Survival Gear Review: Helio Pressure Shower

If you are like me, the biggest luxury you will miss when the SHTF is a nice hot shower, that and a toilet that flushes.  I do a fair amount of Bug Out Bag Showerbackwoods camping and fishing in the Rocky Mountains, so going without a shower is something that I do often without complaint.  But when I get home, a hot shower is the first thing that I do.  When I take my wife camping with me, it is the most common complaint that I hear – “I wish we had a shower.”  With that said, we recently saw a product that we felt was an improvement to the black hanging shower bag that you see at most camping stores, the Nemo Helio Pressure Shower.

By Murphy, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

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The Low Down

The Helio Pressure Shower is a nice luxury to have during a pack trip, but takes up a bit of pressure shower for back countrythe weight and space allotment for that luxury. Consider the trade-off carefully.  On the other hand if you are stuck at a forward operating post, car camping, bugging in, a hunting expedition, surfing, or doing something where a little extra piece of gear wouldn’t be a burden, then this would be a great piece of gear to have along for the trip.  Packed in its case, this is about the size of a cowboy hat, without the brim.

The Helio Pressure Shower is a small ‘collapsible’ water tank with a foot operated pump, which consists of a bladder with a one way valve.  This pump bladder has a disc of very open cell foam that expands after it is compressed, thus drawing in another batch of air each time. Manually fill the tank most of the way with water, seal it closed, and then pump it up to pressurize it.   The more ‘empty’ the tank is of water, the more you have to pump air into that volume to achieve adequate pressure.  I found that it’s nearly impossible to fill it more than approximately 80% full with water – as any water in excess of that ~80% spills out while trying to ‘close the lid’ (seal the tank). With practice and technique I imagine this percentage of water fill could increase appreciably.  As the product description says, it only takes a few pumps to achieve adequate pressure, and the pressure doesn’t need to be topped off very frequently with additional pumps during use.

Filling the tank is easier with a bit of pre-planning.  The opening into which you need to direct your water is an opening about 1 ½ inch back country camping showerin diameter at the top of the tank.  If you plan to hold this in a stream, or under a small waterfall to get water into it, you may get less than the 80% I mentioned above.  I always carry the cut off top portion of a one gallon plastic milk jug when I pack.  With the jug’s lid screwed on it can serve as a scoop/spout when turned upside down.  With the lid not on, it can serve as a funnel.  This is very light, and takes up almost no space in a pack, as it can have other items stuffed into it in the pack.  It’s much easier to scoop water from an appropriate water source and pour it into this tank (or my dirty water tank in my gravity water filter) than it is to hold the tank itself in the water source.

Also Read: Close Quarters Survival

The 7 ft hose that the shower comes with is certainly nice for holding over one’s head while showering but the other side of that coin is that trying to stow 7 ft. of neoprene tubing is a challenge when it comes time to pack this thing back up into its case.  Having a shorter hose, and simply bending over to wet my head would have been perfectly acceptable to me.  The shower head itself is pretty much exactly like the sprayer I’ve seen on numerous kitchen sinks. Speaking of stowing, it does take a bit of technique to collapse the tank and other bits down into a properly sized bundle to fit back into the zippered carry bag, but it’s not too difficult.


The Helio Pressure Shower heats water decently to a comfortable temperature, even for an open air shower; holds a decent capacity in back country camping showerthe tank; pressure is nice.  Having a shower can be a big morale booster during a SHTF event not to mention good hygiene can lessen the impact of disease and sickness.


The Helio Pressure Shower takes up a fair amount of space in your pack for a specialty luxury item, so it probably will not make it into your Ultimate Bug Out bag unless you wife is Kim Kardashian.  Also, although the product feels very sturdy, its durability is unknown to me.


