You've probably seen them on TV informercials or at a retail store near you. The Pocket Hose, or one of the various knock-offs now on the market, is a lightweight garden hose made of a special fabric that retracts where there is no water pressure. In theory, these hoses save you the backbreaking inconvenience of rolling up a traditional hose because they are light and automatically retract. Also, as they retract, the water runs out, making it faster and more convenient than draining a traditional hose. They are really an ideal solution in our Olympia climate. In the summer, because they drain out, they won't be full of scalding hot water when they sit in the sun. In the winter, they are less susceptible to damage from freezing.
But do they work? And do they hold up?
Speaking from personal experience, or at least my wife's personal experience, these hoses actually work. She loves them. She hates dragging a heavy hose around the yard and reeling it up just to water the flower beds. After she's done, she just turns off the water supply, the hose shrivels up, and she can just stuff it into a flower pot next to the hose bib.
The problem is they keep failing. Because they are made of lightweight materials, they haven't been holding up like a regular hose. We have had two of them now and both split right under the hose bib, where the greatest pressure is. The fabric seems to hold up OK, but the inner hose is thin and splits. We have just returned them and gotten new ones from the store, but having two fail already doesn't give me a lot of confidence.
However, Pocket Hose has introduced a "new and improved" version, so we're hoping that the latest version will hold up better. They really area a great concept, and certainly more convenient than a traditional hose. Once we've had a chance to test one of the new ones, we'll post another blog update and let you know if the new one is more reliable.