View original topic: DIY Solar Hot Water Heater (Photos)
ronsmithis Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:38 am

Aloha Sambanista's
Here's a solar water heater I finished. Nice having hot water while wilderness camping. I used 4"PVC pipe that I sanded and painted flat black. It gets pretty hot and holds about 14 gallons of water. It weighs quite a bit so keep that in mind when popping the top up /down. Also fixed a vent tube up top to allow air venting without creating a vacuum. Also can just be used as a water reservior for extended camping trips.
Cheers, Ron

:D ....Please don't hate me cause I drive a Eurovan... :D

joseph928 Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:55 am

:bay_blue: I love this idea, have rack, now would have something to put in it. Cary more water and if need be to go 4x4 let water out. At times you can't have to much load on the roof. :D

ranchero Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:04 pm

very nice Ron! I have been contemplating something similar.

Bruce Wayne Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:18 pm

14 gallons of water is 112lbs,be very careful popping the top if that is full. nice work!

Corwyn Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:25 pm

I like it! Better than a hanging bag and sort of everyman's version of the Road Shower:

ronsmithis Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:29 pm

[quote]14 gallons of water is 112lbs,be very careful popping the top if that is full. nice work.

You're right about that,one idea is that you can use smaller diameter PVC pipe. Less water ...less weight to lift. Last yearwhen I put the racks,cargo carrier and solar panels on I switched to heavy duty 150lb gas struts. It's still a bit of work popping the top though when it's full of water. 8)

:D ..Please don't hate me cause I drive a Eurovan.. :D

Farfrumwork Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:38 pm

Very nice.

man, when I was in Maui with my wife/kids 2yrs ago (in a rented Westy) we prasied our little solar shower bag. Feels soooo good to have a warm rinse after being in the salt water.
Cool rinse at the beach with the free showers, then a warm rinse at the van... some tropical breeze and you're set!

Saguache Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:41 pm

I've thought about doing something similar, but honestly parking in the sunshine in the summer time means living in a really hot van. Thus I'm getting good with gritty. Right now I need a hair cut and a shave, plus my smell might qualify me for full fledge mountain man status.

Stígandi Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:47 pm

shower setup video my wife showers in the vanagon

alembical Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:18 pm


That looks like a EVC as compared to a Weekender. If I am right in that thought, any reason you decided to mount the water on the portion of the roof that pops up, rather than the front luggage rack above the drivers' cabin, which seems able to handle the weight better.

Just curious. We have an EVC too and are interested in this set up, but hesitant about having that much weight on the fragile Winnebago pop tops. If we had a Westie Weekender, we would have much less concerns.

PDXWesty Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:22 pm

I've tried solar type shower set ups here in Oregon. The only time I ever got warm water was in Maupin when it was already 95 outside. I just don't think that type set-up is efficient enough to heat water in the NW where sunshine is limited and outside temperatures are cooler. There's just too much heat loss and not enough solar gain. You would need an insulated tank and a circulator to heat water through a heat exchanger. Black pipes or bags just don't cut it here.

DAIZEE Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:29 pm

I like that but my plastic top (ASI Vanagon) couldn't handle that weight. I'll just have to stick to my solar bag and I can put the van in the shade and the bag in the sun. Bought two nature like shower curtains for the outdoor back hatch! nice idea depending on the climate and sun conditions.

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