Reliance Products Flow Pro Pressurized Review
Cons: Narrow spray, doesn't heat well in the sun, not the most durable
Manufacturer: Reliance Products
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Reliance Products Flow Pro Pressurized
Check Price at REI
|$34.99 at Amazon||$34.95 at REI||$33.44 at Amazon||$14.99 at Amazon|
|Pros||Straightforward use, easy to carry, simple design, inexpensive||Great coverage, comfortable and consistent pressure, decent battery life, easy to use||Lightweight and packable, easy to use, heats up well, comes with everything you need||Efficient solar heating, easy to use temperature gauge, quality construction, lightweight||High rate of flow, lightweight, inexpensive|
|Cons||Narrow spray, doesn't heat well in the sun, not the most durable||Short hose, can't empty its container, durability concerns||Low pressure, can be difficult to hang high enough, roll-top is leaky||Low pressure, heavy when full, doesn't fold up intuitively||Very small capacity, easy to lose pieces|
|Bottom Line||A portable sprayer that's straightforward to use and doesn't cost a ton||By adding a bucket and a battery, this shower brings you all the comforts of home in the outdoors||An affordable, easy to use, and super packable shower that can come with you anywhere||A durable take on an old design, this is a gravity shower you can take just about anywhere||For a quick rinse, this small, inexpensive shower will do the trick|
|Rating Categories||Reliance Products F...||Ivation Portable||Sea to Summit Pocke...||Advanced Elements S...||Simple Shower|
|Ease Of Set Up (20%)|
|Specs||Reliance Products F...||Ivation Portable||Sea to Summit Pocke...||Advanced Elements S...||Simple Shower|
|Heating Method||Manual or Solar||Manual||Manual or Solar||Manual or Solar||Manual or Solar|
|Shower Head Usable Width (inches)||0.5"||2.1"||1"||1"||1.5"|
|Weight (shower only, ounces)||47 oz
|Packed Size (L x W in inches)||17" x 9.5"||72" x 3.25"||5.5" x 3.25"||14.5" x 4.5"||13" x 2"|
|Filled Size (inches)||Same||Same plus a bucket||20" x 8.5"||19" x 14.5"||Same plus a 2 liter bottle|
|Hose Length (feet/inches)||6' 7"||5' 9.5"||N/A||1' 3.5"||N/A|
|Shower Head Diameter (inches)||1.4"||2.5"||1.4"||1.4"||2.0"|
|Capacity||2 gal||(bucket)||2.6 gal||3 gal||1 or 2 L|
|Rate of Flow (gallons per minute)||1 gal/min||1.2 gal/min||Extremely variable||0.6 gal/min||2 gal/min|
|Construction||Plastic (unspecified ) with neoprene sleeve||2200 mAh lithium battery||70D nylon dry sack, plastic components||4-layer construction||Recycled material|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Reliance Flow Pro is a hand pump-powered unit with a kitchen sink sprayer and a shoulder strap. This 2-gallon jug is made of plastic, surrounded by an insulated sleeve that zips off for easier cleaning, with a pressure release valve and a mesh pocket to easily store the hose.
With a stream of water that's just half an inch wide, this isn't the most comfortable or efficient way to take an outdoor shower or even bathe the dog. That said, the hand pump pressurizes a soft spray, and the nozzle can be flipped to an "always-on" position — so it's not impossible. Yet having to hold the sprayer with one hand and constantly re-pump the unit by hand, all while soapy and slippery, isn't a joyous task. As the jug becomes emptier, it's more challenging to keep the unit pressurized. The hand pump tends to lift the jug off the ground as it gets lighter — unless you stand on the shoulder strap, adding another layer of complexity to your shower experience. Because of this combination of challenges, the Reliance Flow Pro is easier to use for simpler tasks, like cleaning dishes or rinsing gear.
Depending on how much you pump, this shower can achieve some pretty solid pressure. We managed to continually get rates of up to 1 gallon per minute, which is more than enough to do some quick rinsing. Of course, with just a 2-gallon tank, sustained levels this high will rapidly run you out of water. Though the exterior of the Reliance is black, the insulated jacket actually blocks the sun from heating the water inside as fast. Over the course of 6 hours in full sun, ours went up just 28 degrees — far less than most other models we tested. It's best to just put in the temperature of water you plan to use. The 6' 7" hose is plenty long enough, especially since we found ourselves most often carrying this unit to water plants around the house and in the garden.
Ease of Set Up
No complicated instructions are required to figure out how to use this simple shower. It has a wide mouth that's easy to fill at the kitchen sink or with a garden hose. You could even fill it with clear running water from a stream — if the stream is deep enough to submerge the entire jug. The hand pump is easy to use and can be locked in place between pumping. A simple hand-release pressure valve makes it easy to release built-up pressure when you need to refill the unit. And a mesh pocket on the side of the carry case/bag handily stores the hose and sprayer — though we wish it wasn't located directly under the shoulder strap attachment, which makes it slightly more laborious to access.
The plastic jug itself feels strong, thick, and sturdy. The neoprene jacket and shoulder strap are solid and also feel well-built — they gave us no problems or worries during our several months of testing. It's only some of the smaller plastic components that we worry about over the long term or if they were to be dropped at the wrong angle. In particular, the pressure release valve and hand sprayer aren't the most confidence-inspiring components. Both are made of thinner, more flexible plastic that's visibly unrefined, easy to scuff, and with leftover edges. Neither of these pieces failed during our testing period, but we read a number of online reviews of other people having issues over long-term use.
Weighing just over 2.5 pounds when empty, this jug is fairly lightweight. Even when full with 16 pounds (2 gallons) of water, the padded adjustable shoulder strap helps it feel easy to carry around. It's not something we'd bring backpacking, or likely even camping, but for puttering around the yard or house to water the plants or clean dirty gear, it's not particularly cumbersome.
If you're after a full camping shower to actually bath yourself with, the Reliance Flow Pro, despite its temptingly low price, is not a great solution. But if you want a sprayer to easily wash gear before putting it in the car or to treat your houseplants to fertilized water, this modest cost model is an appropriately-priced solution.
The Reliance Flow Pro could be a camping shower in a pinch, but its narrow stream, hand pump pressurization system, and slow solar heating make it much better suited to being a portable sprayer. It's inexpensive, easy to use, and works well for quickly cleaning gear or caring for plants.
— Maggie Brandenburg