This is a very simple solar-heated portable shower unit to take camping. There is no privacy shade, just simply the water delivery aspect.
You will need:
1 – 9 litre rectangluar water jug.
1 – braided poly rope. I didn’t measure, but I used more than 10 feet, and less than 20.
1 – garden watering can with detachable spout OR a replacement spout.
the watering can pictured is the very same one I used. it fit the jug perrrrfectly.
1 – chain shackle
1 – unscrewable chain link
1 – roll of Gorilla tape
3 – contractor grade glue sticks
1 – glue gun
1 – tiny tube of krazy glue
1 – thin piece of wood (I used a Redbird match stick)
1 – pliers
1 – lighter/butane torch
1 – scissors
Step 1: Fitting the Rigging.
First we need to tie a length of rope around the water-jug.
Start by laying the jug tap side down. Run the rope through the handle and even out the lengths. Using the bottom edge of the jug as a mark, use the two sections of rope to tie a reef (square) knot , then continue running it around the length of the jug.
When you get around to the other side, split the sections around the white spout of the jug and pass on end through the handle. Tie another reef knot at this position.
Step 2: Perfecting the Spout Head.
If you found the same jug as me, that’s great, because this will be much easier for you. If you haven’t found the same jug, all you really need to find is an attachment of any kind (even a small shower head would do) with holes in it similar to the watering can that will fit on the end of the water jug spout. I chose what I did for it’s simplicity.
Remove the spout from the watering can. You can also remove the spout from the water jug. Insert the water jug spout end on to the water jug spout. Ensure you’ve got a relatively snug fit. I had about 1.3mm of a gap when I’d inserted one end into the other, which I deal with later.
1. Take the front end (part with the holes in it) off of the funnel part.
2. Place the front end face down in a vice, or a flat surface you won’t mind getting hot glue on.
3. Once your glue gun is heated up, begin squeezing small drops very cautiously into each of the holes in the two inner rings, leaving the center hole cleared. This way we’ll only get water out of the center hole, and the outer ring. If the center hole gets clogged, use the match stick to clear it out.
4. Let it dry a while.
Step 3: Connecting the Two Spouts.
There is a significant amount of glue used in this step. This is done in order to keep the passage way of the water tight enough as to not allow leaks out every opportune spot.
1. First of all, put your pieces together. A la insert one into the other.
2. Place the unit in a vice, or, on a stable location so that you can look down into the funnel.
**I noticed a gap when I looked down. It’s big enough that if I started with the hot glue I may have some glue go through the gap. I didn’t want that to happen because if it ran down to the very back of the shaft it could glue the whole thing shut, and then I’d be sunk.
3. Use the krazy glue to get a quick and thin layer around the inner edge of the joining spot. This should only take a few seconds if not minute to dry.
4. Now take your glue gun, and begin covering over the krazy glue. This will actually heat up the krazy glue and it’ll unstick, so be gentle with the unit at this time. The krazy glue is a temporary barrier against the hot glue. Let your covering work dry.
5. Return with the glue gun and begin applying thick lines in the funnel that will run down into the water jug spout and dry. The point is to cover as much surface area as you can without filling up the entire space with glue.
***Be mindful there is a hole in the water jug spout INSIDE that you have to keep unblocked. It’s easy enough to work the hardening glue with a pen or a nail, but if you glue that shut you’re going back to the hardware store.
6. Around the edge where the funnel meets the front end, you’ll have to layer up some hot glue there, or else water leaks up through the crevice and reduces water pressure. Don’t glue the front end to the funnel, as me may need to take it apart for cleaning one day.
7. Put the front end on. Snap, that’s a fine shower head.
Step 4: Prepare the Hanging Line.
This is a simple step of a couple knots, the chain pieces, and some hot glue.
** note you are not gluing the rope to the chain pieces.
1. Get your chain shackle into the vice with the ring side up, and tie a reef knot in that bad boy.
2. Glue the knot shut by placing drops of hot glue strategically on all side of the knot.
3. Take your unscrewable chain link and do the same thing with it on the other end of the rope.
4. As a final step in the rope preparation, I grasped the excess ends of all the braided poly rope knots with my pliers cut off the excess. Then I used my lighter to cure (melt) the ends of the rope to make sure they stay together. This releases some nasty fumes which aren’t good for you or the environment.
Step 5: Tape Up Your Jug.
Now we’re going to put a bunch of black Gorilla tape around the jug to capture the heat of the sun. So when you go camping, fill it up in the morning and leave it in the sun all day.
Also, we’ll wrap some tape around a part of the rope in order to make it sticky enough for the chain pieces to not slide around on it. I found without doing this I couldn’t position the shackle effectively.
1. Begin taping up the jug. You can tape the rope on the front (under the spout) to the jug, might as well keep it out of the way. DO NOT glue the rope on the back end to the jug though, or you won’t be able to hang it.
2. On the back of the jug is the portion of rope in which you tied your first knot, tape those two sections together. Don’t put too much tape on, or it’ll be too thick to fit through the chain link.
3. Tape as much as you like. The more the better I’d say. I’m going to leave some space to I can see the water level.
Step 6: Test It Out!
1. Fill up the jug with water, walk over to an appropriate testing tree limb or other kind of cross bar.
2. Unscrew the shackle and place the taped up rope through it, put the screw back in and tighten.
3. Lift the 9L of water into the air, with the chain link in your other hand. You now have to either swing, or throw the rope over your limb of choice.
4. Affix the rope to the tree or the jug. There is a myriad of ways to do this part really, and here I’ve demonstrated two. It really depends on the height you want for it as well as what you’re hanging it from. If you want to explore different methods, I’d suggest using a half full jug for now, to save your back 😉
5. Pull the air stopper out turn it on! Look at your perfect camping shower!
** note that you can alter the flow by opening and closing the water jug spout. so you can have a full on rinse or just a trickle.
** also, you can time release the flow to turn off. If you pop open the air stopper, turn the unit on then plug the air stopper again, the water will run for another 20-30 seconds, and then trickle to a stop.
** you can also alter the rate of water flow by where along the taped up rope you place the shackle. I find by leaving it at the 5L mark (on the back of the jug) I get a perfect symmetrical flow right until it’s about empty.