BougeRV Portable Propane Water Heater Review: A Hot Shower Anywhere You Go
Perfect for Vanlifers, Surfers, and Active Outdoor Enthusiasts Who Tend to Get a Little Dirty
There is nothing quite like a hot shower after a long day of playing in the outdoors. Unfortunately, that luxury isn’t always attainable while camping, even when traveling in an RV. Sure, most motorhomes and travel trailers include a shower of some kind, but many camper vans and teardrops simply lack the space for such an amenity.
Thankfully, there are some excellent options to overcome this problem. Most notably, the new Portable Propane Outdoor Camping Water Heater from BougeRV. This handy device is small enough to fit in any vehicle and provides hot water on demand wherever you need it. That makes it a must-have for vanlifers, car campers, or any outdoor enthusiast who needs to clean up after taking part in their favorite activities.
We recently had the chance to put the water heater to the test and found it to be a very compelling product. One that will definitely be popular with RV campers and overlanders looking to add a little luxury to their lives.
Hot Water on Demand
For a product that measures just 15.7″ x 6.7″ x 12.2″ and weighs 13.7 pounds, the BougeRV Water Heater has a lot of features and functionality. The unit comes with a built-in 2500mAh rechargeable battery that gives it a runtime of about an hour without an external power source. Alternatively, the device can be plugged into an AC outlet or portable power station using the included power adapter. A second cable allows it to draw power from a 12V DC port in a vehicle, as well, giving users several options for keeping the gadget running at home or in the field.
Despite having a powerful rechargeable battery onboard, that isn’t what heats the water. Instead, the device relies on propane supplied by a 1 lb. canister connected to a regulator on one end. Once installed, the propane provides fuel to the onboard heating elements, which in turn heat the water to the desired temperature.
An integrated pump pulls the water into the device via a hose that connects to the back of the unit. That hose can be dropped into any water source, although a bucket or tub of fresh water is highly recommended. As the water passes through the heater, it is quickly warmed to the selected temperature, which can range from 104ºF to 122ºF. The liquid then sprays out via a shower head attachment that connects to another port on the device. Water flow is fast and efficient, with excellent pressure.
The entire process is relatively seamless, especially after you’ve used the water heater a time or two. It quickly becomes second nature to attach the propane canister, connect the hose and shower head, and turn the device on to begin pumping in water. Within just a few minutes, you’ll have a hot shower, even while boondocking or overlanding.
On the Go Convenience
The portable water heater is helpful in more ways than just being able to take a hot shower anywhere you need one. It is also great for bathing the dog in the backyard or washing down outdoor gear after a muddy day on the trail. I used it to scrub off my mountain bike before putting it back in my vehicle, for instance, and it’s equally helpful at hosing off dirty boots. Surfers will appreciate its ability to clean their boards and rinse the saltwater off their wetsuits and bodies. The hot water comes in handy during post-meal clean-up, too, making short work of pots, pans, and dishes.
It’s hard to overstate just how convenient BougeRV’s portable water heater actually is. The unit is easy to transport and works great anywhere you go. The main challenge is finding a clean water source, which during testing usually came via a 5-gallon water jug. Theoretically, the pump can draw water from just about any body of water, but to keep it running properly, you should avoid dropping it into a lake, river, or stream.
Using the water heater in the field was extremely easy. A single propane canister lasted a surprisingly long time, and the built-in lithium battery ran for more than an hour with sporadic use. Plugging the unit into an AC outlet, DC port, or portable power station allowed it to run almost indefinitely, greatly extending its use at the campsite. Essentially, as long as you have fresh water, you’ll be good to go.
One of the best aspects of the portable water heater is how easy it is to use. Everything is clearly labeled, so you’ll always plug the pump hose and shower head into the correct ports. The power input for the pump is separate from the charging port, and a digital display shows the current water temperature and battery level at all times. A knob on the front of the unit adjusts the flame in the heating element to raise or lower the temp to the desired level.
Simple and versatile, the BougeRV Portable Propane Water Heater is an excellent addition to any RV, overland rig, or car camping vehicle. The unit is fast, efficient, and sets up very quickly. It also happens to be very good at its job, which is providing hot water wherever and whenever you need it. And after having one of these at your disposal, you’ll find plenty of ways to use it.
The device delivers a lot of functionality for its $349.99 price tag. If you don’t already have access to hot water in your vehicle, this is a very affordable way to add it. But even if you do have a shower onboard your RV, you’ll likely find the device incredibly useful just because it is so portable and easy to use. After testing the unit for the past month, I’m already wondering how I ever got along without it.
Find out more at BougeRV.com. And RV.com readers can take 16% off sitewide by using the discount code “AFF16”