I've been searching & reading the threads and stories of many peoples' travels, even have the "Warm Showers List" bookmarked. I'm really wondering if any steath campers use a solar shower? I've got a cheapo 5 gallon model that I bought because the water heater went out on a Friday, and it got me through the weekend. It seems a bit large and 5 gallons of water weighs an awful lot, especially if I'm not gonna drink it. I do like my shower at the end of a days' ride, but don't really like to pay for a place to camp just for the shower.
So if you or someone you have traveled with have used a solar shower, what brand was it, what size (capacity), & was it worth hauling along?
I have done some primitive camping on dive trips down in Mexico...I take along my solar shower...When totally w/o a shower, they are wonderful...Just fill up the shower 30 minutes in advance from the spigot...IN the warm sun, they will be reasonably warm..Compared to no shower at all- well no complaints...Just you need find a primitive camp site with a water hook up...
NO sun, your shower will be cold...I just can't imagine getting into my REI $100 sleeping bag with no shower...I would go in screaming..If warm, I might even have to sleep out on the picnic table with a tarp over me..
There is an article on BT101 called "Taking a Shower in the woods" that you might be interested in. In additional to some discussion about various showering options it also has quotes from additional cyclists who use these kind of devices.
I have two of them myself. Currently I am leaning towards using my water bladder with the optional shower attachment.
If the sun isn't available or time is of the essence then an alternative is to carefully heat some water in a stove, mix it with some cool water and fill up the shower bag. Of course this assumes that you have a stove with you.
To do that well, you need a thermometer.
Originally Posted by jnoble123
Say you want to shower in water at 32°C (I wouldn't personally shower in anything below 30°C), and you have a 5-gallon bladder.
The cold water you can get hold of is at 16°C.
Your stove allows you to boil half a gallon at a time, or a tenth of the bladder size.
You fill the bladder with 8/10 of cold water and 1/10 of boiling water.
(16 * 8 + 1 * 100)/9 = 25.3°C.
So you need to boil a second time, and you again boil 1/10.
Now we have (25.3 * 9 + 1 * 100)/10 = 32.8.
I already use the MSR Bags for extra water capacity anyway so adding the shower assembly was a no brainer. I typically use the smallest bag, quite often if the ride is flattish fill the bag at the midmorning stop and strap it on top of the rear rack so the sun will preheat it while I am riding . Otherwise I will boil water and add it to cool water to get a warm shower.
I wouldn't bother. They are mediocre even for car camping, and on a bike, I don't think they are worth the weight.
You have to leave the solar shower in the sun for a pretty long time for it to get warm. The bag itself is heavy. The water is REALLY heavy. If you are stealth camping w/no water, you will have to carry water from the last source. If you are stealth camping with water (river, lake) just jump in.
You can get clean 'enough' by just warming a cup or two of water on your stove and using a washcloth.
If you are really worried about getting your sleeping bag dirty, use a liner.
Thanks very much for the input!
Jamie, what size bladder?
I absolutely enjoyed the post about determining the exact water temperature doing some math. That was cool!
I have a 4 litre MSR bladder. I believe they are also available in 1, 2, 8 and 10 litre sizes but it's probably worth checking their site to be sure.