Zodi Extreme Review
Cons: Heavy, doesn’t pack smaller, pricey
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Zodi Extreme is a hand pump-pressurized shower that is heated on top of a propane stove. Made of stainless steel with brass fittings, this shower features a 3 gallon capacity and a nearly 6 foot hose.
The Extreme is by far the easiest to adjust the rate of flow of any of the showers we tested. Very few are capable of any adjustment at all, and the Zodi is the best. Not only can you adjust by pumping more or less on the arm-powered pressurizing vertical pump, but the on/off lever can be turned partially on, only allowing so much water to come out at once. This is extremely helpful, as we can use high pressure for rinsing the soap from hair or fur, and a lower pressure for simple rinse jobs, like getting sand off gear or removing soap from skin and dishes. The hand pump itself is also quite easy to use and pumps at a reasonable height for just about any sized person. With a fairly large water tank and such an adjustable rate of flow, it is possible to extend the length of your shower by quite a lot.
That being said, you still have to use one hand to hold the showerhead while in use — but Zodi does sell a stand that attaches to the side of the shower and will hold it for you if you'd rather be hands-free. And while we appreciate the reasonable location of the hand pump, it is a bit more cumbersome to operate than a foot pump-powered option. Additionally, after removing this shower from a hot stovetop, you need to take care that you don't accidentally touch it or set it on something it might damage — like the flimsy fabric floor of a privacy tent. Overall though, this shower is a comfortable design, and we like how it can adjust to suit your individual needs.
This shower has the ability to achieve an impressive amount of pressure! Though, of course, a lot of pressure for a long time will run through your water faster than moderate pressure. The Extreme also has a very long, 5ft 10.5in hose, that, coming from the top of the canister, feels like the longest functional hose of any shower we tested because its length is added to the height of the shower tank. Though it only has a 1-inch wide usable showerhead, the amount of pressure you can work up to helps combat the small nozzle size.
Heating this stainless steel shower is a cinch — you just set it on top of a propane camping stove. Don't have one? For a little bit extra, you can get a single burner stove/stand that fits the Zodi perfectly and can double as a camp stove! Additionally, this shower has a handy temperature indicator on the side to let you know how close you are to your ideal shower temperature. This makes it incredibly easy to find the perfect temperature — and you can go from cold stream water to nice hot shower water in around 20 minutes. Aside from a slightly narrow shower head, we had a hard time finding anything to complain about in regards to the functionality of this shower. We think it's an incredibly useful device that performs extremely well and is highly versatile.
Ease of Set Up
The Extreme is so absurdly easy to set up because… it's always set up! It lives in a handy little black duffle bag, and you simply take it out and fill it up. It also features a milk can-style top that looks a bit like a funnel, which helps with the filling process. We had no issues sticking it in a stream and filling it that way or under a faucet at a campground. It's also incredibly easy to heat the water on a stove and takes by far the least amount of time to get the right water temperature of all the showers in this review. As a stainless steel container, it needs minimal cleaning; however, if you do want to clean it, you might be best served with a toilet brush or something else with a rather long handle, or simply a good old-fashioned baking soda rinse.
One thing we don't love is the pressure release valve. It's fabulous that there is one, but when you've finished your shower or your clean up job and want to release a lot of pressure, the tiny valve takes a long time to actually do so — and it digs into your finger while you wait. You can, of course, just untwist the pump from the water can, but be prepared for it to spray a cloud of mist in all directions if you do! None of that, however, is really that big of a pain. However, we also tested the Zodi stove that comes with the Extreme S/C, and we don't like setting it up. The three legs fit loosely into the round top of the stand and easily fall off as you're trying to put the other legs on or if you need to pick the whole thing up and move it around. That said, if you get just the shower and use your own camping stove or large propane grill on the side of your camper, problem solved. All in all, this shower requires the least amount of effort to set up and put away of any that we tested.
What's not to love about the durability of a stainless steel can? Even the valves are incredibly tough industrial-grade brass. The hose on the Extreme is unkinkable (we're certain that's a word), which is incredible and appreciated. The hand pump mechanism calls for a couple of drops of oil regularly to keep it functioning happily for a long time to come. It's hard to think of more durable construction for a shower, and we found no faults with its durability during our testing.
Perhaps the one minor complaint that we had and later retracted was regarding a dent in the side. While it didn't affect the utility of this shower at all, we were bummed to see a dent there. However, after we pressurized the whole thing again, the dent came right out! We are impressed. The only other potential concern is the plastic hose head — it's the only piece not made of metal or some other incredibly durable material. However, we had no issues whatsoever with the nozzle during testing and have no real complaint to make about it other than it being made of plastic on an otherwise non-plastic product.
The only category that the Extreme doesn't perform exceptionally well in is this one. It's hard for a big, bulky metal can to compare to a shower that weighs less than an ounce or one that rolls up into a tiny little tube to be stuffed in a backpack pocket. This shower is fairly large and heavy in comparison, tipping the scales at just over 6.5lbs and towering a whopping 22in tall (not including the optional, heavy burner stand).
That being said, the Extreme comes in a convenient carrying bag that easily zips around the whole thing, creating a nice neat package out of your spaceman shower. Two handles make it pretty easy to carry as well. And when the entire thing is full of water, it's only 3 gallons, making the whole shower about 30lbs with a very convenient handle right on top. For what it is, the Zodi is still reasonably portable — it's obviously not for a backpacking trip, like some of the other showers in this review, but for car camping and van life, it might be perfect.
This shower isn't cheap, and may not be the right choice for everyone's lifestyle. If you're after the best, easiest, most functional, and longest-lasting camping shower money can buy, we think you've found it. If you just want to get clean or are after even more versatility and portability, there are other options likely to be more worth it for you. But for the best of the best when it comes to cleaning, the Zodi Extreme delivers — and you pay for that quality.
We are surprised and pleased with what this incredible (and incredibly odd-looking) stainless steel shower delivers to users. We couldn't find anything it couldn't help us clean. With a long, kink-free hose, completely adjustable pressure, and the ability to heat to over 100 degrees in about 20 minutes on an included stove, the Zodi is a high-performing camping shower. It's extremely durable and easy to use and quickly became a favorite among our testers. This top-notch shower comes with a top-dollar price, though, but if what you're after is the best camping shower on the market, we think the Zodi Extreme is just that.
— Maggie Brandenburg