The Joolca Hottap V2 is one of Australia’s most popular portable hot water systems, and for good reason.
But with so many portable hot water systems to choose from, it can be really confusing so we wrote this review to help you decide whether the Joolca Hottap is right for you.
We Are No Longer Recommending This Product…..
Due to a variety of feedback received we are no longer recommending the Joolca Hottap products. If you are looking for a portable hot water system we recommend you consider the Smarttek Black.
Joolca Hottap V2 Overview
Who is Joolca?
Joolca is a Melbourne-based family company whose mission is to make the great outdoors more comfortable, achievable, and enjoyable for everyone.
The Hottap Portable Hot Water System product and accessories they create are how they currently fulfill that mission.
Though they are currently focused on water products, they have big plans to provide solutions for power, heating, and cooling in the future.
The Joolca Hottap V2
The Joolca Hottap V2 has recently been released, superseding the original (and very popular!) Joolca Hottap.
Though Joolca is new to the camping gear scene in the last few years, the Hottap has quickly become one of the most popular portable hot water systems in Australia.
If you are looking for a hot shower while camping, then the Hottap could be for you.
The Joolca Hottap prides itself on being the most compact and lightweight all-in-one portable hot water system on the market. Designed for simplicity, the Hottap is amazingly simple to set up.
You just connect your water hoses and connect your gas, and it is ready to use.
Joolca Hottap V2 Kits
Hottap V2 Essentials
There are multiple different Hottap kits on offer that have varying levels of included accessories. They start at $399 and increase with the added inclusions.
The Hottap Essentials Kit is the basic Hottap offer. The essentials kit includes the Hottap V2 and the Ensuite Plumbing Pack.
The basic Hottap kit comes with the Hottap V2 unit, gas hose, two feet (that hold the Hottap V2 upright), a quick gas coupler, and 2 x D-Cell batteries that power the unit.
The Ensuite Plumbing Pack includes the showerhead, shower handle (including on/off switch), 5m of water hose, and the magnetic shower handle holder.
Hottap V2 Outing Kit
The Hottap Outing Kit includes the same components of the Essentials Kit (Hottap V2 plus Ensuite Plumbing Pack) with a River Pump Kit included as well.
Given that the Hottap unit does not have onboard water pumping if you are away from a pressurized water source (garden tap, caravan, gravity tank) you will need a separate external pump to push water into the Hottap unit.
The River Pump Kit includes a weatherproof 12v water pump, two-stage suction filter, intake and outlet hoses, with a 5m 12v cigarette lighter cord to power the pump. This is not the only pump you could use though.
Theoretically, you could use an alternative pump and hose, as long as you can fit a garden hose-type connector to it, but the Joolca pump will fit and work seamlessly so is recommended unless you are very mechanical-minded.
In addition, the Joolca Off-Grid Pump has water filters and other protective features to keep your Joolca Hottap working better for longer.
If grit from a creek, dam, or river is sucked through your water hose into the Joolca unit, it could cause significant internal damage requiring expensive repairs.
Hottap V2 Nomad Kit
The Hottap Nomad Kit is the premium Hottap offering, including the same components of the Outing Kit with an additional dual-purpose Sink/Carry Tub, and Faucet Plumbing Kit.
As the name suggests, the Sink/Carry Tub acts as a carry tub for your Hottap unit when in storage or transit.
Then when you are camping the same carry tub can be used as a camping sink with drying racks. I really like the ingenuity and dual purpose of this sink/carry tub, and this design innovation is where Joolca sets itself apart from the competition.
The Faucet Plumbing Kit is an alternative to the standard showerhead and provides a faucet-style water outlet for other kitchens/domestic uses.
It includes its own additional hoses, faucet, and handle that includes an on/off switch.
This video demonstrates an unboxing of a Nomad Kit showing you everything inside:
The Best Joolca Hottap V2 Kit For You
The best Joolca Hottap kit for you will depend on your specific situation and needs. In most cases I recommend the Hottap Outing Kit, so you have the Off-Grid Pump included.
