First there was a campfire. Progress. Love it. I remember camping out in the Snowys in the old days when we needed to heat up a bucket of river water for a wash. It was no problem really, provided that a fire ban wasn’t in force and we could find some firewood on the Murrumbidgee’s flood plain. But how things have changed…
In 1986, came the ever-handy Glind Aussie Shower. A unit is installed within the engine bay of my vehicle and is able to provide an endless supply of hot water – provided water is available. I simply allow the car to reach operating temperature and the pressure pump installed near the Glind heat exchanger pulls water out of a bucket. The water is then delivered back through a shower hose at a pre-selected temperature determined by selecting higher or lower engine revs, and water flow via a regulator on the rose. It’s a great set up.
On our camping trips we then needed a shower cubicle – a little tent if you like – that could provide privacy as well as protection from cool breezes at night. For years we put up with a rickety old thing that did a reasonable job until it blew away in a storm one afternoon. The old shower tent had no floor, no roof as such, and did let a few errant breezes in to cool the tender bits from time to time.
Last year I upgraded to the Outdoor Connection Outhouse and this has proved to be a very smart move. The new unit can be set up in minutes. When not in use it’s a compact little package that takes up very little space fitting neatly into a small carry bag. Yet when set up it has ample room in which to enjoy a shower totally protected from the elements.
By the look of it, the new Outdoor Connection unit is strongly constructed and should last for years. The front zipper is a double unit of heavy-duty construction, and as it can be zipped from either top or bottom, I found it easy to insert the hose from the Glind unit into the tent to enjoy a really hot shower.
One thing some folks might appreciate is the fact that there’s a well-constructed hook at the top of the unit on which to hang a shower bucket with hot water for a wash down.
Other handy features of the Outhouse include a pair of large side vents that can be closed off if required, two side pockets up around shoulder height which can hold shampoos and soap, plus there’s a nifty little double shelf unit in which I set up the mirror for my daily shave and – wait for it - a clip-in mesh floor which does away with the need to lay down broken off branches on which to stand on.
These are handy features, true, but arguably the best of all is a towel rack that is covered by a large plastic sheet with a zip down each side so that the towel can be taken into the unit and kept entirely dry until needed. Now you tell me, is that handy, or not?
Setting the Outdoor Connection unit up involves taking hold of a star shaped arrangement that sits right up top and inserting 4 flexible fibreglass rods to maintain the upper shape. Next, the four outer poles are inserted in the bottom of the star (the poles are larger in diameter than the fibre glass rods so they cannot be placed in the wrong holes) and then a small metal peg, connected to each corner of the tent itself, is inserted into the base of each pole.
The last step makes the unit rigid and able to be easily stood upright. With 4 pegs inserted into each corner tag plus a couple of stay ropes if required (and you probably won’t need these at all unless it’s quite windy) the shower tent is ready for use.
On our last expedition which saw us camping a little distance from the water we set the shower tent up on the side of the camper trailer so we could duck straight inside to change after our wash. I just don’t know how we could have done it any better. And we even caught some fish. How good does it get!
Incidentally, the Outhouse has been constructed large enough to be used in conjunction with a Porta Potti.
My Outdoor Connection Outhouse was purchased from the Great Escape Camping Company which can be contacted on (07) 3808 9924.Reads: 1922