WaterPort Weekender Review
Cons: Slower to heat, roof rack mount is extra, bulkier and more components, expensive
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|Pros||Durable design, roof rail mounting system, easy to use, great nozzle modes||Easy to use, can re-pressurize, don't need a hose, durable, intense pressure||Highly versatile, packable, good pressure, durable, water lasts a long time||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|
|Cons||Slower to heat, roof rack mount is extra, bulkier and more components, expensive||Precipitous drop-off in pressure, included nozzle not a great shower, can't fully empty, expensive, requires a roof rack||Small shower head, filling is a learning curve, must hold in ON position while using||Short hose, can't empty its container, durability concerns||Low pressure, can be difficult to hang high enough, roll-top is leaky|
|Bottom Line||A large capacity system that's roof rail ready and easy to use on the road||A no-nonsense car-top solar shower and rinse station that will last you a lifetime||A truly versatile, all-around useful shower that you’ll want to take with you everywhere||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|
|Rating Categories||WaterPort Weekender||Yakima RoadShower||NEMO Helio Pressure...||Ivation Portable||Sea to Summit Pocke...|
|Ease of Set Up (20%)|
|Specs||WaterPort Weekender||Yakima RoadShower||NEMO Helio Pressure...||Ivation Portable||Sea to Summit Pocke...|
|Heating Method||Manual or Solar||Solar||Manual or Solar||Manual||Manual or Solar|
|Shower Head Usable Width (inches)||1.75"||0.2"||0.6"||2.1"||1"|
|Weight (shower only, ounces)||424 oz
|Packed Size (L x W in inches)||50" 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)||18'||4' 6"||6' 10"||5' 9.5"||N/A|
|Shower Head Diameter (inches)||2.25"||0.5"||1.0"||2.5"||1.4"|
|Capacity||8 gal||4 gal||2.9 gal||(bucket)||2.6 gal|
|Rate of Flow (gallons per minute)||Extremely variable||Extremely variable||1 gal/min||1.2 gal/min||Extremely variable|
|Construction||Food grade plastic||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 WaterPort Weekender is an 8-gallon tank made of food-grade plastic that rides on top of your car. It comes with an 18-foot coiled hose, a sprayer with five modes, and quick connects at every juncture — even for the hose you'll use to refill it.
When it comes to taking a shower using a glorified garden hose, the Weekender sprayer is actually very pleasant. It has five modes for cleaning everything from dirty gear to dirty dishes to dirty friends, including shower, mist, jet, flat, and center. The widest setting, shower, touts 1.75 inches between its farthest water streams, though with relatively fine streams overall. It's possible to shampoo and rinse long hair, but it takes a little extra time with water jets this fine. Just like most garden hose heads, a small wire on the back can hold it in the "on" position, though there's no included mount for a hands-free bathing experience. The water pressure is built up by filling the tank with your hose at home and can be replenished up to 40psi using a hand pump or air compressor as the internal water level goes down. Without topping up this pressure, the second half of the tank comes out as a limp trickle.
Depending on how you manage your tank's pressure, you can achieve vastly different water flows and a huge range of possibilities for how long your 8-gallon water tank may last. As with all rooftop showers, it's difficult to repressurize this tank with the bike pump you have at home, as those short hoses rarely stretch far enough to reach the top of your car or camper van. And though it's a completely black tank, this plastic tube heats up in the sun slower than many other showers we tested. It managed to increase by 40 degrees Fahrenheit over the course of 6 hours in full sunlight. Not a huge deal if you're driving around all day, but not nearly as impressive as other rooftop models. We do love the super long, coiled hose though, as it lets you get impressively far from your car and makes it easy to remove (via included quick-connect adapters) and toss in your vehicle for transport without having to untangle it every time.
Ease of Set Up
Once you have all the components, attaching this rooftop tank to your car or truck is fairly straightforward. WaterPort has several helpful videos to acquaint you with your new road companion. However, the mounting system that is included with this spendy setup is meant for rails. If you've already got a rail system on your van or truck, you're ready to rock and only need a few basic tools to complete the process. However, if you're trying to mount the Weekender to your regular car roof rack (with the typical two-bar set up), you'll need an additional adapter kit that's not included and adds another not insignificant cost to an already very expensive system.
The adventure doesn't end there. We paid the extra money for the conversion kit and are very disappointed in what arrived. Rather than being able to ditch the giant metal plates for the rail system, we first had to attach them to the tank. Then we attempted to install the conversion kit to make it fit the standard roof rack on a Subaru. WaterPort sent four flat metal plates, meant to clumsily sandwich a curved roof rack bar between two flat metal surfaces. Aside from being an awkward system, the bolts they sent to attach the plates were exceptionally too long. A normal L-shaped hex wrench doesn't fit into the allotted space to tighten them down toward the roof of the car, and flipping them up the other way to tighten from the bottom just showed us that the bolts are about an inch too long to fit. After calling the WaterPort customer service, the possible solutions we were given were to either cut the bolts shorter with a hacksaw or go to a hardware store and buy shorter bolts (after paying quite a bit of money to get these included in the kit). Well, we bought the shorter bolts and proceeded to have a very frustrating installation experience, as every piece was loose, and reaching around the tank is difficult. It took us so much time, effort, and orders/trips to the store to finally get the Weekender mounted that we never wanted to have to take it off again.
Initial sticker shock and grueling installation adventures aside, the included quick-connects make it easy to refill and use the Weekender once it's ready to go. Our only complaint here is that the many adapters required to refill this tank (that are, thankfully, are included) are much larger and more cumbersome than the minimalist parts that some other rooftop models come with.
Though made of plastic, the WaterPort Weekender is durable and strong, inspiring confidence in our testing team. It's solid and sturdy, with equally well-crafted components. During our several months of testing, everything continued to function very well, coming apart in the ways it's meant to and staying together as it should. We had no issues with leaky joints or wiggly connection points, unlike so many others with this many moving pieces. Of course, plastic wears out faster in the sun than metal, and by mounting this system in the full sun experienced by the roof of your car, we have a few plastic-related concerns that could take years to play out.
Empty, this 8-gallon tank and accessories weigh 26.5 pounds. Clearly, you'll need it to be empty for mounting and dismounting it from your vehicle. But once it's attached, even filled with all 8 gallons of water, your car isn't likely to complain. By using quick-connect points for attaching the hose, you'll never have to worry about it coming loose while you're driving down the highway. On the other hand, needing to attach and remove the hose from a very tall vehicle every time could be a pain. When winter rolls back around, the Weekender features an end cap to facilitate emptying the dismounted tank for seasonal storage.
This is one of the most expensive camping showers we tested — even more so if you have to add the roof rack conversion kit as we did. It's a neat system for easy transport, but not quite our favorite rooftop model we tested.
The WaterPort Weekender is a large-capacity rooftop water storage solution. Its plastic pieces are easy to use and durable, though years of UV exposure is rarely kind to plastics. With five spray modes and the ability to repressurize this slower-heating tank, it's an appealing option for road trip adventures. Though not our favorite car companion, there's a lot to love about this expensive but simple-to-use setup.
— Maggie Nichols
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