, work perfectly together to provide a deluxe camping experience.
  • We put a lot of thought into designing even the smallest parts, and you can tell by how easily they fit and how durable the system is.

How much water does the Joolca HOTTAP use?

With a minimum flow rate of 0.6 gallons per minute and a maximum flow rate of 1.5 gallons per minute, the HOTTAP portable shower will use 3.3 to 8 gallons in a typical 5-minute shower. At this rate, you can even use it with water from a jerry can or bucket of water.

How much gas does the Joolca HOTTAP use?

A standard 20-pound propane tank should last up to 15 hours of continuous use. This translates to 150 five-minute showers!. The system is compatible with all propane gas tanks and regulators that use universal fittings.

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