Saturday, August 14, 2010

Use A Tarp to Make a Solar Shower

A recent camping trip reminded me just how comforting a solar heated shower can be. We had a busy day that left us feeling less than pleasant. Normally we carry a solar shower and backup with us but we didn't think we would be needing it this trip. It turned out that we did find ourselves wanting to have a good shower. Using a few extras we had in the camper we decided to throw them together and see what happened. This experiment resulted in a great, cheap, solar shower that we re-used several times throughout the trip.

What you're going to need:

Black yard tarp or other similar tarp
Multi-tool or knife
4 bungee tie-downs
Mesh screen
Waterproof tape
Heavy duty hook

Lay out the tarp and cut a small hole in each corner if there are not already grommet secured holes. In the middle of the tarp place and tape down the circular mesh screen. Attach a bungee to each corner.

If you haven't already done so then find a place to hang the shower that has plenty of direct sunlight for at least the majority of the day. We were lucky enough to have some sturdy limbs that were set up perfectly by nature. Throw the rope over the limb or area that you are going to hang the shower. Secure the rope to the hook.

Pull the four bungee cords together making an upside down balloon shape with the tarp. Connect the cords to the hook. Adjust the shower so that the mesh screen is centered on the bottom. Fill the shower and let it sit in the sun for several hours. We filled ours first thing in the morning so it had plenty of time to heat up before early evening.

When you get ready to shower, step under the shower and use your multi-tool or knife to cut two crossed slits making an X shape. Don't go full force with it! You are just wanting to slice and X shape into the tarp just under the mesh screen. Put the knife someplace safe and shower in the naturally warm water. When you are done place a bucket under the shower bag to catch any remaining shower. You can use it during the camping trip for cleaning dishes or whatever you need handled with water.

When you are done draining the shower then just tape the tarp over the mesh and let it dry out overnight to re-use the next day.

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