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How Do I Make My Own DIY Solar Shower?

How Do I Make My Own DIY Solar Shower?

Staying clean while on an adventure can be difficult, especially in a remote location. However, a DIY solar shower is incredibly easy to make and relatively inexpensive. If you’re looking for a way to get clean while camping, it may be worth a trip to your local hardware store. Today, we’re walking you through everything you need to know so you can create a DIY solar shower and stay fresh while on your future adventures. Let’s get started!

What Is a Solar Shower? 

A solar shower uses energy from the sun to heat the water. These portable showers can provide warm water to shower or rinse off dirt and debris. RVers, overlanders, and surfers commonly use them.

Solar showers can help you avoid wasting propane or electricity to heat your water. Being able to rinse off and stay clean can help you extend the amount of time you can enjoy remote adventures or off-grid camping.

van with solar shower tube mounted to roof driving down the road
A solar shower is usually mounted to a roof rack.

When Does a Solar Shower Come in Handy?

There are many different situations where a solar shower is incredibly convenient. Many RVers and overlanders find themselves regularly using them. These situations are typically in remote areas where access to water or showering facilities is not likely. Having a solar shower can allow them to stay out, making more memories.

However, you don’t have to enjoy RVing or overlanding to benefit from a solar shower. The cost of running water lines to a specific location in your backyard for a garden, flowers, or rinsing off before coming inside your house can be incredibly time-consuming and expensive. By creating a DIY solar shower, you can save a tremendous amount of money and keep yourself and your home (whether it’s on wheels or not) clean.

Woman using hose to shower outside
Whether you’re camping in the desert, on the beach, or in the woods, use energy from the sun to heat your water and enjoy warm showers no matter where you roam.

DIY Solar Shower vs. Buying One

A DIY solar shower is simple to make and rather inexpensive. If you have the space and tools, you can make your own for less than $125. Going the DIY route allows you to save money, but you can also customize it. This can be important if you have to work around other components and make any modifications to maximize the results from your shower.

If you’re not confident going the DIY route, you can buy them pre-fabricated. However, you’re not going to have as many options for customizations, and they’re not easy to find. You’ll likely need to rely on a custom shop that does modifications for overlanding to make it for you. Some cost-effective solar shower bags allow you to fill them up and hang them wherever you want to shower.

van with beautiful lake image
Use solar power to save energy and still take hot showers no matter where you camp.

We think the DIY solar shower is simple enough that you should consider giving it a shot. It’s easy to create and allows you to store water while you’re out adventuring. Not having to worry about staying clean while exploring is a huge benefit.

Pro Tip: Don’t want to DIY your own solar shower? We found the 5 Best Outdoor Solar Showers you can buy so you don’t have to DIY!

How Do I Make My Own DIY Solar Shower?

The first thing you’ll need to do is cut a 5-foot piece of PVC pipe to connect the T-joint. You can adjust this based on your unique setup, but cutting about 18 inches off the end works great. You’ll need to prime and plumbing cement the two ends of the T-joint to join them together. While the glue dries, you can move on to create the spot in the caps for the valve.

Drill a hole into one of the caps that’s large enough to fit the Schrader valve through and tighten it down. You can then drill another hole large enough to attach the spigot. Use sealant around the spigot when connecting everything to create an airtight seal.

You’ll then use primer and plumbing cement to attach the caps. While the plumbing cement dries, you can screw on the fill-up cap and use the spray paint to paint the entire thing black. The color will help generate more heat and boost your water’s temperature.

How to Make a DIY Solar Shower

Materials

The great thing about this DIY project is that you can get everything you need at your local hardware store. Here are the things you’ll need to add to your shopping cart: a 5-feet of 4-inch of PVC pipes, two 4-inch caps, a 4-inch PVC flush cleanout T-joint, a hose bib, and a 1-inch by a three-quarter-inch black bushing, a Schrader valve, waterproof sealant, black spray paint, and a hose with a nozzle. 

You can typically pay anywhere from $100 to $120 for these supplies. You don’t have to spray paint the PVC pipe, but the black spray paint will increase the heat of the water stored there.

Person cutting PVC pipes
You’ll need to buy 5-feet of 4-inch of PVC pipes from your local hardware store to start your DIY solar shower.

Mounting

When you’re mounting your solar shower, put some padding under it. This helps protect the mounting surface and the shower itself. If you’re mounting it to a vehicle, vibrations and bumps from the road will cause it to move around quite a bit, which can cause damage over time. Many choose to use inexpensive pool noodles or foam pieces cut to hug the PVC pipe.

To secure your DIY solar shower to your vehicle, you can use tie-down straps to keep it in place. Make sure they’re tight and that your spigot is facing the direction you want. Use tie-down straps in good condition and tighten your tube down to at least two crossbars on your roof.

Pro Tip: No shower? No problem! Learn more about Body Wipes for Camping.

tall van with roof rack
Mounting the shower high on a roof rack will give you better water pressure

How Long Does It Take to Build a DIY Shower?

It’s likely to take longer to head to the store and gather the parts than to complete this project. If you gather the necessary tools and know what you’re doing, you can easily complete this project in 20 to 30 minutes. The simple design allows you to quickly and easily complete this project.

Is Making Your Own DIY Solar Shower Worth It?

Staying clean on your adventures is always worth it. A DIY solar shower can allow you to enjoy being out for longer and stay fresh. You won’t have to worry about tracking down a shower or place to rinse off after a long hike or day at the beach. Having one fabricated for you can get expensive and will likely provide the same results. So practice your DIY skills on this project and enjoy the freedom of showering during your next adventure!

Did you make your own solar shower? What was your experience? Tell us in the comments!


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Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of The RVers, producers of “Go North” on Amazon Prime, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for Hwy.co and an Arizona travel guide.

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