America tunes into enterprising Aussie manufacturer turning adversity into a local and global RV leisure travel opportunity

American Camper Shells and Van Works is a long-established (1971) specialist in catering to US RV tastes for the wide-open spaces

An enterprising Australian manufacturer of convenience hot water products is tuning in to expanding world demand post Covid-19 for local holidays in RVs needing portable hot water they can take with them in their vehicles and boats.

Australia’s Aus J Hot Water Solutions – which has already sold tens of thousands of its home and portable water heaters in Australia, NZ and globally – has just introduced its latest 12v/240v Duoetto MK2 water heater as demand steps up for local holidays with Covid restrictions easing.

“The domestic adventure travel boom is a global phenomenon happening now – people just about everywhere are taking to the roads in RVs, ranging from mobile palaces, costing millions of dollars, right through to the camping, caravanning, power boat, yachting, and adventure RV market that we serve,” says Aus J Hot Water Solutions designer and Managing Director Jay King.

Aus J aims its Duoetto MK2 10-litre water heater at local and international RV travellers going off the beaten track, as well as work vehicle markets where 4wds are used to tow RVs, including caravans, to remote places and worksites in which it is important to maintain optimum cleanliness and comfort.

As the immediate threat of the Covid pandemic abates in some areas – but international borders remain closed – Jay King has seen a distinct uptick in inquiries both from around Australia and New Zealand, and from areas such as Europe and the USA.

Compact installation of a Duoetto by American Camper Shells and Van Works. Duoetto

(under left seat) compactly integrates into the van layout

One of the most recent calls for the latest Duoetto was from Californian RV specialist Mark Gibbs, who says his long-established (1971) business is “going mad” meeting demand from people who want to get away from the Covid pandemic. He has been an enthusiastic proponent of the original Duoetto for more than a decade, fitting it OEM to the RVs produced by the American Camper Shells and Van Works company of which he is Managing Director.

“This product – and the backup they give it – is perfect for us. We use it in truck and lifestyle conversions, with just a 12V connection and simple set up. We install a one-hour timer to auto shutoff when the right temperature is attained, which is fine for us. We have used many of these for many years with very few issues. The backup is perfect.”

The tough, Australian-designed compact and durable water heater offers selectable temperatures between 30-70 deg C (86-158F) on 240v so people can shower, wash, clean and enjoy abundant hot water whether mains power is available or not. The heaters can also be calibrated for 110v markets, says Jay King, himself a keen RV designer and user whose latest project is a Toyota HiAce conversion, putting all the home comforts, including hot water, into one of the world’s most popular vans (which has sold more than 6 million globally, including 335,000 in Australia since its introduction here in 1971).

Neatly tailored Slide-out facilities in the American Camper Shells and Van Works conversion incorporating the AusJ product.

Australasia’s love affair with caravans and RVs has deep roots, says Jay King (right) but today’s adventurer here and internationally wants the comfort and hygiene of hot water.

Jay King is also targeting Europe with the new Duoetto, sending examples internationally for review there by leading publications, such as Britain’s MMM magazine, which is an RV bible for English-language audiences.

The product is also being promoted into South Africa and into South-East Asia, where local travel promotions are also expanding demand for holidays within local borders.

“We see the post-Covid era as a time of renewal for the local holiday industry – an enormous update in scale and scope on the old convoys of caravans you used to see in Australia and New Zealand 50 years ago, for example.

Now the market is much more sophisticated, and owners of mobile homes and boats want hot water at call to shower, cook and preserve hygiene, even when they are self-isolating out in the bush. Hot water has become even more important for comfort and hygiene with the high level of awareness of Covid risks – both for recreational vehicles and vessels but also for work 4wds and trailers and boats functioning in remote areas away from mains power for much of the time.

Duoetto MK2 Product features

The latest Duoettos – which typically retail for under $A400 (approx. $US270, $NZ420, 220 UK pounds, 250 Euros) – feature a digital temperature control on the side for local and export markets that like their controls clear and simple, including the Middle East and Asia, North America, Africa and Europe, including the UK.

“Automatic sensors allow switching to 12V when mains power is not available, enabling the Duoetto to deliver ample hot water in remote areas such as campsites or on boats where mains power is unavailable, which it often is in large areas of major RV, marine and work vehicle markets,” says Mr King, who designs the water heaters himself and ensures production to Australian standards of toughness and quality .

The MK2 has a number of upgrades on the previous version, designed to give the new water heater even greater longevity than the original, which has become OEM equipment on major campers in Australia and in export markets because of its functionality and reliability in service over a wide range of use and climatic conditions. Upgrades include:

The Duoetto MK2 comes with internationally recognised Australian WaterMark accreditation, which means that it passed tests and requirements regarding its suitability for supplying water for human consumption. These tests encompass taste, smell, toxins and corrosive effects on plumbing and pipework.

Drawing a miniscule 4.2 amps at 240V (1000w) and 25 amps at 12v (300w), the 409 x 262 x 267mm Duoetto MK2 retains the strengths of its predecessor, including:

Aus J Hot Water Solutions ( ) offers a range of innovative gas and electric water heaters with models for domestic, commercial and recreational applications, including a 240v 10-litre Aqueous water heater designed to provide homes with near-instant hot water and reduce the wastage by having the heater located under the sink.