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!
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.
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.