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Choosing a Solar Shower

Updated on March 13, 2011

Solar showers are great ways to enjoy a warm shower on camping and hiking trips and save money on utility bills at home. Solar showers are especially great choices for pools, greenhouses, and other outbuildings, since they are much cheaper than installing a full plumbing system, yet allow you to wash off on the spot without tracking dirt or chlorinated water into the house.

Solar Camp Showers

The most common type of solar shower is the portable solar camp shower. These typically consist of a black vinyl bag and a hose. Simply fill the bag with water, hang it in the sun for a few hours and use it as necessary. A good quality 5 gallon solar shower hung in a sunny location can heat the water to 100 degrees F in about 3 hours. A light backpacking solar shower will hold less water, but warm it faster as a result.

Some camp showers come with privacy tents or curtains.

Outdoor Solar Showers

Outdoor solar showers are most commonly used near pools, greenhouses, and similar outbuildings, but it is possible to use one as your primary shower. A custom designed solar shower will probably be necessary if you want to be able to use it as the primary shower for a family, but fortunately solar showers are relatively easy and inexpensive to design and build.

Outdoor showers typically attach to an ordinary garden hose and store water for heating either in the base (for smaller poolside showers) or some kind of barrel or water drum (for use as a primary shower.)

A handsome homemade solar shower. Photo by JoePhoto.
A handsome homemade solar shower. Photo by JoePhoto.


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      Joel T. 7 years ago

      I'd like to point out that for the type of camping, fishing or hunting trips that will not require you to move your base camp around too much you can also use a less portable but more efficient portable camping shower such as a propane camping shower. These babies heat up cold river water in less than 10 seconds instead of having to wait hours for the water to heat up. On the other hand, you will definitely need one of those lightweight solar shower bags for hiking trips.

    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 8 years ago from Central United States of America

      Hey, great hub info--we all need to take advantage of your instructions as we can. My Grandpy made his own solar stuff long before solar was really heard of-should have patented it! :-) Enjoyed reading and remembering, Thanks!