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Camping The Camping forum is for discussion that relates directly to wilderness camping (commonly referred to as car camping).


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  #1  
Old 08-29-2007, 08:17 PM
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yippikiyo yippikiyo is offline
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Camp Solar Showers

Do any of you use the camp solar showers while car camping? If so, do you see a difference between brands and were you able to get the water warm enough? Also, have you done any modifications to the nozzle?

My experience with these is less than satisfactory so I'm hoping to get some tips. In the cooler months (which means days in the high 60 to 70 F and nights in the 40-50) when we car camp in forest lands under primitive conditions having a shower is a necessity according to some of my family members. However, I can't seem to really get the water very warm or enough of a stream to rinse shampoo from hair. In an effort to prevent the motel-run this season, I'd really like to solve this challenge. Your experiences appreciated!

yippikiyo
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Old 08-30-2007, 06:50 AM
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CoyoteWhips CoyoteWhips is offline
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I will typically heat up a pot of water for a bandanna bath, in conjunction with premoistened wipes.

Shaved my head. Don't need shampoo.

Where do you put the bag to heat it up? I'd think parking the car in the sun and laying it in the back window would get it nice and steamy.

You can sometimes hold off washing your hair by freshening it up with talcum powder.

Last edited by CoyoteWhips : 08-30-2007 at 06:52 AM.
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  #3  
Old 08-30-2007, 07:58 AM
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yippikiyo yippikiyo is offline
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I've tried placing the shower on the car hood which felt warmish. Maybe this time I'll put some of my freezer bag cozies under it to insulate.

For the record, I have no problem going without a shower for a week or so. It's some of my family members (hubby and teen daughter) who squawk about it. They want washing, not make-do. My younger kids are still willing to do the spot cleaning with a cloth and warm water as the teenage stuff hasn't hit them yet!

y
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Old 08-30-2007, 11:09 AM
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Seeker Seeker is offline
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ah, field bathing...

one of the things i love about this area (LA) is the heat and humidity. and one of the things i really hate about this area is the heat and humidity. blessing and curse. the blessing is that in the heat of the summer, any creek you take a dip in, whether spring-fed and cool or shallow, muddy, and downright bathwater hot, you don't need to heat the water. canoe or car camping makes it easier to bring along a solar shower, like you said.

i've used a couple kinds. during my all-expenses paid "vacation" in somalia in 1992/3, i brought along something that was a black bag with one clear side. the idea was that you'd lay it out in the sun all day and it would warm up. at the equator, even in dec/jan, it worked. the nozzle was a small thing that just a trickle of water came out of, but it was adequate. after a week of that however, i discovered that a friend of mine had what we referred to as an australian shower, which was a big canvas bag with a big showerhead attached to it. you twisted the showerhead to get it to turn on and off. it threw a pretty good spray. the down side was it's capacity, about 2.5 gallons, didn't make for a very long shower. however, it was preferable to the pitiful stream my own shower put out, so we used his in turns. his also didn't heat up. so we procured ("procured. verb. an army word meaning to steal, but without the inconvenient connotations of true ownership, and without the intent on the procurers part of keeping said item once it had been used for an indefinite amount of time", hence, justifiable theft in time of need) a black plastic water can. Said water can was filled with water in the morning and placed on a strategically hidden rooftop, exposed to the hot sun all day. by evening, it was WAAY warm, and we'd split it between us, 2.5 gallons each.

the key is the sun. a black watercan laying in the bottom of a canoe all day, or a bladder of some sort wrapped in a dark towel, also exposed to the sun all day, would probably work.

i've heard complaints about the plastic sun shower units ripping or leaking. that canvas deal, while a lot heavier and not self-heating, would be my choice if i didn't have streams to bathe in.

of course, you can always bring a big (14"-16") stainless steel mixing bowl and bathe from it too, like soldiers did from their helmets before the invention of Kevlar. works fine, if a bit primative. i took one of those to Haiti on my 'vacation' there in 1994, at the bottom of my duffle bag, and it worked wonderfully. acted as a puncture shield too, during shipping and handling. too heavy for backpacking, but fine on a canoe trip.

all that said, you can't make a shower person like not taking a shower... i'd go with as large an aussie shower as you can find, and heat your water on the fire/stove.
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Old 08-30-2007, 12:40 PM
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yippikiyo yippikiyo is offline
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Hmmm, Seeker. I might have to come hike with you. You seem to have answers to my biggest challenges with humidity and the outdoors. I will look for the aussie shower as that seems much better than the feeling of 'being urinated upon by a hypothermic indivdual' (direct quote from one of my shower-loving companions).

y
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Old 08-30-2007, 08:17 PM
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Seeker Seeker is offline
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come on over then... i haven't been out since march this year... rough year for work and time off.

are you close, like jasper/beaumont, far, like el paso/midland/odessa, or somewhere inna middle, like austin? (in which case, i'll come to you... nice terrain, the hill country...)
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Old 08-31-2007, 03:49 AM
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TBack TBack is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seeker

so we procured ("procured. verb. an army word meaning to steal, but without the inconvenient connotations of true ownership, and without the intent on the procurers part of keeping said item once it had been used for an indefinite amount of time", hence, justifiable theft in time of need) a black plastic water can.
i've heard complaints about the plastic sun shower units ripping or leaking. that canvas deal, while a lot heavier and not self-heating, would be my choice if i didn't have streams to bathe in.


When I was an infantry scout (pronounced "GRUNT"), we called that appropriation . When the wife and I go out canoeing for any length of time, I take a battery powered (4 d-cells I think) shower pump with us. It uses a small submersible pump to run the shower. I got it at Target and it works pretty well. It makes her feel better and that in turn makes me feel better. Also, I've used a heavy duty contractors black garbage bag to heat water the way that Seeker suggested, on the floor of the canoe. It's not perfect but it works.

Brian
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  #8  
Old 01-18-2008, 12:01 AM
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baldeagle baldeagle is offline
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You can take a shower on the trail too.

I carry a plastic garbage bag to fill with water and tie shut with rope. Stick upside down on low tree limbs in the sun and wait until the water gets warm. Then (wearing just shorts) get under the bag and loosen the rope just enough to allow some of the water to drip out and take a shower.
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Old 01-23-2008, 01:21 PM
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kvolk kvolk is offline
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In my days of horse packing I would take one of those solar showers along. It never got warm but it did take some of the frost off of it. I now take 1L and 2L saline bottles from the hospital for watter bottles. I have an extra cap that I have poked holes in for a "shower nozzle" I put a bottle of water out in the morning wrapped in black plastic and by afternoon it will no longer take your breath away. I squirt down and get wet and then soap up. Then the rinse and I feel better. I can get it done with 2 L.
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Old 01-24-2008, 11:32 AM
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Outamatches Outamatches is offline
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I have 2 of the Solar Showers. 1 of them is over 15 years old and is not black but gold colored. The new one has a black back. I took them up to the BWCA this summer and both of them heated up about the same. We would not get into camp until late in the afternoon so it didn't give them much time to work. We would heat up some water on the campfire and add to it. They worked great, one of the guys with us showed every day and the litltle spray nozzle worked great. We had a small blue tarp we stood on that kept our feet clean. I take them with me when I take our scout troop camping. It gives them a great place to wash up before eating. ( Makes the mothers happier). I have never taken it backpacking but for canoe/car camping it is great.
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