Urban Farming Tools: The Pocket Hose

The Pocket Hose offers a tantalizing prospect to urban farmers; an easy to store, environmentally friendly tool for all your watering needs. Does it deliver on its promises? Read on to find out how it fared on our urban farm…

pockethose

If you happen to watch any late night television or obscure stations way up the cable tv dial, you’ve probably stumbled across the Pocket Hose commercial and actually watched it all the way through. Perhaps you even had to fight the urge to pick up the phone and order one. Well, it turns out a great deal of people think this same way, as the Pocket Hose has now sold  in the millions of units and can be found in retail outlets ranging from Home Depot to Target to Bed, Bath, and Beyond. We happened to come by a Pocket Hose of our own when the Secondhand Answer Man, also known as Joe Anzai, put one under our Xmas tree in 2012.

As kooky as it sounds, this gift probably generated more excitement in our household than all the other presents combined. There’s just something nostalgic and fun about products in the “As seen on TV” category (Mr. Microphone, Blitzhacker, Chia Pets, etc.) and the Pocket Hose pulled this emotional trigger immediately. We couldn’t resist running out and hooking it up within five minutes of popping it out of its cheesy plastic packaging.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, the Pocket Hose is a plastic hose, sheathed in a bright green vinyl cloth covering, anchored by two plastic fittings on each end. The hose is so compact that it comes bundled in a ball, for lack of a better comparison, measuring approximately 8″ x 6″. After unwinding, it stretches to almost 20 feet before turning on the water, reaching 50 feet in a few seconds after inflating though water pressure. The fitting end has a valve that must remain closed until the hose is completely full, then opened to release water as needed. When finished, you then must turn off the water source, allow the Pocket Hose to empty and shrink back to its original size, then store appropriately. The manufacturer suggests that the Pocket Hose be stored in container or inside the house out of the elements.

During use, the hose performed well, and one can’t deny how freaking convenient this garden tool can be; indeed, the Pocket Hose refused to tangle, kink, or get in the way, especially after use, when we simply let it drain, then gathered it up and tossed it in an old terracotta pot we had laying around in our backyard. Granted, the water pressure is not as forceful as more industrial strength hoses, but for a small 48×120 foot plot of land with a 1950’s ranch house smack dab in the middle, the Pocket Hose provided plenty of pressure to water our vegetable boxes and wash our car once a month.

So, from everything you’ve read thus far the Pocket Hose sounds like the perfect compliment to your outdoor garden, right? Well, not exactly. Though in practice the Pocket Hose is an amazing invention, we encountered two design flaws that ultimately resulted in a return to our trusty and cumbersome old rubber hose.

The first issue concerns the decision to use plastic fittings on each end of the Pocket Hose, where metal would have been a far better choice. Try as we might, we could rarely get a tight enough seal to prevent some leakage from either end, especially when trying to attach watering wands and gun type nozzles. After two months, the problem got to the point where the hose wouldn’t even fill, water simply gushing out from where the hose and fitting attached at the spigot. Luckily, our local Home Depot allowed us to exchange it for a brand new unit that didn’t leak.

Unfortunately, this new unit brought up issue number two, which was the quality of the cloth covering in which the plastic inner membrane resides. The design of the Pocket Hose is such that this cloth covering is meant to both stretch and contract as the inner membrane is filled with water, and if there is any flaw in its construction the membrane will attempt to force its way through. In our second go around with the Pocket Hose, a bulge formed near the end, grew in size to almost the equivalency of a watermelon, then literally exploded, drenching me in the process and necessitating another trip to Home Depot for an exchange. Now on our third Pocket Hose, we’ve been problem free; however, we are constantly nervous that it will once again fail and so we’ve kept our old hose stored just in case.

In conclusion, we have a love/hate relationship with our Pocket Hose. Obviously, the ability to store it so easily is an attractive quality just about anyone would covet, but having to replace it twice has muted our enthusiasm somewhat and we suggest you proceed with caution.