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DIY Van Life Solar Shower

Whether you're primary showering plan is a nation wide gym or friends houses its nice to have additional shower options during road trips. The solar shower also works well to hose off your dog when they find themselves in a stinky situation.


Step One

Determine the amount of water that you you want to be able to store and the length of tubing that will fit on your vehicle. keep in mind that you wont fill the tube completely with water. The solar shower will need air space to allow for pressurization. I made mine 7ft long (including tee) which holds about 4.5 gallons of water. If you use a garden sprayer with a trigger handle that will help control the amount water you're using during your shower. I have found that mine allows for two to three showers before it needs a refill.

Step Two

Cut the tube to the length that you determined in step one. Try to cut the tube as straight as possible, if the cut is at an angle the cap wont seal. If your cut ends up being at an angle, you can either try cutting it again or file down the high spots. Next cut your tube about a foot from one of the ends. This is where the tee fill port will be added. If you bought pipe that isn't black (helps with solar load for heating water) this would be a good time to begin painting prep. Start by sanding all pieces, this will give the paint a better surface to adhere to. If you have access to a power sander it will be a quick process, if not, you will have a little more time invested in hand sanding. Next apply and even coat of primer and allow to dry then finish with a coat of black paint.

Step Three

Installing the spigot and valve steam. First drill the appropriate sized hole for the valve steam and spigot that you bought. Next install the gasket that each piece came with, then lock them in place with the provided hardware.

Then screw the 4" male adapter into the top of the tee. This adapter crates a larger sealing surface for the plumbers test plug. Finally put a bead of silicon around the valve steam, spigot, and male adapter.

Step Four

Prepare the ends of the tube and fittings for glue by removing the paint and degreasing the surface. Next follow the instructions on the PVC glue for proper adhesion. Keep in mind that this type of glue drys quickly.

Step Five

Hallow out the canoe blocks to fit the radius of the shower tube. This will provide a molded mounting surface for the solar shower.

Step Six

Install the assembled solar shower on your vehicle using the canoe blocks and lashing straps. Once the shower is secure, fill it with water leaving an air gap for pressurization. Next install the the plumbers test plug and pressurize the shower to about 15-20psi using a bicycle pump. Be sure not to go over the rated pressure of the tube. Then enjoy a nice shower after a long day!


The type of tubing you buy will determine if the water is drinkable.

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