In the outdoor arena, the concept of “roughing it” has taken on a new dimension with the advent of portable showers. Among these, Joolca’s HOTTAP claims to be the world’s smallest water heater in its class and is as easy to work as flipping a switch.
In this review, we’ll dive into what the Joolca HOTTAP V2 Outing Kit is, how it works, usage practicalities, ideal users, pros and cons, field experiences, pricing, and Joolca’s alternatives — emerging with a final verdict on its overall value.
In short: The Joolca HOTTAP portable design and easy setup made outdoor hot water supply practically effortless. It’s a perfect fit for campers and overlanders who value convenience when off grid. Those seeking a budget option might want to explore cheaper solutions.
- Size 17.7" T / 11.4" W / 6.7" D
- Weight 9.3 lbs.
- Power 37,500-BTU burner
- Flow rate Up to 1.6 gpm
- MSRP $449
- Includes HOTTAP heating unit, Ensuite plumbing, river pump kit, 3.9' gas hose, lightweight feet
- Hot water on demand
- Easy setup
- Not windproof
- Small fuel bottle freezing issues
- Not super-compact
Joolca HOTTAP Review
- Hot water on demand: The standout feature of the HOTTAP is its ability to provide instant hot water. It’s a game-changing joy during cold and remote camping trips.
- Versatility: While the primary focus is showering, the HOTTAP adaptability extends to dishwashing, gear cleaning, and anything requiring a rinse-off.
- Easy setup: The device’s user-friendly design ensures a hassle-free installation process, allowing users to enjoy the benefits swiftly.
- Cost: The comfort and convenience come at a pretty penny, deterring budget-conscious campers.
- Not windproof: Windy conditions can extinguish the unit’s flame, turning the water cold.
- Small gas can freezing issues: Small gas canisters can cause occasional drops in heated water temperature.
- Not small: Its bulk might be problematic for those with limited space. (A 450g gas canister will streamline this setup.)
The HOTTAP Outing Kit is a portable hot water system providing on-the-go hot showers when wild camping. Designed for durability and user-friendliness, it elevates outdoor hygiene for a more comfortable experience.
No longer reliant on heating a bucket of water, this all-in-one solution combines a water heater, showerhead, and pump, suiting numerous camping and outdoor needs.
The HOTTAP is designed to conveniently heat and deliver water for showering, washing dishes, cleaning your gear, or rinsing down your dog.
Engineered to residential standards, HOTTAP boasts top-tier specifications. It delivers continuous hot showers, with an impressive 15-hour runtime on a single 20-pound propane tank.
Operating with a quality 37,500-BTU burner, HOTTAP ensures a piping hot shower, even in winter. Offering a flow rate of up to 1.6 gpm, it effortlessly handles any hair type — including my long, thick diva mane!
Utilize your HOTTAP alongside a jerrycan. Or, employ the two-stage water filter to draw water from a nearby natural freshwater source, e.g., a creek or lake, pumping it to your camp spot. The pump primes to 6 feet and propels water up to 100 feet uphill. With an IPX3 rating, the pump withstands rain, hail, and sunshine exposure. Plus, the pump won’t be harmed when running dry if water is scarce.
Joolca Hot Shower Usage
Straightforward enough; attach the water heater to a propane or butane gas source and submerge its pump into a water source. The water is drawn through the system, heated, and expelled through the showerhead, delivering a refreshing cascade of warmth.
The intake incorporates a two-stage filter that eliminates all but the tiniest sediments. Its durability allows for immersion in shallow creeks, for instance. Maintenance is pretty effortless — no tools are required. Simply untwist the cover, take it apart, rinse with water, and reassemble it.
Joolca’s portable hot water system appeals to a broad spectrum of outdoorsy folks. It’s a blessing for campers who crave home comforts in nature. Whether you’re a family on a camping trip, a van lifer needing rejuvenation, or an overlanding couple exploring rugged terrains, the HOTTAP invites you to elevate your camping experience with heated water.
Camping With the HOTTAP: A Personal Experience
Testing the product in various camping situations for a year of overlanding in our Toyota Hilux validated its claims. Whether among rugged terrains in northern Spain, along Scotland’s windy coastline, or random parking lots — far away from campsite facilities — the Joolca system bridged the gap.
Upside in the Field
Harnessing even the tiniest streams, shampooing twice and conditioning once induced overlanding bliss. The instant gratification of piping hot water at the touch of a button elevated morning rituals and end-of-day refreshments.
The Joolca unit surpassed my expectations, turning our post-trek campsite into a euphoric oasis. At natural water sources, it delivered that shower-fresh feeling from making contact with boundless hot water and soap, limited only by the gas onboard our rig.
Downside in the Field
Admittedly, when I could not pump water from a natural source, relying on a jerrycan instead, I opted for a swift body and hair wash. This is a non-issue for those with larger water supplies and/or short hair.
Tips for Enhancing Your HOTTAP Experience
- If using a small 1-pound gas canister, place it in a bowl of boiled water. This maintains a consistently hot shower temperature, as occasional drops in temperature can occur.
- On windy days, position the shower area away from the wind. And construct a sturdy windbreak around the heating unit. Neglecting these steps may extinguish the flame, necessitating a restart.
Joolca HOTTAP: Price & Value
The Outing Kit is an investment that comes with a $449 price tag — reflecting its innovation, ease of use, and functionality. While the upfront cost might seem steep, cry once while considering the convenience, enhanced hygiene, and comfort it brings to your sweat and body-odor-inducing outdoor escapades. If you prioritize these needs, the ensemble is an invaluable addition to your gear arsenal.
Essentials, Outing, or Nomad Kit?
While the Outing Kit includes a 12V pumping kit for wild water sources, consider the Essentials or Nomad kits as the basic or more fully featured Joolca alternatives, respectively.
- The Essentials Kit is for pressurized water access from pumps, mains, or planned systems. It includes a heater with portable feet, gas hose, 5m shower hose, head, and magnetic holder.
- The Nomad Kit expands Outing. It features a sink/tub combo, T-splitter, hot water outlet hose with Faucet Tap, and a stand doubling as a tub storage divider.
HOTTAP Review Conclusion: Upgrading Your Campsite Comfort
Constructed with robust engineering and user convenience in mind, the HOTTAP Outing Kit transforms outdoor hygiene from a struggle to a satisfying experience. Its ability to provide instant hot water and versatility, regardless of where you are, makes it an appealing option for many outdoor enthusiasts.
While the cost and portability aspects warrant consideration, the benefits it offers tip the scales in its favor. For us, the Joolca system has revolutionized our off-grid endeavors. It invites you to wash away the day’s challenges and embrace the luxury of hot running water in the wild.