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OR - NEMO Helio Portable Shower - Lyon

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  • richardglyon@att.net
    Fellow editors, for someone s blue pencil. HTML version at http://tinyurl.com/k78mokj Happy September, Richard **************** NEMO Helio Pressure Shower
    Message 1 of 4 , Sep 6 3:00 PM
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      Fellow editors, for someone's blue pencil. HTML version at http://tinyurl.com/k78mokj

      Happy September, Richard

      ****************

      NEMO Helio Pressure Shower
      Owner Review by Richard Lyon
      September 6, 2013


      Personal Details and Backpacking Background
      Male, 67 years old
      Height: 6' 4" (1.93 m)
      Weight: 200 lb (91 kg)
      Email address: Montana DOT angler AT gmail DOT com
      Home: Bozeman, Montana USA

      I'm in my fifth decade of backpacking, undertaken mostly in the Northern Rockies, where I now live. I do a weeklong trip every summer, and often take three-day trips. I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at altitudes 5000 to 13000 ft (1500-4000 m). I prefer base camp backpacking, a long hike in with day trips from camp. I'm always seeking ways to reduce my pack load, but still usually choose a bit more weight over foregoing camp conveniences I've come to expect.

      Product Description and Details

      The Helio Pressure Shower is portable freestanding system that greatly simplifies taking a shower in the backcountry by replacing gravity with pumped-in air to provide water pressure. The Helios has four principal components: foot pump, rubber hose, spray nozzle, and water container. Fill the container with water and set it upright, add pressure by opening a valve and then stepping on the pump, extend the hose, and squeeze the handle on the nozzle for a backcountry or trailhead dousing. The working pieces compact down into a small cylindrical carrying case with neon green sidewalls. There's a handle atop the water container for carriage, with a warning not to use the handle for hanging a water-filled container.

      Manufacturer: NEMO Equipment, Inc.
      Website: http://www.nemoequipment.com I highly recommend the short video on the Helio's product page (under Camp Tools) as an illustration of how the product works.
      Weight: listed 22 oz / 650 g, measured 23 oz / 652 g
      Packed weight: listed: 25 oz / 710 g, measured 26 oz /737 g
      Height: listed 17 in / 43 cm extended, 5.5 in / 17 cm packed; verified accurate
      Diameter: listed 8.5 in / 22 cm; verified accurate
      Capacity: listed 11 liters (2.9 gallons), verified accurate.
      MSRP: $99 US
      Warranty: The Helio has a lifetime warranty against defects in manufacturing or materials, as do all NEMO products.

      Field Conditions

      I've used the Helio on three weekend car camping trips in Montana and Wyoming and, most recently, on a weeklong backpack service trip in the Scapegoat Wilderness in Montana's Rocky Mountain Front. Temperature at time of usage, almost always late afternoon or early evening, varied from 45-85 F (7-30 C). All use has been in dry weather, sometimes overcast but usually sunny. Altitudes were between 5000 and 6000 feet (1500-1800 m). The service trip consisted of a thirteen-mile (20 km) hike to base camp, daily hikes to worksites along the trail, and a return to the trailhead at the end of the week.

      I've also used the Helio after several day hikes in Montana and Wyoming this spring and summer, at temperatures similar to those on the service trip.

      Observations

      The Helio represents breakthrough technology in its (admittedly narrow) niche. With this product it's easy to take a shower almost anywhere water is available. None of the other products or methods I've tried can approach that result.

      Readers of my Owner Reviews and Test Reports know that every summer I perform at least one week of backcountry trail maintenance. Almost all such work occurs in designated Wilderness areas, a consequence of which is a strictly enforced ban on power tools. A working day is seven or eight hours of hiking (in work clothes, carrying tools) and manual labor. Back in camp at the end of the day I'm hot, dusty, dirty, and tired. A shower gives both physical and psychological relief. That's why I try to include the means to take one in my kit.

      Until I found the Helio every system I had used depended on gravity. Free and reliable gravity may be, but to make an effective shower it requires finding a way to suspend the water six or seven feet (≈ 2 m) above the ground, not always an easy task. Water is heavy. The weight of a solar shower filled with three gallons (11-12 L) of water, the Helio's capacity, has broken off many a tree branch. And hanging requires that I find a branch in a convenient location, convenience being dictated by proximity to the water source, privacy requirements, and a politically correct Leave-No-Trace distance from a stream or lake. With the Helio, on the other hand, I can set up the shower at any suitably private location.

      The recent service trip sharply illustrated this. We set up our base camp at the confluence of Telephone and Cave Creeks, in a large meadow near our target trails and with terrific views – but the only trees suitable for hanging a shower were either half a mile (1 km) away or right along one of the creeks. But a nearby clump of shrubs, perhaps head high, made an ideal shower stall.

