Secondary Author(s)

Chase, Diana; Young, William

Report Number




Solar Thermal; Disaster Planning; Disaster Relief


For thousands of years, man has used energy from the sun to heat water. Today, the typical way of obtaining hot water for a shower is through a residential or commercial thermal system installed on a building. This type of shower is too big and heavy to use outdoors, although camping facilities and parks may have such systems for their patrons. Original outdoor showers that were developed for use in remote locations were bulky and not particularly portable. Today's solar shower is designed to be practical for camping, recreational and marine use. New products are made of plastic for lighter weight and portability, and the tank has been replaced with a bag that performs as both a solar energy collector and storage unit with a hose for dispensing hot water. The solar shower has entered the outdoor market place as a valuable device, reaching into the worlds of campers, backpackers, sailors, archeologists, missionaries and people in developing countries.

There are only a few manufacturers of the camping type of solar showers. There are four basic designs, all of which are very low cost compared to residential hot water systems. All are made of some form of plastic and typically come in sizes from 2 to 8 gallons (9 to 30 liters). Temperatures can reach up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius) in little more than 3 hours of full sunlight and some even have a built in temperature gauge for easy reading. The performance of each shower is similar, with the major difference being design and quality.

Date Published



Presented at ISES/Solar World Congress 2005, Bringing Water to the World, Assessment of water resources (e), Orlando, Florida USA

Local Subjects

Disaster Planning; Disaster Relief; Solar Thermal


FSEC Energy Research Center® Collection



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In Copyright