Yakima RoadShower 4L – A Durable, Pressurized, On Demand Hot Water System for your Rack
Yakima RoadShower 4L Pressurized and Solar Heated Hot Water on Demand Running on a 5th Gen 4Runner TRD Pro – Full Review and Overview
I can’t say enough good things about this product. It went above and beyond all of my expectations. I’ve had one on my 4Runner for over two years now.
In July of 2019, I was living out of my 4Runner exploring the backcountry and used the shower daily to rinse off after a hike and clean my dishes and other gear. The Yakima RoadShower 4L is a great solution for a heated and pressurized water source when you’re out in the backcountry. Whether you are an offroader, camper or call yourself an overlander, this is a great option to clean yourself up when you are away from home and convenient running water.
From outdoor showers to cleaning gear, the Yakima RoadShower is a great way to add a convenient water source to your build.
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RoadShower 4L (Pressurized & Heated Hot Water On-Demand)
Yakima advertises this product with a 5th Gen 4Runner and a 3rd Gen Tacoma. They clearly understand their market. 🙂
Recently purchased by Yakima, RoadShower makes black powder-coated aluminum tube-shaped tanks with the ability to be pressurized up to 65psi.
The black powder coating serves as a way for the unit to solar heat the water while a top-mounted Schrader valve allows users to pressurize the unit using a bike pump, air compressor or power tank. Users can also pressurize the unit by attaching a garden hose to the top-cap. The top-cap has a safety release so that you cannot over pressurize the tank.
I’ve over-pressurized mine a handful of times and have seen both air and water shoot 20 feet up out of the release valve. The large top cap can also be removed to make filling the shower without the pressure a breeze.
Comes In Multiple Sizes
The RoadShower currently comes in three different sizes; Small (4 gallons), Medium (7 gallons) and Large (10 gallons). Brass fittings are used for all water connection points.
In my experience, these connection points can leak slightly under pressure (single drip leak). I added some plumbers tape to these connection points and haven’t seen a leak since! Each unit has two outlet ports, one on each end of the tube-like tank. Each unit comes with a hose (length dependent on RS size), a garden hose style spray head, an Ikea like wrench to open the top-cap, stick-on thermometer and stainless steel universal mounting hardware.
RoadShower offers a 1-year limited warranty on all of its products. Each unit also includes a loop where users can string a cable through to lock the RoadShower to your roof rack.
Does It Work?
Does solar heating really work? Yes!
I’ve found that the water easily gets above 100 degrees when left in direct sunlight. On cloudy days, I’ve found that the water only gets about 10 degrees warmer than the ambient temperature.
Fully-Pressurized Spraying Power
The pressure is awesome. When fully pressurized, the water comes out harder than your standard garden hose. The spray nozzle allows users to control the flow of water very easily in order to not waste any water.
Depending on your usage, I’ve found that the 7-gallon size lasts me around 4 showers, but this number will vary depending on how long you like your showers to be. You can also use the tank to hold potable water. While I use it only for showering and cleaning, I know some users use it to hold extra drinking/cooking water.
Pros & Cons To Consider
RoadShower also has a number of available accessories to customize your shower for your own needs. RoadShower makes locks, extra brass fittings and showerhead flex nozzles that you can add to your unit.
- Passive heating without the need for propane
- Strong pressure
- Easy to use
- High water capacity vs. comps
- Solar heating won’t work in all conditions
- Heavy (7-gallon medium size – 84lbs when full)
- Mounting can be a challenge depending on your roof rack set up
- Available in 4, 7 & 10-gallon sizes.
- The Patented Design is built strong with welded aluminum construction and durable powder coat finish.
- Brass water connection fittings.
- Large top-cap allows for easy filling.
- Pressurize the tank through the Schrader air valve or a garden hose.
- Pressurize with hand or electric pump – Built-in pressure relief valve safely and automatically tops out at 65 psi (max).
- Included garden hose adapter harnesses the pressure of your home waterspout and fills and pressurizes at the same time.
- Includes a stick-on thermometer strip for the outside of the tank.
- Includes two outlet water ports, one on each end, for convenient water access.
- Included Hose Lengths: Small and Medium 55”, Large 81”.
- Integrated lock loops allow you to lock RoadShower to your roof rack.
- Stainless steel universal mounting hardware fits all Yakima® crossbars and most other roof racks.
- 1-year Limited Warranty.
- RoadShower SM with 4 gallons of water – 53 lbs.
- RoadShower MD with 7 gallons of water – 84 lbs.
- RoadShower LG with 10 gallons of water – 120 lbs.
- Small (4g/53lbs full): L 55.00 in x W 6.10 in x H 4.75 in
- Medium (7g/84lbs full): L 55.00 in x W 7.40 in x H 5.74 in
- Large (10g/120lbs full): L 82.00 in x W 7.40 in x H 5.74 in
- Minimum Crossbar Spread 24.00in
- Maximum Crossbar Spread 50.00in
- Limited One Year Warranty
Operation and Mounting
I have a Gobi Stealth roof rack on my 4runner and have the tank mounted perpendicular to the front of the rack. The included hardware is best used on a tube-like crossbar.
I used some electrical tape to cover the points of contact between the rack and shower. This location, I’ve found, makes a howling noise at highway speeds when the shower is mounted. I don’t mind it, but it could be a detriment for others.
Super Customizable For Easy Setup
The channels on all four sides of the tube make it easy to configure in many different ways to fit your setup.
Fill Up Using a Garden Hose (Or Aquatainer, in my case!)
Unfortunately for me, I do not have a garden hose, so I start by filling up my 7-gallon Aquatainer. I’ll remove the top cap and balance the Aquatainer on top of the shower to fill it.
As the tank fills, air pockets inside will make it seem as if the tank is totally full before the 7 gallons of water are in the tank. I’ll rock my 4Runner from side-to-side while standing on a slider to assist in getting some of the last drops of water in. Close the top-cap and you’re ready to roll.
Getting Ready To Pressurize
When I’m ready to pressurize the shower, I use my ARB Twin Compressor and tire fill kit. Usually, I’ll pressurize the tank when I’m airing back up and getting off the trails. The tank can safely hold pressure for extended periods of time. I’ll usually pressurize the tank to 60psi which will easily last until the tank is out of water.
When ready to use, I’ll open the brass valve and start washing! When not in use, I’ll close the valve until I’m ready to use it again.
When you’re ready to fill the tank with water again, make sure you open the valve on the brass fitting and let all of the excess water/pressure out. If you don’t, the top-cap will be aggressively hard to open and might shoot off like a bullet (I’ve done it before…).
If you’re looking for a durable, pressurized and heated water source for your build, the RoadShower is the perfect answer. It ended up being a product I use way more than I thought I would and something that works a lot better than I was expecting.
The RoadShower is great for extended trips where you want to clean up more than using a wilderness wipe and make cleaning gear in the backcountry a simple task. The unit is durable and able to take a beating off-road without failure. I would buy this system again in a heartbeat.
Comments or Questions? Leave them below!