      But I think this product's real edge over other shower units is the reliable water pressure. A few foot pumps and it's ready to go, and the pressure exceeds by plenty that provided by the gravity drip on any other system that I have used. It's rather like the spray from a hose attached to a kitchen sink, more than enough to allow me quickly and completely to lather up or rinse off. The squeeze trigger makes for easy on and off, another major advance over a gravity system, and equally easy directing the spray exactly where it's needed or wanted. That makes the Helio a big water saver. A full container, eleven liters (just under three gallons), easily supplied enough shower water for three dirty workers.

      I can maintain the pressure with a few pumps whenever it begins to wane. NEMO's instructions state that the system cannot be over-pressurized. In my brief experience I've found that NEMO's claim that a fully-pressurized tank yields 5-7 minutes of pressure to be conservative.

      The 6.5-foot (2 m) hose is long enough so that this tall guy can spray anywhere with only minimal bending over, conquering yet another drawback of a gravity system. (The only strong branch within reach always seems to be only three or four feet above ground. Try taking a shower when crouching or kneeling to appreciate how much the hose helps.)

      The Helio aids other backcountry chores. It's handy for washing dishes or cleaning gear. This can be particularly useful when car camping. On one of my car camping trips it really helped with a post-s'mores clean up of two small children. I have used the Helio at home for bathing my dog, a 100-pound (45 kg) creature who refuses to climb into a shower or tub.

      The only significant drawback I can report is the obvious one – the Helio is a heavy and bulky item, difficult to fit into a pack and another kilo or so of pack weight. Actually the unit doesn't weigh much more than my solar shower but I can't always find a place in my backpack for a hatbox. To be fair, NEMO doesn't claim otherwise; in its marketing the company emphasizes trailhead and similar uses (such as after surfing). On a base camp backcountry trip though I firmly believe it's worth the effort to pack it in. Certainly on my recent service trip it was a big hit with my volunteers, five college coeds none of whom had ever previously backpacked. And with me.

      A minor complaint is the small fill port, only one inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. This generally means I must fill the water container from another vessel such as a water bottle or coffee pot.

      I cleaned the Helio after returning home from the service trip by rinsing with water laced with a few drops of bleach. It's difficult to expel every drop of water when emptying the water container, so if I break camp early the unit will be packed wet. The case has aeration holes that help drying, but I'll likely add an anti-mildew product to its clean-up bath occasionally.

      NEMO's only other care caution is to store the unit away from direct sunlight. That complicated our service trip experiment of duplicating a solar shower's ability to provide hot water. We tried wrapping it, full of water, in a black garbage bag. The result was lukewarm water, better than the icy stream from which the water came but nowhere near hot.

      Summary

      I think the Helio is an ideal product for car camping, base camp backpacking, or trip when support (stock or boat) is available. My compliments to NEMO Equipment, Inc. for an ingenious and truly useful addition to my gear closet.
    • chcoa
      Thank you Richard! PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT! Thanks for your Owner s Review. It has been added to the Owner Review Queue and will
      Message 2 of 4 , Sep 9 8:52 PM
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        Thank you Richard!


        PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT!

        Thanks for your Owner's Review. It has been added to the Owner Review Queue and will be picked up by an Edit Moderator soon. If you are new to BackpackGearTest.org, welcome to the community! The Editors will work with you, within their own time constraints, to get your first two Owner Reviews approved and upload in a timely manner. Do not worry if nothing happens with it for several days. All our Editors are volunteers and your report will be subject to an official edit within fourteen days. If you have not had a response from an Edit Moderator via the Yahoo Groups list within this timeframe, please let me know directly at jdeben(at)hotmail.com

        To assist in this process, if this is your first Owner Review we ask that you post only ONE Owner Review for edit at a time. Our experience is that it is more efficient for both the Editors and
        yourself, if you post your first review, have it edited, approved and uploaded before you post your second and subsequent reviews.

        Once your first two Owner Reviews have been approved and you have submitted your Tester Agreement you will be eligible to start applying for Tests. If you'd like more assistance or guidance with the process you can request a mentor by sending an email to Jenn K., the mentor coordinator, at mentor (at) backpackgeartest.org.

        You may receive edits or comments from other members of the group. These edits and comments, while not official, should be considered carefully, and if you find them substantial, revise and re-post your review. Incorporating member edits and re-submitting to the list
        will usually result in a better review, as well as making things easier for the official Editor. Please put REVISED in the subject line of your re-submitted review if you take this route or make any
        changes to your review BEFORE the review has been taken by an Edit Moderator.

