So­lar shower sorted

Wel­come sec­ond in­stall­ment to the of our lat­est semi-reg­u­lar ser­vice fea­ture, Cun­ning Hacks. Be warned, the sub­ject this month could get you into hot wa­ter!

NZ4WD - - CUNNING SOLAR SHOWER HACK - Story and pho­tos by Richard Soult.

Since my part­ner An­drea started join­ing me on my 4x4 Ex­plorer ad­ven­tures, I’ve had a re­newed in­ter­est in mak­ing the truck as com­fort­able as pos­si­ble for ex­tended 4x4 Ex­pe­di­tions.

I pre­vi­ously had a cheap so­lar grav­ity-fed shower that, to be hon­est, I rarely used and of­ten favoured a moun­tain stream or lake for a scrub af­ter a dusty day on the road.

I had a look at some YouTube videos and came across an idea that seemed to work and wouldn’t break the bank. The ba­sic prin­ci­ple is to use a plas­tic drain­pipe as a wa­ter cylin­der, painted black and placed on the roof of the truck.

A quick trip to a lo­cal tyre de­pot, DIY shop and plumbers’ mer­chants saw me equipped with ev­ery­thing that I needed for around $ 50.

Bits ‘n bobs

I bought a 100mm pipe with end caps, a filler cap, a tyre valve, a tap fit­ting, some hose and fit­tings, short tie down straps, pipe in­su­la­tion, black spray paint, glue and some join tape.

Sim­ple as

As­sem­bly was sim­ple. I glued one end to the pipe, cut and glued in the filler cap and then fit­ted the valve and tap fit­ting to the sec­ond end. It’s im­por­tant to fit these be­fore the end is glued so that you end up with the tap at the bot­tom.

Once ev­ery­thing was as­sem­bled, I painted it all matt black, to at­tract the most so­lar ra­di­a­tion, used the pipe in­su­la­tion as pad­ding and fit­ted it to the roof rack with the tie down straps.

Whilst the shower will work as a grav­ity fed unit, the clever part is us­ing the on board com­pres­sor to pres­surise the sys­tem, for a re­ally good shower. I plug the com­pres­sor into the 12V power socket in the boot and at­tach it to the tyre valve on the end of the shower.

The shower holds nearly 17 litres of wa­ter, which is more than enough for two good show­ers and will run for five min­utes, non-stop, at max­i­mum flow.

The other re­ally use­ful thing that I have dis­cov­ered is that it’s handy hav­ing wa­ter on tap at the back of the truck for cook­ing or clean­ing up fish.

Now, I have to ad­mit that this was a re­cent project and be­ing the mid­dle of win­ter, I haven’t yet tried it in anger. What I can say though, is that even on a sunny win­ters day, the wa­ter came up to 23°C and def­i­nitely bet­ter than a cold stream or lake. I’ll maybe let An­drea pro­vide the fi­nal judg­ment. Roll on sum­mer and hot truck show­ers!

With­out re­duc­ing or stop­ping the flow, the shower is good for five min­utes.

The shower will run for five min­utes con­tin­u­ously at this pres­sure.

Com­pres­sor at­tached, tap open and ready to go...

Parts bought and ready for as­sem­bly.

Tyre valve and tap in­stalled.

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