This article describes a portable shower that I designed that can be folded up and fit under a bed. It requires no electricity, and no water hook-ups. (no water pressure) It only requires a bucket of water. (Ideally warm) It can be modified to work great for camping and RV’s too. This is my first prototype, there are lots of things that can and will be adjusted in the future. Click here for the youtube video or just scroll down the page!
What started TechieNATION in the first place was a post written about my now famous Solar Power installation in Kingston which provided a small amount of power for the first time to my little sisters off-grid home. They have 10 acres of land, a small 600sq foot house, and have chosen to live “the simple life” for the moment. Their only source of water is from a well at the bottom of a hill 100 feet from the house, and is powered by hand. (a Good’ol fashioned well pump). Last Christmas my Mother, Girlfriend, and I put our money together and got them solar panels. This years TechieNATION christmas project was a portable shower that could fit under their bed.
They’ve been sponge bathing for the last few years with the exception of the occasional warm shower at a family members home. This is what prompted me to try and build a portable shower that takes little room and no electricity.
This shower could easily be adapted for camping, trailers and RV’s, and installed in a more permanent and visually friendly manner.
- Large Rubbermade container that’s designed to fit under beds from Zellers
- 2 Thick pieces of scrap wood with holes drilled into the middle so that copper pipes can slide into it. (I took apart a broken pallet from a loading dock and used that wood)
- 6 Feet of 3/4inch Copper Pipe. I used the thicker copper pipe to make sure it doesn’t bend and can properly hold up the shower head, pump, and shower curtain.
- a 3/4 inch copper pipe coupler so that I could split the pipe into 3 foot pieces and then screw it back together into a 6 foot piece. (This way the pipe fits into the rubbermade container when put away)
- A Guzzler brand hand pump that can move 8 gallons of water per minute if you want it too with about 18 feet of lift. (This is an excellent pump, it’s designed as a primer pump for boats before you turn on the electric pump)
- about 8 feet of garden hose. The hose was cut into 2 pieces. I put on the hose connector myself to the short piece on top that goes between the pump and shower head. The shorter the hoses, the less amount of water is required just to fill the piping.
- A single setting shower head from Canadian Tire along with an adapter to be able to connect it to a hose. (Shower head connectors and hose connectors are different sizes)
- About 12 feet of flexible copper tubing which was used as the shower curtain holder.
- 2 shower curtains. (There’s only 1 in the video, and as you can see it only goes half way around)
- 4 clamps to attach the pump and shower head to the copper pipe at the appropriate locations.
- They had to be able to hide it from sight and have it not waste any space in their small house.
- It had to take NO electricity because they don’t have enough solar panels to spare for anything other than lights.
- It couldn’t use water pressure to pump the water to the showerhead because they don’t have any water pressure at all. So it needed a manual pump of sorts to get the water from a bucket below.
- I REALLY wanted to connect it to a real shower head to make it more realistic. It would have been easier to use a hose sprayer (and probably just as functional) but I really didn’t want too.
- It had to be efficient on water because it’s a lot of work to collect and heat in the first place.
- It had to look good. (Ok so I failed miserably at that part, but it’s my first attempt, I could make it look a lot better looking with a little more time)
Lots of people have commented that I should have a water bucket on the top so that they don’t need to manually pump. I agree. However doing this would require making the whole structure much more solid, and there is very limited space above the shower head once it’s put up. (The shower head is a little over 6 feet up) If this was mounted permanently, I would put a temporary water holding tank up in the attic and have the shower head come out of the ceiling. The pump would be mounted on the wall and only be used to move the warm water from the bucket below to the “tank” above in the attic. Then they would turn on the shower head and have a hands free shower.
Here’s the video of the portable shower getting put together :
Please feel free to leave comments, questions, and suggestions below ! I read and answer almost all comments !