Amateur philosopher, writer
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surfers showering in israel

Unless your beach has a shower like this one, you’ll need to bring your own. Photo: Zoltan Tasi//Unsplash


The Inertia

The best cure I’ve found for surfing-related cold water exposure is hot water. Some winter sessions, just the thought of the jug of hot water in my car is enough to keep me going for one more wave even when my teeth are chattering.

Described as “better than sex” by some and “the greatest invention since sliced bread” by others, to say that dumping hot water on yourself after cold exercise is a near-religious experience is hardly hyperbole. In winter, surfing becomes a ritual, from struggling into your thick neoprene, to brief moments of glory in pumping surf, to thawing-out in the parking lot. That last part is often long and painful – but with hot water, it can be quick and blissful. Here are the best portable surf showers for incorporating that crucial hot-water component into your winter surfing ritual. Try one of them, you won’t be sorry.

What Are The Best Surf Showers?

Arranged by Price, Low to High.
1. DIY Insulated Jug ($0-15)
2. RazorReef Portable Surf Shower ($38)
3. Insulated Surf Jug ($50)
4. Ivation Portable Outdoor Shower ($35)
5. Nemo Helio ($99)
6. RinseKit Plus/Pod with HotRod Water Heater ($119-250)

What Makes a Good Portable Surf Shower?

Believe it or not, searching “best camp shower” on Google won’t find you the best surf shower unless you know what to look for. There are a few features that make a portable shower a surf shower. The first aspect is insulation. A surf shower needs to be able to keep water hot for a couple hours, maybe even more, while you’re out surfing. That doesn’t mean getting back in from the surf and heating water – it needs to be ready as soon as you get to the car.

The second important factor is water pressure. There’s nothing worse than trying to take a hot shower but finding it doesn’t heat you up because the water flow is so paltry. While some activities like doing the dishes might be better suited to a longer but slower flow of water, getting warm after surfing should be a quick process.

A fitting choice for the post-surf rinse, no?

A fitting choice for the post-surf rinse, no?

1. DIY Insulated Jug ($0-15)

I can almost guarantee that there’s something lying around your house right now that would make an excellent post-surf water jug. Laundry detergent containers are a good one, as are milk jugs, bottled-water containers, your mom’s iced-tea container. The only problem with all of these options is the lack of insulation. But an old wetsuit can easily fix that. Wrapping your makeshift surf jug in neoprene will miraculously take its warmth-retention from 20 minutes to long enough to get a good session in. And I’m no scientist, but I’m pretty sure chopping that old suit up to make a form-fitting sleeve for your surf jug will make the heat last even longer.

razor reef portable surf shower

2. RazorReef Portable Surf Shower ($38)

The insulation of a surf jug married with the convenience of a shower head at a very low cost. The catch? Don’t think you’re getting more than what you paid for – it’s an insulated pump sprayer with a shower head, so the pressure is better than the fine mist you’ll get out of a garden sprayer from your hardware store, but not that much better.

Check Price on Amazon.

insulated surf jug best portable surf showers

3. Insulated Surf Jug ($50)

While you could spend a couple hours of your life looking for an appropriately-sized jug around your house and trying to stitch together a neoprene sleeve for it, you could just buy a ready-made surf jug online. And let me say, these things are freakin’ awesome. The form-fitting neoprene sleeve keeps the water warm for hours, and the wide mouth jug makes for easy filling and provides a prodigiously strong flow of water. My favorite method is to open the front of my suit and fill it with hot water while it’s still on me. Like I said, better than sex.

Check Price on Amazon.

ivation portable outdoor shower best surf showers

4. Ivation Portable Outdoor Shower ($35)

Already have a surf jug but finding yourself eyeing the higher-end surf showers? Check out this rad little guy. battery powered and waterproof, just put one end in your water container and rain hot water on yourself with the other. It’s also rechargeable, so you don’t need to worry about pesky disposable batteries. Video reviews on Amazon show a surprisingly decent amount of water pressure. While it might not replace the glorious flow of the surf jug, this one is for sure going on my wish list.

Check Price on Amazon.

Nemo Helio Best Surf Showers

5. Nemo Helio ($99)

Nemo changed the portable shower game when they released their Helio, which is pressured by a simple foot pump instead of being gravity-fed like many of its competitors. The Nemo Helio provides 5-7 minutes of continuous water flow and doesn’t need to be hung from a tree or your car.

The only downside is the insulation, or lack thereof. The website suggests that you let it “sit in the sun for a hot shower,” which might be fine if you’re out on a hike during the summer, but doesn’t really cut it while surfing in the winter. You could fill it up with hot water and go for the old wetsuit insulation trick, but for just a bit more of an investment you can definitely do better.

Check Price on Amazon, Evo, Backcountry, and REI.

rinsekit pod and plus best surf showers

6. RinseKit Plus/Pod with HotRod Water Heater ($119-250)

If you’re looking for the heaviest hitter in the surf shower category, the buck stops here. Let me break it down for you. $119.99 gets you the 1.5 gallon RinseKit Pod which provides great insulation of hot water, but for a pressurized shower you’ll need to hook it up to a garden hose, which generally don’t have a hot-water option. If you want to fill it with pressurized hot water from your sink you’ll need to snag the Sink Adapter which allows you to fill and pressurize from a sink faucet, or the Pressure Booster Pump to pressurize after you fill, which retails for $40.

You could also go for the two-gallon RinseKit Plus which, for $185, comes with the aforementioned Pressure Booster Pump and an extra half-gallon water capacity.

Both of these options can receive the massive upgrade of the Hot Rod Water Heater ($80), which plugs into your car’s 9 volt socket to heat the water in your RinseKit on the way to the beach. As a holiday special on the RinseKit website, you can snag one of these along with the RinseKit Plus for just $244.

Check Price for the RinseKit Pod and the RinseKit Plus.

Editor’s Note: For more gear reviews and features on The Inertia, click here.

Disclosure: The Inertia may receive a small commission if you make a purchase from the affiliate links included in this feature at no additional cost to you. Our goal is always to entertain, educate, and inspire, and we hope you find this feature useful.

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