Review: High Sierra Shower Head

 Jan 14, 2013 article & images by Nick Salazar

Yep, I've written a three-page review about a shower head. And it's one of the coolest gadgets I've seen in a while.

Okay, first things first. You're reading a multi-page review about a shower head. Yep, you read that right. No, you haven't surfed off-site. This is still TriRig, and yes, I'm going to spill a lot of digital ink writing about a bathroom implement. Why? Because I think this product is awesome, important, and very cool. And hey, every triathlete takes showers, right? But let me flesh that out a little bit more. There are, primarily, two big reasons for deviating from my tri-specific tack and writing about a shower head.

Reason #1, and this perhaps is the weaker reason, is that I've always thought of the shower as a part of my workout equipment. The promise of a long, hot shower has served as my inspiration during many a cold Winter workout. And to that end, nothing (save the water itself) is as crucial to a good shower experience than the right shower head. The quality of the spray - including its force, diameter, droplet size, and stream uniformity - can make the difference between whether you just take a shower, or truly savor one. My typical shower lasts about 7-10 minutes. But after a good long workout, or after spending any amount of time outside during a Colorado Winter, I tend to want a much longer rinse. Just how long, I might be too embarrassed to admit.

It seems to me that too often, the consumer ignores the finer points of shower head design, and will resign get by with whatever shower head was left on the wall by the previous owner. Or worse yet, the consumer will get sucked in by the marketing trap of "13 Spray Settings!!!" or the as-ubiquitous-as-it-is-useless "Pulsing Massage Mode!!!" I'm writing this article because I think it's a topic worth talking about. This is a device that you use every day of your life, and yet, most people probably haven't thought about it once.

The second reason I'm highlighting the High Sierra shower head is because the context in which it was created. This is an elegant, thoughtful solution to a complex problem, and it was brought to life by one man, David Malcolm. He saw a problem, he dreamed up the solution, and then he decided to manufacture and sell it directly to consumers. The shower heads are sold through David's website, I love this kind of story, in part because it's the same story behind the Omega and everything else I sell in TriRig Store. There's something compelling about the small guy who challenges the establishment and strikes out on his own. I've got a soft spot for those stories, and I love sharing them with you, dear readers.

My favorite TriRig articles are the where I get to show you something genuinely new and different. The High Sierra Shower Head is just such a product. It's a brilliant, simple, well-conceived, well-executed device that decisively tackles a rather difficult problem. And so, even though it isn't something that you take with you on a swim, strap on your bike, or carry on the run, I really want to write about it, because this is a dynamite product, and I want my readers to know about it.

Lo-Flow Overview

The High Sierra is a low-flow showerhead, which promises to save water while still providing a great rinse.

The High Sierra is a low-flow (high-efficiency) showerhead. It releases 1.5 gallons of water per minute (GPM), which is considerably less than the 2.5 GPM standard. Even then, 2.5GPM is a lower flow rate than what existed in years past. Since 1992, all shower heads sold in the United States have been required by law to use a flow rate of no higher than 2.5 GPM. But it's generally much easier to give a good shower spray with higher flow rates, so virtually EVERY shower head you buy sprays right at the limit of 2.5 GPM. Anything lower is generally referred to as a 'low flow' or 'high efficiency' shower head. And the reason that they haven't really caught on is because they generally aren't very good.

Low flow heads have to use some tricks to get more bang for the buck on their limited fuel supply, which often involves injecting air into the water stream. But that technique usually results in a spray that stings a bit, or decreases the water temperature a bit, or results in a misty, weak-feeling spray, or all of the above. It's simply not easy to replicate a high-flow spray using less water.

But that's exactly what this little gizmo attempts to do. How does it do? In a word, it's spectacular. So, without further ado, hit the link below for my full review of the High Sierra Shower Head.

Tags » gadgets,  recovery,  tools
  • This is the High Sierra showerhead, installed in my shower where it's going to stay forever.
  • You can see the High Sierra's spray is more a splatter of droplets, rather than an array of needle streams as found on most conventional showerheads.
  • The High Sierra is available in a variety of interesting colors. The company is experimenting with low-run custom colors, including the snazzy TriRig Orange shown later in the gallery. You can also go for the standard clear color if that's more your cup of tea.
  • Looking straight into the nozzle we can see the patented spray technology: it's just a single, uniquely-designed orifice that's responsible for the entire flow of water from this unique device.
  • It's astonishing that such a great shower can be had from such a tiny little shower head. I used to be of the mindset that the more spray jets the better. But now I've put the High Sierra on every shower in my home, and its 1.5 GPM high-efficiency spray has put me into shower nirvana.
  • For those who want or need a handheld shower head, High Sierra is happy to accommodate. The handled version of the shower head is actually just the regular version, with an OEM handle attached. So, in theory, you could convert any of the standard models to have a handle, with a trip to the hardware store. But to save you the trouble, High Sierra sells these pre-assembled versions, which have some bonding agent between the parts to make them a more solid, leakproof unit.
  • The handled version of the High Sierra is understated and modestly styled, but has the same brilliant design as the standalone version of the shower head.
  • Yes! A couple months after this article was originally published, this little bauble showed up in our mail box. High Sierra is experimenting with low-run custom colors, and showed off this beautiful TriRig Orange showerhead as an example. Of course, bright orange may not match the decor of every bathroom, but at TriRig HQ, it's perfect.

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