Is it a SCUBA tank? A milk can? Rocket fuel? No, it's the Zodi Extreme S/C that blew us out of the water with its impressive performance, sweeping up our Editors' Choice award in its proverbial dust. Easy to use and extremely adjustable to suit just about any type of shower you want to take, we found this space-looking shower to be a phenomenal performer. We love that you can stick it on the stove and have a piping hot shower in just 20 minutes. We also love that it's made of stainless steel with industrial grade brass valves to survive even the zombie apocalypse. Really its only downfall is that it doesn't compact at all, and is a large package to haul around. But for what you get out of it, we think it's very worth bringing in the car or camper or even just using around the yard. This odd-looking shower completely took us by surprise, blowing the competition out of the water to become our new Editors' Choice for the best camping shower on the market.
Zodi Extreme S/C Review
Cons: Heavy, doesn’t pack smaller
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Zodi Extreme S/C
|Price||$180 List||$329.95 at Backcountry||$35 List||$33.24 at Amazon||$74.89 at REI|
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|Pros||Extremely durable, adjustable pressure, easiest to heat, handy temperature gauge, simple to use||Easy to use, can re-pressurize, don't need hose, durable, intense pressure||Comfortable shower head, long-lasting battery, versatile, relatively inexpensive||Wide shower head, easy to use||Highly versatile, packable, good pressure, durable, water lasts a long time|
|Cons||Heavy, doesn’t pack smaller||Precipitous drop-off in pressure, included nozzle not a great shower, can't fully empty||Battery can’t get wet, not overly durable, hanging attachments inefficient||Shorter battery life, can’t submerge battery, durability issues||Small shower head, narrow opening, must hold in ON position|
|Bottom Line||A wildly functional and useful shower in an incredibly durable package.||A no-nonsense car-top shower and rinse station that gets the job done.||Nearly as comfortable as your shower at home, but you can take it just about anywhere!||One of many mimics, this shower can’t quite measure up.||A truly versatile, all-around useful shower that you’ll want to take with you everywhere.|
|Rating Categories||Zodi Extreme S/C||Road Shower 4S||AngLink Portable||Pure Clean Battery-Powered||NEMO Helio Pressure Shower|
|Ease Of Set Up (20%)|
|Specs||Zodi Extreme S/C||Road Shower 4S||AngLink Portable||Pure Clean...||NEMO Helio...|
|Heating Method||Stovetop||Solar||Manual||Manual||Manual or Solar|
|Shower Head Usable Width||1 in||0.2 in||2 in||2 in||0.6 in|
|Time Until Empty||3 min 30 sec||4 min 40 sec||4 min 40 sec||4 min 40 sec||5 min 45 sec|
|Weight (shower only)||6 lb 10 oz||19.4 lb||1 lb 2 oz||1 lb 2 oz||1 lb 6 oz|
|Packed Size (L x W in inches)||22" x 8.5"||57" x 6.5"||69.5" x 2.5"||70" x 2.5"||5.5" x 8.5"|
|Filled Size (inches)||22" x 8.5"||Same||Same plus a bucket||Same plus a bucket||17" x 8.5"|
|Hose Length||5 ft 10.5 in||4 ft 6 in||5 ft 9.5 in||5 ft 10 in||6 ft 8 in|
|Shower Head Diameter||1.25 in||0.5 in||2.6 in||2.6 in||1 in|
|Capacity||3 gal||4 gal||Bucket||Bucket||2.9 gal|
|Rate of Flow||4.1 L/min||Extremely variable||4.3 L/min||4.2 L/min||2.2 L/min|
|Construction||Stainless steel, industrial grade brass valves||Powder coated aluminum tube, food grade hose, standard brass hose fitting||Rubber hose, plastic components||Rubber hose, plastic components||Polyurethne-coated polyester, neoprene hose|
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. We found this to be extremely helpful, as we used high pressure for rinsing the soap from hair or fur, and a lower pressure for simple rinse jobs, like sand off gear or 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 extremely possible to extend the length of your shower by a lot!
That being said, we still had to use one hand to hold the showerhead in use - but Zodi does sell a stand that attaches to the side of the shower and will hold it for you. 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 have to be a bit more careful 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 the adjustability of it to suit your individual needs.
This shower has the ability to achieve an impressive amount of pressure! Of course, a lot of pressure for a long time will run through your water faster than moderate pressure. The Zodi 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 usable width of the showerhead, the amount of pressure you can work up to helps combat what the small size might otherwise detract from the overall usefulness of this nozzle. Heating this stainless steel shower is a cinch by just setting it on top of a stove. You'll need a sturdy stove - such as a tabletop propane unit sitting on a stable surface - or you can purchase a stove stand specifically for your shower that attaches to a regular green bottle of propane and works like a charm. Helpfully, the Zodi 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 the functionality of this shower. We think it's an incredibly useful shower that performs extremely well.
Ease of Set Up
The Extreme is so absurdly easy to set up because it's always set up! It has a handy little black duffle bag it lives in, 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, helping in the filling up 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 also needs minimal cleaning; however, if you did 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 digs into your finger while you wait. You can of course always just untwist the pump from the water can though be prepared for it to spray a cloud of mist in all directions if you do! Though none of that is really that big of a pain. Honestly, the thing we liked least about the set up of this shower is the set up of the stove stand that you can optionally purchase along with your Zodi. The three-leg pegs are a very loose fit 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. But if you choose not to purchase that stand and instead use the large propane grill on the side of your camper, you won't have to worry about that little annoyance. All in all, this shower requires the least amount of effort to set up and put away of any shower 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 Zodi's hose 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 the Zodi at all, we were bummed to see a dent there. However, after we pressurized the whole thing again, the dent came right out! We were impressed. The only other maybe concern to our testers is the plastic hose head, as it's the only piece not made of metal or some other incredibly durable material. However, we had no issues whatsoever with the nozzle and have no real complaint to make about it other than it being made of plastic.
The only category that the Zodi doesn't perform exceptionally well in is portability. 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. The Zodi is fairly large and heavy in comparison, tipping the scales at just over 6.5lbs and towering a whopping 22in tall even without its burner stand.
That being said, the Zodi 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 just 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 - though not for a backpacking trip, like some of the showers in this review. Also, it's important to note that it was extremely difficult - nearly impossible - to fit the shower, burner stand, and bottle of propane into the Zodi's carry bag, making the whole package that much more complicated to drag along - IF you decide to purchase that burner stand.
While we love the performance and longevity of the Zodi, we realize it's not the right solution for every shower situation. For example, this wouldn't be a great choice to take backpacking or on a canoeing trip. Obviously. However, it's an amazing shower to bring in your camper, car camping, or even just on daily adventures in the back of the Subaru to rinse off your gear, dusty feet or mucky dog before hopping back in and heading home. We think that what the Zodi lacks in portability it makes up for with stellar performance for just about any cleaning use you can imagine.
Retailing for around $180, the Zodi isn't cheap, and may not be the right choice for everyone's lifestyle. If you're after the best, easiest, most functional and long-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 from Zodi 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, 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 S/C is that shower.
— Maggie Brandenburg