It’s only just February so it might be a bit early to go camping or take off in your van. But it’s not too early to start planning and here’s a good question when you are thinking about your kit: do solar camp showers work? Like, actually work?
Let’s have a look at if they work, how they work, and how to make the most of them.
Do solar camp showers work?
One of the main concerns people seem to have, certainly if they are travelling in Britain and using the solar camp shower there, is that there isn’t going to be enough sunlight to heat the water.
It’s true that the “solar” part is important. However, even a little sunlight can make a big difference to the temperature of small amounts of water properly insulated. Even though it might not seem “sunny” and the sun might not be “out” there is of course light reaching us from the sun during the daytime.
Even that small amount of light, and storage in a smaller bag out of a pipe, will raise the temperature a little. So it will be warmer than washing under a standpipe or body of water.
Sometimes there is direct sunlight but it doesn’t seem warm to us because it’s a bit windy and so on. But the wind barely affects the water being warmed in the bag.
If the sun is coming and going behind clouds the shower will warm up in the sunny spots faster than it cools down in the cloudy spots. So don’t worry about sunshine that isn’t totally consistent.
Depending on conditions you could have a perfectly warm shower! At the very least it’s always going to be a bit warmer than any alternative.
It’s also much more convenient because you can set it up anywhere you like. You could even create a private little shower room if you get inventive. It works very much like a real shower, with a maneuverable shower head.
How solar camp showers work best
Tip number one has to be to – if at all possible – get your shower in position before filling it. Some people can happily hoist a twenty litre bag of water up into a tree or hang it off a high hook. But not all of us.
The solution is to place your shower bag where it needs to be and then fill it up. You can also do this in smaller increments using other utensils which will be easier than lugging that full nine gallons around.
If that’s not possible due to lighting or other conditions the bag does have a good handle on it
Allow plenty of time. The bag needs an hour of sunlight to achieve maximum warming. It’s black so it retains its heat but it takes a while to passively warm twenty litres of previously cold water. You can give it a little test while you wait.
Solar camp showers really do work and make it so much easier to keep clean and fresh while you are off adventuring.