Coleman Hot Water On Demand - Fiberglass RV

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Old 10-29-2010, 09:18 PM   #1
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Name: Jesse
Trailer: 1984 Scamp 13'
Posts: 818
Coleman Hot Water On Demand

I did a lot of research on the interwebs, and finally decided to purchase a Coleman Hot Water On Demand system. I went (nearly) all out and got the shower attachment and the padded carrying case, too.

I know it has been mentioned on here, and no doubt a few of you have them... but for those who aren't familiar with it, there are some good youtube videos out there... and for those who don't want to search youtube, I will describe it briefly: It is a device that uses a rechargeable battery and a 1lb propane cylinder to pump and heat water. It includes a 5 gallon collapsable water tank, but the water can be pumped out of a bucket, too. Also, they have an optional city water hookup. You just turn the knob to anywhere from "warm" to "hot" and the water starts coming out of a spigot and is warm within 3-4 seconds and too hot to touch in less than 10 seconds.

I can't wait to use it for washing dishes, washing my hands, and ultimately for taking showers when boon docking. A lot of our state parks are closing this week... or at least the bath houses are closing. Some camping areas remain open, though. It has been in the 70s the last few days, and I would love to extend my camping season. I got my wife to agree to taking showers and using a PETT toilet in a pop-up enclosure. We'll see how it actually works out in the next month or so.

Just wanted to post this for anyone who is not familiar with the device, and also to hear any opinions from people who have used them (or similar water heating systems).

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Old 10-31-2010, 05:50 PM   #2
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Trailer: 1981 Boler 13 ft / 2005 Dodge Caravan
Posts: 168
I just purchased this unit also.As the trailer is in winter storage we will not be using it until the Spring.However we thought we had better try it out to make sure everything worked.It really is INSTANT hot water.I know its going to be a wonderful addition to camper.Up to now we have used a 25 cup percolator to keep water heated for dishes etc.This is OK as long as we have electric hookup not so great when boondocking.The optional city water accessory is something that I am glad I purchased.The unit is kind of pricy but I think it is well worth the money invested.

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Old 10-31-2010, 06:56 PM   #3
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Name: Dave
Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact Jr; 1972 Astro (Havasu?)
Posts: 196
When I was still tent camping, I bought this:

Of course it was about $100 less then. As I will have onboard tank and pump; all I will be using is the heating unit, plumbed into the propane system.
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Old 10-31-2010, 11:43 PM   #4
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Name: N/A
Trailer: 1985 AND 1988 Casita Patriot Deluxe 13'ers. 10 eggs shy of a carton!
Posts: 184
I have one. I haven't used it in about a year, but I used it extensively for car camping. It's a pain to use for showers, since you have to hold the water to "On" using the dial, but it was great for tea, soups, washing up and so on.

You'll go through a gallon of water pretty quickly. We never used the collapsible container, opting for a 5-gallon pail.

They're kinda heavy; as a tip, I put non-skid drawer lining under it when I use plastic tables to keep it from sliding..likewise, to prevent damage to countertops.

Be careful; as with propane camp stoves, you need good ventilation to use it.
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Old 11-01-2010, 01:00 PM   #5
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Name: Jesse
Trailer: 1984 Scamp 13'
Posts: 818
Michele, which one did you use, the Coleman? On mine, you don't have to hold anything for warm water... just turn it to the temperature you want and it keeps flowing. The only thing you have to hold is the HOT position, but that is far too hot for showers (about 150 degrees!).

What would be nice would be an on/off switch at the shower head. If you take a Navy-style shower (get wet, turn water off, soap up, then rinse), you have to reach out of your shower tent to turn the dial off, then back on again when you are ready to rinse. Not a deal-breaker, though.

Dave, I looked hard at the Zodi shower, but there were a couple of things that didn't work for me. 1) It needs to be easy enough for my wife to use, or I don't get to bring it. 2) The single burner Zodi only gets so hot without recirculating the water and the two-burner one is too expensive (in my opinion). 3) The Coleman has the nice flip-out spigot, which makes it easy to do hands-free washing and rinsing (Zodi does have an add-on stand, which would accomplish the same thing), and 4) I think the Coleman is in a nicer package. Just about everything is onboard, including both the 12v and 120v charging cords. The battery is inside the unit. There is very little "setup." And the auto igniter is a plus, too.

I'm not bad-mouthing the Zodi... it is a hundred bucks cheaper than the Coleman, which is quite a chunk of change. Like I said, I looked real hard at the Zodi, but I knew the wife wouldn't like it, and that is the number one concern when it comes to these kinds of purchases!
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Old 11-01-2010, 02:58 PM   #6
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Name: James
Trailer: Uhaul CT-13
Posts: 360
I saw these coleman's too, thanks for the review. I don't think I need one yet but glad to hear the review on it to help any future decisions.
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Old 11-01-2010, 03:46 PM   #7
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Name: Terry
Trailer: 1996 Casita Freedom Deluxe 17 ft
Posts: 372
In my travels, I've seen two types of "instant on" water heaters in other countries:

1) What I call a suicide shower. That's a shower head with a couple wires coming out of it and hooked into the AC power. These seem to work alright, but make you very nervous, especially in countries where the electrical code is written on the back of a burrito wrapper.
2) Propane/LPG systems that have a pilot light and deliver hot water when there is a demand. These work sometimes and deliver the right temperature as long as you have just the perfect flow of water, the unit is in good working condition, and the moon is in the correct phase.

The Coleman system seems like it's well designed and reliable. Why don't they come up with a system that can be permanently installed in our trailers. Using propane to keep a tank of water at a hot temperature is extremely inefficient.
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Old 11-03-2010, 11:39 AM   #8
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Name: Jesse
Trailer: 1984 Scamp 13'
Posts: 818
I wanted to add something to my review: when I unpacked the water heater, I noticed that the battery compartment door was not closed all the way. I opened it up and realized that the hinge part of the door was broken. There was still a screw holding it on. It looks like it was set down hard on that side and the battery knocked against the door. Just a guess. Anyway, I called Coleman immediately and told them about it. They took my information and told me a new part would arrive in one to two weeks. Well, it has been three business days and I just received the replacement battery door! Good work, Coleman!

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