I pack with llamas, and while I like the idea of having a warm pressurized shower, I wouldn’t carry this on most pack trips due to the Top Survival Blogspace and weight. When I pack in for hunting trips, I do take a hanging solar shower, and it takes less space, and weighs about ½ as much. The actual difference in pressure between a hanging shower and the pressurized tank of the Helio Pressure Shower is noticeable, but not enough to matter to me. Taking a shower in the open air of the back country can be ‘exhilarating’, and that’s the bigger issue – not the water pressure.

I did not use the Helio Pressure Shower for any other purpose than personal hygiene; no dish washing, rinsing sand off my feet, etc. Once again, I’m sure it would be quite nice for those purposes, as long as you have justified the weight and space in whatever your means of transport.  I can also imagine this shower could be a good replacement for household water if there was an emergency situation where you no longer had water pressure in your house or apartment.  In a tight spot this could be a very welcomed product indeed.  All in all, it’s a quality product that just might fit into your preparedness or camping plans.

All Photos By Survival Cache Team

5 thoughts on “Survival Gear Review: Helio Pressure Shower”

  1. Cool idea on the half-of-a gallon jug. Looking at it, I guess it's pretty obvious, but I'll ask: it's a solar-heated shower, right? Heated by the dark outer material in sunshine?

    All in all, a pretty cool product. Wonder how that foot pump would hold up over extended use?

  2. Interesting Article. Recently, I went 5 days without a shower/ and shave. AS it turned out Arizona had a few good rains. Day 6, I took a towel and bar of soap outside ( about 58 decrees ) had a nice shower. I did this last Summer
    just before our Monsoon season. Had a great shower then. I went for cover when a huge bolt of lightning
    knocked over our telephone poll. LOL . I'm not going to carry a shower in my BOB bag, I will put one in my
    SUV bag. Thank you, enjoy you articles.

  3. When I used to go out on fires, sometimes we would take a five gallon bucket, drill about ten holes in the bottom and provide showers with those. Buckets can carry gear also. Stay prepared my friends!

  4. I had a tank on top of a small pot bellied stove with a spigot that was over the tub inside a cabin and a wood barrel that held water to bucket into the bath tub they had to be filled by a hand pump but it worked well and in winter it kept the inside humid enough to not have cracked skin and lips and warm.
    the tub was piped out to the garden and you had to keep a plug and a brick on it or things could crawl in through the drain.
    Your night time evacuations were kept in a thunder mug or chamber pot if you had to take a dump it was a trip to the outhouse.

    What a cabin was in the past is not what people think of today all it was is a wind break or bat & board construction
    people used old news paper and flour glue mixed with DDT to kill bugs trying to eat the glue or paper.
    all this did was keep major breezes from stealing the heat and keep out flying insects.
    A iron stove leaked enough smoke that it kept the bugs at bay.
    old mattresses had no springs they could be rolled up like a futon pallet and stuffed in a canvass bag and hung from a rafter the bed was a 4 post not fancy just to hang your clothes and boots off the floor and had wood slats.very spartan living and in a one room affair.

    Light came from tin coal oil lamp and candles stick kitchen matches and there was a simple glass hurricane lamp
    hung on a wall bracket with a reflector you did not move it fire was a real threat
    other light was a angle head military flashlight and a carton of batteries not exactly the Hilton.

    this is where a good foot locker made of thin cedar to store your clothes and keep mice and bugs out of your stuff.
    people in other places have only enough to fill a suit case and bed roll we are way too spoiled I have more in a 10 foot square than they will have in their whole life.

    we are so spoiled we do not check our clothes for bugs or shake them off before we put them on when your living with no insecticide all kinds of things will move in to your personals while you sleep.

    more than just about hot water but 5 gallon bucket with a snap on off shower head if your frugal a shower can be done with 2 gallons of water do not have the bucket over your head it is heavy enough if it falls to snap your neck.
    and it needs to be a metal bucket not plastic where the handle pulls out. and falls.

    it is a way different world you have to treat everything with care as there are no hardware stores.
    I see these "CABINS" on camping and hunting shows LMAO most are luxury accommodations compared to the sheds I have stayed in.


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