Swan RV & Marine+ Multi-Purpose Hose: Product Review
A great drinking water safe hose packed with features.
Available on Amazon
We recently went on a cross-country RV trip. Before leaving we needed a “drinking water safe” hose to hook up to the RV. The Swan company was gracious enough to send us two 25’ lengths of the RV & Marine+ Multi-Purpose hoses for us to test. We had ample time to test them as our journey lasted 3 months and we had to hook and unhook the hoses every couple of days.
Hoses ARRIVED SAFE AND SOUND
Both hoses were shipped in a tough cardboard box. There was no damage to the box or the hoses inside when we received them. The packaging for the hose was a cardboard placard (on each side of the coiled hose) held in place with 3 nylon straps at 1200 intervals. It was easy to remove the straps with a pair of scissors or knife.
INSTRUCTIONS WERE DIFFICULT TO READ
There was an instruction that was printed on the backside of the cardboard placards. But reading them was virtually impossible since the print was so small. I literally had to use a magnifying glass to read the following:
- Proper Hose Setup
- Storage Instructions
Each of these headings had sub-heading on specific things to do or not to do. Actually, I found all the instructions valuable. But that darn small print was enough to drive me batty. However, the instructions were in three different languages (English, Spanish, French), so I can appreciate why they had to make the typeface so minuscule on a piece of cardboard that looked to be the diameter of a human head and neck.
NOT ALL HOSES ARE CREATED EQUAL
We had to have a drinking hose that was lead-free and safe to drink from. We couldn’t buy just any hose, even though there are many out there (gardening, commercial, etc.) that would seem to fit the bill. For safety reasons, we needed a hose specifically designed and manufactured to drinking water standards. The Swan RV & Marine+ Multi-Purpose hose did just that.
By introducing (and being the first in the industry to do so) anodized aluminum fittings for both the female nut fitting and the male coupling, Swan was able to eliminate the lead problems associated with brass fittings (that come on a lot of hoses these days). Brass is easier to the machine when it has a lead as part of its metallurgy, making it less costly to produce. Hence the reason that the majority of hose makers use brass.
Another point to consider is electrolysis. That’s when two dissimilar metals start to corrode themselves together over time. This can happen when attaching an aluminum fitting to a brass fitting. Swan has solved this issue by anodizing the fittings with a non-electrolysis coating. Even with this coating, there may be mineral/chemical buildup on the fittings themselves (calcium, iron, sulfur, chlorine, salt, and the like).
To avoid corrosion, we recommend disconnecting the hose from the spigot and nozzle from time to time and cleaning the threads of all components. A small wire brush will do the trick. There has also been some talk about using “PTFE” Tape (also known as Teflon® tape – which is a trademarked product of the the Chemours Co.) at the attachment points. The jury is still out on this one. A possible solution is to use food grade mineral oil on all connective joints.
DRINKING HOSES COME IN DIFFERENT COLORS
For the most part, drinking water safe hoses are colored white with a blue stripe that runs the full length of the hose. But there are always exceptions. After a little research, I came across a completely blue one that had no blue stripe down the center. These color conventions are to prevent someone from using a conventional hose when the need for potable water is required. It’s just not safe to drink out of many standard garden/commercial hoses as many of them contain lead and BPA (used in the manufacturing process). So color-coding them is the easiest way to solve the identity problem. For the color-blind, I did a little Googling and found that most people with this impairment see white as a shade of gray, or a white/gray mottled appearance. But for those whose color spectrum produces anything other than a mottled gray/white (like blue), I would suggest that the color blind person read the packaging to make sure it says, “drinking water safe”.
LAY FLATTM AND SNAP BACK INTO SHAPETM TECHNOLOGIES
Engineered into the hose are compounds that make it easy to lay flat, which I found especially handy when I was coiling up the hose at the beginning of a new day on the road. Instead of staying twisted like a lot of hoses, it stayed straight when stretched to its capacity and subsequently coiled. Basically, the hose has a patented material that allows for the hose to coil easily and straight and not “fight” the user by being overly stiff.
Lay flat technology uses Swan’s patented material blend so that the hose will be less stiff, lay flatter, and coil more easily. On our trip I found this to be true, even when the hose was not fully uncoiled. I was often in a hurry to get “hooked up” and just uncoiled the length of hose I needed to get the job done, which left the hose coiled up in some places. But as you can see from the photo below, parts of the hose laid flat (under water pressure) even when I didn’t take the time to fully uncoil and lay it flat altogether.