But if you can afford it, I am blown away by the design of the Sink/Carry Tub that is included in the Hottap Nomad Kit, and think it is worth getting if you can.
Using The Hottap V2
The water flow is controlled by a switch on the showerhead so once you have set your desired water temperature configured (on the unit), you turn on the showerhead switch, and the hot water comes out.
When the Hottap senses water moving through the pipes, it turns on the heating system, and when it senses the water has stopped, it shuts itself down. This makes it both safe and easy to use.
Hottap Use Cases
Most people use the Hottap to wash and shower when they are camping, however, the Hottap can be used for more than just showering.
In a camping scenario, a shower is going to be one of the most common uses for the Hottap, whether that be washing and cleaning at the end of the day, or getting sand off after some time at the beach.
But in addition to showering, many also use it in the camp kitchen as well. Joolca manufactures a faucet-style head you can attach to the water hose (as opposed to a showerhead), that provides a conventional spout to use to pour water into a mug, or kitchen sink for washing dishes.
Aside from camping the Joolca Hottap can also be used in many domestic situations as well.
They are super popular for washing dogs and other animals, and can also be a good shower substitute at home if you are undergoing repairs or maintenance in your home bathroom.
Ease of Use
A standout feature of the Joolca Hottap is its ease of use. All fixtures and fittings are color-coded quick connections and designed for rapid setup.
Once you have connected your water, gas, and output hose, you just turn the temperature and water flow knobs to the desired setting and it is ready to use.
This video shows how to set up the Joolca Hottap:
There are two main ways that portable hot water systems are potentially dangerous. There is one potential concern that the heating mechanism (which includes a pilot light) could cause a fire by igniting some other nearby object.
It is also conceivable that water could be heated too much, and burn/scold you, or your child, or whatever else you may be washing (pets, etc.).
The Joolca Hottap has designed features that eliminate both of these dangers. Firstly the pilot light is only ignited while there is actively water running through the water pipes of the system.
When the unit is not in use this pilot light shuts down, so if your Hottap accidentally fell over, or had some flammable material draped over it, it is very safe.
The risk of burn from hot water is also eliminated by the Hottap as the unit includes a microchip that prevents the water heater from heating water above 50 degrees.
The Hottap has an inbuilt LCD display so you know what your unit is doing at all times. It shows you the current temperature, water flow, and status information of whether the unit is on and heating water.
Is There A Water Pump Included?
The Joolca Hottap unit does not pump water itself. The Hottap unit is optimized solely for efficiently heating water that is fed into the unit.
Because of this, to utilize the Hottap as is, you need to connect it to some form of pressurized water.
In a camping situation, this would need to be a 12v pump or caravan pump of some sort. In domestic situations, you could connect it to your garden hose or even a header water tank.
Joolca manufactures a pump as an optional accessory, this is discussed more later on in the review.
The lack of a water pump is one of the biggest detractors of the Joolca Hottap. Though it is common for portable hot water systems to need a separate pump, most then include the pump in the basic package.
Whereas with the Joolca Hottap you will need to purchase this in addition to the basic package.
What Power Is Required?
The Hottap display, pilot light, and internal controls are powered by 2 x D-Cell batteries. Additional pump accessories require 12v power (cigarette lighter style), but this is not required to run the core Hottap unit.
Does the Hottap Use LPG Gas?
Yes, the Hottap requires regular LPG gas. Just like the gas bottles you use for your BBQ, to heat the water.
This means you just need one gas bottle with you, and you can use it for all of your cooking and showering needs without additional Mains natural gas, and butane gas are not suitable for this unit.
A full 9kg gas bottle should give you approximately 15 hours of water at maximum heat which is a lot of hot showers!
Performance in Windy Conditions
A lot of other portable hot water systems struggle in windy conditions as the wind can interrupt the heating process (as it uses naked flame).
