Steer Clear of Flex-Able-brand Expandable Hose

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Flex-Able expandable hose

We were paging through our emails filtered spam folder last summer to make sure we didn't miss anything and came across an ad for a compact, flexible hose that looked ideal for small boats. The incredible expanding Flex-Able hose is made of a tough double-wall construction that is designed to bend and never kink, and included a seven-way spray nozzle with the hose. The hoses ability to shrink down to an extremely compact size when not in use was particularly enticing.

There are two other expandable hoses of this type that rely on an elastic inner tubing to make them expandable: the Xhose and the Pocket Hose. Like the Flex-Able hose, they are promoted with breathless, made-for-TV ads touting their expandability, and are available on the Internet or through big-box retailers. Wed read several complaints about these types of hoses, but we ignored our inner skeptic and bought the 50-foot Flex-Able hose for $30.

For the first three days, the hose impressed us; then, it began to leak at the faucet. On Day 6, the inner liner burst without warning. The Flex-Able hose customer service team was easy to reach and quickly sent us a new hose (with a new seven-way nozzle), but that hose split two weeks later. As far as we were concerned, the hose was, quite literally, a bust. Although we have not yet tested the Xhose or Pocket Hose, given our experience with the Flex-Able hose, were recommending that readers steer clear of these types of hoses. Weve been using a spring-coiled hose for a couple years now without complaint, but it still leaves much to be desired. If you have a favorite type of compact hose-or have had a better experience with the expandable type-wed like to hear about it; send email to practicalsailor@belvoirpubs.com.

Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.

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