Also, in the instructions, it emphasizes that “to ensure maximum flexibility, setup should be performed at temperatures above 700”. But this is true of virtually all hoses. The warmer it is outside, the more likely a hose is to lay flat, particularly if the hose is laying in the sun or the ambient temperature is above 700. But from my RVing experience, the Lay FlatTM technology worked just fine in temperatures in the 500 range. In the instructions, it also recommends that for the Lay FlatTM technology to work its best, the hose needs to be laid flat and heat up during the day.
Another feature of the hose is its Snap Back Into ShapeTM technology. This is a memory feature of the hose (based on its material construction) that reduces kinking when uncoiling. Basically, the hose will “Snap Back” from a kinking position when pulling the hose toward you (either with our without water inside the hose).
The couplings on both ends of the hose are made from ultra-strong, high grade, anodized coated aluminum. According to Swan, they are “crush-proof”. I can’t tell you for sure because I didn’t run over them with my truck (as I needed them to work for the entire road trip). But based on the hefty construction, my money’s on the crush proof vs. flattened and bent. There is a built-in “stress relief” at both ends of the hose to prevent kinking and putting undue stress on the fittings.
HEAVY DUTY CONSTRUCTION
As mentioned above the couplings were heavy duty. So is the hose itself. It has a burst strength of 400 PSI (pounds per square inch). This is rugged in the hose world, particularly one that may sit in the sun for several days at a time. On our trip, we saw water pressures in excess of 100 PSI and I was glad to have a hose that exceeded those pressures by a few hundred pounds.
The hose also came with a strong silicone-like washer on the coupling end that attaches to a water spigot. We had no leaks on our trip.
HI UV RESISTANCE
Now, this is something I wanted in a hose. We live in Tucson, AZ and the UV is intense (and that’s an understatement). So whether I was using it in the Sonoran desert or the wilds of Maine, I could count on it being resistant to the sun’s harmful rays. If a hose is not built to these standards, stress cracks will ultimately appear and cause the hose to spring a leak or burst altogether. We experienced no problems with UV issues at all.
Make sure not to leave water in any drinking water safe hose for long periods of time (for example, long seasonal storage or leaving an RV hooked up and only using it on weekends). This includes the Swan RV & Marine+ Multi-Purpose Hose. Harmful bacteria can develop in any leftover water. So make sure to fully empty the hose before any long-term storage or extended non-use. Swan recommends storing the RV & Marine+ Multi-Purpose Hose inside when not in use.
SO WHAT ABOUT GARDENING WITH THIS HOSE?
If you want a hose that you can drink out of while watering the garden, then the Swan RV & Marine+ Multi-Purpose Hose is the one for you. You don’t have to worry about taking a sip out of the end of the hose on those hot summer days. It’s important to remember however to drain your drinking water safe hose after each use if you’re going to be using it as a potable water supply. This is one of the reasons not to drink from a standard or industrial hose as they can breed microbes that can potentially make people sick. Additionally, the non-drinking water safe hoses are typically made with materials (chemicals like lead and BPA) that can leach out of the hose and be ingested if taking a drink.
Also, if you want to create a totally organic garden for your edible vegetables then it’s important to use a water safe drinking hose (see our article on best hoses).
I had several questions while writing this review. I contacted the technical service engineer and he gave me all the information I needed. I found this to be great customer service. I had no other need to contact the customer service hotline since the hoses worked flawlessly for me. But if you need to reach customer service directly (not the technical engineering department) call 800-848-8707.
MADE IN THE USA
The Swan RV & Marine+ Multi-Purpose Hose is proudly made in the USA.
Swan offers a limited lifetime warranty, meaning that it warrants the hose to be free of material and manufacturing defects. In the event of a defect, the instructions are very explicit on how to return your hose for a replacement (another good part of the instructions that are printed on the placard).
WHERE TO BUY
The hose is currently available at the Home Depot where it retails for $19.98 for a 25’ length and $29.98 for a 50’ hose.
This is a terrific hose. The Lay-Flat TechnologyTM makes it a breeze to uncoil and coil. Its strong coupling and hose end is built to industrial standards, and the UV resistant material all makes for a very durable, long lasting hose. The heavy-duty construction with a burst rating of 400 PSI was peace of mind when RVing at multiple campsites across the USA. And curiously enough it had no plastic taste when drinking directly from the hose – it just tasted like fresh clean water. The Snap Back Into ShapeTM feature was a plus because it helps prevent kinking.
The only thing I’d like to see improved was the print size of the operating instructions. I did not take marks off for this due to the fact that the small print area had to accommodate 3 languages.
Now, over to you: how important are “drinking water safe” hoses to you if the hose is used in your backyard or garden? Let us know in the comments below!
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