Gas heaters need to have air vents for safe operations, but these vents then make the units vulnerable to wind interference,
However, the Joolca Hottap’s design incorporates the required vents in a way that the wind cannot cause the potential disruption to the unit. This helps the Joolca provide optimal performance in weather conditions that would otherwise be a problem.
Hottap User Reviews
To compare my own opinion with other people I researched a variety of other websites and review places, and the comments were overwhelmingly positive.
All ratings were consistently in the 4-5 star range, and the common theme was that the product worked exactly as hoped.
In the rare cases where someone had some issues getting their Hottap working, or there was a problem with the unit, the Joolca customer support had been extremely responsive and connecting with all affected individuals to help with their problems.
Joolca Hottap Accessories
Joolca manufactures a range of optional accessories you can purchase for use with your Hottap. These accessories increase the versatility of the Hottap and make it useful in many other applications.
True to the way the Hottap is designed these additional accessories are all easy to use as well and interconnect seamlessly when necessary.
We discuss some of the available Joolca Hottap accessories in more detail in this article.
Some of the available accessories include:
- Hottap Carry Bag
- GasKnect Couple Set
- Ensuite Tent
- Ensuite Double Awning
- Hottap V1 Upgrade Kit
- Carry Tub/Sink (separate to the bundle)
- Water Pump (separate to the bundle)
- Faucet Plumbing Kit (separate to the bundle)
Though all the accessories provide value, we are especially fond of the Joolca double ensuite shower tent. It really changes your camping shower experience.
Joolca Customer Support and Warranty
In addition to the manufacturer’s warranty, Joolca has really flexible shipping and return policy. If you buy a Hottap product, you have 30 days to use it and return anything you are not happy with for a full refund. They will even pay the shipping costs.
The Joolca Hottap is covered by a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Once that 30-day period lapses, you then transition into the two-year warranty period.
Throughout this time, if any goes wrong with your unit, it will not cost you a cent to get it returned/repaired. Joolca will cover any associated domestic shipping and return costs.
|Dimensions:||450H x 290W x 170D mm|
|Run Time with 9kg Bottle:||~15hrs|
|Battery:||2 x D-cell (for ignition only)|
|Flow rate:||2.5L – 6L per minute|
|Gas hose length:||1.2m|
|Shower hose length:||5m|
We have stopped recommending this product based user feedback, we now recommend the Smarttek Black instead. It includes a water pump in the price and had great user feedback.
Where Can I Buy A Joolca Hottap?
Hottap’s are available for purchase at a variety of retailers both in Australia and overseas. But if you are looking to purchase a Hottap, ring them directly.
As an Australian company when you buy from them directly they keep a bigger percentage of the profits and can reinvest that into Australian jobs and businesses.
I usually like to buy more expensive items from a local store so I can return them and get after-sales support if I need to.
However, given the generous approach, Joolca takes to after-sales support and covering all postage costs, you get quicker and better service by dealing with them directly.
You might be able to find a secondhand Joolca Hottap if you look around, but they are so popular they get snapped up pretty quickly.
Joolca Hottap V2 – Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Hottap a tankless hot water heater?
Yes, the Joolca Hottap is tankless. It is optimized to heat water, and heat water only, and hoses are provided to connect your Hottap to your water source.
How do we connect the water to the shower?
You will need a water source connected to the Hottap, and can use their optional accessory pump if you don’t have pressurized water available.
What are the Hottap shipping times?
Call Joolca to find out current shipping times, as these can be impacted by a range of varying factors.
Hottap Vs Hottap V2 – What’s the difference?
The Joolca Hottap was Joolca’s original Hottap model and has since been superseded by the Hottap V2.
The Hottap V2 has new design elements and is much improved based on all the feedback from the initial Hottap customers. It has a different LCD, screen, temperature, and water control knobs and improves air vents that make it less susceptible to wind interference.