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Geyser Systems with Heater Review

A specialized cleaning system that works by wiping with a sponge attached to your running vehicle
Geyser Systems with Heater
Photo: Geyser Systems
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Price:  $260 List
Pros:  Efficient use of water, easy to set up, simple to use, great for gear cleaning
Cons:  Specific usage, requires a running car, durability issues, expensive
Manufacturer:   Geyser Systems
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 11, 2021
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51
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 12
  • Comfort - 30% 5
  • Functionality - 25% 5
  • Ease of Set Up - 20% 6
  • Durability - 15% 4
  • Portability - 10% 5

Our Verdict

Using the Geyser camping "shower" is like taking a sponge bath. Literally. A small 0.8-gallon tank heats the water to a comfortable 95 degrees, while a pump supplies a stream of water to the sponge at the end of the hose — all powered by a 12V connection plugged into your still-running vehicle. The Geyser manages to efficiently use a very small amount of water, though it can't replace the cleanliness of a regular camping shower and isn't great for washing hair. But if you're always trying to jam intensely grubby adventures before and after your grueling office job and regular social outings, this sponge system will help you keep yourself and your gear cleaner.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $260 List$350 List$99.95 at REI$36.99 at Amazon$34.95 at REI
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Pros Efficient use of water, easy to set up, simple to use, great for gear cleaningEasy to use, can re-pressurize, don't need a hose, durable, intense pressureHighly versatile, packable, good pressure, durable, water lasts a long timeGreat coverage, comfortable and consistent pressure, decent battery life, easy to useLightweight and packable, easy to use, heats up well, comes with everything you need
Cons Specific usage, requires a running car, durability issues, expensivePrecipitous drop-off in pressure, included nozzle not a great shower, can't fully empty, expensive, requires a roof rackSmall shower head, filling is a learning curve, must hold in ON position while usingShort hose, can't empty its container, durability concernsLow pressure, can be difficult to hang high enough, roll-top is leaky
Bottom Line A specialized cleaning system that works by wiping with a sponge attached to your running vehicleA no-nonsense car-top solar shower and rinse station that will last you a lifetimeA truly versatile, all-around useful shower that you’ll want to take with you everywhereBy adding a bucket and a battery, this shower brings you all the comforts of home in the outdoorsAn affordable, easy to use, and super packable shower that can come with you anywhere
Rating Categories Geyser Systems with... Yakima RoadShower NEMO Helio Pressure... Ivation Portable Sea to Summit Pocke...
Comfort (30%)
5.0
7.0
7.0
9.0
5.0
Functionality (25%)
5.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Ease Of Set Up (20%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
Durability (15%)
4.0
9.0
8.0
5.0
6.0
Portability (10%)
5.0
8.0
7.0
5.0
9.0
Specs Geyser Systems with... Yakima RoadShower NEMO Helio Pressure... Ivation Portable Sea to Summit Pocke...
Heating Method 12V plug or Manual Solar Manual or Solar Manual Manual or Solar
Shower Head Usable Width (inches) 6" x 4" sponge 0.2" 0.6" 2.1" 1"
Weight (shower only, ounces) 130 oz
(8.2 lb)
310 oz
(19.25 lb)
20 oz
(1.25 lb)
21 oz
(1.3 lb)
4.7 oz
(0.3 lb)
Packed Size (L x W in inches) 17" x 9" x 6" 57" x 6.5" 5.5" x 8.5" 72" x 3.25" 5.5" x 3.25"
Filled Size (inches) Same Same 17" x 9.5" Same plus a bucket 20" x 8.5"
Hose Length (feet/inches) 6' 5" 4' 6" 6' 10" 5' 9.5" N/A
Shower Head Diameter (inches) 6" x 4" sponge 0.5" 1.0" 2.5" 1.4"
Capacity 0.8 gal 4 gal 2.9 gal (bucket) 2.6 gal
Rate of Flow (gallons per minute) Variable; 3 speeds Extremely variable 1 gal/min 1.2 gal/min Extremely variable
Construction ABS/PVC Powder coated aluminum tube, food grade hose, standard brass hose fitting Polyurethne-coated polyester, neoprene hose 2200 mAh lithium battery 70D nylon dry sack, plastic components

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Geyser Systems shower unit is powered by a 12V plug for your car. The motor works to both heat and pump water through the sponge-ended hose. It's made of plastic ABS/PVC components and holds just 0.8 gallons of water that can be dispersed through the sponge at one of three different levels.

