CAMPING GEAR

EXPANDING HOSE

We've tested an easy-pack extendable hose

Filling the water tank on our Tray Tek camper is easy enough at home, using a hose on a reel, but filling from the widely differing water outlets around Australia is another matter.

Like most people, we’ve used a coiled-up length of drinking-water-rated hose, but it’s difficult to pack away compactly and when unpacked settles into a series of stiff coils that kink and knot at the slightest opportunity. (If you tried to form these shapes deliberately it wouldn’t be possible!)

We’ve also tried narrow-section coiled hose that looks like a semi-trailer’s Suzy Coils, but it’s just as intractable and no easier to pack away.

stretch hoseNow we’ve tested one of those expandable hoses that claim to expand and extend under water pressure. Yes, we’ve read the blogs that list an extraordinary number of failures of these hoses, but our application is different.

The failures we’ve read about seem to be pressure-related, where hoses have been used with high mains pressure or left for long periods under mains pressure, with the outlet nozzle closed off.

We’ve used ours only for filling the water tank, which means that it hasn’t ever been under full mains pressure for more than a few seconds at a time. It's either filling the tank from the top, through the filler neck, or pushing a head of water only 600mm high when we fill the tank from the bottom, through the outlet hose.

We chose this hose mainly for its ease of packing and resistance to kinking, not for its extendability.

Our test hose, branded Stretch-hose, is a 15.2-metre item that we bought for $30 from K-Mart. It’s obviously a cheapie, with plastic fittings that incorporate a stop-cock at the output end. It doesn't claim to be drinking-water safe, but we flushed it before first use and we've had no plastic taste.

Like any hose we've used, we made sure it was drained completely before packing it away, so it didn't grow any nasties inside and we always flush it for a few seconds before using it to fill the tank.

We used it on a two-month bush trip during 2016 and it's now a permanent part of our camping kit.

The Stretch-hose is much lighter, more compact and easier to roll up than any other hose we've used.The only downside is that it gets grubby if it's dragged through the dirt and it takes a couple of hours to dry off when you wash it.

The length is fine for us, but for those who need more hose, it would be easy to clip two of these together.


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