        Additionally, it is important for you to monitor the Yahoo Groups list to keep track of the progress of your Owner Review. Once an Editor has taken your OR and made the necessary edits they will post their comments to the list with EDIT in the subject line. Once you have incorporated these edits into your review please use REPOST in the subject line. When your OR has been approved by the Editor they will use APPROVED in the subject line.

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        Regards
        Jamie DeBenedetto
        Editors Team Director

         

         



        --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, <backpackgeartest@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

        Fellow editors, for someone's blue pencil. HTML version at http://tinyurl.com/k78mokj

        Happy September, Richard

        ****************

        NEMO Helio Pressure Shower
        Owner Review by Richard Lyon
        September 6, 2013


        Personal Details and Backpacking Background
        Male, 67 years old
        Height: 6' 4" (1.93 m)
        Weight: 200 lb (91 kg)
        Email address: Montana DOT angler AT gmail DOT com
        Home: Bozeman, Montana USA

        I'm in my fifth decade of backpacking, undertaken mostly in the Northern Rockies, where I now live. I do a weeklong trip every summer, and often take three-day trips. I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at altitudes 5000 to 13000 ft (1500-4000 m). I prefer base camp backpacking, a long hike in with day trips from camp. I'm always seeking ways to reduce my pack load, but still usually choose a bit more weight over foregoing camp conveniences I've come to expect.

        Product Description and Details

        The Helio Pressure Shower is portable freestanding system that greatly simplifies taking a shower in the backcountry by replacing gravity with pumped-in air to provide water pressure. The Helios has four principal components: foot pump, rubber hose, spray nozzle, and water container. Fill the container with water and set it upright, add pressure by opening a valve and then stepping on the pump, extend the hose, and squeeze the handle on the nozzle for a backcountry or trailhead dousing. The working pieces compact down into a small cylindrical carrying case with neon green sidewalls. There's a handle atop the water container for carriage, with a warning not to use the handle for hanging a water-filled container.

        Manufacturer: NEMO Equipment, Inc.
        Website: http://www.nemoequipment.com I highly recommend the short video on the Helio's product page (under Camp Tools) as an illustration of how the product works.
        Weight: listed 22 oz / 650 g, measured 23 oz / 652 g
        Packed weight: listed: 25 oz / 710 g, measured 26 oz /737 g
        Height: listed 17 in / 43 cm extended, 5.5 in / 17 cm packed; verified accurate
        Diameter: listed 8.5 in / 22 cm; verified accurate
        Capacity: listed 11 liters (2.9 gallons), verified accurate.
        MSRP: $99 US
        Warranty: The Helio has a lifetime warranty against defects in manufacturing or materials, as do all NEMO products.

        Field Conditions

        I've used the Helio on three weekend car camping trips in Montana and Wyoming and, most recently, on a weeklong backpack service trip in the Scapegoat Wilderness in Montana's Rocky Mountain Front. Temperature at time of usage, almost always late afternoon or early evening, varied from 45-85 F (7-30 C). All use has been in dry weather, sometimes overcast but usually sunny. Altitudes were between 5000 and 6000 feet (1500-1800 m). The service trip consisted of a thirteen-mile (20 km) hike to base camp, daily hikes to worksites along the trail, and a return to the trailhead at the end of the week.

        I've also used the Helio after several day hikes in Montana and Wyoming this spring and summer, at temperatures similar to those on the service trip.

        Observations

        The Helio represents breakthrough technology in its (admittedly narrow) niche. With this product it's easy to take a shower almost anywhere water is available. None of the other products or methods I've tried can approach that result.

        Readers of my Owner Reviews and Test Reports know that every summer I perform at least one week of backcountry trail maintenance. Almost all such work occurs in designated Wilderness areas, a consequence of which is a strictly enforced ban on power tools. A working day is seven or eight hours of hiking (in work clothes, carrying tools) and manual labor. Back in camp at the end of the day I'm hot, dusty, dirty, and tired. A shower gives both physical and psychological relief. That's why I try to include the means to take one in my kit.

        Until I found the Helio every system I had used depended on gravity. Free and reliable gravity may be, but to make an effective shower it requires finding a way to suspend the water six or seven feet (≈ 2 m) above the ground, not always an easy task. Water is heavy. The weight of a solar shower filled with three gallons (11-12 L) of water, the Helio's capacity, has broken off many a tree branch. And hanging requires that I find a branch in a convenient location, convenience being dictated by proximity to the water source, privacy requirements, and a politically correct Leave-No-Trace distance from a stream or lake. With the Helio, on the other hand, I can set up the shower at any suitably private location.

