Solar shower reccomendation? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 07-29-2010
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Solar shower reccomendation?

Hi there. I'm taking the wife on a 5 day jaunt in my little 26' Columbia. Not sure if we'll have access to a marina every night so I thought it would be a good idea to purchase a solar shower. One typically used for camping, hung up in the sun all day and used to rinse off before bed.

Does anyone have a favorite brand or style? I see metalic ones and black ones. I would have thought the black to be better at warming the water in the sun. Here are a couple links to the ones I've found:

Metallic:

Sterns® 5 Gallon Solar Sun Shower, A Portable Shower Heated by the Sun at Safety Central

Black:

Seattle Sports Camp Shower - 5 Gallon at REI.com

West Marine:

SEA TO SUMMIT Shower at West Marine

Any suggestions would be great! Thanks!

Mike
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Old 07-29-2010
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We have a black one similar to the Seattle Spots Camp Shower you linked to. It works well enough. However, we've twice had it hanging in direct sun to heat up for more than a couple of hours and the water was too hot! 30 minutes of hang time seems about enough if you're in mid-day direct sun.
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Old 07-29-2010
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Shower bag.

We have a black one, like the REI bag, but bought at Walmart, I believe. We don't hang it. It lies flat on top of the cabin hatch, tied to hand rails. When we need it, slide hatch aft and shower in cockpit (sitting down as hatch is not overhead). We could hoist it for full stand up shower, but haven't. This way, once bag is put on hatch cover, we are not wrestling with it at all.
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Old 07-29-2010
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I've used lots of different solar showers over the years. They all work about the same so I would say go by price and build quality. I will say that a 5 gallon solar shower is LOTS of water. If you have 4 people showering, that is about right. I find it hard to use more than about a gallon of water for my shower (and that includes shampooing hair).

As mentioned in another post, they can heat up very quickly and get too hot. If you have a really sunny day, only fill it up about halfway so you can add cool water to adjust the temperature. If it is a cloudy day, you can always heat water on the stove and pour it in. After a few times using it, you will get an idea of how much water you use.

My last solar shower has finally bit the dust. I don't remember the brand but I found it in Big Bend National Park. We were driving on one of the back country roads and found it in the middle of the road full of water. It had apparently fallen off the top of someone's truck. We put it on our roof and had "free" showers that night. It was a real treat in the desert!
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Old 07-29-2010
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I will add that the ones that are the big plastic cube shaped container are not recommended. They don't hang well.
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Old 07-29-2010
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I just ordered a new one two days ago. Our 15 year old sun shower failed this summer. It looked like the Sterns bag. We had a second cheap backup that I can't stand. The hose is too small and kinks easily and the shut off is like a ballcock right under the bag. I ordered this one after seeing it on "Faster's" boat. Looked like a nice bag.

Amazon.com: Advanced Elements 5 Gallon Summer Shower / Solar Shower: Sports & Outdoors
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Old 07-29-2010
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REI one we have works well
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Old 07-29-2010
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Wow, too hot!? That's great to hear! So the black one it is! Maybe Walmart is the way to go?
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I've used the Sun Showers for a number of years. They're durable and will produce water hot enough to scald and burn if left out in the sun too long.

I've always found the hose too short and have extended mine several feet with cheap clear tubing. You might also consider investing in a shower head as well.

The Sun Shower model I have has the on/off valve in the head and after a few years the plastic gets brittle and the valve fails.
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Old 07-29-2010
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I've used the one that looks like the sterns (it's clear on the other side, you put the metallic side down) when sailing around Puerto Rico and the BVI before, it works well, actually found the water got too hot to shower with and had to let it cool down a couple times.
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