Performance Comparison


An interesting, specific way to clean gear, with a heated...
An interesting, specific way to clean gear, with a heated, pump-powered sponge that runs with your car.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Comfort


Imagine spending all day getting dusty, muddy, and sweaty and coming home to a nice… sponge bath. That's exactly what you're getting with the Geyser. We don't mean this as a knock against what is a clever system — it has plenty of excellent uses, but it's not ready to replace a true showering experience. As a heated water tank that reaches just lukewarm temperatures and has a sponge instead of a sprayer, this isn't the camping shower made for washing your hair or bathing the dog. Instead, this two-sided sponge makes water last longer when cleaning stuff. From washing food-crusted dishes to cleaning mud-caked bikes and even wiping your own sweat-coated skin, the Geyser takes less than a gallon of water to clean anything you can wash with a sponge. It won't take the place of most camping showers, but if your alternative is no shower, then this upgraded take on a sponge bath feels great.

The soft side of the sponge is great against your skin. But it's...
The soft side of the sponge is great against your skin. But it's still a sponge bath.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Functionality


It's difficult to compare this unit to more traditional camping showers with spraying nozzles. Instead, three levels of pumped water filter directly through the 6" x 4" sponge to clean grimy surfaces. You can remove the sponge end for a small trickle of water, but it won't last long with such a small tank. Powered by a very long cord with a 12V plug, the system uses your (running) vehicle to heat the water within to a balmy (but not hot) 95 degrees; plenty warm enough for a summertime post-adventure rinse. During our testing, it took about 35 minutes to raise room temperature water (around 68 degrees) to that temperature. If you don't want to wait, you can add a little boiling water to a tank filled with mostly cold water for a quicker turnaround time.

This bathing unit needs to be plugged into your running vehicle to...
This bathing unit needs to be plugged into your running vehicle to function.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Ease of Set Up


Though it comes with a very longwinded book filled with helpful instructions and tips, the Geyser system quickly proves itself straightforward to use. The water tank top is wide and screws off easily for simple filling and drying. The long electric plug can be removed from the back of the unit — or wound around the tank and pump, secured with its included velcro strips, for easy storage. The short hose and its replaceable sponge end attachment are both easily removed via quick-connect adapters. The only catch to setting up and using this unit is that it has to be plugged into a running vehicle, both to heat and to pump. That, and you can't fill it from a stream or other unfiltered water source as sediments can ruin the electric pump.

Simple indicator lights and a single switch make it easy to operate...
Simple indicator lights and a single switch make it easy to operate this unique shower.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Durability


Though the plastic tank and thick, sturdy handle seem durable enough, the thin plastic hose isn't ideal. During the course of our testing, the on/off valve on the hose cracked and started leaking everywhere. We read other online testimonies of the same thing happening to other users, as well. Because it's filled with electronic components to make the electric-powered pump run, we didn't drop this unit from a height to see if it could handle the fall — a standard part of our durability testing for most models. The Geyser has a tall, spindly shape that makes it easier to tip over, requiring relatively flat ground to set it on. We accidentally knocked it over during use more than once, trying to clean gear with its very short hose that doesn't quite reach as far as we wish it did. Handily, it does have easy-to-read indicator lights telling you when the tank is low or the water is too hot, and it automatically shuts off when either of those safety concerns is present.

Our on/off valve developed a nasty leak during testing.
Our on/off valve developed a nasty leak during testing.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Portability


Empty, the Geyser weighs just over 8 pounds. As it holds less than a gallon of water, it's one of the lightest models we tested when full. Aside from a removable plug and hose, it doesn't come apart or pack down for transport, nor does it fit into any sort of included carrying case. That said, it's not hard to toss in your car and go, as a car is required for it to function, so you'll never be carrying it around without your car nearby. The wet sponge lacks a formalized carry option and readily collects dirt, dust, and debris from whatever it touches when it's not in use. We recommend having a little baggie available to store it in.

Once wet, the sponge comes with no included protective covering to...
Once wet, the sponge comes with no included protective covering to keep it clean between uses, forcing you to use a little bit of water just to clean the sponge every time you turn it on.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Value


With a high price tag and a pretty specific set of scenarios in which it's useful, we're not convinced this expensive unit is worth what you'll pay. We tested numerous more versatile options that cost the same or far less and that we enjoy using more.

Conclusion


The Geyser Systems with Heater is an interesting unit that conserves water by offering a car-powered sponge bath for you and your gear. It's not particularly versatile, nor would we choose to replace a spraying shower with this slow-pumping unit. It also has some durability issues and a very high price tag that aren't quite the right combination of traits we like to see in our gear.

Though this is a water-efficient way to clean gear, we're not...
Though this is a water-efficient way to clean gear, we're not enamored with this expensive "shower".
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Maggie Brandenburg