        The recent service trip sharply illustrated this. We set up our base camp at the confluence of Telephone and Cave Creeks, in a large meadow near our target trails and with terrific views – but the only trees suitable for hanging a shower were either half a mile (1 km) away or right along one of the creeks. But a nearby clump of shrubs, perhaps head high, made an ideal shower stall.

        But I think this product's real edge over other shower units is the reliable water pressure. A few foot pumps and it's ready to go, and the pressure exceeds by plenty that provided by the gravity drip on any other system that I have used. It's rather like the spray from a hose attached to a kitchen sink, more than enough to allow me quickly and completely to lather up or rinse off. The squeeze trigger makes for easy on and off, another major advance over a gravity system, and equally easy directing the spray exactly where it's needed or wanted. That makes the Helio a big water saver. A full container, eleven liters (just under three gallons), easily supplied enough shower water for three dirty workers.

        I can maintain the pressure with a few pumps whenever it begins to wane. NEMO's instructions state that the system cannot be over-pressurized. In my brief experience I've found that NEMO's claim that a fully-pressurized tank yields 5-7 minutes of pressure to be conservative.

        The 6.5-foot (2 m) hose is long enough so that this tall guy can spray anywhere with only minimal bending over, conquering yet another drawback of a gravity system. (The only strong branch within reach always seems to be only three or four feet above ground. Try taking a shower when crouching or kneeling to appreciate how much the hose helps.)

        The Helio aids other backcountry chores. It's handy for washing dishes or cleaning gear. This can be particularly useful when car camping. On one of my car camping trips it really helped with a post-s'mores clean up of two small children. I have used the Helio at home for bathing my dog, a 100-pound (45 kg) creature who refuses to climb into a shower or tub.

        The only significant drawback I can report is the obvious one – the Helio is a heavy and bulky item, difficult to fit into a pack and another kilo or so of pack weight. Actually the unit doesn't weigh much more than my solar shower but I can't always find a place in my backpack for a hatbox. To be fair, NEMO doesn't claim otherwise; in its marketing the company emphasizes trailhead and similar uses (such as after surfing). On a base camp backcountry trip though I firmly believe it's worth the effort to pack it in. Certainly on my recent service trip it was a big hit with my volunteers, five college coeds none of whom had ever previously backpacked. And with me.

        A minor complaint is the small fill port, only one inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. This generally means I must fill the water container from another vessel such as a water bottle or coffee pot.

        I cleaned the Helio after returning home from the service trip by rinsing with water laced with a few drops of bleach. It's difficult to expel every drop of water when emptying the water container, so if I break camp early the unit will be packed wet. The case has aeration holes that help drying, but I'll likely add an anti-mildew product to its clean-up bath occasionally.

        NEMO's only other care caution is to store the unit away from direct sunlight. That complicated our service trip experiment of duplicating a solar shower's ability to provide hot water. We tried wrapping it, full of water, in a black garbage bag. The result was lukewarm water, better than the icy stream from which the water came but nowhere near hot.

        Summary

        I think the Helio is an ideal product for car camping, base camp backpacking, or trip when support (stock or boat) is available. My compliments to NEMO Equipment, Inc. for an ingenious and truly useful addition to my gear closet.
      • rayestrella1
        Hi Richard, Great review on a cool product. I have been thinking about those since I saw it at the previous OR Show. Your trail camp was the perfect use in my
        Message 3 of 4 , Sep 14 4:59 AM
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          Hi Richard,

           

          Great review on a cool product. I have been thinking about those since I saw it at the previous OR Show. Your trail camp was the perfect use in my opinion. Just a couple things for you. Once finished you may place it at:

           

          Reviews > Personal Hygiene > Showers > NEMO Helio Pressure Shower


          See you on the next one,

           

          Ray

           

          *** the Helio is a heavy and bulky item, difficult to fit into a pack and another kilo or so of pack weight.

           

          Need a weight conversion. (Or just say “another good amount of pack weight”.)

           

           

           

          *** Certainly on my recent service trip it was a big hit with my volunteers, five college coeds none of whom had ever previously backpacked. And with me.

           

          edit: I think the “And with me.”, reads funny. Should be in the first sentence, like “me and my volunteers,”

           



        • richardglyon@att.net
          Ray - The OR Show is how I found out about it too. Duly revised and uploaded, and Tests/OR folder copy deleted. Richard
          Message 4 of 4 , Sep 15 3:50 PM
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            Ray -

            The OR Show is how I found out about it too. Duly revised and uploaded, and Tests/OR folder copy deleted.

            Richard
          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.